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Something’s Fishy! Fish Health Do’s and Don’ts

Mar 13, 2022 | For Your Pet

A Fish With Wide Open Mouth And Big Eyes, Surprised, Shocked Or

Aquarium Care for Beginners: Pet Fish Care Tips

Did you know that doctors and dentists often have aquariums in waiting rooms to help naturally reduce blood pressure and ease stress levels for patients? Watching the beautiful fish contained within them can be memorizing. However, keeping fish healthy begins with good aquarium care. For beginners, fish aquarium care and cleaning is pretty simple. If you want to avoid frequent toilet bowl funerals, choose the easiest fish to take care of, keep the tank or bowl clean, and don’t overfeed. Neglect aquarium care and the casualties will begin to mount. Here we’ll take a more in depth look at some pet fish care tips, including fish health do’s and don’ts.

Around 11.8 million U.S. households keep freshwater fish, and another 2.9 million opt for more exotic saltwater and tropical fish. While there are differences between freshwater and saltwater fish, the basics of fish aquarium care and cleaning remain the same.

Do This For Pet Fish

  1. Do cycle the tank before adding fish. Getting the water into prime condition before introducing the fish is a must. Cycling spurs the growth of healthy microorganisms within the tank, which will break down waste and help keep the water safe for fish. Most experts recommend letting the tank run for at least a week before adding fish. Learn more about the cycling process here.
  2. Do test and monitor the water. When you first get an aquarium, be sure to pick up a water test kit to monitor ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, and pH levels. When these natural byproducts build up in the water, they can become unhealthy for your fish. Make it a habit to test the water every few days to stay on top of potential problems.
  3. Do frequent water changes. A good rule of thumb is to replace approximately ⅓ of the tank water weekly with fresh water. Mixing fresh water with the existing tank water helps keep the chemical balance healthier for your fish.

Don’t Do This to Pet Fish

  1. Don’t forget to acclimate newcomers. Adding new fish to your aquarium should be done in steps to avoid shock, as well as introducing parasites or other contaminants that can harm other fish. Here’s more from fishkeeping experts on how to acclimate your new fish before releasing them into the tank.
  2. Don’t overcrowd the tank. Limit the number of fish for the best results. Overcrowding the tank increases aggression and stress and lays the groundwork for disease, which is an unhealthy living situation.
  3. Don’t overfeed the fish. This is one of the easiest mistakes to make, especially with children involved. It’s exciting to watch the fish racing around to gulp down their food, but too much food means excess waste or algae building up. The water will get dirty faster, and the tank will need more frequent cleaning to keep the fish in a healthy environment.
  4. Don’t mix too many species. Creating a peaceful tank community means achieving the right balance of community-oriented fish. Community fish are species with milder temperaments and similar needs for light, temperature, and space, so they can live peacefully with most other fish. Some species can be aggressive and territorial and will need to be kept alone or in pairs or groups. Learn more about fish that can and can’t live together here.

Stick to these simple do’s and don’ts when keeping fish, and you’ll be able to enjoy your aquarium and fish for years to come. Ready to take the plunge? Get more tips and tricks for keeping fish and learn the top 30 beginner mistakes to avoid from our friends at

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.