Tropical Fish often have a calming effect and are preferred, for one reason or another, over cats or dogs, but are they considered pets?
If you live where there are pet restrictions but would love a pet, here’s a primer on getting tropical fish instead.
Tropical Fish 101
Tropical fish are generally those fish found in aquatic tropical environments around the world, including both freshwater and salt water species.
Even though you can’t cuddle with a fish, YES, they can be great pets. Most tropical fish owners explain how watching their fish actually relaxes them after a stressful day.
One thing to consider is the effort it takes to get a tank properly set up. Let’s address that…
The absolute minimum you’ll need to keep tropical fish as pets is a fish tank, which can be made of either glass or acrylic. You’ll also need some type of lid, filter, water pump, water heater, thermometer, and light. Of course, you’ll also need some fish and some chemicals to ensure the water is suitable for the fish.
You might be surprised to find the best size fish tank to get for a beginner is at least 20 gallons for a tropical tank, 50 or more if you choose to set up a salt water tank. This may seem huge if you’ve never had a fish tank before, and you may wonder how you can fill it. However, it won’t take long as you’ll soon find out.
Your tank should come with instructions on how to set it up and how long it takes. You might also want to purchase a book about keeping an aquarium from the pet store where you purchased your tank. If the water isn’t properly cycled, the fish won’t survive. Take your time in setting up the tank before putting fish into it so the fish you purchase will be able to prosper.
Pay attention to the types of fish which are kept together at the pet store. The pet store knows the types of fish that get along well in a community tank, so try to emulate the store tanks. They will also have information about the fish in each tank; this information will tell you if that species is good as a community fish or not. The people who work at the pet store will also be able to tell you which fish are good to house together.
Some fish you may want to consider are any of the Danios, Barbs, Platys, Tetras or Guppies. These fish are good for a community tank and are small to medium in size. You’ll also want to have catfish or loaches which will act as cleaners for the bottom of the tank.
Depending upon the size of tank you set up, the pet store or book about keeping aquariums will be able to give you an idea of how many fish you can keep in your tank. Placing live plants in the tank may mean you can’t have as many fish but the tank will be healthier for the fish you do have.
Setting up a fish tank can take a good amount of money, but the overall cost isn’t that bad. Expect to pay the most money for the tank itself and the equipment that goes with it. However, once the tank is set up you won’t have a lot of other expenses.