What’s better than petting a single fish in a tank? Having a colorful school of dainty fish species living together!
When it comes to fish, there can never be enough of them. Whether you like guppies, tetras, barbs, or danios, we all can agree a group is always better than one.
Although there are a few fish, like goldfish, that prefer a spacious tank all to themselves, many other fish love diversity. However, when grouping fish, you need to make sure that the aquarium meets their individual needs.
Read on to find out which fish species can live together in an aquarium!
What Types of Fish Can Live Together in an Aquarium?
There are plenty of freshwater fish types that can co-exist with other different species in the same tank.
Guppies, Tetras, Swordtails, and Danios are just some of the most peaceful tropical species that happily swim around and easily adjust to newer groups.
Having an entire ecosystem of a wide variety of fish species can really make the aquarium hobby super-fun and exciting. Let’s delve deeper into each of these types!
Guppies are one of the most popular tropical species to keep in aquariums. Their small size and colorful varieties make them a top choice for beginners and seasoned aquarists alike. Guppies can live up to 2 years and grow up to 2.4 inches.
They’re active swimmers and frequently hop around in the water, adding plenty of life to the aquarium. During the mating season, many male fish wiggle their fins to impress the females. While females are typically grey, male guppies come in bright colors, splashes, and stripes.
Since their natural habitat is the tropical freshwaters of South America, your tank should be as natural as possible. If you’re only petting guppies, they can do well in a 5-gallon tank.
However, if you’ll be introducing more fish species, than ten gallons or anything upwards is a good choice.
Maintain the water temperature between 75 to 82 Degrees F and pH between 7.0 and 7.2. Although the most common tank mates for guppies are more guppies, they do well with other types as well.
Guppies thrive well with peaceful Tetras, Mollies, Gouramis, Platies, and Corydoras. Livebearers like swordtails and Ender’s livebearers make for ideal tank mates too.
However, make sure not to house guppies with larger, more aggressive types like red-tailed sharks and hostile barbs. They can nip at your guppies’ fins if they need food or feel territorial.
Danios are extremely social and hardy species, so they are a perfect choice for a community aquarium. While the most common is the Zebra Danio, they can be found in many colorful variations. With a maximum lifespan of 5.5 years, these fish are easy to care for and will last you a long time.
In fact, danios are so social that they’re known for exhibiting shoaling behavior— a type of collective animal behavior displayed by fish. Danios stay close to their tank mates for social reasons, which is regarded as shoaling.
They are non-aggressive and playful. However, danios do chase each other in the tank and might be slightly aggressive around long-finned slow-moving fish. Danios prefer an ideal temperature between 64 and 77 degrees F with a pH of 6-8.
Again, creating a natural, freshwater habitat is the key to reducing aggressive behavior in danios. If you add plants like Amazon Sword Plants and Java Fern, the tank will have sufficient amounts of dissolved oxygen.
Ensure a good filtration system and keep bogwood to mimic underwater trees. Danios live well in a tank with around 10 gallons of water. The best tank mates for danios are Rummy Nose Tetra, Rosy Barbs, Dojo Loach, and Bronze Cory.
In the wild, danios are also found with Honey Gourami, Indian Flying Barb, and Emerald Pufferfish.
However, avoid keeping Molly fish as they have long fins and might provoke danios as well as predatory fish like catfish.
Tetras, especially the Neon Tetras, like to live in peaceful communities. They are energetic freshwater fish with dazzling colors. As a non-aggressive fish, this one usually stays at the mid-level of the tank.
Neon tetras travel in schools and prefer a warm, tropical environment. Since they’re native to the warm waters of South America, Neon tetras prefer heavily-planted and calmer aquaria. Keep small pebbles and rocks underwater and make sure the substrate is dark.
Tetras can’t survive well in a newly cycled tank; therefore, only add them once the tank is established and mature. Keep the temperature between 70-81 Degrees F with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Neon Tetras are extremely peaceful and friendly, except when their mating season begins.
Since they like traveling in schools, they add an attractive splash of vibrant colors to the tank. Since they’re small, make sure to place them with other tiny, non-aggressive fish. Gouramis, Barbs, small catfish, and sometimes, Dwarf Cichlids can be added.
Swordtail fish – known for its delicate fins and sharp tails – is a popular aquarium choice. Peaceful, social, and easy to take care of, they’re most commonly known as Green or Red swordtails. Since they’re average-sized, swordtails don’t need much room; however, their active nature will certainly enjoy a larger space.
If you’re introducing other fish for the company, make sure the water is at least 29 gallons. The best male to female ratio is one male to three females to avoid any possible harassment. Keep them in hard water with a temperature of 65-82 Degrees F and pH of 7-8.4.
They strike a good friendship with similar cousins like mollies, platies, and angelfish. Other great options are guppies, tetras, rasboras, danios, and gouramis. You can also add larger tetras and peaceful corydoras for a greater variety in the tank.
However, swordtails like to stay in schools, so always introduce five or more of them at one time. Since male swordtails can get a bit aggressive, keep their ratio low in the tank.
Gouramis are unique, charming fish species that have distinctive mouths and bubbly personalities. Although gouramis can be slightly aggressive, they tend to behave well when kept in well-monitored fish tanks.
Also known as Pink Kissing Gourami or Kissing Fish, the species are primarily native to Southeast Asia. They are known for fighting for territory. The good news is that the fighting greatly reduces once the swimmers mature and have clearly defined territories.
Always pair them with the same-sized fish to avoid aggressive fights in the aquarium. However, rest assured that aggressive outbursts are extremely infrequent. Gouramis typically live on the upper and middle levels of the tank, where the water is slow-moving. They also prefer dark and dense vegetation, like Java Fern and Hornwort and a soft substrate.
Gouramis naturally keep to themselves and stay in their territories. They like the temperature between 72 and 82 degrees F with a pH of 6-8. You might not need an air pump as guppies don’t like strong currents. A pair will require at least 50 gallons of water with a further 30 gallons for each additional fish.
Gouramis don’t like living with their own species, so it’s best to pair them with other hardy and same-sized fish like Swordtails, Rosy Barbs, Tiger Barbs, Pictus Catfish, and Archerfish.
Why Do Fish Need to Get Along in an Aquarium?
The question may sound self-explanatory, but it’s important to understand “community living” amongst fish species. When you’re grouping different fish types, you’re creating a new habitat for them from scratch.
You have the responsibility and power to make sure the tank works properly, especially how different fish interact with each other. Aggressive species that don’t get along well can cause a great deal of stress in the aquarium.
Sometimes, aggression can escalate to bullying or killing other fish species. Therefore, it’s extremely important to only group or pair species that get along with each other. Those that prefer isolation should be kept in a separate tank.
3 Reasons Why Fish Fight
Like other species in the animal kingdom, fish mainly fight for three reasons:
- Territory – Some fish species are greatly territorial than others, especially if the tank is too small. They start chasing other species to free up more space.
- Resources – Fish can be highly competitive about food, plants, and rocks. Those that don’t get along well form a rivalry and chase each other in the tank.
- Mating – Many species are quite aggressive about their breeding rights. If they feel threatened, they will fight each other.
Hence, it’s extremely important to know the mating, resources, and territorial needs of each species so that you can group them peacefully.
While we have mentioned the most popular community species for your tank, building a favorable habitat is the key to peaceful co-existence. Monitor the pH level and temperature of the water and keep attractive foliage to encourage a home-like, tropical tank.
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