Did you miss the first installment of tropical fish species to avoid?
5. Common Plecos. All right, I’m sure a lot of you guys are probably getting ready to send me messages now about how you’ve kept them for years in your fish tank set up! And honestly, many of them do perfectly well in 55 gallon tanks and above. However, if you have an aquarium smaller than that you really should consider a different pleco because these guys have the potential to get massive. If the only reason that you are interesting in buying a common pleco is to get rid of algae then please keep in mind that once they top 8” or so many of them turn into large, tank decorations that do nothing to get rid of the algae. Should you decide to get one, please don’t buy two – those tiny little buggers are going to grow fast their first year and they tend to get pretty territorial with others of the same species.
6. Green Spotted Puffer Fish. GSP’s are very attractive bright green fish with black spots, and many people fall in love with their chubby little bodies and nerdy profiles (I still say they look like they need glasses….). However, all species of puffer fish should be considered a specialist fish. While there is a selection of freshwater puffers out there, these puffs need a higher end brackish environment to thrive – and even full blown saltwater as adults.
All puffers are messy fish because of their eating habits, which makes it very difficult to keep their water clean. This in turn creates all kinds of fish problems, especially since scaleless fish are significantly more susceptible to toxins in their water. Please don’t buy one on impulse during your next trip to Wal-Mart; your chances of success are pretty slim. Wait until you’ve done some more research and have a large, cycled tank at your disposal.
7. Silver-tipped Sharks. While these guys are pretty popular, this is another one of the tropical fish species that has the potential to serve you more than you bargained for. They may start life out as a freshwater fish, however they eventually need a full brackish environment to thrive – adults even move on to saltwater. Sadly, you won’t find that in the description on their tag at the pet store. Keep in mind that you can’t create a brackish tank with the generic aquarium salt, you need to use the type that’s intended for marine set ups.
Some Final Words of Wisdom
While this list represents some of the most commonly sold tropical fish species that you should avoid buying, there are still quite a few that were left out – you can find a few more on this list of fish to avoid. Please remember to do your research before you hand over the money.
Sometimes those seemingly inexpensive purchases are what end up costing you hundreds in the end because you didn’t realize what you were getting yourself into! There’s a lot of information on tropical fish online, so be kind to your wallet and do a quick search before heading out to the store – it just might save a fish’s life.
Some of the photos contained in this post are under a CC license with attribution. For further information about this type of license please visit the Creative Commons website.
Download my FREE guide that will help you troubleshoot your aquarium. You'll learn...
How to get rid of pest snails
What to do when fish gasp at the surface
...and much more