When caring for fish, you will probably be spending more time keeping the aquarium, and thus the fish’s environment, clean and consistent than you will be caring for the fish themselves. To this end, it is important to know every last details of freshwater aquarium and fish care.
Tank & Freshwater Maintenance
You want to make sure the tank or bowl is large enough for the fish (or many fish if you plan on getting an array of schools). You will have to do a lot of research before buying the aquarium to make sure the types of fish you want to care for will be happy in the environment. Once you have the aquarium, find the ideal place to put it, somewhere away from any heating/cooling ducts or windows or anything that might create dramatic change in temperatures for the water.
Before placing any fish into the aquarium, you want to be sure the water is chemically balanced and that you have control over the water’s temperature. You do not want to fill the tank and plop the fish in all at once.
You will need a water testing kit to make sure the ammonia, nitrite, and pH levels are all the ideal condition for the fish you are keeping. You will also want to invest in a thermometer to keep track of water temperature, never letting it get to hot or cold for the species of fish you have living in it.
Using a siphon, you will want to change about 1/5 (or 20%) of the water every week or so to keep the water fresh, but without changing the current water balance too much. It’s not a good idea to wait until the tank looks dirty before changing out some water because by then it will already be dangerous for fish. Also, an efficient pump and filter is a must to keep the tank clean and freshly cycled.
Finally, you will want to keep the aquarium covered with a lid or some kind of canopy to ensure that any jumpy fish won’t leap out of the water and into the dangerous dry air!
Introducing your fish to the new environment
The common practice is to keep the newly purchased fish in the plastic bag with the water from its old environment before plopping it into your aquarium. Dip the plastic bag into the aquarium for about 20 to 30 minutes to allow the water temperatures to equalize through the magical power of entropy.
If you are introducing your new fish into an aquarium that already contains some fish, keep the new fish quarantined for 2 or 3 weeks. If the new fish is sick in any way, it can quickly spread to all the other healthy fish and ruin the aquarium habitat. Better safe than sorry!
Basic Fish Care
The best part about keeping fish as pets is how easy it is to keep them healthy and happy. It’s really so simple! As long as the aquarium and the water are well taken care of, the fish really just need food.
You can learn what types of fish food to get your fish with a little research or by asking the salesman at the pet store. Feed the fish daily and store the food in a cool dry place. Fish food can go bad so don’t feed spoiled food to your pet fish. Also, in a continued effort in keeping the water and aquarium clean, try to remember to remove uneaten food and other waste from the water. Uneaten food can rot in the water and bacteria can fester—not good!
Basically, keep things as consistent as possible, including temperature, lighting, environment, chemical balance, diet, etc…and your fish and their underwater world will be perfectly happy and beautiful!
Your Aquarium Check List
Aquarium Air Pumps
Aquarium Water Conditioners
Aquarium Water Test Kits
Fish! Fish! Fish!