Are you thinking about getting a fish but aren’t sure whether or not a fish would make the best pet? No matter what type of fish you’re thinking about, there are some basic fish-care facts that apply. Once you’ve made your decision, make sure to research the type of fish and it’s individual needs. Below, you’ll find answers to several of the most common fish-care questions to help you decide whether or not a fish is the right type of pet for you.
Are Fish Really a Low-Maintenance Pet?
Generally speaking, freshwater fish are less expensive and easier to care for than other types of pets, leading to the perception that they’re easy to keep. While they can be less trouble than other types of animals, that doesn’t exactly make them low-maintenance pets.
Fish have the same basic needs as other animals, including food, water and a proper habitat, but because fish live in completely different environments than humans and other mammals, they are dependent on us to provide everything they need to live happily.
Whereas dogs and cats won’t die if they aren’t washed regularly (although appropriate grooming for your pet is encouraged), regular aquarium cleanings are a must for keeping a healthy fish. Once you decide what type of fish to get, you can determine which aquarium will be most appropriate for you and what type of maintenance it requires.
What are the Most Common Types of Pet Fish?
The most popular types of pet fish include betta fish (also known as Siamese fighting fish), common goldfish, Achilles tang, fantail goldfish, and angelfish. Part of the reason why goldfish and bettas are so popular is because they can live in water temperatures that don’t always require heaters (depending on where you live), can tolerate some variation in water chemistry compared to other fish, are generally healthy eaters and are hardier than other fish.
How Often Do Fish Need to be Fed?
Fish don’t have stomachs, so they never know when to stop eating. When feeding your fish, only feed it as much as it will eat in two or three minutes once or twice per day. Some types of fish, like goldfish, should only be fed as much as they can eat in one minute, while other types have different requirements. Overfeeding is one of the most common mistakes fish owners make.
A nice plus about fish ownership is that you can provide your fish with an automatic feeder or food block inside its aquarium when you go away, rather than having to find someone to feed your cat or dog. Goldfish are especially easygoing and can survive up to two weeks without food (although it’s not recommended to wait that long between feedings).
Where is the Best Place to Buy a Fish?
It depends what type of fish you’re looking to buy, but pet stores typically have wide selections of fish. Aquarium stores have employees well-trained in educating new fish owners and can make sure you select the right fish and equipment. Another option is to seek out a fish breeder for more specialized types or specific colors of fish. Many popular types of pet fish are commercially bred, and most pet stores get their fish from commercial breeders.
What Type of Equipment Does My Fish Need?
Food, water, filtration and heat are the basic elements you’ll need to provide for your pet fish, but the exact specifications will depend on the type of fish you choose, how big it grows and a number of other factors. Depending on the type of fish you choose, you’ll need an aquarium large enough to support the fish’s growth, with an air pump and submersible heater. A good rule of thumb for aquarium size is one gallon of water per every inch of full-grown fish. Tropical fish require heating elements in their habitats, but there are some freshwater fish (like goldfish) that prefer cooler temperatures and may not need a heater. It’s crucial that you do your research to find out what specific equipment the pet fish you’re considering needs.
As for food, there are commercial fish foods available that are manufactured to meet the nutritional needs of specific types of fish. Fish foods usually come in flake form, as pellets, or freeze dried. Special treats, like bloodworms and brine shrimp, can also be purchased from pet stores freeze dried and frozen. Feeding your fish freeze-dried food is preferred over live fish as it removes the risk of disease transmission. Make sure the food you purchase is appropriate for your fish species.
How Often do Fish Tanks Need to be Cleaned?
Aquariums require regular water changes and pH testing in order to ensure fish are living in the proper conditions. Depending on the size of the aquarium and filtration system you have set up, you’ll need to perform weekly partial water replacement, as well as clean the tank and change the water about once per month.
Some fish, like goldfish, are known for being extra messy and may require more frequent water changes and tank cleanings. Overfeeding will also quickly pollute water. Monitoring the pH levels of your aquarium and keeping an eye on any visible contaminants and pollutants should give you a good idea as to how often you’ll need to clean your fish tank.
What Else Can I Get for My Fish Tank?
When it comes to decorating your aquarium, the sky’s the limit, just keep in mind that whatever you put in the tank you’ll need to clean when you conduct regular aquarium cleanings. Some fish really like plants, either live or plastic. If you choose live plants, you’ll need a bit of gravel at the bottom of the tank (which can be dangerous to some fish that mistakenly eat it).
Other tank decorations are fun to look at and provide some beneficial function for your fish, like treasure chests that open and also provide oxygen-rich bubbles. Regardless what you choose, try and mimic the fish’s natural habitat.
