Guide: 8 Most Common Fishkeeping Mistakes

  1. Aquarium Selection: A common mistake that many fish keepers make is not matching tank size and filtration needs to the fish they wish to keep. For example, if you wish to keep Oranda Goldfish a fish bowl would not be a proper choice for housing. Also, make sure you find a filter that is matched to the tank size you are purchasing. Remember this helpful tip- try to find a filter that moves a larger liter per hour rating than the tank size you are buying to ensure the best functionality for your aquarium.


  1. Overstocking: Adding too many fish for the aquarium size. This can be difficult and will vary by fish type. Always do research and consult with your local fish professionals for advice on how many fish to keep. If you avoid overstocking, your aquarium will stay healthier and cleaner over time.


  1. Cycling : Not knowing how to properly cycle an Aquarium. Many aquarium keepers believe that they can buy a tank setup and fish on the same day. This is not recommended since you need to allow time for the “good” bacteria to grow in the tank. This is what will consume and break down waste later when you add the fish to the tank. Learn about the Aquarium cycle and ways to cycle a tank properly to ensure the health of new fish when you are ready to add them to the aquarium.


  1. Fish Compatibility: Make sure that fish are compatible with one another before you take new fish home. Look at the various needs of each fish in regard to pH, GH and temperature. For example, Cardinal Tetras from the Amazon River Basin like soft water and low, acidic pH and will not be compatible with African Cichlids who prefer water with high mineral content and alkaline pH. In the same way, goldfish prefer cold water and are not compatible with tropical fish that prefer warm waters. Also pay close attention to the aggression level of your fish as well as fish you would like to add to ensure that they are compatible.


  1. Knowledge: Researching Fish Care Needs: Make sure you research the needs of the fish that you wish to keep. This will include things like tank size needed, water conditions needed for your fish such as pH, GH, and temperature, aggression level and ideal tank mates, and nutritional needs. Being prepared for the needs of your fish will help to make you a more successful hobbyist and fish-keeper.


  1. Nutrition: Feeding a one sided diet to fish. Most fish do require a varied diet and need a wide range of vitamins and minerals in their diet. In addition most aquarium fish are omnivorous and require meat based proteins as well as vegetable matter in their diet. It is fine to feed frozen food items such as brine shrimp and/or bloodworms, however if you have a fish that needs an omnivorous diet, be sure to use vitamin additives with your food such as Seachem Nourish, or to supplement the diet with a vegetable based flake food. This will help to ensure that the immune system of your fish does not get compromised and will help to prevent many fish infections that are cause by nutritional deficiency.


  1. Feeding: Both under feeding or overfeeding fish can be detrimental to fish health and immune response. Overfeeding can lead to an over abundance of organics and waste in the aquarium. This can cause elevated ammonia, nitrite or nitrate levels, which are toxic to your fish and can also contribute to problematic algae growth. Under feeding can lead to nutrient deficiencies and poor overall health as immune response is weakened.


  1. Aquarium Maintenance: Two common mistakes involve under cleaning and over cleaning the aquarium. Under cleaning can lead to a build up of excess fish waste, uneaten fish food and other organic waste. This can result in high ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels and can also contribute to problematic algae growth as well as cause declining fish health. Over cleaning the aquarium can also result in various problems in the aquarium. If your tank is too clean, the system can be unstable since there will be a lack of beneficial bacteria in the system. Bacteria load will always grow to equal the organic load of the system. You do want to have enough organic buildup to feed these “good “ bacteria species which help to keep the tank free of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. To keep a healthy balance, we recommend that you make a tank maintenance plan of small water changes 5%-25% of tank volume is common and to do cleanings once a week to once every other week depending on the tank and inhabitants.
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