Most hobbyists start off with what is called a “community” aquarium, meaning that all of the fishes in the tank get along well together, and that they are all tropical fish requiring warm temperatures. The primary concerns for establishing a successful community tank are that:
- The fish should all be pretty much the same size – remember, the mouth of the largest fish has to be smaller than the size of the smallest fish, or else the latter will end up as a snack for the former.
- The water conditions that all of the fish in the tank do best in should be the same. For the most part this will mean fish that do well in “neutral” water – pH around 7.0 and moderate hardness. These are by far the vast majority of fish that we offer for sale.
- Make sure that all of the fish in your community tank eat the prepared or frozen foods that we have for sale. The few fish that require specialty diets will be pointed out to you by the store staff; they typically require a different tank than a community one.
Rather than try and list the various fish combinations that are possible, we encourage you to remember the suggestions above, and to consult with the staff in our fish department about what should fish should go in your tank.
Fancy goldfish are a very popular tank setup. Goldfish do best in a tank dedicated only to goldfish, as they do not do well at the higher temperatures of tropical fish, and their special body shape and finnage can make it difficult for them to compete with faster fish for food. Goldfish also produce a great amount of waste, and require excellent filters to remove the wastes, and very frequent water changes. Since goldfish are cold water fish, they do not require a heater, and will do just fine at ordinary room temperature.
Goldfish tanks should have a good base of gravel, and the gravel should be the finer grade sizes, since goldfish are constantly picking up mouthfuls of gravel and sifting it for food. Live plants are good in goldfish tanks, but since they will try and eat them you are better off sticking to the plants that have tough leaves, such as Java ferns and Anubias. Goldfish really do require vegetable matter in their diet, so if you keep a few soft leaved plants growing in the tank your goldfish will be content; otherwise it is a good idea to feed them some fresh veggies once or twice a week in addition to the regular staple foods. Goldfish do not really have a stomach as we think of it – rather their intestinal tract is one long continuum; therefore it is best to feed goldfish very small amounts very frequently during the day.
Goldfish come in a wide variety of body shapes, finnages and colors – but they are all the same fish and have the same requirements. We try to have a good selection, but if there is a special type you would like that we don’t have in stock, we will try and order it for you. Goldfish are easy to keep, as long as you have lots of filtration on their tank, and do regular water changes. They can live for many years, and become excellent pets.
Other Coldwater Fishes
In addition to goldfish, there are quite a few other fishes that do not require a heater. In fact, assuming that the room the tank is in is kept no colder than 65 degrees or so, many more than the traditional coldwater fishes can be kept. Some coldwater fishes (besides goldfish) include zebras and other danios such as pearls and spotted, White Cloud Mountain fish, which come in a normal coloration and a gold variety, guppies of any type, and any of the mountain loaches. For cleanup crew paleatus cory cats will do very well, as well as regular aeneas corys.
One of the advantages of a coldwater tank is that plants will usually do very well, since most plants are happier at the lower end of tropical temperatures. Any of the bunch plants will do well in a coldwater tank, as will most of the crypts and sword plants, vals and sags.