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Aquarium DO’s and DON’TS

large fish tank with blue background filled with various fish, rocks, and plants

DO’S

  • Have your tap water tested for pH, alkalinity, nitrate and phosphate to make sure it is acceptable for aquarium use.
  • Buy the largest aquarium you can afford or have space for. Larger aquariums are more stable and easier to maintain.
  • Let a newly set up aquarium run for 2 to 3 days before purchasing your first fish.
  • Test the aquarium water for pH, ammonia and nitrite before adding new fish.
  • Always acclimate new fish purchases before introducing them to your aquarium.
  • Research all animals before purchasing to make sure you have the right food, environment and skills to maintain them.
  • Research all equipment before purchasing to make sure it is right for your setup and tank inhabitants.
  • Do a 25% water exchange every 2 to 4 weeks. Replacement water should be the same temperature as the aquarium water.
  • Always treat tap water with a water conditioner to neutralize chlorine and ammonia before adding it to the aquarium.
  • Change filter cartridges at least once a month. Check them weekly and rinse as needed.
  • Inspect your fish for health on a regular basis. A good time to do this is when you feed.
  • Feed your fish a variety of flake, pellet and frozen foods to make sure they are getting proper nutrition.
  • Always purchase schooling fish like tetras, barbs, rasboras and danios in groups of 6 or more to ensure their health and well-being.

DON’TS

  • Don’t completely tear down your aquarium to clean it. This will destroy the biological balance with disastrous results.
  • Never change more than 25% of your aquarium water at once as larger water exchanges can stress your fish and upset the balance in your aquarium.
  • Don’t leave the aquarium light on 24/7. This not only stresses your fish, but can lead to excessive algae growth.
  • Don’t place your aquarium near a sunny window or in a drafty location.
  • Don’t buy fish the same day as the aquarium. Instead, set the tank up and let it run for a few days before bringing your first fish home.
  • Don’t purchase fish on impulse. Make sure they won’t outgrow your tank, are compatible with existing tank inhabitants and you have the right food, equipment and skills to maintain them.
  • Don’t put store water in to your aquarium when adding new fish you've purchased.
  • Don’t add too many fish at one time, especially in smaller or newly set up aquariums.
  • Don’t overstock your aquarium. Fish that are crowded may fight, and overstocking can lead to water quality problems.
  • Don’t feed more than your fish can consume in under 2 minutes. Uneaten food can pollute the water and stress your fish.
  • Don’t buy equipment based on price only. Make sure it will do the job you are asking it to do, and will last.
  • Don’t use buckets, scrub pads or any other equipment that have been used with soap or other chemicals on your aquarium.

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