There is no fish tank that is as much fun as a community fish tank. What is a community aquarium? It’s a tank that is set up to be enjoyed by a variety of fish. Different species, different sizes, and different behaviors.
I remember the first community fish tank that I set up in Queensland, Australia. I’d moved there for 2 years to enjoy the sun, the beaches, and the relaxed lifestyle. I actually set up my community fish tank on the large balcony of my apartment, against the window next to my bed.
I could watch my fish interacting with one another while I was lying in bed. Needless to say, I had to bring the tank inside before long to avoid the quick build-up of algae due to receiving so much sunlight!
Let’s take a look at some of the best community tank set-ups that you could get going with today.
The Best Community Fish Tank Set Up
First off I’ll list 3 of the best tanks for community fish. When you are planning how to set up a community fish tank, you need to make sure you get a large enough tank to accommodate all the species. Some fish require more space than others, so it’s best to think big before you get going. You don’t know what sort of fish you might want in the future!
After sharing a few of the best fish tanks for a community aquarium, I’ve got a lot of other resources down below. This includes shorts lists of the best fish for community fish tanks and a whole lot more. Just scroll on down to check it out.
1. SeaClear 40 gal Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set
This SeaClear 40 gallon tank is the perfect size for starting a community fish tank. It is made from acrylic, which is said to be more than 15 times stronger than glass, clearer than glass, less prone to cracking and chipping, all the while being far lighter than glass.
This tank can be used as a fresh water community tank, or a salt water community tank.
The Marina LED Aquarium Kit is another good community fish tank. This set comes with basically everything you need to get going, though you will still need to get your own water heater and pump if you require them. This will depend on the climate in your area. You will also need your own decorations and, of course, the fish!
The tank is made from glass and measures 24 inches long, 12.5 inches wide, and 16.5 inches high. It can also be bought in 10 or 5 gallon sizes. These tanks are very cheap glass fish tanks that your fish will be very happy in – the bigger the better in my opinion!
A 20 gallon glass aquarium with cover to help reach and maintain water temperature
Daylight LED lighting set up in tank cover – can be switched on and off
Fish food – Fluval Max brand
Fluval Aqua Plus water conditioner for treating tap water
Fluval Cycle Biological Supplement to create the best bacterial environment for your fish
This Tetra 20 gallon aquarium is another of the best community tank choices. It is made from a special scratch resistant glass and comes with LED lighting in the aquarium hood. It really is the full set up, coming with a range of other well trusted Tetra products.
What’s included with this combo?
The 20 gallon tank
A light hood with LED lighting
Tetra 100 watt water heater
Tetra Whisper 20 filter
Artificial boxwood plant mat
Two artificial plant multipacks
You will still need to buy more fish food, gravel, tank decorations, and of course, the fish!
Community fish are those that can get along with each other in a fish tank. For example, you don’t want highly aggressive or territorial fish part of your tank community. A vampire tetra, for example, should not be your first choice for a community tank fish.
Other features of fish that go well in community tanks include:
Not being overly particular about water conditions – You don’t want a fish for which it is essential they have an exact temperature, perfect ph levels, exact lighting etc. These conditions might not perfectly suit another fish in the community, so it is best if you have fish that can thrive in a small range of conditions.
Given to good health – Some fish are more prone to sickness than others. To start off with, at least, you want fish that are not going to fall ill at the first sign of bad bacteria in the tank.
Active & Colorful – This might not affect the community, but it is nice for you! Having good looking fish swimming around your tank is what it’s all about. Choose fish that are going to be active and pretty!
When you are buying fish from a breeder or pet store, it’s a good idea to ask their advice as to whether the fish you are buying is compatible with the fish already in your aquarium. But here are some general guidelines on fish that get along well together in a community fish tank.
The Best Freshwater Fish For Starting A Community Fish Tank
Guppies – These fish get along well with most other varieties. However, when I had guppies they were breeding non-stop, and they have a lot of fry, so keep that in mind. The males tend to hassle the females continuously and nip the tails of other males, but it’s nothing too serious. Just try not to let the numbers get out of control.
