The other day I pulled out my dusty, old but classy aquarium from the basement. For several minutes, I stood there wondering if there are any interesting water pets I can put inside.
My extensive research led me to countless water pets that I could nurture at home. If you are searching for the same, allow my article to fill you in.
Non Fish Water Pets
The following are some of the available non-fish water pets:
Sea monkeys are a certain breed (hybrid breed) of brine shrimp by the name Artemia NYOS. Harold von Braunhut invented them in 1957.
These creatures spring to life immediately the magical dust touches water. What is for sure is that they happen to be a cult sensation.
Their tails resemble those of monkeys remotely. They are derived from crustaceans that undergo ‘cryptobiosis.’
The term ‘sea monkeys’ is simply a marketing term that handy in selling brine shrimp to children from advertisements in comic books.
The gap between the reality and drawings of these pets in the advertisements made many kids feel cheated.
Ghost shrimp are a darling of many as freshwater non-fish pets. Just like their name suggests, their near-transparent and unique bodies that make them not only fun but also cool to watch.
Many people buy them as a meal for other aquarium inhabitants. Another group of folks keeps them as water pets.
Two striking attributes about ghost shrimps are the fact that they are tiny and effortless to care for.
Having plenty of plants inside your tank is necessary if your ghost shrimp are to be happy. If you choose to keep them as pets, be prepared to watch them grow since they spawn in an aquarium environment.
Many people keep freshwater snails as pets. You can keep them at stunning pets on their own or as cohabitants with fish.
Of the ones available, apple snails tend to be the most popular. Others are rabbit, nerite, Inca, and mystery snails.
What is likable among snails is the fact that they are low-maintenance. Their tanks need 10 – 25% water replacement every 2 – 4 weeks.
You must have a tight-fitting cover as snails tend to climb their tank or aquarium walls to escape if the opportunity presents itself.
Fire-bellied toads feature a typical toady green layer at the top. Underneath, these amphibians bring with them super-attractive orange-red tummies.
Since they are amphibians, they need a tank that provides both land and water. A 50-50 ratio should work just fine.
Make sure the tank does not have less than 25% water. Their bright coloring is an indication that they secrete toxins from their skin.
Although this shouldn’t pose any grave danger, the toxins contaminate the tank’s water that harms the toad. This means that the constant change of water is necessary.
Roughly 70% of your newt’s aquarium needs to be water. The remainder needs to comprise of sloping land area for newts to bask.
If you so desire, it is prudent to have a complete aquarium with floating cork bark. This is handy when it comes to helping your newts rest when need be.
Of great importance to note is the fact that a newt’s aquarium must have numerous aquatic logs, stones, and plants for purposes of hiding and climbing.
Similar to their fire-bellied toad cousins, these also secrete a toxin that might irritate your skin. Therefore, it is necessary to put on gloves when handling your newt.
You can keep countless crab species as aquarium pets. Of the numerous one available, the red-clawed crabs are the most popular choice.
Their personality and bold look are noticeable. The same is true to their aggressive pinching, meaning you need to minimize their handling.
Regarding the setup of their aquarium, red-clawed one can survive in fresh water for some time. However, brackish (somewhat salty water) is the best.
What you need to do is fill your aquarium with water that is several inches below the tank’s top. Also, remember to offer several perches on top of the waterline.
Finally, yet importantly, ensure your tank has a tight lid as these can be escape artists.
Red-Eared Slider Turtle
Turtles are highly popular non-fish pets. They come in different kinds.
On top of that, they demand diverse habitats just we learned earlier in this article.
The red-eared slider turtle stands out as the most popular semi-aquatic and aquatic pet turtle. It is also unique in the sense that this species has a name that is akin to a skateboarding trick.
The good thing about them is the fact that taking care of them is effortless. Although that is the case, their tank needs vigilant maintenance.
These species are semi-aquatic meaning that their tank needs to be changed frequently with clean and freshwater.
On top of that, you must also offer an area designated for ”basking” for your non-fish pets. This is handy when it comes to giving them a place to bask and get warm beneath a heat lamp.
