A Guide: How To Take Care Of Pet Fish

A Guide: How To Take Care Of Pet Fish

Do You Love Fish? Checkout this post on How to Take Care of Pet Fish.
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Keeping fish is one of the most exciting and rewarding areas everyone can venture in. Keeping a tropical aquarium in the living room or the backyard is not only satisfying but also gives you a fresh supply of fish. Fresh water fish are considered the easiest and most affordable to keep. This is because freshwater fish tanks are readily available and inexpensive. In addition to this, there's a wide array of fresh water fish to keep.

Although many people start keeping fish as a hobby, many get hooked pretty fast, with many going for larger aquariums. The thought of building/creating a small ecosystem of plants and animals is simply fulfilling. While fish keeping is relatively easy, some people struggle to keep their fish healthy and aquariums in top condition. Some of the common challenges that fish keepers face include not knowing the best type of fish to keep, favorable conditions, necessary maintenance, the kind of food fish feed on, and how to keep their fish healthy.

Such challenges make keeping fish frustrating for many first timers. Although there are tons of articles and publications on fish keeping, most of these are contradictory and confusing at the same time. Nonetheless, finding credible and informative pieces to guide you every step of the way makes fish keeping a relatively easy exercise. Outlined below are some essential and handy tips to help you get started as a fish keeper.

1. Cycle The Tank Periodically

Cycling a tank simply means ensuring water in the fish tank is favorable for fish growth. Fresh water fish thrive in mild alkaline water, with the slightest hint of acidity affecting their health and well-being. This is one of the reasons experts recommend setting up the aquarium on one day, then adding fish a few days later. If you already have some fish in the aquarium, consider checking the water condition before adding more fish, to ensure it supports their growth.

Another reason why tank cycling is important is to encourage healthy growth of micro-organisms that help break down waste in the tank. These microbes' break down food materials and fish waste thus keeping the ecosystem in check. It often takes around a week or more before these bacteria are fully developed. You, therefore, should water at least one week before adding fish in the pond/aquarium.

The key to having a 'healthy' aquarium lies with how you start initially. Most aquarium kits come with a packet of these 'microbes/bacteria' that make cycling possible. Fish food should also do the trick especially if you cannot find the recommended cycling elements.

Never attempt to cycle your aquarium with fish already inside. Doing this will only make the water parameters unsafe for fish survival, this can kill all the fish in the tank. Consider transferring your fish to another tank before cycling the main aquarium.

2. Test Your Water Parameters

The aquarium water parameters should be taken seriously if your fish are to survive. You can use a water testing kit to test and monitor water pH, nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia levels in the water. While these chemical compounds are safe at low concentrations, the levels can rise quickly within a matter of time. This is because fish droppings contain concentrated amounts of nitrates, ammonia, and nitrates. Using the kit to test for level changes can help keep these parameters in check.

Should you find chemical compounds way above the recommended levels, use over-the-counter products to neutralize them. Flushing out some of the water and topping it up with fresh water can also lower the chemical levels. Experts recommend changing the water frequently to avoid toxicities within the aquarium. To be on the safe side, flush out 1/3 of the water each week then replace it with fresh water. Doing this should dilute the water making it favorable for the fish to survive.

Debris accumulation at the bottom of the tank on gravel should be contained too. Vacuuming the bottom should take care of these materials easily. All you need are siphons and water changers designed to remove water while cleaning the gravel.

Most fish species will survive and even thrive in varying water pH levels. High pH levels however affect how the fish survive, which is why you should test the water once in a while using the testing kit. If the pH levels are too high, you can use chemicals to bring it down or just dilute the water. Be sure to choose the right fish for your tank. While some fingerlings may seem small, they can grow too big for your tank. This could contribute to high toxicity levels in smaller tanks.

3. Research Before Buying Fish Fingerlings

While many people put much of their time looking for the perfect aquarium, it's equally important that you shop for your fish carefully. Deciding on the type of fish you wish to rear, its size, temperament, social behaviors, and space requirements can save you frustrations in the future. Never purchase fingerlings for their looks, but rather at the way they grow and live with each other- you don't want predators in your aquarium. Take some time to research about the various types of fish, and know which the best one is, for your and needs.

Although fish make a delicious and nutritious meal, don't be tempted to overstock your tank. Only stock the tank with enough fish to allow peaceful cohabitation, and ensure there's sufficient space to enable them to reach maturity. Knowing exactly what type of fish you want to keep, can help you make the right decision. Keeping just enough fish in the tank helps reduce aggression, stress, or sick fish. It would be better to have fewer but healthy fish, than many starved or stressed ones.

