Category Archives: Fish

How to net and catch your aquarium fish

Dec_2013_4Catching fish in an aquarium may seem like an easy task, but even the most sedate fish can swim like bolts of lightning when avoiding a net. Doing this in a tank with plants and accessories could also leave you with damaged plants and spooked fish.

There are a few techniques and tools that will help you catch fish without disturbing your aquarium.

Catching fish with two nets

The easiest approach is to use two fish nets, using one to herd fish into the other. Choose two nets based on the size of your fish and your tank. You could also use one small fish net to herd Continue reading

Your Tank Check Cheat Sheet

March_2013_1Remember the feeling you had when you first got your fish tank? You were excited about your new pets, very attentive to their needs and checked the tank often. But like a new pool owner, you’ve slowly let more time lapse between water tests and tank maintenance has become a chore. Does this sound like you? Use this cheat sheet to get back on track with your tank checks.

First, make sure you know the ideal water temperature and chemistry for your tank. Temperature and other levels may vary, depending on the tank size, amount and type of fish and whether or not you’re breeding fish.

Testing kits

If you don’t yet have a water testing kit, getting one should be your next step. There are two types of kits: those with test strips and reagent kits with liquid drops. For the casual fish keeper Continue reading

Got Algae? These Fish Will Algae in Your Tank

Dec_2013_4Algae… it’s persistent, pervasive and can blanket an aquarium in green growth. While some algal growth is normal, it’s important to reach a healthy balance in your tank’s ecosystem. One way to reach this balance is with algae-eating fish.

These freshwater fish are good algae eaters:

Plecos – A type of suckermouth catfish, plecos are among the best algae eaters. While common plecos are popular, they’re best used in very large aquariums as they can grow up to two feet. For the home aquarium, better choices include the bushynose pleco and the bristlenose pleco, which eat all types of algae and reach a maximum of four to six inches.

Pygmy Suckermouth – The pygmy suckermouth or Otocinclus resembles the pleco, but is smaller (up to two inches). They do well in aquariums with plants as their size allows them to eat algae off small leaves. “Otos” are a schooling fish however and should be kept in groups of three or more.  Continue reading

When You Should Upgrade to a New Fish Tank

Dec_2013_4You’ve cared for your fish tank and it has blossomed in to a beautiful marine exhibit. You’ve added fish, plants and decorations to your aquarium over the years, but how do you know when it’s time to upgrade to a bigger tank? Read on for a few guidelines…

Having problems with water quality?

Has it been hard to maintain safe levels of pH, ammonia, nitrates and nitrites? If so, a larger tank may help. Water quality and temperature are easier to maintain in larger tanks. These levels don’t spike as quickly in tanks with more water volume.

Crowded fish

Are there too many fish in your tank? And how many is too many? The rule most often used is one inch of fish for every gallon of water, but this doesn’t provide enough room for larger fish and full-bodied fish, like goldfish. If you have larger fish or if they’ve grown, you may want to adapt that rule to one inch of fish for every two or three gallons of water. Also, smaller fish tend to be more active and may be happier with more room as well. Continue reading

Introducing New Fish into Your Aquarium

Dec_2013_4Have you ever moved to an area with a different climate? It might have taken you a while to get acclimated. The same holds true for fish when moving to a new aquarium. In fact, fish are very sensitive to their environments. Subtle changes in water temperature, pH and nitrates can affect your fish’s health and survival.

New additions to your tank can also affect your existing fish. To keep your aquarium healthy, we offer the following suggestions:

  • Research the new fish species – Is it compatible with your existing fish? How large will it grow? These are things you should know about any species you add to your tank.
  • Fish quarantine – One of the cardinal rules of fishkeeping is to quarantine new fish before adding them to an aquarium. Otherwise, you risk introducing a parasite or disease that could infect all of your fish.  Continue reading

What to Do When Fish Get Too Big

Dec_2013_4 Part of the fun of keeping an aquarium is building and watching a vibrant fish community… unless your fish outgrow their tank. Just as puppies grow into large dogs, fish can grow in size as they age. What was once a small Pleco, for example, might grow to 12 or more inches, depending on the species.

