Tropical fish are becoming a more popular pet for many American households. Around 13.1 million American families include tropical fish, making them the third most popular type of pet. This is no surprise since these majestic creatures are beautiful, graceful, and their aquariums make a great talking piece for your living space.
These beautiful little guys are great for a first pet experience since they are generally pretty low maintenance and there are very few health risks related to ownership and handling. Children can be included in the day to day care of these pets with ease. However, the more in-depth care should still be handled by an adult.
Another great thing about fish is that you don’t need to prepare your whole house for a new family member since they will have their own space. This is why it is essential to get the right aquarium. The right aquarium will make your fish’s life better and your maintenance duties easier.
Picking an aquarium
You can determine the size tank you should get by the breed of tropical fish you are considering. You’ll also want to think about how many fish you plan on housing in your aquarium and if they are freshwater or saltwater fish. Remember that overcrowding an aquarium with too many fish can cause low oxygen levels and excess waste. Consult with a pet store associate about what size fish tank is ideal for your desired fish family if you are unsure.
Each tropical fish breed has different water condition requirements but all fish should have a clean tank. Some other factors to consider are:
- Conditioning the water – tap water is supplemented with many vitamins, minerals, and even chemicals to make it ideal for human use and consumption. However, these properties are not ideal for fish. You’ll want to use a dechlorinating agent and a biological aquarium supplement to ensure that all those extras are neutralized for your fish.
- Maintaining proper pH levels. pH indicates the acidity or alkalinity of your tank water – or any liquid for that matter. You can purchase a pH test kit at most pet stores or using this link. For freshwater fish, you should have a pH level between 6.8 and 7.5. However, this will depend on the species and what their natural habitat provides for them. Make sure to check pH levels regularly and maintain a safe level for your fish.
- Stabilize the temperature. Rapid change in water temperature can cause many problems for your fish. To avoid this, make sure to keep your aquarium away from windows or vents that can heat or cool the water. Consider purchasing an aquatic heater to help maintain a constant temperature for your tropical fish if you live somewhere with cooler weather.
Routine pH level monitoring, temperature checks, and conditioning treatments are a great start to keep your fish’s tank clean and a healthy place for your fish to live. However, you’ll want to schedule one day per month for a full deep clean. A deep clean should include replacing 25% of the water in your aquarium. This helps keep the water cleaner and maintain proper nitrate concentrations.
A gravel vacuum is a great tool to help with these deep cleanings. It will help siphon out water and debris caught in the bottom of the tank. You’ll also want to watch out for algae build up. Algae can look like a cloud on the glass or murky water. Algae can cause decreased oxygen levels so you’ll want to use a tank scrub brush or an aquarium algae magnet to keep your tank algae free.
Watch Your New Pet Closely
It is good practice to set aside a few minutes each day to observe your pet fish, especially when they are new to your home. You’ll want to look for changes in appearance, behavior, and appetite. These changes can mean many things but it’s best to keep a record of any changes you notice so if you start noticing bigger issues, you can have an idea of when any changes may have started.