When it comes to deciding which pet to keep, most of the starters opt for a pet fish under the assumption, it is easier to maintain than the rest. The animal practically lives in water how hard can it be? The good news is, maintaining a pet fish is very manageable and rewarding!
For those looking to keep a fish here are pointers on how to keep your fish comfortable and healthy.
1. Making Sure Your Fish Is Adapting
Fish like most animals have their adaptability to certain environments. The first step will involve a lot of research on the type of fish you are about to purchase. The information should be from a reliable internet source, or the expert at the pet fish store. Some of the vital information needed include the level of water pH suitable for the fish, temperature and the type of food they feed on.
Understanding the type of fish enables a pet owner to know whether the kind of fish can coexist with others or is comfortable alone. More aggressive fish should be kept in their own tanks to prevent fish fights.
2. Do It For More Than Decor
It is a common practice to get fish in an aquarium for decorative purposes rather than just as a pet. A bigger aquarium as an eye-catching piece, or a smaller one to fit in the living the room, is usually a major consideration. Whichever the reasons are, the importance of a spacious room for the fish cannot be emphasized enough. Fish need sufficient space to move around, and enough water for their oxygen needs.
When choosing the container size, consider the fish number and their size at maturation. Don�t estimate the size of your tank when your fish are young, because many can grow and need more room. It is recommended to have several gallons of water for a single fish. This amount of water will cater for the oxygen needs, but do your research to ensure this is adequate.
3. Re-create A Natural Environment
Recreating the natural habitat of the fish is one way of making it happy. Fish can be from salt or fresh water. For a freshwater fish, pebbles are added to the aquarium and some water movement introduced to create the feeling of a river. On the other hand, add sand to saltwater aquariums to mimic the environment of an ocean.
Substrates can be bought or obtained naturally from the environment. Other features such as blocks for hiding will also be necessary. Fish are typically shy and will want some cover when someone is too close to the aquarium. Fish need �me� time too!
4. Keep The Water Conditioned
Knowledge of the fish environment will come in handy when it comes to conditioning the water. Different fish exist at various pH levels. A pH kit is a wise investment for a fish pet owner. It will have tools to measure pH levels, temperature and concentrate levels such as those of chlorine.
Keeping the right pH levels is one way for the fish to fight diseases naturally. TA fish expert will recommend ways of adjusting alkalinity and acidity levels in water. Always take measures to reduce chlorine when tap water is in use. One way is it to leave out the water under the sun for 24hrs. There are also dechlorinating aquariums sold at an extra fee.
5. Keep The Aquarium Clean!
Replace aquarium water at least once a month to keep it clean and clear. It is also a way of controlling the concentrates in the water. Use a gravel vacuum to siphon the water and other unwanted material. If it is not available, transfer the fish to a temporary container and change the aquarium water. Rinse out the substrates to avoid transferring back the salts and other substances. Ensure the water is conditioned once again after the change.
6. Keep The Tank The Right Temperature
Fish are cold-blooded animals, but still require constant temperature to exist. One way of maintaining the temperature in an aquarium is the use of an aqua heater. Adjust the water temperature according to the type of fish. Saltwater fish can withstand higher temperatures compared to freshwater fish.
The point of an aqua heater is to keep the temperature constant which means avoid exposing the aquarium to extreme weather conditions by placing it close to a window or an AC vent. Observe fish movement to know whether the temperature is spread evenly in the water. The fish will tend to crowd on the side with the right temperature.
7. Remove Excess Algae
Keep the fish environment clean by washing the sides of the tank and removing excess algae. Not all fish feed on algae, contrary to popular belief. Such accumulation will deplete oxygen for the fish and create a dirty look on the aquarium. Removing the unwanted aquatic plants will also control the fluctuating pH levels. You can buy a long brush and an algae magnet for proper aquarium cleaning.
8. Introducing New Fish To The Aquarium
It is important to keep the fish healthy from the onset. Once you introduce the fish to the conditioned aquarium water, they should be floated for 30 minutes while still in the delivery bag to adapt to the new temperature. After, release them into the aquarium. Immediate immersion into the aquarium may cause temperature shock especially when the two environments are completely different.
9. Change Water In Sections
A month may seem too long a wait to change the water if it keeps getting murky. To avoid such a situation, change about 25% of the water every week. Begin by removing the water up to the required mark. Adding the entire amount at once will significantly affect the temperature. Use a container to add little amounts gradually as you give it time to go back to the optimum temperature. Always dechlorinate the new water before adding it to avoid poisoning the fish and altering the pH levels.
10. Always Check The Water Filter
Keep checking the water filter to ensure it is still working, and that no filtrate is blocking the filter. It should be big enough or proportionate to the number of fish. Once you buy a filter for the first fish, keep the number constant to maintain the system efficiency.