What to do then? Here are some tips…

An ounce of prevention…
We hope you’ve heard Ben Franklin’s adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When adding new fish, it’s very important to think ahead. Research the species, learn about its potential for growth and decide if it’s compatible with your tank. Plan on having 1 gallon of water for each inch of fish (based on their size in maturity).

Upgrade to a bigger home
If your fish are already on their way to outgrowing their home, consider upgrading your tank. It’s truly the best option for overgrown fish. In a too small tank, they’re sure to develop health problems and other issues, including more aggressive behavior with tank mates. Consider a larger tank as an investment that will provide a beautiful, healthy home for your finned friends. It will also be easier to maintain, as large tanks are less likely to have temperature fluctuations. Continue reading

First Fish for the Beginning Aquarist

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You’ve got your new tank filled and ready for fish. But what kinds of fish should you get? If you’re a beginner, there are many fish that are easy to care for and fun to watch. This list of beginner-friendly fish can get you started:

Cherry Barb

The Cherry Barb is a community fish that can add activity to your aquarium. They can grow up to 2 inches and do best when they’re kept in a school of 6 or more. Make sure to provide plants or hiding places.

Dwarf Gourami

Originally from the waters of India, these colorful fish are both peaceful and hardy. They can reach 3 inches and are suited for tanks of 20 gallons or more. It may be best to keep only one per tank as they can get territorial with others of the same species.

Goldfish

Don’t overlook goldfish in your search for great fish. They’re often taken for granted, but are among the top favorites for several reasons. They’re colorful, very hardy and can live long lives if cared for properly. They can also tolerate cooler water and are perfect for medium to large aquariums. Continue reading

Top Fish-Feeding Mistakes

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Are you sure you’re feeding your fish correctly? Whether you’re a new aquarist learning the ropes or an experienced one in need of a reminder, read on for a few top fish-feeding mistakes.

  1. Overfeeding
    The number one mistake made by fish owners is overfeeding. Since fish will never turn down food, they always seem hungry, but this doesn’t mean they need feeding. Start by feeding your fish once a day. Don’t worry. Feeding them once a day won’t starve your fish. Continue reading

Betta Care 101

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Their spectacular display of color and style make bettas (or Siamese fighting fish) a favorite of fish keepers. Being a hardy fish, they’re also good for beginners. But whether you want to get a betta or already have one, here are a few tips to keep in mind…

  • Tanks: Although they’re often seen in fish bowls, bettas do best when they’re kept in heated aquariums with filtration, tight-fitting covers (to prevent jumping) and little surface disruption (from filter discharges near the surface).
  • Filters: You may periodically see a betta (Betta splendens) gulp air from the surface. This species has a labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe air and live in low-oxygenated water. But this doesn’t mean they don’t need a filter—a common misconception. Get a filter that doesn’t produce too much current, which makes it harder for them to swim.
  • Water: They’re tolerant of varied water conditions, but prefer warmer temperatures. Remember, their natural habitat is in the waters of Malaysia and Thailand, with temps ranging from 75 to 85 degrees. Keep water at a consistent temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Continue reading

Betta Myths That Could Harm Your Fish

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The beautiful betta or Siamese fighting fish is one of the most misunderstood fish. While their beauty and hardy natures have made them popular, there is some confusion about betta care, especially among beginners. Read on for a list of the top myths.Myth: Bettas were born in small puddles and prefer small spaces.

Fact: Originally from Asia, bettas live in rice paddies, ponds and streams, not puddles. Like any fish, bettas need room to swim and move freely, especially with their long fins. We recommend at least 1 gallon per fish, with a 5-gallon tank as a minimum.

Myth: Bettas eat plant roots and can live in plant vases filled with water.

Fact: Bettas are carnivores and need protein to survive. They also need to occasionally breathe from the surface—something they can’t do if the surface is covered by a plant. Also, contrary to popular belief, the plant roots don’t create enough oxygen or keep the water clean. Continue reading