When it comes to stocking your freshwater aquarium, there are many different species of fish to choose from. You can’t just go into the pet store, however, and pick out whatever fish look good to you. Choosing fish for your aquarium requires research and careful thought because not all fish are going to get along. You must realize that different types of fish have different temperaments – some get along well with others while some simply do not. In this article you will learn a little bit about species that do well in schools.
Basics of Schooling Fish
If you know the basics about aquarium fish compatibility, you should already know that aquarium fish are divided into several categories by temperament. Aggressive fish are those that prefer to be kept individually or only with certain other species. Semi-aggressive species can be kept with other fish but may have tendencies toward territoriality and might not do well in tanks with multiple males of the same species. Community fish, on the other hand, are generally calm and do well in groups with their own species and other species. In many cases, community fish are also schooling fish – they do best when kept with others of their kind.
Cardinal Tetras: These fish are small but colorful and they make an excellent addition to the community tank because they are so entertaining to watch. Cardinal tetras are very social and look particularly attractive when kept in large schools of 12 or more. This species is fairly hardy so they are a good choice for beginners.
Zebra Danios: There are several different types of danios – primarily zebra and leopard danios – and they make wonderful fish for beginners. These fish are small and quick, darting throughout the tank in a group. Danios have silver bodies striped with a dark blue color or, if they are leopard danios, spotted with dark dots.
Rummynose Tetras: Particularly popular in planted aquariums, the rummynose tetra is another great option in schooling species. These fish are not quite as colorful as cardinal tetras but it is said that the brightness of their red noses can be used as an indication of water quality. Rummynose tetras are slightly more sensitive than other tetra species so you need to acclimate them to your tank slowly.
Harlequin Rasboras: These fish are named for the black triangular patch on their bodies – this identification makes them perhaps the most popular species in the rasbora group. Harlequin rasboras do best in groups of six or more, though large groups will be the most attractive. Generally, these fish are fairly adaptable and can do well in a variety of different tank environments.
No matter what type of fish you keep in your tank, it is essential that you keep the tank clean. If the water in your tank becomes too heavily laden with toxins and chemicals, it will start to affect the health of your fish. The easiest way to keep your tank water fresh and clean is to perform a weekly water change, swapping out about 20% of the tank water for fresh water treated with a dechlorinating solution. Additionally, you should change your filter media every three to four weeks and perform routine water tests to keep an eye on the chemistry levels in your tank water.
Another simple thing you can do to keep your tank water clean is to install an EcoBio-Stone in your tank. EcoBio products are derived from natural crushed stone and zeolite, infused with beneficial bacteria and the nutrients they need to thrive. These bacteria multiply once they are introduced into your tank and immediately begin working to maintain the nitrogen cycle – the process which regulates the breakdown of waste products and removal of toxins from tank water. With an EcoBio-Stone in place, your tank water will remain clean and clear for your fish, thus making your tank the healthiest environment it can be.