These are an unusual-looking type of non-fish pets. The adorable Mexican salamanders boast the distinct ability to regenerate and heal.
When damaged, some experts have observed them regenerate and heal part of their brain. In some instances, a damaged limb might heal yet create an extra appendage thus resulting in a unique extra limb.
If you choose to keep these as your non-fish water pet, make sure your aquarium can handle roughly 20 gallons of water. That should be rough twice as big as your normal aquarium.
Due to their messy nature, they can soil water fast. Frequent replacement is necessary.
It is important to note that crayfish are not cut out for community aquariums. When you keep them as pets alone, they make interesting and wonderful aquarium pets.
Today, over one hundred species of freshwater crayfish exist. Each variety has its requirements in terms of care and habitat.
Consequently, it is prudent that you do your extensive research before setting up your tank and/or bringing your pet home.
In general, most of them will survive in a tiny 5 – 10-gallon water tank. Larger tanks are necessary if you intend to have several pets of this nature.
Regular water changes are needed as these pets are messy eaters that tend to hide or hoard food.
Fresh Water Pets
Freshwater pets come in an array of sizes, colors, and shapes. The most popular ones are not only easy to care for but also colorful and bright.
Are you new to keeping freshwater pets or fishkeeping? If yes, then I highly recommend that you start slow.
At any one time, you are supposed to only one. The other essential thing that you need to do is extensively research the species you intend to domesticate so that you can have ample time to familiarize yourself with them and understand all their needs.
The following are some of the most common freshwater pets:
These also go by the name Siamese fighting fish. They make up other incredible choices of freshwater fish for aquariums.
Betta fish come in different beautiful colors. Just like many that we have featured on this list, these are also easy-going – at least for the most part.
These fish species are popular for their highly aggressive and territorial nature with other fish, especially makes.
If they are peaceful enough, you can keep them in a big tank containing other fish species. You should refrain from keeping them in tanks containing similar-looking fish such as guppies.
Moreover, keep them inside their tanks, which is complete with plants and substrate.
Easygoing and small, Mollies make up exceptional freshwater species that are effortless to handle. They grow to around 3 – 4 inches long.
The fact that they are omnivorous means they can take both animals and plants. The cool thing about them is that they give birth to babies. This is unlike other fish.
Just like guppies (which we shall discuss next), mollies are into breeding. Therefore, the last thing you want is to put many of them in your tank.
It is prudent to have only one gender.
Golden Dwarf Barbs
Golden Dwarf Barbs are lesser-known species when it comes to freshwater fish. They are ideal for individuals who are newbies in aquarium keeping.
These species can grow up to 1.5 inches. You can effortlessly recognize them for their black markings and golden yellow colors on their body.
The Golden Dwarf Barbs thrive the best when you keep them inside a tank containing plants. It is prudent to avoid keeping more than five of them in a tank.
Angelfish are Cichlid family members. In terms of length and height, they can grow up to 6” and 8” respectively.
They feature beautiful patterns and colors. Angelfish can eat plants as well as other animals such as shrimp and small insects. Nonetheless, you must keep them away from tiny fish.
Angelfish are aggressive and territorial. Therefore, it is prudent to keep them inside a tank that does not have much fish.
Guppies are other freshwater pets that are ideal for beginners. On top of being effortless to care for, they tend to breed with one another fast particularly if the genders are not separated.
These fish come in an array of colors. Males tend to be more flamboyant compared to females.
Guppies can adapt to different water conditions. They boast lively personalities that make a darling of many.
Of great importance to note is that Guppies need consistent water temperature (10 degrees C – 29 degrees C) for them to live happily inside their tanks.
Neon stands out as among the most popular freshwater species on my list. This fish is not only effortless to care for but also thin and small.
It makes an excellent choice for new owners. A noticeable attribute about them is that they do not grow to be overly long. They only reach only 2.2 cm in terms of length.
Neon Tetra is a calm and peaceful species. They are on their best attribute when in groups.
When it comes to their tank or aquarium, it is wise to include plants, rocks, and a host of other accessories. They use these to hide in.
