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can be broadly divided into three disciplines,
freshwater, brackish, and marine fishkeeping.
Freshwater fishkeeping is by far the most popular branch of the hobby, with even small pet stores often selling a variety of freshwater fish, such as goldfish, guppies, and angelfish. While most freshwater aquaria are set up as community tanks containing a variety of peaceful species, many aquarists keep single-species aquaria with a view to breeding. Livebearing fish such as mollies and guppies are among the species that are most easily raised in captivity, but aquarists also regularly breed numerous other species, including many types of cichlid, catfish, characin, and killifish.
Marine aquaria are generally more difficult to maintain and the livestock is significantly more expensive, and as a result this branch of the hobby tends to attract more experienced fishkeepers. However, marine aquaria can be exceedingly beautiful, due to the attractive colours and shapes of the corals and coral reef fish kept in them. Temperate zone marine fish are not as commonly kept in home aquaria, primarily because they do not do well at room temperature. An aquarium containing these coldwater species usually needs to be either located in a cool room or else chilled using a refrigeration device.
Brackish water aquaria combine elements of both marine and freshwater fishkeeping, reflecting the fact that these aquaria contain water with a salinity in between that of freshwater and seawater. Fish kept in brackish water aquaria come from habitats with varying salinity, such as mangroves and estuaries and do not do well if permanently kept in freshwater aquaria. Although brackish water aquaria are not overly familiar to newcomers to the hobby, a surprising number of species prefer brackish water conditions, including the mollies, many gobies, some pufferfish, monos, scats, and virtually all the freshwater soles.
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