We all like to keep our pets health and happy and our aquatic friends are no different. Though in some cases fish and other aquarium dwellers can be resilient creatures, if and when they do become sick, the medicines and methods for treating them can create unnecessary stress for the fish and can damage or diminish plant life and helpful bacteria. Keeping a healthy aquarium is essential. Illness and sickness is a part of life for any species but it’s one that can often be avoided with some simple yet important procedures and precautions.
Here are a few practices that will help you create and maintain a healthy aquarium from the start:
1. Purchase Healthy Fish - Purchase your fish from reliable sources and avoid fish that appear to be sickly.
2. Practice Population Control - When increasing a fish population, it is always best to build the number up slowly, introducing only a few fish at a time.
3. Quarantine New Fish - If you have the space and finances to do so, putting new fish in a quarantine tank is a good idea. This will allow you to observe and treat any fish that do not look well before adding them to your existing aquarium.
4. Acclimate New Fish - New fish should always be acclimated properly: 15-20 minutes in the bag in the aquarium, add 20% aquarium water to the bag, wait another 15-20 minutes, and then release fish gently.
5. Condition Water - Chlorine, chloramines and metals are damaging to aquarium inhabitants be sure to condition water properly using one of the many commercially available de-chlorinating and cycling products. Take extra care when monitoring for metals if copper is used in your plumbing.
6. Regular Tank Maintenance - It's a good idea to regularly practice tank maintenance by testing and changing the water.
7. Practice Precaution After Any Loss of Power - Power failures will stress fish, immediately after experiencing one, check all equipment, take a temperature reading and observe the fish.
8. Regulate Lighting - Fish and plants need regular lighting; timers can be used to ensure you are not over or under lighting your aquarium. 8-10 hours a day of light is more than enough.
9. Practice Safe Medicine- If medications have been used, perform additional water changes and use carbon to remove residual traces. Test your water frequently.
10. Create a Feeding Schedule - It is best for your fish if they are feed on a regularly scheduled basis. As always, remember not to overfeed!