I’ve been keeping fish for at least ten years now and have learned a lot about how to best keep my fish living as long as possible. There are many outside factors that can lead to fish death but here are a few tips that I have learned that can greatly increase your chance of keeping your fish alive and well for, hopefully, many years to come. These tips are strictly for freshwater aquariums and not for salt water.
Do not overfeed
This is one of the first, and most deadly, mistakes that first time fish owners often fall prey to. Fish are not like other pets like dogs or cats or birds and do not need to be fed daily. Fish in the wild often go days without eating and fish in captivity are the same way. It is much better to err on the side of caution and underfeed your fish than to overfeed them. Do not feed your fish more food than they can fully consume in a minute or so. Remember that a lot of food will fall to the bottom if not eaten as it given to them so unless you have bottom feeding fish to clean up the leftovers it is best to feed your fish once or twice a day very small amounts to keep your tank clean and your fish healthy.
Do waterchanges every week
First time fish owners often don’t realize that fish keeping, just like any other pet keeping, requires cleaning and maintenance. Your fish aquarium environment is small, contained ecosystem and it needs maintenance routinely. Depending on how big your tank is, how many fish you have, and what kind of fish you have, you may need to clean less or more frequently. Golfish, Oscars and other larger fish give off a lot of waste and your tank will need more frequent cleaning. If you have bottom feeders, algae eaters or others that often live off the leftovers and organic materials in your tank it can often be beneficial to clean less. A 20% water change every week is a safe standard to ensure your tank is clean and the chemicals and waste do not stifle and kill your fish.
Give your new tank time to set up
Another mistake first time fish keepers make is to rush out and buy a fish tank and immediately fill it with water and expensive fish. Nine times out of ten those early fish will die. When you buy your new tank, give it at least a week to settle. Fill it up and add all the necessary chemicals, and if you have live plants, add those right away as well so your tank’s biological and chemical community can start to grow and thrive. Before you rush out and buy that twenty dollar fish to add to the tank go out and buy some cheap fish like zebra danios or goldfish. Add these to your tank for a week or so that the fishs’ natural waste and chemicals can build up in your tank for a more livable ecosystem. Also, if the PH levels of your water and chemicals are off and the fish die, you are not out a lot of money. If your new inexpensive fish survive and you do a PH water check and everything looks to be in order, you can start populating your tank with the great fish you’ve had your eye on.