For people who love animals, but don’t have the time or space to have a cat or a dog, a fish can be the perfect pet. Not only are they low maintenance and inexpensive, their bright colours and tranquil environment can brighten up any home. They are also perfect pets for people with allergies, or for small kids learning to care responsibly for an animal for the first time.

Choosing a fish

It might seem a simple task, but there’s actually a lot to think about when choosing a fish. There are more than 25,000 species of fish and around 2,000 of them – from the humble goldfish to exotic tropical fish – can thrive in a home aquarium.

Start small

If you are a first-time fish owner, it might be a good idea to start with a fish bowl or small aquarium and two or three hardy low-maintenance varieties like goldfish. As your interest grows, you can upgrade to a bigger, more expensive or unusual aquarium and more exotic varieties of fish. This will allow you the time to learn basic care and how to properly maintain the water environment.

Do your research

It is important when choosing a fish that you can provide the right environment for it to thrive. The needs of tropical freshwater fish, coldwater fish and tropical marine fish are all different. Before deciding you might first want to go through this simple checklist.

  •  How much space do you have for an aquarium? The size of the tank will be an important factor in choosing your fish. Some fish grow quite large and need larger aquariums. Others, like goldfish, can thrive happily in a simple fish bowl.
  • What is your budget? While fish are relatively inexpensive pets, setting up a tank with the right filtration systems and plants can add up. Knowing your budget before you buy will help you when you get to the pet store.
  • How many fish should you have for the tank? Not all fish get along, and some large fish see smaller fish as prey. Before you buy your fish, check with the pet store that the combination of fish and the size of your tank are appropriate.
  • What sort of water suits the fish?  Managing the water temperature, hardness and pH level is probably the hardest thing about owning a fish. Fish are very sensitive to their environment, so understanding the conditions they need to thrive will be essential in providing them with a safe and happy home.

Ongoing care