How do I Choose Compatible Tropical Fish Species?

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  • Written By: Lumara Lee
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Images By: n/a, Sergii Figurnyi, Arkady Chubykin
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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The best way to choose compatible tropical fish species is to start by doing some research. Information about which species are compatible is readily available by reading books, by researching online or by asking questions at a store that sells tropical fish. Some factors that must be taken into consideration are the water temperature and the food required for each species of tropical fish, as well as whether the fish require fresh water or saltwater. Another important consideration is fish size, because as some fish grow, they soon require larger aquariums.

Different groupings of fish are known for their compatibility. For example, the following tropical fish species are known to get along well in a community tank: fancy guppies, neon and glowlight tetras, honey gouramis, ghost shrimp, glass fish and white clouds. Angelfish are compatible with neon blue rainbows, and gouramis and will add a touch of graceful elegance to a community tank.

Cichlids are aggressive fish, but many aquarium owners enjoy watching them defend their territories, dig and take care of baby fish. These fish usually are compatible with large plecostomus catfish, white tip sharks and synodontis catfish. Cichlids will grow to a size requiring a 50-gallon (189-liter) aquarium within a year and will require even larger aquariums as they grow.


A compatible and attractive ecosystem can be set up containing only one tropical fish species. Tetras are good candidates for a single-species aquarium. They are one of the most popular of the tropical fish species because they are not aggressive, are good-natured and provide a colorful display. They enjoy schooling with their own species but also get along well with some other kinds of fish.

Regardless of the compatibility of the various tropical fish species, the person setting up an aquarium must also pay attention to the size of the fish. If a fish is small enough to be eaten by another fish, it probably will be. Fish will be more apt to get along when placed into an environment with different species that are close to the same size.

There are many tropical fish species and many possibilities for compatible groupings. Asking questions and doing research beforehand is the best way to ensure a peaceful tank with healthy fish. An aquarium set up with compatible tropical fish species adds aesthetic beauty and brings a feeling of peace to the environment. It is also educational, and maintaining an aquarium is a hobby that the whole family can enjoy.


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