A good aquarist knows that a properly maintained aquarium can be breathtaking. However, if not maintained properly, you will end up with an ugly fish tank and dead fish.
Things you’ll want to avoid:
● Overstocking Your Tank: We all want a little variety to our aquarium, but don’t get carried away with too many fish. When overstocked, a fish tank will build up waste products such as ammonia and nitrites which are harmful to your fish in large amounts. These are caused by the byproducts of urine and feces your fish produce, as well as uneaten food rotting on the bottom of your tank. Live aquatic plants can help reduce the amount of ammonia emitted from wastes. These plants also give shy or frightened fish a place to hide, which reduces stress and makes for a happier, healthier fish.
● Overfeeding: One of the most common mistakes new aquarists make is overfeeding. Fish only need a small amount of food to survive. Extra food will only pollute your tank’s water and cause your fish harm. A good rule of thumb is to feed no more than what your fish can eat in five minutes, and remove uneaten food immediately.
● Changing the Water in Your Aquarium: Periodic water changes will be necessary to remove waste products from the water and prevent your aquarium from becoming polluted. Water changes are done by removing some of the water from your tank and replacing it with the same amount of clean, fresh water. Before adding water back into your aquarium, make sure you treat it to remove any chlorine, as this is harmful to your fish. Change about ⅕ to ¼ of your tank’s water at least once a week. Smaller water changes more frequently are better than larger ones more frequently.
● Temperature: In order for your fish to be comfortable, the water in your aquarium should be somewhere between 72° and 82°F, depending on the species of fish you have. Check your tank’s water temperature quite often, and adjust the heater accordingly.
Heed these tips, and your fish will be healthy and happy. Lastly, don’t forget to sit back and enjoy your tank! This is why we set up our aquariums in the first place. The beauty of a well-established aquarium makes the maintenance worthwhile!