How Do We Keep Our Pet Fish Healthy?

Our aquarium is already 14 years old this year. It has been a home to hundreds of fishes already and sad to say, it has also been a witness to many fish tragedies too. Probably, the saddest period was its first three years at home.  Our family didn’t know much about fish yet in those years. All we know was that we wanted to have an aquarium in our living room and we are happy until now for having an aquarium at home.  Please click the following link for the article we have written on why we chose to have an aquarium at home.

Yes, the saddest years was our aquarium’s first three years at home. Why? Because in those years, many of our pet fishes passed away. As far as I can remember, the longest time we kept a fish alive in those years was only about six months. In most cases the fishes we adopted died in just three months. With those experiences, we tried many things in our attempt to prolong the lives of our pet fish.

A friend suggested to buy a large fish tank to minimize death rate. It may be true but my wife and I thought that it was costly to buy a large tank and we did not have a space for it. So, instead of replacing our tank we just did some actions that we think have worked. These actions are what we are going to share with you in this article. Before we start, let us be clear that we are not veterinarians and we are not experts on this field. What you are about to read are based on our actual experiences and not based on best practices nor from any expert’s opinion. With that clarity let us begin.

Ensuring clean water.

 Clean water is essential to the health of every fish. Be it salt water or fresh water, it must be clean. More so, It must be chemical-free. Tap water has chlorine content that can be deadly to a fish.  Before replacing the water of our aquarium, we let the chlorine evaporate first by putting it in a pale and exposing it to the atmosphere for a night. We replace water in our aquarium every month. We also have a spatula and a brush that we use to clean our aquarium every month or when needed. See pictures below.

Brush and spatula for cleaning our aquarium.

Oxygen or air pump must be appropriate to the size of the aquarium.

Inappropriate pump used in the aquarium can be dangerous to your aquatic pet. Too much or too little of oxygen can be fatal but do not be worried, you don’t have to be too technical to get the right air pump for your aquarium.  Best is to consult a veterinarian or an aquarium expert but if these people are unavailable or if you have still doubt then you can follow what we did.               

The size of our aquarium is 50x25x30 in cm. It can contain a maximum of 37 liters or 9 gal of water. We were advised that we need not have an air pump to bring in oxygen to it. We just have to put some opening on top of our aquarium and have some aquatic plants and our pets will be alright.

 But since water must be pumped to the water filter to maintain its cleanliness, we still bought something that can pump 1000 liter of air per hour.

Air pump packaging.

It is too much for our tank but we found a work around.  Here is the trick. We do not let it operate 24×7.  We turn it on only on schedule, for example 3 hours every Saturday. It depends on how dirty the aquarium is. Sometimes we let it run for 5 hours straight for a day. 

Our observation is that the life our fish is shorter when we use the air pump every single minute than when we use it on-schedule. Also, having an aquatic plant is good but we find it difficult to maintain. 

We feed our fishes with what is served on our table.

We do not buy artificial or manufactured food for our fish. We feed them with what we eat such as meat (beef, pork and chicken), rice, cereal, bread and vegetable.  What we do is that we get from our left overs and grind them by hands. We usually have 3 to five gold fishes or 10 –15 mollies at a time so the food we give them is not more than half of a teaspoon. It is usually lesser. We feed our fishes once a day only.

Dying fish is removed immediately.

When we suspect that a fish is dying, we immediately remove it and isolate it from the rest. This is to avoid spreading the disease it may be suffering from. Sometime we turn on the pump to clean the water. When two or three fishes die within a week, we remove the fishes and replace 100% of the water.

Avoid disturbing the water or tapping on the aquarium.

We believe that fishes are sensitive creatures and they can easily be stressed out. We avoid playing loud sound near the aquarium, tapping the sides of the aquarium and disturbing the water. In regularly cleaning our aquarium, we do not remove all of the water. We retain at least 20% of it. We remove and replace the water and clean the aquarium as gentle as possible. 

Another important aspect is the lighting inside our aquarium. We installed a submersible bulb and ensured that there are parts of the aquarium that are not well lighted. This is to give our fish option to go dim or bright,

Also we limit the decoration inside the aquarium to give more swimming space for our pets.

Making your fish healthy and making it live longer is quite a challenge but it is not too difficult. Like a cat or a dog, a fish also needs your loving attention. Below is a short video of our aquarium. Please click the link.

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