Picking fish for your tank is the most fun part of the hobby, it’s the reason you got a tank in the first place. It can be a bit overwhelming walking into a well-stocked shop for the first time, the fish come in so many different shapes, colours and sizes, you can be forgiven for not knowing which ones and right for your tank. While a lot of fish choice comes down to your personal preference there are a few rules to bear in mind.
The First rule is Research, Research, Research.
It pains me to say this but not every Aquatic shop has the fishes welfare at heart, some shops will sell you a fish just to make a profit. So, it is important to do a bit of research yourself instead of relying on the salesman knowing everything there is to know about a fish. Good sources to look at are the “Scott W. Michael Marine Fishes: 500+ Essential-to-know Aquarium Species” or websites like “Live Aquaria” or even our very own website “Calico Aquatics”.
The Second rule is How Big does it get?
While that cute 2 inch juvenile Emperor Angelfish might look perfect in your 100 litre tank, it won’t stay 2 inches for long and could attain an adult size of close to 18 inches. Therefore, it is always important to ask the maximum size for fish before considering them for your tank.
The Final rule is Know your tank personality.
While this is a very strange concept to grasp to begin with after a while it makes perfect sense. If you have a tank full of damsels it is likely your tank has an overall very aggressive feel, so adding a docile species like a fire fish would be a bad idea. The same goes the other way if you have a peaceful tank adding an aggressive fish like a trigger would be a very bad idea.
Once you know your tanks personality picking fish becomes relatively straight forward.
Hopefully following these three rules you venture into the world of marine keeping should be a smooth ride. As long as you don’t go adding a Lion fish to your community tank you should be good.
It is very useful when advising customers about fish to know what fish are already in their tank. When you first set up your tank trying to remember everything’s name and keep everything spot on can be a bit difficult, so I advise just setting up a memo on your phone with all your tanks occupants names on it. This will make the job of advising which fish are right for you much easier.