12 Great tips for keeping your fish healthy.
1. Do not overstock. Putting too many fish in your aquarium will have a seriously bad effect on water quality. Lots of fish mean lots of waste in the form of harmful ammonia. It can also result in stunted growth, illnesses amongst fish, and even aggression problems.
If you do end up with an overstocked tank be sure to perform regular water testing and maintenance. Consider giving away some fish if you cannot control your water quality problems.
2. Do not overfeed. Feed small quantities of food and check that it’s all eaten before adding any more. Stop feeding after a minute or two. 2 feedings a day is plenty. Feed a variety of different food such as flakes, pellets and fresh or live food.
Remember excess food which is not eaten will rot and raise ammonia levels in the tank.
3. Buy a large tank if space and cost allow. A large tank is more stable in terms of temperature and water chemistry. Smaller aquariums require more careful management. Regardless of the tank size make sure not to overstock or overfeed.
4. Check species requirements and compatibility before buying.
5. Examine the physical condition of tropical fish carefully before buying; avoid any fish with damaged fins, damaged scales or white spots.
6. Release new fish into the tank gradually; float the bag for at least 15 minutes to equalise temperature. Open the bag and allow the fish to swim out by itself. Don’t dump the remaining water from the bag into your aquarium.
7. Carry out regular water changes. 25% per month should probably be considered a minimum for an average community tank. Use a gravel cleaner when doing partial water changes in your aquarium.
8. Use water from your aquarium to wash filter sponges rather than using tap water which will kill the beneficial bacteria. When replacing filter sponges, change half at a time to preserve some beneficial bacteria.
9. Stock slowly to allow the bacterial population time to increase to match the additional waste load. The beneficial bacteria your filter requires to make the fish’s waste products safe takes several weeks to multiply to the levels needed. Build up fish stock gradually and test water regularly.
10. Disease or death in your aquarium?
Understanding your aquarium and its water quality is vital in preventing disease. Check for any water quality problems which would need to be resolved or treatment will not be effective.
11. Avoid using chemical additives unless you fully understand the consequences of their use. Follow instructions on the packet and calculate water volumes accurately.
12. Move sick fish from your aquarium to a quarantine tank as soon as possible. If you don’t have a quarantine tank then improvise.