Aquarium Tips For Beginners
Aquarium and Equipment
Before setting up your aquarium take the time to plan carefully, measure how much space you have available for the aquarium allowing extra room for tank maintenance, get into your head which species of fish you wish to keep, this will determine how large a tank you will need.
Never impulse buy, when you go to the aquatic stores have a look at the fish and then stand back and have a good think before you purchase them. Is my tank large enough? Will these fish be compatible in the same tank? Have I the time to look after these properly? Answering these questions will make life easier for you, once the fish have been purchased it is your responsibility to care for them.
When your aquarium is set up make sure that you have a filter that is rated large enough for your tank, the filters are rated in gallons/litres per hour and the tank volume should pass through the filter at least once an hour.
If you are setting up a tropical freshwater tank only use a reliable heater and make sure that this is large enough for the aquarium that you are using, buying cheaper models may save you pennies initially but they do not last long and you will just end up going out yet again to replace them, always buy the best model that you can afford.
Decorating your Aquarium
Anything that is placed into your aquarium must be aquarium safe, only use the recommended ornaments or if you are adding rock make sure that they are inert, some rocks can slowly dissolve into the water affecting the pH of your tank. To test them simply drop some vinegar onto them, if they fizz they are not inert. Dont add anything with sharp edges, the fish can injure themselves on these, gravel or rocks should be smooth.
Place any décor away from the edges of the tank, this will allow you to keep the aquarium glass clean, a couple of inches is plenty but will make all of the difference when you are cleaning the glass.
Dont use a substrate that is too compact, over time fine substrate will trap harmful gases and these gas pockets will eventually release the gas poisoning the fish. Only use aquarium sand or fine gravel, these can be cleaned easily.
Feeding your fish
Only feed the fish the amount of food that they can consume in a couple of minutes, fish will always appear to be hungry but in the wild they can go for days without food. Any excess food left in the aquarium will decay and add ammonia to the water. Always check that you are feeding the fish the correct diet, different species of fish may require different foods as some fish are carnivorous, some are herbivorous and some are omnivorous.
Test your Water
All aquariums will need to be cycled before adding any fish, invest in a reliable test kit so that you can keep an eye on ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. You need to know that your feeding regime and water changes are keeping the water at a high quality.
Once the aquarium is cycled and the fish are added, perform weekly water changes without fail, the average required is 10% but if the nitrates rise you may need to do larger ones.