To keep your fish happy and healthy, following these tips will help make maintaining an aquarium fairly easy and trouble-free.
- Acclimate your fish. Fish are fragile. For best results, ask the store associate what their water parameters for nitrate, nitrite, ammonia and pH levels are. When home, test your aquarium water for its chemistry. The greater the differences, the longer you need to acclimate your fish.
- Float your fish. Float the sealed bag of fish in your aquarium for at least 15 minutes but no longer than one hour to allow for temperature acclimation. Open the bag and slowly add a quarter cup of water from your aquarium. Repeat the process of adding a quarter cup of water every five minutes until the bag is full. This brings the temperature and chemistry together slowly, which allows the fish to acclimate to their new aquatic home without being shocked by sudden changes. Remove the bag from the aquarium and slowly pour off as much water as possible without harming your aquatic life. Lower the bag into the aquarium and allow your fish to swim out into their new home.
- Room to roam. Overcrowding can lead to low oxygen levels in the water. Another crisis of overcrowding includes excess waste, which clogs the filter and degrades your aquarium water. In addition, too many fish in small spaces can cause fatalities. Check with a pet specialist for the right size tank for your fish.
- Condition the water. Water for fish is like air for humans. It is critical to your fish’s long-term health. Tap water comes with countless properties that need to be balanced in an aquarium in order to support aquatic life. To condition water properly, use a de-chlorinating and biological aquarium supplement available at your local pet store.
- Maintain proper pH Levels. pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of your tank water. Buy a pH test kit and use it to check the pH level. Freshwater fish thrive when the pH level is between 6.6 and 7.8 depending on species. This range will offer a natural, antiseptic effect that helps your fish resist illness. If you want a healthy aquarium, be sure to check regularly for any fluctuations in pH levels.
- Replace aquarium water.. It is recommended to change 25 percent of your aquarium water at least once a month. It is better to do a small 10% weekly than one big replacement monthly/weekly. This will help maintain a clean and healthy tank, plus it keeps nitrate concentrations at a safe level. Use a gravel vacuum to siphon out water and debris. Keeping your water clean and maintaining stable water parameters helps promote healthy and strong fish.
- Maintain adequate water temperature. Changes in temperature can wreak havoc on aquarium fish. Don’t place your aquarium in a window that gets a lot of sun or next to heating or air conditioning vents, as drastic temperature changes can make your fish sick or even kill them. Tropical freshwater fish require a constant temperature of 72°C – 82°C depending on the species, in which case you’ll need to purchase an aquatic heater for your tank.
- Clean the sides of the tank. Not everything that’s green is a good thing. Algae buildup on tanks cloud the glass, gives water a murky look, and depletes oxygen, which can create health concerns for your aquatic life. Thriving aquarium plants can also be harmed by the presence of algae. If left unchecked, algae will rob plants of much needed oxygen. Pet stores have a variety of tools to help, which include scrub brushes, some with long handles and aquarium algae magnets to scrape off excess algae from the aquarium.
With a healthy and well-managed fish tank, you will have many happy hours of pleasure watching your fish swim in their aquatic habitat.