Fish are beautiful, colorful creatures that can keep you captivated for hours. Some people think fish are hard to care for, but by understanding how to properly maintain their habitat, you too can be a successful fish owner. To get started, check out the fish care tips we’ve compiled below. Then, visit your local Petsway to collect the supplies you need and consult our helpful store associates for personalized advice. With a little knowhow, some essential equipment, and a commitment to your responsibility as a pet owner, you can ensure your fish thrive.
Fish Care Tips
Maintaining Water Temperature
Your tank needs to stay around the same temperature at all times, and the recommended water temperature varies based on what type of fish populate your tank. Generally, tropical fish are most healthy in the range of 72–78 degrees Fahrenheit. To keep the water temperature consistent, make sure that your tank isn’t sitting in direct sunlight or near a vent in your home; these factors will cause the water temperature to swing and make it less controllable. To maintain a constant temperature in your fish’s habitat, monitor the tank’s water temperature on a daily basis and adjust as needed.
Testing Water Quality
To assess the quality of the tank’s water and ensure that it is clean and safe, purchase a water-testing kit. Most kits test several different factors that can affect the health of fish, like the water’s pH, high-range pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Then, using the kit, check the water once a week to detect problems and ensure that your fish are healthy in their environment. If the chemicals levels are off, talk to one of the pet experts at Petsway. We can teach you the proper procedures for correcting the balance of your tank water.
Feeding Your Fish
When it comes to feeding fish, overfeeding is more common than underfeeding. Although it may seem harmless, giving your fish too much food can harm their health and cause cleanliness problems within the tank if the excess food is not eaten. Only feed your fish as much as they can eat within three minutes. Although they may still seem hungry afterward, this is rarely the case. And if you continue adding food to the tank, it will sink to the bottom, decay, and lower the quality of the water.
Fish flakes are a staple in the diet of pet fish. However, you might consider adding brine shrimp (also known as Artemia) to their diet every now and then. Frozen or live, these tiny fairy shrimp vary in texture and flavor. To jazz up your fish’s dinner, try adding in a few brine shrimp – even small fish will gobble them up!
Changing the Water
One of the most common mistakes made by new fish owners is changing all of the tank water at once. If you replace all of the current tank water with fresh, new water, the shock could threaten the lives of your fish. They become accustomed to living in a certain environment, after all, and if you completely replace that environment entirely, you will wash away a lot of the good bacteria in the water that breaks down toxins and waste.
So to protect the health of your fish, we recommend that you change only 25 percent of the current tank water once a month. Add dechlorinated tap water so that you don’t drastically alter your tank’s water chemistry. In addition, be sure that the tap water is the same temperature as the tank water so that you don’t shock your fish.
Cleaning Your Fish Tank
Sometimes you will notice algae building up on the walls or surfaces within your tank. To clean the grime away, simply purchase an algae scraper, and before your monthly water change, scrape the algae off surfaces where it has built up.
Adding Filters and Other Tank Equipment
An essential component of any healthy tank, an effective filter will remove chemical waste, decontaminate your water, and aid in the maintenance and cleaning of your tank. You will need to periodically change different parts of your filter to keep it running smoothly. Which parts need to be changed and how often depends on the type of filter you purchase. However, make sure not to replace all the changeable parts at the same time, as this will cause your filter to go through a cycling period to reestablish good bacteria levels within the tank.
Depending on the type of fish in your aquarium and the natural water temperature of the tank, you may or may not need to purchase a heater. If you do use a heater, closely monitor the temperature levels so that you don’t overheat your fish.
If your tank has a filter, an air pump is not essential. However, air pumps do increase the oxygen level of the water while lowering the amount of carbon dioxide. This increases the capacity of your aquarium.
Introducing New Fish to Your Tank
When you decide to add more fish to your tank, take the process gradually so that your new fish and your current fish can both adjust to the change properly. First, when you bring your new fish home, float their bag in the tank for about 15 minutes. This ensures that the water temperature inside the bag has a chance to equalize with the tank water’s temperature. Then, add small amounts of tank water to the bag for about five minutes. Finally, transfer your new fish to the tank. When you do this, don’t add the bag water to your tank, as it could contaminate your current tank water.