Selecting Fish and Plants for the Aquarium

The centerpiece of your aquarium are your fish.  Hence, it is important to select the type and the number of fishes carefully.

Select Fish which are sturdy and adaptable.


As a beginner who is yet to get a hang of maintaining an aquarium, it is prudent to go for species which can withstand adverse conditions.  Selecting species which are sensitive to temperature and water quality can result in death.  Species such as guppies, platys and mollies are good to start with.

Select Cheap Ones

Budgeting is important in maintaining an aquarium.  You need money to buy aquarium equipment like filters, aerators, etc.  Hence, as a beginner you can opt for fish which are inexpensive.  As a beginner it is better to spend more money on aquarium equipment which will contribute to the long term health of your aquarium.

Choose species which are not aggressive

Fishes which are aggressive can attack other fishes, get into fights and injure other fish and themselves.  You will end up with injured fish or even dead fish.  Hence, it is necessary to select species based on temperament.  Fish like Guppies, Mollies and Platys are good to begin with.

In certain species, the males cannot be kept together as they will start attacking each other.  Other species such as Tiger barbs are notorious fin rippers.  They will tear the fins of other fishes

Choose the right number of fish
The number of fish should be based on the size of the tank.  Select a number so that the individuals can have their own personal space.  This will also prevent overcrowding and fights and attacks.  Selecting too less a number will make the tank seem vacant.

Select the right size of fish
Select the right size of fish.  Species like Arrowana, gourami, etc  tend to grow big.  Such species need plenty or room.  They are not suitable for small tanks.

Choose active fish
Select fish which are active.  This will make the tank lively and help you sustain interest in the hobby.

Plants in the Aquarium

It is difficult to think of a beautiful and well designed aquarium without plants.  Plants are an integral part of any aquarium.  They help in maintaining water quality.

During the daytime, they also absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.  They help small fish and fry hide from other big fish and help them survive.  They add to the general beauty of the tank and can give your tank a natural appearance.

When it comes to selecting the vegatation for your aquarium, the hobbyist is faced with the choice of going for natural or artificial plants.  This is a difficult choice as both have their pros and the cons.

Natural plants grow along with the aquarium.  They lend a natural appearance to the tank. They can control nitrate levels and help in maintaining the general health of the aquarium.  The can also serve as food for some fish.

The downside is that they  give out carbon dioxide during the night.  Adding excess plants may result in the depletion of oxygen levels in the tank.  Aeration may be required. When they decay, they can cause contamination and should be removed immediately.  Live Plants can also carry parasites.  Besides, they require proper lighting to grow.

Today, artificial plants which resemble real ones are available.  These plants are easy to fix in the aquarium and require minimal care.  They can be washed once in a while.  They also do not require care like natural plants.

The downside is they are passive and do not play any role in the overall health and living processes in the aquarium.

Floating plants in the Aquarium

Floating plants in the aquarium give a look which resembles a pond surface. There are many floating plants to choose from. Floating plants absorb nutrients from the water. Hence, they keep the nitrate levels in check.

If you have strong light in the aquarium, these floating plants can provide shades which provides a cool, subdued lighting effect to the aquarium.

The Roots of floating plants can also be a safe place for fish fry to hide.

Common floating plants are Pistia and Azolla carolinenensis

Tools For the Aquarium

Some Aquarists prefer to have dedicated tools for their aquarium, particularly if it has live plants. Aquarium tools are useful for trimming and pruning the plants. They can also be used to arrange gravel, remove dead fish and scrape the aquarium surfaces to remove algae.

Different tools are available for different functions. Examples are tools such as bent scissors, tweezers, scraper etc.

Specialized Tools may be required while handling corals in marine aquariums. These tools make handling plants easy.