Archive for the ‘General Tips’ Category


July 17, 2010

1. Overfeeding. Everybody has done it at one point or another, even you. Most people inexperienced with fish tend to dump a lot of flakes into the tank just to watch the fish gobble up the food (children are notorious for this). This is not the way to go. Overfeeding your fish can lead to long term health issues such as fatty liver disease and bloat when your fish eat too much; when you pour in too much food and the fish don’t reach it, it decays and pollutes your aquarium, leading to cloudy, generally dirty water, increased ammonia and nitrates, and planaria infestations.

To avoid overfeeding, do some research, and don’t be stupid in general. A rule of thumb is to feed what your fish can eat within a few minutes-this doesn’t always work, however. Every species of fish has different requirements, and it’s your responsibility to find out what they are. Sometimes it helps to do two smaller feeders per day instead of one large feeding. It’s also a good idea to feed your fish a VARIETY of foods; not only does this help your fish meet their nutritional requirements, it makes them happier. For instance, don’t just feed your goldfish flakes. Give it some peas and blanched veggies and maybe some bloodworms or whatnot. A varied diet can also bring out your fish’s colors and help condition it for breeding.

Most fish have evolved to make the most out of feeding opportunities. Fish don’t usually have easily accessible refrigerators in the wild, and so feeding opportunities are generally scarce. When they get a chance to eat, they will eat as much as they can so they don’t starve. Keep this in mind.

Lastly, clean up extra uneaten food before it seeps between the gravel and starts to decay (naturally you wouldn’t have to deal with this problem if you weren’t a noob). Uneated food seriously impacts water quality. Snails and Corydoras help, but they won’t get it all, nor will your filter. A good idea is to buy a gravel vacuum. Those help in cleaning the gravel a lot.

2. Not dechlorinating the water. This usually has fatal results. The water coming from your sink has a lot of additives, and most of the time, these will instagib your fish. Don’t forget to dechlorinate water!

3. Buying Goldfish. Seriously. If you don’t have a decent sized tank with a powerful filter and aren’t prepared to do frequent water changes, get something smaller and less active. Goldfish deserve better than a bowl, and they can grow very large and beautiful. Don’t be a gonopodium.

4. Buying Oscars. I know they are very cute when they are young, but they end up growing large very quickly and eating your neon tetras and opaline gouramis. Countless people try to get rid of oscars because they grew too big-public aquariums usually don’t want them, and neither does your local ecosystem. If you have an oscar you need to get rid of because you were an irresponsible jackass who was unable to resist his/her urge to make an impulse purchase, try to find a pet store or a responsible fish keeper to donate it to.
This applies to plenty of other fish-Redtail Catfish and plecos being some candidates. Don’t buy a fish if you aren’t going to be able to accommodate it in the future.

5. Being noobs. Most noobs don’t have filters, heaters, or pH test kits. They buy fish that die after a few months, and then they head to the pet store to buy more fish without learning from their mistakes. They keep Arowanas in 55 gallon aquariums, and they never clean their fish tanks. Noobs don’t do research. Noobs don’t take good care of their pets. Worst of all, noobs buy Red Devils and Boas because it’s “cool”. Don’t be a noob.

Now, sometimes such behavior actually “works”. Many people take bad care of their pets, who continue to live long, and usually miserable lives. Doing research and not being an idiot doesn’t always make you successful. It’s possible you have a friend who has a five year old goldfish in a bowl, and you, having done much research and taking better care of your goldfish, keep ending up with dead goldfish. I know it is unfortunate, but it’s the way animals work.

However, as you become more and more experienced, and as you continue along the path of the righteous fish keeper, you will gradually pass a threshold. Your goldfish will be larger, more colorful, and more active than your friends goldfish. You will raise numerous healthy, colorful, awesome guppies. Your bettas and cichlids will beat the crap out of their counterparts who are raised by noobs-because they are more vigorous, nutritionally satiated, and happier (not that you would really pit them against each other…)

Just because you know what you are doing doesn’t make your fish immune to death, or guarantee successful fish breeding. That’s the way the world works. One day you will be able to mingle amongst your fellow righteous fish keepers (go join a cichlid fanclub or something of that nature-they’re out there!) and laugh at how downright stupid noobs can be. Better yet, you can go help out a noob. By reading this article you are already on your way to not being a noob. Congrats.