If you're considering getting fish as pets, so to speak, or you're a beginner in the hobby, you might be looking for a little help on the ins and outs of pet-fish ownership. Depending on the fish, their care can range from the really simple to the fairly complicated. Knowing what from what can help you make the right decisions in selecting fish for beginners and how to keep them alive and healthy. With that said, read on for some simple but easy-to-follow tips on fish care for beginners.
Where to Begin
First off, you'll want to begin with small fish that are relatively hardy. Small fish are much more adaptable and easier to care for than starting out with larger fish. This way you can grow in your confidence in caring for them as they grow in size. Another reason to opt for smaller fish in the beginning is that they tend to co-exist better with other fish they'll be cohabitating with early on. This is important if you want to create a community of happy fish rather than just one sad, lonely little guy in a bowl. The next question you'll want to ask yourself is whether you want to maintain a cold-water tank or a warmer environment. Most fish need one or the other.
Cold Water Fish
The two most common cold water fish for beginners are goldfish and tetras. Goldfish are by far the more popular of beginner fish and are often the pet of choice for children, as they're considered easy starter pets for teaching responsibility. They thrive best in a water temperature of 62-74 degrees (F). One of the best features about them is that when it comes to food they tend not to be picky. One of their drawbacks, however, is the amount of waste they produce, which amounts to a lot more cleaning.
These incredibly hardy, silver-bodied fish featuring vivid red fins are known for their high activity levels and their peaceful nature, making them an excellent choice for communal living, because they actually prefer to live with others. The best water temperature for these tetras ranges between 64-82 degrees (F).
Warm Water Fish
Keeping warm water fish requires a heated tank, and as such it will create a bit more work for you. There are three fish that instantly come to mind when it comes to easy-to-care-for warm water fish. The first is another tetra. This is the black skirt tetra, which thrive best in pairs or groups. Like goldfish, they're not picky eaters and enjoy peaceful swims in the center of aquariums, especially those furnished with plants and plenty of hiding places.
Another black fish, these Mollies are also known for their even temperament and inclination toward groups. Super adaptable, they can live in conditions that include fresh, brackish (mixture of fresh and salt) and salt water effortlessly. They prefer a water temp in the 70-82 degree (F) zone and reproduce rather easily.
These little fish are also known for their adaptability and hardiness. Danios are not choosy when it comes to nutrition and will gladly eat flaked food. Given the choice, they swim in groups near the water's surface and like to remain active.
When it comes to fish food, there are a lot of choices. It's important that you research the foods that are best for the types of fish you bring home. Many people choose flaked fish food for convenience, but it can lead to cloudy water and a clogging of the esophagus among goldfish and other fish with a connection between their esophagus and their swim bladder. Gel fish food is often a better choice for these types of fish. For tetras, consider purchasing a color-enhancing food to keep them vibrant. Believe it or not, fish can consume and fully flourish with a diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables. Just take care in how you present it to them.
If you haven't bought a tank yet, their are aquarium kits available that make it easy and fun to begin your very own colony of fish. They are an excellent idea for beginners because they usually include just about everything you'll need to get started, such as a thermometer, filtration system, heater and appropriate lighting. All you'll need to do is add some finishing touches to create the perfect surroundings, like gravel, rocks, plants and any decorative pieces you find visually appealing. Just make sure the environment has plenty of places to hide and swim through and around, as you want their home to also be stimulating.
Things to Note
These final fish care tips for beginners are things you should really be aware of. First, it should be noted that there are a number of cold water fish that can actually live among warm water fish, but it isn't always a good idea due to the fact it can lead to stress among them. Secondly, although it's tempting to leave your aquarium light on as a sort of nightlight during the evening after retiring to bed, it's not a good idea. This can cause a disorientation eventually among your fish and even deprive them of rest.
Now that you've learned a few pointers when it comes to beginner fish care, we hope you'll apply them for many years of happy fish ownership in the future.