As tropical fish display such a variety of colour and line, it is not surprising that keeping them has become something of a cult. Since many are incompatible, and some — notably the piranha — are deadly carnivores, beginners should take an aquarist’s advice before attempting to stock a community tank. Among the fish most likely to be recommended are Guppies, Mollies, Swordtails, Zebra fish, Beacon fish, small-sized Angel fish and the Tetras.


In order to maintain a tropical fish tank certain equipment is needed: a thermostatically controlled water heater, with thermometer; top lighting for 10-12 hours a day; and a vibrator pump to aerate the water. All this

If the common fault of overcrowding is avoided, tank maintenance will be much easier. Fish require differing amounts of space. If in doubt, consult an aquarist.

Equipment is available in a range of prices and qualities and the better pumps may be used both to aerate and filter water.


Tropical fish have to be kept at an even temperature of 24° C (75° F). If the water temperature falls to 18° C (65° F) for a protracted period both fish and plants are likely to suffer. Small fluctuations in temperature are seldom important.

AQUARIUM PLANTS A tropical tank does not differ from the coldwater type but must contain plants of tropical origin that will flourish in warm water. These include sword plants, cabombas and ludwigias, as well as the more familiar eel grass which is also grown in cold tanks.