10 mistakes novice aquarists
When I got an aquarium, almost everyone who saw fish in my house asked the same question: “Does it calm your nerves?” But, alas, at first the aquarium was for me a source of constant stress. I did not watch peacefully swimming fish, because I constantly separated their fights. I could not rest near the aquarium, because it exuded an unpleasant odor. Constantly changed muddy water in it and treated sick fish. Having studied specialized forums, I realized that I was following in the footsteps of my predecessors and was making standard mistakes. What difficulties a novice aquarist faces and how to avoid them, I will tell in my article.
1. Buying a small aquarium “for trial”
Aquariums are expensive and take up a lot of space in the room. For these reasons, as well as being guided by the idea that it is easier to care for a small tank, novice aquarists buy small tanks: 10-20 liters, or even less.
In fact, caring for such an aquarium is much more difficult. Indeed, the smaller the volume of water, the more difficult it will be to establish a natural balance, and the more precarious this balance will be afterwards. Vital products also accumulate in such aquariums faster and require cleaning.
In addition, you will very quickly grow out of this aquarium. That is, you, for sure, will want to get more and more new aquatic inhabitants that will not fit in a small aquarium.
Over time, the question will arise about selling it and acquiring a capacity a little more, and then a little more ... Therefore, think about whether it is better to immediately acquire a rather large aquarium? Indeed, in case of loss of interest, it will be easy to sell it.
2. Acquisition of fish without regard to compatibility
Arriving at the bird market, you will certainly find that making a choice is not easy - all the fish are so bright and beautiful! Most beginner aquarists sin by choosing fish based on their visual appeal, not taking into account their characteristics, including the type of temperament.
Representatives of the cichlid family are considered one of the most aggressive aquarium fish. Moreover, they have an incredible color and pattern on the scales of almost all the colors of the rainbow. Naturally, these fish are very popular. Knowledgeable people most often start separate aquariums called “cichlids” to keep such fish. But inexperienced aquarists can ineptly combine them with representatives of other families, as a result of which the aquarium turns into a battlefield.
The well-known representatives of cichlids - triangular scalars - have a less intense temperament and, in principle, can be compatible with other species of fish. But during the mating season, and especially when the female laid eggs, these fish will keep the whole aquarium in fear.
And there are also such melancholy fish that will suffer even from the neighborhood with relatively calm scalars. In my case, settling a scalar with goldfish was a big mistake, as a result of which the latter were in constant stress. Before you buy another beautiful fish, inquire from the seller about its nature, habits and compatibility with your existing inhabitants of the aquarium.
3. Overpopulation of the aquarium
A novice aquarist with great zeal begins to populate a new glass house. Seeing the rich variety of fish offered by sellers, it can be very difficult to stop, so as not to buy every one that falls into the eye.
Even if you decide to keep only one species of fish in the aquarium, this is not a guarantee that you can stop on time. Goldfish alone, there are so many colors and shapes that your eyes run wide!
Often the problem of overpopulation is also associated with the fact that we determine how many fish "fit" into the aquarium, literally by eye. There are established norms for the number of liters per individual, which vary greatly depending on the size and type of fish. And before you go to the pet store, it is better to estimate in advance how many and which fish can be settled in your existing tank volume.
It is impossible to neglect these numbers, because overpopulation will seriously complicate the care of the aquarium. Water will become faster polluted, fishes will arrange fights more often and is under stress, diseases and epizootics will begin. As a result, the weakest fish will die, and the number of inhabitants that will be optimal for a given volume will finally remain in the aquarium. But is the price high?
4. Acquisition of fish simultaneously with the aquarium
The aquarium is, of course, the decoration of the interior, but you should not forget that this is not a picture, but a living system. And even when there are no fish in the aquarium, but water has already been poured, an invisible life is already beginning in it, thanks to which the water will become suitable for the habitat of plants, fish and other aquatic inhabitants.
We will talk about how to start the aquarium correctly in a hotel article. In the meantime, I just want to warn you against buying fish at the same time as the aquarium. It takes at least a week to get the balance in the new glass house. And after that it will be possible to safely go to the pet store.
Many beginner aquarists think that the fish just need water, which means they will calmly wait out in shipping containers until you fill the soil, plant the plants and fill the aquarium with fresh water, which they “will definitely like.”
But, firstly, you need to release the purchased fish into the aquarium as quickly as possible, because there is no aeration in the containers, which means a large lack of oxygen. And secondly, fresh water, according to many indicators, will not be liked by the fishes, and they will experience serious stress, or even die.
