Monday, 28 November 2011

The Seven Essentials of Keeping Pet Fish

In Aquariums, Fish Bowls, and Ponds
This page contains a short list of the most important essential care that your fish must have to live in good health with a minimum of stress, disease, and other problems. Every responsible fish keeper should know the information on this page.

A Brief Summary
1.  Match the fish with an appropriate home, which could be a Fish Bowl, an Aquarium with or without a heater, or a Pond.2.  Getting Started. The first few days of starting a Fish Bowl, Aquarium, or Pond are the most risky and stressful for the fish. Reduce this risk by following the advice given in this site.
3.  Change 20% of the water twice a week. Use bottled drinking water for Fish Bowls and tap water for Aquariums and Ponds.
4.  A least once a month give your fish's home a good cleaning.
5.  Twice a day feed your fish the correct floating food, so they get plenty to eat. Be sure all the food is eaten, and none of the food is left to pollute the water.
6.  Every day look carefully at your fish for Signs of Stress and Disease. If you see Signs of Stress and Disease, immediately give your fish the Recommended Treatment.7.  Also carefully look at your water. If the water is cloudy, foamy, or smelly, take immediate corrective action

Match the Fish with an Appropriate Home
Fish are hardy and have the capacity to adjust to many changes in their environment. Fish show Signs of Stress and Disease, when their environment lacks something essential such as oxygen, or their environment has an excess of something intolerable such as fish waste.
With good planning and systematic maintenance the fish's environment can be controlled and most fish problems can be avoided
The most important factor in successfully keeping any fish is to match that fish with an appropriate environment, which has enough space, the proper equipment, and compatible tank mates
These are appropriate inhabitants for a 1.5-gallon Fish Bowl. Ten small goldfish are not appropriate fish for a 1.5-gallon Fish Bowl. In fact one small goldfish won't do well in a Fish Bowl, because that one goldfish, given the proper care and feeding, will quickly outgrow the Fish Bowl.
Feed your Fish Properly. Feed your fish twice a day. Feed only floating food, live food, or frozen food. Do not feed pieces of dry food that sink.
Goldfish must eat food that is labeled for Goldfish, and Tropical Fish eat a different kind of food that is labeled for Tropical Fish, so for this reason and several other reasons Goldfish and Tropical Fish are not compatible and should not be kept in the same aquarium.
Give your fish several small feedings each time you feed them. Be sure all your fish get plenty to eat, and be sure they eat all the food you give them, so there are no uneaten leftovers to pollute the water. Remove all uneaten bits of food with a small net after about 10 minutes. 

Fish Diseases ,The Signs of Stress and Disease

This page contains a list of some Signs of Stress and Disease  that you should learn to recognize on your tropical fish and goldfish.
1. Clamped Fins 
The fish clamps its fins close against the its body. Experienced aquarists use this to quickly spot problems with their fish.
If you see that some of your fish have clamped fins and treat your fish immediately, you can usually cure them and avoid more serious stress and disease.
2. Shimmy 
Looks like the fish is swimming fast but staying in the same place. Shimmy is easy to spot, and if the fish is treated immediately, you can usually cure it and avoid more serious stress and disease. 
3. Ich Spots 
looks like tiny white spots on the body and fins of the fish. This is a common disease of fish, and if the fish are treated immediately, you can usually cure ich and avoid more serious stress and disease.

Just above, a picture of a young Bala Shark with the first signs of Ich. Look carefully to see the small white spots. You should check you fish every day for these spots, and after a while it is very easy and takes very little time, but in the beginning you will need to concentrate.

Almost all of the pictures on this web site were taken by us of our fish, and this was one of our fish. We gave this fish the Recommended Treatment and it completely recovered in two days. 
4. Red or White Sores 
Many things can cause sores on fish such as fights with other fish, scraping on sharp rocks, and small wounds that get infected and grow bigger.
A new small sore can usually be cured. Older or larger sores are more difficult to treat, but sometimes you can succeed, and treating your fish will make it less likely that other fish will be infected by the fish with the sore.

Shown just above, a mature Tiger Barb with a typical white sore between its eye and its top fin. This fish should immediately be given all six steps of the Recommended Treatment. 
Quite often these sores are flat or cause a depression in the surface of the fish. Less often a sore may be a bump that is raised above the surface of the fish.   
In all cases the Recommended Treatment is the same. 
5. Gasping at the Surface 
A fish that is gasping at the surface of the water is usually suffering from a lack of oxygen, that could be due to a lack of oxygen in the water or the fish's inability to absorb the oxygen from the water.
If there is just one or only a few fish gasping at the surface, but the other fish are normal, then the water probably has plenty of oxygen and you should immediately treat the gasping fish. 
On the other hand, if almost all the fish are gasping, then there is probably a lack of oxygen in the water, and you should immediately do all of the following:

Check the Filter to be sure it's working properly.
If it's not working properly, immediately fix it. 
Check the Temperature of the water on the thermometer, if this aquarium has a heater. If the temperature is out of the correct range, then adjust the aquarium heater. 
Check the water surface, if there is oil or scum then carefully scoop water off the surface until you've removed two inches of water. Replace the water with fresh safe water.
Add Aquarium Salt until the water has a total of 1 Tablespoon of aquarium salt for each 5 gallons of water. 
Add Water Conditioner, which is available in stores that sell pet fish. The correct dose is on the bottle. 

6. Crashed on the Bottom 
When fish crash on the bottom and do not swim, it is usually a sign that they are exhausted. There are many reasons a fish can become exhausted, but quite often they have been sick, and probably showed symptoms such as gasping, shimmy, or clamped fins, before they became tired and crashed on the bottom.
So the Recommended Treatment was not started promptly, and chances of curing a fish that is crashed on the bottom are less, but the Recommended Treatment may work and will probably protect the other fish that came in contact with the crashed fish. 
7. Glancing 
is a fish behavior where a fish rubs itself on the bottom of the aquarium, or on the gravel, or on a rock or ornament. The fish rubs or glances because it is itchy.An itchy fish often develops more serious Signs of Stress and Disease. If you see your fish glancing, you should immediately treat your aquarium. 
8. Loss of Appetite 
If your fish is not eating or takes food in its mouth and then immediately spits it out, your fish is showing one of the Signs of Stress and Disease.
You should be sure other fish are not making this fish miserable. Give fish that are not eating the Recommended Treatment. 
9. Other Signs of Stress 
There are many other Signs of Stress and Disease in fish. For example, there is so-called "fin rot" where the edges of the fish's fins disintegrate, or "pop eye" where the fish's eye bulges out, or "cotton mouth" where the fish has patches that look like cotton around it's mouth, but most of these more pronounced Signs of Stress and Disease occur after the more subtle Signs of Stress and Disease that are listed above."Fin rot", "pop eye", "dropsy", and "cotton mouth" are difficult to cure. But before they occur, the fish often show milder Signs of Stress and Disease like clamped fins. If you treat a fish at the first Sign of Stress and Disease, you'll have a much better chance of curing it.
Take Immediate Action 
If you see any of the symptoms listed above or if several fish have

recently died in your aquarium, you should immediately take action and treat your fish.
When fish can be cured, the Recommended Treatment is usually the same for all of the symptoms listed above.