A healthy aquarium environment will give you healthy fish. But if you have too much algae in the tank, cloudy water, or are constantly battling diseases in your fish, then there is something wrong with your overall fish tank’s health. These simple six steps will reduce or even solve most aquarium problems. These steps will improve the health of your fish tank and the fish without the use of chemicals or other additives. Fish tank antibiotics, algaecides, and other chemicals should only be used as a last resort and are often unnecessary. Use of fish tank additives can do more harm than good. Making changes to your care of the aquarium as a whole is the best method for solving most fish tank problems.
Do More Water Changes
Always start with a water change. If you have diseases, algae, or other problems, don’t reach for the chemicals, simply do a water change. A general rule is that you will need to change about 20 percent of your aquarium's water every one to two weeks. If you are having problems keeping your fish healthy or tank clean, then you need to increase how often you are changing your tank’s water. If you are already changing the water once a week, up that to twice a week. Water changes remove harmful ammonia and toxic levels of nitrates, parasites, bad bacteria, and free-floating algae in the tank. More changes mean more healthy fresh water for your fish. You don’t however want to remove more than 20 to 30 percent of the water at a time as a way to solve your tank’s problems. Such a dramatic change in water conditions can kill fish. It’s better for you do just change small amounts of water more often.
Reduce the Fish Count in the Tank
Overloading your aquarium with too many fish will overload the water with too much waste. There are several good formulas to determine exactly how many fish you should keep in a tank, but an easy calculation is 1 inch of fish per gallon. The size of the adult fish should be used for this calculation. So if you have a 55-gallon fish tank, you can keep 55 inches worth of adult sized fish in the tank. More than 1 inch of fish per gallon and you will probably have problems with the water quality and fish in poor health.
You can overfeed fish, which can lead to poor health and too much waste in the tank. Waste turns into ammonia and eventually nitrates, which are harmful to the fish and good for algae. Feed your fish once or twice a day. Only feed as much food as they will eat in about a minute. If there is still food in the tank two minutes after you fed the fish, then you are feeding too much. Also, you can fast your fish once a week, something that is often recommended by fish experts.
If you’ve got algae in the tank, add a snail or two. People often buy bottom-feeding catfish in the hope of cleaning the tank of algae. The problem with using algae eating fish to solve algae overload in that fish tank is that some of these fish do not eat much algae, and those that do produce may a lot of waste. Keep in mind that some algae in the tank are not bad. In fact, some green algae in the tank are good for the ecosysCredit: Bigstockphototem. Algae help to remove ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates from the tank. So adding a snail or two is a good way to help control algae without adding to the fish population.
Live plants not only enhance your fish’s scenery, they improve the quality of the water. Plants add oxygen to the water, absorb nitrates and CO2, and compete with algae for resources. Plants can reduce your fish’s stress by providing shelter and hiding places. Plants also become a nutritional food source for the omnivores and herbivores in your tank. Less stress and good nutrition make for healthy fish.
Learn About Your Types of Fish
Just because the tank at the fish store labeled your fish as “easy” and for “beginners” does not mean they will thrive in just any water conditions with just any food. Every species of fish has certain water quality requirements when it comes to temperature, pH, and other conditions. Every species of fish has certain food requirements. For example, the common and “easy” freshwater angelfish must have plant matter in its diet or its at high risk of getting hole-in-the-head disease. Some fish are easier to care for when compared to some other fish for freshwater tanks, but fish in general are not necessarily an easy pet when compared to other types of pets. Fortunately, you can easily learn about your fish to makes changes and provide them with the best care to prevent too much algae in the tank, cloudy water, and diseases in fish.