Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up the Ideal Fish Community
by Ruby Bayan
Taking all the fish compatibility issues (water, food, behavior, and environment) into consideration, here's how to set up and maintain your community tank.
- If you know you that will relish watching and caring for more than just a couple of varieties of fish, buy the biggest aquarium you can afford. Larger aquariums are less crowded, have more versatile landscapes and are easier to manage if you have a growing community.
- You will need to decide which types of freshwater fishes appeal to you the most – species that thrive in warm, cold, or brackish water.
- When doing your research on the unique requirements of the fish you wish to own, keep in mind the four compatibility issues: water quality and temperature, feeding habits, behavioral tendencies, and landscaping preferences [see article: The Ideal Fish Community: Compatibility Issues].
- Draw up a plan. You may want to bring together a harmonious combination of peaceful fish which includes surface-feeding labyrinth fish, middle-feeding schooling fish, and bottom-feeding substrate sifters. A combination of diurnal and nocturnal fishes will give you hours of community activity even under a night light.
- Set up the tank. With your plan in mind, prepare the water composition and temperature. Arrange the plants and decor and then allow the setup to "mature" for about a week.
- Only purchase a few fish at first. Take your time in building your community. Give the fish time to acclimatize before introducing new cohabitants. Adding new fish creates a bit of instability and chaos. However, things tend to settle down after a while. Always try to minimize the disturbances you impose on the members of your fish community.
- Constant vigilance is necessary to ensure that balance and harmony are maintained. You will need to remove fish that suddenly become aggressive – it may be necessary to return them to the supplier. Be sure to isolate members of the community that show signs of sickness before they pass their illness on to others. Reassess the community composition if some fish refuse to come out of their hiding places to eat. Remember that you will need to provide different types of suitable food so that each fish in the tank is properly nourished.
A Community Challenge
Most aquarium hobbyists do not feel fulfilled unless they test their skills by meeting the challenge of sustaining a thriving fish community. You can personally look forward to experiencing this same pride in your own well-balanced and attractive community tank. If you will arm yourself with basic knowledge about your pets and pay attention to the four compatibility issues discussed above, you will have a very high chance for success. You will also enjoy a great sense of accomplishment.
See also: The Ideal Fish Community: Compatibility Issues