As different mutations are combined, Rams are getting further from their wild ancestors. Originally a seasonally colourful dwarf cichlid that demands warm softwater with low nitrates, their descendants such as this Longfin electric blue ram (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) are far more forgiving thanks to generations of domestication. This batch were looking good at our Cheddar store.

As the pond season starts to gear up for the traditional Easter kick off, it’s a good time to look at one of the most overlooked choices for the garden pond. Whether in silver or gold form, Rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus) are a hardy native fish that enjoy life in a planted pond and can earn their keep thanks to a healthy appetite for pesky duckweed. Thanks to being housed in an aquarium linked to the pond system, this batch at Reading offered a more unusual side view.

Thanks to their territorial nature, it can be all too easy to assemble a community of reef fish where peace is a result of armed neutrality. If your aquarium is home to the type of residents that aren’t afraid to throw their weight around, you might want to consider the Royal dottyback (Pictichromis paccagnellorum). This Royal gramma lookalike is a spicy little grouper in miniature that will eagerly defend its chosen home without looking for too much trouble. Looking good at Thornbury, it’s important to give these fish a quality dry food to help maintain their bright colours over the long term.

Large gouramis have always been popular additions to communities of bigger fish and they don’t come much larger than the Snakeskin gourami (Trichopodus pectoralis) without getting a bit silly with tankbusters such as Osphronemus. A large fish with a small mouth, snakeskins can be kept in groups much like Pearl gouramis and pose little threat to all but the smallest of tankmates.

As temperatures start to warm after winter, some of the temperate fishes in our stores respond by showing some of their best colour. These Rainbow shiners (Notropis chrosomus) at Mere Park are just starting to display the dazzling blue highlights that make them one of the most glamorous choices for a large unheated set up.

Available in a staggering range of colours and patterns, the small shrimp Neocaridina davidi has taken the world of aquaria by storm. With distinctive black saddle and clear markings, it’s hard to imagine that this Carbon rilli shrimp is the same species as the bright red Cherry shrimp. In all forms, these shrimps make the perfect choice for the type of small aquaria that first time keepers might be tempted to cram a goldfish in for the kids. A mix of colours such as those we saw at our Scotsdale store would make a great first foray into the world of aquarium keeping and are a lot less work than goldfish.