(280) Take very good care of your fish. Keep the water green and feed the fish regularly. While feeding, watch them carefully to see that they are healthy and swimming strongly.
FEEDING YOUR GROWING FISH
(281) You have already learned that the big fish in your pond will get much of their food from small plants and animals that grow in the green water.
(282) To keep the water green, fertilize your pond each week. If you are using plant compost or plant material, keep the crib filled to the water line. If you are using animal compost or manure, see items 216 to 219.
(283) To make your fish grow more quickly you must also feed them other kinds of food. You can feed them
- tender leaves and waste of banana and cassava
- grain mill sweepings
- rice bran
- beer wastes
- cottonseed or groundnut cake
- slaughterhouse wastes
- animal wastes
- kitchen wastes
- spoiled fruit and vegetables
- left-over food
- chopped grass.
(284) You should feed your fish at least once a day. But your fish will grow better if you feed them more often.
(285) Always try to feed your fish at the same time every day, preferably early in the morning and late in the afternoon, when it is cooler.
(286) The bigger your fish grow, the more food they will need.
(287) It is not easy to know exactly how much food to feed your fish. You must watch them when they eat to learn how much food they need.
(288) Feed your fish in the shallow part of the pond so that you can see them eat.
(289) If you see that the fish do not eat all of their food, give them a little less the next day.
(290) If you see that the fish eat all of their food quickly, give them a little more the next day.
(291) If you feed your fish at the same place every day, you will see whether the fish are eating well. If you give them too much, the food that is not eaten will stay on the bottom.
(292) Too much uneaten food on the bottom of the pond will make the water become bad. Do not overfeed your fish.
(293) For example, if you grow tilapia and feed them with rice or wheat bran, give the following quantity daily for each 100 square metres of pond:
- first month, 360 grams
- second month, 480 grams
- third month, 720 grams
- fourth month, 960 grams
- fifth month, 1 200 grams
- sixth month, 1 440 grams.
(294) Measure first how much bran a given container such as a milk powder tin can hold, for example 240 grams. From this, determine how many containers of food should be distributed daily in each pond.
(295) To make it easier to see if your fish are eating well, mark several places in your pond to feed them.
(296) Mark each place by making a square or a ring of light wood or bamboo. Drive a pole into the pond bottom and attach the square or ring, as shown in the drawing.
PROVIDING GOOD WATER FOR YOUR FISH
(298) If you find any dead fish floating in your pond, take them out right away. Change some of the water in your pond.
(299) To change some of the water in the pond, open the inlet and let in some new clean water. The old water will drain out of the pond at the overflow. Do this for 2 or 3 hours each day for several days until you see that your fish are well.
(300) If the weather is too hot, if you feed your fish too much or if you use too much fertilizer, there may be too little oxygen in the water for your fish to breathe.
(304) If you see any other things wrong with your fish that you do not understand, stop feeding them and stop using fertilizer. Then change some of the water in your pond every day for several days, as you did in item 299.
YOU HAVE LEARNED HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR GROWING FISH
- if you use compost, add about 10 kg per 100 m 2
- if you use animal manure, add per 100 m 2 one of the following:
– 2 to 3 kg of chicken droppings
– 8 to 10 kg of pig manure
– 10 to 15 kg of cow manure
- feed early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when it is cool
- it is best to do it at the same time each day
- feed at the same place and mark it
- regularly check for left-over food and adjust food ration accordingly
- they should swim strongly in mid-water
- they should eat actively when you feed them
- if they don’t eat well, and especially if they stay at the water surface gasping for air
– quickly add some new water to the pond
– stop fertilizing for a week
– stop feeding for a few days until your fish look healthy again
Fish are beautiful animals and come in a wide range of species. To ensure your fish stay happy and healthy, great love and care is needed.
Setting Up Your Aquarium
Before you can set up an aquarium you will need to make sure you’ve got all the right equipment. A tank, filter, de-chlorinator, a pH kit, ornaments, and gravel are needed. Make sure the tank, ornaments and gravel are rinsed with cold water, and no detergents are used. Place your tank in a draft free spot, away from direct noise, heaters or air-conditioners, and away from direct sunlight. Sunlight is the most common cause of algae in water. Fill the tank up with cold, clean tap water and add de-chlorinator. Do a pH test and adjust pH levels according to the kit. A filtering system should be set up in the tank in order to keep the water clean. Finally add in your gravel and ornaments.
We sell a wide range of Aquariums and accessory kits to help you start your journey of becoming a fish owner. View them here.
