Everyone would desire to see their fishes swimming active and happy. For that, the fishes needs, not only beautiful but also a healthy environment. A healthy aquarium is the key for hale and happy fishes. What does healthy means, keeping the tank clean? Yes, but not only that. It also involves maintaining balanced temperature, pH level, ammonia levels, etc.
Keeping a healthy tank helps long survival of fishes and also gives you a hassle free hobby. Following few practices and precautions regularly will help you to accomplish it easily. This guide will help you through some of those simple but important steps to be followed.
1. Know and plan what you buy:
You should first know about the fishes which you wish to bring home. Carry out a little research about the breed, what type of environment it would require, what are the products you would need to setup the aquarium, etc. The compatibility between the fishes you put in the tank also needs to be considered. If the fishes are not compatible, then one might harm or kill another.
2. Choosing right equipment:
After analyzing about the fish you want to buy, it is time to choose the necessary equipment to prepare the suitable environment. Considering the fact that healthy aquarium is your aim, you should not compromise in the quality of the products you buy. One time investment is worth for a long term hobby.
Whether you are going to setup fresh water aquarium or salt water aquarium, basic set of equipment remains the same.
3. Water is the important matter:
You all know very well that “no water, no fish”. As water is the habitat for any kind of aquatic life, it is your responsibility to maintain the quality of water. Not concentrating on the water quality might
endanger the life of the species. You should avoid directly using the tap water for fish tank. Water should be conditioned before adding into the tank for long term healthy fishes.
De-chlorinate the water as chlorine might highly hurt the aquatic life. You can also use reverse osmosis equipment or de-ionizer to condition the water. For salt water aquarium, do not forget to add salt mix to the conditioned water, as marine fishes will not survive in normal water conditions.
4. Monitor pH , nitrite and ammonia levels of water:
The pH level gives the alkalinity measure of your tank water. Use a test kit to check for pH, ammonia and nitrites regularly. The pH level for fresh water fishes should range between 6.5 and 7.5. Ammonia and nitrite should always be maintained as 0 ppm. Fluctuations in any of these parameters will reflect in health of the fishes.
5. Healthy fish helps healthy tank:
When you go to pet store to buy fishes, observe the fish you have selected before buying it. See to that, it is not suffering in any disease and it looks active. Also, see there are no other fishes in that same tank looks infected. Because, the fish you selected might also got affected and spread to other creatures in your tank.
6. Maintain water temperature:
Temperature plays a vital role in the health of the aquatic creatures. If you see your fishes are more hyperactive then, too high temperature might be the reason. Or, if they seem to be shivering or not having food properly then, too cool temperature might be the reason. These temperature fluctuations are likely to endanger the life of the fishes. It is advisable to install heater / chiller in your tank and adjust the temperature accordingly. Use a thermometer and monitor your tank water’s temperature on a regular basis.
7. Bi-weekly water change:
Once in two weeks perform 10 to 20 percent water change depending upon the size of the tank. This will help to maintain a healthy tank. Do not forget to condition the water before adding it into the tank and adding salt mix in case of marine aquarium. Use of vacuum gravel cleaner will help to clean the tank water debris and maintain the health of fishes.
8. Don’t overcrowd the tank:
Hold your temptation of adding all the fishes you like at one time into the tank. This will not help building a healthy aquarium. On the other hand, it might lead to oxygen depletion and endanger the life of fishes. First add few fishes and let it accustom to your tank environment. After three to four weeks add the next set of fishes you wish to add. Also, the number of fishes should not exceed the limit that the tank can hold. Another tip for healthy fish here is, while adding fishes in batches, each batch should be acclimatized before introducing into the tank.
9. Acclimate the fishes:
Acclimation is the process of accustoming the aquatic species to your tank water. The fish you brought was grown in the pet store tank water which had different temperature, pH level, ammonia level and nitrite levels. Introducing them suddenly into a new environment might cause stress or pH shock. So acclimatizing is mandatory every time you bring in new fishes for your tank.
Generally, two types of acclimatizing can be done. One is called Floating bag method and another is Drip line method.
By doing this process, the fish will have a healthy environment transition. And this needs to be followed for every batch of the fishes you bring in.
10. Setup Quarantine Tank:
This is a useful method for attaining healthy fish and fish tank. Quarantine tanks are separate tanks in which you will have to keep your new arrivals for 2 – 3 weeks and observe its activities carefully. If you see it is abnormal or sick it is not advisable to add in your main tank as it might carry some disease or parasites. Or else you can add the fish to your main tank. Please note that before introducing any fish either in quarantine tank or main tank, you should follow the acclimation process without fail. Quarantine tanks might look like additional overhead, but it helps at a greater level for healthy fishes in your aquarium. If you invest in quarantine tanks, it is worth enough the money and effort spent for the health and happy fishes.
11. Right quantity of Right food at Right time:
Thus feeding right quantity of right food at right time is a key for maintaining healthy fishes.
12. Observe for sickness and practice safe medication:
In breeding of fishes, feeding on timely manner alone doesn’t suffice its healthy living, monitoring for any signs of sickness is also very important. Some of the indications of fishes for which you should pay attention are, color fading out, panting at surface, eroded or clamped fins, slimy patches, shivering, open sores, always hiding, white patches, etc. Ignoring any of these might threaten the life of not only that fish but also spread to other species in the tank.
In case you see any of these signs or abnormal behavior of any fish, you need to first check your tank. See whether there is any change in water quality, check for pH, ammonia and nitrate levels, check filter and other equipment are functioning properly, remove carbon sediments, increase aeration for good oxygen supply. If all these seem to be proper, then give proper medication. If you are not sure what needs to be done, take the fish along with some water of your tank to a pet store and follow their advice. It is better to quarantine the fish while treating and put back once it becomes normal.
13. Clean sides slightly:
You have to wipe the glass sides of the tank often for a clear view of your fishes and also to get rid of excess algae build up or calcium/salt deposits. The fishes feed on algae and other micro-organisms that grow in your tank. Though the fishes feed on algae, leaving too much of algae in the tank will lead to oxygen depletion and unbalanced water conditions. You can use algae scrapper and scrap off excess algae deposits from your tank. Clean salt / calcium deposit as well as it clouds the tank.
By following these simple guidelines and continuous monitoring of your tank water, you can have healthy and happy fishes at your home.