///Tropical Fish

Tropical Fish

Tropical fish in an aquarium are a complete mini-ecosystem and people of all ages enjoy caring for a tropical community. There is a wide choice of tropical fish available, but make sure you do your research first, as certain types may fight if put together. Remember fish kept in an aquarium are totally dependent on you for their welfare.

Choosing your tropical fish

There is a wide variety of tropical fish to choose from and although many can be mixed together in an aquarium, care must be exercised with respect to compatibility for temperature requirements, feeding habits, water quality and sociability. It is recommended that you find out how big your chosen fish are likely to grow.

A healthy fish should:
• Swim easily through the water and be active
• Not gasp at the surface of the tank or swim in a peculiar manner
• Have scales that cover the body evenly without any cuts or growths

The tank

There is a great variety of designs and sizes to choose from, depending on the space you have available.

The tank must be placed either on a specially designed stand or a strong rigid surface, with an expanded polystyrene mat underneath the tank. Ensure the surface will be able to hold the tank once it is filled with water. Position the tank away from windows, as daylight encourages algae growth, and also away from heat sources. A full tank can be very heavy, so never move a tank containing water. Handle with great care and transport horizontally.

The equipment

A heater thermostat is essential to maintain optimum water temperature. Temperature should be between 20º-26ºC (70º/80ºF) depending on the type of fish you choose, and you should monitor it daily with a thermometer.

A filtration system is required to maintain good water quality, which is essential for the health and wellbeing of your fish. The filter will breakdown levels or ammonia and nitrites to a safe level.

Purpose-built lighting systems will bring the tank to full life and stimulate plant growth. Too much light will result in excess growth of green algae whilst too little light will cause plants to die.

For tidiness and safety it is sensible to connect all wiring to a control panel.

Gravel and rock

Use only suitable gravel and rock that your pet shop advise. The material should be thoroughly washed before placing in the tank.

Selection of fish and plants

There is a wide variety to choose from, but always seek advice from your pet shop as to the suitability of your chosen selection. Plants will aid in maintaining optimum water quality and certain types of fish like to eat plants.

Do not exceed the number recommended for your particular set-up.

Plants should be planted thickly for the best effect, but they may need thinning out once established. Artificial plants are also available.

Setting up your tank

• Thoroughly rinse your new tank with clean water, then cover the bottom with carefully washed gravel. If you are using an under-gravel filter install this first, spread the gravel across the base of the tank, sloping from back to front. The rock can be partially buried in the gravel.
• You may also wish to add some aquatic ornaments, rocks and plants.
• Slowly fill the tank with water and install the heater and airline from the pump to the filter before connecting to the mains point.
• Always use a water conditioner to make the tap water safe.
• Introduce the fish only when the water quality is suitable.
• Your retailer will advise you on the number of fish you should keep in your chosen set-up.

Maintenance

Once established your system should require little maintenance apart from daily water temperature checks with a thermometer. Once a fortnight, siphon off approximately 5 cm of water and replace with fresh, conditioned water. Never use hot water from the domestic supply. At least every 18 months, completely empty the tank (keeping the water to refill afterwards) and clean the rocks and gravel. Make sure everything has been replaced carefully. Remove uneaten food, rotting plants and excreta regularly.

Introducing your fish into the tank

• Turn the tank light off, keep noise and movement to a minimum to help reduce stress.
• Float the unopened bag in the top of the tank for at least 15 minutes to regulate any temperature differences – this avoids shocking the fish.
• Open the bag and slowly allow some tank water to enter it so your new fish can get used to the difference in water. Wait a few minutes, then allow more tank water into the bag before gently releasing your fish into the tank.
• Turn the light back on after two hours.
• Seek advice from the retailer when purchasing your fish and ensure you are introducing compatible species.
• Do not add too many fish at once, as this puts too much pressure on the filter and fish can suffer. Check your tank’s water condition is optimum before adding any further fish.

Food

Feed sparingly according to the manufacturers’ instructions and be careful not to overfeed. Provide suitable food for all species of fish in the tank.

Handling

Handling fish should be kept to a minimum and cause as little stress as possible. Use a net to catch the fish – gently corner it and catch it quickly. Place the fish gently in a holding receptacle that contains water from the tank.

Goldfish are typically trouble-free pets for all the family to enjoy. A well cared for goldfish can live for eight years or longer, so do be prepared to upgrade your tank as they grow larger.

There are many varieties to choose from ranging from the common goldfish to varieties such as Comets, Fantails, Orandas, Lionheads, Shubunkins and Moors. These fish can all be kept in a tank or pond at room/outdoor temperature, so it is unnecessary to heat the water.

General care

Healthy fish are bright-eyed and have a shiny appearance. First signs of distress are usually sluggish movement and drooping of the dorsal and/or tail fins.

The most common illnesses are fungal infections of the skin, parasites and constipation.

Loss of scales, split fins and wounds received from predators can cause infection. Injuries can usually be treated with one of the many preparations available for this purpose. Your pet shop or aquatic centre will be able to advise you on the many proprietary remedies available.

Choosing your goldfish

Goldfish varieties can be mixed but all fish should be of a similar size and be compatible for water temperature and feeding habits. You should not mix single tailed and twin tailed goldfish, and it is important to remember that twin tailed goldfish are only suitable for an outdoor pond in the summer months. It is recommended that you find out how big your chosen fish are likely to grow.

