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|Beginners Manual to Fish Keeping||
This is a care sheet I have put together to thoroughly explain how to appropriately attend to your pets needs. This is a low demand, very gratifying hobby. Granted it is not for everyone, and as your interest in this hobby may vary at times, there is just so much to learn, and do differently, you can never get tired of being an aquarist.
However, you cannot
simply put fish into a tank with water in it, and *presto* have an instant,
healthy fish tank. Not taking into consideration that you do need to
take care of the water is bound to limit and inhibit the success you
have. There are a few things you need to know to have enough knowledge
to get by with. I suggest that before you buy fish, plants or anything
you put in your tank that you attempt to find as much information as
possible, from successful people, and reputable resources on the internet
and books. However, if you are to trust fish vendor's advice it is wise
to test their water with the appropriate test kits, and then decide
what you want to do.
In the wild fish constantly have a fresh supply of water. It is poor fish keeping to not do water changes on a regular basis. If you don't want to do them, do not keep fish. The only thing your fish will ask of you is to feed them, and change their water. You do not need to bond with them, take them for walks, let them outside, or even clean up after them if they have an accident. They are wonderful pets for a responsible child, because of the limited care they require. These bacteria take up a home in your filter mostly. So care needs to be taken to the filter. When changing your filter inserts you need to seed the new inserts with a piece of the old one. You don't need to change the inserts as often as the packaging says, only once it gets to dirty you cannot clean it. To clean it, I bi-weekly rinse it in a bucket of old tank water that I have removed from my water change. I actually prefer to use polyester floss in my aquaclear filters, instead of brand name supplies. I buy a large bag of it in Wal*Mart, in the craft section for about $4 Canadian, it should last you a few years. You can also use the polyester batting sheets, just make sure whatever you buy is polyester, and contains no cotton, or other natural materials because it will break down quickly, adding to the bio-load, and possibly ruining your water quality. Never rinse your filters in tap water, as the chlorine will kill all of those bacteria you so badly need for your fish to survive and you will need to re-cycle your tank. Your tank never really finishes cycling, as the bacteria are always there, and always need something to eat. If they are starved (all the fish are removed) all of the bacteria will die.
This is the one and
only. Many products out in the market may claim to help cycle your tank.
They don't. Well maybe I should be nicer. They do the same thing fish
food would, except they are already predecomposed. It's more readily
available, but it does not actually contain the bacteria, like Bio-Spira
This is pretty simple.
Weekly water changes of 50%. Do not add salts, they are a waste of your
$$. Most tap water contains some salt, and freshwater fish are fresh
water, not marine, or brackish. Salts in freshwater has very limited
uses. During water changes you need to add the appropriate amount of
dechlorinator. Make sure the product removes metals, chlorine (and chloramines,
if your water supply contains it). You can call your local city to find
this out. When you change your water you need to vacuum your gravel,
with a gravel vacuum, hehe.
Now as for the dreaded pH adjusters
These things are a
debate in aquarists. Many people (and I) believe that these "adjusters"
are just as useless as the products that claim they cycle your tank
(with the exception of Bio-Spira). I'm sure you have heard that "this
fish likes an acidic pH, this one prefers an alkaline, this one basic..."
This speaks some truth, but generally most fish you can obtain is bred
and raised in regular tap water, without such large drastic measures
(adjusting pH) taken to keep them. They may come from those types of
waters, but that does not say that they cannot thrive without them.
There are definite exceptions to this. Some fish will not breed unless
in a specific type of water, some will not thrive, and some still will
not even live without their specific water perimeters. This is true
for many Cichlids, exotic Bettas, and wild caught specimens.
This is another big
issue. First I want you to take that "golden rule of thumb"
1 inch per gallon of water, and FLUSH IT!!!! It is nothing more than
a myth. First consider Neons. They grows to around one inch. It is a
long and slender fish. It is small. Do you think ten would live Ok in
a ten gallon tank? That is ten inches of fish... yes; with adequate
water changes they will be very happy in that tank. Now consider a ten
inch Oscar (which, by the way, they can get larger then that) Do you
think it would live happily in a ten gallon tank? No. It couldn't even
turn around, and that is not to mention the bio-load an Oscar has...
And lastly, and most important, can the tank you want them to live in handle how much bio-load they are. A goldfish starts out as a small creature, and for centuries they have been kept in bowls. That is SOO wrong, because they are pooping machines and are an enormous bio-load. As babies, they should be in nothing smaller than twenty gallons per goldfish and as they get larger nothing less than 55g. They also get to at least 12" for almost every species of goldfish, many get much larger.You may have also heard the myth that a fish will not grow larger then its tank permits. Yes that is true, but in some Asian cultures the women may bind their feet, from infancy, to prevent them from growing. This is not healthy for their feet. It makes them deformed. The same goes for fish. They may *look* fine, but inside their bladder may be to large, while the kidneys to small. Their heart may be too large and the lungs to small. In short this will give your fish an untimely death, and probably very painful at that...
Now there are some
things you should live by in this hobby. My personal favourite
and the most common quote you'd hear on Badmans Tropical Fish Board
is "Freshwater fish love fresh water". Do at
least 50% weekly water changes. Bigger is better, the more water in
the box the more it can dilute the toxins produced, besides who doesn't
want a bigger home? And lastly use as little chemicals in your water
*We are keepers of water, collectors of fish*
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