Tropical Community Fish

 

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Community fish are friendly fuss free fish suitable for beginners and experienced aquarists alike. They are easy to mix with each other and often don’t require any special care, this is not to say however, that they don’t require sufficient space and regular tank maintenance, this is a must for keeping any fish. Many of the members of community fish are small in size and are best kept in small to large groups. Like most tropical fish amazing colours and patterns are found and you are likely to see a huge variety of these fish in local fish shops. You can start your very own tropical aquarium with a 60Liter tank as a minimum, smaller tanks are likely to have fluctuating water parameters and thus contrary to popular belief are actually harder to keep fish in and provide a thriving environment. You will no doubt encounter many more whilst visiting your LFS but below are some of the more popular ones.

 Xiphophorus maculatus / Platy – You can find Platy fish at literally all pet fish shops such is the popularity of them. Different colour variations are available for both the males and females of the species with the main difference being the pointed anal fins on the males compared to the round fan like anal fins on the females. These are relatively small fish growing to around 5cm in aquariums and like to be kept in small groups of around 6, more can be kept depending on the size of your tank and other tank mates. a ratio of 1 male to 3 females works best but to avoid breeding (they breed readily in tanks) you may wish to keep females only. Peaceful fish that be kept with other peaceful community fish.

Size: 5cm/2inches // Temperature: 20C’-26C’

PH: 7-8 // Aquarium Size: 13ImperialGallons (60L) for a group of 6

Difficulty: Beginner

Xiphophorus hellerii / Swordtail – These fish are a very close relative to the Platy and share many of the same characteristics with the main difference being the extension of the lower tail fin in males. They also grow slightly larger than the Platy growing up to 7cm in length. Like the Platy keeping 1 male to 3 females should be the ratio to go for as males will harass the females this will help spread it. Also keeping 2 or more males in the same tank can result in one becoming dominant and harassing the others.

Size: 7cm/2.7inches // Temperature: 20C’-26C’

PH: 7-8 // Aquarium Size: 13ImperialGallons (60L) for a group of 6

Difficulty: Beginner

 Poecilia reticulate / Guppy – A close relative to both the Platy and Swordtail and again similar in temperament and size. Guppies in the hobby however, come in a much bigger variety of colours. They have been bred to produce all sorts of amazing colours and are readily available at most pet fish shops. Guppies have a large fan like tail fin associated with the males, whilst the females generally lack in colour and have a smaller tail fin. Guppies are often kept as all male groups due to their colours, a group of 6 or more males can be kept as the aggression will be spread amongst them. If introducing females the ratio should be 1 male per 3 females. These are peaceful fish suitable for most community tanks, however, they should not be kept with fish that are likely to nip at their fins.

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Size: 5cm/2inches // Temperature: 20C’-26C’

PH: 7-8 // Aquarium Size: 13ImperialGallons (60L) for a group of 6

Difficulty: Beginner

 Paracheirodon innesi / Neon Tetra – One of the smallest and most popular fish in the hobby! Neon Tetras reach to be around 3cm sometimes growing to 4cm. They have an amazing electric blue line on both sides of the body from the eyes to the tail and red from mid-body to the tail, just as well really because you wouldn’t see them otherwise! They are unique in the aquaria for their shoaling behaviour and should be kept in groups of 6 or more. A golden variety of these fish is also available with a white/gold neon body. The 2 types can be mixed. These are peaceful fish compatible with most other community fish. Not to be kept with fish that can fit them into their mouth.

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Size: 4cm/1.6inches // Temperature: 20C’-26C’

PH: 5-8 // Aquarium Size: 13ImperialGallons (60L) for a group of 12-15

Difficulty: Beginner

Paracheirodon axelrodi / Cardinal Tetra – The Cardinal Tetra along with Neon Tetras are some of the most popular species in aquaria of all time. Actually very similar in appearance to the Neons, there are subtle differences between the 2. Cardinal Tetras grow slightly larger (up to 2inches) and the red on the body extends all the way from head to tail. Both species have the characteristic blue neon glow.

