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Fish Care Basics

August 07, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

You need to pay attention to your tank every day to keep your fish happy and healthy!

Fish are different from other types of pets because you can’t cuddle them and they can’t tell you through noises or tail-wagging that they are hungry. Here are some fish care basics to help you establish a good fish care routine.

  • Feed your fish flakes. Just a pinch; only as much as they can eat in three minutes. Start out with less rather than more at first to find out this amount because any excess just falls to the bottom and decomposes making for a dirty, smelly tank.
  • Feed them that determined amount once or twice a day. As long as they are going for it quickly and eating most of it, then they are hungry!
  • You can add some other freeze-dried foods to your fish’s diet as well as live worms. Ask about it at the pet store and see what’s available. Don’t make it the norm, however because fish can get fat.
  • If the food has gotten wet or moist or you think it is old, toss it rather than taking a chance on adding bacteria to your tank and fish.

  • Lack of appetite, gasping for oxygen, continuous hiding, rough scales, or wounds are all signs that your fish might be stressed out.
  • Observe your fish every day to notice normal and abnormal behavior. Watching fish is a known stress reducer for humans.
  • Check your tank’s filter and clean it regularly so the water stays as pure as possible.
  • Watch out and test for other stress factors like water temperature and acidity, mixing species, poor nutrition, sudden water changes, physical space needs.
  • Keep a thermometer in the tank so you can be on the lookout for extreme temperature changes. Keep water test kits on-hand in case a problem develops. Both are available at pet stores, discount stores and online retailers.

  • Everything you do to your tank must be done gradually, allowing time for fish to get used to the new condition. The same goes for adding water and cleaning the tank.
  • Remove only about one third of the existing water and replace it with only de-chlorinated water (there are special drops available at the pet store to use for this purpose).  Don’t skip this step as chlorinated water will kill your fish!
  • If you have an algae problem, clean your filter, replace 1/3 of your water, scrape the glass, vacuum the gravel of excess algae and waste and move your tank to a less sunny location.
  • Never use soaps or detergents to clean the tank. Cleaning does not have to be immaculate. Fish need a nutrient-rich water habitat that includes a little natural foliage debris for adding the “good bacteria” fish thrive in which also removes toxins from the water.

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