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Steve's guide for tapfishers

TapFish with More Fish and Less Tapping

Having recently reached level 60, Tap Fish 2's practical limit (higher levels require an absurd amount of repetitive effort, and give you relatively nothing in return), I thought I should share my experience with other tapfishers. I'm going to assume that people more or less have the following goal: create lots of pretty tanks with a reasonable but minimal investment of time and money. That goal contains several key elements that we'll cover in detail below. You can only have as many tanks as your level, so to create lots of tanks you have to go up lots of levels, which takes experience points. To decorate the tanks, and to buy and breed fish (which gives you experience points), you're going to need coins and fishbucks. So you play TF2 in three, slightly overlapping phases: 1) accumulate coins, 2) accumulate experience, and 3) make pretty tanks. Here is my advice for doing that reasonably efficiently.


If you're going to play TF2, and probably get addicted, then accept the fact that it will cost you some real money. Play around for free for while and try it out, but then make the decision: play and pay, or don't play at all. Without paying real money for fishbucks (FB), some activities will take a ridiculous amount of time, and many others will be unobtainable. Here is a nominal budget based on playing conservatively, with values for playing more seriously in parentheses:

- 8 (18) additional breeding tanks @40 FB = 320 (720) FB
- 2 (3) additional mystery breeding tanks @40 FB = 80 (120) FB
- 5 (10) premium fish @40 FB = 200 (400) FB
- Key backgrounds and decorations = 100 (200) FB

That totals 700 FB for playing conservatively, and 1440 FB for playing seriously (IMHO, anything more is playing foolishly or compulsively). The normal price of fishbucks is 650 FB for $20, or 1750 FB for $50, so we're talking a lot of money for a little time-waster app, and I discourage you from reading further--just forget you ever heard of this game. You can be sure that TF2, like all such apps, exploits numerous psychological tricks for getting you hooked, keeping the game on your mind, and luring you back. You probably won't be able to fully resist or avoid these temptations, just mitigate them. You have been warned. If you are undissuaded, read on.

1. Coin Phase

First, based on your expected style of play, buy your fishbucks in bulk. Key principle: as in real life, buy things on sale. TF2 has occasional sales on fishbucks, tanks, fish, and decorations. Be patient and wait. Be super stingy with your fishbucks.

Second, to start generating coins, you will want to breed the more valuable offspring. The most valuable is the Eagle Damsel, which sells for over 140K coins, and whose parents are the Eagle Ray and Damsel. You could just buy and breed this pair, or look for fish whose children are a bit prettier but still reasonably lucrative. You can find out their values in TF2's Trophies section, but the Damsel, Angler, and Ranchu tend to be the best investments.

The Super-Exotic limited-breedable pair Spottted Cardinal and Banggai Cardinal cost 800K coins apiece, and produce offspring that can be sold for 170K coins. Get this pair as soon as you can to start putting your Mystery breeding tanks to use.

Third, you will earn even more coins by buying and selling fish. The best "meat" fish is the White Grunt, when you can afford it, but you will work up to that from other fish, like the starter Green Snapper and the Super-Exotics Chromis and Golden Dwarf. The key feature of these fish, besides the high profit margin, is that they grow in exactly 24 hours. This will enable you to play TF2 just once a day at about the same time. You do not want the game intruding on your thoughts throughout the day, and you not want to be setting your alarm to wake up in the middle of the night to perform some stupid fish task. Many games in the TF2 genre lead to this kind of addictive behavior, and it can be hugely destructive. If you see a game exploiting human psychology destructively like that, denounce the company publicly.

Finally you will work up to some really high-value fish, and after a few rounds never need to worry about coins again.

To get the best price for your fish, their happiness should be over 90%. Since you get a +2% boost for loving a tank of fish, you really only need happiness of 88%. To raise their happiness, decorate the tanks. Eventually you will have some quality backgrounds, but initially you will rely on castles, plants, rocks, and the like. Don't make a mess of it: spend more coin on a small number of higher-value decorations instead of 10 cheap starfish. Soon you'll have all the coins you could ever spend, so 10K coins for a castle or volcano is nothing.

Miser's Rule #1: Never pay real money for coins.
Miser's Rule #2: Don't pay full price--wait for sales.
Miser's Rule #3: Never spend fishbucks on breeding speed-ups. If you need to speed up the breeding process, you don't have enough tanks.

2. Experience Phase

You get experience for doing two types of things: 1) buying, breeding, feeding, and selling fish and 2) visiting, loving, and cleaning tanks. As mentioned above, this can develop into compulsive behavior, so you want to get into a daily rhythm--don't try to race up levels by doing these things every few hours. Again, high-profit fish that grow in exactly 24 hours are the Chromis, Golden Dwarf, and White Grunt.

