So, you have decided to adopt a new pet for your home? Wanna low-maintenance option for a household pet? Then, pet fishes is the best option. Although keeping a fish in your home requires a less living space than other pets, they require tons of care. If you’re really new to the world of pet fish keeping, then this guide is a perfect fit for you.
Best Pet Fish for Beginners
Doing some pet fish care is fun and I must say a stress reliever as well. However, with so many varieties of fishes to choose from, it is a bit hard to decide which one is best for a beginner like you.
Listed below are just a few of the wonderful fishes that can be an excellent pet for beginners and amateurs alike.
If you have already seen those beautiful and colorful fishes in small bowls at your local fish stores, then you probably have seen Bettas. They are the ones who have long flowing fins in different colors like red, purple, or blue. Bettas are easy to care for but must be kept alone, which is the very drawback of Bettas. Males will be fighting to death when kept together and females are rare. In addition, Bettas do not do well with other fish species, for other fishes would only nibble on their long fins.
Goldfishes are also easy to take care of especially if you provide them with a tank of the right size for them. Since the goldfish produces a lot of waste, they will not be able to survive longer in a goldfish bowl or in small aquariums that are less than ten gallons. It has been known that wastes cuts down the availability of oxygen in the water, it is advisable to take care only one or two goldfishes at a time in a well filtered aquarium of ten gallon.
Zebra Danios are just another great fish to take care of. They are very easy to take care of and do well in aquariums of any sizes. Since Zebra Danios is a tropical fish, you need to have a water heater placed on their tanks in order to maintain the 70 degrees Fahrenheit requirement. It is advisable to take a school of five or more Zebra Danios in your aquarium for they are fun to watch at this number. In addition, they easily get along well with any other variety of peaceful tropical fishes and you will easily find them in pet store, thus easily available anytime you desire to buy one. Platys and Swordtails
Other wonderful tropical fishes to take care of are the Platys and Swordtails, which are normally being cared for in lump, for they are of the same category due their similar appearance and are identical in requirements.
If you are to visit your nearest local pet stores, you will definitely see them in striking shades of orange and red. Since they are also a tropical fish, they can be easily taken care of when placed in an aquarium of at least ten gallons at 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Platys and swordtails are just like any other tropical fishes that easily get along well with any other variety of peaceful tropical fishes. In addition, Platys and Swordtails do the mating and reproducing in their home aquarium. They are also called the livebearers, because their babies start swimming the moment they are born.
A great and very active type of catfish that are easy to take care of and a hardy variety of fish is the Corydoras. Most of the time, they enjoyed swimming at the bottom of the tank consuming those leftover foods. Another tropical fish that can be best kept in aquariums at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. They can also easily get along well with other tropical fishes and are best kept in a school of three or more.
Fish Tank Care
Aquarium setup is not as simple as purchasing a tank, dumping in some water and adding a few fish. Setting up a healthy home aquarium is a process and it takes a bit of patience and effort to get started.
If this is your first aquarium, it’s best to start out slow and plan on purchasing more robust freshwater fish. Before you even think about what fish you will buy, you have to set up your aquarium. Many pet stores sell aquarium kits that take the guess work out of aquarium setup. Everything you need comes in one box. You just buy it, take it home and follow the directions.
Fish tank care is not difficult and it is one of the most important parts of owning a home aquarium. Proper fish tank care is vital to maintaining healthy fish. Your tank won’t look nice for very long, either, if you neglect cleaning tasks. Here we have laid out a fish tank care and maintenance schedule that will keep your fish happy and your tank beautiful.
Fish Tank Care Daily Maintenance
If you have a home aquarium, you have to give it some attention every single day. Since you feed your fish once a day, that is the perfect time to tend to a few minor issues daily. Always check the temperature of the water. This is easy to do if you have an easily visible aquarium thermometer in the tank. If you have a freshwater tank with tropical fish, the ideal temperature is around 77 degrees. If the water in your tank is too hot, you may wind up with an algae problem. Check the appearance and behavior of your fish every day too, and remove any sick fish from the tank so the rest of your fish aren’t affected. It is also a good idea to make sure all of the systems air pump, filter in the tank are running properly.
