Are fish really low maintenance pets? Samridhi Goyal tries to find out.
For Sujan Prajapati, it was love at first sight when he saw fishes at a friend’s place a few years ago. So much so, that he decided to bring home his own. The search began, and after much deliberation, he settled for a goldfish and a shark from a shop in Teku. First he had to look for the perfect size of tank so that there was enough room to grow in. He also had to make sure that the gravel was appropriately sized so that the goldfish wouldn’t swallow it when looking for food. It is also important to choose the right kind of feed for the fish. With the shark, it is important to feed him from afar, or use a feeding stick, as they might bite. In the winters, it is important to keep the heater on in the aquarium, as the water turns quite cold. One should be careful not to overfeed, as it may cause the swimming bladder to burst and paralyze the fish. There should be a filter in the aquarium which traps all the toxic wastes and helps keep the water clean, but the filter should be cleaned regularly. At the end, Sujan says, “Like any other pet, you tend to get attached to fish as well.”
Keeping Them Hale & Hearty
1Remove uneaten food from the tank if not eaten for 5-7 minutes. Never let them accumulate in the corners of the tank. Food rots very quickly in the water which causes an increase in ammonia, leading to early death of fish.
2Never purchase a single schooling fish species. Always purchase at least 3 of the same species. One with instinct to school gets very stressed if let alone. This rule can be bent slightly if schooling fish look similar but not exactly the same. Like albino barbs, cherry barbs, and tiger barbs.
3Always use water conditioner when adding new water. Chlorine kills fish. An alternative to water conditioner is leaving the bucket exposed to air overnight; chlorine evaporates. Water conditioner is recommended, however, as there are usually elements within that maintain fish health.
4Never remove more than 25% of the water during a water change. Removing more will lead to tampering with the water chemistry which stresses the fish. An exception is made when medicating the aquarium. Also, instructions on the pack should be followed.
The Right Choice
Maintaining a freshwater aquarium is easier than a saltwater one. In a saltwater environment, you need to keep a close eye on salinity, nitrate content, pH, and temperature of the tank. Marine/saltwater fish are harder to replace as they are captured in the wild. Cold water fish are quite easy to keep as they can survive in any temperature and you need not use a heater. You also need to keep in mind the other inhabitants of the tank, so try not to mix too many dominating species that would create an unpleasant environment. If you have little time, don’t bite more than you can chew.
Vacation food: These are designed to be placed inside the aquarium to ensure feeding while the owner is not present. They come in blocks which release small amounts of food as they dissolve in water. They are suitable for smaller tropical fish.
Medicated fish food: They are used to deliver medication to fish. They don’t pollute or change the aquatic environment.
Frozen fish food: These are perishable food preserved by freezing. They contain bloodworm, brine shrimp, and so on. These are especially important for fish such as Discus which require high protein diet.
Dry food: It is baked to remove moisture as moisture spoils the food. It is suitable for top and mid dwelling fish.
Live feed: These include bloodworms, earthworms, sludge worms, water flea, and so on. They are best fed fresh but only frozen ones can be found.