A healthy goldfish should:
• Swim easily through the water and be active
• Not gasp at the surface of the tank or swim in a peculiar manner
• Have scales that cover the body evenly without any cuts or growths

Equipment

There is a large variety of aquaria, ponds, equipment and accessories available to make fish-keeping even more enjoyable. All manufacturers give good advice on the installation and maintenance of equipment – it is important to follow their instructions carefully.

Set up your indoor aquarium at least 24 hours to three days before introducing any fish.

Indoor aquariums

There is a great variety of designs and sizes to choose from, depending on the space you have available.

The tank must be placed either on a specially designed stand or a strong rigid surface, with an expanded polystyrene mat underneath the tank. Ensure the surface will be able to hold the tank once it is filled with water. Position the tank away from windows, as daylight encourages algae growth, and also away from heat sources. A full tank can be very heavy, so never move a tank containing water. Handle with great care and transport horizontally.

Setting up your tank

• Thoroughly rinse your new tank with clean water, then cover the bottom with carefully washed gravel and slowly fill the tank with water.
• You may also wish to add some aquatic ornaments, rocks and plants. Live plants will need to be trimmed regularly.
• Always use a water conditioner to make the tap water safe.
• A filtration system is always recommended.
• Introduce the fish only when the water quality is suitable.
• Your retailer will advise you on the number of goldfish you should keep in your chosen set-up.

Maintenance

You must remember to test the water quality in your tank regularly, this is because cold water fish are unable to tolerate high levels of ammonia or nitrites, which your filter will breakdown to a safe level. You can purchase water testing kits at most pet shops or aquatic centres. The more attention you pay to your tank’s water quality, the healthier your fish will be. It is also important to remember that it is not true that if the water is clear the quality is fine – this is a myth.

Aim for your tank water to reflect the following:
Temperature: 18-24°C – most goldfish are happy at room temperature so long as it doesn’t fluctuate too much.
pH level: 6.0-8.0
Ammonia and nitrite levels: 0mg/l

Water changes

Tap water should always be treated with a water conditioner, which your pet shop or aquatic centre will be able to advise on. For systems with a filter, carry out regular 25 per cent water changes, with a complete water change when necessary. Filters should be cleaned by rinsing them in the waste tank water, not under a tap. For systems without a filter, change half the water weekly and a complete water change every month.

Introducing your fish into the tank

• Turn the tank light off, keep noise and movement to a minimum to help reduce stress.
• Float the unopened bag in the top of the tank for at least 15 minutes to regulate any temperature differences – this avoids shocking the fish.
• Open the bag and slowly allow some tank water to enter it so your new fish can get used to the difference in water. Wait a few minutes, then allow more tank water into the bag before gently releasing your fish into the tank.
• Turn the light back on after two hours.
• Seek advice from the retailer when purchasing your fish and ensure you are introducing compatible species.
• Do not add too many fish at once, as this puts too much pressure on the filter and fish can suffer. Check your tank’s water condition is optimum before adding any further fish.

Food

Feed daily according to the manufacturer’s’ instructions and be careful not to overfeed. Provide suitable food for all species of fish in the tank. A good rule is to feed your fish the amount they are likely to eat within two minutes, to prevent uneaten food rotting at the bottom of the tank.

Handling

Handling fish should be kept to a minimum and cause as little stress as possible. Use a net to catch the fish – gently corner it and catch it quickly. Place the fish gently in a holding receptacle that contains water from the tank.

Environment

The ideal pond should be at least 2ft (60cm) deep, preferably over 90cm for Koi with as big a surface area as is practical.

Deep ponds will help the fish to survive hard winters whilst large ponds are more likely to achieve a natural balance of plant life, enabling the fish to survive and flourish with minimal attention. A large volume of water will better maintain temperature stability, which is beneficial to the fish. Plants help to provide cover, assist oxygenation and convert fish waste, which assists with their natural growth. Plants should be thinned out if the cover exceeds 30 per cent of the water surface.

Food

Be careful not to overstock your pond or overfeed your fish. Feeding may be necessary only every other day, and less frequently in winter. Feed according to manufacturers’ instructions. During the summer there is likely to be natural food so take this into account. Provide suitable food for all species of fish in the pond. A good rule is to feed your fish the amount they are likely to eat within two minutes, to prevent uneaten food rotting at the bottom of the tank.

This information is supported by the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association. For more information and advice visit www.ornamentalfish.org

Equipment you will require

  1. Pre-formed pond or good quality liner
  2. Filter, pump or UV steriliser (optional)
  3. Appropriate foods for each time of the year
  4. Pond plants

Pond Requirements & Guidance

  • Pond styles vary from formal to wildlife and everything in between. The choice is yours!
  • Ponds can be constructed of a variety of materials. You will need to estimate your material requirements.
  • Choose a site for your pond carefully and avoid boggy ground mains services, overhanging trees and areas where pesticides are used.
  • Ensure your pond is deep enough to avoid the extremes of temperature. Ideally at least 45 – 60 cm deep and over 90cm for Koi.
  • Your pond may need a filter. It is best to incorporate this into your initial plan. Ask for advice as to how this can be best achieved. Water quality can be easily monitored using test kits
  • Make sure that you don’t slock fish which are too big for your pond. And don’t stock too many. The bigger the pond, the better!
  • Stocking your pond with plants so that up to two thirds of the surface is covered can enhance your pond and help combat green water.  A southerly aspect will help the stocked plants grow. U.V. filtration and chemicals can also be used.
  • Ensure adequate aeration such as fountains or water features, particularly but not only in hot conditions

Remember Fish are living animals

Treat them with care and they will repay you with years of enjoyment!

2018-01-02T13:06:43+00:00July 18th, 2017|Fish, Pet Care|