you are thinking about keeping community tropical fish,
or have just started to keep them, hopefully this information will help.
It is not aimed at the established hobbyist. Fishkeeping is an enjoyable,
addictive hobby. The idea is to share knowledge
that has been gained over many years of keeping fish, while not claiming to be
Tropical freshwater fishkeeping is probably the most popular branch of
fishkeeping. The tropical aquarium is an attempt to recreate, as close as
possible, while still being aesthetically pleasing, a copy of the fishes natural
habitat, a tropical river or section of a lake, complete with rocks, plants
and of course the fish.
Decorative fish keeping began many centuries ago with the goldfish. They were
kept in ponds and large tanks during the Chinese Sung dynasty (960-1279 AD) near
temples and around the royal palaces. From China the goldfish (Chi-yu) went to
Japan around 1500 where continuous and selective breeding produced some of the
exquisite variations we see today. Tropical fish keeping began later due to
technical requirements like keeping the water
at the right, warm, temperature. Today, an aquarium can be set-up with ease,
because there are numerous sources of advise, and numerous commercial fish
keeping products available. Remember that we are dealing with living creatures
which are totally dependant on use for all aspects of their life support.
Hopefully this information will allow a beginner to set up and maintain a healthy,
attractive tropical aquarium
In recent years Marine fish keeping has become very popular due to advancements
in salt production, water quality, and filtering techniques, particularly with
the introduction of live rock. However, this section is for the beginner and
will not cover Marine fish keeping.
Here are some things to consider BEFORE you buy your tank.
Determine what kind of fish you want to keep.
The first thing you should do is decide what kind of fish you want to keep.
Different kinds of fish require different care, different conditions, different space, and different equipment. If you buy the equipment before you
decide what kind of fish you are getting, you may find yourself with inappropriate equipment or a tank that is to small. You should research the care and
compatibility of your chosen fish. To help with this you should purchase a good book. It is important to learn about the fish you want
to keep, as this will determine the conditions you need, the equipment to get, and how to set up your tank. Researching your fish will tell you
how big get, and what size of the tank you will need to keep them happy and healthy; a general rule for this is 1" of healthy mature fish
per gallon of water for small fish, 1" of fish per 3 gallons of water for large or messy fish, more than that for marine fish. This will also let you
determine if your chosen fish are compatible with each other. If your chosen fish's care requirements, size, or temperament are too
different, they will not be compatible and should not be kept together.
Now that you know more about the fish you wish to keep,
and what size of tank you will need, select a location for your new aquarium. Allocate space for the
tank and accessories; allow space between the tank and the wall for filters, tubing, and cables.
How much can you
afford to spend on your aquarium? If this is your first tank, how much can you afford to spend on a new hobby that you are not pursue
Visit your local pet store to see what equipment is available and how much it costs.
Evaluate budget and space constraints.
Does your budget match the cost of the equipment you need ? Can you get a tank large enough for your
fish that fits in the space available in your home ? Address both questions, and evaluate your fish selection, space
and budget compared to this new information. Is the cost more ? Is the space sufficient for the tank needed ?
How committed are you to getting the selected fish?
Is one fish pushing the set-up cost up ? Is that fish even available in your area ?
Now that you have re-evaluated your
fish selections, space limitations, and budget, it is time to purchase the equipment.
Set aside a couple of hours to
set everything up if this is your first tank. Once all of your equipment is set up fill the tank with water, and let it settle for a couple of days to
make sure that everything is working properly and there are no leaks.
Select starting fish.
While the tank is running
without fish for the first couple of days, go back to your list of fish and select a few starter fish. These fish should be hardy, inexpensive, relatively
small, and something
you want to keep in your tank. Select 1" of fish per 10 gallons of water. This time use the
size the fish are when you get them to determine their impact. This is because your fish will not grow significantly in the 4-8 weeks it will take the tank to
Cycle your tank.
Over the next 4-8 weeks, be patient, be diligent with maintenance, do not over feed, watch your
fish's behaviour closely, do extra water changes as necessary, and dont't add any more fish. Until your tank has finished cycling, stick with
your starter fish.
Maintain your tank.
Feed and observe your fish daily. Check your filter twice a week. Perform a 10-15% partial water change
every week, and clean off algae at the same time. Each month, check hoses, fittings, clamps, cables, lights and other equipment. This may
sound like a lot, but a couple of minutes a day could prevent a disaster a month later. Water changes take about 30 minutes for a tank, including
equipment checks and cleaning off algae. Most people find their aquariums take less than 2 minutes a day to keep everything in order. Now you are
ready to venture into the exciting world of fish keeping. Hopefully, these steps will get you started on the right foot.