Today I am going to go over 5 simple tips to help you be a better fish keeper. These are just a few of the things I’ve learned since I started keeping fish over 20 years ago. I often see people make the same mistakes over and over when keeping fish as pets and hopefully this short list can help you avoid them.
Planted 55 Gallon Aquarium with Custom Lighting
[ 5 Tips to be a Better Fish Keeper ]
- Do weekly water changes – This is the biggest thing. You should make it a part of your weekly routine. I suggest changing at least 25% of the water once a week if possible, in heavily stocked tanks even more. It is the number one thing that most people neglect. It will solve so many aquarium issues that people often face but don’t realize that a simple water change routine is all you need. Your fish will be much healthier and grow a lot faster too.
- Stop over feeding your fish – Your fish most likely beg anytime you walk by, coaxing you into feeding them numerous times a day. This isn’t a great idea. It will cause a lot of uneaten food to remain in the tank and pollute the water. You are also probably feeding a lot more than you should each time as well. If you’ve got a lot of small fish in a tank and drop handfuls of flakes in at a time, it is too much. A tiny pinch is plenty for most aquariums. It may not seem like a lot of food but most aquarium fish are tiny little creatures, they don’t need to consume 100 flakes per feeding. I would stick to a twice per day feeding, each time feeding no more than the fish can consume in 5 minutes. You can also do a bit more once a day if that is better for you, the fish won’t care.
- Do not over stock your tank – It doesn’t matter if your tank is 5 gallons or 5,000 gallons, it can be over stocked. I see packed tanks all the time on internet forums. I had some pretty densely stocked tanks when I was younger but anymore I like sparsely stocked tanks more. The fish can act more natural (or as much as possible in a tank) and are not constantly fighting for food, territory, or whatever else. The 1″ per gallon rule is a joke, do not follow it. There are so many tank variables it is impossible to give you an exact rule for how many fish can fit in a given tank. I say just use common sense, if a fish can reach 12″ and your tank is only 12″ deep, that probably isn’t a fish for you. If you want a school of 100 tetras but only have a 10 gallon tank, you’re going to need a bigger tank. Again, just use common sense.
- Leave the tank alone – Often times I see people change the substrate in a tank, decor, rocks, plants, and so on every other week at times. This stresses the fish out and causes the tank to start the nitrogen cycle over sometimes, depending how much you change. The fish don’t want your dirty hands in the tank moving everything around either. They just want to be left alone for the most part. If you want to change the tank around, think about it for a week or two first. This way you can decide what you really want/need to change. This way you don’t end up swapping things out weekly and stressing your fish beyond belief. You can certainly change things, I am not saying the tank must remain as is for eternity. Just plan out any changes so they can be done as infrequently as possible.
- Don’t buy fish you can’t house for life – I will admit, I am guilty of this one. I bought quite a few fish in my time that I didn’t have a tank even close to big enough for. I had a tank plenty big for them at the time but had they reached adult sizes, they would have hardly had any room to swim. I cannot stress this enough, if you want a big fish such as Red Tailed Catfish, Silver Arowana, or an Arapaima – GET THE TANK FIRST. You cannot imagine how much goes into keeping truly monster fish. I only know of a few people who actually have tanks large enough for these monsters but I see new people picking them up weekly on fish forums. Not only does it cost a lot to feed big fish but the power it requires to run a 1,000 + gallon aquarium is immense. It amazes me how many people assume they’ll randomly run into the tens of thousands of dollars it costs for a mega tank after they already have the fish. It can be done cheaper if you build a DIY pond but the materials, pumps, food, filters, power, heaters, and so on still add up very fast. If you want a monster fish and think you can afford it, go ask some of the people that actually have adult ones how much it costs. You may just change your mind.