Tropical fish are fascinating, colorful and amazing. Additionally they make great pets for every household. But they are also part of a highly complex ecosystem that needs consistent, careful, attentive and delicate maintenance.
SETTING THE TANK
When setting up the tank you need to consider several important factors:
1. Location, location, location – Choose a location that will be least stressful for the fish. Avoid places that are near sound sources (TV, radio), heat sources (radiators, cooling units) and light sources (windows, lamps). A peaceful, moderately illuminated and quiet corner is the best location for setting up the aquarium.
2. Filtration system – After the location is chosen, you need to install a high-quality filtration system. There are three types of filtration systems – mechanical, biological and chemical.
3. Heater-stat – it is a combination of thermostat and heater. The heater-stat should be of appropriate wattage. The wattage should be high enough for the heater to be able to warm up the tank, but not to high, to avoid overheating.
4. Air pump – the air pump produces bubbles which facilitates the fish’s breathing by enabling ease exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. In most cases the air pump is optional and serves a decorative purpose. The air pump is crucial for tanks that use too much oxygen (have rich vegetation).
5. Tank light – there are several types of tank lights, but fluorescent lights are the most commonly used. They are inexpensive, simple to install and do not produce too much heat.
6. Decorations – design your tank’s environment. Choose different plants, rocks and ornaments. Keep in mind that the environment should emulate the fish’s natural habitat.
7. Test the aquarium – once everything is set, add water to the tank and see how the aquarium works without fish. Let the systems work for a few days in order to stabilize the environment and make her easily acceptable by the fish.
8. Good bacteria – they help establish the ecosystem your fish need for survival. Good bacteria for tanks can be purchased at pet stores.
INTRODUCING FISH TO THE TANK
If you are a first time fish owner, start with hardier, more resilient fish that can survive fluctuations in the environmental conditions. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of types of tropical fish and they do not all live well together. Some of them are more aggressive, some are territorial and some are predatory. Make sure to choose the right combination. Another important factor is the number of fish you plan to introduce to your new aquarium. It is important not to overcrowd the tank. Never add more than 3 fish per week.
TAKING CARE OF THE FISH AND TANK
Feeding is usually easy. All you need is a high quality tropical fish food and some worms to keep your fish fed and happy. Avoid overfeeding the fish. Give them smaller amounts and if needed add some more food.
Clean the tank and replace the filters regularly. The environmental conditions have direct influence on your fish’s health. Irregular cleaning and improper maintenance makes the fish stressed and more susceptible to diseases.