Aquarium Fish Care

cleaning tankThe following article regarding aquarium fish care is intended for general care rather than specifics. With tens of thousands of species of freshwater and saltwater fish, specific care would be impossible to properly tackle in an article of this size. It is however, true that much of what makes a healthy environment in a freshwater fish tank is also what keeps saltwater fish thriving as well. Fish tanks, whether they are saltwater or freshwater, require good water quality, stable temperature, and fish that get along. These are very basic fundamentals, but are often overlooked  in the keeping of a successful fish tank. Sure, there are hundreds if not more things that can be discussed regarding specific tank and fish requirements, but those are for another hundred or more articles.

No matter what the type of fish tank you decide to have, water quality is the most important thing to ensure healthy thriving fish. Just because algae is at a minimum because of a plecostomus, snails, or chemicals or lack of light, does not mean that the water is “clean”. Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH, etc. can not be seen. Testing from time to time will help determine when the water quality needs to be adjusted. Keep a water test kit nearby in your aquarium supplies so that if the fish are showing any signs of stress, you can quickly determine the issue. A good rule is to do a 25 to 30 percent water change once per month. Smaller changes more often will work as well. The right filter can make all the difference in the world.  One of the leading causes of poor water quality is over feeding. Fish, with few exceptions, will eat what they need within five minutes once per day. If the tank is in an office that isn’t open on the weekend, that’s ok. They will be fine for a couple of days.

All to often people will set up their aquarium and put a heater in to keep the water from getting too cold, but don’t think about just how hot the aquarium might get during summer months. Usually, this is not a real big deal. But in saltwater reeffish and in particular reef tanks, a tank that gets a few degrees hotter than the norm could mean loss of life to corals, invertebrates and fish. Even freshwater fish can show signs of distress when the water that they are in rises several degrees above what they are used to. Putting a chiller on a reef tank for example makes sense because the loss of life to expensive corals would cost more than the chiller. A chiller on a freshwater aquarium may not be justified monetarily. In hot summer months, it’s possible to keep the temperature in a tank down by doing a few simple things. Don’t run lights during the day. Don’t leave the curtains or blinds open in the room where the tank is. If the tank is approaching high temperature levels (86+ in freshwater or 84+ in saltwater) then float ice in a ziplock bag on the surface. Replace and refreeze as necessary.Take care not to displace water out of the aquarium for the weight of the ice bag. Never put ice directly into the fish aquarium. As it melts, gas is released that can be harmful to the fish.

The last thing that this article will discuss in regards to aquarium fish care, is the importance of keeping fish that get along. Putting fish into a tank that don’t get along not only puts the fish in question in danger but it stresses out the rest of the fish in the aquarium. Stress kills. Make sure, either by asking pet store employees or by educating yourself online, the fish that you are going to introduce into your tank is going to get along with the fish that are already in the aquarium. If the answer by the employee is a bit of hem and haw then err on the side of caution and don’t get the fish. That great “have to have” fish could be your worst nightmare when released into the tank. Better safe than sorry and broke. It’s much better to be proud of your tank and the fish you have than to be frustrated and disappointed because of a bad purchase.

This article on aquarium fish care is intended to help the aquarist to remember to do the basics and create a healthy environment for the fish tank. There is nothing worse than throwing money at a fish tank because of a simple mistake that could have been avoided.

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Aquarium Fish Care
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It's just a fish! Tell that to the fish that relies on you for everything from food to temperature to water quality.



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