KEEPING A FRESHWATER AQUARIUM
Are you looking for something beautiful and lively to decorate a room in your home? Are you looking for a tranquil little corner of the world where you can sit back, relax and let your blood pressure drop a little? Maybe you want to find a new hobby, one that lets you explore at your own pace a virtually unlimited universe of possible adventures. Whatever your desires, a tropical aquarium may be what you need. A Petland pet counsellor can give you the advice and detailed assistance you need to enter the tropical fish hobby with little effort.
To provide a healthy, happy atmosphere for your fish, Petland recommends the following necessary equipment and accessories. We have listed them as your fish’s four basic needs: Nutritional, Environmental, Maintenance and Behavioural. When you meet these needs, your hobby will be an enjoyable one!
The Aquarium – A well-made tank is essential for supporting the weight of all the water. Most aquariums consist of glass or acrylic. They range in sizes from 2 gallons (7.6 L) to 200 gallons (760 L).
Amazingly, the larger the aquarium, the easier it is to maintain! The larger the aquarium, the more healthy the environment is for your fish. A tank between 10 gallons (38 L) and 33 gallons (125.4 L) is ideal for someone starting their first aquarium.
Aquarium Stand – Water is heavy! It weighs more than 8 lbs (3.63 kg) per gallon (3.8 L). Many bookshelves or side tables will not support that much weight. As well, you will require a place to put your filter and other equipment.
Aquarium Cover/Lid – A well fitting cover protects the fish from outside contaminants and helps to reduce temperature fluctuation and evaporation.
Light Fixture and Bulb(s) – Light fixtures are available in fluorescent or incandescent. Fluorescent lights create a brighter, more natural appearance to any aquarium, while using less electricity. They operate at a cooler temperature, which is less likely to affect the temperature of an aquarium. Incandescent lights do not illuminate your tank as well, and they create heat. Although they are less expensive to purchase initially, you must replace them more often.
Gravel – You need gravel to simulate your fishes’ natural environment. It will retain solid debris and provide substrate for live plants to grow in. The average amount of gravel required is 1 ½ to 2 lbs per gallon of water, creating approximately 2 inches on the bottom of the aquarium. Many colours and varieties are available to choose from.
Heater and Thermometer – A heater is necessary to maintain a constant temperature of 76°F (24°C), which is comfortable for most freshwater fish. Fish are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, so investing in a quality heater that is easy to set and adjust is good sense. You need a thermometer to read the temperature of the water.
A Variety of Food – All fish are constantly searching for food. In their natural habitat they will find many varieties of tasty morsels. Our goal is to offer a well-balanced diet in a variety of foods. Flake foods and pellet foods provide a staple diet and you should offer these daily. Adding different foods, such as freeze-dried Tubifex worms, frozen blood worms or algae discs will help to keep your fish healthy and colourful! You should feed your fish two to three times a day. Ensure that your fish eat all the food, since uneaten food may pollute the aquarium.
Decorations – these are necessary to give your fish a place to retreat and swim around. Just as you would be uncomfortable in a room without furniture, your fish need their decorations for security! Live, silk or plastic plants, artificial decorations and aquarium safe rocks enhance the beauty of your freshwater aquarium. The general rule is to create one hiding spot per fish.
Filters – A filter serves to remove toxic wastes in the water created by your fish, and decaying fish foods. Many options are open to you.
Power Filters – We offer these filters in many styles that can be placed inside, behind or underneath the aquarium. An internal motor powers these for quiet operation. They have convenient cartridges to clean or replace. Power filters use three styles of filtration (mechanical, chemical and biological). Ask a Petland pet counsellor which filter would be best for your aquarium.
Gravel Cleaner and Siphon Starter – A gravel cleaner is like a vacuum. It sucks up dirt, debris and toxins (that you may not see), which are present in the water and gravel. The siphon starter is a handy gadget that starts the water flowing swiftly, without using your mouth (yuck!) to get the vacuum started.
Water Conditioner – This removes the chlorine and neutralizes heavy metals in the water. Many also have a natural additive that replaces “slime” lost by stressed out fish!
Bacteria Supplement – the use of a bottled bacteria additive will help “kick start” your aquarium and eat up the harmful toxins produced by your fish.
Net – This is handy to have around to remove debris, or to transfer fish if the need arises.
Algae Scraper – This removes unwanted algae growth that may appear on your ornaments and tank glass.
A Book About Fish and Maintaining an Aquarium – Petland has a good selection of aquarium books to choose from. They are interesting to read and you can use them as a reference guide for years to come!
Oh Yes, The Fish!
Since you are setting up a new environment for your fish, you probably cannot take some home with you right away. You may need to wait a couple of days to allow the water to acclimatize. Start populating your tank with just a few hardy fish. Your pet counsellor will advise you which fish are best as “starter fish.” These fish will take up to two months to create a healthy biological environment. Be patient, add fish and live plants slowly. Fish keeping is rewarding. Explore the hobby! enjoy the adventure!
Please ask your pet counsellor what other items pertain to your particular pet’s needs!
*Ask about the volunteer programs at your nearest Petland location.
Cleanliness and Safety
All pets must be kept in a clean environment to avoid the spread of dirt and contaminants to yourself and others. Always keep your pet’s home clean, and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home.
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit diseases to humans. Young children, infants, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems and the elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with pets or their homes.