Fish are diverse and beautiful animals who can also be great pets. Having fish at home is a fantastic way to reduce stress and anxiety; people hold a deep connection with nature and water, and watching an aquarium can bring about the same deep happiness that people feel when visiting a beach or a lake. From aquariums to ponds, there are many ways in which you can incorporate fish at home. 

In this post, we gathered some of the best fish experts that gave us excellent tips for anyone interested in incorporating these beautiful creatures into their lives. Keep on reading to find out more!

 

How can I get rid of the green water in my aquarium? 

Green water is a common problem, but usually, it can be easily fixed.

There are several reasons for green water but also several solutions. Most commonly, green water is the result of fast-growing floating algae. There is an imbalance between nutrient givers (everything organic in the water) and nutrient takers (like plants). The following 5 points could be the reason for green water:

New aquarium: Floating algae are often found in newly started aquariums that have not been running for long and do not have their ecosystem established yet.

Food waste: If you feed your fish too much and they cannot eat it up completely, it will remain in the water. It will rot and cause algae growth.

Water condition: If the frequency of water changes is not sufficient or the water changes themselves are too small, the water condition will suffer.

Light overload: Floating algae love sunlight since it supports their photosynthesis and therefore their growth of them. 

Wrong or unmaintained filtration: If the filter is not sufficient or has not been cleaned.

These can all be a reason for supporting the growth of floating algae and green water in your aquarium. Important is that you figure out the reason for the green water. When you found the reason, you can work on avoiding it. 

Solutions might be:

  • Use more plants because plants can assimilate lots of nutrients that algae would need to grow. Also, fertilize them for healthy growth.
  • Feed less food and do not overstock your aquarium with fish.
  • Do more regular water changes. We suggest 40 – 50 % water to change once a week.
  • Reduce direct sunlight and do not light your aquarium for longer than 12 hours.
  • Check your technical equipment. Clean your filter when necessary.
  • Use aquarium care like certain bacteria treatments, nutrition binders, or water conditioners.
  • Use the right technology like a sufficient and strong filter and a UVC filter. The ultraviolet radiation destroys the floating algae in a very short time and supports crystal clear water.

-Claudia Pahlen, Marketing Managerin Indoor Aquatics at OASE GmbH

 

What are some of the benefits of having an aquarium? 

Having an aquarium in your home allows us to submerge ourselves in a portion of the natural world. It is a grand experience to create an underwater world that is appealing to you and, safe and healthy for your aquatic animals. The aquarium becomes a balance between your creative interests and the fish that are chosen to interact with it. It is truly living art. An aquarium can easily become the focal point of any room.

There is a very calming aspect to having an aquarium in a household and this comes with very real health benefits. It is very meditative to watch the aquarium, with its gentle movements, shimmers, and sounds. This relaxation has been shown to reduce stress, reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and lower overall heart rate. These health benefits can especially be beneficial to individuals with ADD/ADHD or Alzheimer’s, who may need that additional source of calm and visual stimulation.

Exposure to aquariums also helps engage school-age children with their science education and interest in conservation (STEM programs). Children are better able to explore concepts such as “cause and effect” as they interact with and feed the fish or test the aquarium water. This makes science real to the children and sparks genuine interest. While we keep fishkeeping simple at API® brand, there are a lot of technical aspects and chemistry connections with an aquarium that can allow children to truly explore with their learning. Even adults may find it interesting to finally see in practice what they originally learned in science class – or to get involved in fish conservation projects.

Beyond all that, the fish themselves are legitimate pets. Humans are social beings, and it can be delightful to learn the different reactions of your fish, see how much they will interact with you, and watch their behavior with food or new things within the aquarium. This provides a pet option for those that might be allergic to other pets or not able to house or care for larger pets. Most apartments and even college dorms will allow a fish tank up to ten gallons in size. Fish are also less work to maintain than “traditional” pets, needing only daily feeding, weekly water testing, and partial aquarium water exchanges whenever water testing shows it is needed.

With all these benefits, it is no wonder that aquariums are so popular. Fishkeeping and aquascaping allow individuals to create their underwater world and explore the benefits of this rewarding hobby. Each individual aquarium is truly unique and can add living art to any space in your home. Let us know how we can help you to create your own extraordinary underwater world. For more information or additional resources regarding fishkeeping, please visit the API website.

API® brand

 

Is it better to have real or fake plants in aquariums?

The short answer is that it is almost always better to have real plants in an aquarium. Real plants add oxygen to the water while removing nutrients that can cause algae and other problems in your tank.  They can also provide refuge for fish that are being hassled by their tank-mates and they make the tank look more natural.

However, that said just adding ‘plants’ to your aquarium doesn’t mean they will thrive and grow.  Unless set-up to promote plants most new tanks do not have the necessary things many plants need to become established.  Furthermore, there is a wide variety of plants and different plants have different needs so ask before choosing a plant.

If your tank is brand new it is best to add plants after your tank is cycled if you are doing a fishless cycle which is very popular these days.  If you are starting your tank the traditional way by adding a few hardy fish, adding some hardy plants can help.  Talk to your local livestock provider about which plants are best. Stay with so-called beginner plants.  Stay away from bamboo and semi-aquatic plants which usually do not do well submerged along with fine-leaved plants.  Instead go with hardy sword plants, Anubias and Vallisneria.  Many plants come in a plastic basket filled with a cottony material.  These are a good choice as you can just bury the basket-plant in the tank substrate but do not pile the substrate high up the stock of the plant.

Of course, plants need light so a good aquarium light is a must and there are several energy-efficient brands to choose amongst and even LED versions which are very affordable and lower the risk of young aquarists touching a hot surface.

