Most of us start by keeping goldfish as children, an interest which often develops as we get older. The natural progression is to move into keeping tropical fish where we find a huge variety of different species many of which are incredibly beautiful.
We must remember fish exist in numerous different habitats (for example, soft-acidic freshwater, hard freshwater, brackish water and saltwater), all of which, with recent advances in knowledge and equipment, can successfully be replicated in an aquarium. This being so, our first question needs to be: “which type shall I keep?”.
With this first section, we hope to help you make that decision by explaining (in brief!) some of the factors involved (cost, time, space requirements etc.).
The first big decision needs to be: “freshwater or marine?”
‘Tropical freshwater’ is the normal step-up from keeping goldfish and is a very good introduction into the hobby. Marine fish are of greater interest to many, but are more costly. Next up is the ‘Reef’ environment where corals and invertebrates are kept as well as fish, but this is more expensive still and has further complications. Finally, some enthusiasts set up ‘species specific’ environments – these may not necessarily be so expensive, but are likely to be for harder to keep species, or for those that cannot be kept with others (perhaps due to their predatory nature).
The following table should give you some idea of what is involved and help you make that all important decision! :-