Food & Essential Supplies

Fish are exotic, fascinating creatures. For many people, the thrill of seeing fish at an aquarium is unmatched. It is possible to bring this thrill home, but it’s more complicated than buying a fish, plopping it in water and feeding it every so often.

When fish are kept as pets, they should be treated with love, attention and patience. They are not a low-maintenance animal.

With that said, prospective fish owners who understand what they’re getting into should make sure they’re equipped for success with these five essentials.

Aquarium

The fish’s home is an obvious consideration, but it’s still important. The type of aquarium depends somewhat on the type of fish, but generally speaking, the bigger the aquarium, the better. It provides the fish more room to move around, in addition to giving the owner the option to later add more fish. More water also serves as an effective way to dilute unexpected pollutants, such as chemicals. Fish owners should be careful to keep the aquarium away from vents, which can cause temperature fluctuations, and windows, as excess light promotes algae growth.

Filtration

Maintaining an aquarium is essentially overseeing a mini-ecosystem, so it’s up to the fish owner to properly filter the water. There are three primary methods of filtration:

  1. Biological filtration allows for the health of beneficial bacteria within the water.
  2. Mechanical filtration removes various particles from the water, whether from dust, food or waste. This filter should be cleaned regularly.
  3. Chemical filtration removes waste that’s too dissolved for mechanical filtration to remove.

Ideally, water filtration in an aquarium will be carried out through some combination of these methods.

Lighting

Proper lighting within an aquarium will help the fish look more visually attractive. More importantly, because the fish is removed from their natural habitat—and because natural light can lead to algae—the aquarium light serves as the sun. Fish owners should properly research what type of lighting their fish requires to flourish.

Heating

Fish have particular temperature requirements. It’s why it’s so important not to allow temperature fluctuations. Fish owners should make sure the temperature is kept in the right range, usually between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, constantly. Too much change can cause the fish to become ill. For aquariums with multiple fish, 76 and 77 degrees are considered safe temperatures, though it’s always safest to research specifics.

Food and Supplements

Food is an obvious staple of fish ownership, but that doesn’t mean it should be an afterthought. A fish’s diet is just as important to its health as it is with any other pet. While popular portrayal of feeding a fish typically features shaking a few fish flakes into the aquarium, that would provide a boring diet for the fish. Flakes are fine, but they should be rotated with freeze-dried food and pellets. Krill and zooplankton also offer a chance to keep the diet interesting. In addition to food, fish owners should also provide supplements and vitamin boosters. Such a combination makes for a happy and healthy fish.

Keeping a fish as a pet is more challenging than it may appear at first. It requires knowledge and thorough research. It requires diligence. It requires patience. It requires someone who understands the commitment and is truly dedicated to carrying it out. When that’s the case, owning a fish makes for a visually appealing and internally rewarding experience.

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