Size: 5cm/2inches // Temperature: 20C’-26C’

PH: 5-8 // Aquarium Size: 13ImperialGallons (60L) for a group of 12

Difficulty: Intermediate

 Poecilia sphenops / Molly – Mollies are similar in shape to the Platy but grow to be larger. Some species of Molly can reaching between 5-10cm in length and should be provided plenty of space. The Black Molly is one of the most popular due to the jet black body colour although other variations are available in the hobby. They are best kept at a ratio of 1 male to 3 females, to avoid breeding you can keep an all female group. These are peaceful fish and can be kept with most other community fish such as Tetras, Guppies and Platies.

Popular varieties of Mollies: Black MollyBlood Red MollyMarbled MollyPolka Dot Molly.

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Size: 5/10cm/2-4inches // Temperature: 21C’-27C’

PH: 7.5-8.5 // Aquarium Size: 13ImperialGallons (60L) for a group of 4

Difficulty: Beginner

 

Trichogaster lalius / Dwarf Gourami – Smaller and more peaceful relative of the normal Gourami, these fish are ideal for smaller set ups (60Liters should be the minimum considered) but must be kept as sexed pairs of 1 male and 1 female as 2 of the same sex is not a good idea especially if you can’t provide enough space. Different varieties of colours are available ranging between the typical red and blue prominent in males, with the females of the species generally less colourful and slightly smaller. Both sexes feature the 2 long barbles extending from under the body. A sexed pair would make great tank mates for other peaceful community fish such as Platies, Mollies and Tetras. Dwarf Gourami prefer slow moving water currents so care should be taken to adjust water flow in the tank if necessary.

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Size: 5/10cm/2-4inches // Temperature: 21C’-27C’

PH: 7.5-8.5 // Aquarium Size: 13ImperialGallons (60L) for 2 (1 male and 1 female)

Difficulty: Beginner

 Hemigrammus bleheri / Rummy Nose Tetra – Another type of small tetra, these fish are suitable for community tank set ups. The colouring on the fish are amazing with bright red around the head and black and white stripes on the tail fin. Like other tetras they prefer to be kept in shoals of 6 or more to feel safe. These fish are sensitive to poor water quality so keeping their water clean is essential.

Size: 4cm/1.6inches // Temperature: 22C’-26C’

PH: 5.5-6.5 // Aquarium Size: 13ImperialGallons (60L) for a group of 12

Difficulty: Intermediate

– Mikrogeophagus ramirezi / German Blue Ram – These beautiful and colourful fish are in fact of the cichlid family belonging to American cichlids. However due to their peaceful nature they are suitable for community tanks being one of the only cichlids of this kind. A relative to the larger more aggressive Bolivian Ram these fish are best kept in more peaceful set ups to avoid other fish bullying them. They like a lot of hiding places and do well in planted aquariums. Suitable tank mates include: most Tetras – Silver Dollars and Dwarf Cichlids given a large enough space. They can be kept as a lone specimen in a tank or a group of 1Male to multiple females. More than 1Male per tank can cause problems unless the tank is big enough.

The Electric Blue Ram is another variety of peaceful Ram Cichlid suitable for a community tank, they share the same features and characteristics as German Rams but are a beautiful electric blue/turquoise colour.

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Size: 7cm/2.8inches // Temperature: 25C’-30C’

PH: 5.5-6.5 // Aquarium Size: 13ImperialGallons (60L) for a pair or alone, bigger for groups

Difficulty: Beginner

– Danio rerio / Zebra Danio – Zebra Danios are a popular schooling fish that are relatively small with unique patterns of black and white stripes! Also known as Striped Danio these fish are peaceful and ideal for faster moving peaceful community set ups. Slow moving fish will not be attacked but maybe intimated by the fast swimming Danios. Given their temperament and adaptability to a wide range of water parameters these are great fish for beginners. Like all schooling fish they prefer to be kept in groups, so go for a minimum of 5-6 or more if you have the space.

Size: 6cm/6inches // Temperature: 17C’-24C’ // Water Hardness: 2-20dGH

PH: 6-8 // Aquarium Size: 13ImperialGallons (60L) for a group of 6

Difficulty: Beginner

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