5. Buying sick fish
At first glance, this advice seems banal, but it is not so simple. A sick fish is not always the one that swims on its side or belly up. In order to be able to visually distinguish the signs of the disease, it is necessary to study information on how the manifestation of the main diseases of aquarium fish looks.
Unfortunately, not all fish sellers are conscientious, and I often met fry infected with ichthyophthyroidism on sale. This is a very dangerous infectious disease of fish, which manifests itself in the fact that small white balls in the form of semolina are formed on the body of the fish.
An inexperienced aquarist may well take such grains for the characteristics of the breed. By releasing a fish with ichthyophthyroidism into the aquarium, you will probably see very soon that an epizootic has occurred in the tank. And the treatment of this disease for a beginner is by no means simple, and besides, it will require certain financial costs.
6. Complete replacement of water and boiling stones
Muddy, bad-smelling water plunges an inexperienced aquarist into a panic. In this case, there is a natural desire to change the water as much as possible and rinse the stones as soon as possible, as thoroughly as possible.
Nowadays, memories of how at the dawn of my hobby for an aquarium I was running around with buckets of water and boiling soil seemed funny to me. From him the "unique aroma" of boiled fish was carried around the house. But, alas, I was not the only one to make such mistakes, and my girlfriend taught me how to manipulate them like that, who was also advised by someone in due time.
Much later, I found out that doing such things is not only difficult, but also harmful for all the inhabitants of the aquarium. After the biological equilibrium in the water is established, when changing the water once a week, only 25% of the available fluid is drained. It is not necessary to rake and flush the soil at all, because there are specialized "vacuum cleaners" -siphons that help eliminate accumulated bowel movements.
And if at the same time the water in the aquarium is still cloudy and smells bad, then you need to look for the cause. A complete water change is a return to the very beginning of the launch process, which will only temporarily solve the problem and become unnecessary stress for the fish.
7. Poor fish feed
Even a child knows that fish are fed with dry food. But how to choose the most balanced food suitable for a particular species? Sometimes on sale you can find dried daphnia and cyclops. The cost of such food is relatively cheap, but still feeding fish only with these marine inhabitants is not useful.
It is best not to save on the health of your pets and buy balanced professional or semi-professional feed. They are not so cheap, but they will become the key to rapid growth, well-being and bright color of aquarium fish.
Live food is very pleasing to the fish, and they enthusiastically catch up with moving prey. Most often, fish are fed with a bloodworm or a tubule. But sometimes, along with live food, an infection is introduced into the aquarium, therefore caution should be exercised here.
8. Aquarium without a cover
In most cases, lids for aquariums are an additional option for a fee. To save money, some inexperienced aquarists decide to buy an aquarium without a lid. In this case, the aquarium is placed in a well-lit place or household fluorescent lamps are hung above it.
I did likewise. And everything would be fine, but an aquarium without a lid caused problems such as jumping out of the water. This happened for various reasons. But more often than not, gourami fish were exposed to this, periodically sticking their spouts out of the water to swallow air. Sometimes I had to collect fish from the floor even at night. And once a snail crawled out of the aquarium and laid eggs on a shelf. Therefore, it is still much better that the aquarium is closed.
9. Storage of books and items suffering from moisture under the aquarium
Often, aquariums are sold complete with a bedside table, which is supposed to store fish care equipment. But in this configuration, aquariums do not always acquire. Most often, glass containers fit into existing furniture. I did the same, placing the aquarium in a niche of the furniture wall.
Since I knew how heavy a fully-filled aquarium becomes, we prudently strengthened the shelf in the middle. But after a few months, something went wrong, and the aquarium flowed down the seam. Arriving in the evening from work, I found that the water was significantly reduced, and the books stored in the lower nightstand were seriously damaged. Since then, I store only things under the aquarium that will not be affected by humidity.
10. Aquarium in the bedroom
My aquarium was in the bedroom, because in those days I lived in the same room as my parents' house. But when you have a choice, it’s still better to find a more suitable place for the aquarium.
The biggest problem is the noise from a running compressor. Modern aerators are much quieter than older models, but still they make a noise. Sometimes the compressor disturbed me so much that I had to turn it off at night. However, by morning in such cases, all the fish rose to the surface, suffering from a lack of oxygen. And if the balance is disturbed in the aquarium, then the bedroom will also smell bad.
Nevertheless, there are also adherents of installing aquariums in the bedroom as a means of relaxation and interior decoration, so the choice here, of course, is yours.