How to take care of an aquarium and its fishes

Looking for the perfect fishes for your aquarium

Goldfish are popular, hardy, and easy to keep. However, the most interesting specimens for the home aquarium are the many varieties of small tropical fish which are bred in captivity in such numbers that they may be bought at a comparatively low price.

Guppies (Lebistes reticulatus), swordtails (Xiphophorus helleri), and moonfish (Platypoecilus maculatus) are among the species especially attractive because they bear living young. Of the egg-laying species, the most easily obtainable are the brilliantly striped zebra fish (Brachydanio rerio). Another group, the "bubble-nest" builders, blow floating masses of tough bubbles into which the male places the eggs as fast as his mate lays them. He guards them ferociously. The commonest of these are paradise fish (Betta splendens) fight only among themselves. The dwarf gourami (Colisalalia) are so peaceful they may not fight even if their nests are disturbed. The most brilliantly-colored tropical fish are the neon tetra (Hyphessobrycon innesi). As they flash through the water, they seem luminous.

Tropical fish thrive with little care beyond feeding them prepared fish food and removing surplus food every day or two. Aquarium water temperature should not fall below 70 degree Fahrenheit. If the aquarium tank is covered with glass to prevent evaporation, the water will rarely need to be changed or increased.

A few snails, such as the live-bearing Japanese snail, the ramshorn, or the African paper-shelled snail, are interesting additions to a collection. They also help keep the aquarium clear of refuse. Tadpoles, newts, and turtles, which are harmful to fish, should be kept separate from them.

Salt-Water Aquarium

People who live near the seashore can make a salt-water aquarium. The interesting marine life which can exist there includes oysters, mussels, sea clams, shrimps, barnacles, and sea anemones. Compressed air may be used to aerate the water.

When the aquarium water evaporates, only fresh water should be added to replace it. If sea water were used instead, the salt left after continued evaporation would create a brine that would kills the animals.