So you have decided to purchase your first aquarium (fish tank). A fish tank can be very enjoyable and is also known to lower stress. The following are some helpful suggestions to get you started properly:
1. Select the largest tank that will fit into your available space and is also within your price range.
2. Select a location away from windows and air ducts.
3. Place the tank on a sturdy stand, one that is designed to support the tank’s weight.
4. Make sure that any decorations you add to the tank are store bought since “wild” or “backyard” items may contain toxins harmful to fish.
5. Fill the tank with 78 degree water.
6. Read the instruction for your tank heater first and then insert the heater into the tank. Also remember in the future to unplug the heater when doing partial water changes. This is very important.
7. Hang the power filter on the tank and start it.
8. Add chlorine drops to make the water safe, this is very important! The fish will die in untreated water.
9. Add some aquarium salt to the water to increase the health of the fish
Let the tank run for one or two days, checking to be sure that everything is OK, and that the temperature is staying at 78 degrees. To help with the critical first month breaking in period add TLC live bacteria weekly to reduce the chance of losing fish. Add only a few fish, don’t go overboard and add too many fish too soon. You’ll be better off adding as few fish every week, slowly building up the population
Plan on changing 30% of the water on a monthly basis along with the filter cartridge. Overfeeding will spoil the water and kill your fish. Have your water tested after the first two weeks to be sure that everything is safe to add more fish.
In selecting your fish make sure that you choose strong healthy fish. Look to make sure that they are alert, active and robust. The fins should be up, not closed and not frayed or torn. Clear eyes, clear clean tank water and hungry activity are also good signs. Rely on a fish store with a good reputation and many years in business. Their knowledge and experience will be of great help. They can suggest which fish would be best to start with and which are compatible. This is very important.
Be patient, feed lightly, clean regularly and your new aquarium will be a small world of nature you will enjoy for a very long time.
Compliments of Congressional Aquarium, Inc. 142 Congressional Lane, Rockville, MD Telephone: 301-881-6182