How to Choose Compatible Aquarium Fish

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When you decide to have an aquarium in your home, you first have to research how to set up the fish tank.  An aquarium should always be set up in advance of purchasing the fish.  After you decorate, fill it with water and cycle it, affix all filters, heaters, and air pumps, it is time to turn your attention to the aquarium fish.  It is important to choose compatible aquarium fish for your fish tank.  You will need to research compatible fish in order to stock your aquarium well.

Compatible Aquarium Fish – Water Temperature

Different aquarium fish require different water temperatures to thrive.  Compatible aquarium fish will need similar temperatures.  They are most commonly divided into cold water and tropical fish varieties, but there are further distinctions.  Some tropical aquarium fish do well in 70-75 degree water.  Others realize optimum health in water that is above 80 degrees.

For the most part, you can keep aquarium fish that are closely compatible.  However, coldwater and tropical fish are not compatible fish.

Compatible Aquarium Fish – Water Parameters

The next thing to take into account are the ideal water parameters for each type of aquarium fish.  Compatible fish will have similar needs for the pH, hardness, and quality of water.  Of course, all aquarium fish do best in clean, clear water.  Some are able to tolerate less than ideal conditions.  These fish would be compatible only with others like them.

Compatible Aquarium Fish – Temperment

Fish have different temperments which also determine if they will be compatible with their tank mates.  Docile, easy-going fish will be compatible with others of the same type.  There are some aquarium fish that need to be with a school of the same species.  These fish can be compatible with other types of fish, but only if they have a school of their own to swim with.  Compatible fish have similar temperments.

Compatible Aquarium Fish – Environment Needs

An aquarium is a closed ecosystem that must provide everything the fish need to be happy.  In an aquarium, compatible fish do not always need the same environment.  Fish that need caves to hide in can live happily with free swimmers, or those who enjoy lots of plants.  Compatible fish in an aquarium will each fill a provided environment in the tank.

When choosing compatible aquarium fish, you must carefully research all the above needs for each fish species.  Compatible fish will have less stress and will therefore be less prone to disease.  Compatible fish will also not kill each other in the aquarium.


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