Common Mistakes People Make with Their Aquarium

Claudia Tegtman, Staff Writer

Most people assume that fish are easy pets that don’t require much space or time, but this is extremely wrong. Fish, along with any other animal, require lots of attention and an actual understanding on how to take care of them. If the person in question is not willing to put in the time or effort into taking care of any animal, then they shouldn’t get one.

The most common mistake people make when buying a tank is how big it should be. An example of this would be if someone were to buy a small bowl or tank for their betta fish because of the small cups they’re sold in, but they need much more space; relatively one to two gallons to really thrive. When they’re crammed into one of those small bowls, their lifespan drastically reduces and their color becomes much more dull and sickly looking.  When you have more than one fish, you need to accommodate for a bigger tank, as well as making sure the tank is ready for the fish to be introduced at all. As well as the water being ready for the fish to be introduced, make sure the layout of the tank is at a state at which it won’t be rearranged for quite some time as the fish will get stressed out easily if their environment changes. Another handy tip would have to be knowing the compatibility of the fish in the tank with other species before adding any more in.

The nitrogen cycle is an easily overlooked but detrimental aspect when it comes to the tank’s health. It basically entails that pollutants such as ammonia and nitrite are at a level that won’t harm the fish. When anyone gets a tank and introduces fish without letting the water ‘get ready’, it is almost expected for them to die early on. Algae is also an aspect of tank cleaning that scare many beginners which causes them to put loads of chemicals in the water to ‘prevent’ it; although these chemicals should only be used when the algae in your tank has gotten to the point where you can’t control it. A much less harmful way to get rid of algae would be to implement live plants in the tank instead of plastic ones, as they consume the same nutrients that algae does. It’s best to add plants in a freshwater tank, and different types of water, such as saltwater, have different methods, so it’s best to brush up on the type of environment the fish live in. Make sure the fish have a heater if needed, as some types of fish, especially tropical, require warmer water.

After owning fish for a while, people tend to neglect cleaning the tank for a month before deciding it’s dirty enough to require attention. It’s crucial that the filter and 15% of the tank’s water is either cleaned or replaced. It’s good to get into a schedule of when to clean the tank and really be ready to put in the effort to clean it well for the well being of the fish. If the tank is constantly getting dirty, the problem could lie in how much the fish are being fed; only feed them what they can eat in five minutes. Overfeeding can lead to the water being poisoned from waste, leading to death. It also helps to have a filter that does its job fast enough, normally it should be able to turn the water at least four times an hour. It’s extremely difficult to over filter water so don’t be afraid to get a stronger filter.

The last and most important thing to mention is that you should really research what kind of fish you want, even if you already have the information gathered from a storekeeper. Not all the information they give is accurate. If anyone wants a healthy tank, knowing what you’re doing and being prepared really does come a long way.