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Tropical Fish Care

Tropical Fish Care
The pleasure of owning tropical fish can be had only with the right knowledge about them. Here is a guide that covers maintenance of the tank, diet, and information on how to detect common diseases related to tropical fish.
Debopriya Bose
Last Updated: Dec 27, 2018
Large fish tank in a house
Tropical fish are those that are found in the tropical environment. They may be freshwater fish or saltwater fish. Whatever their habitat, what makes them a favorite choice for aquariums is the fact that they are brilliantly colored and are often showy.
They come in different sizes and temperaments, and watching them in one's fish tank can be quite an experience. However, to enjoy the beauty of these animals, it is important to know how to take proper care of them.
Fish Tank
The size depends on the type of fish you go for. Your budget and dimensions of the tank should be kept according to the fish. However, as far as tropical fish are concerned, it is always better to go for larger tanks, as they are easier to maintain. Sounds unbelievable, doesn't it? But that's the fact!
Larger the aquarium, greater the opportunity of setting up the tank in such a way that it replicates the natural habitat of the fish. Also, more water means that the tank would have greater number of beneficial bacteria, which would keep nitrate levels in the aquarium under check, and maintain a stable environment within the tank.
Spirulina powder
Be sure that the tank is not placed in an area that receives bright or direct sunlight, as this might raise the temperature of the water and increase the growth of algae that would be harmful for the fish.
Friendly bacteria in the filter would keep the water clean and healthy for the fish. Nevertheless, regardless of its size, every aquarium needs to undergo partial water change (5 -10% of the volume) every week. Besides this, 20 - 25% of the water should be replaced once a month.
Cleaning The Aquarium
Use a gravel washer to clean the gravel, remove algae from the glass, and check if the air-stones are functioning properly. While cleaning the aquarium, never use detergents or soaps. Always use products specific for fish tank cleaning available at pet shops.
Also, refrain from putting your hand inside the water too often, as the oils from the skin will pollute the water. If during the cleaning process the filter has to be changed, then change just one half at a time to maintain the bacterial colonies already established in the aquarium.
As far as weekly or monthly cleaning is concerned, never empty the whole aquarium and remove the fish out, as this causes stress to them. It is only necessary to empty the aquarium completely once a year.
aquarium fishes
While doing this, remember to place the fish in a container that is big enough for them, and has more or less similar conditions as in the aquarium. This is important, because you will have to give the aquarium water time to set while setting a new fish tank.
Boiled lobster
The choice of food depends upon the type of fish you have. Nevertheless, let their menu always have some variety, so that the fish get all the nutrients important for them. If you give the same food to your aquatic pets, they may just stop eating.
Full Container of Freshly Caught Fish
The food can include plant matter, algae, aquatics worms, crustaceans, insect larvae, brine shrimp, and small fish.
Diced Meat on Plate
In case your fish is a carnivore, and you want to give it red meat, slice it well. Before giving white meat, ensure that it is cooked well. A high quality flake or pellet food is a good base too.
However, this should be supplemented with other foods to meet the nutritional requirements of the fish. Other than the type of food, the quantity is also very important. One mistake that most owners do is overfeeding their pets. This results in digestive problems.
In such a scenario, it is okay not to feed your fish for a day, every week, till its bloated appearance subsides. Also, sometimes, the extra food that fish refuse to eat collect in the fish tank and decay, which leads to different types of diseases.
The greatest hurdle to keeping tropical fish healthy is maintaining a clean environment. Polluted water is the main reason behind most of the diseases that affect them.
Other than that, stress or improper feeding habits by the owner may also cause a number of ailments in the fish. From bacteria and fungus to parasites, there are a host of organisms that can cause diseases in them. The best indicator of an ailment is the behavior of the fish and certain tell-tale signs on its body.
  • Clamped or decaying fins
  • White spots (Ich spots) or red or white sores on the body of the fish
tropical aquarium fish
  • Bulging eyes indicating the pop-eye disease
  • Mucus or slime around the body
  • Scales not lying flat against the body of the fish but standing up giving a pine cone like appearance
  • Bloated belly
  • Flared gills
  • Loss in appetite
  • An otherwise energetic fish lying quietly at the bottom of the tank
Besides all these, an owner should do a daily check to ensure that none of his fish are missing. In case one does go missing, try to locate it. If it is dead, it needs to be removed before it pollutes the water. Also, check the thermometer, filtration, and aeration system to ensure that they are working properly.