Keeping freshwater fish as pets

Owning aquarium fish can be rewarding, but it's a big responsibility. Fish aren't simple creatures to look after. They have very specific needs and require attentive and routine care.  

Fish species

There are many different breeds of goldfish and species of tropical fish and each has different needs.


Goldfish were first bred in China over 4,500 years ago. Brought to England in the 18th century, goldfish have remained the most popular cold-water pet fish. Lots of people think goldfish live for about five years and generally grow to about 12cm in length. In actual fact, they're known to live for up to 25 years and some can reach over 40cm!

Freshwater tropical fish

Freshwater tropical fish come from tropical areas of the world. Tropical fish come in a variety of colours, shapes and behaviours. As with other species, different species of fish have different behaviour. For example, some are 'shoaling fish' who feel more secure when kept as a group. Others aren't very social and will fight with either their own kind or other species.

Understanding the needs of pet fish

Fish can be challenging to keep. They can't show their feelings as clearly as mammals do and meeting their complex needs takes a great deal of preparation, investment, time and care.

Learn more about the needs of fish and find out about caring for them in their environment, diet, company and health and welfare.

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