5 Different Types of Glofish
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Glofish took the American market by storm once they were introduced in the early 2000s. These strains of genetically engineered fluorescent fish are the rarest of them all. And they are very mesmerizing to look at. If you’re interested and want to buy some of these glow-in-the-dark fish for your community aquarium, keep reading.
Today, I’ll cover all the 5 types of glofish you can choose from. From behavior to diet, to habitat, and tankmates, I’ll tell you everything you need to decide which strain works best for your aquarium. So, let’s get right into it!
1. Glofish Barbs
Except for its vivid glow-in-the-dark colors, this glofish looks exactly like its parent species. It has a flat body covered in dark tiger-like stripes. It has the signature forked tail shape specific to barbs.
This glofish is also around the same size, growing up to 2-3 inches at most. Its distinguishing characteristic lies in its neon coloring. You can choose between bright electric green, starfire red, and sunburst orange.
Tiger barbs are a peculiar species. They’re very active and curious and tend to seek out ways to entertain themselves. They’re quite sociable within their own species and they can often be seen shoaling. However, they’re also competitive and extremely aggressive.
Males are always trying to fight to establish their place in the pecking order. Tiger barbs can get easily irritated by other fish in the tank, especially slow-moving fish. And unlike other species, tiger barbs don’t get aggressive as a form of territorial display. They simply don’t like other fish.
Like its parent species, this glofish is omnivorous. It can enjoy a variety of foods as long as you feed it a balanced diet. A combination of flakes, pellets, frozen, and live food is best. With regards to feeding frequency, you can feed a barb once to twice a day.
Foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and beef heart are good for protein, B vitamins, and healthy fatty acids. Plants like algae pellets, carrots, and peas contain vitamins and plant pigments to keep the fish healthy and colorful.
Barbs are energetic and feisty fish. They require plenty of space to move and go about their day without causing an altercation. You’ll need a tank of at least 30 gallons to house them. In their natural habitat, barbs enjoy warm and slow-moving waters.
For your tank, a 74-79°F water temperature is ideal. The pH should be around 6.0-7.0 (slightly acidic to neutral), and the general hardness should be up to 10 dGH at most. Nitrate levels should be below 20 ppm. Finally, the water movement should be moderate.
If you plan to keep barbs in a community tank, adding some plants and hideouts will come in handy. These decorations can help the fish avoid confrontation by offering hiding spaces for smaller or bullied fish.
Glofish barbs don’t get along with small, mellow, or slow-moving tankmates. Your barbs might end up bullying the poor tankmates until the fish get sick from stress. However, you shouldn’t house barbs together with aggressive fish either. This will just end in endless fights between the fish in the tank.
The best tankmates for barbs would be similar in size and temperament, and maybe even belong to the same species. Some of the best choices include danios, platies, plecos, corydoras, neon tetras, clown loaches, as well as rosy, cherry, and tinfoil barbs.
2. Glofish Bettas
Bettas are some of the most beautiful and mesmerizing fish species. They’re known for their long, smooth-flowing fins and the large variety of tail shapes. You can choose between round, spade, halfmoon, and veil-shaped tails, among many others.
And this species gets even more eye-grabbing once you factor in the super cool glowing neon colors. The most commonly available glofish betta colors right now are electric green and bright yellow. But it wouldn’t be surprising for more strains to appear. This species generally grows up to 2-3 inches. Males tend to appear larger due to their voluminous tails and fins.
Despite its angelic appearance, the betta fish is one of the most aggressive fish you can keep. It’s also known as the “siamese fighting fish”, so you can guess where its bad reputation comes from.
Bettas are quick to feel threatened and just as quick to defend themselves and their territory. They will fight other betta males, other fish, and sometimes even female bettas. If they get enough room, their aggressive tendencies go down but they might still chase and hurt other fish if something angers them.
They’re solitary by nature and like their me-time more than anything else. Their body language is also unique. Bettas can clamp their fins when they feel angry or anxious. So, stiff, smaller-looking fins are a telltale sign of an unhappy betta. When they’re happy and relaxed, their fins stay open and flowing.
Betta fish are omnivorous and require a high protein and high fiber diet to thrive. You should feed them twice a day. Keeping a regular feeding program is also a good idea. As for the food, you can’t go wrong with feeding your bettas either brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia.
Live or dried are both good. Commercial betta fish flakes or pellets are also an economical alternative with excellent shelf life. These fish food products contain all the protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins that the fish need to stay healthy, strong, and colorful.
Bettas do best in moderate water conditions. In their natural habitats, they live in mildly warm and slow-moving waters. The closer you get to recreating their natural living conditions, the better. Aim for a water temperature between 72-81°F with a pH between 6.8-7.0. Besides a mildly warm temperature and a neutral pH, bettas also prefer hard or slightly hard water.
