Basic fish care involves a few simple and routine steps you can do to ensure the ongoing health of your aquarium or pond inhabitants. The basic steps to fish care are outlined below. You should research any unique requirements your fish might have or ask a knowledgeable employee at a local aquarium specialty store.
Good fish care habits are key to the healthy and vitality of your fish. In turn, healthy and vital fish will greatly enhance your enjoyment of this hobby.
- Feed your fish daily. While it is true that most fish can go a few days without food (for instance, while you are on a short vacation), more aggressive fish may decide to try and eat each other. Only feed them enough food so that it is all consumed within about five minutes. Promptly remove any uneaten food.
- Check the temperature of the water. If it is not in the range acceptable for your fish, adjust your heater in small increments until the temperature returns to the proper range.
- Perform routine water changes every 2-4 weeks. Siphon off 10-25% of the water and replace it with de-chlorinated tap water to preserve adequate water quality. You may need to add other chemicals to the tap water before adding it to your aquarium depending on any specialized requirements for the type of fish you keep. Use a thermometer to ensure that the tap water is close to the same temperature as the water in the aquarium before adding it.
- Check your filter to ensure proper function. For the best results, a filter should be able to circulate all the water 3-5 times in an hour. Clogged filters will prevent this. To preserve the helpful bacteria residing in a sponge portion of your filter, rinse it in bucket with water siphoned from the aquarium. Cold, chlorinated tap water will kill these bacteria.
- Monitor the growth of your fish to prevent overcrowding. Overcrowding an aquarium with too many fish or fish that are too big can cause stress and disease. Move large or rowdy fish to another aquarium.
- Check your fish for signs of stress or diseases. Make sure the original colors are full and bright. Look for spots or missing scales, clamped fins, paleness or obvious injuries. Move sick or diseased fish to a separate "hospital" tank for treatment with commercial preparations available at most local pet stores.
- Record the dates and results of these steps every time you complete them in a log book. This can help you sort out any problems in the future and help coordinate tasks when your whole family participates in care for your fish.