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Keeping fish

As a beginner, setting up a new tank, selecting your fish, what they eat, accessories etc can be confusing. Our guide is for tropical / coldwater fish and should be used for reference only, please seek expert advice before making any purchase as fish are vulnerable to minor changes in their environment and some fish will react differently to others. Please also note that marine fish require completely different conditions to coldwater.

Remember that your tank is an enclosed living area and that not all fish appreciate spending time with each other!
One of the most exciting parts of the journey is selecting your fish. You must remember that your tank is an enclosed living area and that not all fish appreciate spending time with each other! You can get advice from your local fish store on the best mix for your tank and should keep in mind that some fish prefer to shoal together while others prefer isolation, some varieties will fight with each other, some require different food etc.


Food can vary depending on the fish on your tank, but as a general rule there are types of food suitable for fish that feed in 3 different ways: surface feeders, mid-water feeders and bottom feeders. The food will either float or sink, appropriately.


Fish can be nervous and become stressed easily. When transporting them, either from the shop or between tanks, it’s important not to expose them to large variances in temperature. When placing a fish into a new tank, allow it to float in its bag within the new tank to give time for the water temperature in the bag to slowly match up with the temperature in the tank, this way the fish won’t be shocked by suddenly moving from one temperature to another. You may also find that after transportation the fish look for a place to hide, this is natural and can be aided by turning off the aquarium light to create a sense of darkness.

Living environment

It goes without saying that maintenance of your aquarium is critical to the success of your fish population. While some varieties are more hardy than others, all require a well kept living environment.

Things to consider:

Tank placement

Your tank will be heavy when full and not easily moved, have you thought about location? Do you have a stand/cabinet capable of supporting the weight? Is your tank close to an electricity supply? Away from direct sunlight? Out of reach of pets/children?

Water quality

Are you changing the water frequently enough? Is your filter working? Is the water at optimum temperature for the type of fish in your tank?


Are your fish behaving differently? Do they have unusual growths / markings? Disease may spread through your tank but can be cured in most cases if noticed early.

What you’ll need
  • Tank (+ cabinet)
  • Filter
  • Heater
  • Lighting
  • Air pump
  • Water conditioner / treatment
  • Plants / Ornaments
  • Gravel
  • Fish net
  • Tank cleaning materials

Your local fish store will be happy to advise on the correct accessories for your tank, depending on the type of fish that you hope to purchase. Asking the questions now may save your money later.

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