Fish Tank Care Weekly Maintenance
You should do a basic cleaning of your home aquarium every week. This means removing left over food and waste from the bottom of the tank, using a siphon if necessary. If the siphoning process takes out too much water, make sure you bring the tank back to its previous water level. Take this opportunity to test the water and add any chemicals needed to achieve the proper balance in your tank.
If you have live plants in your aquarium, they need weekly attention as well. This is the time to trim them up, removing any dead leaves and repositioning any new growth into the bottom of the tank. We also recommend that you do a snail check. Snails are easy to get out of your aquarium. Just float some lettuce in the water and they will be drawn to it. Then you can get them out with an aquarium net.
Fish Tank Care Monthly Maintenance
The monthly maintenance tasks are similar to what you will do each week, just a little more involved. Monthly cleaning means siphoning out approximately one quarter of the water in the tank and replacing it. Check to the chemical balance of your aquarium water and make adjustments as necessary. You should also change and clean the filter every month. When you clean it, though, don’t go overboard because the filter houses good bacteria that actually help with healthy aquarium maintenance. This is also a good time to remove any algae from the tank walls and bottom. If algae is a problem in your aquarium, check the temperature and light sources. If your tank receives a lot of direct sunlight, this might be the cause of your algae issues and you may want to consider moving the tank to a not-so-bright spot in the house. Or you can just get an algae eater and hope they can devour the problem.
Fish tank care is not rocket science, but it is vital to maintaining an attractive and healthy home aquarium. If you follow our recommendations for what to perform daily, weekly and monthly, you will be happy with the results.
Proper lighting is essential for setting up a good aquarium. Every aquarium needs a hood, a glass canopy, and light in order to:
- reduce water evaporation
- help maintain a consistent water temperature
- keep out normal household pollutants
- keep the fish from jumping out (and the cat from jumping in)
- provide necessary light needed for fish
- enhance the colors of the fish and make the aquarium more attractive
- allow for photosynthesis in live plants.
There are two types of lighting available for aquariums: incandescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes. Incandescent bulbs are less expensive than fluorescent tubes. However, they produce more heat and less natural light. Incandescent bulbs are generally found only on 10 – gallon tanks and smaller.
Fluorescent tubes produce a more natural light and much less heat. The fixtures for fluorescent tubes are also much more flexible and will allow you to pick the best type of light for your aquarium.
If you have an aquarium with live plants, you should only use a full spectrum fluorescent bulb. Fluorescent lighting best simulates the light given off by the sun.
Intense lighting, which plants grow best with, can be increased by using bulbs that emit more watts. Heavy plant growth can be achieved by increasing the lighting to 60 watts of fluorescent lighting for every 12 inches of tank length. While more expensive to purchase, fluorescent lights are less expensive to operate.
Unlike warm-blooded humans, fish are ectothermic, meaning they take on the temperature of the surrounding water. Since they can’t maintain the body temperature at a chosen fixed level, the temperature must be maintained through a heater.
Heaters are only necessary if you keep tropical fish rather than marine fish. Coldwater fish like goldfish or koi prefer cooler temperatures (68º – 72º F) and don’t need a heater.
Tropical fish are warm water fish, meaning they like to have their water between 75º F and 79º F. Heaters can help maintain this constant water temperature. Fluctuating water temperatures will cause stress on the fish, which will lead to a number of infections, and even death.
There are two types of aquarium heaters: A “hang-on” style heater and a submersible heater. A “hang-on” style heater provides basic heating of the water. Because the heater is not fully submersed in the water, it is less efficient than a fully submersible heater. Also because “hang-on” style heaters are generally less expensive, they have less precise controls and have fewer operating features.
A submersible heater actually attaches to the inside of the aquarium (typically with suction cups) and the entire heater is positioned under the water. Because the entire heating tube is under the water a submersible heater is more efficient and provides a more consistent temperature.
The rule of thumb when buying a heater is 5 watts for each gallon the aquarium holds. Typically, one heater is sufficient for an aquarium. However, for better heat distribution in larger aquariums, especially tanks more than 36 inches in length, it’s best to have two heaters.
