Fishkeeping is fun. Owning fish can be a rewarding experience, especially considering how far you can go with it. However, fishkeeping goes simply finding an aquarium, dumping some water in it, and populating it with fish.
There’s nuance to it — layers of detail and complexity that you need to understand before you start buying any fish. If you’re interested in fishkeeping you’re in the right place!
In the next few paragraphs, we’ll give you a quick rundown on everything you should know about owning fish.
Get the Right Equipment
Alright, first thing first — you’ll need an aquarium. The size of the aquarium will greatly depend on the type of fish you’re looking to get.
Smaller fish will feel comfortable even in tiny aquariums, while other, larger fish will require more room. Also, take overcrowding into consideration.
Once you have the aquarium, you’ll need a filtration system that will maintain clean, freshwater within the tank.
Do yourself a favor and get a quality filter as this is a critical component in the entire equation.
Also, get an air pump. A good air pump will feed the tank with oxygen. The last critical piece of equipment is a heater.
Fish are very dependent on temperature. Since they are coldblooded organisms, you’ll have to take on the task of maintaining their body temperature. Get a decent heater and closely follow instructions for your particular type of fish. Get a good light for your tank as well.
Once the technical side of your aquarium is set, go and get some gravel. Gravel is an essential part of the ecosystem you’re building for your fish. It’s packed with good bacteria and will break down the waste produced by your little friends.
Find the Right Location for your Aquarium
As it turns out, you can’t just plop your aquarium anywhere. The location of the aquarium matters a lot. Experts over at Aquaticly argue that you should look for a place that is away from direct sunlight as well as any sources of heat. The reason for this is simple — exposing fish to sunlight will cause the water to heat up. The same goes for any artificial source of heat such as a heating vent.
Condition the Water
Your average tap water is packed with chlorine and other chemicals that are ultimately harmful to the fish. This is why you need to treat the water with dechlorination agents as well as replenish it using other additives.
It is a good practice to have your tank full, dechlorinated and working for at least a full day before you add any fish. That way the water in the tank will be purified, while it will also be thriving with good bacteria that you’ll need.
What Fish to Get?
We generally recommend starting small and working your way up. Get a cheap fish, and only get one. Start taking good care of it. As you learn how to live with an active aquarium, you’ll also learn how your fish behaves, what it likes, and what it doesn’t like.
Although owning fish as a pet is much less demanding than owning a dog, there are still some chores you’ll need to do. Aquarium maintenance is one of them. Taking care of the aquarium implies making sure that all of the equipment is working fine, that the aquarium is clean and that you’re cycling water as necessary.
Aquarium maintenance is done daily, bi-weekly, and monthly. However, don’t let this fact scare you. If you were to put all of the time necessary to keep an aquarium going, you’d get a figure of 30 minutes per week.
Grow with Your Aquarium
One of the best things about fishkeeping is that you can scale it at your own pace. There are always new fish to get and larger aquariums to purchase. If you start small with one community fish in a small aquarium, you can use that as a foundation for a much larger system.
You can grow your aquarium along with your skill at a pace you feel comfortable at. That is a rare privilege in the world of pet ownership in general.
Running a healthy aquarium is all about establishing a routine and sticking to it. Your fish don’t require much in terms of care and maintenance, but what little they require, they need on time. Fish are rather sensitive to a sudden lack of care. Make sure that your lifestyle is compatible with this type of obligation.