Translated by Jaren
Tropical fish is a classification of ornamental fish. They are small, colorful fishes found in the tropical or subtropical areas such as South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. With their dazzling colors being relatively consistent to their living environment, they are able to prey while avoiding being preyed on by bigger fish. Because the breeding methods of saltwater fish and freshwater fish are quite different, it becomes quite complicated to take care of tropical fish compared to other fishes, requiring relatively more time and effort.
6 things to note when raising tropical fish:
1. Changes in water temperature
The most basic condition for tropical fish is the water temperature in the fish tank. Many people use a thermometer specifically for the fish tank to measure its water temperature, which should be in the 20-30°C range for tropical fish. Moreover, since these types of fish are particularly sensitive to changes in the water temperature, attention is needed to regulate this. The adaptability to changes in water temperature depends on the species of fish. If you want to change the water, you must not completely change the water in one go. Slowly changing the water each day, only a quarter of the water in the fish tank should be replaced each time the water is changed, so that the fish can slowly adapt to the changes in the water, otherwise they may develop diseases.
2. Water quality
Tropical fishes have very high requirements for the quality of water they are in. Ordinary tap water or natural water will not do since the pH level may not be suitable for the fish, let alone chlorine in tap water. The most common method is to put tap water in a bucket, and then add an air stone or pipe and leave it for 1-2 days. Although the water's carbon dioxide content is an essential substance for them, it should not be too concentrated, about 80 mg or less.
3. The pH of the water
The pH level of the water refers to the concentration of hydrogen ions contained in the water. Keeping a neutral pH level is very important, especially for tropical fish. The pH value of the water can be measured using a pH test paper. As stated, the pH of tap water may not be suitable for tropical fish to be raised. However, it can be adjusted by chemical methods: adding sodium dihydrogen phosphate to the water can make it more acidic, whilst adding sodium bicarbonate can make it more alkali. In the adjustment process, a small amount of medicine should be added, and pH tests should be done throughout. Ensure that tests are repeated the next day before using it for fish farming if the water is neutral. Nowadays, there are safer, more convenient acid regulators available in aquarium stores.
Remember, decorations in the water tank can also affect the pH of the water. Bottom sand can make the water more alkali, while driftwood can make the water a little acidic.
Looking at the variety of tropical fish in stores, it is tempting to buy and raise them all, but have you considered the size of your fish tank? If there are too many fishes in the fish tank, the fish will feel uneasy. It is important for them to find a place to hide and rest, let alone, enough space for them to swim around freely. As for the location of the fish tank, it is best for it to be placed away from direct sunlight and electric plugs.
Pay attention to the portion when feeding fish. Many fishes are in a state of "satisfaction", unable to feel satiated. Hence if you overfeed them, it is very likely that the fish will die. It is recommended that you feed them at a specific time and location to let them know when they can eat. When shopping for food, fish foods that contain protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and inorganic salts, such as dry feed, bloodworms, brine shrimp, water fleas, etc., are more than appropriate. The standard for feeding is that they can finish all of it within 5 minutes. Otherwise, the leftover feed will easily cause the water quality to deteriorate.
6. Fish Farming Accessories
Before buying fish, everyone must prepare the needed accessories to ensure a comfortable environment for the fish. The most basic accessories to buy include water filters (to keep the water clean), electric heating tube (to keep the water temperature at a proper temperature in winter), air stones/pipes (to supply oxygen in the water), fishing nets (to pick up the fish when cleaning the fish tank), thermometers (to observe the water temperature in the tank), stones/rocks (to allow places for the fish to hide in), lighting (for better results when watching fish), small sandstones, and more, if necessary.
Below are some of the more popular tropical fish species, suitable for novices to try and raise!
Guppies, with a body length of 3-5 cm are beautiful and colorful. Anyone who has raised guppies knows that they are not as difficult to raise compared to other tropical fishes. Guppies are very tenacious, able to adapt to new environments quite well. They can tolerate dirty water and are not fussy about the breeding environment. Guppies generally like old water. As long as the water is not too turbid, you can wait quite a while before changing the water, making them simple for fish farmers, because changing the water is often time-consuming.
Contrary to their name, Kissing Gouramis or kissing fish can be quite territorial. Although it may seem like they are kissing, this act is actually a show of dominance. They use their mouths to fight! Generally, however, these fishes are quite calm and enjoys eating the algae and water grass inside the fish tank. They have a life span of around 6-7 years, and the requirements for the water temperature is typically 20°C to 26°C.
Siamese Fighting Fish
Part of the gourami family, the Siamese Fighting fish are highly territorial in nature. They are around 5-8 cm long with a life span of roughly 3-5 years. They are a more resistant type of ornamental fish and are not picky with their food, only eating once a day. They also have little requirements for the water temperature. As long as it is within 4-31°C, they will survive, however the most comfortable temperature for them is in the 24-27°C range.
Tiger Barb Fish
The Tiger Barb Fish, also known as Sumatra Barb has a body length of 5-6 cm. They are generally comfortable with water temperatures in the 21-26°C range. Though not very picky with their food, they generally like to eat live bait. They also tend to be quite dominating so they generally annoy other fish and are not suitable to be in a tank with other striking fish types.
Traffic Light Fish
The Traffic Light fish has a body length of 3-4 cm and is a popular species that many people love in aquarium culture. Some say that it is difficult to keep Traffic Light fish, but this is not! As long as the water temperature is regulated well, all is fine. Traffic light fish like weakly acidic water, hence it is best to use old soft water. You don’t have to change the water frequently, about once every half month, and do not change more than one-third of the total water volume each time. Traffic Light fish are also omnivorous fish so they eat insects, plant debris, artificial food, water fleas, bloodworms, etc.
Zebra fish are 4-6 cm long, and as its name suggests, have zebra-like patterns with their body covered with multiple vertical stripes. They have a strong resistance to changes in water temperature, does not require high water quality, and can live as long as the water temperature is not lower than 20℃. They can also eat various animal bait or dry feed. Zebra fish are mild, small and exquisite. They are very easy to raise and can be mixed with other species of fish. Moreover, Zebra fish are very reproductive, and are often the first choice for beginners to raise tropical fish.