This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Mars Fishcare
We love keeping pets in our home. I think that keeping pets is a great way to teach children responsibility and how to care for something. Keeping fish in particular helps to reduce stress and anxiety, I know that for me, just watching the fish swim around and listening to the water trickle through the filter is so relaxing. My daughter suffers with anxiety so keeping fish in her bedroom is very comforting for her. Keeping pet fish is also great for children in many other ways, including helping them with their mathematical and science skills. Setting up a home aquarium is a great idea, read on to find out how to set up a freshwater aquarium at home.
I'm working with Mars Fishcare on this post to talk about how to set up a freshwater aquarium at home. I was lucky enough to be part of a virtual event by Gary Jones of Mars Fishcare and he shared a lot of great tips so read on if you are interested in keeping fish and setting up your own tank.
Freshwater, saltwater, coldwater or tropical?
Most domestic fish tanks will be freshwater (as opposed to saltwater). Before you set up your tank you first need to consider if you want to keep coldwater or tropical fish. If you want to keep tropical fish you will need an aquarium heater to keep the water warm enough. Coldwater fish are generally more hardy and a little easier to look after because they don't need a heater so we opted for coldwater fish.
Decorate the tank
Your first job will be to set up your fish tank in preparation for your fish. You'll need some gravel to line the bottom of the tank and some rocks, plants and decorations to keep the fish happy. They will like plants and rocks to hide between and to swim around to keep them stimulated.
Set up the aquarium water
The crucial part about keeping fish is making sure that the water is of a good and clean quality. You can use tap water to fill up your tank but as tap water contains chlorine and other minerals that are dangerous to fish you will need to treat the water first. You can use API Stress Coat to make the water safe. It also contains aloe vera which will reduce fish stress and help to heal damaged tissue and any wounds your fish might have, as well as helping to prevent damage. You will need to use this when setting up your tank and also when adding new water.
When you are setting up your tank for the first time you will also want to make sure that you get the beneficial bacteria going before you add your pet fish. API Quick Start is perfect for this as it adds nitrifying bacterial to start the natural aquarium cycle that is so important for keeping healthy fish. Using this means that your fish will get off to a better start and it means that you can add fish to your tank straight away.
Caring for your freshwater fish
Once you have your tank set up and your fish safely inside you will want to take very good care of them. You need to make sure that the water quality is good and stays that way. One of the best and easiest ways to test the water quality is to use API 5 in 1 test strips. These are really easy to use, you just dip them in your tank's water and compare the colours to the table on the packet. You will want to make sure that the nitrate and nitrite levels in the tank are correct, and also that the fish tank water is at the correct pH for the type of fish that you have. Make sure you test your water once a week.
You can add beneficial bacteria by adding API Stress Zyme, which helps to ensure there is a natural biological filter working in the aquarium
You will also need to change the water in your tank to remove any dirt. You only need to do a partial water change each time, approximately 25%. Make sure that you add the API Stress Coat to the water that you add. If your tank water gets too cloudy you can use API Accu Clear to easily clear the water. This water clarifier clumps small floating particles together so that they are easily removed by the aquarium filter.
Another product that you will want to use to make the water nice for your fish is API Aquarium salt. This helps your fish to be healthy by improving their gill function and making it easier for them to breathe. It also provides essential electrolytes which keep fish healthy and colourful. Add some API Aquarium salt to a new tank and also every time you perform a partial water change.
Feed your freshwater fish
To keep your fish alive you will need to feed them a diet of fish food. We use Aquarian Flake Food which is suitable for both tropical and coldwater fish and contains all the protein and vitamins and nutrients that your fish need. A little pinch morning and night is all they need, and they should only have enough so that they can eat it all in 5 minutes. Over feeding your fish can lead to poor water quality so it's something to be careful about.
Get the family involved
Once you have set up your fish tank, ongoing care and maintenance can be a family thing. Children are easily able to feed the fish, just be careful to supervise how much food they are given! My daughter also is involved in changing the water and cleaning the ornaments. It's actually a really nice way to spend some time with her.
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