Recognizing them is easy because of their general blue bodies that feature bright red stripe underneath their bellies.
Goldfish is a highly stunning fish species with the ability to grow up to 14” long in the wild. The wild ones can live for up to twenty-five years or more.
They come in different breeds, colors, sizes, and shapes.
In captivity, pet Goldfish can thrive inside a tank with at least 20 gallons. Goldfish require constant maintenance.
For instance, you must replace filter and water weekly.
Zebra Danios is the ideal fish for beginners. These fish are not only small but also low maintenance. They grow up to 5 – 7 cm.
The fact that they are schooling fish means you can keep them in groups, lest you want them to be stressed.
In terms of food, they love consuming crustaceans, insects, and worms. You can also feed them typical fish such as flake food.
However, it is highly recommended that you spice up their diet. Since jumping out of tanks is their thing, you need to make sure that your tank remains covered.
This is another fish that is less common but very easy to take care of. Rainbowfish’s vibrant colors do not break in exactly until they mature into adulthood.
Still, the wait is worth with proper maintenance and care. One noticeable feature about them is the fact that they tend to be shy.
Nevertheless, they are usually peaceful with the other fish inside their tank. This fish species get along very well with tetras and barbs.
These also go by the name the Platy fish. They are stunning fish for freshwater that comes in an array of exotic colors.
Most of the time, they are peaceful fish that tend to thrive well in communities.
It is common to see them getting along with mollies and guppies due to their social nature. Platies need a mixture of proteins and plant-based foods although they can also consume meat-based foods.
Oscars are among the most intelligent freshwater fish available. These species are among those that you can train to do different tricks while in water.
Their drawback is the fact that they are community fish. You should only keep them inside a species only tank. A notable attribute about them is the fact that they can grow to be large real quick.
Compared to others on this list, they need more maintenance. This is because of their carnivorous nature as well as the amount of waste they tend to create.
A good attribute about them is that they are among the few fish species that one can hand feed without stress. They can eat food effortlessly from between your fingers.
These fish species thrive when you keep them in pairs or a group of more than five.
Housing them together, right from a young age is recommended.
One of the most notable attributes about the swordtails is that they are the same in shape to guppy and platyfish. The only difference is that they have a slightly bulkier body.
On top of that, they bring with them a sword-shaped extension on their fin.
Different color variations are available. Choosing a color can be problematic, especially for beginner aquarists, as many options are available.
The good thing about this fish species is that they are normally peaceful, yet lively. They tend to be at their best in community tanks.
Swordtails are into swimming among loosely grouped schools. These fish breed effortlessly.
Consequently, if you choose to breed them, you must separate them from their parents.
Often, they eat their fry.
This is a relatively big but peaceful fish. Among the different species of Gouramis, this is the easiest to handle or keep.
For you to keep it, your tank must have 30 gallons of water at a minimum. On top of that, the tank needs to feature countless hiding places, low lighting, and a dark substrate.
The good thing is that you can house it with other types of fish of similar temperament and size. The rule of thumb is that you must avoid housing this fish with the aggressive type.
Pearl Gourami’s are omnivorous. You should feed them meaty and algae-based foods.
These fish are popular for consuming Hydra. Hydra is a small pest that features tentacles with venom.
For this reason, if you are grappling with hydra problem, you should consider having this fish as your pet.
The Cherry Barb derive their name from the color that the male turns when they are sprawling. Normally, the black/silver coupled with a golden lateral line.
This peaceful fish can grow to roughly 2 inches in terms of length. At the bare minimum, their tank needs to be 25 gallons.
They are omnivorous. This means that they eat different types of food including flake, frozen, fresh, and live foods.
Caring them for cherry barbs is easy. You can keep them in community tanks with an open space to swim.
Have plants in the aquarium where these fish can hide.
Discus are graceful and beautiful fish. They tend to grow to be very large.
As a result, they need a bigger tank – at least 25 gallons of water.
Note: If you are a newbie, you should avoid keeping this as a water pet. Maintaining and taking care of them can be challenging. Experienced aquarists are the ones that should consider keeping these fish.
