Every year thousands and thousands of people try their luck with tropical fish but only a small part of them still keep tropical fish one year later. This can often be contributed to bad experiences such as dying fish, a smelly aquarium or a green aquarium completely conquered by algae. Most of these experiences are caused by a number of common mistakes that many fish keepers make and can be easily avoided. Below you’ll find a list of 5 common mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Buying everything at once and than setting up the tank when you get home. An aquarium needs to stabilize before you introduce fish into it. This process should be allowed to take at least a couple of weeks. The reason for this is that aquariums need to establish a fauna of good bacteria that helps brake down toxins created by decaying plant part and fish waste. You can speed the process along by taking water from an already established aquarium to put into your own or by buying an aquarium starter kit.
2. Smaller isn’t easier. Many beginners buy a small aquarium as their first aquarium thinking that it will be easier to maintain. Nothing could however be further from the truth. Larger aquariums are more stable and require less maintenance than smaller aquariums. I never recommend anyone to start with less than
100L / 25 gallons. An aquarium of this size is still rather small, doesn’t take up a lot of room and is much easier to care for than even smaller aquariums. A larger aquarium can also house larger fish and will therefore give you much more fish species to choose among than a smaller thank would.
3. Buying the wrong fish. Some fish are hardier than other and are hence more suitable for beginners. Different fish species also has different requirements as they come from different environments in the wild. Make sure to only choose fish that suits the water in your area (or prepare the water to suit the fish) and only keep fish that wants the same type of environment in the same aquarium. Make sure to choose fish with a similar temperament and that doesn’t grow too big for your aquarium. A common mistake people make are buying goldfish for their tropical aquariums. Goldfish are not tropical fish and do best in colder water. Keeping them in warm water make them more prune to diseases and shorten their life spans. It is common that you hear about people keeping their goldfish alive for a couple of years as something impressing when goldfish in reality live to be 20, 30 sometimes even 40 years.
4. Cleaning the filter in hot water. Many beginners clean their filters in warm water to get them really clean, some even use cleaners. Both these practices are no nos as they destroy the important bacteria in the filter and reduces the effectiveness of the filter. Only use room temperatured water when cleaning your filter and make sure that the filter media doesn’t dry out during the cleaning. It is okay if some dirt is still there when you put it back in the aquarium.
5. Overfeeding. The fish isn’t hungry each time they beg for food. Feeding them to much will just put stress on the water and potentially kill your fish in the long run. Feed your fish two times a day and no more than they can eat in a couple of minutes.
Avoid these mistakes and your fish will thank you for it.