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Some Tips For Keeping Ornamental Fish in Aquarium.

Updated on September 4, 2012

Keeping freshwater ornamental fish as pets in an aquarium needs some tips to make them live vigorously, healthily, and vividly.
Here are some tips I can share from my own experience :

1. Fish Selection

Fish which are going to live in the same aquarium/tank should be selected based on their types and characters.

Some particular fish belong to sociable fish. They can live together with other fish of the same or different species since the belong to the same level. On the other hand, other type of fish as predator and prefer being kept individually. If we mistakenly mix those different character in the same tank then the tank will become a killing field for the inferior fish.

Arowana (Schlerophagus formosus)
Arowana (Schlerophagus formosus)
Bleeding heart tetra
Bleeding heart tetra

Some examples of fish normally kept in aquarium.

Sociable fish, they can be kept collectively :

Tetras: Black tetra, black phantom tetra, black widow tetra, cardinal tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi)

Tiger barb (Barbus tetrazona)

Guppy (Poecilia reticulata)

Panda catfish (Corydoras panda)

Discus (Symphysodon discus).

Predator/Solitary fish:

Flower horn (Amphilophus sp)

Cichlasoma sp (family of Cichlidae)

Arowana (Schleropages formosus)

Although we are talking about fish but learning from an English saying :"Birds of a feather flock together", only fish belong to the same types/character can be kept together.

Panda catfish(Corydoras panda )
Panda catfish(Corydoras panda )

2. Water Quality

Water quality plays an essential role in fish life. About 90% of fish survival is determined by water quality which provides sufficient oxygen,  pH (ranging 6.8 - 7.5), no poisonous chemical, etc.

Make sure that water circulation and aeration in the aquarium run well and you can add more oxygen supply to the water using a bubble pump if necessary. I don't use bubble pump for my tank but keep the water circulation and aeration working properly instead to maintain my fish live prosperously.

Well managed water quality enables your fish live much healthier and longer.

3. F o o d.

Fish need food to live but its availability in water mustn't be excessive since it will make another problem in fish environment.

Fish food contains protein and if fish can't eat up all of it then it will deposit at the bottom of the tank. The deposits sooner or later will create methane gas which is poisonous to fish.

Feed your fish in just enough amount of food. You'll know the amount of food you've given is enough or too much from how long the food stay in the tank. If there is leftover which stays too long (more than 15 minutes) in the tank, it will sink at the bottom and that means you given too much food.

Don't worry about your fish being in short of food as long as you can maintain the water quality ideally. As mentioned above water quality is more important for fish survival than the availability of food. Fish can survive in your tank for one week without supply of food as long as they live in quality water but they 'll die soon if they live in bad water quality with abundant food.

Don't change the food type abruptly since this condition will stress your ornamental fish. Be consistent with one brand of food which your fish has been familiar. Different food brand may contain different composition and this may also cause interference to fish .

If you eventually have to change the food type with other brand since you can't find the same brand anymore, try to mix it with the old type so the fish won't experience a sudden/extreme change in their food consumption. I recommend that you buy some packs of the same brand at one time to anticipate this condition so that you don't have to change the food types too often.

4. Ornamental Plants.

My experience says that only small fish can live with alive ornamental plants but not the big, carnivorous ones. So if you want to grow natural ornamental plants in your tank together with ornamental fish you can consider Tetra (there are some species of this kind), Tiger barb, Guppy and Corydeoras.

You certainly need more equipment to be installed  like CO2 tank, ultraviolet lamp needed by green plants to grow healthily.

Guppy (Poecilia reticulata)
Guppy (Poecilia reticulata) | Source

5. Easily Bred Fish

If you want fish which are easily bread in your aquarium then Guppy (Poecilia reticulata) should be considered. This small and colorful fish are not only easy to be kept but also fast to breed. What they need to have for their breeding environment are hiding places to keep their eggs and young offspring, number of population (should not be too dense), the absence of predators, and healthy water.


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    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      5 years ago from Nepal

      I always have had this desire to keep an aquarium. Thanks for sharing wonderful tips.

    • agusfanani profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Indonesia

      Hello Taleb80, thank you very much for visiting this hub and giving additional information about Guppy. I really appreciate your input.

    • Taleb80 profile image

      Taleb AlDris 

      7 years ago


      Thank you for sharing your skills.

      They are very true as I am also breading Guppy.

      This point was new for me (Don't change the food type abruptly)

      Actually, Guppy female gives birth to live babies, not eggs, she keeps the eggs inside till they hatch.

      Thanks Again

    • agusfanani profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Indonesia

      Yes Pras, there are some benefits of keeping fish. It trains us to be patient, reduces stress,and makes us know character of fish like I write in this hub. Koi is very beautiful fish but I don't have the pond to keep it. Thank you very much for your comments Pras

    • prasetio30 profile image


      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I love fish, especially Koi fish. But arwana is the most expensivefish after Louhan phenomenon. I thought the price of arwana is stabilize. Thanks giving the best tips in keeping ornamental fish in aquarium. Vote up.

      Blessing and hugs,

    • agusfanani profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Indonesia

      @Peggy W: I agree that it needs time to spare for aquarium maintenance, that's why I only keep fish which don't need difficult treatment at home. Thank you very much Peggy W, It's very kind of you to give such nice comments.

      @scheng1 : I'm very glad to know that we can use auto water changer for Arowana , which must help ease in keeping it. Thank you very much for the input scheng1.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      If keeping Arowana, best to install auto water changer, link to the pipe. Arowana spits out half the food, best to change water 2 or 3 times a week.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Forgot to mention...I also really enjoyed the photos in this hub. Rated this hub beautiful.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      My middle brother first had fish tanks in our home and bred guppies and other sociable fish. I remember how excited we all got when we first saw the babies being born! In later years I had two fish tanks. I also liked the sociable fish and ones like neons that swam in schools back and forth. Finally got tired of the upkeep and gave the tanks and fish to another fish lover. Now I admire other people's fish tanks! They are beautiful to see!


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