Adding Fish To Your Aquarium
Successfully adding fish to your aquarium requires time and patience. It is best to start with just a few cheaper and hardy fish, as the first few weeks after set-up the fish are more prone to dying. After purchasing your fish, take them straight home as the water temperature in the bag can alter and oxygen is limited. Place the bag in your tank and let it sit for roughly 20 minutes, then slowly add in aquarium water to the bag every five minutes. After about 30 minutes, use a net to transfer the fish from the bag to the aquarium. Do not tip the water in the bag into the aquarium as it will alter the pH levels. Keep the aquarium lights off for about a week until your fish look settled in and healthy. More fish can be added at this stage.
Feeding Your Fish
Your fish should be fed about 2 times a day. Sprinkle a small amount of fish food in the aquarium and wait till it’s all eaten. Repeat this 3-4 times in one feeding session. Many people over feed their fish which results in them becoming overweight and also contributes to a poor tank environment.
At Pets Domain, we sell a wide range of leading fish food brands to ensure your fish live long and healthy lives. View our range here.
Maintaining Your Aquarium
For your fish to live a happy and healthy life, maintenance is essential. To prevent algae, keep the tank out of direct sunlight and have the aquarium light on no more than 8-10 hours a day. Regular water checks with a test kit need to be done on a weekly basis, and adjusted when required. Every fortnight it is advised to partially change about 25% of the water as waste, organic acid and ammonia increases.
We sell test kits and other products to maintain your aquarium. Find our full range here and be sure to visit your nearest store to speak with an expert.
Come on in and ask one of our friendly staff members about fish care, they will be more than happy to share their expertise. Find a local store near you.
Many people have an aquarium in their home, or at least have considered it. They may not know how big of a task taking care of them can be. Fish need more than just food and water to live well; there are many things that you should do to make sure they’re happy and healthy!
In this blog post, we will discuss the top tips for properly caring for your fish.
Clean The Tank And Replace Water At Least Once A Week
It’s important to clean the tank and replace water at least once a week for your fish to stay healthy. This is because, after time, algae will grow, which can turn into dangerous levels of CO² that could kill your fish if not dealt with properly. It would also be best to read aquarium product reviews for the best aquarium for your fish and how to maintain it to ensure your pet fish lives healthily. Besides this, consider replacing all the water every month or so to help reduce the risk of diseases and parasites.
If you cannot do these things, then it’s a good idea to get someone who is able or buy an automatic fish feeder that will clean the tank and water and feed them for you!
Feed Your Fish Regularly To Avoid Overfeeding
Over the course of time, your fish will enjoy a mixture of both live and dead foods. Many people make mistakes by overfeeding their fish with food that is not nutritious enough for them. This can lead to too much waste in the aquarium, leading to algae growth because there’s no CO² present from plants or other organisms decomposing it. So, to avoid overfeeding your fish and the accumulation of waste in your aquarium that leads to algae growth, feed them regularly.
It’s important to ask yourself whether or not it is a good idea before adding anything new into the aquarium, as this can lead to disaster if not taken care of properly. Keep in mind that there may be other animals in the tank that can’t compete with the fish for food, so you should only feed your fish enough not to make them hungry while they wait for their next meal.
Change The Filter Often To Remove Toxins From The Water
A clean and healthy home is good for everyone, including your fish. It’s important to change the filter often to remove toxins from the water that may have accumulated over time.
The best route would be to replace the filter every month or so with a new one depending on how many fish you are caring for, as this will help to remove toxins from the water that may have accumulated over time.
It’s important to make sure your fish is happy and healthy for them to thrive, so it’s never a bad idea to change out their filter every month or more often, depending on how many fish you are caring for!
Monitor For Algae Growth And Use An Algaecide If Necessary
It’s important to monitor for algae growth and use an algaecide if necessary, which will help you avoid the harmful consequences of too much CO² in your tank.
If it is safe for fish, a common way to deal with this problem would be by using an algaecide that contains copper or silver ions. You can add this in the water or on a cotton swab to wipe down your algae.
Keep Live Plants in Your Aquarium to Provide Oxygenation and Reduce Stress On Fish
Keep live plants in your aquarium as they will provide oxygenation and reduce stress on fish. Not only does this allow them to have a place to call their own, but it also provides shelter for any other animals that may be present so that nothing is eating the algae or competing with the fish for food.
This can lead to a healthier environment for your fish and any other animals present, so it’s important to keep live plants in the aquarium!
Add Ornaments, Including Fake Plants, Rocks, Driftwood, Etc.
Fish enjoy playing and exploring, so it’s a good idea to add ornaments for them. They also provide the fish with a natural cover that reduces stress on their bodies and shelters any other animals present in your tank from hungry predators!