The heaters should be placed at opposite ends of the tank and each should be about half the total required wattage. For example, if you have a 55-gallon aquarium, you will have the best heat distribution is you put a 150-watt heater at each end of your aquarium. If you have a 10-gallon aquarium, one 50-watt heater placed in the center of the aquarium will be enough.
If you use a power filter or a canister filter with only one heater, place the heater at the opposite end of the tank from the filter. This will help ensure good distribution of the heated water.
Aquarium heaters come in different tube lengths to accommodate different height tanks. Because heat rises it is important that you pick the right length heater so that all the water is evenly heated.
While most aquarium heaters can be set to the desired temperature, is always a good idea to buy an aquarium thermometer. The thermometer will help you make sure your heater is functioning properly and maintaining the temperature that is best for your fish.
Thermometers can be either internal or external. Internal thermometers stand upright and are anchored to the glass with a suction cup or they can float. External thermometers are placed on the outside of the aquarium and may be either a dial or liquid crystal design (LCD). External thermometers should be installed on the end of the aquarium opposite the heater and out of direct sunlight.
Helps you maintain the proper temperature for your fish. Floats in the tank or can be attached with a suction cup.
Proper aquarium filtration is critical to keeping happy, healthy fish. A complete filtration system should neutralize ammonia and nitrites, and remove floating debris and contamination from the water. There are three basic filtration methods; mechanical, biological and chemical. Your best fish tank filter system should incorporate all three.
Mechanical filtration is the means by which large particles of excess food and other debris are removed, screened, or skimmed from the water. This is achieved by flowing water through fiber floss, gravel, foam, or some other screening material.
While mechanical filtration uses filters to remove debris, chemical filtration uses activated carbon and ammonia absorbents, such as zeolite, to remove odor, colors and harmful substances, such as ammonia, from the water.
With activated carbon, each piece of carbon is like a little sponge that traps odors, medication residue, and dissolved fish waste. Carbon also removes discoloration in cloudy water. Activated carbon will no longer effectively absorb anything and should be replaced after about 3 or 4 weeks. To test the absorption power of carbon, take a glass of aquarium water on white paper. If the paper looks yellow through the glass, it’s time to change the carbon.
Ammonia can be removed by using a liquid ammonia remover that is placed directly in the water, or ammonia chips, which are put into the filter. However, the use of chemicals to remove ammonia should only be required in unusual cases (such as the start up of a new tank or after a large number of new fish have been added). The primary means of removing ammonia and nitrites should always be your biological filter.
If you need to medicate your aquarium, you’ll need to remove the carbon when treating the sick fish. Otherwise, the carbon will absorb the medication.
A well-established aquarium is a natural ecosystem in which your fish and the beneficial bacteria that naturally occur in an aquarium depend upon each other to live happily and healthy. The result of this interrelationship is commonly referred to as the “Nitrogen Cycle”. Fish eat and produce ammonia as a waste product. Excess food and plant materials also decay and produce ammonia. Beneficial bacteria neutralize the ammonia and produce nitrites, which in turn are neutralized by other beneficial bacteria that produce nitrates. Nitrates in normal levels are harmless to freshwater fish. Thus the natural system in your aquarium converts toxic ammonia into harmless nitrates; all without chemicals or your assistance.
The only thing that you need to do is ensure that you start with a good biological filtration system and that you maintain it. Three conditions are needed in order to establish biological filtration and develop a healthy colony of beneficial bacteria:
There needs to be a place for the bacteria to grow. Bacterial will grow on any porous surface in your tank; on the gravel bed; the replaceable carbon cartridge, wheel, plate or sponge in your power filter; on the bio media in your canister or wet/dry filter; or on the sand in a fluidized bed filter.
The water must be oxygenated. Bacteria needs oxygen to reproduce and grow. An aquarium with proper aeration of the water and good water flow over the beneficial bacteria, will provide sufficient oxygen to maintain the beneficial bacteria. There must be a source of food (ammonia) for the bacteria. Any tank with fish or plants will provide sufficient food. The filtration system must circulate the ammonia carrying water over the beneficial bacteria for them to eat.