Keep the dGH below 17 though, as this species doesn’t do well in very hard water. The water movement should be kept to a minimum so avoid filters and pumps that create a strong current. When it comes to size, you’ll need at least 4-5 gallons worth of water for just one betta.
This species is highly territorial and needs a lot of space to move around. Finally, bettas can get bored easily. They like searching for ways to keep themselves entertained. Adding some plants, rocks, hideouts, and driftwood to the tank will give the fish something to explore.
Given their aggressive tendencies, bettas should be kept away from other fish, especially other bettas. There’s a lot of competition between the males of this species. If you plan to keep multiple fish in the same tank, your best bet is to keep one betta male and a few betta females.
But even then, keep an eye out on them. In some cases, you can keep bettas together with small, peaceful fish such as guppies, kuhli loaches, and cory catfish. But try introducing the bettas and smaller fish at the same time. Adding other fish to the aquarium later will make the bettas more likely to attack.
3. Glofish Danios
Danios fish don’t usually stand out. The species originally came in a variety of earthy shades, until now. Now you can find the entire rainbow of danios glofish. You can choose between green, blue, orange, red, and purple. This upgrade just took this fish to a new level!
Besides the fluorescent bright colors, this fish looks just like you’d expect from its species. It has a small, elongated body and grows up to 2 inches. It has a few rows of thin, horizontal lines along its body and fins. The fins and tail are small and delicate-looking.
Danios are just about as harmless as they look. This species is very peaceful and sociable. These fish like shoaling and can even get stressed and depressed when they are lonely. They get along with any other peaceful fish. However, they tend to lose their patience around large, slow-moving fish.
In these cases, you might notice them picking on their mellow tankmates, usually by nipping at their fins. Within their group, they organize themselves in a social hierarchy. But unlike other fish species, they do so through non-aggressive behavior.
This species is omnivorous and can eat a variety of lower-fat animal and plant-based foods. In the wild, they eat mostly worms, small crustaceans, and various types of algae. You can easily replicate their diet using a combination of fish flakes and algae pellets.
They can also enjoy low-sugar vegetables such as peas, spinach, and zucchini. Either dried or live bloodworms and daphnia can make a nice nutritious addition to the diet once a week. But don’t feed them too much of these foods, as they are too high in fat. As for feeding frequency, twice a day is the universal recommendation.
This species lives in a variety of habitats in the wild. It’s quite adaptable and its needs aren’t that hard to meet. These facts make Danios the perfect beginner fish as well as tank mates in a community aquarium.
As a general rule, they need neutral to slightly alkaline water with a pH of 7.0-7.8. The ideal temperature for Danios ranges from 70-78°F. You can keep them in soft to medium-hard water (dGH below 8).
The species is quite small and doesn’t need a lot of space to move around freely. However, you should aim for a tank 10 gallons or higher. Because they’re so sociable, keeping them in a crammed tank might put them in a hyperactive state.
You can keep Danios together with other species similar in size and temperament. Avoid housing them together with large, long-fined, slow-moving, or aggressive fish.
Other than that, you have a lot of freedom to pick and choose multiple species for a community tank. To give you some ideas, you can keep this species together with swordtails, guppies, mollies, platies, kuhli loachs, cory catfish, honey gourami, smaller barbs, and other danios, just to name a few.
4. Glofish Tetras
Glofish tetras are bred from black skirt tetras so they have the same body shape and a prominent anal fin. However, while the original strain only comes in silver, black, and white, the glofish strain is a lot more diverse.
You can choose between electric green, starfire red, sunburst orange, cosmic blue, moonrise pink, and galactic purple. Now we’re talking! When it comes to body size, both strains are similar. This glofish can reach up to 2.5 inches in length.
Tetras are calm and peaceful fish. They can also be pretty shy, so don’t be surprised if you see them hiding every once in a while. They like spending most of their time in big groups of at least 5-7 members, so it’s a good idea to adopt multiple tetras at a time.
Because they swim in schools most of the time, they require a large aquarium. Tetras get along with most fish and they’re accepting of new tankmates. Despite their peaceful disposition though, they seem to have a problem with long-finned fish. Something about the long flowing fins just makes them want to nip on the tails of their tankmates.
Tetras are low-maintenance when it comes to food. They don’t eat that much, and you must feed them only once a day. A good portion is anything they can eat in 3-4 minutes. The unique thing about tetras though is that, compared to most other fish, they’re mainly insectivores. In the wild, they eat mostly live insects and whatever plant matter they can find.