Neon Tetras – These are generally very peaceful and quiet fish. Though again, I’ve had a little bit of trouble with them fighting each other in one of my tanks. For some reason they would nip at one another very quickly, but this settled down after a while. I had to break the tank up a bit with extra plants etc. and this seemed to help the problem.
Platies – Platies are another peaceful, tranquil fish that go well in a community tank. Like the guppies, they breed easily and can quickly dominate your tank if you are not passing them on to your friends or selling them to pet shops (like my dad does with his).
Clown Loach – The Clown Loach is another friendly fish that gets along well with other breeds in a community aquarium. These are very quiet fish that will find a special hidden spot in your tank and spend a lot of time in there. I have one quite large one that will only come out when I put some blood-worms in the tank.
Bristlenose Catfish – Bristlenose and many other types of aquarium catfish make good community tank fish. I’ve never had any trouble with them hassling other fish or being a menace to the society. If these fish settle down and feel comfortable they will also breed. The female will lay the eggs in a cave or castle, then the male will fertilize and sit on the eggs until they hatch. This can take over a week and he doesn’t come out to eat very often during the process.
Sword Tails – Sword tails are another good community fish for beginners. They are not overly sensitive to water conditions (though still have your tank at 78 degrees) and get along well with other fish. As with many of the other common tank fish, they breed easily and the female delivers live young.
The Best Salt Water Fish For Starting A Community Fish Tank
Butterfly Fish – A colorful fish that is popular in salt water aquariums, and which get along well with others in the community. They can be territorial so need plenty of space and a piece of reef they can call their own. Double check the tank size required for these fish before you purchase, as some need to be in tanks in excess of 100 gallons.
Clownfish – These are a hardy and adaptable fish that every salt-water aquarium must have! Especially if you have kids in the house. The distinct coloring and character makes them wonderful to watch. Clownfish need to be in at least 20 gallons of water.
Firefish – These are little fish that are fun to watch going in and out, around and around the coral. They are quite quick and playful and make a great addition to a salt water tank. They need to be in a tank of 20 gallons or more.
Gobies – There are a variety of Gobies that make great salt water community fish tank inhabitants. They are peaceful fish that can live in tanks 10 gallons and above.
Types of Goby include:
Diamond Watchman Goby
Wrasse – Another peaceful community tank fish. Wrasse have delightful coloring and grow up to 4 1/2 inches. They need to be kept in large fish tanks of 50 gallons or more.
Blenny – Blenny fish are easy to care for, peaceful fish, that come in a range of colors. They join into salt water communities with ease and enjoy swimming around the reef.
Marine Betta – Salt water Bettas look even more amazing than freshwater Bettas (in my opinion!). They are peaceful community fish that are very hardy and easy to care for. They are reef compatible and need to be in a tank of at least 50 gallons of water. As I always say, the bigger a tank the better (I’m never satisfied with the size of my tanks!).
You can ask us any questions in the comments section down below, though if you need an immediate answer there are other options. There is a lot of information in the questions that people have asked in the past on aquarium forums like Aquarium Advice. However, most people have shifted away to Facebook groups. Forums are nowhere near as active as they once were.
Below are some of the best large fish tank Facebook groups. However, it is likely there will be local Facebook fish groups where you will be able to find more specific advice for your climate and depending on the kind of fish available. I live in a city of 100,000 people and we have a vibrant Facebook fish page. You can also pick up much cheaper fish from local breeders than you can from the pet stores!
These are just a few of the thousands of fish tank groups. There are smaller niche groups for anything you can imagine, so you can be sure to receive any advice you need at any time of the day. There are always people willing and able to help you.
Community Fish Tank Resources
Besides the Facebook groups listed above, take a look at these great resources to learn how to start a community fish tank. Thanks for stopping by, and we’d love to hear from you in the comments section if you have anything you’d like to add.