Fish make ideal pets because they’re easier to maintain than the usual furry or feathered friends. They do not shed hair nor require grooming. They’re not as costly as they don’t need visits to the vet or any shots. Fish are calm and yet fascinating, as they give us a glimpse of a colorful marine world. They make great starter pets for children and can even carry a therapeutic effect for more mature owners.
While having fish as pets can be convenient, this is no excuse to ignore their habitat’s cleanliness. An aquarium is where fish live and thrive along with other aquatic plants and animals. It’s the watery block that they call home. A fish tank, either acrylic or the traditional glass, requires some effort on your part to remain clean. Although it may not be as frequent as your showers, proper care and maintenance of your aquarium can do wonders for your aqua pal.
Clean Tanks Make Fish Healthy and Happy
There are two reasons to keep your fish tank clean: fish health and longevity. Both are interrelated, and a clean tank can give you both results.
A clean tank makes your fish happy and healthy. A well-maintained aquarium has everything in a balance—fish, plant, and bacteria. You can achieve this by doing small maintenance tasks every week, such as removing dead plants or other debris and a regular partial water change.
If you don’t clean your tank as often as you should, chances are, fish wastes, and uneaten fish food will accumulate over time. These wastes can cause the water to become cloudy, smelly, or yellowish.
Decaying organic matter and the growth of harmful bacteria can cause ammonia to build up in your tank. High levels of ammonia are toxic for fish and can slowly kill or even cause sudden death to your beloved aquatic pets.
Signs for ammonia poisoning in fish include gasping for breath at the surface, loss of appetite, inactivity, and fish lying at the tank’s bottom. Infected fish also have red or purple gills. If you see any of these symptoms, make sure to treat them by lowering the pH of your tank water. Change your tank’s water, but make sure that you don’t use untreated tap water as this can cause further stress to your already ill pets. Using a chemical pH control product can eventually bring down ammonia levels.
Extended Lifespan for Aquatic Pets
The second reason is closely related, as a clean fish tank equates to a longer lifespan for your swimming friends. Having a clean environment is crucial for fish to grow. Regular water changes eliminate harmful toxins for fish, while a fish tank cleaner removes harmful deposits in gravel and aquarium decorations. It’s also advisable to scrape off algae on the sides of the tank, at least, once a month to make sure that the tank is free from contaminants that can threaten your fish’s longevity.
Role of Filters and Pumps
Filters and pumps can help maintain your tank’s cleanliness. Aquarium filters function the same way whole house water filtration systems do for humans. In essence, these filters allow water to pass through different types of media (carbon, sand, sponge, etc.) to remove contaminants and bring back water into the tank. Aquarium filtration types include biological (use of beneficial bacteria to break down ammonia and nitrates), chemical (additives eliminate diluted wastes in water), and mechanical (straining solid particles or removing free-floating debris). Available filters can include one or two types of filtration to ensure a balanced environment for your fish.
Aquarium pumps drive water in and out of filtration systems. These can complement existing filters or work as stand-alone in the case of external and submersible pumps. Pumps can send air bubbles into your fish tank and ensure an adequate supply of oxygen for fish.
Filters and pumps also require annual cleaning and regular maintenance to function correctly and give your fish a desirable environment to live and thrive.
Be Wary of Deep Cleaning
Fish are essentially low-maintenance. They only require minor fish tank cleanings, such as removing uneaten fish food after five minutes and scooping out dead plant parts or other solids every day. Partial water changes once a week can help maintain equilibrium and eliminate new tank syndrome in fish. The only time you would need some deep cleaning is when there’s an uncontrollable disease outbreak in fish. Other than that, everything’s good with regular cleaning and water changes.
Fish can make excellent pets because of the many advantages they have over other types of companions. But, being of low maintenance is no reason to ignore their needs for a clean habitat as this can ensure their health and extend their lifespan as your favorite marine buddies.