When you buy your first aquarium you should not get the fish until after your tank has been completely setup and has sat for one or more days.
The first thing you should do is thoroughly clean everything. This includes the tank, equipment and accessories. Never use soap or detergent to clean tanks or gear. Any soap residue can cause real problems. If cold water won’t work hot water or rock salt or bleach may be used. The bleach residue will be removed by using your dechlorinator after a thorough rinsing.
The location of the tank is very important. Try to keep the aquarium out of a busy section. Too much commotion will frighten your fish initially. Also, locate your tank away from any direct sunlight, to avoid algae and heat problems. Leaving your aquarium lights on too long will create the same condition.
Having your aquarium completely covered will insure that your fish will remain inside the tank, reduces water loss due to splash and evaporation, and reduces mildew problems.
After waiting at least one day you are ready to buy your fish. It’s advisable to try some inexpensive ones to “test the waters” at first. Make sure the fish you are buying are compatible with your system and other fishes, and that they are healthy. Shop around for a store that you feel is clean, has healthy stock and a friendly, helpful staff. When you buy fish, they will put each in a plastic bag with water from the tank they came from.
Once you get your new fish home, you must equalize the temperature of the aquarium and the water in the bag. The easiest way to do this is to just float the bag in the tank for about half an hour with the light off. You are now ready to release the fish into the tank. It’s a good practice to initially mix the shipping water in your tank with your fish .
While at the store ask the clerk serving you about the habits of each fish. How do they like their tank set up, what do they eat, are they compatible, anything peculiar about their care and maintenance? In particular, check your water temperature before adding fish and adjust it slowly, over a period of days, if it needs to be changed much. Provide plenty of hiding places for new fish to hide from bullies.
Feed only as much as they can consume in about five minutes. If you feed too much, siphon it off the bottom. Make sure all your fish are getting something to eat. It is a good idea to study your fishes’ behavior. If their behavior changes, it may be an early warning sign that something could be wrong.
Not all fish are able to survive or do well on a diet of only flake food. All fish should get an occasional treat of freeze-dried, frozen or fresh food. There are many different foods available. You should experiment and find which ones your fish really enjoy. Feed them twice a day or more often with smaller amounts if you can. Your fish will live longer, healthier lives.
Maintenance: Almost all fish and plant diseases are environmentally related. Good water quality and regular maintenance will prevent most diseases. If you have been diligent in selecting healthy, compatible specimens you’ll never have to worry about sick fish.
The best thing you can do is regular water changes. Change about 1\4 of your water once or twice a month by siphoning from the bottom. Check with the store about how to do this. When adding new water, you must check to make sure it’s about the same temperature; add your chemical to remove the chlorine from the tap water.
If your tank is set up right it will give you years of enjoyment.