With experience you go up levels, and each new level means you can have one more tank, enabling you to breed more fish. This would be a virtuous circle, except...the number of experience points to attain the next level keeps going up. As a result, the game gets progressively more time-consuming and tedious, with level 60 being the practical maximum.

Time-Miser's Rule #1: If you are collecting experience points, DO NOT sell your fish individually, one by one--use the mass sell feature to sell the entire tank at once. Yes, it will cost you 15%, but you can afford it--by now you should have all the coins you need anyway. Sell fish individually when your tank contains keepers (e.g. an algae-eater) and/or the fish are high value (e.g. the Pink Skunk Clown Fish).

Time-Miser's Rule #2: Always buy food bricks. They may cost coins, but they save you time and tapping.

3. Aesthetics Phase

Eventually, when you have tired of mindlessly climbing the levels, your focus shifts from quantity to quality, and you start converting meat tanks to display tanks. I've visited countless random neighbors, and almost universally their tanks suck (which is why I'm writing this). I'm no professional artist or interior designer, but there are some basic visual design principles that everyone should know:

First, the two basic design elements that we care about most are color and shape. Second, the principles that we care about most are unity, variety, balance, and harmony. Put those elements and principles together, and you get a simple rule for making an aesthetically pleasing tank: combine a variety of fish that have something in common. It could be different colors of fish with a similar shape, or different shapes of fish with the same colors. Too much sameness (e.g. just one type of fish, or just one primary color) is boring; too much diversity (e.g. more than two primary colors) is chaotic.

So how do you plan what fish will go into a tank, and thus what fish to buy and breed? In the Trophies section, TF2 shows you what a bred fish looks like only after you've already bred it. That is where this Tapfish 101 blog provides a valuable service: you can look through the pictures, pick out some good-looking bred fish, and then buy their parents. Some parents produce better-looking offspring than others; my favorites include the Betta, Emperor, Giant Barb, Glow, Ice, and Jewel.

Note that I am talking mostly about fish, because most of the decorations are pretty lame, and TF2 provides frustratingly few tools for arranging them (e.g. no way to re-size, no easy way to re-order, and even moving decorations is a pain). Too many decorations cost fishbucks, so people only use and re-use the basic decorations that cost coins. The key decoration is the background, and as you play you should acquire a few good ones (e.g. light, dark, and gray). Unfortunately, you need decorations in order to increase fish happiness, but that only matters in the Coin Phase, and you can reduce the clutter by buying fewer, more-expensive items (like castles or volcanos).

Once you stop caring about experience points you will put an algae-eater in each tank. Unfortunately, coins will buy you only one color: green. Fortunately, algae-eaters occasionally go on sale.


If played efficiently, Tap Fish 2 can be moderately expensive, moderately time-consuming, moderately addicting, and moderately rewarding. It has already improved over time (e.g. the recent implementation of HD graphics), and probably will continue to do so, hopefully made a bit less expensive.

Happy Tapping!



  1. Very good summary. I agree on every point.

  2. I play on Android (current level 65) and I've never bought any fishbucks. I get some of them from "Free Fishbucks" offers, as well as received 1 for every level. So I compensate above mentioned required fishbuck spending like so:
    - I bought a couple of breeding tanks (normal and mystery) in order to be able to finish events in time.
    - Ocasionaly I recieve some premium fish via Free Spin (every 5 days).
    - I've received some nice backgrounds and decorations by completing events that are happening quite often.
    That's my way, and I like it :)

    1. hi.! how do i qet free fishbucks? cuz on my ipod it doesnt show the free fishbucks icon :/

  3. What a wonderful way to sum up playing Tap Fish; exact on every point! I love the neutrality of the piece, no judgement on decisions made-just the facts. Excellent!! Thank you Simplulo ; and thank you Andy for giving us access to this!

  4. I found it discouraging as I cannot buy fishbucks so pretty much according to him I should quit. Personally trying to buy or get 64 fish to breed that won't even fit in one tank for a trophy you cannot move to your tank for display and for which you get 5 fb in return, is out of the question, I would like to see some numbers on that amt. I have very few fish buck bought fish & don't care, saving for fb by leveling & the 5th day reward gift of fb occasionally is the challenge of the game. If I could buy everything with real money, then I don't see the challenge, it's like real life. I enjoy decorating my tanks with little mini scenes if I can, if someone likes to deco with same color fish, then their gardens or clothing choices or home deco is probably the same, it's the way we're internally wired,I like blending color groups myself. Also everyone has favorite colors & in looking at these colors, feels happy, it's in our brain so I don't think color can be set in stone so to speak. The discouraging thing to me is reading comments on the main tap page of someone unhappy once again because they lost fish, bricks, items,tanks & blame it on the dev, but maybe I'm getting off topic.

