Aquarism is the leisure activity of caring for aquatic animals and plants in an aquarium or pond, emphasizing the aesthetic aspect of an aquatic environment.
Aquariums can be divided into four main groups:
- Cold fresh water (e.g. goldfish)
- Tropical fresh water (e.g. tetras)
- Cold sea water (e.g. gobies)
- Tropical seawater (e.g. clownfish)
In each group there are a myriad of variations. For beginners, it is recommended to start with a freshwater aquarium. Freshwater fish tend to be more tolerant of environmental changes. Moreover, since fish swim, eat and defecate in the water, the quality of the water is very important. Consequently, in small aquariums, water quality can fluctuate very quickly, while in larger aquariums, the water tends to be more stable, the risks of adverse consequences decrease. It is therefore advisable to purchase the largest aquarium you can afford.
Your aquarium should be at least 36 inches tall. Glass or plastic? Glass aquariums are heavier, they are offered in larger format and they do not scratch easily. Plastic aquariums cannot support large amounts of water.
Your aquarium should be placed on a solid and level floor. A polystyrene foam sheet installed between the aquarium and the cabinet will absorb any unevenness and distribute the weight equally. Your aquarium should not be directly in the sun to prevent the formation of algae and not in a corridor to avoid drafts.
Be sure where you will place your aquarium before filling it, otherwise it will be very heavy and even dangerous to move it.
Set Up Your Aquarium
Once your aquarium is in place, add the gravel (if you use a filter under the small pebbles, install it first). It is recommended that you get the gravel from a specialized aquarium store, as the gravel purchased from a garden center can spread chemicals. Gravel should be poured with a forward slope to allow for easier cleaning.
You can then add furniture and plants before or after adding water. On the other hand, it is easier to place the lighter items before filling the aquarium, except that you will not see the effect that the water will give. Heavier items will need to be installed once the aquarium is filled to distribute the load more evenly.
The water should be packaged before entering the aquarium because of the amount of chlorine that is toxic to fish, even if it is harmless to us. To avoid stirring the gravel, place a plastic container in the aquarium and pour in the water. This action will absorb the force of the water in a milder flow.
Afterwards, turn on the water heater and set the desired temperature for the type of fish. A temperature of 25 degrees Celsius is a good start. Your filtration system will also need to be turned on and the bacteria activator added. Never adjust the water heater to the outside of the water to avoid damaging it. If you use real plants, you will have to wait at least two weeks before introducing the fish. This will help the plants to establish themselves. If you do not plant, it is recommended to wait a week to allow the water to stabilize.
Select And Introduce Fish
What kinds and how many? There is a very wide variety. Visit an aquarium shop. Sound advice, don’t buy on impulse. Do a thorough search taking into account their diet, their compatibility, their size. The type of fish should also be considered. Dominant and slightly aggressive fish should be introduced last. In addition, fish should be added over a period of at least one month to give your filter cleaner time to adjust to new additions.
When you dip the fish in the aquarium, the bag should float horizontally for about 10 minutes and 5 minutes longer for larger bags to equalize the temperature. Then open the bag and add some aquarium water for about 15 minutes to double the original volume of water. This step will allow the fish to acclimatize to the new water conditions. Then turn the bag aside to let him discover his new space. It is strongly recommended to feed the other fish in the opposite corner of the aquarium at the time to introduce the newcomer. The fish will thus be able to discover the places without being disturbed by the curious residents.
Maintaining Your Aquarium
The gold standard in aquarium maintenance is to change 25% of the water each week. However, if your filter is rinsed regularly and you do not feed the fish excessively, the water can be changed once a month. Change the water and clean the gravel at the same time. If you use a filter under it, you can clean gravel less often.
Afterwards, you will need to fill the aquarium with new packaged water from the cold tap and not the hot tap (the hot water dissolves the heavy metals in the piping that can damage your fish). The water will then be heated before pouring into the aquarium.
Fish must be fed within two minutes. Any food that is not ingested must be removed. As a rule, a fish’s stomach is as big as its eye, which means that it does not need to be overfed. Most often, the fish will die from eating too much rather than not eating enough. Food that is not ingested will pollute the water and create poor water conditions; it will predispose fish to die.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need:
- Filtration system
- Water heater (with thermostat)
- Water conditioner
- Fish food
Good to have
- Bacterial activator
- Water Test Kit
- Gravel cleaner
- Air pump + rock pump
- Special lighting (grolux)
- Seaweed scraper