When it comes to selecting tropical fish for the home aquarium, many aquarists do not know that there is more to the process than simply picking the fish you like. In addition to taking the full size of the fish into consideration, you need to determine whether the species you are selecting will be able to get along. Tropical fish compatibility refers to the degree to which one species of fish can happily coexist with another. By learning the basics of this concept you will be more equipped to select the inhabitants for your aquarium so they will form a peaceful community where all fish are happy and thriving.
Regarding tropical fish compatibility, there are three major categories into which most species of fish fall: community; semi-aggressive and aggressive. Community fish are those species which are typically peaceful and get along well with most other fish. Danios, tetras, guppies, swordtails, platys and mollies are community fish that not only do well with a variety of other species but thrive best in groups, or schools, made up of their own species.
Semi-aggressive tropical fish are those which have a tendency to be territorial but generally tolerate community fish. Some examples of fish belonging to this category include barbs, gouramis, eels, loaches and sharks. In most cases, these species can co-exist happily with other species provided there is enough space in the tank to reduce the need of the semi-aggressive fish to defend its territory. Breeding is another major concern which factors into how well one fish will get along with another. Semi-aggressive and aggressive fish should be limited to one male of the species per tank. If two males of the same species are kept in one tank, the stronger male is likely to torment the other until it falls ill and dies.
Some of the most aggressive species of tropical fish are also the largest. Oscars and cichlids are the most common species belonging to this category and they do best when kept in large tanks with few other fish. Some species of cichlid can be extremely aggressive so it is important that you do your research or consult a professional at your local aquarium supply store before adding a cichlid to your aquarium. When they are small, plecostomus are generally fairly peaceful but medium and large plecostumus can be also very territorial and aggressive.
The key to keeping your fish happy and healthy is to reduce stress and one of the easiest ways to do so is to ensure that all of your fish get along. Choose carefully when purchasing the fish for your aquarium and use caution when introducing them. Rather than adding your fish all at once, especially when you first start your aquarium, add one species at a time and give each group enough time to adjust to the tank. Adding fish to the tank slowly will also give your filter and the beneficial bacteria in your tank time to adjust and accommodate for the new arrivals.
Maintain the harmony in your tank by keeping both your fish and your aquarium healthy. Adding to your tank an EcoBio-Stone, a product made of natural zeolite, is an easy way to improve water clarity. The stone introduces a colony of beneficial bacteria called bacillus subtillis natto which break down ammonia and nitrify the water in your aquarium, keeping it clean and clear. EcoBio-Block products help to reduce the frequency of necessary water changes and contribute to making your aquarium a more pleasant environment for your fish. When you provide your fish with a healthy environment in which to live and the right tank mates, they are sure to thrive.