Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Welcome - Karen Youngs, editor

The first tank I ever set up my­self , 30-odd years ago now, was a sim­ple 60cm/two-foot com­mu­nity, com­plete with air-driven un­der­gravel fil­tra­tion and plants (mod­ern aquas­ca­pers may gasp in horror, but that’s the way it was back then). To top it all, one of the first fish I bought for said two-footer was a Red-tailed black shark. Oh, how naive I was! Some­how I man­aged to get away with it and there was very lit­tle chas­ing — I must have had the most laid-back shark on the planet — but these days, of course, I know bet­ter, and my cur­rent RTBS re­sides in some­thing three times that size.

But there are a lot of fish you can keep in a two foot tank — and there are many more species to choose from now than there were back then. It’s the per­fect size for a com­mu­nity, biotope, aquas­cape — and great to set up for breed­ing some­thing like dwarf ci­ch­lids. Turn to page 70 to dis­cover our top 23 fish for a tank of this size, along with some great in­spi­ra­tional ideas and advice on set­ting up.

This is­sue also in­cludes a per­sonal favourite of mine — Cho­co­late gourami (page 56). I’m cur­rently run­ning a biotope set-up for a group of Vail­lant’s choco­lates and I’ve found them in­cred­i­bly peace­ful, grace­ful and very re­lax­ing to watch.

Or why not set some­thing up for one of the hottest cool­wa­ter fish out there at the mo­ment? The Rain­bow shiner is a tech­ni­colour beauty that’s peace­ful, easy to keep and doesn’t need a heater. Be­lieve me when I say this fish is red hot! Find out more on page 8.

Take ad­van­tage of the warmer weather and the forth­com­ing school hol­i­days and head to the beach with a net and bucket for some fam­ily time. Rock­pool­ing will keep the young­sters en­ter­tained, it’s ed­u­ca­tional — and best of all, it’s free! Take a look at what you can find on page 62.

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