If you choose to keep them, you are supposed to house them with other fish types that need similar water conditions. Ensure that their tank mates are not aggressive.
When it comes to diet, the best is blood worms and beef heart supplemented with flakes to offer minerals and vitamins.
A wonderful attribute about this water pet is the fact that they are available in an array of bright colors. An important thing to note about these fish is that they can turn out to be highly hardy fish.
More than 700 species of this fish exist. The breed can suit almost all tank conditions.
These generally peaceful fish do not have any issue with others in a community tank. Their mates should be non-aggressive.
Experts recommend that that you keep only a single male to every tank. These can be aggressive towards one another.
Breeding them is a breeze. They can be either non-annual or annual breeders.
In the wild, the annual killifish tend to lay their eggs in provisional water bodies that dry up for months.
Once they refill, the fry hatch.
Many killifish are carnivores. Therefore, they enjoy a diet of crustaceans, worms, and insect larvae.
Plecostomus are a catfish breed. On their bodies, they feature heavy armored plates. S
Their sucker-shaped mouths are handy when it comes to feeding algae in your tank. Although some species are content with consuming flakes, wafers, and algae.
Others prefer meaty foods like frozen brine shrimp. Breeding plecs are challenging. Only a few aquarists have pulled it off.
When it comes to their lifespan, they can live for twenty years. If you take proper care of them, they can live longer.
It is worth noting that these fish boast the ability to jump too. Therefore, it is prudent to have a tank cover for them.
You can house them with many other species. Nonetheless, it is wise to refrain from keeping them with flat/fat-bodied fish like goldfish as they might suck on them.
These are also known as Cory Cats. They are stapled in many freshwater tanks.
In addition to being effortless to care for, they are also peaceful and calm yet very active bottom dwellers.
Another important attribute to know about these fish is that they are very social. While you can keep them on their own, they tend to thrive if you keep them in a group of two or more.
Corydoras do not have any issue with other community tank fish provided they aren’t aggressive.
Corydoras can grow to two and a half inches in terms of length. You can depend on them to clean your tank as they are excellent at it.
They pick all leftover foods from the tank’s gravel. However, you need to provide other foods like bottom feeder tablets and flakes.
Salt Water Pets
Keeping a saltwater aquarium or fish tank brings with it countless benefits to your health such as lowering blood pressure and stress.
Compared to their freshwater tanks or aquariums, saltwater ones are challenging to maintain and take care of. On top of that, their critters are less forgiving to mistakes made by newbies.
Saltwater tanks boast their dazzling selection of unique and colorful species of pets.
Before we look at some of the saltwater pets that you can consider for purchase, let me first highlight some of the factors that you should consider before buying one:
- Aquarium size – As we shall learn in this article, aquariums or fish tanks come in different sizes. Smaller ones can hold 20 gallons of water. Bigger ones can handle as much as 100+ gallons of water. Before you settle for any species, make sure you know its requirements in terms of aquarium size.
- Temperament – Temperament is another factor you need to consider. The last thing you want is to choose species with overly aggressive behavior or temperament. Settle for gentle fish. Note that various temperaments can live comfortably together provided you offer the same.
- Habitat requirements – Various species of fish boast different needs in terms of their habitat requirements. While some require the sandy substrate to burrow in, others need plenty of living rocks to act as their hiding places. If you desire to build a community, choose fish species with similar habitat requirements.
- Compatibility – The fish you choose as your water pet need to be compatible. While some can live comfortably on their own, others need tank, pond or aquarium mates.
When it comes to building a community right from scratch, it is great that you begin with the least aggressive fish. Moreover, add one fish species or type at a time. Allow them some time to get used or familiar with one another before adding more aggressive fish.
The following are some of the easy to take care of and readily available saltwater pets:
Big Eye Black Bar Soldierfish
This is one of the best saltwater pets for newbies. It makes an excellent choice for tanks that can house over 70 gallons of water.
The fish do incredibly well in tiny groups provided your tank has an adequate number of rocks for them to hide in.
