Tropical Fish Guide

There are many different Tropical Fish, some classed as passive, some boisterious and some aggressive. We have highlighted this on the fish species pages on the website. Please get in touch if you are unsure on compatability. Here is a Tropical fish guide to some of the fish available to keep in an aquarium.


Tetra’s such as Neon Tetra, Glowlight and Cardinals are ideal shoaling fish and make a beautiful addition to a peaceful aquarium.

Whilst the Neon Tetra is the most popular of all, we have a huge range to suit all tanks. Generally hardy and peaceful, they are an ideal fish to start off an aquarium with. These are one of the very best fish if you are looking for a shoal with large groups actively swimming together.

Varieties available include Neon, Glowlight, Rummynose, Black Widow, Penguin, Red Eye and many more.

Being one of the easier fish to keep makes Tetra’s very popular. We only source ethically farmed, strong and healthy tropical fish. As a result the PH requirements are very similar for all of the Tetra we stock, around 7-7.5 meaning this is very achievable in the home aquarium.

Neon Tetra Tropical Fish

OATA Tropical Fish Guide to Tetras


Sharks can be a great addition to the aquarium but some care needs to be taken. Some sharks can be territorial to their own kind.

Most sharks will also need a large tank due to their potential growth.

We stock Silver sharks, Rainbow Shark and the Red Tailed Black Shark.

Silver Shark 3''

OATA Tropical Fish Guide to freshwater sharks


Angelfish are a commonly kept popular aquarium fish. Their shape and variety of colours and patterns makes them sought after fish.

They are suited to larger aquariums due to their potential growth. Keep with other medium to larger sized fish.

Feed a varied diet of dried foods and also Frozen or live foods.

Tropical Fish


Catfish can be a great addition to the aquarium but care is needed in selecting the right one for your aquarium needs. Some Catfish can be more boisterous than others or grow to a large size. Please refer to the details for each fish or give us a call if you are unsure.

Catfish are primarily bottom feeders and will feed a varied diet of pellets and frozen foods.

Pictus Catfish
Tropical Fish

OATA Tropical Fish Guide to keeping Catfish


Gourami are also know as ‘Labyrinth fish’. They have a labyrinth organ and spend time at the surface of the water gulping air. Gourami are omnivores and require a varied diet of flake, granular and frozen foods.

Opaline Gourami
Tropical Fish Guide

OATA Guide on keeping Gourami

Siamese Fighting Fish

Siamese Fighting Fish, also known as Bettas, are a great addition to the aquarium but care needs to be taken. Due to their long fins they can picked on by semi aggressive tankmates so choose tank mates carefully.

Only 1 male Fighting fish can be kept per tank.

Blue Siamese Fighter
Tropical Fish

OATA Tropical Fish Guide on keeping Bettas


Rainbowfish can make a great colourful addition to an aquarium. Best kept in groups due to their shoaling nature. These fish are active fast swimmers. Feed on a varied diet of Flake food, granular and Frozen foods to achieve healthy and good coloured fish.

Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish
Tropical Fish

OATA Tropical Fish Guide to Rainbowfish

Algae Eating Fish

Miniature algae eaters include the Ottocinclus which grows to a maximum size of 4-5cm and the Borneo Sucker loach which reaches a maximum size of 5cm.

Probably the most efficient algae cleaner is the common Pleco.  The only problem is the size, they can grow up to 46cm.

An attractive alternative to the common Pleco is the Bristlenose Plecostomus.  Although more expensive it seldom grows larger than 15cm.  Also available is the attractive Albino variety.

Siamese Flying Fox grow to a maximum size of 14cm and will eat Thread Algae.

Algae Eater and Gold Algae Eater grow to a maximum size of 20cm.

A very popular Algae Eater is the Spotted Pleco, Pterygopichthys Gibbiceps, due to its attractive patterns.

Ottocinclus Algae Eating Fish
Tropical Fish

Live Bearing Fish

Known as Livebearers, or Ovoviviparous, the female fish are inseminated internally.  The fish then retain the eggs in the body and give birth to live young.

