Majority of tropical fish, both freshwater and saltwater species, are vibrant colored and thus, extremely beautiful to watch. For a novice hobbyist, selecting the right species and being aware of maintenance involved are of utmost importance to become a successful aquarist.
Tropical Fish as Pets
If you have a fish tank at your home, you are expected to maintain appropriate environmental conditions as per the requirements of species you keep. These requirements won't just differ from one species to other, but also differ in accordance to saltwater and freshwater species. (As for tank equipment, a heating system and filter system are must.) In comparison to the freshwater types, marine tropical fish are highly pigmented and more colorful. However, maintaining a saltwater/marine aquarium is not an easy task.
Popular Tropical Species
There are 'n' number of tropical aquarium species, of which some are very tough to maintain at home. Hence, do not just select a fish by its appearance; consider other criteria, like their feeding habit, adaptability, behavior, compatibility with other fish, etc. Given below is a list of some species that are considered ideal pets.
Anemonefish: Also known as clownfish, these are classic saltwater aquarium fish, which measure no more than 12 cm. It is very easy to maintain them in home aquariums. You can choose anemones from a wide range of colors, including light yellow, orange, bright red, maroon, dark brown, and black.
Angelfish: Angelfish are among the most sought after tropical fish. From bright yellow to blue, they are available in different shades and shapes. The only challenge is their large size (with these fish measuring anywhere between 30 - 60 cm), which is not suitable for regular fish tanks.
Betta: Also called Siamese fighting fish, these are immensely beautiful freshwater species, which are easily identified by their flowing fins. You can rear them with other species. The Betta splendens, an orange beauty, is a widely popular pet fish. Male betta though, are a little aggressive and may harm their tank mates at times.
Blue Gourami: Though there are several species of gourami that are reared in tropical freshwater aquariums, the blue gourami in particular stands out. At 10 - 13 cm, it is ideal for a home aquarium. The species thrives in temperature range of 22 - 28°C. It has an aggressive temperament and hence, should be kept isolated from other fish.
Batfish: Batfish are strikingly beautiful marine species. As with angelfish, the major drawback in their case is their huge size (with individuals reaching to about 50 cm at fill growth). They require a 200 - 300-gallon tank. Available in a dusky shade and brown color, batfish feed on meaty foods and require extensive care.
Goby: The gobies are hardy and peaceful variety of tropical marine fish. Available in different color shades, gobies thrives well in reef tanks and grow to about 15 cm at maturity, depending upon the species. The care level for goby also varies based on which species you have opted for.
Goldfish: Goldfish are listed as the most preferred freshwater fish. With a peaceful temperament, it is ideal to keep them with other species. Rearing goldfish is very easy, which makes them favorites for novice aquarists. They adapt well to a wide range of temperature (15 - 30°C) and prefer swimming at the bottom of the tank.
Guppy: With long tails and vivid colors, guppies are excellent addition to any aquarium. These freshwater species are native to South America and thrive well between the temperature range of 19 - 29°C. They are very small in size―about 4 - 6 cm length―and peaceful in nature.
Oscar: Oscars are also very popular among aquarists. At maturity, they grow to about 30 - 40 cm in length and are known to change their color at the time of spawning. If you intend to keep Oscars, you will require a considerably large aquarium. They exclusively feed on smaller fish and meaty foods.
Pufferfish: Though beautiful, pufferfish are less popular in aquarium trade because of their venomous spines. Owing to these spines, their handling and rearing should be done with utmost care. Besides their unique appearance, pufferfish also have the remarkable ability of recognizing their owner/caretaker.
Tetra: Tetras are ideal choice for a tropical freshwater aquarium. Bright color, small size (with an average length of 4 - 5 cm), easy to maintain, and peaceful in nature; what else do you want in an aquarium fish? Tetras are also very active in nature and I am sure you will enjoy having them in your home aquarium.
Keeping tropical fish as pets is a challenging task that demands a lot of attention. If anything about the temperature or rearing condition goes wrong, they may fall sick or at times, even die. To avoid such an awful situation, you should jot down the specific requirements for each of these tropical species and try fulfilling them. Only then, will you be able to see them flourish in your fish tank.