On this site we focus so much on guides for what to do or how to properly care for your fish. Its easy to read guides online about up keeping your home aquarium, and then overlook these big no-no’s. I’m guessing if you’re reading this you care about your fish’s health and want to keep them alive and healthy, and this is a great guide of what not to do when taking care of your fish.
Firstly you don’t want to buy you’re aquarium or fish tank and the fish at the same time.
I know it can be exciting when purchasing a fish tank to want to get it all set up and have a tank full of fish later on that day, but the truth of it is this isn’t good for the fish at all. You first need to “cycle” your fish tank. Once you have all of the substrate (gravel) and aquascaping the way you want it then you’ll have to add water and run the filter with the lights on for a couple of days up to a full week depending on the size of your fish tank. The reason for this is for one to get the temperature of the water at true room temp where it will be while the fish are living in the tank, and secondly to let some bacteria grow to help get the nitrate levels where they need to be.
Second you never want to change more that 20% of the water in the fish tank out at one time.
For a lot of the same reasons as our first tip, you want to keep the bacteria levels up and you don’t want to shock the fish with water at a higher or lower temperature than they are used to living in. Changing the temperature too much at once can stress the fish out and the same way our immune system works it makes it easier for them to get sick.
Next on our list is to not overcrowd your fish.
A lot of newbies to keeping fish make this mistake because they want to own as many fish as they can to make their fish tank come to life. This however is not good for the fish’s health. Like a major change in temperature this can cause the fish to become stressed and open them up to disease. Every fish needs enough free room to swim so that it can grow to its full size. Believe it or not too many fish in a tank can stunt your fish’s growth. Lastly too many fish in a small area can pull too much oxygen out of the tank which the fish need to survive. A good rule of thumb is to give every fish at least 2 gallons of the tank to work with. So for example if you have a 20 gallon tank you wouldn’t want to have more than 10 fish living in the tank at one time.
Don’t over clean your fish tank and never use chemicals to clean.
Try to think of your fish tank or aquarium as its own little piece of the ocean or a lake. No one ever goes into a fish’s natural habitat and starts bleaching rocks and other vegetation in the area. This is because the fish have their own natural environment that they become accustomed to and thrive in. The fish need some of the bacteria and algae in order to survive. If you’re cleaning off decorations be sure to only clean off a piece or two at a time as to not offset the fish tanks natural balance and for gods sake NEVER use any chemicals when cleaning. Just rinse with water. In fact the best thing you can use to clean off things in your fish tanks is the water from the fish tank itself. Pull out 20% of the aquariums water and use that to rinse off the items you wish to clean. Then replace the water with fresh water afterwards.
Don’t over feed your fish.
Fish will try to eat everything that they can because naturally they don’t know when they are getting their next meal. Overeating can have the same effect on fish as it would humans causing the fish to become stressed and sick. Also anything that does go uneaten will just float around in the fish tank and can make your water appear cloudy. Fish often like eating about 3 times a day but you just want to be sure that they are eating everything you put into the tank because if they’re leaving food that means they’ve already eaten too much.
Do not add too many new fish to your fish tank at one time.
Fish produce waste and adding too much at one time can throw off the natural habitats environment, and it can take time for the aquarium to balance itself back out. Also adding too many new fish at once can drop oxygen levels very quickly that your fish aren’t used to. Add a couple of fish at a time then wait for a week or two to make sure that the addition isn’t causing stress or disease and let the environment balance itself back out before adding more fish.
There you have it. Our list of things not to do for first time fish buyers. Having fish around can have multiple health benefits to you and your family, but you want to make sure it doesn’t come at the expense of the fish’s health. Take care of your fish and fish tank and they will live much longer and actually have more vibrant colors when healthy giving the room a huge boost in livelihood.