How to Care for Tropical Fish

Fish make great pets; they are low-maintenance, attractive, and not going to run away. Tropical fish make some of the best possible fish pets because they are typically more colourful and larger than many of the more traditional fish breeds, such as goldfish. However, caring for tropical fish requires a few extra considerations since they are less suited to aquariums than other kinds of fish. They have evolved to live in tropical environments, so you will have to make some adjustments to make your apartment fit that bill.

Care for Tropical Fish

Aquarium Size

You should decide what sort of fish you want to keep. Some fish prefer to live in groups or schools, which means that you will need to have a large enough tank to accommodate many fish. If your tank is overcrowded, you can end up with smelly water or even sick fish. Once you pick your fish and decide how many you will need, you can start to think about how big your tank will need to be a general. A general rule of thumb is that you should have a fish tank that can hold one gallon of water per inch (2.5 cm) of fish length. Also, do not forget that fish are going to grow, so you should make your measurements based on the size the fish will be when fully grown; this sounds simple, but many people just do not think about it.

Aquarium Size


Once you have your fish and appropriately-sized aquarium picked out, it is time to stock up on equipment. You would do well to start your search with aquarium supplies, because online retailers tend to have wider selections than brick and mortar stores.

You will need a canopy with a light, but typically these are sold with the aquarium itself. You will need enough gravel to cover the bottom to a depth of at least three inches (7m) in the rear and an inch (2.5cm) in the front.


You will need a water filter to keep the water clean and free from harmful microbes. Now, when you are caring for tropical fish, you will also need to recreate their climate, so you will need a water thermometer and heater to mimic the tropics.

You will also need a cycling fluid that features the essential bacteria needed for the fish. You will need to introduce this mix of bacteria before adding the fish. In addition to a cycling fluid, you will need a conditioning fluid that neutralises the chlorine and chloramines in tap water.

You will also need an air pump that circulates oxygen into the water. This is not restricted solely to tropical fish, but is actually applicable to all fish. Though they “breathe” water, they are actually just extracting oxygen from water.


When picking pets, you could do very well by picking fish. However, you should be aware that although they are low-maintenance, they are not maintenance-free. You will need to maintain a water environment conducive to healthy fish. That means you need enough space, enough oxygen in the water, somewhere for the fish to hide, and clean water at the right temperature.

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