4. Do Not Overfeed the Fish


Unlike most species, fish require very little food to survive and grow healthy. This explains why wild fish survive on just insects, larvae, and some plants. You, therefore, shouldn't feed the fish more than they need. One moderate feeding per day is enough. Take into consideration the various types of fish during feeding time. If there are catfish and other scavengers in the tank, then consider including sinking pellets in the meal. This should enable other bottom feeders to have their share.

Fish feed for just a few minutes to their fill. Consider giving them just enough for the day. Giving excess food only makes the tank dirty, causes a chemical spike, and even makes them unhealthy. Choosing random days to feed the fish is another excellent way to avoid overfeeding. Skipping a day or two forces the fish to feed on leftover foods from the previous day, this promotes a cleaner tank. Feeding them enough, yet sparingly also reduced toxicity within the pond. Overfeeding the fish only results in more droppings, translating to higher concentrations of ammonia and nitrates.

Aquafarming can also help keep the aquarium clean most of the times. Introducing plants such as lettuce, spinach, or tubers in the pond helps contain chemical deposits in the water. Plants need these chemicals (ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, etc.) to thrive, while the fish will be feeding on the plant root tips. The symbiotic relationship makes it possible to maintain healthy pH levels without the need to flush.

5. Manage Light

Algae growth is one of the major concerns among many new aquarium owners. Just like other plants, algae need light to thrive. Fish, on the other hand, do not require light to see around. They use other sensory organs to find their way in the tank and to locate food as well. This, therefore, means you do not need light all day every day in the tank.

Managing the amount of light that gets into the tank can help control algae growth significantly. One way to do this is placing the aquarium away from direct sunlight, or any other source of light for that matter. Reducing sunlight exposure makes it almost impossible for algae to grow or flourish.

If possible, keep the tank light on for less than 10hours daily. Since fish do not need light to see, you can as well turn off the lights until when you feel necessary (when you want to see the fish). Moderate daylight lighting is therefore enough for the aquarium. Remember to turn off the light whenever heading out, or whenever no one is in the house.

You, however, should provide maximum light exposure possible if there are live plants involved. This is particularly important for those practicing aquaculture with plants on top. The good thing with having plants in the tank is that they use up much of the nutrients in the water leaving very little or none for algae. Aquariums with plants, therefore, have fewer concentrations of algae as compared to those with none.

If you want further information on this, then this piece on how to mind your goldfish is a good one and well worth reading and even re-reading now and again.

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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.
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I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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The Reality Of Cat Shows

Go in with an open mind, because cat shows may seem totally bizarre, but are incredibly fun and special.

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As a self-declared cat lady, when I decided to attend my first cat show I was hyped to pet all the kitties, and watch them do tricks, or show off their beauty. After attending a few, I know they're totally unique and amazing events that everyone should be attending.

Upon arriving, you will probably need to pay an entry fee, and maybe there's an area for donations for local animal shelters (yes, animal breeders support animal shelters!). You might be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of cats, as far as the eye can see. Having a game plan of cats to visit might seem fun, but just roaming and visiting is a lot more fulfilling, and you may discover breeds of cats you never knew you would love. Usually, cat shows will feature visiting areas for guests attending the show to view, and sometimes pet, the cats. As well as areas where cats are judged and given awards, sort of like miniature stages.

Visitor areas are pretty self-explanatory as you can roam around and look at the dozens of different breeds, of kittens and cats alike. The diversity will amaze you and the cats are all special and loved by their owner. Because cats can catch sicknesses while surrounded by so many other cats, it's important to sanitize your hands before petting, as well as asking the owner if you can pet their cat or kitten. Some may even let you hold their cat, but this would be rare and you shouldn't get your hopes up! While viewing cats, you may find some that are up for adoption and could find a new family member. Some cats are actually people's household pets, and are scored differently from a cat who was bred for its looks!

The competition side is where the cat shows get interesting. You can view any and all competitions, although there will be many occurring at a time. That's because cats will initially be ranked against the cats of the same breed as them, and within those breeds, by gender and color style. Winning best in the breed is the first step to becoming the champion of a cat show. Watch as owners get nervous and excited as the tiny plastic awards go up, showing which cat was victorious. Although all judges can be different, it's fun to see beautiful and friendly cats win awards and look pleased with themselves as their owner smiles with pride.

Later in the day or weekend, one cat will be chosen as the grand champion out of the best in breeds. Usually, fans can vote on their favorite as well, and award a special cat a top prize, although unofficial, for its cuteness and spirit. A hairless cat has won fan favorite at every show I attended!

Go in with an open mind, because cat shows may seem totally bizarre, but are incredibly fun and special. The group of people who participate will love to tell you about their amazing cat and let you in on cat show secrets. A place where cat lovers unite, what could be better?

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