Tanks and aquaria
When buying a fish tank or aquarium, talk to your local aquatic specialist or pet shop about the size of tank and the specification you will need. The size of tank will depend on the type of fish and the number of fish.
Take advice on how to set up the tank – a suitable stand, filter, thermometer, gravel, plants, hiding places such as rocks or driftwood should all be installed stepwise. A lid is a good idea to prevent evaporation and also to deter some fish from jumping out!
The fish tank will need to be kept out of direct sunlight to reduce the growth of algae. Keep the tank away from noisy areas and draughts. Check the water quality and filter weekly especially during the initial few weeks.
Water quality is the single most important key to successful fish keeping. Since a pond or tank is essentially a ‘closed system’ waste products must be removed before they build up and cause problems. This is the purpose of the cleaning and filtration systems in ponds and aquaria, and care must be taken to ensure these are working as well as possible. Again seek advice from your local retailer or specialist.
If you decide to empty out your tank to clean it do not use household chemicals as these could prove fatal to your fish when they are put back into the tank.
One of the mistakes that new fish keepers make is to overfeed their fish – a number of fish are opportunistic feeders and will appear hungry when in fact they have sufficient food, and overfeeding will overload the biofilter causing water quality problems. Feed once daily during the start-up phase. Again advice and research can help especially with fish species with unusual dietary requirements.
A good quality, balanced and varied diet should be offered to your fish.
In the wild, some fish live in shoals, so it is important that fish can have companionship. Make sure you know how many fish your aquarium can hold. Too many fish in a tank leads to competition for food and poor water quality. It is important when you buy your fish that you take into consideration whether they can live happily together.