Keeping fish tanks can be a great hobby, not only are they fairly easy and cheap to get started, but offer an amazing relaxing pastime. Getting started with this hobby can sometimes be a little overwhelming as there are so many options of tanks, fish and accessories to choose from and all require to be matched together well. This article is designed to give you a good overview of all the aspects you need to think about when starting your own aquariums so that you can avoid making the mistakes that others make whenjust jumping into it without a plan or basic knowledge you need to keep the fish happy and alive.
There are a few main categories of fish that you need to know about. These are Freshwater or tropical fish, saltwater or marine fish, Cichlids, and of course gold fish. The main differences between these are: freshwater/ tropical fish are kept in fresh water and come from warm water tropical climate areas such as south America, Africa and Asia. Saltwater/ marine fish come from the sea and are found in reef areas such as the Great Barrier Reef and include the now famous clown fish thanks to Nemo. Cichlids are fish like Angels, Oscars and Discus which are also fresh water fish, but require different water conditions to tropical fish. Gold fish and Koi are the type of fish that are easily kept by the beginner as they require the least detailed care and can survive in un-heated fresh water.
Tropical fish can be fairly easy to keep but sometimes also quite difficult. Some of the best and easiest to start with are Guppies and Mollies. These fish are happy in most beginners tanks and are resilient to bad conditions. Of course being livebearers make these some of the cheapest fish also as they have a lot of babies, something that needs to be taken into consideration when choosing the size of the tank to keep them in.
You absolutely must consider the size and amount of fish you wish to keep before purchasing your fish tanks. It is generally a good rule to get a tank that is twice as big as you thought you wanted to accommodate all the fish and allow for expansion. The larger tanks allow for much more planting, ornaments and filtration along with the fish. The larger tanks will also take a lot longer for the water to become toxic without adequate filtration. You must also consider when deciding on which fish to buy if the particular fish are compatible and won’t eat each other or require different water conditions.
Setting up a tropical aquarium is not as simple as getting a tank, filling it with water and chucking the fish in. You will need accessories that will keep the water clean and healthy. The first major thing you will need is a good filter to remove the waste and harmful chemicals from the water. get the best filter you can afford! Next you will need a aquarium heater to keep the tank at the correct temperature for the type of fish you intend to keep. Another major thing you will need is a water test kit that can test for things like ammonia and ph so you know if there is a potential problem and can rectify it before fish start dying. Other things that will be useful are gravel, gravel siphon cleaner, water conditioner, fish net etc. If you are interested in keeping guppies and mollies think about the things you will need to keep the water in a ph range of 7.5 and temperature of 25 degrees Celsius.
Some fish are very difficult to breed and even experts will struggle to provide the optimum habitat for this to occur as it would in the wild. Mollies and Guppies however are not so difficult. These fish are livebearers and are like the rabbits of the fish world. the beauty of being livebearers is that when they give birth, the fry are ready to swim, eat and hide from predators, so they often survive unlike many that are laid as eggs. If you want to breed these fish the first thing to do is provide plenty of hiding places for the fry that the larger fish cant get to for safety. I don’t recommend using breeding tanks as these usually stress the fish out too much. The only other thing to do is put at least one male and one female in the fish tank and wait! Just make sure you have a big enough tank for 20 more fish each time this happens!
Disease is a big concern when keeping tropical fish as this can occur quite easily. Make sure you pay close attention to the condition of you fish so that if there is anything wrong you can catch it early. There are a few common signs to look for like white spots, loss of appetite, unusual swimming or sitting on the bottom or close to the top, fin rotting etc. If you notice these symptoms check your water for ph, ammonia, nitrates, nitrites etc and use appropriate chemicals to correct any issues. Your local aquarium shop should be able to advise on the best course of action here, but make sure you do a 30% water change and clean out the filter as this often helps when it is just getting dirty.
As you can see there is more to this hobby than most people first think, but don’t let that deter you as it is a lot of fun and very rewarding. Please take the above information and advise when starting out and you will be thankful you did.
Originally posted 2016-10-08 01:55:16.