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Setting up your First Aquarium. What fish should you keep?

Updated: Feb 14

Setting up an aquarium can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it's important to choose the right fish to keep in your tank.

Setting up an aquarium
Setting up an aquarium

Tropical or Coldwater Fish?

Firstly consider the size of the aquarium that you want to keep and the space that it is going to fit into. In the long term Goldfish and Fantails are going to grow larger than most tropical community fish, and will therefore need a larger aquarium.

It is also worth considering who the fish and aquarium are for. Children may like to see the larger bright colours of the coldwater goldfish. However with Tropical Fish you can have a wider selection of fish in lots of different shapes, sizes and colours.

Goldfish will also as they grow bigger eat more and produce more waste. So it will be important to have a good filtration system when they are fully grown. By comparison Tropical Fish are generally smaller so eat less and produce less waste.

There should be no reason to worry about heating the aquarium water, the heater works via a thermostat and it can be monitored by an aquarium thermometer.

The only consideration with Tropical fish is the type you want to keep. But as a starter aquarium you are probably looking at community fish. There are so many varieties to choose from, but you do need to be careful when mixing.


Overall, it's important to do your research and choose fish that are appropriate for your experience level, the size of your tank, and the needs of the fish themselves. When in doubt, consult with a knowledgeable aquarium specialist for guidance.

Here to help!

Please remember that we are always here to help. We have been open more than 35 years and have lots of knowledge and expertise to share. We love nothing more than helping newbies to set up their first fish tank. If you keep a record of the varieties you have purchased we can easily advise you on compatible tank mates.

We have a great Beginners Guide to Setting up a Tropical Aquarium. This is a great downloadable Ebook available in our online shop.

With new fish arriving most weeks there is new stock to see all the time.

We regularly post new fish available on our Facebook Page


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