It would be best if you were careful not to overcrowd your aquarium too much when adding decorations, though, because this could lead to more CO² and, ultimately, fish death.
In addition to feeding your fish, you can do several other things to keep them happy and healthy. For example, keeping the water clean is important for preventing algae growth. You should also monitor for any signs of stress or illness in your pet’s behavior; this may be an indication that something else needs tending to in their environment. Remembering these tips will help ensure that you have a long-lived aquarium full of colorful aquatic friends!
Goldfish are one of the most common fish species kept as pets. They are colourful, peaceful, and have a long lifespan. Depending on breed, goldfish can grow to 10 to 20cm.
Fish can make good pets but buying a fish should be a long term decision as they can live for up to 20 years. Fish need regular maintenance to ensure they kept healthy and their environment is clean.
If you no longer want to keep your fish you need to find an alternative home or humanely kill the fish.
Do not release live goldfish (or other non-native fish) into dams, rivers or other waterways (or down the toilet) as they can carry diseases that can affect our native species. They can also establish populations in waterways that compete with our native populations.
If you are unsure about how to care for your fish speak with your vet or a person experienced in the care of fish.
The welfare of all animals, including fish is protected by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.
Choosing a fish
When selecting fish they should:
- be clear and bright, fins held erect
- be alert and swim without undue effort
- not be sinking or bobbing to the surface
- not have lumps, bumps, wounds or clamped fins
- not have a trail of excreta from their vent
- not be ‘sulking’ in the corner.
If you have any doubt then do not select them.
Environment for your fish
Fish need a large aquarium that provides sufficient area for the species and number of fish being kept. Fish should have ample room to swim around. Where there are more fish in the aquarium more space is needed. A rough guide for space is at least 10 litres of water for each fish up to 3cm long. Increase the amount of water as fish size increases.
Set up the aquarium with:
- an aerator
- smooth pebbles (up to 7cm)
- a rock or other item for hiding beneath.
You should attempt to replicate a natural environment for your fish.
All water environments should be stabilised before fish are added. Tap water should be conditioned by allowing it to stand for 2 to 7 days before adding plants and fish to allow the chlorine to evaporate. Use commercial preparations to keep the pH level between 6.5 and 8.0.
Saltwater tanks require experience and expert knowledge as they are more difficult to set up and maintain. If you are setting up a saltwater tank for the first time, get an experienced person to help you and do your research properly.
When an indoor aquarium is used, the water should be kept at room temperature and should not be exposed to direct sunlight as this will increase the growth of algae. Temperature range should be between 20 to 25°C.
Tropical aquariums need heated controlled temperature ranges depending on the species — check with the aquarium outlet or your local vet for specific requirements.
Filtration is essential for providing the correct environment for the health of the fish. Mechanical filtration systems are the easiest to use.
Lighting for your fish
No artificial lighting is usually required unless there are plants or the tank is set up for tropical fish. If you use lights, they must be set up with a timer. Lights should not be switched on and off often as this can upset the fish. Plants require light for up to 12 hours so set your timers to provide this.
Covering the aquarium
A glass or mesh covering over the aquarium should be provided:
- if the fish are at risk of young children or other pets (such as cats) reaching into the aquarium
- where the water is closer than 10cm to the top of the aquarium (so fish could jump out).
Only use a solid cover over the tank if a filter is in place and working. A solid cover helps stop dust and toxins from entering the aquarium.
Do not spray chemicals or cleaning products near the aquarium. These can kill your fish.
Always remember water safety around young children and ensure the tank is located so it is not a drowning hazard.
Shelter and refuge
The aquarium should have an area of refuge for your fish from lights, action and other fish. This can be created with plants and rocky overhangs.
Cleaning the aquarium
It is recommended that conditioned water (left to stand for 2 to 7 days to allow chlorine to evaporate) of the same temperature be used to replace approximately 25% of the water each week.
Cleaning of the aquarium should occur every term. To clean the aquarium:
- Remove the fish and place them in a covered container with 25% of their tank water and 75% fresh.
- Clean the sides of the glass, gravel and furniture items with fresh water.
- Do not use chemicals.
- Rinse the tank carefully and fill it again with conditioned water.
- Refill the tank and let it stand for half a day before returning the fish.
Feeding your fish
Manufactured fish foods (flakes and granules) can be fed to tropical or temperate fish. Only feed food quantities that can be eaten within a few minutes otherwise overfeeding and soiling of the water can occur.
Be careful not to overfeed fish. Ask your vet how much food your fish needs and how regularly it should be fed.
Some fish need frozen food mixtures, shrimp and larvae. Do not feed your fish these foods unless you are directed to by reputable source — your vet or aquarium outlet.