Since they are nocturnal, they require many places to hide in the presence of bright light.
When it comes to their appearance, just like their name suggests, they feature big eyes coupled with large black pupils. Their body is bright red featuring white outlines on the fins.
Because they are carnivores, they are into eating fresh chopped marine meat, freeze-dried shrimp, feeder shrimp, and worms.
Royal Gramma Basslet
These are yellow and bright purple fish that grow to roughly 3 inches long. Although they tend to get along with many tankmates, they are also territorial with their own.
For this reason, it is important that you only add one of them to your tank.
The fish needs a tank of not less than 30 gallons of water. On top of that, they prefer low light and plenty of caves and rocks for them to hide in.
Because of their carnivorous nature, you can feed them an array of meaty foods such as Mysis shrimp and crustacean flesh.
You can also give them high-quality frozen foods.
Is your tank 30 gallons and bigger, you should consider stocking a Longnose Hawkfish. They have a white body featuring red boxy striping with an interesting look.
The fish’s look adds some interest to your tank in addition to making it interesting and fun to watch.
You must make sure that your tank has a tight-fitting lid as these fish are popular for being escape artists. On top of being semi-aggressive, they might after the other long-bodied fish.
Nonetheless, with the right tank mates, they can be happy in a reef environment.
These are a mellow fish that taking care of is a walk in the park. This makes them an incredible addition to your new saltwater tank.
This active fish is into schooling. They prefer tanks with countless live rocks.
They look stunning in a tank that is well-lit particularly if yours has a small school. In terms of appearance, this fish is not only white but also brings with it luminescent coloring that looks exceptional especially in the presence of light.
When it is within a group of other fish, there is no doubt that its striking appearance is noticeable.
Butterflyfish make one of the must-have additions in your saltwater tank. While plenty of other subspecies exist, every one of them is a stunning addition to any saltwater aquarium.
All butterflyfish varieties are beautiful and effortless to take care of. Nevertheless, every subspecies boasts its own dietary needs and requirements.
Therefore, make sure that you are familiar with each specific type to make it stays healthy and happy.
Countable saltwater fish boasts Blenny’s personality. In addition to being adorable, they make excellent choices for newbies due to their peaceful nature.
Most of their time is spent hiding among plants and rocks at the tank’s bottom. While here, they peep out to check on their surroundings.
Blenny fish usually get along with other fish species. Nonetheless, they tend to fight among themselves meaning it is wise to add only one into your tank.
Different types of benny fish exist in the market. Some of the most popular ones include horned and stripped varieties.
If you are looking for a unique-looking fish, then you should consider the Pajama Cardinalfish. It brings with it a green/yellow face.
Its front has a black band around the middle part. The tail features a bright polka dot.
You can keep this fish alone in a 20-gallon tank or aquarium. If you desire to school, then you will possibly need 30 gallons of water.
One of the things you must note about this fish is the fact that they are shy and keep to themselves. At night is when they are active the most.
Nighttime is also the best time to feed them. During the day, they are fond of looking for places to hide.
Therefore, make sure that yours have numerous rocks and plants to explore.
Wrasses are brightly colored fish that are into staying at your tank’s sandy bottom. At this location, they can comfortably bury themselves.
They like their environment to have countless rocks to hide in. Wrasses are non-confrontational.
They are into keeping into themselves provided hiding places are there.
Most varieties of this fish do excellently in-tank environments. The fact that they are messy means having a larger tank is necessary.
Some of the best types to settle for when it comes to community aquarium are six-line wrasses, fairy wrasses, and flasher wrasses.
In addition to being vibrant and bright, caring for these is effortless. If you are grappling with algae issues in your tank, you can use this species to take care of your problem.
They are also into eating meaty foods. Because they are tolerant of their surroundings, these fish are available almost everywhere.
In the wild, predators tend to prey upon them. When it comes to the tank environment, they do better with non-aggressive tankmates.
Talbot’s Damsel is into burrowing under rocks. They like sandy bottoms compared to the pebbled substrate.
