Fish can seem pretty easy to keep – some water and food and you’re sorted. This is very far from true! And probably the reason why many pet fish don’t enjoy the kind of lifespan they should… We look at a few common mistakes fish owners make.
Planning is vital
Our daily lives revolve around planning, and even more so when we decide to add an animal to our family – it is after all a living being you are responsible for. No matter how small the animal, it is up to us to make completely sure what we are getting into before we acquire our new pet. Ask as many questions as you can, and do a vast amount of research before deciding on getting fish. Setting up the perfect tank can be expensive, and it can get quite technical! Mistakes can easily slip in – but don’t feel bad, we are all human.
Overfeeding is a common problem among fish owners. The amount you have to feed will depend on the species of fish, but do keep an eye on your feeding routine. Give your fish about three minutes to eat. If there is food left over, chances are you fed too much. Overfeeding can lead to excess waste in your tank, which affects the quality of the water your fish have to live in. And also, as most of us know – overeating is not healthy either!
My home is too small!
If your tank is too small, it will vastly affect your fish’s quality of life. It will be more difficult to maintain correct water conditions, and chances are that your fish might outgrow your tank. In the case of fish, bigger is better!
Too much, too soon
Once you have decided to become a fish parent, it’s understandable that you want to get your new pets as soon as you can. But adding your fish the same day you set up your tank might lead to losing some fish, and plenty of confusion! Once you understand exactly what type of water conditions work for your chosen fish and you have sorted this out, give the water some time to stabilise before you add your fish. Carefully prepare your tank, and then only after a day or two add your fish.
Too many fish
It’s best to start slowly, until you fully understand the dynamics of what your fish need to survive. If you have filters in your tank, they will need to be able to deal with the amount of fish waste produced, as the waste can cause high ammonia and nitrate levels, which can be fatal to your fish.
Mix and match
The saying that goes ‘the more, the merrier’ is not exactly true when it comes to different species of fish. Certain species will live together peacefully, while others are prone to aggression. If you have peaceful fish along with aggressive fish, it might lead to bullying. Some of the more passive species might hide away at feeding time out of fear, leading to them eventually starving to death. Therefore it is important to plan your selection in order for everyone to get along.
Neglect over holidays
Fish need babysitters too! So do keep them in mind when you go on holiday. It will help to make it as easy as possible for the person who is looking after your fish by providing them with proper instructions. Make feeding easy by giving the correct amount of food in portions in a pill organiser, and leave instructions regarding making sure the conditions in the tank are correct.
Just like with our other pets, you have to keep an eye on your fish and get to know them, as this will help you notice any changes in the appearance and behaviour of your fish. Picking up any problems as early as possible is the best way to prevent disease spreading to the other fish in your tank. Newcomers to the tank can sometimes be guilty of bringing in disease, so it’s best to keep new additions separate from your main tank for a while until you are sure that everything is in order.