Glenn J. Marie, DDS, owns and operates Dentistry for Children on New York’s Staten Island. In his free time, Glenn J. Marie, DDS, enjoys attending to his tropical fish.
Pleasant to watch and relatively straightforward to keep, tropical fish stand out as an ideal choice for the beginning pet owner. The most challenging part is setting up the tank, as it requires the owner to gather the correct supplies and establish an aquatic environment with the correct pH level and temperature for the chosen fish species.
Most freshwater fish require water that is 72-78 degrees F and well-lit during the day. The water should be aerated and equipped with a good filtration system, which a pet store can help the beginning owner to set up. It takes some time for the ecosystem of the tank to come into balance, so it’s important to keep the tank at half capacity or lower during the first few days.
In most cases, the capacity of a tank should be one gallon of water per lengthwise inch of fish. The tropical fish-keeper will want a 20- to 50-gallon tank for multiple fish, depending on the species and size of the fish.
All tanks need weekly cleaning, which involves siphoning debris that accumulates at the bottom. A weekly water change should involve two to three gallons, and the new water should be warm enough to maintain the tank temperature. One should also change the filter equipment weekly, according to package instructions.
Finally, owners must be careful to feed fish correctly. A good rule of thumb is that the fish should receive enough to eat in two minutes. It is easier to compensate for underfeeding than overfeeding, as the owner can easily add food to the tank.