What is a Community Fish Tank?
Some people enjoy keeping only specimen fish of one species, or focusing on two compatible types. A community tank houses a wider variety of fish, just like any other community.
The most important thing is to stock a community tank with fish that are compatible. Fish that are too territorial or will prey on other fish should not be included. The idea is to make a peaceful, healthy ecosystem with different types of fish, which occupy the various niches inside the aquarium tank.
A freshwater community tank can also include live plants, invertebrates such as snails and clams, or other creatures like non-aggressive frogs. The tank owner must be careful not to overstock the aquarium in an attempt to get as many interesting creatures in there as possible.
Community Tank Fish for Every Level of Your Aquarium
Every tank has three water zone areas: top, mid-water and floor, or bottom of the tank. In an ideal community tank, you should have fish that occupy each range. This not only makes the tank look more active and attractive, it gives the fish more room to call their own.
Catfish of many varieties and loaches are the favorites for stocking the ground level of your community tank. For smaller tanks, cory catfish are the best. They come in a wide variety of colors and pattens, such as albino, peppered, and bronze. They like to school together with others of their kind and they are very busy swimming over the gravel searching for bits of fallen food to nibble. Loaches are usually larger, and some can get quite big, and are thus suited for larger tanks. They are experts at snacking on baby snails.
The majority of fish suitable for community tanks swim all over the tank. Some like to school together in groups of their same kind, so it is important to buy several of these varieties. Tetras are a favorite type of fish to include: from tiny blue neon tetras to elegant black-skirt tetras with flowing fins. Barbs and danios can be found in many different types too, with different colorations. It’s fun to mix silver fish with gold, blue and red to achieve a truly unique look.
Other popular community tank fish are the livebearers: mollies, swordtails, platies and guppies. Only get guppies if you are prepare to have lots of babies! You will either have to cull some of them, find someone to give or sell them to, or keep buying more fish tanks. Mollies and platies are some of the most colorful freshwater aquarium fish. They come in many styles with black, white, red, orange, and gold.
Top Level Fish
Many of the mid-range fish will swim near the top of the tank as well, especially at feeding time. Danios school together in quick-moving masses near the top of the water. Hatchet fish are designed for top living, with their low-slung bodies.
Community Tank Decorations
As with any fish tank, decorations add interest and fun to the community aquarium. Gravel or other substrate on the bottom is a must. The tank owner can also add well-washed and prepare rocks, driftwood pieces and natural plants if they want a realistic look. Pet stores offer a wide variety of statues and fake plants that fit any style.
Bubbling decorations increase oxygenation of the tank water, and can be used in tanks with limited surface area, or simply as an interesting visual accent. Some fish appear to enjoy playing in the bubbles that rise from these pieces of decor