The proper tank habitat – from landscape to water qualities – depends upon the type of fish you keep.
The variety of aquatic habitats available is vast -the plant life, pH and water temperature are but a few of the conditions that affect them. Finding out what kind of habitat your fish needs is critical. Following is a list of the more common freshwater aquarium fish types and a description of their ideal habitats:
African Cichlids: These fish need plenty of hiding places. Caves, rock formations and plants make excellent retreats. A pH of about 8.0 is right for these fish.
Bettas: This hearty fish prefers as close to neutral water as possible, 7.0, but can manage in water that is between 6.5 and 7.5. The betta is considered to be tropical, so water between 72 and 82 oF is ideal.
Fast movers: The native habitat of fish like zebra danios and tiger barbs, is a river, so they prefer a long rather than a high tank. They are also good jumpers, so be sure that the tank is covered. The pH of the water should be slightly acidic, in the range of 6.5-7.0.
Goldfish: These small carp thrive at a pH range close to neutral: 7.2 - 7.6. Goldfish prefer cooler water. Ideally, the temperature should stay between 65 and 68 oF. These fish are acutely aware that they are prey, so they naturally prefer an environment with places to hide.
South American Cichlids: Typically larger than their African cousins, these fish need a lot of space. Oscars, severums, and others need a fifty-gallon home or better to be happy. They can withstand a fairly broad pH and temp range, but it's best to keep them from 78 to 83 oF and a pH from 6.5 to 7.5.
Tetras: Tetras and livebearers like the guppy can be housed in smaller tanks if necessary. A ten to twenty-nine gallon estate can accommodate a nice selection of these types of fish. Most livebearers are comfortable with a pH in the mid 7’s. Tetras, on the other hand, do well in a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Both groups like planted aquariums.
This list, of course, is not exhaustive. The point is that each fish type is different. If you’re going to take the time and expense to buy a fish and prepare its home, take a few extra minutes to find out the basic information regarding its habitat requirements. Proper temperature, pH and the right type of tank are the basics. For more information on a wider range of popular fish visit Wardley Fish Finder.