The beauty and exotic nature of tropical fish makes them so easy to fall in love with. If you’ve ever marvelled at the magnificence of well-kept tropical fish, you may have been tempted to try your hand at setting up your own tropical fish aquarium. Unfortunately, many prospective tropical fish owners are put off by the belief that these gorgeous creatures are high-maintenance and simply too difficult to care for.
But while looking after a tropical fish is obviously a little more involved than keeping a humble goldfish, it is by no means something overly complicated or best left to the experts. With a little bit of know-how and a willingness to put in the time and effort, you can create a happy, engaging and exciting home for a tropical fish.
Read on for five simple tips to help you wrap your head around the basics of tropical fish care.
5 tropical fish care tips
- Choose wisely. Providing the best care for your tropical fish actually starts before you buy any fish. Research is the keyword to remember before you introduce any new fish to your aquarium; it’s vital to learn all about the ownership and care requirements of any particular species before deciding whether it’s right for you. While a specific species might be enchantingly beautiful, it may also be one of the most difficult to care for – if you’re just getting started in the world of home aquariums, a high-maintenance fish won’t be the best choice. Do your research before you buy so that you know which species you’re capable of looking after, and which ones are better for experienced fish keepers.
- Set yourself up for success. The tank is a crucial factor in ensuring that your tropical fish receives the best possible care – in fact, you could say that it’s the most important factor. Your fish will obviously need a tank large enough to let them swim around comfortably, while tropical species also need to live in warm water, so you’ll have to invest in a heater and thermometer to ensure the water is always at the right temperature. Add in a good filtering system and you’re ready to set up and maintain a safe environment for tropical fish.
- Change water regularly. Changing around 20 per cent of the water in the tank once every couple of weeks will help to keep it healthy. A gravel syphon is the best tool for this and can help you remove waste from the tank, while cleaning the tank walls and ornaments and giving a water top-up will also help. At the same time, remember that cleaning out the whole tank in one go is a no-no as this can get rid of the countless microscopic beneficial bacteria that keep the tank water safe and healthy.
- Feed the right food. There’s a staggering variety of tropical fish species that can be kept as pets, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that there’s also a huge range of fish food options available. Feeding a variety of frozen and pelleted foods works best, but remember to choose an appropriate food for your fish species – your aquarium specialist will be able to help you make the right choice. Check the instructions on the food you buy for a guide on how much to feed and how often, and remember that as a general rule, the best-quality options will usually cost you more.
- Know the warning signs. One of the most important responsibilities for any fish owner is knowing the telltale signs of an unhealthy fish. From swimming abnormally to having droopy fins or even ‘gasping’ at the top of the tank, there are several out-of-the-ordinary symptoms and behaviours that you should know represent big trouble. A little research into caring for tropical fish can help here, as can advice from your local aquarium specialist. By keeping an eye out for these warning signs, you’ll be ready to take quick action if your tropical fish’s health ever takes a turn for the worse.
With the right care and the right living environment, your tropical fish can enjoy the best shot at a healthy life. So put our five tips to good use and start researching the many varied and beautiful tropical fish species now.