Fish Care 101
How exciting, you took the step you’re gonna be a mom or dad to a brand new family of fish! Although your role will not be as involved as that of a cat or dog nanny, there are several important skills-such as aquarium set-up and maintenance-you’ll want to master to ensure a pleasant, healthy tank for the fish.
So Whats it Going to Cost?
To get set up, a 20-gallon tank, filters and air pump, stand, light & cover, gravel, plants, fish and food will cost you about $200 to $250. Feeding costs are very low—about $15-$20 annually—but there will be some electricity used to run the light and filtration system.
Fish Care 101 : Due to the fact they’re least complicated to look after, fish who live in cool water are suggested for first time fish tank owners. You won't require a heating unit in your tank, as you would most likely with tropical fish, however, you will have to make sure water quality with a effective filtering system.
Typically the most popular coldwater varieties undoubtedly are goldfish-and were you aware there are far more than 100 different breeds? Below are a few varieties that you can think about:
- Common goldfish—These sturdy orange-red fish can grow up to eight inches long and live 10 to 20 years, if properly cared for.
- Comet—This breed is a bit slimmer in the body, and has longer tail fins.
- Shubunkin—This fish looks like a comet, and also boasts colorful splotches in a variety of hues from blue and brown to black and orange
- Fantail—This goldfish has a rounded body and two tail fins.
- Veiltail—This dramatic-looking goldfish has long, flowing fins. Bubble-eyes—This interesting breed has bulging water sacs under each eye.
Other options for a coldwater tank include the hardy weather loach, a bronze or brown bottom feeder about three to four inches long.
When first introduced to the tank, this fish may spend his time hiding, but will come out at all hours once he’s settled in.
Buenos Aires and bloodfin tetras can also live in coldwater tanks. If you plan to keep plants in your tank, note that Buenos Aires tetras will probably eat them. Pearl danios and giant danios will also do well in a coldwater tank, but keep in mind that danios are fast swimmers and will need as much room as possible—at least a 20-gallon tank, preferably a 30-gallon.
Fish Care 101 HOUSING Tank:
Familiar with the image of a single goldfish in a bowl? That’s a great example of exactly how fish SHOULDN’T be kept. The ASPCA recommends a 10- or 20-gallon-aquarium for beginners, which is large enough for a nice selection of fish. As a general rule of thumb, you can have one inch of fish per gallon of water. That means, for example, you could have 10 one-inch-fish in a 10-gallon aquarium, or 5 four-inch-fish in a 20-gallon. Remember to take into account the maximum size your fish may reach. The experts at your aquarium store can help you select fish who will get along with each other and can thrive in a coldwater tank.
Location: Set the tank on sturdy table, stand, or counter, in a place that is convenient to a sink or water source. Do not put the tank in direct sunlight—this makes it harder to control the water temperature and may cause excessive algae growth. Deciding on the perfect spot is a big decision—a 20-gallon aquarium filled with water and gravel weighs more than 200 pounds, so you won’t be able to move it once it is set up.
Décor: Fish may not care if their gravel is color-coordinated, but they’ll greatly appreciate a “hiding” place to chill out. You can use a clean, cracked upside-down flowerpot or arrange aquarium rocks into a cave; there’s also a variety of tank décor available at the pet supply store. Plastic plants provide great camouflage, too.
STEP-BY-STEP SETUP You will need to purchase your equipment, set up your tank and get it running for several days to a week, allowing the water to “ripen,” before you add fish. Once you’ve decided on a location, rinse the gravel with clean water and put it in the tank; you will need 1 pound of gravel per gallon of water. If you plan to add plants, note that too-fine gravel may pack too tightly to allow roots to grow and spread.
Next, set up the filtration system, and add rocks, wood and other tank decorations. Your aquarium will need one or more filters to maintain water quality. Without proper filtration, fish waste can poison the water—and your pets. The most common types of filters are: -
- Box Filters, which are filled with activated charcoal and a special fiber. Often placed in the corner or an inside wall of the tank, they are only effective for tanks up to about 10 gallons; -
- Undergravel Filters, which are flat plastic platforms placed on the bottom of the aquarium and covered with gravel. Good for 10- to 20-gallon aquariums with adequate water flow. Waste trapped in gravel nourishes any plants you may have. On the minus side, cleaning requires complete breakdown of the tank.
- Outside Filters, which usually hang on the side of back of the tank. They are highly efficient and easy to clean, but you must make sure you’ve bought the proper filter for the size of your aquarium; this information is usually printed on the outside of the boxAfter that, fill up the fish tank with clean plain tap water. If you like you can purchase a chemical neutralizer in a pet shop to improve the water. Nearly all fish do the best in water with a close to neutral pH level about 7-neither acidic or alkaline. Test out your water by using a kit from your pet supply retailer. Some fish need water that’s more or less acidic, so please inquire the fish tank store staff concerning the specific needs of any fish you intend to include in your aquarium.
You will additionally want to offer a source of light for the fish. This really is best achieved by using a combo aquarium cover/light fixture, that can also limit too much water evaporation and stop anything from dropping into the tank-or your fish from leaping out. We recommend a fluorescent fixture to supply full-spectrum light, showcase the colours of your fish and assist plant development. The light should typically be using a timetable of 12 hours on, 12 hours off.
Fish Care 101-INTRODUCING YOUR FISH TO THEIR NEW HOME
Begin your fish tank with Three or four small- or perhaps 1 to 2 medium-sized fish. They’ll be in durable plastic bags when you get them. Just float these bags inside the fish tank for about half an hour, in order for the water temperature in the bag is equivalent to the temperature of the fish tank. Cautiously open the bags and allow your fish to swim out on their own. If you would like add more fish and when your tank can hold it, put in a couple of fish weekly until the tank is finished.
DIET: You will find really good commercial fish food items available. Dried out flakes offer a well balanced diet, and fresh foods such as live brine shrimp, bloodworms and tubifex worms offer selection. Number one rule in regards to fish nutrition: You Should Never OVERFEED! Excessive food will drop to the bottom of the aquarium and go bad, decreasing the water quality. It is advisable to give several small meals daily, only enough so the fish consume all of it before it falls to the bottom.
Plus here’s a fast and low-cost (in fact, free!) goody for your fish: Scrape off any algae growing around the front glass of the fish tank so that your fish are plainly visible, but allow it to grow on one end or in a corner. The fish will love nibbling on the pieces of algae growing there..
Fish Care 101 DAILY GENERAL CARE & MAINTENANCE.
Once a week: Every week or two, get rid of several gallons of water from your tank and change it with fresh, pre-aged water. This will aid the removal of chemical substances that accumulate in the fish tank and that usually are not eradicated by evaporation or filtering. Another good idea is to test the water quality using a kit from your pet supply shop once a week, and clean any algae that's accumulated.
Monthly: Thoroughly clean the filtration system or change the charcoal and filter pads monthly. Of course, if you've got plants, it’s time for you to trim them.:
Fish Care 101 FISH SUPPLIES LIST
- 10- or 20-gallon tank
- Gravel - Rocks,and other tank decorations -
- Algae scraper
- Water testing kit
- Water conditioner
- Aquarium cover/light fixture (we recommend fluorescent)
- Optional: Plants, stand, Thanks for reading Fish Care 101.