Fish Care

Fish are beautiful and very relaxing to watch. They”re great pets for people living with a limited amount of space because fish don”t take up much space. What you do need to consider, though, is the amount of care fish need to lead long, healthy lives.

First time owners should consider starting out with fresh water fish. The care of tropical fish, particularly saltwater aquariums, is considerably more demanding and costly.

The Aquarium

The aquarium is particularly important. Its rectangular shape provides a large surface area between the water and the air, increasing the oxygen exchange. For first time fish owners, a ten-gallon tank is a suitable aquarium to start with.

Place the aquarium in a spot that receives a lot of light but no direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can make the water too hot during the day. The water cools at the night, causing a substantial difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures. Large temperature fluctuations are bad for fish. Furthermore, direct sunlight encourages the growth of algae, which is also unhealthy for fish.

Why Fish Bowls are Bad for Fish

Most fish owners will tell you that keeping fish in a small bowl is terrible for the health of your fish. But why? One of the main reasons is that the oxygen level in the water is low. This is a result of the bowl shape. The top of the bowl has a small surface area, so less oxygen is able to get into the water. And if fish can”t breathe sufficient oxygen, they die. Certain fish such as betas can use atmospheric oxygen (the air we breathe), but it”s better for them if the water has more oxygen.

Other reasons not to use fish bowls include:

  • limited space
  • overcrowding
  • poor filtration
  • difficult cleaning
  • poor water quality.

The Water

The quality of the water is the most important aspect of fish care. Tap water is normally unsuitable for fish because of the presence of chlorine.

If you”re setting up a new aquarium, let the water “condition” for a few days. That means you”ll have a full aquarium without any fish. This will let the water absorb the oxygen from the environment, create a balance among the bacteria in the tank, kill off any fish viruses because of a lack of hosts, and allow other particles in the water to settle. You should also dechlorinate the water before adding any fish. You can get decholorination drops at your local fish store. Dechlorinate before adding fish to your tank.

Cloudy Water?

Once you add fish, the water usually gets cloudy. Don”t worry; this is due to the bacteria in the water. The tank should “pop,” or clear up, after a few days.

For most freshwater aquarium fish, the temperature of the water should range between 74 to 78 ?F. Try to keep the temperature of the water relatively constant in order to avoid shocking and killing the fish. The temperature may be different for other types of fish (i.e. salt water fish or tropical fish) so consult with the store where you purchased your fish.

Aquarium Care

Maintaining your aquarium is vital to the health of your fish. Most fish experts recommend cleaning your tank about once a week. This prevents algae from firmly establishing itself and keeps the water relatively clean.

Changing the water is also very important. Generally, water should be changed from once every week to about once every three or four weeks. Changing the water more often is better, particularly if you don”t have a filtration device set up. The amount of water you change is dependent on the size of the tank and how many fish you have in the tank. The larger the tank and the more fish you have, the more water you have to change, but, regardless of the size of tank or the number of fish, avoid changing more than half of the tank”s water.

Feeding Fish

Choose a type of food that is appropriate for your fish. Food can range from flakes and pellets to live worms, so learn what”s ideal for the nutritional needs of your fish. The most important aspect of feeding fish is to avoid overfeeding them. Many fish varieties are unable to determine when they”re full and will continue eating as long as food is present. Uneaten food sinks to the bottom of the tank and rots, which quickly degrades water quality.