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Tropical Fish 101

- a basic primer

for beginners.

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Tropical Fish

Tropical Fish, are any fish whose natural environment is the Tropics,
for example, the waters of and around Africa, South and Central
America, India, or Southeast Asia. In these areas, tropical fish
have always had economic and ecological significance. Recently,
their worldwide importance has been recognized because they
are a plentiful source of protein-rich food, a means of
control of mosquito-borne diseases, and a potential tool
in medical research.

Beyond this, freshwater tropical fish have an intrinsic interest.
Colorful, often exotically patterned, and generally small
in size, they are collected and raised by hobbyists throughout
the world. The keeping of exotic fish for pure pleasure has
been practiced since ancient times; today it ranks as one of
the most popular hobbies. Tropical fish are now often bred
specially for the hobby market, chiefly in Florida.

Fish are kept in various kinds of aquariums. These range from
simple tanks to elaborate systems that simulate a natural
habitat with equipment for heating, filtering, and aerating
the water, and with provision of appropriate aquatic plants
and living organisms. Tropical fish can be fed on dried fish
foods available in pet shops, or on brine shrimp, various
worms, or Daphnia, a species of small crustacean. The fish
should be fed daily only an amount that will be consumed
within a few minutes. Overfeeding is the major cause of
death among aquarium-raised tropical fish, and unhealthy
conditions are caused when uneaten food decays at the
bottom of the tank.

Like other fish, tropical species are divided into live
bearers (whose young are born alive) and egg layers (whose
offspring hatch from eggs fertilized in the water). Live
bearers are easier to breed, but care must be taken to keep
the young separate from the adults, which are cannibalistic.
Egg-laying fish require specific long-term environmental
conditions for survival. Popular among the live bearers
are the guppy, swordtail, black mollie, and platyfish.
Egg layers include, besides the ever-popular goldfish and
angelfish, the fighting fish, the zebra fish,
so called because of the black-and-white striped pattern
across its body, and the neon tetra, distinguished by its
iridescent band of blue and green.

The hobby of keeping marine species native to tropical
seacoasts and reefs is a relatively recent development.
For these species aquariums filled with natural or artificial
seawater must be provided. Such tanks should also be
equipped with means of controlling the balance of acids
and alkalines in the water. Breeding these fish in captivity
is extremely difficult.

List of Freshwater Aquarium Fishes

List of Marine Aquarium Fishes

Cure the Blahs - with these Adorable Plush Tropical Fish

Fascinating Tropical Fish Calendars


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