Aquatic Degrees of Difficulty in Keeping:

LEVEL 1     Very easy to keep.  Hardy and generally able to withstand the mistakes a new aquarium keeper may make, such as overfeeding or inadequate filter maintenance.  Will tolerate a broad range of water conditions.

LEVEL 2     Easy to keep.  Fairly hardy and a good choice for the novice aquarist.  Will tolerate a broad range of water conditions as far as pH and hardness go, but may not be able to withstand the high levels of ammonia and nitrite in a new aquarium.  Additions are best made once the tank is mature and there are no measurable amounts of nitrite or ammonia in the tank.

LEVEL 3     Moderate.  Recommended for the seasoned aquarist, as either the size or inability to adapt to changing water conditions make this fish a challenge to care for.  Generally doesn’t adapt to tap water sources (city mains or well supplies,) and alteration of the water composition may be required (lowering the pH and or hardness, filtering through peat for rainforest fishes, or increasing the pH and hardness for fishes from alkaline waters with a high pH, like the rift lake cichlids) or the need for a  species tank may  make this a fish best left to the experienced fish keeper.

LEVEL 4     Difficult.  Specific parameters to water quality and constant attention by the fish keeper restrict the keeping of this fish to the advanced aquarist.  This fish is highly sensitive to metabolic wastes (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate,) and generally delicate.  The fish keeper must exercise diligence in maintenance of the filter and performing regular water changes to keep this fish healthy and in good condition.

LEVEL 5     Very difficult.  Even the most experienced aquarist will have difficulty successfully caring for this fish in captivity.  Most specimens are wild caught and do not adapt well to the confines and conditions of an aquarium.  This fish does not travel or acclimate well to new environments.  Newly imported specimens are often highly stressed, prone to disease, and may refuse to eat.  Another factor to be considered is a massive adult size.  While not all the fish listed as "very difficult" are monstrous, it definitely is a factor for some of them.  There are many fish commonly available that simply are far too large as adults to be housed in the average home aquarium.

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