Taking up a new hobby is always an exciting thing and fishkeeping is no different. It’s hard to describe, but the innate appeal of fishkeeping is intangible and hard to explain to others.
That being said, like anything else – once you get into it, you learn just how much you have to learn and sometimes those learning experiences come about from mistakes and or misconceptions you may have had about something heading in. And all of that is OK! It’s good, in fact – that’s how most of us learn.
But today, we’re going to talk about some things we all wish we knew before getting into fishkeeping or we suppose more precisely – some things you’ll realize relatively quickly.
There are so. Many. Fish.
At first – just figuring out which kinds of fish you want to have is overwhelming. There are large fish, small fish, high maintenance fish, fish that play well with others, fish that don’t play well with others, salt water, fresh water – you name it – there’s a fish.
But make no mistake about it – your choices will be important. Like when you choose a dog – a dog comes from the same general gene pool. They have differences among breeds, but they almost all come from essentially the same place. Fish do not. Some fish are completely different from other fish and their genetics have never crossed, not even once.
How certain breeds interact, socialize, eat, swim – it’s all over the place. And you really DO need to put the thought into what you’re willing to handle. Many breeds aren’t a simple feeding every day – they’re extremely involved, high maintenance creatures. So take your time. There’s no rush and make sure you take advantage of all the resources that are out there.
There’s more expense than you think
Fishkeeping can either be the most cost-effective pets you can have and then turn into the most expensive BY FAR pretty quickly. There’s the up-front startup costs like your tank, fish, plants, substrate, hardscape, filter, lights, heaters, pump, etc. They’re pricey, but they’re one time expenses.
The hidden cost comes with the maintenance. Food, potential vet bills, utility bills, water bills – believe it or not; your fish will impact all of that. Remember they have certain appliances that run 24/7 in order to keep their communities humming along and those expenses will end up on the ole utility bill. So remember – just be mindful of not biting off more than you can chew.
Maintenance is more than you expect
Fish tanks are beautiful, but they don’t clean themselves. They can help take the edge off, but you’ll have to pitch in and the quality of the tank will be a direct product of your ability to maintain them. Long story short – you get out of them what you put into them – and even the bare minimum can be a little time consuming.
Even a small tank will need to have water changes every few weeks, have the glass scrubbed, filters changed, rocks washed, etc. It can be a solid half hour to do this and even for those with a lighter schedule – it can be tough to work up the motivation on the weekend to take care of it.
Fish tanks are awesome and fishkeeping is wildly rewarding – but it’s not effortless. You must put in your fair share and be willing to keep up with maintenance and the like. You have a lot to learn – so we recommend you keep learning until you’ve got as comprehensive a view of things as possible before taking the plunge. Until then – good luck and if you need help, feel free to give us a call!