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Freshwater Tank Revival – Simple and Fun

Over the last year or two, there has been a renewed interest in owning a freshwater tank.  Not just the standard goldfish or platys and mollies, but type-specific tanks, planted tanks and freshwater shrimp tanks.

Any fish tank is a good fish tanks in my eyes. But when you take a specific type of fish and recreate the environment from which it comes, you will see the beauty really come out in these fish.  Rainbow fish come to mind when I think of a type-specific tank.  Rainbows in a fish store are going to look like a plain silver fish, maybe some color, but nothing too spectacular. Most will be juveniles, and the adult coloration will take some time. Give them plenty of swimming room, some thick-leaved plants or fake plants, add a couple pieces of bogwood and stock the tank with rainbows!  Vary the diet with pellets, frozen and live food.  The colors will be remarkable, the breeding displays beautiful!

Same thing can be done with tetras, rasboras, etc., the larger the group, the more attractive the fish becomes.

My new favorite freshwater tank is a shrimp tank. Small, easy and so much fun!  Who knew freshwater shrimp came in so many colors? Red, red/white, blue, orange, black.  Stripes, spots, splotches and crazy patterns.  Start with a really small tank, pick the type of shrimp you want. Most of them like softer water so the new substrates help with that. Get some plants or moss balls, driftwood and/or a nice looking rock.  Get frozen bloodworms and pellets for their diet.  Or you can add some very small fish which, for obvious reasons, should have a very small mouth!   Your research or advice from a knowledgeable local fish store will keep the shrimp from becoming dinner.

I’ve noticed that many people are shocked to see beta fish in my mixed fish and shrimp tanks.  There seems to be a misconception that betas are the ninja assassins of the fish world. Au contraire!  They make great community fish!  Most of them love being in big tanks with other fish, showing off their fancy fins.  But that makes them look like super sweet fishing lures, so no nippy or bullies for tank mates.  And just like people, betas aren’t all geared for wide open spaces.  Some just want to find a corner and lay in a hammock all day. So sometimes the bigger tank will give them panic attacks, or make them truly unhappy.

I have only had one do that with me and as I sit here looking at the 93 cube with a gorgeous raspberry colored beta swimming laps, I say it’s worth doing! A freshwater tank doesn’t have to be complicated, work intensive or big to be big fun.

Shawn Chase is the owner of Mountains to Sea Aquariums at Suite 103, 1446 Brevard Road, Asheville and a frequent contributor to PetGazette. Find her store on Facebook or call 828 633-6624.


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