Selecting the Right Pet Fish

Learn more about owning a fish, a beautiful yet low-maintenance option for a household pet.


Pets liven up a living space but they also require tons of care and attention.

  If you are one of those people who simply does not have the resources to devote to caring for a dog or cat but you long for a pet, try getting pet fish.  Relative to other living creatures, fish are low maintenance animals.  They don’t need to be groomed, housebroken or taken for walks.  They’ll never need vet appointments either.  Of course, fish are not as cute and cuddly as dogs and cats either; they certainly will not be as much company as a lap dog.  They are, however, fun to watch as they expertly swim through their tanks.  To make the fish as entertaining to you as possible, start by picking out fish species that look interesting to you.

Tropical freshwater fish:

Tropical freshwater fish have a wide appeal because they are often the most vividly colored fish in the tanks of a pet store.  They are usually small fish, which means they can live in a smaller tank.  For you, a smaller tank not only means spending less money but it also means your fish will take up less space in the home. 

Coldwater fish:

Coldwater fish are a little bit more high-maintenance than the tropical freshwater fish. For one thing, coldwater fish require a much bigger tank than do freshwater fish, so if you have limited space stay away from this type of fish.  Also coldwater fish need more oxygen than the tropical freshwaters.  To deliver more oxygen you’ll need a powerful tank filter. 

Tropical marine fish:

In the tropical marine species are many of the most remarkable fish.  Their beauty comes with a price though.  Much tropical marine fish have special needs compared to freshwater fish.  They also cost more from the start, from purchasing the fish themselves and all the necessary equipment. 

To start:

Decide on a budget based on the price of the aquarium you plan to buy.  Aquariums might just look like glass boxes but many of them are costly.  Browse through the selection to decide what type you can afford.  Once you have decided on that, inquire about the type of fish that will do well in that type of aquarium.

Before you set your heart on a certain fish, find out what kind of care they need.  You’ll also need to know if you can mix varieties as some fish are incompatible with others.  Some fish won’t live with members of a different species.  Others will not tolerate living with others in their own species.  

Keep each species’ life span in mind.  Do you want to purchase a fish that will only live for a few months?  How would you feel about keeping the same fish for 10 or 20 years?  

A tiny fish at the pet store might grow over its life span to become a huge fish in its adulthood.  Find out what size your fish will be full-grown to make sure it will be able to live in the tank you are buying for it.