The most common type of aquarium in the home or at the office is definitely the freshwater aquarium. Most of the popular freshwater aquarium fish are raised outside of their historical natural habitats at fish farms or by private breeders who take great care in ensuring the health and beauty of their livestock, while some are still imported from their native countries.

Many people love the look of living plants in their freshwater aquarium, however if you want to be truly successful with aquatic gardening there is a need for upgrades such as high-intensity LED lighting and CO2 supplementation. For this reason, most people opt for realistic-looking artificial plants that don’t require these rather expensive and maintenance-intensive upgrades.

Freshwater Aquarium types

Species aquarium – Some fish just do better alone or with their own species. Examples might be a large fish that enjoys either harassing or eating its tankmates. Most people don’t prefer this, but let’s face it – some fish we love to have as pets because of their personalities, beauty or rarity just don’t play nice with others!

Community aquarium – The term “community aquarium” simply means a pre-planned set of fish of different types (species) of fish that will get along in a single aquarium. But, beware that just because a certain fish may be sold as a “community fish” does not necessarily mean it will necessarily get along with ALL fish. As an example, a large freshwater angelfish may be compatible with groupings of fish such as black or white skirt, bleeding heart or even red minor serpae tetras, but may eat smaller cardinal tetras, mollies, platies and guppies, even though these all might be considered “community fish.”

Planted aquarium – As we discussed above, a freshwater aquarium aquascape with living plants requires upgrades to lighting and CO2 supplementation for long-term success. But, if you are willing to take on some additional cost and increased commitment to your aquarium’s care to achieve your goals, then the daily joy of experiencing the beauty of a planted aquarium in your home or office is the great reward for this investment.

Freshwater Fish

There are far too many species of freshwater fish on Earth to list on this page (we could do it, but it would take years to compile!). We will just briefly share the most common freshwater fish we have used in the many client aquariums we have cared for over the years.

African cichlids (Pronounced sick-lids) – Most of these spectacularly-colored fish are originally from two great lakes in eastern Africa – Malawi and Tanganyika – that were cut off from the ocean millions of years ago, triggering the development of incredible diversity through a process known as evolutionary radiation. Not all types of African cichlids get along and aggression is even seen between individuals of the same species. Providing thoughtful and attractive rock aquascaping with many caves and hiding places will help to minimize the aggression and allow you to enjoy the beauty of these fish.

Tetras, angelfish and other South American fish – The great Amazon River and its tributaries are home to a tremendous variety of fish suitable for the home or office aquarium. The tetra family consists of hundreds of species (not all of them are from South America) and many medium-sized (2” – 3”) tetras such as black or white skirt (including GloFish®), bleeding heart and red minor serpae tetras may be kept with a single angelfish without problems. Smaller tetras, like the spectacularly-colored cardinal and neon tetras are best kept without a hungry larger fish like an angelfish in the same aquarium. Other amazing fish come from the Amazon region include the discus (the “King” of freshwater aquarium fish!), the silver dollars and redhooks, rams (beautiful little cichlids available in gold, electric blue and other color varieties) and the oscar (a favorite, but a biggie that needs a very large aquarium as it grows!)

Livebearing fish from Central America – Most of the livebearers (fish that give live birth as opposed to laying eggs) are familiar to people who have seen guppies, platies and swordtails. They are brightly-colored and generally hardy, but cannot be kept with large carnivorous fish like angelfish or fish that will nip at their beautiful fins, such as larger tetras and barbs. Livebearers are almost constantly pregnant and soon you will be enjoying watching tiny babies hiding among your aquarium’s live or artificial plants.

The barbs of Asia – Tiger, rosy, cherry and tinfoil barbs will really liven up a freshwater aquarium with their color and activity. They tend to be fin nippers so it’s best to keep them with other barbs, but exceptions have been made in many aquariums. Tinfoil barbs get quite large (up to a foot or more in length!) so it’s best to keep them in a larger aquarium.

Algae-eating fish – Many people who see algae growing on the glass of their freshwater aquarium for the first time are shocked. “What’s that brown (or green) stuff?” they ask. When we say “algae,” the first thought that comes to mind is what kinds of fish are available to eat it. The tried and true plecostomus does a fine job right off the bat, but grows to an enormous size (a whopping 20”!) and people have a hard time finding homes for a fish that large. A better choice for the typical freshwater aquarium is the otocinclus – a small (1” – 2”) algae eater that will get along with most small to medium fish. Larger fish may try to eat these little guys, but we have seen many examples where they can live with surprisingly large fish and still survive!

To sum up, there are many wonderful options for a freshwater aquarium. Today, there are countless types of exotic fish from around the world that can live happy, healthy lives in your home or office and provide you and your family with many years of enjoyment.

Keep in mind that all aquariums require varying degrees of care to maintain their visual appeal. Whether you perform the tasks yourself or hire Aquarius Aquarium, a minimum of once-monthly aquarium care will greatly help maintain that “new aquarium look” you’ve invested in. Some larger and/or more populated aquariums usually require more frequent care. We’re sure you’ll agree that the fish (and maybe even the plants) living in your aquarium deserve the very best in regular professional care.

The Aquarium Care Professionals at Aquarius Aquarium, Inc. are dedicated to providing our clients with superior service. In business since 1980, our reputation and years of experience make us uniquely qualified to partner with you so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the freshwater aquarium of your dreams.

Contact us today and jump on in – the water’s fine!