There are many different species of fish out there and each require different environments and conditions. It is very important to consider what kind of fish you would like before purchasing a fish tank.

There are three kinds of fish that you can buy from most aquatic centres: freshwater, tropical, and marine fish.

Marine fish are renowned for being the most vibrant and beautiful. However, not only are they considerably more expensive, but they are much more difficult to look after. To maintain a healthy marine aquarium requires a lot of experience and knowledge and is not for the faint-hearted.

The marine fish you buy have recently been taken from the ocean and are prone to stress. In addition, they are much less adaptable than both tropical and freshwater fish and therefore are more likely to die.

If you are determined to go ahead with purchasing marine fish, then there are a few points to consider. Firstly, it is essential that your fish live in a sound environment. This means that the level of lighting has been considered along with an array of other variables including salt levels, lighting, filtration and water flow. Nothing however can compare to the beauty of a marine tank so, if you have the time to devote and have the experience needed then you will reap the benefits in the long run.

On the other hand, freshwater and tropical fish require a lot less maintenance than their marine fish counterparts. This means that you will not be penalised for small mistakes you make early on in the learning process. For this reason, they are perfect for beginners.

Tropical species do require a heater, but the variety of fish available makes up for this – species such as the cape lopez lyretail and siamese fighter fish are indescribably elegant.

Furthermore, the beauty of a freshwater or tropical fish tank is that your fish are inexpendable. With a few coins in your pocket, you can easily purchase a few neon tetras, guppies and mollies. On top of this, because these fish breed regularly in captivity, there is never a lack of them in shops, so any losses can easily be replaced should things go fatally wrong.

Beginner's kits are available from any good pet shop and will give you everything you need to set up a home for your fish. A good kit will include the tank, the all-important filter, light bulb and heater. You can then customize your tank to your liking with sand, rocks, gravel and even plants that flower once a year under water. However, the sunken ship is still a favourite.