The main four varieties seen in the fish trade are Swords, Platies, Mollies and Guppies.  In all four varieties many colour variations have been developed.  Also there are hi-fin, sailfin and comet tail variations.

Livebearers are easy to sex.  The male has a rod shaped anal fin called the Gonopodium and is used to inseminate the female.  The female anal fin is fan shaped.

The size of the young varies with each variety.  Guppies have the most young but the smallest fry.  Mollies produce the largest fry but in much smaller quantities.  The gestation period varies from four to six weeks and females can produce several broods from a single insemination.

It is not difficult to see that livebearers are easy to breed and you will get a continuous flow of young, but it does require plenty of hiding places such as a thick area of plants, if the fry are to be able to avoid the attention of hungry tank mates.

Although they are easy to breed, a lot of hard work has gone into selective breeding to develop the many colour variations that are available today.

Livebearers are very adaptable to water conditions and temperature, although they do prefer a ph level above 7.5 and moderately hard, slightly alkaline water.

There are other varieties occasionally seen in the aquarium trade such as Halfbeaks and Mosquito Fish but there are also many other varieties of livebearing fish.

Assorted Male Guppy

Ideal Fish For Small Tanks/Nano Aquariums. Also Suitable To Keep With Shrimps

Galaxy Rasbora, WCMM, Gold WCMM, Guppies, Threadfin Rainbow, Neon Tetra, Cardinal Tetra, Ottocinclus, Pygmy Cory, Neon Dwarf Rainbow, Glowllight Tetra, Black Neon Tetra, Silvertip Tetra.


Discus belong to the Cichlid family and originate from the Amazon river basin in South America.

In order to keep Discus successfully you must set up a tank for their needs. They will require a large tank, well established with soft water and good filtration.

Discus are best kept in a group. Any tankmates must be chosen with care. They shouldn’t be boisterious or too small that an adult discus could eat them.

OATA Guide on keeping Discus

Tropical Fish

African Cichlids

African Cichlids belong to the Cichlidae family. The most popular for home aquariums originate from Lake Malawi. All Malawi Cichlids require similar water conditions in their natural environment. Therefore a water temperature of 25-26°C and a PH of 7.8-8.6 is ideal. All the Malawi Cichlids available are farm bred.

All rock-dwelling Cichlids are territorial. It is therefore important to provide plenty of rocks.  Ideally build up from the bottom of the tank to the top throughout most of the tank. Keeping a well stocked tank is the best way to combat territorial aggression. Extra filtration will be required due to the intentional overcrowding.  Please feel free to get in touch to discuss stocking numbers.

Rock dwelling Cichlids are primarily vegetarian. Therefore they should be fed algae based food as well as frozen invertebrates.

Malawi Cichlids are one of the most popular tropical fish to keep due to their dazzling colours.

Peacocks are the least aggressive of the Malawi Cichlids. Next come the Haplochromis and then the most aggressive are the Mbuna Cichlids.

We have spent years visiting many farms to source the best quality Cichlids. We have been told many times by our customers that the quality and colours are superior to any others they have sourced.

A species only tank is required due to aggression.

Marble Peacock Cichlid
Tropical Fish Guide

OATA Tropical Fish Guide to Malawi Cichlids

Tanganyikan Cichlids

African cichlids belong to the Cichlidae family. Tanganyikan Cichlids require similar water conditions to their natural environment. A water temperature of 25-27°C and PH of 8.2-9.

All the Tropheus available are farm bred.
Tropheus have a territorial aggressive nature. Therefore keep in a species only tank with plenty of rocks to provide hiding places. Ideally build up from the bottom of the tank to the top throughout most of the tank.

It is preferable to establish a colony by introducing fish at the same time. A group of 6-12 fish or more depending on tank size. Synotontis Catfish can also be added to larger tanks.

The best way to combat territorial aggression is keeping a well stocked tank. Therefore extra filtration will be required. Regular water changes are also important to maintain water quality.

(Please feel free to get in touch to discuss stocking numbers)

All Tropheus maternally mouth brood their eggs and fry.

Do not mix Tanganyikan Cichlids with other Tropical Fish. This is due to their aggressive nature.

Tropheus for sale

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