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Fish Breeds, Care, and
Evan Faison
Heritage High School
Animal Science 2: Small Animals
Fish Terminology and Nomenclature
A. Ornamental fish - are fish kept for their appearance (bright colors and fancy
fins), personal appeal to people, and are not usually used for food.
B. Tropical fish - are popular fish for aquariums that come from the warmer
regions of the world.
C. Marine fish - are fish that are kept in salt water aquariums. Marine fish are often
more colorful than freshwater varieties.
Fish Terminology and Nomenclature
D. Freshwater fish - are fish that are kept in a freshwater
tank. Often, they are the most popular fish for pets.
E. Community fish - are fish that do well in an aquarium with other
fish species.
• Examples include: Tetras, barbs, catfish, Mollies, Platys, and
Fish Terminology and Nomenclature
F. Species fish - do best in an aquarium with fish of the same species.
• Examples include: Blind Cave Fish, Piranhas, Red-Tailed Shark,
Schomburgk’s Leaf Fish, Spiny eels, Killifish (one pair alone in an
aquarium), Betas (alone in an aquarium).
G. Live-bearers - are fish that give birth to live young.
• Examples include: Guppies, Mollies, Platys, and Swordtails.
Fish Terminology and Nomenclature
Egg layers - are fish that expel eggs from the female to be fertilized
by the male.
• Examples of egg layers are: tetras, barbs, catfish, and goldfish.
J. Shoals - are small colonies of fish. Some species prefer to live in
shoals such as African Red fin, Catfish, and Tetras.
Fresh Water Fish
Egg Laying Fish- Goldfish
• A very popular and hardy “first” fish for many children.
• Hardy and easy to keep fresh water fish that prefer pools or cold
water aquariums that have temperatures in the range of 32 - 68°F.
• Goldfish can live in various types of water as long as water is kept
• Koi are a member of the goldfish family used in cold water
aquariums. Koi may grow to 3'in length in a pool of adequate size.
Egg Laying Fish- Beta
• Freshwater fish that are very aggressive.
• Betas are frequently kept alone as a specimen fish in a
species – only aquarium.
• Males must never be put in the same aquarium. Betas
prefer an 800 F ± 3° tank.
Egg Laying Fish-Tetras
• These are easy to medium care ornamental fish that prefer
soft water that is slightly acidic.
• It is a very sociable fish and does well in community
aquariums. Tetras average 1 ½ - 3" in length.
• One species is the neon.
Egg Laying Fish-Catfish
• Species grown as ornamentals include the Upside-down
catfish, Glass catfish, and the Electric catfish.
• Prefer their water temperature to be 700 – 800 F.
Egg Laying Fish-Chinese Algae Eater
• Soaking loach that grows up to 10" long when the aquarium
size permits.
• It has large fleshy lips, can cling to vegetation, rocks, or the sides of a
glass aquarium.
• Chinese algae eaters are good community fish and feed off algae.
• They prefer a water temperature between 70° - 80° F.
Live Bearing Fish-Guppies
• Most popular and varieties only differ in shapes of their fins and tails.
• Water temperatures for guppies are between 68° – 75° F.
• May average giving birth to 50 young, but adults may eat the
young fry.
Live Bearing Fish-Swordtail
• Like environments similar to guppy, known for its long
sword-like caudal fin.
• Swordtails average 3 – 4 ¾ "long and prefer water
temperatures between 68° and 70° F.
Live Bearing Fish-Mollies
• Most Mollie species are black and differ only in the
size of their fins.
• Prefer water temperatures to be 72° – 82° F.
• Like groups or schools, Mollies have problem with large fins may
have fins grow so large swimming is difficult.
• Mollies prefer to dwell in large schools.
Live Bearing Fish-Platys
• These fish are very popular.
• They average only 2 1/2"in length and like water
temperature to be 68° – 77° F.
Salt Water Fish
• Some can live in freshwater.
• They have a delicate appearance but are very hardy.
• Angelfish prefer water temperature to be 77° – 86°F.
• Eggs are carried in the parent’s mouth and placed either in
foliage or sand as part of the incubation process.
• Small popular colorful fish for marine aquariums.
• They like water temperatures to be 79° – 82° F and prefer a diet of brine
• The Royal Gamma is the suggested Brasslet for beginner marine aquarists.
• Royal Gamma mixes well with other fish species, but must be isolated
from their own species because of their extremely aggressive nature.
Clown Fish
• Clown fish are orange in color with three
white bands encircling the body.
• Each white band is edged in black.
• Fins are also orange edged in black.
• Clown fish are known for their ability to live around the tentacles of the
sea anemone in a mutually beneficial relationship known as symbiosis.
Sargeant Major
• Sargeant Major is a marine fish that grows to 7 inches in
• It is silver-blue in color with a yellow tinge on its body and
has seven vertical dark bands on each side.
Fish Terminology and Nomenclature
K. Spawning - is the reproduction ritual where eggs are deposited and
fertilized by egg laying species of fish.
L. Gonopodium – Modification of anal fin into a tube-shaped organ in male
live-bearers that provides passage for sperm packets to enter the oviduct of
the female.
M. Scales - are thin, bony plates that develop from and are embedded in
dermis. Scales overlap each other and provide protection. The exposed
part of the scale is covered with a thin layer of epidermis that produces a
slimy mucous which protects the fish from water born bacteria.
Water Maintenance
A. Freshwater fish do not need to drink water because their body salt
concentration is higher than the water.
B. Saltwater fish have a lower concentration of salt in their bodies than
in the water.
• Therefore they must drink water to keep from dehydrating.
Classification of Fish Based on Feeding Habit
• Bottom feeders (dwellers) are fish that inhabit the lower level of the
aquarium and feed off the bottom.
• Their mouth may be turned down or “under slung” and they may
have barbs to help them locate food.
• Example: Barbs
Classification of Fish Based on Feeding Habit
• Middle feeders (middle-water fish) primarily occupy the middle layer
of the aquarium and usually have small mouths that are straight
forward because they are eating feed that is straight in front of them.
Classification of Fish Based on Feeding Habit
• Top feeders usually eat from the surface and occupy the upper levels
of the aquarium.
• Often, their mouths will be turned upward and they will have long
streamlined bodies designed for rapid movement to help them catch
• Some fish like goldfish do not show a preference for the level of the
Physiology of Fish Respiration
• Use organs called gills to breathe.
• Water is drawn through the mouth by constant opening and closing
of the mouth.
• Forces water into the pharynx and out through gills.
• Dissolved oxygen in water is taken into the blood and CO2 is released
into the water from the gills.
Physiology of Fish Respiration
• A few species of fish come to the surface and gulp air into their
• They are able to use atmospheric oxygen because part of their
intestines allow for intake of oxygen.
• The air is then swallowed into the digestive system and taken into the
Physiology of Fish Movement
• Most bony fish have rayed fins that consist of web of skin supported
by bone or cartilage rods called rays.
• Rays can be sharp, soft, or spiny
• Fins are very flexible
• Fins are a moveable structure that allows the fish to swim and
maintain balance.
Physiology of Fish Movement
• Most fish have at least one fin along their back (dorsal), one
underside near the tail (anal), and one tail fin (caudal).
• Some have a small, fleshy fin located between the dorsal and
caudal called an adipose fin.
• Fish also have a pair of fins located behind the head called
the pectoral and the pelvic located behind them.
Stocking Rate for Aquariums
1 inch of fish requires a MINIMUM OF:
• Tropical fish aquarium 10 square inches of surface area
• Cold water aquarium 30 square inches of surface area
• Marine aquarium 48 square inches of surface area