How to Maintain Freshwater Aquatic Life?
While keeping fishes as pets and setting up aquatic life in the home makes a wonderful addition to your living room décor, you must learn how to take care of aquatic life properly. You need planning and preparations for keeping a well-managed aquarium.
This article explains detailed steps for maintaining your aquarium, various equipment and supplies you will need, and the common fishes to introduce into your aquarium.
How to Maintain Your Aquarium?
Before you bring those lovely fishes home, you must set up your aquarium and get the necessary equipment for ensuring its proper maintenance. This enables you to spend hours watching your glorious aquatic life swimming in their new habitat.
Choose the Appropriately Sized Aquarium
Depending on the type of fish and the total number you would like to bring home, you need to pick an aquarium of a suitable size. Your aquarium should easily accommodate and give enough living space for your fishes, including individual species, freshwater fishes, and saltwater fishes.
You may find diverse fish tanks ranging from small desktop-sized fish tanks to large aquariums for housing multiple fishes. In addition to fishes, you also need to consider the aquatic habitat you would like to set up. Also, keep in mind the space available at home.
If you have much fish in a small fish tank, it may lead to overcrowding. It may result in the reduced oxygen levels in the water and excess waste accumulation. Thus, it’s essential to pick the right size of aquarium that easily accommodates both aquatic life and its related habitat.
Setting Up Ideal Aquarium Water Conditions
It’s essential to create the proper environment and optimal aquatic water conditions in your aquarium for different types of aquatic life. Also, you need to consider that different types of fish may need different water conditions.
Consider the following factors for ensuring ideal aquarium water conditions as required by the aquatic life in your aquarium.
Stabilize the Aquarium Temperature
Ensure to maintain a stable temperature in your aquarium as any drastic changes in temperature can lead to devastating effects on aquatic life.
Avoid keeping your aquarium near a sunny window that receives lots of sunlight. Ensure that the heating or air vents are placed away from the aquarium. This helps in preventing quick changes in the water temperatures.
Depending on the species, tropical freshwater fishes require constant temperature in the range of 22°C – 27 °C. You can install an aquatic heater for maintaining the proper temperature in your aquarium.
Maintain Appropriate pH Levels
The pH of water indicates the level of acidity or alkalinity in your water. Use a pH test kit for checking the pH level of water.
The pH level of tank water between 6.8 and 7.5 offers a natural environment for freshwater fishes to thrive well, stay healthy, and resist illness. Moreover, it also depends on the species.
Ensure to check for fluctuations in pH level regularly and make the necessary changes for recalibrating the pH. If the pH changes more than 0.3 in 24 hours, it stresses the fish and makes them susceptible to illnesses.
Condition the Water
It’s crucial to condition the tap water and balance its various properties in an aquarium for supporting aquatic life. Use a biological aquarium supplement and de-chlorinating agent for conditioning the tap water properly.
Ensure Proper Maintenance of the Fish Tank
To begin with, you need to adopt a routine for monitoring the water conditions in your aquarium regularly. Clean your aquarium at regular intervals for ensuring its timely maintenance.
Replace at least 25 per cent of water every month to maintain safe levels of nitrate concentrations and keep the tank’s water clean. Use a gravel vacuum for cleaning the debris and siphoning out water along the tank’s bottom.
If you observe a cloudy appearance on the glass of an aquarium or water appears murky, it indicates the algae buildup.
Remove the algae from your aquarium as it may result in decreased oxygen levels in the water. Use an aquarium algae magnet or a tank scrub brush for cleaning the algae from your aquarium.
For daily maintenance, ensure to feed your aquatic friends once or twice in small doses. Keep the aquarium lights on for at least 8-12 hours daily. Also, keep the optimal water temperature at 25°C.
Every month, ensure to change filter cartridge, clean tank, clean gravel, clean decorations,
clean glass from inside as well as outside, and siphon up waste.
Setup Proper Aquarium Acclimation for Species
Before you introduce aquatic life to their new habitat, set up an optimal aquarium acclimation. Ensure that you have the required parameters for the species you get, including
desired pH, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels.
