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FISH / health & care

How Do I Set Up My Aquarium For Multiple Fish?


There’s nothing more peaceful than a fish tank with a community of swimmers that brings life and color to your home. Pet fish comes in all shapes and sizes, and putting them together can result in something truly wonderful. When choosing what fish you want to live in your community, it’s important to only choose ones that won’t mind sharing a space. Some fish can become territorial and aren’t as neighborly as others. 


Fish That Can Live In the Same Tank: 


  1. African Cichlids - These active fish can be territorial and aggressive but actually do better when crowded together. Monitor them closely and remove fish that become too aggressive. House them in an aquarium that’s at least 4’ long (1.5 meters). Diets vary greatly, so find cichlids with similar diets.

  3. South & Central American Cichlids - These fish vary greatly, so choose ones with similar size, diet and temperament. Larger varieties can be very aggressive and should not be overcrowded. Choose a tank size suitable for the fish as an adult. Always pay close attention and remove fish if they become too aggressive.

  5. Community Fish - These active fish are compatible with other non-aggressive species and similarly-sized fish. Schooling species do best in quantities of five or more. These include rasboras, danios, cory cats and more. 

  7. Semi-Aggressive Fish - As their name suggests, these may bully smaller tank-mates, so aim for an aquarium of fish all close to the same size. Aggressive fish should always be monitored closely to ensure that they get along. Fish that become too aggressive should be removed.


What Supplies Should You Get For A Community Tank? 


Once you decide what fish will live in your community tank, you need to get all of the right fish tank supplies to support them. Some of the supplies you’ll need includes: 


  • The Right Size Aquarium - Depending on how many fish you have, you’ll need a good size aquarium to give them the space they need to be comfortable. The size you need will vary depending on the size and quantity of your fish. 

  • Consistent Water Quality -  Fish cannot live in tap water. They need specific conditions to thrive. Make sure you use a water quality test kit and water conditioners to reach the desired quality. 

  • Aquarium Substrate - Most freshwater fish do great with aquarium gravel. Put 2 inches (5 cm) at the bottom of the tank, making sure to rinse it beforehand. 

  • Filtration System - Filtrations systems help keep your tank's water clean. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for what size filter to use for your tank. 

  • Aquarium Heater/Thermometer - Most fish like their tank to stay at a certain temperature. Use an aquarium thermometer and heater to measure and adjust the water temperature in your aquarium. 

  • Fish Tank Décor - The most fun part is decorating your community tank. Use aquarium backgrounds, different colored substrates, ornaments, artificial aquarium plants and more to personalize your pet’s home. 


No matter what fish you choose, as long as they live peacefully with one another, you’re going to have a beautiful aquarium to liven up your space and provide you with peaceful company. Fish make amazing pets because they do not take up too much space, bring a calming effect into your environment and are usually easy to care for. 


If you notice that your fish aren’t living well together at any point, separate them into different tanks as soon as possible. They might need to live in separate tanks to stay happy. This can happen from time to time, even with traditionally neighborly fish. 


Information in this article isn't intended to diagnose, treat or cure your pet and isn't a substitute for veterinary care provided by a licensed veterinarian. For any medical or health-related advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet, contact your veterinarian.