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Caring For Tropical Fish

Caring For Tropical Fish

In recent years, the trend for keeping tropical fish as pets has grown. Perhaps thanks to characters such as Nemo and Dory in Disney’s Finding Nemo bringing beautiful and rarely seen fish to the big screen – and in turn pester power from the kids to add a fabulous fish to our homes.

As we all know, tropical fish aren’t as easy to care for as the humble goldfish – there’s plenty to consider to ensure that you have the optimum conditions to give your new pet a healthy home.

Do your homework
From clownfish and blue tangs like Nemo and Dory to colourful mollies and fancy guppies, there’s so many tropical fish to choose from. Do your homework to make sure that your new fishy friend is the right pet for you and your family – visit a seller and be sure to ask them questions.

Set up their tank
Once you’ve decided on your new family member, it’s time to buy the equipment and set it up correctly. Don’t be tempted (although it is very exciting!) to shorten the time suggested by professionals; it’s a must to keep your fish healthy and happy. Wash your tank (to make sure there are no nasty chemicals lurking) and then add your substrate.

The substrate is the material used on the bottom of the tank and it can affect the water’s chemistry, filtration and ultimately your fish’s well-being. Add plants and rocks to make the tank more homely. Again, these also require in-depth research for your chosen fishy family addition.

Water wellness
Fill your tank halfway with fresh water and add your chosen heater and filter, then fill your tank up. Let the tank rest for at least ten minutes, before adding a water conditioner. Leave this to settle for 15 minutes and add a bacteria supplement.

This is where patience is needed; depending on your preferred fish, you need to cycle your tank and add a source of ammonia (fish food or an ammonia solution work replicating fish waste and encouraging the bacteria to grow, so ‘natural’ colonies are already present for your fish).

This can take a few weeks and lots of checking for levels of ammonia, nitrate and PH levels – just remember; it will be worth it when you provide your fish with a perfect home.

Adding your fish
Once your water is just right; it’s time to buy your fish and add them to the tank. Don’t just release them – let them adjust, by putting them in their bag for half an hour. Using a net remove your fish from the bag and set them free to explore their new home!

Ongoing care
As you will have experienced, getting the ammonia, PH and nitrate levels just right can be tricky. Keep monitoring those, along with your fish’s behaviour to keep them healthy and happy!

By Shelley Welti

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