Keeping 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.
There are many different breeds of goldfish and different species of tropical fish, and each has different needs. We look at the most common types on our page on fish behaviour.
First bred in China over 4,500 years ago, goldfish were brought to England in the 18th century and 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. But 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 and there's no limit to their variety of colours, shapes and behaviours. Different species have different behaviour - for example, some are 'shoaling fish', and 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.
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