Pet Fish Care Tips

Aquarium Fishes Fishes are commonly cared for as pets because they add beauty and a sort of “decoration” to the house. They are placed either in ponds or in tanks. Most of the owners own tanks so I would like to discuss fishes in aquariums for this article.

Keeping a fish requires time and effort, especially for those fish that have special needs than the basic pet fishes. You need to consider many things in order for your pet fishes to survive and stay healthy. One thing you need to know is that you should not change the water very frequently. Most of the large tanks require changing only twice a month. Smaller tanks should be changed weekly. This will allow algae and good bacteria to grow, which is essential for the fish to survive.

In cleaning the tank, remove decorations and plants first. If you have pebbles or sand, use gravel vacuum to clean it. Clean the filter with a chlorine-free water, not the tap water and remove all the slime. Remove algae from the tank walls using an algae scraper. Brush the plants and other decorations. Use soap and water and do not apply any chemicals. Wash off the soap thoroughly, making sure that you do not leave any residue. Put all that you removed back inside the aquarium and use chlorine-free or specifically treated water.

You should regulate the water temperature inside the aquarium. A 74 – 78 º F range is safest for most type of fishes. You may use aquarium heaters. However, make sure to check the temperature regularly with the use of a thermometer to make sure that the water does not get too hot as it may cause blindness or even death to the fish.

Most of the fish requires exposure to light at least 12 hours a day. But, remember not to place them in direct sunlight, which may turn the water too hot. This will help in bacterial growth. An artificial lighting may also be placed, which helps fishes see their food and their environment during nighttime. However, you should be more sensitive when it comes to nocturnal fishes because they require very little amount of light to survive.

Most of the fishes feed on pellets, flakes, etc. You should remember to give them foods high in protein. There are different foods for different fishes so make sure to research on them before giving one. Food size is also essential. Remember that if the fish/fishes do not consume the given food within 2-5 seconds, the food may be too big or is not the right one for them. Do not overfeed the fish as this may also cause death.

Below are different kinds of fishes with their specific preferences.

  • Betta fish (Siamese Fighting Fish) – Should not be kept with other Betta fishes in one aquarium because they tend to kill each other. Prefers to eat pellets, shrimps and flakes. Likes clean water. Water temperature should be 78-82º F.

  • Discus fish – Water temperature should be 82 - 86º F. Water pH should be 6.5. Feeds on brine shrimps, bloodworm, flakes and pellets.

  • Tropical fish – Prefers water temperature ranging 74-80º F. Use artificial heater for the tank. Eats blood worms, small pellets and/or flakes.

  • Koi fish – Popular for their great color and long life. Eats pellets or flakes. Water should have a pH level of 7- 7.5.

  • Goldfish – Tough fishes and they are easy to maintain.  Eats pellets, vegetables or meat products. Pre-packed foods are available at the stores.

  • Oscar fish – Known for its intelligence and recognizes its owner.  Water temperature should be 77 – 82º F. Should be fed once a day. Carnivorous – eats blood worms, shrimps, staple and pellets. Does not like bright lights.

  • Puffer fish – Water temperature should be 75 – 78.8º F. Food include blood worms, brine shrimps or dried shrimps. Likes hiding and playing so you may add toys inside the aquarium.

  • Rope fish – Snake-like fish that prefers water temperature of 75 – 80º F. More attractive during nighttime. Jumps when tank is uncovered. Nocturnal. Prefers dark hiding places. Eats shrimps, fish, worms, and insects. Water should have a little salt.

  • Parrot fish– Eats pellets, flakes, shrimps, blood worms. Should have moderate lighting, not bright ones.

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