5 To-Dos Before Starting an Aquarium
Get off to a successful start in fishkeepingBy Rue Reynold
Spring is here and decorating your home to reflect the life of the outdoors often involves adding a colorful aquarium. Fishkeeping can be a beautiful and therapeutic hobby, but some time and work are involved beyond just putting fish in a bowl. Before adding an aquarium to your home, check out these suggestions to help you get started.
1Research, research, research Fish and plants all have their own specific needs and care requirements. Not all fish can live harmoniously together. For example, goldfish and cichlids shouldn’t be kept in the same tank. Likewise, freshwater fish cannot live in saltwater environments and vice versa. Many fish also often don’t stay the size you first see them in a pet store, so providing a bigger tank from the beginning will save you money, time and potential stress that you may have experienced down the road. A brief search on a smartphone while in the store when a specific fish or plant catches your eye is a quick method, but remember, the more research, the better.
2Choose tanks over bowls The smaller the tank size, the faster bad bacteria and waste will build up and risk the health of your fish. This means you’ll have to change the water often, which may also affect the good bacteria. If stocking levels are low, a larger tank will often require less frequent maintenance compared to a bowl, and it gives your fish room to stretch their fins.
3Get into a tank routine Aquariums can be a lot of work, and that’s why a solid plan of action is good to have around. Your water change routine will depend on many factors, including tank size, stocking level of fish and whether you have a bare or planted tank (meaning one with live plants). Keep an eye on your tank and test the waters often so you know how much attention you should give it each week.
4Connect with a community of aquarists Whether you’re brand new to the fishkeeping hobby or are a seasoned aquarist with flourishing planted tanks, connecting with a community of fishkeeping enthusiasts can open many doors. Learn and get help from experienced aquarists, or find a beautiful aquatic plant you may not find in stores. Aquarium communities are abundant online, but if you’d rather have that in-person connection, check out local fishkeeping clubs in your area.
5Have a backup plan if fishkeeping isn’t for you Some people flourish in the hobby and others find they don’t like it as much as they thought they would. That’s okay. Packing up and storing or selling equipment can be relieving, but never release your fish into the wild, as this can negatively impact native wildlife and the environment. Instead, ask your local fish stores if they’ll take the fish off your hands — many will do so. You can also list your fish for sale online or at local marketplaces.
More tips when getting a new pet