Water quality is vital for ensuring healthy fish. Always keep aquarium clean with fresh water.
Indicators that your fish is sick include:
- loss of appetite
- skin lesions
- floating upside down
- poor swimming balance
- spots, ulcers or growths
- failure to thrive.
Get advice from your local vet about any health issues that develop.
If a new fish seems unhealthy, keep it separate until you are sure it is fit and healthy. Adding the new fish straight to the aquarium can infect other fish.
Handling of fish
Fish should not be handled or kept out of the water. It damages their skin and increases the risk of bacterial or fungal infections. An aquarium net should be used for capturing or moving fish. Fish should be transported in watertight clear plastic bags — half water and half air. Transport fish quickly. Do not leave them unattended or let the fish to heat.
Fragile tropical fish, who were born to dwell in the majestic seas and forage among brilliantly colored coral reefs, suffer miserably when forced to spend their lives in glass aquariums. The same is true of river fish. Robbed of their natural habitats and denied the ability to travel freely, they must swim around in the same few cubic inches of water over and over.
Where Fish Really Come From
The popularity of keeping tropical fish has created a virtually unregulated industry that catches and breeds as many fish as possible with little regard for the animals themselves. While many species of coral are protected under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, most of the fish who end up in aquariums are not.
An estimated 95 percent of saltwater fish sold in pet shops came from the wild, mostly from the waters around Indonesia, the Philippines, Fiji, and other Pacific islands. Collectors douse the coral reefs with cyanide, which is ingested by the fish who live there, and as reported in Scientific American, “[t]he resulting asphyxiation stuns some fish and sends others into spasms, making them easy to grab by hand or net.” Half the affected fish die on the reef, and 40 percent of those who survive the initial poisoning die before they reach an aquarium. Cyanide also kills the coral reefs themselves, and marine biologists rank it as one of the biggest dangers in Southeast Asian waters.
Goldfish are usually raised in giant tubs on fish farms that raise as many as 250 million fish per year. These animals are sold to zoos, pet stores, and bait shops, and many are doomed to live in plastic bags or bowls, neither of which provide the space or oxygen that goldfish need. In 2004, the city of Monza, Italy, banned keeping goldfish in bowls because the containers do not meet the needs of the animals and because, as one sponsor of the law pointed out, bowls give fish “a distorted view of reality.”
Some fish farms are seeking new market niches by creating fish breeds that would never occur in nature, treating fish as ornaments instead of living animals. Some breeders even “paint” fish by injecting fluorescent dyes into the animals’ bodies or altering their genetic makeup to make them more attractive to buyers.
Fish Can Speak, Make Tools, and Think
Fish have cognitive abilities that equal and sometimes surpass those of nonhuman primates. They can recognize individuals, use tools, and maintain complex social relationships. Biologists wrote in the journal Fish and Fisheries that fish are “steeped in social intelligence, pursuing Machiavellian strategies of manipulation, punishment and reconciliation, exhibiting stable cultural traditions, and co-operating to inspect predators and catch food.”
Fish communicate with one another through a range of low-frequency sounds—from buzzes and clicks to yelps and sobs. These sounds, which are audible to humans only with the use of special instruments, communicate emotional states such as alarm or delight and help with courtship. The pumps and filters necessary in many home aquariums can interfere with this communication. “[A]t the least, we’re disrupting their communication; at worst, we’re driving them bonkers,” says ichthyologist Phillip Lobel.
Siamese fighting fish, who are often sold as “decorations” or party favors, are fighting for their lives as their popularity grows. Pet shops, discount superstores, florists, and even online catalogs sell Siamese fighting fish (also called betta fish) in tiny cups or flower vases to consumers who are often uneducated about proper betta care.
Many people mistakenly believe that betta fish must be isolated and that they can survive without being fed in a so-called “complete ecosystem” that consists of nothing more than a vase and a plant. As a result, fish are being sentenced to dull, lonely lives and slow deaths by starvation. These tiny containers are not suitable for any fish. While betta males do not get along well with each other, they are able to live with other types of fish in a “community” aquarium.
Biologists say that there is no safe way to return captive fish to their natural environments—which are often located in a completely different region of the world—because of the difficulty in locating such a habitat and the possibility of introducing disease to the other fish there. Researchers have found many species of non-native fish living off the coast of Florida (including predatory species), and they attribute these populations to careless aquarium owners. These fish pose a real threat to native species. Never flush fish down the toilet in the hopes of “freeing” them, as seen in the popular movie Finding Nemo. Even if a fish survived the shock of being put into the swirling fresh water, he or she would die a painful death in the plumbing system or at the water treatment plant.
