Five Common Mistakes of New Aquarium Owners
So you’ve just received your delivery from Discount Leisure Products and can’t wait to tear open the boxes and get started on setting up your very own aquarium. The common misconception amongst many budding aquariumist is that you can throw the equipment together and start colonising with the fish you’ve had your eyes set on for weeks straight away. The most likely outcome here is that you’ll have some very sick fish on your hands and you’ve just thrown your well-earned money down the toilet – literally.
Hold Your Horses… or Fish
You’ve just put all your brand new equipment together and it’s looking great! All you need now is to populate your tank with some fish, right? No… we know you’ll be keen to add fish, but this is probably the worst and most costly mistake you could make to a new aquarium. You need to give your newly set up aquarium time to stabilise for around 48 hours – this allows the gasses and chemicals in the water to escape and the pH to adjust correctly.
Packed Like Sardines
Once your tank is ready to go, many people will buy as many fish as they possibly can and what they conceive as an acceptable amount of fish to be able to thrive within their tank. There’s two mistakes here – introducing too many fish at once and overcrowding. Limit the amount of fish you’re introducing to your tank to 2 or 3 at a time, just to be sure you don’t overwhelm the beneficial bacteria that you’ve allowed to develop within your aquarium. Also, as a rough guideline, you should limit the amount of fish in your tank to one inch of fish per 12 inches of your aquarium surface area.
Who Are You Looking At?
This can be quite a confusing area for people new to keeping aquariums. As tempting as it is to buy fish that you think ‘look nice’ together, it’s very important to do your research to see which fish can live happily together. The guys at the pet store can offer great advice so when you’re buying your first fish, ask them which fish are compatible to help get you started.
All You Can Eat Buffet? Fill My Plate!
Fish are opportunistic and will appear to be hungry all the time – this does not mean you need to feed them every time you walk over to the tank. Feed your fish just once per day so you don’t accidentally raise the ammonia and nitrate levels in the water, which will make your fish sick. A good guide on how much to feed them in one sitting is the ‘5 minute test’… only feed them enough food which will take them no longer than 5 minutes to devour.
What’s That Smell?
You need to keep on top of your water changes to keep your aquarium a nice and healthy environment for your fish. You may not kill your fish if you don’t carry out frequent water changes, but they’ll be stressed out by the poor water conditions – leading to poor health. For optimum results, we recommend you carry out two or three 10% water changes per month.
What we’re trying to say is setting up a new aquarium can be a challenge for even the most experienced fish lovers. We suggest you do plenty of research before diving into things head first – there’s plenty of tutorials and advice available online to help get you started. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, why don’t you ask Discount Leisure Products or our followers on Facebook or Twitter.