There are countless people across the United States who keep fish as pets in aquariums. If you’re interested in beginning fishkeeping as a hobby, it’s important to make sure you’re properly outfitted and prepared to give your fish a healthy, high-quality habitat.
Aquariums don’t have the natural cleansing and filtering that occurs in rivers, lakes and seas. You need to keep up with general tank maintenance to make sure your fish stay happy and healthy.
Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know as a beginning fishkeeper. Talk to the team at your local aquarium store in Iowa for more information.
Get the correct supplies
To start with, you will need some items beyond just an aquarium, filter and light. You’ll need coated or pre-washed gravel to lay along the bottom, some decorations (specifically designed for aquariums), water conditioner to de-chlorinate the tap water for your fish, a net for transferring fish into the tank, some gravel washer for water changes and cleaning and some fish food, which you can get online or at any pet store.
Set up the aquarium properly
Make sure you handle the aquarium with care. After all, it’s heavy and awkward and made mostly of glass. You should never attempt to move an aquarium while there’s anything in it, and never lift it with wet hands or by the upper edges/frame. Always lift from underneath.
Prepare the tank to ensure it is clean before putting anything in it. Choose a location where its weight is properly supported, on a flat, level surface near an electrical outlet. Never place an aquarium close to an air conditioner or heat source, or in direct sunlight, as that could cause algae growth.
When filling the tank, it’s a good idea to place a clean dish on top of any gravel and then pour the water over that dish, allowing the water to deflect and fall to the floor of the tank without disturbing any of the gravel.
Engage in good filtration
There are three stages of filtration necessary for any home aquarium. First, there’s mechanical filtration, which results in solid debris being filtered out. Next there’s chemical filtration, which uses activated carbon media to absorb dissolved substances that could pollute or contaminate the water. Finally, there’s biological filtration, which involves the use of certain bacterial cultures to eliminate toxic nitrite and ammonia. This three-stage filtration setup will keep your tank clean and your fish healthy.
Get the proper electrical setup
You may use a heater to maintain a consistent water temperature, especially if you have tropical fish, which like temperatures of 75 to 80 degrees. There are some cold-water species, however, that can live without a heater just fine.
Lighting can be beneficial to help with live plant growth, but it also helps bring out the natural colors of your fish.
For more information about what you should know as a beginning fish owner, including recommendations for particular supplies and equipment, we encourage you to visit Fish Store Pet Center or contact us at our aquarium supply store in Iowa.