Other Tropical Fish

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The shear number of tropical fish available is part of the reason they have become so popular because whatever your taste and set up there is a fish that’s perfect for you! Below are some of the other popular tropical fish that are widely available in the hobby but may have special requirements such as a big aquarium or they maybe known fin nippers that require a selective group of tank mates. These are still relatively easy fish to care for but may simply be out of reach for aquarists with smaller tanks and some are only suitable for intermediate to advanced fish keepers.

Melanotaenia / Rainbowfish – Rainbowfish actually come in a variety of shapes and colours with the Boesemani being the most striking of them. Unique in the aquaria because of the their half and half colouration, the Boesemani are usually half blue and half yellow/orange making them very beautiful indeed. In some cases you may have to be extra patient in waiting for them to colour but given proper care they will not disappoint. They are generally peaceful fish and like to shoal but given their eventual large size and active swimming you would require a large tank (300Liters+) to house a shoal of them a more feasible option could be to go for a group of 3-4 in tank of no less than 250Liters for adult fish.

Other varieties of these Rainbowfish are also widely available each with different colours, shapes and size. Thread fin Rainbows have long thread like fins but are usually grey and black in colour making them dull compared to other Rainbowfish but still very unique in shape and due to their much smaller size (5cm) they are suitable for smaller tanks of even 60Liters for a small group. Rainbowfish of all varieties can be mixed together given the correct amount of space and suitable aquascape. They are all active swimmers so as well as hiding places they require open swimming areas. Below are some of the popular varieties in the aquarium trade.

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Boesmani Rainbowfish / Melanotaenia boesemani –
  • Size: 11.5cm/4.5inches
  • Temperature: 21C’-25C’
  • PH: 6.5-8
  • Water Hardness: 8-25dGH
  • Aquarium Size: 55ImperialGallons (250L) for a group of 3-4, much bigger for shoals.
  • Difficulty: Beginner
Thread fin Rainbowfish / Iriatherina werner –
  • Size: 5cm/2inches
  • Temperature: 22C’-28C’
  • PH: 5.5-7.5
  • Water Hardness: 8-19dGH
  • Aquarium Size: 13ImperialGallons (60L) for a group of 3-4, bigger for shoals of 6 or more.
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
Red Rainbowfish / Glossolepis incises –
  • Size: 15cm/6inches
  • Temperature: 22C’-26C’
  • PH: 6.5-8.5
  • Water Hardness: 8-25dGH
  • Aquarium Size: 55ImperialGallons (250L) for a group of 3-4, much bigger for shoals.
  • Difficulty: Beginner

 Chromobotia macracanthus / Clown Loach – Clown Loaches are extremely popular in the hobby due to their unique shape and tiger like colouration, they also make for great tank mates in peaceful community set ups. Readily available in pet shops as juveniles, thought and planning should be done before purchasing these fish as the adult fish can easily outgrow most tanks (they get to 12inches in some cases! Although the average is about 6inches) in fact to have any chance of keeping these fish long term you require a 4ft long tank as a bare minimum and 250Liters of water. Many people end up having to re-home these fish once they grow too large especially because Clown Loaches also prefer to be in small groups of 3-6.

These fish are very susceptible to Ich and are very sensitive to poor water quality, care must be taken to maintain water parameters if planing to keep these fish. Though popular these fish are only really suitable for bigger set ups long term.

Size: 15-30cm/6-12inches // Temperature: 24C’-29C’

PH: 6.5-7.5 // Aquarium Size: 65ImperialGallons (300L) for a group of 3, bigger for bigger groups

Difficulty: Intermediate

Metynnis argenteus / Silver Dollar – So called because of their round shape and silvery colour these fish make a great addition to the larger aquariums. They are relatively easy to care for but due to them growing pretty large and preferring to be kept in shoals not all aquarists can provide such conditions. They are naturally active swimmers so they will require plenty of open spaces as well as hiding places to make them feel secure. Peaceful in nature they will do well with other large peaceful fish such as some American Cichlids and Catfish, any fish small enough to fit in their mouth is likely to become food, so avoid adding small peaceful community fish.

