What kind of fish should we get for our new tank??? I got a 43 gallon tank this summer at Petco for $43 (the kind of deal I just can't pass up). I've never set up this large of a tank, and as anyone who's ever had fish knows, this is about as exciting as fishkeeping gets (except for when your fish have baby fish, perhaps). So the decision of what kinds of fish to put in it can't be made hastily.
Anyway, the first step is to decide what types of fish based on what kind of water they need. The options are:
- freshwater tropical- pretty much the only kind of fish I've ever had, and the most common fish you see in pet stores. This includes your tetras, platys, angelfish, catfish, rainbowfish, etc. Lots to work with, inexpensive, and easy to find. Also lots of variety to choose from as far as what kind of tank we make it- Amazon River species, Asian blackwater species, cichlids, rainbowfish? River fish, lake fish, shelldwellers, aggressive, community?
- saltwater tropical- easily the "sexiest" of the home aquaria, and something I've never been brave enough to attempt before. They are incredibly beautiful, delicate, and generally very expensive. They are also fairly needy, and would probably be eating a higher quality of food than Chris and I. They need some extras on the tank that other fish don't need as far as filtration and lighting. This includes clownfish, saltwater angels, blennies, wrasses, plus all those fun invertebrates like anemones, urchins, shrimp, crabs, and starfish.
- coldwater- these are generally the "easy keepers"- goldfish are the most common coldwater fish. There are some very nice varieties of goldfish, but frankly I prefer to see them in an outdoor pond than in a tank. 43 gallons is also fairly small for goldfish, since they can get very large and tend to be very messy. The other type of coldwaters that I could try are native species (sunfish, darters, minnows, etc). I have always wanted to keep some natives, but was hindered by the illegality of it (for some reason you can take fish out of lakes to eat, but you can't legally take fish out of lakes to keep them as pets). However, there are at least a handful of petstores that sell captive-bred natives. Sunnies in particular make pretty little tank fish.