Provided you offer them places to hide, they will thrive inside a community tank.
Are you searching for an ideal saltwater fish that you can put in a big tank (over 70 gallons)? If yes, then you should consider getting this one.
Typically, these exquisite looking fish have a blue body with bright orange stripes. They do just fine in small schools or on their own.
Although their name might suggest otherwise, these beauties do not need coral inside their tank. Nonetheless, just like the many fish we have featured on this primer, they are into hiding.
As a result, it is prudent to offer them plenty of plants and rocks.
In terms of food, they like a mixture of foods that comprise of algae and top-quality meaty angelfish foods.
Firefish are thin and long fish that generally feature light-colored and white body. Their tail is magenta, orange, and bright red. These attributes are what inform their name.
They boast an incredible temperament for community tanks. These fish species are not only non-confrontation and calm.
Watching them is fun since they like to hide and are fast.
Do you recall that Nemo was a clownfish? If you desire to add one to your tank, you are in luck.
Caring for clownfish, particularly the False Percula breed is easy. Because of its popularity, frozen food and dry pellets make it effortless to find.
You should also know that these colorful fish tend to be active. Hiding is not their thing like some of the ones we have highlighted on this primer.
Dottyback fish is another excellent choice for those whose tanks cannot accommodate more than 30 gallons of water.
While they can turn out to be highly aggressive, with the appropriate size tank, appropriate diet, and numerous hiding spots these fish species can turn out to be non-confrontational and happy.
They are available in various colors including yellow, purple, and blue. Bi-colors such as half purple and half yellow.
Many fish need big tanks of more than 100 gallons. This can turn out to be quite overwhelming particularly for those who are starting.
The good thing with Damselfish is that they only need 30 gallons. They can be somewhat aggressive.
Provided you offer them many hiding places, they can keep to themselves.
Numerous brightly colored varieties are available to choose from. Many of them are quite stunning.
One of the best choices when it comes to saltwater fish for those that are starting as the Chalk Bass.
In addition to living for long and resisting illness, these can thrive even in poor conditions such as minimal water conditions.
In terms of looks or appearance, they are white coupled with reddish stripes on their dorsal side. If you have been searching for fish that are effortless to get your tank started, then you should consider these.
Although several of them can live comfortably within the same aquarium, it is prudent that you put them together all at once.
This goes miles in making sure that you help them to avoid territorial fighting.
These fish are not picky in terms of choosing their diet. They eat things that are available at your local pet store.
Therefore, if you are a beginner, you need to consider getting these as they are not demanding in terms of their maintenance and care.
Do you know that they can even consume table shrimp? Oh yes, they can!
Due to their popularity, finding them is not that hard. Finding them is a breeze at a local pet store.
On top of being peaceful, they get along with other species. However, they do not get along perfectly with species of the same family.
Keep them separated if you decide to keep more than one in the same tank.
Tangs are resilient and hardy. On top of that, they are remarkably stunning.
You can choose from an array of varieties when it comes to color.
Some of the most popular ones are powder blue and bright yellow.
You must bear in mind that generally, tangs are unaggressive when you pair them with other fish. They are susceptible to fighting amongst themselves.
To keep them as your water pets, you must have not less than 100 gallons of water.
Indeed, they are a colorful addition to the saltwater community.
What Is The Best Aquatic Pet?
Some of the best aquatic pets include green neon tetra, otocinclus, platyfish, guppy, and taillight tetra.
Others are dwarf gouramin, sparkling gouramin, and paradise fish.
A host of others, just like we have established in this article are also available.
Freshwater fish can be as colorful and flamboyant as saltwater fish. Freshwater fish, unlike their saltwater counterparts, are not only tough but also sturdy.
While that is the case, they deserve our attention and love.
Whether you are a new aquarium owner or not, it is important to frequently take care of your fish. One way of understanding your fish is by learning their personalities.
When you do that, you will know everything you need to do regarding how to take care of them. Over time, you will understand how to love the cute little and stunning freshwater creatures.
The above are some of the water pets you can consider keeping in your tank or aquarium.