Proper Balance Before Fish Are Added To The Aquarium
Once you have added gravel, water and plants you are more than likely ready to fill it with gorgeous fish. However, it is essential to take the process slow and steady. It is important to realize that an aquarium is a living system and it will take some time to establish a proper balance to maintain its living inhabitants. You will want to add just one or two fish early on and wait a couple of weeks before adding more to give the essential bacteria time to grow. You will want to test your water for nitrite and ammonia and only add fish if the levels are at zero.
If you are unsure how to test and maintain your water quality, we have a page just for you! Be sure to check out everything you need to know about the nitrogen cycle and optimal water chemistry, right here.
Decorate The Aquarium For Your Fish
Proper decoration in the aquarium will help to make your fish comfortable and it is also a lot of fun! However, there are those fish that like lots of room to swim while others need cozy hiding spaces to relax and let their colors shine. It is important to research the proper habitats of your fish and decorate the aquarium accordingly. Understand that the first fish are going to claim the prime spots in the aquarium so try to add new decorations with new fish, so they have a spot to call their own as well.
Fish Like To Hide
Don’t worry if your fish seem to hide all of the time at first. This is completely normal behavior. COnsider that they have been scooped up ny a net, placed in a bag and dropped into a new environment would be a scary day for anyone! Just ensure that there are places for them to hide in the aquarium where they will feel safe. Additionally, when fish do not see other fish swimming, they fear there is a predator nearby and will do the same. As you begin to add more fish and decorations, your fish will feel safe and secure and begin to swim more often.
Create A Day And Night Cycle With Your Lighting
Just like you, your fish need to rest! You should put your lighting on an on/off cycle to help give your fish some down time and prevent algae. If the lighting does not have a built-in timer, you can purchase a standalone timer at any hardware store Aquariums containing plants need at least 10 to 12 hours of lighting, while tanks without plants will require about 6 to 8 hours.
Cleaning Your Aquarium
It is important that your aquarium is cleaned, but you do not want to do it that soon. It is best to let the aquarium settle and find a good balance in those early weeks. Additionally, do not disturb the gravel during water changes for the first couple of months as this has a way of disrupting helpful bacteria that is trying to establish itself. The same is true with your filter, only rinse the cartridge is it needs it, otherwise, it is best to leave it alone during those first few weeks.
Research Your Fish Before Buying
It may get hard to remember all of the fish you have in a tank, so it is best to always keep a list of what you have purchased when shopping for new ones. The aquarium expert at your favorite shop will be able to help find suitable tankmates. Remember that when purchasing schooling fish, they are always happiest in groups of five or more. There are some species that prefer living solo or in pairs or trios. Always try to find this information out in order to keep your fish happy as well as their favorite type of food. Before you begin to add scavengers to a new aquarium wait as there may not be enough food available for them to forage.
Aquariums are an extremely enjoyable and rewarding hobby. While setting up a new aquarium is not all that difficult, it is important to take things slowly and carefully to ensure that a proper environment is setup for your new fish friends.