Contrary to popular belief, fish are beautiful, interesting, and rewarding pets. It’s no wonder that more and more people are starting to buy tropical fish and set up their own home aquariums. However, looking after fish isn’t as straightforward as filling a tank with some water, popping a couple of the most colourful fish in there, and hoping for the best. If you’re new to taking care of fish, then you need to read up on how to care for them properly, or you may as well flush your money down the toilet (literally). Follow these simple steps to give you a head start.
1. Always Cycle The Tank
You should never purchase your fish and your fish tank on the same day, as this means that you haven’t cycled your tank. If you don’t know what this is, cycling your tank involves taking steps towards ensuring that the water in your tank is healthy for your fish to live in. You have to make sure the temperature and pH are right, and then leave your tank for a while, to allow healthy microorganisms to grow. It’s usually suggested that you leave your tank for at least a week before adding any fish.
2. Monitor Water Quality & Temperature
Even once you’ve added your fish, you need to ensure that you keep a close eye on the water quality of your tank, testing the water at least once a week. If your levels of ammonia, nitrates, or nitrites, or your pH is too high, you can buy products from your local pet store to remedy this. It’s usually a much better idea to try changing the water first, before adding any foreign substances. If you have a quality heater, like Saltwater Aquarium’s heaters, then your temperature should remain warm enough to prevent disease, but cool enough to keep the fish comfortable.
3. Do Your Research
Never buy any fish before you’ve done a large amount of research on them. All species of fish have different temperaments, grow to different lengths, thrive in different pHs and temperatures, require different foods, and can live with different species of fish, so don’t assume that just because you’ve had fish before, that you know what you’re doing. You also need to do your research before adding a new species to an established aquarium, as this new species may not get on with a species that you already have.
4. Don’t Overfeed Them
Feeding your fish once a day is usually enough to satisfy them, although you can halve the portion and do it once in the morning and once in the evening. Flakes are usually perfect no matter the fish, but it’s always best to check the species for requirements just in case. It is very easy to overfeed fish, which, unfortunately, can be fatal, so avoid this, and monitor your children when they feed the fish.
Fish are great pets, especially for busy families that don’t have the time for daily walks, but they have to be cared for properly. These tips should be enough to get you started, but make sure that you’re doing enough research on individual species too.