A Primer on Tropical Fish Families

Tropical freshwater fish fall in several groups or families. A combination of fish from different families can make your tank interesting viewing .





Originating Asia, Africa and North America, the cyprinidae family includes a wide choice of moderately sized, hardy, undemanding, colourful fishes. There are three groups in the family- Barbs, Danios and Rasboras.
The majority of the Characin groups of fishes originate in South America. Many fishes in this family are suitable for the aquarium, and range in size from the diminutive Neon Tetra to the Piranha.


Of all the tropical fishes kept in the aquarium, no single group can offer such a diversity of form, size, swimming level and spawning behavior, as can the Cichlids. Many fishes from this group are extremely colourful, particularly those from the Rift Valley in Africa. Some Cichlids grow very large and require an aquarium for themselves, but others may be kept in a community tank. However, they all defend their territory very fiercely at breeding times. Breeding methods range from secretive breeding in caves, through the open water spawner, to the care of the mouth brooders.

All Anabantoids can breath atmospheric oxygen in the event of their natural waters becoming oxygen-depleted or otherwise polluted. They have a special organ in their head that enables them to do so. During the breeding period, the male Anabantoid fish builds a floating bubble nest where he will lure the female under it to induce them to lay their eggs by giving them a spawning embrace. The eggs are immediately fertilized and blown into the nest by the male. He will stand guard until the fry are free swimming.
This group of fish is one of the most common found in aquariums because of their assortments of colours and their prolific breeding nature of giving birth to live free swimming young. These fish are one of the easiest fish to sex due to the visible construction of the males anal fin which is used for the transference of sperm to the female.
Catfish and Botias

These families comprise of many varierties of scavenger fish that live at the lower levels of the tank cleaning up what the other fish have left behind. Some fish relish algae, so you can see what their role in an aquarium is. Many of these fish have devolped sensitive whisker like growths called barbles due to their poor vision. They use these barbles to locate

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