Caring of Pet - Fish

 
Many people think of pet fish as being fairly low-maintenance. Though fish do not require as much attention as some other pets, they still require care and attention in order to remain healthy. In a properly maintained tank, fish will have a much higher life expectancy.

Depending on the type of fish that you own, you will either be caring for a saltwater or freshwater tank. Though it’s true that saltwater tanks are significantly more complicated to maintain than freshwater tanks, this doesn’t mean that you can ignore the needs of your freshwater fish. The pH, temperature and nitrite levels of your freshwater tank are very important in caring for your fish’s health.

Here are some general pet care tips for ensuring that your fish remain in good health.
  • Setting up and maintaining your Aquarium:
    By following these simple instructions you can create an ideal habitat for your fish.
    • The more space that fish have, the happier and healthier they will be. One general guideline is that you should provide 3 gallons of water for every 1 inch of fish.
    • Treat tap water properly before putting it into the aquarium, as most municipal water contains chlorine, which can kill fish.
    • Different types of fish require different pH levels. Check the pH level daily for the first month and weekly thereafter.
    • A filter to remove waste particles and noxious chemicals from the water is essential. Live plants help with this task and provide oxygen, shelter, hiding places, and the occasional snack.
    • A properly working air pump is necessary to provide oxygen.
    • Fish need a constant temperature, generally between 68°F and 76°F, but you should check with a fish supply store for information that is specific to the type of fish that you are keeping. Automatic aquarium heaters monitor the water temperature and turn the heater on and off as needed. Attaching a small thermometer to the tank will help you ensure that the heater is functioning properly.
    • The natural waste of fish emits ammonia which can accumulate to toxic levels, so clean the tank regularly, but never clean your tank with soap, detergent, or washing powder. These will immediately kill off fish.
    • Create places for the fish to hide and explore. Ceramic objects, natural rocks, and plants work well. Make sure that all objects are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before they are put into the tank. Do not use metal objects, as they will rust.
    • Always remove stray algae floating around the tank as it may cause the fish tank to be cloudy.
    • Don't change out the filter cartridge. The filter is where most of the beneficial bacteria lives and replacing the cartridge creates a buildup of ammonia that can kill your tank.
    • Be aware of the environment outside the aquarium. Suddenly switching on a bright light in a dark room can startle fish, and vibrations from a television or a stereo can alarm and stress them.
    • Keep all harmful chemicals away from the aquarium. Cigarette smoke, paint fumes, and aerosol sprays can be toxic if they are absorbed into the water.
    • The aquarium should be in a spot where temperature and light are constant and controllable. Remember that direct sunlight and drafts from nearby doors or windows can change the water temperature, and fumes from a nearby kitchen or workshop can injure the fish.
    • If your tank holds less than 2.5 gallons, do NOT use a heater. If you do, you'll be slowly boiling your fish.
    • Air fresheners can also be highly toxic.
    • Change 20 percent of the water every 30 days.
    • Cover the aquarium to prevent contamination of water and to minimize temperature fluctuations.
  • Adding Your Fish:
    • It’s best to start with 3-4 small, or 1-2 medium fish.
    • Make sure all varieties get along. Some fish are not very sociable and will fight, whilst others prefer to live in shoals of their own kind and should not be kept in isolation. Choose the most suitable fish and plan the best community.
    • Separate the new fish for a few days to one week to make sure they are healthy before adding them to your main tank.
    • Float the bagged fish in the tank for 10 to 15 minutes for temperature adjustment.
    • Open the bags and let the fish swim out. Do not add the bag water to the tank.
    • Turn off aquarium light and keep noise low in the room for at least the first day. Feed fish on the second day.
    • Add a couple of fish each week if you want.
  • Diet:
    • There are very good commercial fish foods available. Dried flakes provide a balanced diet, and fresh foods such as live brine shrimp, bloodworms and tubifex worms provide variety.
    • Provide a proper diet that has 30 to 36 percent protein, 10 percent fat and low amounts of carbohydrates. Be sure the fish food also contains required essential amino acids.
    • Store food in moisture-resistant containers and place in a cool, dry area.
    • Keep food frozen for no longer than three months.
    • Feed your fish once a day, offering just enough food so that it is eaten within 2 minutes. Start with a small amount and adjust accordingly. Over-feeding will pollute the water, so ensure any excess food is removed from the tank after feeding.
    • Make sure all fish get the right kind of food based on the kind of fish they are.
  • Finding the Right Veterinarian:
    • If a fish seems sick or lethargic, take him or her to a vet. Fish can be medicated, anesthetized, given shots, and operated on, just like other animals. Take along a separate sample of the tank water.
    • Choose a veterinarian that specializes in fish (aquatic animal veterinarian).
    • Here are some signs that tell your fish may be sick:
      • Eating less than normal
      • Gasping for oxygen, breathing heavy
      • Staying hidden or staying at top or bottom
      • Changes in behavior, color, skin or fins
      • If you observe any of this your fish may have contracted an illness and will require treatment to recover.
  • Lighting:
    • Equip aquariums with proper lighting to avoid heat accumulation and excess algae growth. Use a light recommended for aquarium use. Use dimmer devices to avoid startling fish when turning on lights.
    • The light should usually be on a schedule of 12 hours on, 12 hours off.
    • Be sure to turn off the light at night. Fish need to sleep, too.
    • Do not place a fish tank near the window to exploit natural sunlight. This will promote algae growth because of exposure to sunlight.
  • Fish are family, so treat them with respect. Don't think this is just some animal that you can ignore. In many ways and for many reasons, they actually need more focused attention and loving care than many other pets. Fish are enjoyable to a family and can live long if properly cared.