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Choosing funky tropical fish for cool home aquarium fish tanks

Updated on March 13, 2012
The Neon Tetra is one of the most popular fish for the tropical aquarium
The Neon Tetra is one of the most popular fish for the tropical aquarium

Want to choose some interesting fish for your tropical fishtank?

Here's a list of my favorite tropical fish. There's a real mixture here - some will swim around the tank all day looking gorgeous. Others will hide away during the day and come out to play at night.

The secret of a good tropical fish tank is to have a good mix of different species. It is good to get some smaller shoaling fish such as neon tetras or guppies, and maybe a few slightly larger fish such as platies or barbs. The smaller tropical fish generally get on well with each other, although if your male and female mix of a certain species is wrong then the males can sometimes get a bit aggressive towards each other.

Platies are a lot of fun and sometimes will even give birth to loads of babies
Platies are a lot of fun and sometimes will even give birth to loads of babies

Fish that recognise you

I love tropical fish that are aware of you. I don't know what they think of humans - do they think they are some kind of god?

Anyway, the following fish will recognise their owners, and get very excited if feeding time is in prospect:

  • Platies - these come in different shapes and sizes. The red ones are particularly colorful.
  • Red wag platies (with a black mouth) are also cute.
  • Mollies - these resemble Platies.
  • Tiger Barbs - these feisty little fish are very entertaining!
  • Rosy Barbs/Neon Rosy Barbs - these adorable fish like to pair up and are usually sold as a male and female. The males are much more orange than the females, who tend to be more silvery in color.

The Kuhli Loach is great for keeping the bottom of the tropical fishtank nice and clean
The Kuhli Loach is great for keeping the bottom of the tropical fishtank nice and clean

Fish that help keep the fish tank clean

While it is good to have brightly colored fish that swim around in shoals all day long, don't forget that the secret of a successfully balanced fish tank is to have a good range of fish with different behaviors.

It's a good idea to have a fish or two that like to eat all the uneaten food and other detritus that falls to the bottom of the tank. Many people like to get a catfish or two - these love foraging around the bottom of the tank and looking for tasty things to eat in the gravel.

Alternatively why not consider the Coolie Loach? These little fellows look like long worms or snakes. They have attractive yellow bandings. They are very easy to look after and are very tolerant of fishkeeping mistakes. I have had mine for 5 years now, and I think they live forever. It's usually best to buy several of them, as they like the company.

Certain fish can also keep the fish tank's glass and ornaments free from that nasty green algae stuff. Some people like to get a Pleccy (Plecostomus species). These are good at keeping the tank clean, but be warned - sometimes they can grow monsterously big!!!

An alterntive for a smaller fish tank is an Algae Loach. These are sold by virtually all fish shops. Unusally only one is needed per tank. They can grow quite large, and can sometimes bother other fish. They are not nice fish, but they do keep the fish tank clean!

That's all the fish tips for now! Good luck and have fun with your tropical fishtank!

What are your favorite fish? Leave comments below!

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    • Timmy(B) profile image

      Timmy(B) 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love cichlids as they are really pretty but have a wild side.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Barbs are pretty cool. The last a while, too. I like black tetras; my mom couldn't kill her black tetras when she wanted to end her tank. She did everything she could, but flush them.

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 

      8 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Interesting Hub on tropical fish, BrettB and some great pictures. I love going to aquariums, especially if they have seahorses or sea dragons, so it must be great to keep fish at home

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