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 successful with fish.
Your tank needs to stay around the same temperature at all times. Generally, tropical fish are most healthy in the 72-78 degree range (the recommended water temperature varies based on what fish populate your tank).
Make sure that your tank isn’t sitting in direct sunlight or near a vent in your home, as these factors will cause your water temperature to swing and be less controllable. Monitoring your tank’s water temperature on a daily basis will help you maintain a constant temperature and help keep your fish happy and thriving.
Testing Water Quality
Purchasing a water-testing kit and testing the quality of your water once a week will help you detect problems with your tank water and ensure the health of your fish within their environment. If your chemical levels are off, talk to one of our pet experts about the proper procedures for correcting the balance of your tank water.
Feeding Your Fish
Overfeeding happens often with fish, and it not only harms the heath of your fish, but also causes excess food to be left in your tank and leads to cleanliness problems. You should only feed your fish as much as they can eat within three minutes. They may seem to still be hungry after this time, but that’s not the case and any excess food will end up sinking to the bottom of your tank, decaying and lowering the quality of the water.
Fish flakes are a staple in the fish food community, but you should also add brine shrimp (frozen or live) to their diet every now and then to keep your fish happy and healthy.
Change Water Frequently
A common mistake that fish owners make is changing all of the current tank water with fresh, new water. This is actually bad for your fish because they get accustomed to living in a certain environment, and the shock of brand new water could be life-threatening. If you completely change the tank water, you’re also washing away a lot of the good bacteria that lives in your water and breaks down toxins and waste.
It is recommended that you change 25% of your current tank water once a month and add dechlorinated tap water, so you don’t drastically alter your tank’s water chemistry. The tap water should be the same temperature as the tank water so you don’t shock your fish.
Cleaning Your Fish Tank
If you notice algae building up on the surfaces or walls within your tank, simply purchase an algae scraper and scrape the algae before your monthly water change.
Fish Tank Filters and Other Tank Equipment
Filters are necessary equipment because they remove chemical waste, decontaminate your water, and aid in the maintenance and cleaning of your fish tank. Which parts of your filter need to be changed and how often depends on the kind of filter you purchase, but make sure not to replace all of the changeable parts at the same time (this will make your filter go through a cycling period to reestablish good bacteria levels within your tank).
Whether or not your fish tank needs a heater depends on the type of fish you have and the natural temperature that your tank reaches. If you do use a heater, closely monitor temperature levels so you don’t overheat your fish.
Air pumps are not essential to your fish tank if it has a filter, but they do increase the oxygen level in your water while lowering the carbon dioxide level. This increases the capacity of your aquarium.
Introducing New Fish to Your Tank
Bringing new fish into your tank should be a gradual process to let both the new fish and your current fish properly adjust to the change. When you get your new fish home, float their bag in your tank for about 15 minutes so the water temperature inside the bag has a chance to equalize. Then add small amounts of tank water to the fish bag for about 5 minutes before you transfer your new fish to the tank. Do not add the bag water to your tank when you transfer your new fish, because you don’t want the bag water to contaminate your tank water.