What You Can Do
Please don’t support the tropical-fish trade by purchasing fish. If you enjoy watching fish, consider downloading one of the many colorful and realistic fish computer screensavers available on the Web. Don’t support businesses or fairs that give fish away in contests or promotions.
If you already have fish, you can make their lives easier by providing them with an environment that is as much like their natural habitat as possible. While captive fish can never live natural lives, the following tips will help ensure that they are as happy as possible:
Are you thinking of dipping your toes into the water and start keeping fish as pets? They may not cuddle up to you on the sofa or accompany you on walks, but fish are truly fascinating creatures.
Fish are more interactive than you might first think. They are entertaining to watch as they navigate their way around a tank, weaving in and out of rocks and plants. They will also rush to greet you at feeding time, coming to the surface for the tasty treats that you drop in.
If you are looking for a pet to satisfy a child’s request, then fish are the perfect solution. They are not only easy to keep, but will teach children about being responsible for an animal’s life. From remembering to feed them to cleaning the tank, they will learn the importance of caring for something in order to keep it alive. It may also be an opportunity to ease your child into the subject of death and loss, when the inevitable happens and they discover a fish floating on the surface.
- The bigger the tank or aquarium the better. Most fish may be small in size, but they still need plenty of room to swim, especially if you have decided to get more than one. If you’re starting with a single goldfish, a Pet Express Cold Water Fish Bowl Goldfish Starter Kit will provide everything you need.
- Think about where you place your tank . Keep it out of direct sunlight, away from windows and heating. The last thing you want is for the water in the tank to heat up out of your control.
- Invest in a decent filter. This will keep the water in the tank cleaner for longer, removing any debris, pollutants and waste.
- Add an air pump. This will keep the water in the tank oxygenated and will keep the water moving which is great for your fish. Pumps come in different sizes depending on the amount of litres your tank can hold, such as the Marina 100 Air Pump for Aquariums which is suited for up to 150 litres capacity.
- Fish may need heat and light . Depending on the breed of fish, heating could be crucial. If your fish are tropical there will be certain temperatures that you to need to ensure the water is kept to. Goldfish and cold water fish are an exception and will require no heat. Lighting will help any plant life in the tank to grow and will also show off the colours of your fish for you to enjoy.
- Add some gravel to the tank. Some bacteria is beneficial to fish and gravel gives it somewhere to live. It will also help to break down any waste that your fish creates, as well as adding an attractive look to their surroundings.
- Include some plants and greenery . Using different varieties of plant life will give your fish somewhere to hide and play, helping them to feel safe. Real plants will help to maintain the nutrients in the tank, but artificial plants will work just as well for giving your fish somewhere to hide. The Classic Rocky Outcrops White Stone with Cactus is a great mix of tank ornaments and plants to keep your fish happy!
Fish are a fantastic choice of pet for so many reasons. They are space-saving, in that they have a fixed area of the room and you know where they are at all times! They don’t require walking and they are cheaper to look after than other pets, without the big food costs and vet bills. Fish are fairly low maintenance, although you must allocate time to keep the tank and water in good condition. If the water looks cloudy or smells, take action and deal with it, rather than wait for your fish to get ill. They are a quiet species, making no noise, ever! Fish are also known as a stress reliever, with research showing that the relaxing act of watching them swim silently and without conflict will lower blood pressure.
Ultimately, fish are beautiful breeds that come in all shapes, sizes and colours, making them wonderful to watch. As you get to know your fish, you may discover that they have their own personality, which will help them to become a member of the family!
Are you considering purchasing a new fish or two? Have you already made the purchase of your tank and finned family members?
Before you get carried away with creating a perfect environment for your new pet fish, you may need some help with routine care for your friend.
It’s not as easy as you may think–but that’s why we’re here!
We’re going to tell you what you need to know about keeping your little buddy alive! Keep reading for more information!
5 Key Tips for Taking Care of Your New Pet Fish
Fish Food: Not as Simple as You Think
You may have had a fish before and couldn’t figure out why it kept dying. You fed it and made sure the tank was clean–what more could there be?
Unfortunately, many people overfeed their fish and continuously offer the same food. Too much food in the tank creates waste by causing the fish to overeat and uneaten food to accumulate.
Additionally, you wouldn’t want to eat the same meal day after day, and neither do your fish!
By feeding fish a varied diet, you can ensure that they continue to eat and obtain all of the nutrients they need to be healthy.
Proper Tank Size
If you have multiple fish, you will need a larger tank. Should you own multiple fish that range in size, you may need multiple tanks to prevent bullying.
However, if you only have one or two small fish that aren’t aggressive toward each other, a nano fish tank may be perfect!
Whether you choose to have multiple fish or only one, a filter is necessary to keep your fish’s ‘air’ clean.
