Aquatics Unlimited: Articles: Beginner's Fish
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Beginner's Fish

for the week of 6/18/98

You don't have to be a "beginner" to appreciate fish that tolerate a wide variety of water conditions, temperature fluctuations, break-in cycles, overfeeding and other common problems. While not indestructible, these species are among the hardiest of aquarium specimens.

Zebra Danios - Brachydanio rerio - These very active schooling fish are also among the sturdiest of aquarium residents. They stay small enough for 10 gallon aquariums and are quite peaceful if kept in groups of five or more.

Other Danios - Brachydanio and Danio spp. - The zebra is the most popualar danio, but all its cousins (Leopard, Pearl, Blue, and Giant Danios) are every bit as durable. Many species are available in long-finned varieties as well.

Black Tetras - Gymnocorymbus ternetzi - Their coin-shaped bodies, vertical stripes and tall fins resemble those of angelfish, but Black Tetras are very much hardier. As with most other schooling fish, these mix best when kept in small groups. Also available in an all-white version and long-finned specimens are available in both colors.

Red Eye Tetras - Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae - A pretty silver fish with a black band at the beginning of the tail and iridescent red eyes. Again a schooling species, Red Eyes tend tend hang out near the surface of the aquarium.

Black Ruby Barbs - Barbus nigrofasciatus - These resemble the common Tiger Barb, but are much less nippy and take on a cherry red color when mature. May be mixed with other active fish, including the others on this list.

Rosy Barbs - Barbus conchonius - Perhaps the most peaceful of the mid-sized (3"-4") barbs towards unrelated fish. Males become bright red, while females remain olive or gold: both sexes have a prominent black spot near the base of the tail. Available in several selectively-bred color patterns and long-finned varieties.

Green Catfish - Corydoras aeneus - These classic scavengers are also very tolerant of varying water conditions and temperatures. Also available in albino form.

Austrailian Rainbows - Melanotaenia melanopterus - These get a bit larger (up to 8") than most of our previous listings, but are every bit as hardy. Look closely before you pass this one by; their iridescent colors are gorgeous at close range.

Blue Gouramis - Trichogaster trichopterus - Again a little more on the large side, Blue Gouramis really should be kept in tanks of about 30 gallons or larger, or they will harass each other and smaller unrelated fish. Also available in Gold, Platinum, Opaline, Three Spot and Lavender varieties.

Submitted by: Jim Kostich

"Tip of the week" appeared regularly in 1999 and 2000.

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