Getting a Tropical Fish

Getting a Tropical Fish

Keeping fish is a great hobby. A well maintained aquarium not only looks attractive, but watching your fish in their environment can be a good stress reliever too.

First of all you need to decide what type of fish you want to keep. If you’re considering keeping fish and you’ve never done so before, you might want to think about coldwater fish as a start. Goldfish are one of the easiest fish to keep and there are many different varieties to choose from, from comets, fantails and orandas to lionheads and shubunkins.

Alternatively, you might like to consider keeping tropical fish, which require water to be maintained at a constant temperature between 20 and 27 degrees C. There is a wide variety of tropical fish to choose from, however while many can be mixed together in the same aquarium, you need to be careful about considering compatibility between varieties of fish.                                   



Aquariums are basically a complete mini-ecosystem. There is a wide choice available and your pet shop will be pleased to advise. Remember fish kept in an aquarium are totally dependent on you for their welfare. There is a wide variety of fish to choose from: your pet shop will be pleased to advise you on a suitable selection of fish. 































































































































How Many?

Here at PAWS we will be happy to advise you on a suitable selection of fish for your tank. The temptation is to fill an aquarium with numerous fish of all sorts of different varieties and colour in order to make it look as attractive and interesting as possible. In reality, there are certain rules that need to be followed to ensure that you don’t overcrowd your aquarium. As tanks come in different shapes and sizes, there is no hard and fast rule, but considering size versus volume is a good guide. For coldwater fish, allow 0.5cm of fish per litre of water. For tropical fish, allow 1cm of fish per water. Remember stocking level guidelines work on the basis of fully grown adult fish, so you should keep fish growth in min










Your aquarium is a complete mini ecosystem housing fish that will be totally dependent on you for their welfare. As such, choosing the right tank or aquarium is vital, and there are a great deal available to choose from. Size is also important as this will determine the size and number of fish you will be able to keep, as is the positioning of your tank. Once your tank is full, it will be extremely heavy, so try to decide on where to position your tank before filling it up! As a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to go for a slightly larger aquarium, as there is a greater margin for error in comparison to a smaller one. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind what will suit your home as well as what you can afford.

It is also very important to remember that when setting up a tank for the first time, it needs to be well established before you begin to stock it with fish. Once it is ready, the tank will need to be stocked gradually and slowly. We recommend that you come and visit us in store or contact us for further advice about stocking and the most suitable type of aquarium for your fish.



There is a great variety of designs and sizes to choose from. Always select a branded product. Handle with great care and transport horizontally. The tank must be placed either on a specially designed stand or a strong rigid surface with an expanded polystyrene mat underneath the tank. Remember that a full tank is heavy. Position the tank away from windows as daylight encourages algae growth. Never move a full tank.



A heater thermostat is required to maintain water temperature. This is normally between 70º and 80º F (20º and 27º C) depending on your fish. A thermometer is required to monitor the temperature. A filtration system is required to maintain good water quality, essential for the health and well being of your fish. Purpose-built lighting systems will bring the tank to full life and stimulate plant growth. Too much light will result in excess growth of green algae, too little will cause plants to die. For tidiness and safety it is sensible to connect all wiring to a control panel.



Use only suitable gravel and rock. Your pet shop or aquatic store will advise you. The material should be thoroughly washed before placing in the tank.



There is a wide variety to choose from, but always seek advice from your pet shop as to the suitability of your chosen selection. Do not exceed the number recommended for your particular set-up. Plants should be planted thickly for the best effect, but they may need thinning out once established. Artificial plants are also available.



Thoroughly rinse your new tank with clean water. If you are using an under-gravel filter install this first, spread the gravel across the base of the tank, sloping from back to front. The rock can be partially buried in the gravel. Next slowly fill the tank with water. Install the heater and airline from the pump to the filter before connecting to the mains. Water conditioners can be added at this point and the tank left to settle for up to 7 days before introducing the fish Check that the equipment is working properly before adding the fish. When bringing your new fish home do not let the water get cold. Float the bag in the tank for 15 minutes, then open the bag and allow the fish to swim into their new home. Introduce hardier species first.



Firstly turn the tank light off as this helps to reduce stress. Float the unopened bag in the top of the tank for at least 15 minutes to regulate any temperature differences, this avoids shocking the fish. Open the bag and allow the tank water to enter it before gently releasing your fish into the tank. Turn the light back on after about 2 hours.



There is a wide variety of fish to choose from and although many can be mixed together in the new aquarium care must be exercised with respect to compatibility for temperature requirements, feeding habits, water quality and sociability. Your pet shop will be pleased to advise you on a suitable selection of fish.

A healthy fish should:

 swim easily through the water and be active

 not gasp at the surface of the tank or swim in a peculiar manner

 have scales that cover the body evenly without any cuts or growths 



Keeping fish is not as simple as buying a tank, filling it with water and adding fish to it. There are a few things you will need to purchase to ensure that your tank is able to effectively house your fish and maintain a stable environment for them. If you are keeping tropical fish, both a thermostat and water heater are essential in setting and maintaining consistent water temperature. You will need to purchase gravel, a filtration system and a pump, as well as a water conditioner to make your tap water safe to use in the tank. Plants and ornaments will help you create an interesting and attractive environment. The equipment you will need for your aquarium will depend very much on the type of fish you plan to keep. Come and speak to us about your specific needs and we will be happy to guide you.




Fish food comes in flake, pellet or frozen form. These foods provide a perfectly balanced diet containing all the nutrients necessary to keep your fish healthy. Some fish feed from the surface, while others feed from the middle or from the bottom of the tank and you should keep this in mind when purchasing food for them. Surface feeders like flakes and floating pellets while mid-water feeders prefer granular or slow sinking food. Bottom feeders should be offered quick sinking foods or tablets. Feed your fish once a day and start with a small amount which you can adjust accordingly. Fish should be fed sparingly with a suitable proprietary brand. There are many to choose from. Your pet shop will be pleased to advise



Water quality is the most important factor in keeping fish healthy. As such, regular water changes are vital. You should siphon off 25% of water from the tank and replace it with fresh, conditioned water every two weeks. However, as all tanks are different and house different fish, it is a good idea to invest in a water quality testing kit which will enable you to keep an eye on the levels of nitrite and ammonia in the water so you’ll know when to carry out a water change. Check the thermometer at least daily. Never use hot water from the domestic supply. At least every 18 months completely empty the tank, keeping the water to refill afterwards, clean the rocks and gravel (not with detergent) and replace everything carefully. Remove uneaten food, rotting plants and excreta regularly.



Compatibility Chart

Shopping List 

 Aquarium Tank

 Rock / Stones

 Plants

 Gravel

 Heaters

 Lighting

 Thermometer

 Water Test Kits

 Water Conditioner

 Filter

 Air Pump

 Food

 Ornaments

 Remedies

 A good book on tropical fish care

 Fish Net

 Cleaning Pad

 Siphon / Stone Cleaner

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