In captivity, they can thrive on simple flakes and pellets. You can add some leafy plants into the mix every once in a while. You don’t really have to worry about live or frozen food with this species. However, if you want, you can still feed your tetras some brine shrimp or daphnia once a week.
This fish species is very sensitive to fluctuations in water parameters and cleanliness. The aquarium water should be as clean as possible at all times. Keeping your fish in a larger aquarium and investing in a good quality filter can help you with that.
With regards to parameters, tetras require warm, soft, and slightly acidic to slightly alkaline water. The temperature should fall between 70-85°F, and the water hardness should be between 4-8 dGH. A pH value between 6.0-7.5 is ideal.
The aquarium size is another important requirement. Tetras are an active, schooling species and they need lots of space to gather and move around freely. At least 15 gallons is required for a small school of 5 tetras. But closer to 20 gallons is even better.
The tank should also be amply decorated with plants, rocks, driftwood, and various hiding spots. Remember, tetras are shy and they need hiding places. Without those, they can become stressed and unhealthy.
Tetras are shy but peaceful. However, they don’t make the best tank mates for long-finned fish. Because of the nipping, they represent a danger for such species. Other than that, they get along well with any type of friendly fish.
A good first option would be to keep glofish tetras with black skirt tetras. Since they’re basically the same fish, they’ll get along perfectly. Other suitable tankmates include other strains of tetras, rasboras, mollies, gouramis, danios, dwarf cichlids, and cory catfish.
5. Glofish Sharks
This glofish is a strain of the beloved rainbow shark. You can say that glofish sharks put the “rainbow” in “rainbow shark” because you can choose between so many vivid colors. The original strain comes in dark grey or black.
The glofish variant comes in cosmic blue, electric green, galactic purple, and sunburst orange. Unlike the original strain, the glofish doesn’t have different colored body and fins. Apart from coloring, these two look exactly the same. They have the same thin, elongated body and short, forked tail. They can reach up to 6 inches in length.
Maybe the name “shark” is a misnomer. This species isn’t aggressive or threatening, like what you’d expect of a bona fide shark. In the wild, this fish is calm and passive. It only becomes semi-aggressive when introduced into a community aquarium.
Adult sharks are very competitive and have territorial tendencies. With not enough room or food to go around, these traits become evident. They sometimes head-butt, chase, or bite other fish to intimidate them.
On the other hand, young sharks are shy and they prefer staying hidden. This is a bottom-dwelling species, so keeping them with other bottom-dwelling fish can lead to territorial disputes.
Sharks are omnivores so you can feed them pretty much anything. Animal and plant-based foods are both equally important in the diet. Focus on high protein foods and supplement the rest of the diet with fibrous, low-sugar vegetables.
Foods like insect larvae, zooplankton, bloodworms, and brine shrimp are all great choices for protein and fats. Algae tablets and green vegetables like lettuce, spinach, and peas are also a great addition to the diet. They offer plenty of vitamins and plant pigments that keep your fish colorful.
Sharks need to eat a little but often. In the wild, they spend a lot of time grazing along the bottom of the water. Feeding them three times a day, at regular intervals, should be enough. Remember that the food must sink to the bottom of the aquarium because sharks are mostly bottom feeders.
Sharks have different requirements compared to other fish on this list. Most importantly, they require a lot of space and they prefer fast-flowing water. A tank with a low fish-to-water ratio and lots of water movement is perfect for them.
An aquarium of at least 50 gallons or more will be necessary for housing this species. The water parameters are similar to those of other species. The temperature should be between 72–79°F. The water should be slightly acidic to slightly alkaline (pH between 6.5–7.5).
Finally, the water should be soft to moderately hard (5-11 dGH). Plants and decorations are recommended for hiding places. Young sharks spend a lot of time hiding. Hiding places also help in reducing aggressive behavior. Finally, a sandy substrate is best for bottom-feeding species like rainbow sharks.
You shouldn’t house sharks with other bottom-dwelling fish. Sharks are also not good tankmates for shy and mellow fish. Your best bet would be tankmates that are peaceful but still able to defend themselves.
Fish that swim in the middle or upper level of the aquarium are also great. Some suitable tankmates include danios, barbs, plecos, loaches, rasboras, and gouramis. And you can always keep sharks together with other sharks. But you’ll need to consider the aquarium space requirements for that.
There you have it! Most of these fish species are easy to care for and have similar water parameter requirements. Danios and tetras are similar in size and they’re both very friendly and peaceful. These two make great additions to any community tank.
Barbs, bettas, and sharks are more territorial and aggressive, so they need a lot more space and fewer tankmates. I hope this article helped you get a better idea about each of these species. Let me know which one you’d choose for your aquarium and why!