  5. A very good (and humorous) summary. I agree on most points. (Admittedly I'm on Android so things may not be identical.)

    What this is missing is how to get started at the very beginning when you have no money and can't afford food bricks, 10k decorations etc. It is a bit slow to get off the ground, but once you can start using the profitable fish it really takes off. Breed the green clown for profit if you don't have enough coins or bucks to get other breedables. I wouldn't hesitate to use cheap decorations/plants to get to 90% happiness when you're first earning coins. Also, if you're feeling extremely miserly you can have one set of decorations you move from tank to tank as you sell the fish. Once you have more coins, scrap the ugly starfish and buy the showpiece decorations. Buy a new tank when the profit you'll earn from it within a few days exceeds the cost of the tank.

    Fishbucks cost more on android, so if you want to avoid spending a fortune you need to obey the golden rules above and use your bucks very carefully and gain any freebies you can.
    You gain one fish buck every time you go up a level, so save them up until you can buy something good.
    You also occasionally get a fish buck or two by claiming the jackpot spin.
    During events you can win trophies by breeding one of each of the event fish. These usually give you a prize of 10 fish bucks. To get the trophies you'll usually need more breeding tanks so make those your first priority, above the most attractive fish.
    On android there are sponsored apps and offers you can download to get free fishbucks. Check the list periodically (the best offers tend to come and go very quickly) and look for things you might be interested in or small apps you can install, receive bucks for, then uninstall. Be careful not to sign up to anything that will send premium cost texts or sell your details etc. Sometimes there may be paid items that give you loads of bucks - don't be tempted unless you'd buy that thing anyway.

    It is possible to play and enjoy tapfish without spending money, but you must be prepared to see some desirable things pass you by. Tapfish is constantly being kept updated with new events, fish and items, sustaining that level of investment costs the developers money. That is what you're really paying for when you buy fishbucks.

  6. I feel you were right on point!! Thanks for your views!

  7. Excellent! But, I do feel the estimates on FB costs for serious play are still underestimates. A serious play will eventually find the maximum 25 regular and mystery breeding tanks invaluable. At a discount of 30FBs/tank, that alone will run you 1,500 FBs. I also think 10 premium fish are way too few. If you are going to do all or most of the breeding trophies, you will need at least three times that many. They do go on sale, but I would guess you will still have an average cost of at least 25 FBs per premium fish. So, that would tack on at least another 750 FBs, for a total over 2,250. I know of very few, if any, serious players who have spent less than that. Of course, when FBs go on sale, you can get 1750 for around US$40, so we're still not talking about extravagant costs, especially considering the hundreds of hours of pleasure this game can afford. Once you have your breeding tanks, and a core set of premium fish in place, you can play the game for MONTHS without spending any additional money. I haven't spent a penny in over six months myself.

  8. Interesting that the two dissenting comments came from opposite sides: one said you could play for less money, the other said you needed more money. I think my analysis is accurate given that the player shares my stated goal: "create lots of pretty tanks with a reasonable but minimal investment of time and money." If you are looking for a way to pass the time, or seeking a sense of achievement by "collecting the whole set", there are certainly other ways to play.

    I'll offer one correction: it is possible to make impressive art out of TF2's decorations, as user Abalonee has shown. This requires extreme talent and investment of time--I shudder to think how much--but the result is freaking amazing. It's like junkyard art or recycling art:

  9. Interesting that the two dissenting comments came from opposite sides: one said you could play for less money, the other said you needed more money. I think my analysis is accurate given that the player shares my stated goal: "create lots of pretty tanks with a reasonable but minimal investment of time and money." If you are looking for a way to pass the time, or seeking a sense of achievement by "collecting the whole set", there are certainly other ways to play.

    I'll offer one correction: it is possible to make impressive art out of TF2's decorations, as user Abalonee has shown. This requires extreme talent and investment of time--I shudder to think how much--but the result is amazing. It's like art made of recycled materials.

  10. Great article! I'm definitely snagging your tip about the Eagle Damsel. Although, I was surprised you didn't speak more about the benefits of buying & selling the Pink Skunk Clown Fish. During the "Coin Phase," this is THE most profitable fish to grow, when taking into account time to grow and the bonus coins earned when they are happy. The Pink Skunk earns you approx. 5416 coins per hour [Compare that to 119 coins per hour for the white grunt, about 14 for the golden dwarf, and about 7 for the chromis.

