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Aquarium care for your freshwater fish

Red Rivera |

They say owning a fish is the easiest pet you can own, but is it really as easy as putting a fish in an aquarium and feeding it every now and then? 

The answer is no, there’s a little more thought and care that takes place when caring for a fish, stick around and find out.

1. Acclimate your fish. This is the first thing you should do as a new fish owner as fish can be very fragile when exposed to a new environment. Approach the pet store manager and ask what their water parameters for nitrate, nitrite, ammonia and pH levels are. 

Once you get home, test your own aquarium’s water for its chemistry. The greater the differences, the longer you need to acclimate your fish.

2. Float your fish. As you take your new fish home and into the aquarium, you first need to float the sealed bag of your fish in the aquarium for at least 15 minutes, but no longer than one hour to allow for temperature acclimation. You then open the bag and slowly add a quarter cup of water from your aquarium. 

This process of adding a quarter of a cup of water every 5 minutes goes on and on until the bag is full. This process brings the temperature and chemistry slowly together, which allows the fish to acclimate to their new aquatic home without being shocked by sudden changes. 

You then remove the bag from the aquarium and slowly pour off as much water as possible without harming the aquatic life. Lower the bag into the aquarium and let your fish swim out into their new home.

3. Leave room to roam. Having too much inside your aquarium can lead to overcrowding. Overcrowding can lead to low oxygen levels and more waste inside your aquarium. 

4. Condition the water. Water for fish is like air for humans, so it’s important to keep it clean. In order to condition water properly, use a de-chlorinating and biological aquarium supplement available at your local pet store.

5. Maintain proper pH levels. pH measures the alkalinity of your tank water, When you have freshwater fish, they thrive when the pH level is between 6.6 and 7.8 depending on species. Make sure to buy a pH test kit and use it to check the pH level to make sure you have healthy fish.

6. Replace aquarium water. It’s recommended to change 25% of your aquarium water at least once a month. This keeps your tank clean and healthy as it keeps nitrate concentrations at a safe level. 

7. Maintain adequate water temperature. Fish don’t react too well to sudden temperature changes. Make sure to place your aquarium away from a window that gets a lot of sun or next to heating or air conditioning vents, as drastic temperature changes can make your fish sick or even kill them. 

8. Clean the sides of your tank. Algae buildup on tanks can cloud the glass, give the water a murky look, and deplete oxygen. Aquarium plants can also suffer when too many algae are present in your tank as algae rob plants of much-needed oxygen.

When you keep these tips in mind, you won’t have to worry anymore! You’ll keep your fish happy and healthy.