Introduction to Fishyfriendsonline and the Tropical Fish Aquarium
Choosing an aquarium
It is easy to decide that you would like to set up a tropical fish aquarium when you have seen the variety of fish and equipment available in the hobby today. But this should not be done on impulse, especially if you have no previous experience in fishkeeping. Rather, caution is the byword.
What type of fish? How much space do you have? How much time do you have to devote to your setup? These factors and others should influence your choice. Of course budget is another major consideration.
Remember that the initial setting up of the aquarium can be quite time consuming and involved. Thoroughly washing the gravel and decorating material such as rocks and planting, installing a filter, heater and if required, lights have to be done. Also before adding fish the water must be conditioned.
The nitrogen cycle
When you start a new aquarium it is important to be aware of the nitrogen cycle. Some new aquarium buyers jump into the hobby of fishkeeping too rapidly. Before buying fish the aquarium must be cycled over a period of between one to twenty eight days. In an established aquarium there are certain bacteria that assist in the breakdown of ammonia into nitrates, but of course these are generated by existing fish. If there are no fish then there are no good bacteria.
This is the nitrogen cycle; fish eat food and excrete waste. That waste together with plant debris and excess food becomes ammonia in the tank. Ammonia is toxic to fish and has to be broken down and that is why nitrifying bacteria is imperative.These bacteria turn the ammonia into nitrites which the fish can tolerate far more than they can ammonia. Next, other nitrifying bacteria will turn the nitrites into nitrates which are even better tolerated by fish and other aquarium life. The nitrates are collected by a filter but will eventually build up to such an extent that regular water changes are needed to remove the nitrates form the tank.
It is imperative that you set up and run your tropical fish aquarium before any fish are introduced. Wash the tank , substrate and decorations thoroughly with water. Don’t use any form of soap product.
Setting up your aquarium
Fill the tank with preferably, but not essentially, dechlorinated water and fit heater, filter and lighting. Allow the tank to cycle until the water is clear and recommended pH and temperature have been achieved. You can then choose and buy the fish. Buy hardy fish such as livebearers ( guppies, mollies, platys, swordtails), danios gouramies. All these will tolerate the high ammonia and nitrite levels that will be present in a new aquarium. It is best to introduce a small number of fish at a time, say four or five. Allow the bag with the fish in it to float for about fifteen minutes. This will allow temperatures to be equalised and help the fish become acclimatised.
Wait about two hours before feeding the fish and then only give an amount that can be eaten in the first two to three minutes. Overfeeding is a common problem. It is important not to overfeed because excess food adds to the ammonia levels. This very important within new tanks that do not yet have sufficient nitrifying bacteria. Every day for the first month watch the tank for cloudiness and monitor the fish for stress or illness signs. A healthy fish will swim regularly, lethargic fish close to the surface. After about a week change say 10% of the water and then begin your regular maintenance regime
Fishyfriends can help
If and when you are ready to start fishyfriendsonline can help. Within these pages is lots of helpful information, especially for the beginner which we keep constantly updated.
Choosing your Fish
Here are some points to bear in mind when you are selecting your fish:
Check the health condition of the fish very carefully. If you look closely you can check out both visible and the not so apparent condition of the fish. Firstly, you must study the body of the fish. Scrutinize the scales and the fins. The scales should be shiny and smooth, whilst the fins should be undamaged and open. Sometimes fish do not appear ill, but they might have internal problems. You can tell that is so if the fish is either too sluggish and spends most of its time at the bottom of the tank, or conversely it seems hyperactive and is always darting all round the tank in an apparent frenzy.
Fish temperament and compatibility
Then you should next check the nature of the fish and its compatibility with other fish in the stock tank. Do not pick a fish that fights a lot with other fish. It will be hard to maintain as it will often become injured and you will be unable to keep it with other fish in your aquarium. Mind you, it could be kept with another of its own species, preferably of the opposite gender as this could cause it to calm down!
Ask the retailer about the potential size of the fish because you must consider the size of your aquarium hers. Maintain one inch of fish size to one gallon of water. You should bear in mind not just the present size of the fish, but be aware of the size it will attain when it becomes adult.
Fish are temperamental, so ask the Retailer about the natural environment of the fish, as to whether it is a tropical water or temperate water species. That will tell you the temperature range that you will have to maintain.
Lastly, you might select fish according to the fish they eat. Different fish have different food requirements and some are very finicky when it comes to eating. You should make sure that the food your fish wants is easy for you to obtain and that it is not going to be too expensive. Always have a stock of the foods your fish eat.
These are five things on which you can base your selection of fish By adopting these methods there is a much less chance that you can go wrong in your choices.
Link to tropical fish aquarium on Amazon.com