As a pet owner, you may be looking to add pet(s) to your cozy home. One that suits your lifestyle. You love the idea of dogs or cats, but you may not be able to keep them due to your apartment rules, or it’s too hard if you travel a lot or can’t afford to maintain one because of time or money. Well, the next best option are fishes! We have a guide to easy to care for fishes here, but what if you wanted something more…exotic and pretty? If you’re ready to put a little bit of extra care, here are 6 types of exotic aquarium pets that you might like!
1. Marimo – The Seaweed Ball
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Image by 2.bp.
Marimo is actually a plant or a moss ball. The word marimo means ‘seaweed ball’ in Japanese, and they are NOT moss at all! They are actually a rare form of circular or spherical algae, whereby there is no center or kennel inside, purely algae. It is very easy to care for a Marimo: no need to feed, change the aquarium or enclosure water once every 3 weeks, they can adapt easily in slightly acidic or in alkaline environment, and can survive with artificial light.
Marimo is a great ‘accessory’ for your aquarium, just put in one or two and you are done! If not, you may just keep the Marimo as a pet on its own, and its suitable for both beginners and advance hobbyists. They look really cool, and will certainly be a great conversation starter.
2. Discus – King Of The Aquarium
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The Discus fish is known as the King of the Aquarium and probably the most beautiful of all tropical fish. They are also one of the more difficult tropical fish to keep and is not recommended for beginners. The fish require excellent water conditions, frequent water changes and a water filter. It’s advisable to feed them with vitamins enriched flakes and live food such as small prawns. You can also purchase them online.
Discus fish comes in many different colours, so if you can’t decide on which to choose from, get the fish store or pet shop personnel to recommend one that suits your lifestyle. They may live peacefully within the environment with other fishes, just keep smaller species of fish and prawns away. There are 5 different species of Discus:
- Green – Beautiful stripy green fish with red spots.
- Brown – The easiest to keep and most common, highly adaptable and peaceful by nature.
- Spotted – Increasingly popular among hobbyists and this hardy fish comes in several colours.
- Red Turquoise – A striking fish with complex pattern of both turquoise and red markings.
- Heckel – A wild species with dark stripes down its body. This fish needs more acidic water condition compared to other Discus species.
- Pigeon Blood – Golden in coloured with black markings on its body with bright red eyes.
3. Arowana – The Wealthy Fish
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Here is a fish that is associated with wealth, and many business owners have one or two in their home and/or offices, to bring in the luck and ‘money’. The fish can grow up to 3 feet long, so you may need an aquarium that is big enough for the fish to swim, and make sure it’s secure as Arowana tends to jump. They are considered an aggressive breed and it is best not to keep any smaller fishes in the same enclosure. The fish requires a good filter as they are very sensitive.
Interestingly, many home or aquarium kept Arowana suffers from protruding or drooping eyes as they look downwards most of the time. Place a bright coloured ping pong ball on the water surface to keep them distracted and allowing them to play with it which would be sufficient to keep their eyes in good condition. Best to feed them with live food like frogs, small prawns and fishes, mealworms, and crickets.
There are 4 different types of Arowanas:
- Silver – Most common choice and the largest, sometimes growing up to 4 feet long.
- Black – Almost identical to the Silver Arowanas, but they are less hardy.
- Australian – Almost similar to their Asian counterparts. Pearly and spotted types are available.
- African – Their shape are slightly different from other species, and available in a variety of colours.
- Asian – Highly prized, but they are an endangered species.
4. Coloured Crayfish
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Crayfish are beautiful and colorful creatures suitable to for your home aquarium. There are more than 150 species around the world and they have a life expectancy of 2 to 3 years, but certain species may live longer. Crayfish are territorial animals, so make sure you don’t keep more than 2 of them in the same aquarium. If not, they will fight against each other for space. You need to have a secure enclosure or aquarium as they are a master of escape: crawling out of its enclosure or getting stuck in the water filter.
You only need to change its water once in a few weeks or when you see residue floating around the water surface. Crayfish feeds on fish pallets, fresh vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, and spinach. However, do remove any leftovers from the aquarium as the vegetables may create a murky water condition. It’s best to keep them away from small fishes if you have no intention of turning of of your pets into a crayfish’s meal!
5. Fancy Goldfish
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Who says goldfish are easy to care for, and they are NOT meant to be kept in a bowl! To begin with, you need a good quality water filter, an aquarium that can contain enough water for the waste dilution, and enough room for the fish to grow. Some larger species are capable to grow up to 18 inches in length! Goldfish are known to excrete huge amount of ammonia and nitrite, and eventually monitoring the fish to make sure that the level of nitrate is low, hence, frequent change of water is a must!
Surprisingly, goldfish are omnivores, meaning they will feed on plant materials, and fish eggs, insects and smaller fishes. However, you may get fish pellets that are catered for goldfish as these pallets will sink slowly so your fish may feed on them without sucking in any air, which is bad for them.
6. Coloured Shrimps
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Don’t get confused between a crayfish and a shrimp. Shrimps are smaller in size compared to their larger counterpart, and there are many types of shrimp species. However, few common types are:
- Ghost Shrimps – Clear and transparent shell or body. Usually sold as food for larger species of aquatic animals.
- Red Cherry Shrimp – Clear to slightly pinkish with some small red dots.
- Taiwan or Sakura Cherry Shrimp – The females have much darker or brighter red, whereas males have pinkish to red colour on their bodies.
- Painted Fire Red shrimp – Females have dark red looking shell as if they were painted with a thick coat of red paint, without any clear or white spots.
- Blue Diamond Shrimp – Bright blue in colour, similar to Fire Red Shrimp only in blue, with light blue stripes on their body.
Shrimps are highly adaptable and you can keep them together with smaller species of fishes. Depending on the size of your aquarium, do not keep too many of them in one enclosure as they can be aggressive with each other. You need a good water filter and a pump as shrimps require water movement within their environment, and it’s best to change its water on a weekly basis. Though shrimps are scavengers by nature, you may also add in shrimp or fish pallets, vegetables like carrots and spinach and remove any left overs. You may also add in a Marimo or two into the aquarium as the shrimps may pick onto any food that is stuck on it.