How to Know if Your Tropical Fish are Compatible

We all want our aquariums to be happy, vibrant communities of friendly fins and compatible fish all living in harmony. The reality is, as with any species of animal, some tropical fish are more suited to living together than others.

You might find that some tropical and freshwater species will get along beautifully, and it is sometimes more complicated than buying species that like to live in the same water conditions.

To help you decide which compatible fish species are perfect for your tank. AllPetSolutions has put together this guide.

Why Fish Compatibility is Important

If you combine species who don't get along, it can cause a whole lot of stress. Signs that your fins aren't exactly friends include:

  • Territorial behaviour such as chasing, or preventing other fish from eating
  • Fighting and injuries
  • Hiding
  • Swimming in unusual patterns

Should any of these things happen, it is essential to act quickly to avoid any fish being seriously injured or even killed. They should be moved into separate tanks, or rehomed to another tropical fish lover so they can live peacefully.

Finding Tropical Fish to Cohabit

There are lots of factors to consider when choosing compatible fish to live together:

  • Male and female fish: boisterous Cichlids are usually kept in male and female pairs, as males can become territorial and bully female fish.
  • Fish who should always live alone: species such as Fighting Fish should never be kept together in the same tank.
  • Mixtures of eating habits; food competition can be a stress factor, so compatible fish who eat differently (i.e. bottom feeders, algae eaters, scavengers) can be a great mixture as they won't be fighting over the same food.

You'll also need to think about practicalities; such as having the right number of fish for the size of your tank, maintaining excellent water quality through a good filtration system, and checking that all your tropical fish can live in the same pH levels and temperature.

Some species are well-known for being almost always happy co-habitants; Barbs and Rasboras tend to get along well, Crown Tail Betta is happy in groups (provided there is only one male fish per tank), and Mountain Minnows are a friendly species. Electric Yellow Cichlids are most settled in a school - with the same caveat about mixing females and males!

We hope this guide is useful; remember that there is never any certainty that even typically compatible fish will get along, but by ensuring there is plenty of space for everyone and you keep an eye on the settling-in phase, most tropical fish thrive in a community aquarium.