Balancing the Bacteria - Basic Fish Tank Tips

Start your freshwater aquarium properly & getting into a good maintenance routine will give you the best chance of keeping your fish healthy and your tank cleaner. And don't be afraid of bacteria - there are good and bad bacteria and finding the balance will make all of the difference.

Different fish have different requirements but the basics are much the same for most common freshwater fish. You need to know what the ideal pH and other water conditions are for your fish. Ensure you know these and understand Fish in Fish Bowlthem when you purchases your fish.
To start your tank off on the right fin, you'll need to ensure you set the chemistry and the environment up properly. We suggest you'll need the following:

  • Chlorine neutralizer or water conditioner
  • Live "good bacteria"
  • Conditioning salts
  • Depending on the type of fish - filter and heater

Start with a few hardy fish. Adding new fish in few numbers allows you to adjust the water conditions and care accordingly and in the long term will mean you'll lose less fish.
Maintenance of your tank water conditions is essential. Ammonia Build up, pH fluctuations as well as disease, are the common killers of fish. Key tank maintenance involves:

  • Changing between 25% and 30% of your water every 2 weeks, for most freshwater fish. It is essential to add chlorine neutralizer or water conditioner when you change the water. For very healthy fish, you should add new, live "good bacteria" also and consider adding conditioning salts.
  • Clean the filter when you do your water changes and change the filter media when required. There are many different types of ammonia removers available and other products which help remove dangerous chemicals form your tank water. These should be replaced regularly accorind to the direction provided with the product.
  • Clean the gravel at least every month - dirt or uneaten food will build up and the resultant ammonia and pH changes will either make your fish sick or kill them.
  • Check the pH regularly - for instance just before you change the water and a few days after. A change of pH often is a good indicator that something else in your tank isn't right.

If your fish starts to behave or look different in any way get advice straight away. Treatments are available for a large number of fish diseases but it is important to start treatment as soon as possible.

** DISCLAIMER: This article is the personal opinion of the Pets Unleashed team. We always recommend seeking specialist or veterinarian advice when it comes to making decisions about the health or well-being of your pet, particularly in respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.