01 March 2018 - Updated 27 March 2019

Your First Aquarium

Owning First Aquarium

Anyone who has fulfilled the lifelong dream of buying an aquarium will be eager to populate it as quickly as possible! It is important to select the appropriate number of fish for the space you have available, and you will need to ensure you have matched these fish according to their respective needs, such as water type. To do this you should consult a marine expert or other trusted form of guidance.

The task of choosing your fish

To give you an idea of the fish you could soon be welcoming into your aquarium, here is an overview of the best-known fish families and an example member of each group:

Live-bearing tooth carps:

The guppy (Poecilia reticulata), also known as the millionfish or rainbow fish, is relatively easy to keep in a range of different water types (excluding the high-breeding guppy) with an ideal temperature of 18-28°C and hardness of dGH 5-25, although it will multiply rapidly. The parents will provide for their young, but in a tank rich in plants there will always be young that hide away. Due to their striking fins, these fish should not be mixed with those that are prone to fin-plucking, including Sumatra barbel or fighting fish.

Labyrinth fish

Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) are immediately noticeable thanks to their remarkably beautiful fins, particularly the males. The males can be aggressive amongst one another, so you should always socialise a single male with a number of females. As with all labyrinth fish, Siamese fighting fish breathe atmospheric air, so should not be kept in particularly deep tanks. With proper care, you can watch how the male builds a foam nest and cares for its brood. The ideal temperature is 24-30°C and water hardness is dGH 25.


The harlequin rasbora (Rasbora heteromorpha) is a schooling fish of around 2.5-3.5 cm long, lively and amicable. It should not be kept together with large swarm fish and likes an ideal water temperature of 22-25°C and a hardness of up to dGH 12.


The Bushymouth catfish (Ancistrus dolichopterus) eats algae and is usually the first to move into a new aquarium. The males have fleshy nose bristles that resemble antlers. These fish are generally peaceful and require roots or wood to help their digestion. The males are approximately 12cm long, with the females being slightly smaller, and they thrive in water temperatures of 23-27°C and water hardness of dGH 2-30.


The Ram cichlid (Microgeophagus ramirezi) is a peaceful South-American cichlid reaching up to 5cm long. This breed forms strong relationships and should always be kept in pairs. They prefer water between 22-26°C and with a hardness of up to dGH 10.


The Cardinal tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) is a peaceful yet lively schooling fish, measuring up to 5cm and thriving in water temperatures of 23-27°C and hardness of up to dGH 10. These fish look particularly nice against more darkly furnished aquariums.

Related articles
Related products

Most read articles

British Longhair

Are you looking for an adaptable cat for domestic life, if possible with a long coat? Also commonly referred to as the Highlander, the British Longhair is the semi-longhaired alternative to the British Shorthair, sharing its friendly, even-tempered manner but with a lesser urge for activity.

Contraception for Dogs

Dog owners should give thought to contraception for their beloved pets at the very latest when females enter heat for the first time and males suddenly prey on females in the neighbourhood. But what methods actually prevent females from getting pregnant and what forms of contraception are there for males?

Bengal Cat

The Bengal is a truly unique cat breed. A 'house tiger' in the truest sense, Bengal breeders go for a bit of wild cat blood, with wildcat hybrids like Bengals or Savannahs proving the latest craze in the world of breeding! Just what is a hybrid cat, and what needs to be taken into account when giving a home to a wild cat cross? Our breed description provides answers.

Big cat hybrids could be found in the zoos of Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. This ultimately didn't prove practical for zoos, but transferred well to the world of small cats, with ever greater enthusiasm shown for so-called wild cat hybrids being developed from the pairing of wild cat breeds with domesticated indoor cats. The most well-known example is the Bengal, which resulted from crossing a tame black domestic cat with a wild Asian leopard cat. The result was a cat breed that proves a real hit thanks to its elongated body and extraordinary fur colouring. However, its proximity to its wild relatives sometimes requires an experienced hand.