Great Aquarium Water
It's important to take the proper aquarium water quality steps when starting a freshwater aquarium for the first time before you add a bunch of fish. If you fail to do it right you just might lose some or all of your fish, but that is easily avoided by taking care to start your aquarium water off right. Here are the steps that you need to follow to get a quality start every time.
Use Aquarium Water Conditioner
When you fill your aquarium for the first time, use a water conditioner for tropical fish tanks on the water. Tap water from your kitchen sink will contain things that are not good for fish, notably chlorine, and fish tank water conditioner will remove these harmful chemicals form the water to keep your aquarium water pure. This is not only a good step the first time you fill your fish tank, but a good idea every time to add more water down the road.
Get a Power Filter
Water filtration is a key to keeping it clean, and a good aquarium power filter is the way to go. Undergravel filters are fine, but power filters are better for fish and will create a continuous current in your tank to cycle water much more effectively. Don't worry, you can find power filters that are not too expensive and ones that are very quiet.
Good Bacteria is Good
Fish are subject to bacterial infections, but there is some bacteria that is great for an aquarium. This is because beneficial bacteria will live on the waste that your fish will produce and help to cut the harmful ammonia level in your aquarium. Your fish will like that. These bacteria will grow naturally over time, especially when you give a biofilter or sponge filter for them to live in, but you can get a quick start by adding them directly when you start. There are small bottles of starter solution in your local pet store that will do the trick.
Freshwater Fish Need Salt
Adding aquarium salt to your water will make it easier for many types of fish to keep up a healthy exterior with a proper slime cost which will make them stronger and cut the likelihood of disease. This is not the same salt you would use for a saltwater fish tank. No, this aquarium salt is made for freshwater tropical fish. Just make sure you get the kind for freshwater fish and you will be fine. A little goes a long ways so just a small package will do.
Cycle the Tank
This may seem boring but your fish tank water will go through some cycles over the first few weeks. While it is not much fun having an aquarium with no fish in it, letting your aquarium water cycle for a while will help to get it through the first stages to the point where ammonia and nitrate levels are not extreme. If you can stand it, wait a little while before adding fish.
Test Fish Tank Water Often
You need to be a bit of a scientist to insure your fish live a long life. Get a water test kit or strips and test the water often, even weekly. By knowing right away when your fish tank water is moving in the wrong direction you can take quick action and keep all of your fish happy.
Add Fish Slow
When it is time to add fish to your tank, add them slowly. Start by adding just a few fish and let them live in the water for at least a week before adding more. This will help to decrease the impact of new fish on the chemical composition of the water in your aquarium, keeping the fish healthy. A good start is with 3 hearty schooling tropical fish. Then, a week later, try a few more and so on until you have reached the fish capacity for your aquarium.
Speaking of adding fish, don't add too many. There are a few theories out there and they are pretty sound. The first is to add no more than one fish per gallon of aquarium water capacity. That's not a bad rule of thumb but not all fish are created equal. The other is that your aquarium can handle one inch of fish for every gallon. This is the better solution. That means you could support 10 one-inch fish in a 1o gallon aquarium, or about 7 1.5-inch fish. Think about assuming that your fish will get to their full size when you buy them for this purpose.
Change Aquarium Water
Finally, use an aquarium vacuüm to remove 10-20% of your aquarium water once per month and replace it with fresh water. Don't forget to use aquarium water conditioner in the new water before adding it and to make sure the temperature is not way off. This monthly cycle will do wonders to ward off deterioration of your fish tank water quality.
If you take these water quality steps when starting a freshwater aquarium and as time progresses, you can look forward to beautiful and healthy fish for years to come.