What choices do I have in filtration systems for my aquarium? A variety of methods are used to filter an aquarium. All the common methods incorporate all 3 elements of an effective filtration system — mechanical, biological and chemical filtration. The most common methods are:
Undergravel filters in which a slotted plate under the gravel bed is used to provide continuous circulation of the aquarium water (either by introducing a stream of air bubbles into the lift tube or using a powerhead to pump the water) down through the gravel and up through a lift tube back into the tank. Biological filtration occurs as beneficial bacteria living in the gravel neutralize ammonia and nitrites as the water passes through the gravel bed.
Mechanical filtration occurs as the floating particles are forced onto the gravel bed and trapped. When using an undergravel filter it is essential that the gravel be vacuumed thoroughly on a regular basis to remove the trapped particles of food and other waste.
Also trapped waste that accumulates under the filter plate needs to be cleaned periodically. Failure to vacuum the gravel or clean under the filter plate can result in changes to your water chemistry that could be harmful to your fish.
A typical undergravel filter provides no chemical filtration. However, a carbon or zeolite (to remove ammonia) cartridge can be added to the lift tube to provide the needed chemical filtration. These cartridges contain small amounts of carbon or zealot so they need to be changed frequently to be effective.
Power filters have become the most commonly used filtration system in tanks up to 55 gallons. Many hobbyists use a power filter along with an undergravel filter to increase the biological filtration (and thus the number of fish they can keep) in smaller tanks. And many use power filters on even larger tanks in conjunction with canister and other filters.
An external power filter
External power filters is the best choice for combining chemical, mechanical and biological filtration with ease of use. An external power filter hangs on the back of your aquarium and is basically an electric pump that draws water from your aquarium and pumps it through a replaceable filter cartridge that is typically filled with activated carbon. The “carbon cartridge” provides the chemical and mechanical filtration. Biological filtration is accomplished by passing the water over a wheel, sponge, or porous plastic plate that houses the beneficial bacteria.
In some cases the beneficial bacteria live on the replaceable cartridge. You should only use a filter designed in this way with an undergravel filter as other biological filters since replacement of these cartridges removes the beneficial bacteria from your system.
Canister filters are a very effective means of providing a total filtration system. Canister filtration is most typically used on 55-gallon aquariums and larger. While some canister filters are designed to hang on the back of your aquarium, most are designed to be put under the tank and hidden in the aquarium stand. Many believe that an advantage of the canister filter is that it is hidden from sight and thus is more aesthetically pleasing. A major advantage of using a canister filter is the flexibility it gives you in adapting the filter to your other mechanical, biological and chemical filtration needs. These filters are designed to let you determine how much (and what type) of filtration media you want to use.
The only disadvantages are that it requires more hoses and connections than an external power filter and thus is more complicated to set up. Also this type of filter must be disassembled to change media and thus is somewhat more difficult to maintain. Recent designs from the major manufacturers have significantly improved the ease of set up and maintenance of these types of filters.
Other filtration methods have been developed over the past few years. Wet/dry filtration and fluidized bed filters are two of the more popular methods. Both methods can be very effective biological filters. However, they must be used as part of an overall filtration system. Remember, when picking the filtration for your aquarium, you need 3 types of filtration mechanical, biological and chemical, all working together to have the happiest and healthiest fish.
In order to maintain a tank of healthy fish, the water must contain oxygen. The process in which oxygen is introduced into the water is known as aeration.
Fish “breathe” through their gills. They use their gills to extract oxygen from the water that’s then used and converted into carbon dioxide (just like humans) and then discharged back into the water. To ensure that there is sufficient oxygen in the water for the fish to “breathe”, the carbon dioxide needs to be replaced by oxygen. This process is commonly referred to as “gas exchange” and is generally done by aerating the water. A good aeration system is essential to a healthy aquarium.
Aeration is accomplished by breaking the surface of the water or by creating turbulence in the water. It can be accomplished in several ways. Many aquariums are aerated using the turbulence created by the pumping action of a power filter or canister filter and the water falling back into the aquarium. Others use a powerhead with an undergravel filter to pump water across the surface of the tank.
Another common method of aeration is to use an air pump to introduce air bubbles into the water, either with an undergravel filter system or solely with airstones. While both methods involve airstones, in an undergravel filter the introduction of air bubbles into the water creates a current which draws water through the undergravel filter bed and up through a lift tube to the water’s surface. Airstones used without an undergravel filter typically provide supplementary aeration to that provided by a canister or power filter.
