A tank full of lively tropical fish can be a thing of beauty. The vibrantly colored fish and the silent way they glide around in the water can make it the focal point of any room. Watching the fish swim while the filter quietly gurgles can be a very relaxing experience. However, if proper care is not taken of the fish and the tank itself, it can very quickly turn into an eyesore that still attracts the eye but now for all the wrong reasons. Here are some basic guidelines to tropical fish care that will help you get started.
So you have decided that you want a fish tank. Now what. You must decide on the size of the tank that you want and what to put in it. There are many choices of decoration and supplies available, but there are a few absolute necessities. They are the following: gravel, a filtration device, a heat source, and a light.
Take your time when you decide on the color and type of gravel you would like. It will be the single largest thing seen in your tank so you want to be sure to get it right. Think about the room you will be placing it in and the overall theme of the tank. In a child’s room, you may want brightly colored gravel while in a living room, you may want to go with the more muted, natural colors.
There are many types of filtering systems available but they all fit into two basic categories. Those that go under the gravel and those that hang on the outside of the tank. Both accomplish the same thing: to filter the fish’s waste and excess food particles out of the water. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages. In larger tanks, you may need both types to maintain clear water and healthy fish.
You will need a heater to keep the water temperature around 72 degrees. If the water is much colder than that, the fish will become sluggish and may die. Much warmer than that and you will promote the growth of bacteria and algae that will be harmful to your fish.
Most lights are purchased as part of a full hood that covers the entire top of the tank. However, it is possible to only purchase the light. Whichever way you decide to go, it is best to avoid incandescent lights. This type of light is harsh and will add heat to the tank. Fluorescent lighting is softer and will add no heat to the water in the tank.
Once you have acquired all of these things and set up the tank, you will need to fill it with water and let it sit empty for several days. This will not only give you time to ensure that everything is working properly but will also allow the chlorine and other chemicals to be filtered out of the water.
Now you are ready for fish. It is best to start with just a few fish initially. Place the bags the fish were brought home in directly into the tank and let them float there, unopened, for at least 15 minutes. This will give the fish a chance to gradually adjust to the temperature change. Now you can open the bags, release the fish, and look forward to hours of watching them swim gracefully around the tank.
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