220 IDEAL HOME LIFE
some of which can be secured in nearly every pond and stream. They are generally annuals and do not live indefinitely, and the most satisfactory ones are those handled by the dealers, since these are cultivated especially for the purpose. These for the most part have been introduced from the tropics, where they flourish perennially.
Stocking the Aquarium
The beginner should start as simply as possible with only the commoner and hardier fishes, and wait until he has proved successful with these before attempting to handle rare or expensive stock. Carps and the ordinary goldfishes known as "commons" are undoubtedly the best for the beginner who is within easy reach of a dealer. The highly bred, fancy varieties of goldfishes are less hardy.
Almost any of the native fishes may be easily kept and will prove interesting and attractive. Catfishes are perhaps the most hardy, but the various suckers and many of the minnows, as well as young sunfishes, basses, etc., which can be collected with the aid of a small dip net, can be kept readily. The local species should be studied much more commonly than they are at present. Why so many people are satisfied to keep ordinary goldfishes when there is at hand an abundance of attractive native fishes of more lively habits and graceful form, is only to be explained by the fact that the former give so little trouble and can be bought of a dealer instead of collected at a brook.
Overstocking is the most serious error into which the beginner is likely to fall. In his enthusiasm for the fishes and his love for their attractive colors and movements, he places more specimens in his tank than can be readily provided with oxygen. Often, when they are not all affected in a short time, the result may be that they are gradually enervated until the loss of some of them establishes a proper balance of the animal and vegetable life. Until the management of the aquarium is thoroughly mastered, the rule should be to keep well under the limit of animal life.
There are, of course, many sorts of animals besides fishes that are adapted to aquarium life. The tadpoles, larvae of frogs