Through our experiences keeping fish, we have come up with The Five Golden Rules of Fish Keeping. If you follow these then your chances of having a successful and more enjoyable aquarium will be greatly increased.
1. Change the water regularly
It doesn't matter what filter you have, you will always need to change some of the water regularly. The reason for this is that even though your aquarium may appear crystal clear, there can be dissolved matter in the water that can effect the health of your fish. We recommend changing 1/4 of the water every 2 weeks or 1/3 once per month. Always use a Gravel Cleaner to siphon out debris from the gravel, and when you mix up your new water remember to add Water Purifier to remove chlorine and chloromine, Water Conditioner to add minerals, salt and increase the general hardness of tap water and Bactonex as a bacterial disease inhibitor.
2. Provide a stable environment
Fish can tolerate small fluctuations in their water quality such as lower oxygen levels, or a small drop or a small rise in pH. However, when these changes in water condition occur too quickly, the fish become stressed and are more susceptible to disease. To prevent these wild fluctuations from occurring, check the pH of the water weekly or whenever you do a water change. A Carbonate Hardness kit is also a good investment as it allows you stabilise the pH and high Carbonate Hardness will also promote better plant growth. Check that your heater is running properly, as a faulty heater can either freeze the fish or cook them. If you can, place the tank somewhere that is not exposed to extremes of temperature like in front of a window or next to a heater / airconditioner.
3. Provide water movement
A lot of people think that oxygen diffuses into aquariums from airstones, but actually, oxygen enters the tank through the surface of the water. The more the surface tension of the water is broken, the greater the exchange of Co2 for oxygen. Aside from having an influence on the amount of oxygen in the water, water movement is important to promote healthy plant growth and assist in the reduction of some algae. Many fish, especially tetras enjoy fast flowing water, as it similar to their natural environment.
P.S Air stones make your aquarium look great too!
4. Provide a varied and quality diet
Just like with people, a lot of problems that occur in aquariums are due to diet. Too much food effects the water quality, and the wrong types of food can reduce fish growth or cause algae. The keys to good feeding are follows:
- Always buy a good quality food as they make less waste because the fish can digest or use more of it. Many cheap foods use poor quality ingredients that can't be digested, so they enter the water as waste. One of the reasons that many ponds have problems with algae is due to poor food quality.
- Make sure that all of the fish can get to the food. Flake is a good food, but bottom feeders such as loaches and catfish need a sinking wafer. Also, ensure that algae eating fish are fed on Spirulina (green matter) based foods.
- Feed variety. We recommend feeding the fish a dry food in the morning (e.g. Sera Vipan flakes or Sera Vipagran crumbles), then a frozen food at night (e.g. Bloodworm, Fish Fuel Dinner or frozen brine shrimp). Feed a live food every fortnight or even weekly(e.g. Blackworm or Brine Shrimp) as an alternative food source, and you may even wish to try some raw zucchini or pumpkin.
What ever you do DO NOT OVERFEED!!!
5. Add fish slowly and keep species that are compatible
Even though you may like a certain fish, it doesn't mean that it's compatible with all others. Whenever you buy fish, always ask whether it will go with what you already have. It is also important that you know what you have in your tank, otherwise finding compatible fish can be difficult. Placing fish in tank that don't get on together I imagine would be like living next door to a "neighbour from hell", so always ask. Also, add fish to your tank slowly. It is always tempting to want fill the tank up as quickly as possible, but by doing so you risk stressing the fish.
These are pretty simple rules to follow, but by sticking to them you greatly increase your chances of success.