Today I wanted to write about what I wish I had known when I wished to turn into an aquarium hobbyist. This applies to both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
- Take your entrance to the hobby as slowly as possible. Don’t be scared to dive in, but do as much research as you possibly can by using books, the internet, and other hobbyists with good reputations. Take extra care to simply take advice to heart from individuals others trust, that also aligns with literature or websites that others agree with. You should also decide what direction you want to take the tank, but make sure it is until you start purchasing equipment. Do you want a reef tank? There are a great deal of options to bring joy to your dwelling. Once you have completed your research, you can set up an aquarium!
- People who completely take all of the water from fish tanks and clean filters with tap water are doing the precise opposite of what they’re supposed to. This applies to not only saltwater, but also freshwater as well. As waste is added to an aquarium, this is known as ammonia. It can be inserted through the use of fish food, but it is also excreted through fish themselves. As ammonia builds up, without good bacteria to convert this ammonia into nitrites, it becomes toxic and is the number one killer of fish. When the aquarium’s beneficial bacteria forms obviously, it then turns the nitrites into nitrates. This is why they also need to be converted naturally to nitrates. Nitrates are the least harmful and can only be bad for fish in very large quantities. By only taking out 25% of the aquarium water and replacing it with clean water that has been dechlorinated, you do not shock the fish or beneficial bacteria. This bacteria can take 4-6 weeks to form if it is not seeded from the other tank and this’nitrifying cycle’ can be very hard on your fish. Delicate fish will not survive. The bacteria lives all over your aquarium. This may be from the gravel, filter, sand, and water column.
- Test strips are cheap and simple to use, to search for elevated amounts in ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate. The remedy or these scenarios is simply feeding , eliminating some fish if the tank is over a couple months old and levels are still high, or doing partial water changes. I recommend to all my customers that they change 25-35% of their water every 2 weeks. This will dilute nitrates down from the water by eliminating them. It’s not a requirement, but it is a significant preventative in keeping fish healthy. If bad water does not outright kill a fish, then it weakens their immune systems and this is where sickness can kill the fish.
- Most people I have come in contact with in the aquarium care industry follow the instructions on fish food containers and majorly overfeed their fish leading to deadly tank and water crashes. Feed a small pinch of food daily except for a day of the week with no food. Allow the fish eat all of this food in 30 seconds without it going into the filter, and if the fish appears lean slowly creep up the food amounts.
- Research everything before you purchase it. I cannot count the amount of tank crashes and large humpbacked fish because the buyer didn’t do any research. You and your livestock will be a lot happier and less stressed with ample space and filtration.