January 31, 2024

Five Types of Tropical Fish

Tropical fish inhabit warmer waters around the globe and come in an amazing range of forms and sizes; some species are territorial while others can cohabitate peacefully in communities.

Zebra danios (Danio rerio) make ideal starter fish for any new aquarium, as they thrive in hard, soft, warm or unheated water environments. Omnivorous in their diet choices; accepting regular fish flakes or worms without fuss!

Panda Cory

Panda corys are peaceful community fish that get along well with non-aggressive small and medium-sized species in their tank environment, such as small or medium-sized non-aggressive varieties. When kept in groups of six or more they exhibit natural social behaviors as well as increased spawning activity and social behavior.

Home aquarium owners looking to house South American species (particularly from Peru's Ucayali river system) would do well to include other freshwater tropical fish as housemates; Tetras, Rasboras, Apistogramas as well as any smaller Rams with similar temperature requirements will all make suitable housemates.

Featherbed turtles prefer soft substrates over gravel or other more abrasive materials as their sensitive barbels need to sift for food at the bottom of the aquarium. A sufficient water flow rate should also be ensured.

Rosy Barb

Rosy barbs are an excellent choice for beginner aquarium enthusiasts due to their peaceful temperament and vibrant colors. However, these fish should only be kept with similarly-sized species.

Hardy tropical fish that thrives in fast-flowing subtropical climate waters. Ideal for outdoor ponds as well as indoor tanks; for optimal care during winter temperatures they should be brought indoors for storage.

Male rosy barbs exhibit brighter red hues while their female counterparts display golden-silver tones, making it easy to identify breeding pairs when setting up a spawning tank. When females are ready to lay eggs, their bellies become swollen with eggs; at which time males begin their mating ritual of circling and nudging her before engaging in mating behavior that usually includes mating dances with his mate(s).


Bichirs (pow-SHER-ees) are primitive air-breathing fish often seen coming to the surface of pond-like tanks in order to take in oxygen, often known as living fossils and are one of the more captivating fish to observe in nature.

Saddled bichirs (P. endlicherii) and striped bichirs (P. lapradei), two of the largest species, can grow up to 29 inches long when wild caught, becoming carnivorous predators that prey upon small invertebrates and amphibians for food. When hunting solo during daylight hours they often hide away in caves or under driftwood until dayfall comes around again.

Otocinclus require large tank spaces, and should be housed alongside other medium-sized, peaceful fish. Regular partial water changes should help to keep water quality high and reduce toxic substances in their environment; they will thrive anywhere with an ideal pH level of 7 and moderate hardness levels.


Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) is an easily breedable saltwater aquarium fish. Male Banggai cardinalfish will hold onto eggs within their mouth until they hatch and can be released back into their environment.

Cardinalfishes are opportunistic feeders, feeding on marine worms and mollusks as well as planktonic crustaceans. When wild, these fishes may form associations with coral reef invertebrates: Caribbean species like Apogon quadrisquamatus are known to live with anemones; while Indo-Pacific varieties like Zoramia leptacantha live alongside sea urchins and Crown of Thorns starfish.

Wild Banggai cardinalfish are at risk from harvest for ornamental aquarium trade and habitat degradation. Endemic to the Banggai archipelago in eastern Indonesia, they are geographically restricted with limited natural range.


Chromis fishes are popular aquarium species for beginning marine aquarists. In their natural environment, these graceful swimmers can be found along reef slopes and drop-offs where strong currents provide them with an endless supply of zooplankton food sources.

Male chromis will usually establish their territories on open sand floors by fanning away debris with their pectoral fins, and by rubbing their genital papillae on algae mats to signal females they wish to mate with.

Mesophotic twilight zone fish such as mesophotic angelfish make excellent additions, living peacefully together provided their tank space is adequate. Proper feeding habits and housing them in tanks with passive, compatible tankmates will ensure long term health in this fish species.

Passionate and knowledgeable aquartist. Aquariums have always fascinated me. I enjoy sharing and learning about the wonders of a fish tank.

Justin A