How to Maintain a Healthy Community Aquarium

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Community Freshwater Aquarium Tanks are designed to house more than one species of fish that don’t normally occur together in the wild and there are few things we need to consider for us to successfully maintain our tank and keep our beloved live pet fish happy.

In this article, we will go over some of the most important things to avoid conflicts in the tank and achieve long-term success.


  1. What are the Common Mistakes when setting up a Community Tank?
  2. Choosing the best tankmates.
  3. How to maintain your tank for long-term success?

(1) What are the Common Mistakes when setting up a Community Tank?

Beginners who are new to establishing an aquarium should get as much advice and read up on some of the most common mistakes to avoid repeating them themselves.

(1.1) Starting on a Small Aquarium

Nano-tank packages are very appealing to have and it is very popular nowadays. However, choosing a small aquarium as a beginner may not be the best way to start in the hobby. Even those with experience are challenged by small aquariums because the water parameters are quite a bit hard to maintain. When the water volume is small, water parameters can change rapidly leaving no room for error. So for beginners, it is best to stay away from tanks under 20 gallons until they get some experience. The larger the tank, failures will have a lesser impact on your fish.

(1.2) Skipping Fishless Tank Cycle

Cycling your tank is one crucial phase your aquarium should go through before adding our beloved fish. Skipping this part may lead to ammonia build-up and other toxic build-ups which can be fatal for the fish.

(1.3) Overstocking: (Adding too many fish in your tank)

One general rule for standard fish tanks is “It is always wise to go under the maximum than over”; Hence, If you have a 10-gallon tank, it may only hold 8-gallons of water after all decorations and gravels are added. Using the one inch of fish length per gallon of water rule, a total of 8 inches of fish is a maximum number to be safely kept. It could be 8 fish that grow to be 1-inch long when full-grown or 4 fish that grow to be 2-inches long when full-grown. The same ratio should be applied for larger aquariums just to make sure we are not going over the maximum.

(2)Choosing the best tankmates.

For a community aquarium, choosing the best tankmates is crucial, whether we go for Large Fish Community Tank or Small Fish Community Tank. For a freshwater community tank, there are large numbers of species that make successful community fishes.

Small Fish Community Tank may be best for beginners. Livebearers are one good fish to start with, like Guppy, Molly, and Platy which can get along pretty easily in one tank. We can also add rainbowfishes, tetras, rasboras, barbs, danios, and shrimps. Though there are few small fish species that are considered fin-nippers, which may not be best to add if you already have a slow-moving fish with flowing fins, so we also need to take that into consideration.

For Large Fish Community Tanks, it may be best for a more experienced aquarist. Most large aquarium fish requires pristine and stable water conditions to thrive. We also need to study each of their temperaments to successfully put these fishes in one tank without any future conflicts. Peaceful Cichlids, like Angelfish, Dicus Fish, Ram Cichlids, together with peace-loving plecos and corydoras, these are some of the best choices we can have. There are plenty more Large Fish species that we can put in a community tank, and we will need a separate article for us to fully determine their compatibility.

(3) How to maintain your tank for long-term success?

Maintaining a tank for long-term success comes with a lot of aspects, but doing a regular water change and having a good filtration system is two of the best way to achieve this.

(3.1) Regular Water Change

Regular water change is important to keep all the biological life in your tank healthy. As time passes, elements and minerals are used up by your fish or are filtered out of the water, changing the overall parameters of the water. Common Mistakes of aquarists are abrupt and big water changes that can shock your fish and causes unnecessary stress. So it is best to have a regular water change, depending on what fish and plants you have, it is best to do a 20% to 30% water change at least twice or thrice a week.

(3.2) Filtration System

The Filtration System is basically the “Heart” of your aquarium keeping the water flowing which prevents the water from becoming stagnant. Stagnant water creates dead space for ammonia and other toxic waste to build up which can cause harm to your plants, fish, and shrimp. Depending on the setup you want, there are few types of filters to choose from, like Sponge Filters, Hang-on-Back Filters, and Canister Filters. Each of these filtration systems has pros and cons, so it really boils down to how your aquarium is set up, what fishes and plants you do have.

There are still a lot of things to consider to best maintain your community aquarium and these are just some of the most basic and important things to look out for. If you are still hesitant to set up your own aquarium, it is best to seek advice from any fish care experts, and if you have questions please feel free to reach out to our social media accounts and we will answer all your queries with the best of our ability. 

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Learn more tips and tricks on maintaining freshwater aquariums @

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