    1. Pink skunk costs 2.5m to buy though...

  11. A couple of comments: First, the cost of FB on Android is waaaaaaaaaay more! $20 for 240, $50 for 625 and $100 for 1300!!! (Haven't bought any!, Yet!) Second, regarding Pink Skunk Clowns. You can buy 595 White Grunts for the price of ONE PSC! And after 24 hours you can sell them for enough to buy 1000! Then, 24 hr. later you can sell those and buy 1678! And so forth so that after 4 days you would have 4735 White Grunts which by the end of 5 days (how long it takes for the PSC to be worth 3.15m) The White Grunts would be worth 33.4 Million!!! I'm aware that it is impossible to have 95 tank devoted to White Grunts, however these are, as far as I can find, the best return on investment! I am a mere level 13 though!

  12. Is there any way to move your fish bucks from tap fish one to tap fish two?

  13. White grunts may be the best 24 hour "meat" fish, but they are not the final daily choice. There are three fish in the "Tang" categoty and three in the "Trigger" category that pay out more when mature. The one matures in 25 hours, and is better suited for a two or three hour "window" to check TapFish between other activities than an exact schedule, and the other five all mature in lass than 24 hours. They can then wait until you see them during the daily window. Yes, the 25 hour tang will eventually creep out of the "window," but you can get around that by buying one of the others. Likewise, if something comes up IRL, and I miss the window, I can sell the fish off late and buy one of the short-term maturers (12 or 13 hours), and still have a full tank ready for sale the next day.

  14. I think having only two colours in a tank would be really dull. I like an assortment of different coloured fish in each tank, i have the special themed ones in groups - Valentine, Easter, Christmas etc, with some others mixed in.

  15. So I bred the cardinals thinking as stated here & elsewhere that their offspring would sell for 170k, found though that the adult sell price is missing a zero. sells for 17k. Drat!

    1. Mystery Breedables:

      Spotted Cardinalfish: 800,000 Grows in:5 Days Sell for: 808,000 coins
      Banggai Cardinalfish: 800,000 Grows in:5 Days Sell for: 808,000 coins

      BREDS : 170,000 coins (Adult price) (+20%, can sell it for 204,000)
      Silver Dollar Cardinal
      Heart Striped Cardinal
      Sea Blue Cardinal
      Sunshine Cardinal
      Green Striped Cardinal
      Yellow Striped Cardinal
      Fire Tail Cardinal
      Spotted Tail Cardinal
      Tri Color Cardinal

  16. Ive been breeding my eagle rays because ive been earning a whole lot of coins, up to 1.5 mil.

  17. Fortunately for the majority of us who won't pay our real coins for things there are many many ways to earn FB for free without doing anything at all, really. Events are the way to do this, the event I have found most profitable only comes around once a year and that is Labor day (through some slight glitching) I managed to earn well over a hundred FB in the space of the week it was on, upon diving you can occasionally find 3 FB, with at least 24 dives a day and a 20% chance on average to find the bucks you can earn a massive amount. Other events in general such as the current octopus event will have you gaining many bucks. Once you have the coin, if you really want too you can boost the hell out of the levels system, buy a few tanks and fill them with large mouth bass, they take an hour to grow, filling a tank with 49 (minus one for the algae eater) can net you 49xp for buying them and then 98xp for selling, multiply this buy five and you have nearly 750xp per hour and you can easily grind up a level per day. White grunts well hit you a minimum of 1400 coin profits and grow in a day add 20% on per fish and you can get profits north of 100k per tank easily. you don't have to spend any real money unless you are impatient. I've been playing about a month now and I have about £136m coins, of which I will never ever use again,all I do know is collect and breed rare fish and boost exp to earn those extra FB and high level fish, it's a simple process and tbh honest gets a little boring after a while, if you spend real money it speeds the process but takes away the satisfaction and also makes it so you have all the high end fish and you'll just end up no longer using the app with all the fish dead and money wasted. DON'T PAY TO PLAY!!

  18. It says that I reached 68 but I don't get reward because I need 70 bred fish. What are the other 2 fish i need? It doesn't say?

  19. Nice guide, I hope to see more like this!




Here you can find help with this game, as well as pictures of bred fish (hybrids or "breeded"). Some tips and tricks and useful links. However,
this is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of Tapfish creators. I am not affiliated with BayView Labs, Gameview, or whomever owns the game. All images posted are screenshots from my iPod. I don't use jailbreak, installous, cydia or other. According to USPTO, at the time I started this blog, Tap Fish and Tapfish were not registerred marks. For any copyright issues please email me and I'll remove copyrighted content as soon as possible