Fish tanks and aquariums are popular gifts. Fish are a great option for introducing families to pet care. They are beautiful as well as hypoallergenic. They don’t require trips outside to go to the bathroom, and they won’t shed fur everywhere. However, fish do require some care in order to thrive. Here are the ten steps to setting up your first fish tank.
1. If you have never had an aquarium before, start with a freshwater tank. Freshwater fish tanks are easier to maintain. The fish are less expensive, so if something happens to them, they are easier to replace.
2. Don’t go too small or too large. Twenty or thirty gallon fish tanks actually are easier to care for than a ten gallon, small aquarium. The larger size gives you more space to work and slows down chemical imbalances. You also can have more freshwater fish! Check the dimensions of the tank you want to make sure it will fit in the space you want.
3. Find the right space for your tank. Set up the tank near an electrical outlet to accommodate pumps, filters, and lights. If you want a very large tank, double check that your floor can support the weight of the filled tank. Keep the tank away from drafty areas and out of direct sunlight.
4. Buy your aquarium supplies before you bring home your fish. This way, if you forget anything while setting up the tank, you have time to buy it before the fish need the home. You can purchase these items from a local pet shop, discount aquarium supply, or online aquarium supply stores.
Here are some items you should have on hand:
- Gravel or sand: you will need at least one to two inches of the gravel to line the bottom of the aquarium
- Lighting: LED aquarium lighting offers attractive, low energy options
- Fish tank vacuum
- Aquarium cleaners: do not use household glass cleaner!
- Test kits for nitrogen and pH
- Plants: choose some live plants when possible
- Decorations that mimic your fish’s normal habitat
- Fish net
- Water conditioner for chlorinated water
- Fish food
- Jugs or large buckets for cycling water
- A book or other resource on fish care
If you’re not sure what supplies to have on hand, an aquarium starter kit may be a great option.
5. Choose some decorations and fish shelters. Live plants can help filter some of the fish waste as well as serve as decorations. Have a shelter or small cave where fish can hide if they become stressed.
6. Set up your aquarium and cycle it. Cycling your aquarium is important for naturally occurring bacteria to reach a level needed to process the ammonia produced by your fish. You can also use an aquarium starter to speed up the process.
7. Choose a few starter fish that are small and hardy. This will give your fish tank time to cycle without stressing more delicate fish. Good starter fish include zebra danios, White Cloud mountain-fish, platies, and guppies.
8. Test your water regularly for ammonia. When it gets too high, change out 15 to 20 percent of the water.
9. Change about 15 to 20 percent of the water weekly. This is less stressful to the fish than a large monthly water change.
10. Add your fish and enjoy! (Don’t overpopulate your tank. You should have no more that one inch of fish for every gallon in the aquarium).
If you have more questions, please check out some aquarium fish care guides [http://www.ocreef.com/aquarium_care_guides], or contact the helpful staff at ocreef.com today.
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