What's the easiest (hardiest?) fish to keep at home in a freshwater aquarium?
Worrying about how long they'll last. What if we bonded and then they reach the end of their short life-span, or if I shortened their life span by pure negligence?
In my personal experience (I've been keeping up aquariums - both salt and fresh - for a number of years), freshwater angelfish are some of the most hardy I've come across. They've outlasted any other fish I've put into a tank and they're some of the prettiest out there for fresh water (when you're looking at affordably priced fish, anyway). I've had angels live for years. My last pair lived for a couple of years and laid eggs frequently. They might still be living for all I know, we had to give them away when we moved recently.
Mollies are apparently really hardy too, but they're really prone to developing ich and so I just avoid them. Betas can be pretty hardy too, but they don't always play well with others (especially other betas). While freshwater angels can be aggressive, they've lived relatively peacefully with every other fish I've ever paired them with - just make sure you add fish that are considered "community fish", otherwise, they might be too aggressive and nip at fins too much.
In my experience, almost any of the mollies seem to be hardy and live for several years. I've also had my iridescent shark for almost six years now. But that's just my experience and other people have better success with different types. If you shop at either Petco or Petsmart, the salespeople are pretty well-versed at knowing which can live the longest.
Is it negligence? My fish have survived everything from cold water because I didn't realize the heater wasn't working to me forgetting to feed them for a few days. If there's nothing else you can think of you might have missed, take a sample of your water to Petco and they'll test it for pH and a few other things. If it's a water quality issue, they'll suggest treatments.
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Mine was pretty lame and definitely a Halloween cop out--I put some eye black around one eye and made a letter "P" out of masking tape on my t-shirt...I was a black-eyed pea :-)
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