Fish as Pets: A Beginner’s Guide

According to a survey of American Pet Products Association, 95.5 million of freshwater fish are owned by US household. The number outweighs Dogs and Cat ownership, which stands at 77.8 million and 85.8 million respectively.

Fish makes great pets. You can celebrate your lazy hours relaxing your mind by enjoying the tranquil and serene image of colorful fishes roaming around your freshwater tank. Colorful fishes adorn your hall by giving a new vibrant look and amaze you by brightening up your aquarium.

fish care tips

Choice of your Fish

You can start with Discus, as breeders have created hundred of variations – of shapes, patterns, and colors of this variety. Killifish are popular amongst hobbyists, and is a good pet choice. Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta Fish) displays two or more colors with its huge classic fins. This variety has a long lifespan and is easy to maintain. German Blue Ram is small sized Cichlid, prefers peace in the tank, and so is a good option. You can also be an Endler enthusiast for its vibrant coloration and peace loving nature!

With my growing list for the underwater pet, I would love to include rare colored Bosemani Rainbowfish, Gourami, calm Peacock Cichlid, aggressive Flowerhorn Cichlid and inexpensive Fantail Guppy of course.

But, Why Should You Choose Fish As a Pet?

Unlike dogs and cats, fish does not ask for much care and attention of their owners. They are the most inexpensive pet species, who are easy to feed, clean and needs a relatively small space as compared to other pets! You can welcome a small freshwater tank with just a pair of Guppies, if not a Labrador, even if you live in a small rented apartment.

How to take Care of your Pet Fish?

Though it is true that fish needs little care, but your negligence can even kill them.

  • Normally, there are four basic types of fish tanksFreshwater Tropical Aquarium, Coldwater Aquariums, Marine Aquariums, and Brackish Aquariums. If you are a first timer, I will suggest you care for the freshwater tropical fish tank before you venture into marine tanks. Buy fish depending on the size of your fish tank. To decide, consider the area of your apartment first and then head for the right fish tank.

  • The ideal temperature for a freshwater tank is 72–78 degrees Fahrenheit. To maintain the right temperature, use a heater and a thermometer and take readings every alternate day. If you are out for a day or two, be sure to hand over this basic task to someone responsible and enough experienced to look after your pets. If you are not sure, do not risk your fish, seek a professional help – choose a pet sitting service near you!

  • 25% of your aquarium water must be changed once a month. It ensures clean water and maintains the hygiene. You can consider using a gravel vacuum to siphon out water and debris to keep up the health of your fish.

  • The vital parameters are pH, nitrates, nitrites, and carbonate hardness (salinity for marine tanks). Stability is the main factor with pH, pH in the range of 6.5 – 7.5 is suitable for most species, but they can adjust if slightly out of range. After each water change, treat the fresh water with a dechlorinating agent to remove chlorine, chloramine, and harmful metals. Regularize the levels of ammonia, nitrite, pH and specific gravity.

  • Avoid keeping a busy aquarium. Ideally, one inch of a fish is perfect for a gallon of water. However, this rule will not be equivalent for Zebra Danios and Goldfish. Slender fish needs less oxygen if compared with goldfish. Snails, shrimps, and decorative plants are not to be considered. So, take baby steps to decorate your tank. Be sure to provide adequate space and light and clean the water regularly. Again, too much of light encourages algae. To control the light effectively, it is better to set aquarium light on a timer.

  • Slow your stock. You may have a giant tank, but while stocking it, go slow. Remember, you are introducing someone new to your fish family. They too need some time to adapt and accommodate.

How to feed your fish – A small note.

Though feeding your underwater pet is a huge topic to discuss, I assure you to do so in the next time. But, for now, just feed your fish in small quantities – one small pinch at the morning and once in the afternoon is enough. Overfeeding can be traced if you find leftover foods in your tank. It only makes your tank filthy and you have to replace it more often.

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