With the colder months behind us and spring just around the corner, it’s time to make sure your aquarium heater is in good condition and working properly. With the exception of cold-water species, most aquarium fish need warm water. All fish have an ideal temperature range where they will thrive. It is always best to maintain the aquarium temperature within the preferred range of your fish, invertebrates, plants, or corals.
Fish cannot regulate their internal body temperature, so as the water changes temperature, so does their body temperature. Water that is too cold, or too warm becomes uncomfortable.
What can we do to make sure our fish and aquariums are healthy and comfortable for our fishy friends?
- Use an aquarium thermometer and make sure the temperature doesn’t drop below ideal conditions for your fish.
- Partial water changes. You need to do about 25 to 30% water change at least once a month. Water changes help to reduce the ammonia in the water, oxygenate the water, improve the clarity of the water, and remove decomposed organic waste material.
- Use a powerful filter which will provide chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration which is essential for a healthy aquarium environment. Be sure to clean your filter regularly.
- Keep live plants. Live plants provide lots of benefits which can increase and preserve the beneficial (good) bacteria that helps to remove the ammonia from the aquarium. Live plants help to emulate the natural habitat of your aquarium and help oxygenate the tank. Live plants also help to reduce algae and provide added filtration.
- Check water parameters regularly, such as the ammonia and the PH levels of the water. Keeping these in an ideal range that your fish requires is necessary for proper growth of the fish.
- Keep your aquarium in the right location. Don’t place your aquarium near a window where it gets direct sunlight, as this can raise the temperature of the water and can promote algae growth. An ideal location would be where there are no heating or cooling sources. Also, you may want to keep them a good distance away from any speakers as the vibration can cause stress for your fish.
- Keep the substrate clean. The substrate is the place where waste gets trapped. Waste material produces ammonia which is very harmful to fish. Aim to give the substrate a good cleanout at least once a month.
- Get rid of Ammonia. Ammonia is harmful to fish; even very low levels can be fatal. Regularly check the water for ammonia levels and if you do pick up on ammonia you should do an immediate partial water change to reduce these levels. Be sure to always cycle your tank first before adding fish to it. When your tanks goes through the nitrogen cycle, it will help grow beneficial bacteria in the aquarium that lowers the ammonia in your tank.
- Maintain a healthy oxygen level in the aquarium. If you notice your fish coming to the surface of the aquarium gasping for air, reduced levels of movement or rapid gill movement, these can all be signs that your aquarium has low oxygen levels. Using an air pump is the easiest and most reliable way to increase oxygen in your aquarium, along with keeping it clean.
- Don’t overcrowd your tank as this can cause serious problems for your fish. Always do your research into the species of fish you are looking at purchasing and make sure you choose compatible species.