My First Starter Aquarium: 4 Tips for Keeping Your Fish Alive Pet News by Main Glenn - November 3, 20200 Keeping an aquarium can be a satisfying experience. Other than being relatively cheap to set up, there’s a massive array of fish you can stock it with. That said, many new fish keepers struggle to get started. You must know which fish to buy, how to take care of fish, what maintenance to perform, and so on. There’s a lot of information about this hobby out there, and much of it is contradictory. The good news: we’re here to set you straight! Here are 4 simple tips for making the most of this exciting hobby. Do Your Research Buying fish by looks alone isn’t a good idea. Doing so could see you end up with fish that aren’t compatible or an aggressive fish species. Instead, take your time to learn how big your fish can get, their nature, and their requirements. While you’re at it, make sure not to overstock your tank. If you’ve heard of the “one inch of fish per gallon” rule, purge it out of your memory. The type and needs of fish you’re buying are the key factors in deciding how many can live in your tank. Cycle Your Tank After picking the best tank for your fish, you’ll need to cycle it. This involves bringing the conditions up to where they’re healthy for the fish. It encourages the growth of micro-organisms that break down waste and keep the water safe. Experts recommend letting this process go on for at least a week. Some aquarium kits come with a little cycling package, but you can also buy one at the store. Don’t attempt to cycle your tank with fish in it, as this is unhealthy for them. Change Water Regularly Every week, you should remove one-third of the water in the tank and replace it with clean water. This helps dilute the chemicals and make water healthier. If you don’t do this, it will be harder to keep the water parameters under control. Over-the-counter products are another way to keep the chemical levels ideal. That said, adding clean water tends to be better than adding more chemicals. Speaking of how to take care of a fish, vacuuming the gravel in the tank helps as well. Avoid Overfeeding Contrary to popular opinion, starving a fish is very difficult. One feeding per day should be enough, as long as you provide food for each type of fish. Feeding them more than they can eat dirties the tank and can lead to diseases. As a general rule, regular flake food should meet most needs. If you have bottom-feeders such as catfish, consider including sinking pellets. With algae-eating fish, algae wafers can serve as a great supplement to their diet. More on How to Take Care of Fish Once you have your tank up and running, maintaining it shouldn’t take too much of your time. In most cases, taking care of fish takes an hour a week. As long as you do your best and follow these tips, you should have a happy aquarium. Want to know more about how to take care of fish? Looking for the easiest fish to take care of? Check out our Home Advice section!