Fishkeeping

7 Horrible Mistakes Beginners Make With A Fish Tank

by Rob Byron

No matter whether it is saltwater or freshwater, these are common mistakes that you should not make when caring for your aquarium. If you are new to the world of fish tanks, then this is the place for you. We will be breaking down the few things you should take into account when caring for your fish tank to keep your fish swimming happily in their beautiful home. 

You may be killing your pet fish and not even know it. Thing is, how do you know what you’re doing wrong? Well, that’s what you’re going to learn in this guide. 7 mistakes you may be making right now and how to correct them. So let’s start with…

1)  Forgetting To Change The Water

As a result of not changing the water in the aquarium on a regular basis, bacteria and mildew will begin to thrive in this environment. This will cause an unhealthy setting for your fish to live in. However, you can prevent this from happening by changing 15 percent of the tank’s water each week. This will keep the environment healthy and in check. 

2) Overfeeding Your Fish

Excess food and waste will begin to collect at the bottom of the tank if you overfed your fish. This causes the chemical makeup of the water to be disrupted and creates a toxic environment for the fish. Obviously, this is not an ideal situation but it can be avoided by following a schedule that involves feeding each different species of fish in your fish tank the correct amount and type of food each day. 

3) Neglecting To Clean Or Replace The Filter

The filter is the most important part of all the supplies needed for an aquarium, whether it be a saltwater or freshwater aquarium. You should either replace or clean the filter on a regular basis. However, this is dependent on the type of filter you use in your aquarium. Why is a filter so important? This is because it is responsible for catching and removing waste from the water. If this process is neglected, bacteria and mildew will begin to grow uncontrollably on the filter which may spread to different parts of the fish tank. You should take note of the manufacturer’s recommendations concerning when you should replace or clean your filter. 

4) Forgetting To Check The pH Level

Testing a pH level helps reveal if the water’s acidity or alkalinity. This is done from a scale of 0 to 14. The various species of fish prefer different pH levels. This should be taken into account when deciding what fish you wish to put in your aquarium. However, a common rule of thumb is that the water should be relatively neutral, sitting at around 6 to 8 as it works for most varieties of fish. If the water is too alkaline or acidic, it may cause your fish to become lethargic, stop eating, or could even result in your fish dying. 

5) Overstocking Your Aquarium

A common problem faced by anyone new to the world of fishkeeping is that you want to buy every fish your eye sees. However, this is a major problem as there is a limit to how many fish a beginner aquarium can hold. This is regardless of how large the tank is or how effectively the filter runs. It is very usual for fish to grow larger after being purchased. Along with this, some fish are territorial and will become aggressive when crowded with other fish. To avoid this, you would always aim to have fewer fish in your aquarium rather than having too many. 

6) Not Testing The Water In Your New Aquarium Or Not Testing It On A Regular Basis

Ammonia and nitrate cannot be seen in the water and therefore, it is impossible to know if ammonia and nitrate problems are developing inside your tank or if it is indeed safe to add fish to your tank unless you test your water. Existing fish can very often adjust to a slow rise in ammonia and nitrate levels and may not show any signs of distress until it is unfortunately too late. New purchases of fish will not have time to adjust to the high levels of ammonia or nitrate presented in the water. This can cause them to become highly stressed. That is why testing your water is the only effective way to know if your aquarium water is safe for your fish.  

7) Overcleaning Your Aquarium

Cleaning an aquarium is an essential part of keeping a healthy aquatic ecosystem. With that being said, you should not overdo it. In order for you to balance the ecosystem in your tank, you need the beneficial bacteria and fungi found in the water to break down waste. You will upset that balance if you are constantly clean your aquarium and replace all the water, as you will eliminate the necessary micro-organisms from the ecosystem. Some things to avoid are scrubbing ornaments, stirring or vacuuming the gravel, or cleaning the filter when it does not exactly need it. 

Those are the 7 main reasons why fish tanks fail and if you follow the guidance on those 7 points then you should have a lively and healty ecosystem for your fish for years to come.

Other possible points to consider:

  • Leaving the aquarium light on all the time.
  • Topping off for evaporation instead of doing a water change.
  • Insufficient cover provided for your fish.
  • Buying a filter that is too small.

Aimed at beginners:

  • Buying fish the same day as the aquarium.
  • Buying a fish tank that is too small.
About
Rob Byron
Learning about and helping all kinds of animals has been in my blood as long as I can remember. I've been part of many different animal associations over the years so I decided to create this animal info blog with my family who are all involved with animal rescue in some capacity. Also, Because Animals Matter!
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