Editor’s Note: This is the final installment of a 3-part series of articles. In Part 1 we discussed choosing the right-size tank for a beginner aquarium. In Part 2, we discussed basic aquarium setup. Today, the fun part: Adding your fish for the first time!
If you have been following this beginner’s guide to aquarium setup, your fish tank has been hanging in there all by its lonesome — all decorated and ready for your new fish.
Now let’s walk through the process of adding new fish. Buying your fish at the pet store is pretty basic stuff, and there really isn’t a good way of getting home other than holding the bag safely.
Adding the Fish
When you get home, put the bag inside your aquarium. Have it so the bag of fish is still air-tight but the water in the bag is sitting in your aquarium water. What this does is equalize the water temperature in the bag to the temperature of your tank. This is a gradual change and more safe for the fish this way. Let the bag sit for a half hour to make sure the temps equalize.
Now that the water temp is good, open the top of the bag and grab a tablespoon (new plastic one if possible). What we want to do is add a small amount of water from your aquarium to the bag of fish water. Add a small amount of new water to your bag and fish every 10 minutes or so.
As you add the water from your aquarium, it gives the new fish some time to get used to that different water. Once you have added a decent amount of your aquarium water to the fish’s water, you are safe to let the fish go.
The issue of letting “that water” from the pet store into your clean aquarium is also a variable you will want to watch. Once your clean tank is thriving and healthy, you never know what adding different water from a pet store tank could do; there are lots of parasites and such to watch for.
In the case of letting your first fish go from the bag, it’s fine to just dump the bag of water with it. For adding new fish after that, though, I advise using a net to transfer them.
This video shows fish being added using a net to transfer them from the bag to the tank:
Your fish tank should be up and running now. It’s a tough thing not to rush into putting your fish in, but it’s totally worth the wait for them to be safe.
Your aquarium is going to need some general upkeep on a weekly basis. The fish have to give off waste, so it would be impossible to never have to remove that waste (unless you had live plants, dirt, etc). In our case, though, we need to remove that fish waste and uneaten food, or else the ammonia and nitrates level will rise.
Let’s think of doing the water change and cleaning all in one job. Do this by using a gravel vacuum to clean the bottom of the tank while spitting the water into a bucket. Continue to clean the bottom of the tank until you have removed 30 percent of your tank water.
We have now cleaned the tank and removed the water we needed to. Now just add new buckets of water with water conditioner added to it. Water conditioner is a basic product that makes your home faucet water safe for your fish. Once added to your water, it immediately takes effect. This ensures the water is safe for your fish.
Your faucet water could in fact be fine for your fish, but some cities contain chlorine and other additives that are harmful to fish. Better safe than sorry.
Don’t Miss: How Do Fish Mate?
Having a fish aquarium will be a great addition to your life. You will find yourself researching new fish and animals that you could possibly add to your tank.
You might also find yourself hanging out with other aquarium caretakers. It is quite an addictive hobby and may consume some of your thoughts. Feel free to come hang out at the Aquarium Geek Community.
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Petful thanks Chris from FishinnPost.com, who wrote this guest series of articles.
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