Ideally, you will also monitor the temperature, preventing the water from becoming too warm to cold.
Cleaning (Their) House
One of the most time-consuming tasks you will face is cleaning your pet fish’s tank.
This should be done every two weeks or so.
Luckily, with regular cleaning, you won’t have to worry about emptying all the water at once.
Aside from the fact that dumping all the water can be cumbersome and messy, it also removes all the ‘good’ bacteria that have built up.
An average cleaning will include siphoning the gravel to remove waste, using an algae cleaner to clear the glass, replacing the filter, and topping off the tank with freshwater.
Keeping Your New Pet Fish Healthy
Even if you follow the above tips, your new pet fish can sometimes become ill.
It is important to check on your fish daily and make mental notes of any changes in behavior or swimming patterns.
An early diagnosis is key because fish are susceptible to illness, parasites, and injuries.
If you happen to catch these issues early, it doesn’t necessarily mean a watery grave or a hushed trip to the pet store for a replacement.
There are many ways to take care of your family’s pet fish; if you have other helpful ideas and hints, leave them in a reply below!
No, seriously! They may seem uneventful, but fish are truly beautiful creatures. It’s fairly easy to care for them, too.
Below you’ll find all the information you need to know, including the benefits of having fish as pets, how to care for fish, what to feed them, and how to make a healthy fish home. Let’s get started.
Benefits of keeping pet fish
Not only does owning a pet provide social, health and educational benefits to children, but current research provides evidence that owning pets also affects positive attitudes toward wildlife (Prokop and Tunncliffe, 2010).
- They’re quiet
- They don’t take much work
- A simple set up is quite inexpensive
- They’re interesting to watch
- They are a unique pet
- You can have many different types
The benefits of children keeping pet fish
- The concept of animals living in water and not being able to breathe air amazes children. Having a fish tank is a perfect opportunity to learn about fish and understand their gills and behaviour. It can also lead to learning about all animals that live under the water.
- Fish come in an array of different sizes, colours and shapes – perfect for extended learning.
- Children will learn how to take care of fish and feel a sense of accomplishment every time they do so. Keeping fish builds responsibility.
- Owning a fish tank is a stress reducer. Watching the fish swim peacefully through the water and the bubbles floating to the surface can really relax you. If you have a child who is rather emotional, this might be a nice place to sit them if they are feeling a little overwhelmed or overtired.
- Children may have the added excitement of seeing one of your fish having babies. Miss Possum was so excited to see 12 baby guppies swimming and hiding around the plants. We watched them grow and she loved and learnt from the experience
Where can you buy fish?
Any local pet shop has the set up and materials you need to start keeping fish as pets. There are also plenty of people selling their second hand set-ups online.
We bought a second hand fish tank with a filter and aerator at a market for $30 (two foot long), which was a bargain – but by the end of set up it cost us approximately $150 (not including fish).
Make sure that you do your research and get a tank that suits your price range.
Fish pet care
What you need to keep fish
- A fish tank – start with a really easy setup like this
- Plants and other accessories – This one reminds me of the filter in Finding Nemo
- Heater and thermometer (for tropical fish)
- Fish food
- A good water testing kit and water stabilizers. I use Sechem Stability and Prime for my stabilizers.
- Cleaning products
Fish tank set up
Firstly, no matter what tank you decide to buy, you’ll need some patience.
After you’ve set up your fish tank and added water, you’ll need to let it sit for up to two weeks before adding the fish. The filter needs to build the good bacteria that will help it to dispose of fish waste. If the fish tank’s not ready, the fish can die from ammonia poisoning.
Fish tank cleaning
Be sure to clean and maintain your fish tank. Although fish live in water, a fish tank does need to be cleaned once a week. 10 % of the water needs to be replaced and it’s a good idea to use a gravel cleaner.
Also, don’t forget to discuss what could happen if the fish are overfed. Ammonia levels will sky rocket and your fish might die. Why not design a chart that lets each person in the family take an active role in taking care of the fish each day?
There are plenty of benefits to keeping fish, but of course it is one of the least hands-on pets. You can’t touch them, you can only watch. It’s important to keep that in mind if you decide this pet is for you.
Do you have fish at home or at school?
More fish care information
and setup of tropical fish
*Prokop, P and Tunnicliffe, S. 2010. Effects of having pets at home on children’s attitudes toward popular and unpopular animals. Anthrozoos 23: 21-35
Penny Whitehouse is a mother of three, with tertiary qualifications in wildlife biology and early years education and 12 years’ experience as an environmental education officer, she is a perfect storm of the passion, knowledge and skills required to get younger generations connecting with the natural world.