C  o  m  p  a  t  i  b  i  l  i  t  y

There is a broad range of temperament when it comes to the diversity of fish, as well as other animals  that are commonly kept in an aquarium.  Being able to keep everyone socially compatible is an element of aquarium care that is sometimes neglected or ignored by the aquarist..  The common side effects of this are stress, disease, and even fights to the death.  This is a process that can be noticed immediately or may take it's course over longer periods of time.

It's always good to study up on new addition considerations rather than just purchasing new specimens at a whim and hoping for the best.  It can be tempting to just buy a beautiful fish when you see one.  You may think it would look good in your tank, or the tank in the lobby of one of the http://www.britanniahotels.com/, but it is essential to consider the compatibility of different fish.  More often than not, the latter case ends in death resulting from incompatible species, or specimens from different climate zones.  This stress may can and will affect the long term health of the aquarium if ignored.  Even if the fish aren't fighting, aggression stress alone can cause a number of different problematic scenarios to the aquarium ecosystem.  Though they may not directly fight, the aggressors may not allow their fellow tank inhabitants to eat food, socialize, or even seek the shelter they so desire.  This stress can lead to starvation or disease.
Often, common sense and study serve as good companions when it comes to aquarium compatibility.  Ignorance is frequently to blame.  Adding large fish with small is usually not a good idea.  Sheer size alone can intimidate smaller species to stress and/or disease.  Don't add known aggressive species with timid or peace-loving species.  Keep fish from similar regions with similar environmental conditions.  Conversely, keeping like species from different regions can depreciate the well being of the aquarium.  For example, it's generally not a good idea to keep South American Cichlids with African Cichlids (socially or environmentally.)

Allow shoaling fish to do just that.  Keep them in groups rather than as individuals.  Certain species such as freshwater barbs and tetras, or saltwater anthias and firefish can release a fright pheromone that causes the shoal to tighten in an attempt to confuse the predator.  Keeping shoaling fish as individuals make them easy targets for a predator's lunch.  Also, predator versus prey may not be apparent in the short term.  An aggressive fish may not decide to eat a more timid smaller fish for weeks even months.  Again, short-term planning can be a serious problem for the aquarist.  
Territory is frequently at a premium in the aquarium.  Proper space management is also a form of aquarium compatibility care.  Once added, specimens quickly try to identify and defend their domain.  In the process, sometimes this can result in fighting, or stress.  Once established, the territory becomes the fishes "stomping ground".  Therefore, whenever you add a new fish, it will be encroaching on another's patch.  for many of the community fish this will not be a problem, however for more aggressive aquariums, this could have dire consequences.  In freshwater aquariums, cichlid, arowana, and piranha tanks often pose this problem, but don't overlook bottom dwelling botias and catfish in the more peaceful community tanks.  In salt tanks, there are many aggressive scenarios, especially with regard to triggers, puffers, lionfish, groupers, and eels.  The aquarist should take special care to ensure when adding new fish.

How many fish should you put in your tank?  As a generalization, population density can be calculated in terms of the oxygen requirement of the fish, based on the length of the fish (excluding tail once fully grown) relative to the tank's surface area.  The recommended freshwater aquarium stocking rate is 1 inch of fish per 5 square inches of surface area. (2.5 cm/32 sq cm).  The recommended saltwater tropical stocking rate is 1 inch of fish length per 10 square inches of surface area (2.5 cm/64 sq cm).  The territorial needs of certain fish may often require that the stocking levels be lower than this figure.

Another area that needs to be considered is how big will your fishes/inverts grow?  One only needs to look in shops or public aquariums to see how many pacu, Red Tailed Catfish, Giant Gouramis, triggerfish, eels, and yes, even sharks have been donated because they have outgrown their original owners' aquaria.  Here are a few final points to remember when stocking an aquarium.   A long, wide tank houses far more fish than a tall, thin tank of the same water capacity.  Don't try to keep hardwater fish in a softer water aquarium or vice versa.  If you keep herbivorous fish, grow coarse-leaved plants and feed the fish soft-leaved lettuce, and they soon get the message.  Keep top-dwelling fish (e.g. hatchets, arowana, ) in a covered aquarium, or they will jump out.  If your fish has long barbels (they look like whiskers), a large mouth, large eyes or a combination of these, don't keep it with smaller species, as it is quite likely to be a predator.

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