Selecting an Air Pump
When selecting an air pump, there are two primary considerations – size and power.
The size of the air pump depends on how much air you need to produce for your aquarium. If you plan to use extra air outlets, such as with action ornaments, bubble walls or decorative air stones, then you should consider a larger air pump. Larger pumps also generally have more outlets, thus alleviating the need for gang valves. When using an air pump with a tall (deep) tank, you should select a larger air pump or an air pump designed for deeper tanks. The deeper the water, the more pressure, and thus the harder the air pump has to work to force air through the airstone and into the water
Airstones are an important part of creating a good aeration system in your tank. Air from the air pump passes through a submerged block of porous material. This breaks up the airflow and produces tiny bubbles, which rise to the surface, breaking the surface tension of water.
Airstones should be routinely changed and cleaned. A clogged air stone will create backpressure, which will shorten the life of the air pump. To test it, simply blow through it. If you can’t easily blow through the air stone, neither can the air pump.
A check valve is a small simple device that is attached to the airline tubing, allowing water to flow in only one direction. It prevents water from siphoning out of the aquarium and flowing backwards into the air pump in the event of an electric power failure.
A gang valve allows the airflow of one air pump to be divided out into many air lines (for example, one for an undergravel filter, one for an action ornament, one for an air stone, etc.). Brass valves are slightly more expensive because they last longer, are easier to adjust and are less prone to air leaks.
The airflow of each valve can be adjusted individually on the gang valve. These generally come in two, three, four, and five-way valves. By using a gang valve, you don’t need to have a separate air pump for each filter, air stone, action ornament, etc.
Airline tubing is the clear plastic flexible tubing that runs air from the air pump to the aquarium. It’s always a good idea to buy extra airline tubing because you’ll need it to hook up any airstones, underground filters or action ornaments.
Tubing comes in both extruded plastic and silicon tubing. Silicone tubing is slightly more expensive because it lasts longer and is more flexible. Extruded plastic tubing is stiffer and tends to yellow and crack with age.
Pet Fish Feeding
What a Fish will eat? This is not a million dollar queston. Fishes require live feed as well as protein rich feed (dry). The common fish feed includes frozen brine shrimp, kens flake food, baby brine shrimp, and Spectrum pellets.
Even you can add mineral mixture with the feed- TetraMin tropical tablets (Hikari micro pellets). Other fish feed includes Hikari sinking carnivore pellets, algae wafers, and sinking wafers, Frozen bloodworms, mysis, and brine shrimp. Cyclopeeze. Omega One color flakes and pellets, and veggie flakes.
In the market, there is availability of slow sinking and frozen foods like bloodworms and brineshrimp.Live feed includes baby brine shrimp, blackworms, grindal worms, microworms, fruitflies, mosquitoe larvae, and daphnia. Your cichlids can be fed with purina trout chow (fingerling size).
Pet Fish Diseases
Fishes are also being affected by different diseases. The diseases are mainly due to change in the quality of the water and low quality fish food. The common diseases of fishes are caused by bacteria, viruses, molds, and fungus. Sometimes protozoan parasites also affect the pet fishes.
Apart from these diseases, fresh water fishes will be affected with ich (ick), fin rot and ammonia poisoning.
Diseases of fishes can be both highly distressing, and in many cases, costly both in treatment and replacement costs. Hence prevention is always better than cure.
The main symptom of diseased fishes are dull and off-feed. Other symptoms include loss of equilibrium, jumping gasping at the surface or water return, self-isolation, heavy respiration,clamped fins,and flashing. The other common diagnostic procedure includes physical examination, and Water testing and inspection of system.
The treatment of the affected fish include Individual treatments. e.g. wound dressing or injections, Food top dressing –usually antibiotics, Bath treatments, and Tank or pond treatments.
General Fish Care Tips
- Over feeding your fish should be avoided. The additional feed in your tank will become as a waste and settle at the bottom of your tank, which will become as a poison to the pet fishes.
- You should change the water in your aquarium tank at least one-third in a week. i.e. within three weeks the whole water should be replaced. This will help you to mislay a fish from a tank.
- Don’t purify a filter. You can use little filters because they need to be transposed often than others.