Size: 15cm/6inches // Temperature: 24C’-28C’

PH: 5.5-7.5 // Aquarium Size: 64ImperialGallons (290L) for a group of 5 adults

Difficulty: Intermediate

Trichopodus / Gourami – Separate to the dwarf Gourami these species are the variety and are widely available in fantastic colours thus making them a great addition to your aquarium. Although bigger than the dwarf variety they don’t get too large ranging between 8-15cm, they can be aggressive towards their own species and any other fish that may provoke them, this is especially true in the case of Gold and Blue Gourami. Gourami tanks should provide plenty of hiding places for fish to break line of sight as they like to squabble amongst themselves to establish a hierarchy. Gourami should absolutely not be kept with fin nipping fish such as some barbs because their long flowing fins will be targeted. Some of the smaller Gourami (not dwarf) like the Honey Gourami and Pearl Gourami are peaceful and make for great community tank mates that are not too small to fit in their mouth.

Varieties such as the Kissing Gourami are one of the largest and can reach 30cm in length although usually smaller in aquaria, naturally they require more space. Like the Gold and Blue Gourami they do best in a species only tank but tank mates such as Loaches and some Catfish will do great with them. Below are some the commonly found Gourami varieties.

Gold / Blue Gourami / Trichopodus trichopterus –
  • Size: 15cm/6inches
  • Temperature: 23C’-28C’
  • PH: 6-8.8
  • Water Hardness: 5-35dGH
  • Aquarium Size: 31ImperialGallons (140L) for a group
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Tank mates: other Gourami, loaches and peaceful catfish
Pearl Gourami / Trichopodus leerii –
  • Size: 12cm/4.7inches
  • Temperature: 23C’-28C’
  • PH: 6.5-8.5
  • Water Hardness: 5-30dGH
  • Aquarium Size: 31ImperialGallons (140L) for a group
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Tank mates: other peaceful fish that are not small enough to fit in their mouth
Honey Gourami / Trichogaster chuna –
  • Size: 8cm/3.2inches
  • Temperature: 23C’-28C’
  • PH: 6-7.5
  • Water Hardness: 4-15dGH
  • Aquarium Size: 18ImperialGallons (80L) for a group
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Tank mates: other peaceful fish that are not small enough to fit in their mouth
Kissing Gourami / Helostoma temminkii –
  • Size: 30cm/12inches
  • Temperature: 23C’-28C’
  • PH: 6-8.8
  • Water Hardness: 5-35dGH
  • Aquarium Size: 64ImperialGallons (290L) for a group
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Tank mates: other Gourami, loaches and peaceful catfish

Puntius / Barbs – Barbs are another popular fish in the aquarium trade are usually available in most pet fish stores. Many varieties of these fish are available (Tiger Barbs are probably the most well known) with each growing to a different size and offering different colours and patterns. Barbs are notorious fin nippers (with the exception of the Cherry Barb) and care must be taken when selecting tank mates. Avoid keeping slow moving fish or fish that have long fins with these fish as they can become targeted, ideal tank mates for Barbs are other Barbs and fast moving fish that are not overly aggressive. These are a schooling fish and thus prefer to be kept in groups of 6 or more. Below are some of the most popular varieties. For more success keep these fish in a well filtered tank with plenty of plants.

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Tiger Barb / Puntius tetrazona –
  • Size: 7cm/2.8inches
  • Temperature: 20C’-26C’
  • PH: 6.5-7.5
  • Water Hardness: 2-30dGH
  • Aquarium Size: 27ImperialGallons (120L) for a shoal of 6
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Tank mates: other Barbs and fast moving fish. Avoid slow moving and long finned fish.
Cherry Barb / Puntius titteya –
  • Size: 5cm/2inches
  • Temperature: 22C’-26C’
  • PH: 6.5-7
  • Water Hardness: 2-18dGH
  • Aquarium Size: 13ImperialGallons (60L) for a shoal of 6
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Tank mates: other Barbs and peaceful community fish.
Rosy Barb / Puntius titteya –
  • Size: 15cm/6inches usually smaller in aquariums
  • Temperature: 18C’-23C’
  • PH: 6.5-7
  • Water Hardness: 2-10dGH
  • Aquarium Size: 27ImperialGallons (120L) for a shoal of 6
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Tank mates: other Barbs and fast moving fish. Avoid slow moving and long finned fish.
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