How to Create a Safe Environment for Your Fish

Creating a safe environment for your fish is key to ensure optimal health and life expectancy for them. Follow these simple steps to ensure your pet fish gets what it deserves to live a long and happy life under water in its new home.


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    Decide on what types of fish you prefer and find most interesting. Read about their preferences and where they come from. Make sure the other fish you plan to keep with them are suitable. Boisterous and aggressive feeders for example, are not recommended to be kept with shy retiring species that will not compete at feeding time.
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    Provide basic water chemistry preferences in terms of pH and KH. Test kits are simple and easy to use, allowing you to do this. Check your tap water to understand what is going in your aquarium. Adjust aquarium water to the correct pH and KH before you buy your fish. Be aware that natural rocks and gravel will often affect both of these parameters. Some KH buffering is beneficial and may mean pH stays higher initially but over the long run slowly declines. Do not be concerned with small differences, if pH for example is best for the species you prefer at neutral, up to 7.5 initially is usually ok when KH is less than 70ppm (there are exceptions, Discus would be one; they sometimes react very seriously to higher pH values). Always introduce fish gradually, slowly acclimate them over a 30 minute period with small regular additions until the bag volume has at least doubled.
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    Choose the best water care products. Tap water on it's own in an aquarium is a no no. Make sure to treat it. Tap water is treated with chlorine as well as other chemicals at times, and is harsh on fish protective membranes and gills. In fact, it does stress fish. Nutrafin Aqua Plus is a comprehensive tap water conditioner that will reduce stress and protect your fish.
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    Cycling your aquarium is a must. New aquariums are not biologically ready to accept fish as they are not populated with friendly bacteria that ensure the toxins generated by fish are rendered harmless. These bacteria ensure toxic wastes are biologically neutralized, providing fish with clean healthy conditions.
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    Shed some light in your aquarium. Rapid growth plants will do better within 3 to 5 watts per gallon as a rough estimate for approximately 10 to 12 hours daily. Plastic plants mean even 0.5 watts per gallon should be fine. Providing strong lighting when it is unnecessary usually means you will have algae growth and more maintenance.
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    Feeding your fish. For best results feed a variety of foods. Fish usually prefer multiple small feedings daily. The amount they consume in a minute or two, two to three times daily is optimal. Most aquarium fish that are commonly available are easy to feed. Make sure the foods you choose have significant vitamin content, and do not contain artificial colors or have a variety of ingredients. Cheap foods such as house brands of mass merchandisers often lack a variety of protein sources, choose a premium brand that contains pre-biotics, rich protein sources and easily digested ingredients that help color and activity levels of fish.
    • Some species may require more food and have more specialized feeding habits that dictate how an aquarium is ideally set up for them, such as discus. Know your fish, understand what they prefer, it will help you mix the right ones together and help avoid problems when looking after them.
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    Maintenance = successful living for your fish. The key to long term success of your aquarium and healthy colorful thriving inhabitants is water changes. 25% monthly is adequate, 10 to 15% every one to two weeks is preferable. This is really not much water but is sufficient to ensure a constant dilution of any dissolved matter can lead to long term unfavorable conditions - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Use a gravel washer to siphon any accumulated debris out of the gravel bed when performing the water change and make sure the new water is the same temperature as your aquarium.


  • Understand the fish you keep, make sure the various species in the same aquarium are compatible.
  • Keep live plants when possible, they help water quality.
  • Make sure your aquarium cabinet or stand is level before placing your aquarium on it.
  • Set up your aquarium out of direct sunlight to help avoid algae growth.
  • Perform frequent small water changes, remember stable water quality is key.

Things You'll Need

  • Fish
  • Aquarium
  • Aquarium water care products

Article Info

Categories: Aquariums | Fish