Freshwater fish are a popular choice of pet and the preferred choice of marine animal for those getting started with aquariums. However, taking care of freshwater fish requires plenty of focus if you want your animals to thrive. If you’re interested in purchasing an aquarium and want to stock it with freshwater species, you’ll need to observe a few basic approaches to maintenance to ensure good results.
Choosing a Suitable Aquarium
Before you start thinking about water maintenance and dietary requirements, you need to ensure you are picking a suitable aquarium for freshwater fish. There’s a huge range of options when it comes to fish tank sizes, with plenty of models suitable for freshwater species. No aquarium is too small for housing freshwater fish, although a more modest tank will limit the amount of fish you can keep at any one time.
Different freshwater species have their own requirements, with many breeds only thriving when kept in larger groups. A larger group will of course require more space. If you are limited to a small aquarium, betta fish make a good option. Betta species are generally quite aggressive, especially males, so tend to prefer solitary living conditions. They’re also quite content with less swimming space, while their colourful bodies and elaborate fins more than make up for a limited aquarium population.
Maintaining Optimal Water Conditions
You’ll need to be careful when maintaining water conditions if you want your freshwater fish to thrive. Before you think about adding pure tap water to a fish tank, you’ll need to first condition it. Tap water contains chlorine, which will need to removed before you can introduce freshwater fish to it. You should also aim to add biological supplements to your aquarium water before introducing fish to it.
Regular water testing is also crucial when keeping freshwater fish. You should be testing the pH levels of your aquarium water on a regular basis. Most freshwater species do well in fairly neutral water, with a pH level of 7.5 usually being the extreme limit of what they can handle. However, this will vary between species, so seek guidance particular to the species you are looking to keep. If your freshwater fish are particularly susceptible to minor pH fluctuations, you will need to be carrying out water testing fairly regularly. When first establishing your aquarium, testing may need to be carried out several times a day to monitor minor fluctuations to ensure a healthy tank.
A stable temperature is another crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy environment for freshwater fish. Avoid placing a fish tank near a large window, as exposure to sunlight can lead to big swings in water temperature. You should also avoid placing your aquarium close to any heating or air conditioning appliances. Aquatic heater systems will allow you to maintain desirable water temperatures for your freshwater fish. Go for heater devices that have dual power options, with backup battery reserves on hand to compensate for any power outages.
Water Cleaning and Changes
A regular cleaning schedule will also ensure your freshwater fish enjoy a healthy environment in which they can thrive. Once you’ve established a freshwater aquarium, you should be looking to carry out monthly water changes, along with standard cleaning. Replacing around a quarter of the water in your tank once a month is a good approach, helping keep water clean and harmful levels of nitrate low. However, you may need to increase the frequency of water changes if you encounter issues with algae growth.