Keep the water conditions of your aquarium as close to the required parameters as possible.
When you bring home your aquatic life, keep the sealed bags containing the aquatic life in your aquarium for 15 mins to 1 hour. This helps in providing ideal temperature acclimation.
Now slowly open the sealed bag and add a small quantity (1/4th cup) of aquarium water to the bag. Keep adding the 1/4th cup of aquarium water after every 5 minutes to the bag till it gets full. It causes slow temperature and chemical acclimation.
This ensures that new aquatic life gets acclimatized to the new aquatic habitat slowly without experiencing any sudden changes.
After this, you can take out the bag from the aquarium and slowly pour off the water from the bag to the level where aquatic life isn’t exposed to the air. Now, insert the bag again into the aquarium and introduce the aquatic life to their new home.
Prefer Larger Aquarium
If your budget permits, ensure to get the larger aquarium for your aquatic life. It is easy to take care of larger aquariums. With a larger aquarium, you have more water available for
maintaining balance in the aquatic environment.
Observe Your Aquatic Life for Changes
Observe your aquatic life regularly for any changes in behaviour, appearance, or appetite so that you can take timely corrective measures.
Common Fishes to Keep in Your Aquarium
You can keep a wide variety of fishes in your aquarium, including freshwater fishes and saltwater fishes. However, it’s recommended to go with inexpensive fish in the beginning. This is to check if your aquarium tank is cycling properly and all the equipment is working optimally.
Different species of fish have varying personalities; it’s not necessary that they all gel and play together. For example, goldfish and tropical fish are not great tank mates.
While community fishes love company, aggressive fishes require special mates, or they are better off alone. You should consult with the fish retailer to buy the best mix of fish species.
Some common aquarium fishes, along with their average lifespan, are listed as follows:
- Goldfish (Lifespan of over a few decades)
- Cichlids( Lifespan of roughly 20 years)
- Swordtails (Lifespan < 5 years)
- Plattys (Lifespan< 5 years)
- Mollies (Lifespan < 2 years)
- Betta (Lifespan> 2 years)
Equipment You Need for Your Aquarium
For ensuring optimal maintenance of your aquarium, you need to get the following set of equipment.
The filter of your aquarium tank is responsible for keeping clean and healthy water in your aquarium. Some advanced filters provide a world of convenience and simplicity with their innovative features such as time strip technology, new-patented carbon filter carrier, etc.
Installing the intuitive filtration system helps in maintaining clean water and keeping your fish and plants healthy. Ensure to pick the filter model that easily accommodates your aquarium size.
With an air pump, you can add an extra boost of oxygen for the aquatic life in your aquarium.
The air pump for the aquarium has a dome shape structure and features sound eliminating chambers for smoothly circulating quiet air streams and minimizing air turbulence. Air pumps for aquariums are designed for reducing sound-making vibrations.
As fishes cannot generate their own body heat, they depend on the temperature of the surrounding water. Thus, you need to install a properly sized heater in your aquarium. With a low voltage thermostat, you can maintain water at 25°C without needing any adjustment.
Some heaters feature red/green coloured indicator lights that let you know the heater’s status, such as when the heater is on standby (green) or when it is heating (Red). These heaters come with an inbuilt mechanism that shuts off the heater in the event of electrical shorts.
Ensure to buy the correct heater that matches your tank size. Using a small heater for a larger aquarium tank will not maintain an ideal temperature. Also, keep your aquarium covered with a hood or glass canopy for retaining the heat inside the aquarium.
Use a high-quality thermometer to measure the temperature of your aquarium and keep the average temperature at 25°C for tropical freshwater fishes.
Install sufficient lights in your aquarium and leave them on for at least 8-12 hours every day.
Create a beautiful aquatic habitat by adding gravel to your aquarium. In addition to enhancing the décor of your aquarium, gravel offers a place for beneficial bacteria to live.
The bacterial population contributes towards maintaining a healthy ecosystem by breaking down the waste produced by the fish.