Hardy freshwater fish


New Member
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HI Everyone,
I could use a little help with this question.
I am trying to decide what kind of freshwater fish I should keep.
I am new to all this  and could use some input .
I have a 29 gallon tank that has been cycling for about two weeks.

I am looking for a hardy freshwater fish to start out with.
I like the Angelfish but they look very delicate and hard to keep.
My husband likes the Bala Shark,but that fish will grow to be too large for my tank.
I understand that the Bala Shark and Angelfish make good tank mates.

Can you tell me about how fast the Bala Shark will grow?

Are these fish hardy enough for a beginner?
I don't want to make a bad chose .



Active Member
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5 to 10 years
I am also beggining a new tank. First of all good luck. Second of all I would say it is a good idea to keep cheaper fish that it wouldnt hurt to lose if somehing were to go wrong. I was pointed towards the black skirt tetra, or guppies, mollys, gouramis. And I am pretty sure that most of these will take to your other fish. Be careful about what you want with your angelfish they tend to be aggresive. On the other hand a friend of mine has a 65 g community tank with a couple bala sharks, tetras, and he introduced a small angelfish into the tank six months ago and there does not seem to be a problem. When adding new tank mates try to reorganize the ornaments and the fish seem to all take on new territories, limiting stressful times on tank mates picking on one another. Good luck again. I will check in hopefully people can name more of the hardier fish for us.


Well Known
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More than 10 years
The angel should be fine... The bala shark is a no no with a 29... Don't even think about getting it anymore...

As far as Hardy fish... Minnows and live breeders are pretty tough fish. I do not know about all of the different species of shark so maybe someone else could suggest a suitable shark for your set up.


Fishlore Legend
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Denver, Colorado
Just started
Gargoyle's suggestion of minnows (the white cloud mountain minnows are pretty fish) and livebearers (guppys or platys would be my favorites there, but there's also swordtails and mollys) is great and Zebra Danios are very hardy.

The White Cloud Mountain Minnow only get to 2" but like the water cooler than many other fish.
Zebra Danios get to about 2", but 6 or more are recommended to keep them behaving better with other fish.

Livebearers like to have 3 or more of their own type and if you don't want babies, get all males:
Guppys get to 2" usually. The neon blue guppys are especially nice but bigger than other guppy types (3")
Platys get to about 2" and great fish.
get to 2-4" and we really like the dalmation mollies.
Swordtails are the biggest livebearers at 5".

You can really get any number and combination that you want, but the general rule is 29" of fish for a 29g. Livebearers will breed like crazy if you get any females and all of the fish above will show more schooling behavior with more fish of that type.


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When I started out I got some Platys. You can also get all females but most likely they will be pregnant when you buy them. I have a fry tank with 8 of them right now and I am giving them to my LFS when they are a little bit bigger. Angels can do ok in a community set up but they also can grow to be quite big and the bigger they get the more aggressive they will get. I have a tank with three male guppies and when I first put them in there they were stiff and nipped at each other for a day. They managed to establish their pecking order and are all three good buddies now. It looks scary at first but they got over it fast. Most all male fish groups will.

You can also get Zebra danios. They say get at least 6 to start but I have had these fish for several years and having two or three is just fine. They are only 1.5 inches long at the most and don't pig up your tank or make big filtration demands. Even just two or three will chase each other and play non-stop. The only time I have seen a problem is when I had only one for a while. He just swam around all quiet and ignored the other fish. Once he got two buddies, he was zooming around the tank instantly. But again, he was acting very healthy on his own, just not as active. These fish also tend to be around a dolloar in cost so if they don't survive the rest of the tank cycling, it isn't going to break the bank. They are sometimes used as dither fish, which means that they are put in with shyer, more skittish fish and the playfulness of the zebras will bring them out of hiding. They really are a good bet. There are also leopard danios and pearl danios that are the same fish essentially but look a little different and you can mix them. They will school together. There are also "Glo" Danios that come in bright, beautiful colors but are a little spendier but are the same fish and are very hardy. Good luck with everything!

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