Approximately 7.7 million American households keep fish as pets, making them the third most popular type of pet after cats and dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Surprised? With their engaging antics and graceful beauty, fish provide a source of enjoyment and education and in situations where having a dog or cat just isn’t possible, a freshwater aquarium can prove to be the perfect alternative.
Whether you’re joining the ranks of first-time fish parents or have already taken the plunge, here are some key tips that will help keep your fish happy and healthy.
Choose the right abode. The aquarium or tank that you choose will depend on the type and quantity of fish you plan to keep. Options range from small fish tanks—suitable for a single betta—all the way up to large, elaborate aquariums that can house a veritable school. You can utilize literature and pet experts to help you understand the adult size of the fish you select so you can choose the correct size aquatic habitat for their forever home.
Don’t overfeed. According to the Humane Society of the United States, you’ll want to feed your fish only as much as they can eat in approximately two minutes. Overfeeding fish can potentially result in health issues, and uneaten excess food can contaminate the water in their tank. Avoid these problems by carefully monitoring your fish as they eat in order to determine the appropriate amount of nutrition.
Clean the water regularly. It’s generally recommended that you replace 25% of the water once a month. By replacing smaller amounts of water using a gravel vacuum, you’ll minimize the possibility of endangering your fish with a dramatic change to their environment.
Observe your fish. Of course you’re going to spend plenty of time admiring your fish and watching as they swim around their new home. Take a few moments to observe your fish on a regular basis. Watch for changes in appearance, behavior, or appetite so that you’ll immediately notice if something is amiss.
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