This does not mean plastic plants are a no-no.  For many people, especially new fish-keepers, plastic plants are a good option.  They do not need special care or lights and are one less thing to worry about when setting up and maintaining a new tank.  They come in a variety of styles and colors which while not ‘natural’ can appeal to young kids keeping them interested in their fish tank and its inhabitants.  They will also provide hiding spaces for stressed fish and are easy to clean should they become covered with algae.

In the end, choosing between real or fake plants depends upon your budget and the time you have to devote to your new tank.  For setting up a little slice of nature nothing beats real plants but for teaching first-time fish-keepers plastic plants are fine.

-Dr. Tim at Dr. Tim’s Aquatics

 

According to feng shui, what’s the best place to place my aquarium?

The aquarium should be placed against a solid wall for support. It should be located at a place where Qi is gathered, which is also known as the feng shui wealth corner. This is usually located diagonally across from the entrance to a house. To find this corner, stand right in your front door and look for the adjacent corner. That corner will be where Qi is and is the “visible” wealth corner.  

In terms of feng shui five elements, North is correlated to Water, whereas West and Northwest are correlated to Metal. These three directions are also good to have the aquarium because Metal generates Water, and being the same Element is also supportive.

Using the concept of the Four Celestial Animals, fish tanks should be placed at the front of the house for enhanced money luck. The front of the house is symbolized as the Red Phoenix. That is a very common practice in retail businesses. 

As for feng shui flying stars, some experts say that it is suitable to place fish tanks where Star #8 resides (as a water star) because it helps activate that wealth star. However, I highly recommend that you seek an expert consultation if you wish to activate certain stars in your home’s feng shui natal chart. 

-Victor Cheung at Feng Shui Nexus

 

How often should I change my aquarium water? 

Water is the basis for life, and it is undeniably important when it comes to your aquarium. Water quality is not just an aesthetic concern but crucial for the health of your aquarium. Regular tank maintenance is critical in maintaining your aquarium’s water quality. One key element of routine maintenance is water changes.

Water changes have many benefits including but not limited to, helping you keep the Nitrate levels at an acceptable range for your underwater inhabitants, improving water clarity, helping remove harmful waste, and even helping remove odors from your aquarium.

At one point or another, every hobbyist finds themselves pondering how often they should perform water changes for their aquarium.

The general recommendation is:

  •   10% of the tank’s water volume weekly
  •   15-20% every other week
  •   25-50% monthly

However, the answer to this question can get a little tricky since it depends on several factors:

  • The size of your aquarium
  • The type of fish and living organisms
  • The quantity of living organisms
  • The quality and efficiency of the biological and mechanical filtration

Many aquarists have found that, after some trial and error, a proper filtration system with a well-established beneficial bacteria can greatly reduce the amount of water change needed, as well as the frequency of the water changes, saving time and money. Having a biofilter media with a high surface area such as MarinePure is extremely helpful as it will ultimately provide your aquarium with extra capacity for bacteria growth taking the Nitrogen Cycle to completion. Due to the unique composition of MarinePure, water easily flows around and through the media, allowing for bacteria to colonize, not only on the outer layers of the media but also in the inner structure of the media where denitrifying bacteria can flourish. This is essential for reducing not only the water changes but the maintenance of your aquarium in general. And it is especially important in the case your aquarium ever has an upset, such as diseases or a decaying fish, or if you simply would like to house more fish in your tank.

-Leyda Vazquez at CerMedia

 

What plants should I add to my Koi Pond? 

Aquatic plants are essential to keeping koi pond water healthy and oxygenated. As koi breathe, they release carbon dioxide into the water. Aquatic plants help to remove this carbon dioxide and replace it with oxygen. As a result, a koi pond with healthy aquatic plant life will have higher dissolved oxygen levels and be less susceptible to algae blooms and other water quality problems. In addition, plants help to regulate water temperature and provide shade for koi during hot weather. Plants can also add beauty and interest to your pond, making it a more pleasant place to spend time. Whether you choose floating, marsh, umbrella, or submerged plants, adding vegetation to your koi pond is sure to provide numerous benefits. 

As their name suggests, floating plants sit atop the water’s surface. Most of these plants also have free-floating roots, while some anchor to the pond’s bottom. Floating plants are easy to care for and enhance your pond’s biological filtration. They are simple to install, as you can place them directly in the water. Examples include water lilies, water lotuses, water hyacinths, water lettuce, and water poppies.

Marsh plants, such as water irises, make great additions to koi ponds with shallow areas, usually around the edges. They provide a natural look for the pond while also helping to improve its filtration. Marsh plants must have soil on their roots and it should always remain moist.

Umbrella plants, such as horsetail, have large ribbon-shaped leaves two to three feet long, extending from stocks that can grow five feet or more. They make great additions to koi ponds as they provide a large overhanging canopy that can serve as shelter and shade for fish. The umbrella plant is easy to care for, and it derives its nutrients from the pond water, assists in biological filtration, and enhances the oxygenating capabilities of other plants. The only downside of these plants is that they can be invasive spreaders, which can be controlled by planting them in containers within the pond.

Submerged plants typically grow in pots on the bottom of your pond. These plants are highly effective at removing toxins and excess nutrients from the water. Koi tend to eat submerged plants, so you’ll need to minimize their access. Examples include fanwort, American waterweed, and water purslane (ludwigia).

You can learn more about koi pond plants in our Comprehensive Guide to Plants for your Koi Pond

-Casey LeFever at Next Day Koi

 

How do I know if I’m overfeeding my fish?

Many fish keepers are often tempted to provide their fish with more food than they need. Not only do the fish get digestive issues, but the water quality in the tank will also be impacted by too much food.

When too much food is fed, the excess will not be consumed by the fish but rather sink to the bottom of the aquarium or float on the water surface.

The rest of the food is left to decay. As an organic material, it will consume the fish’s oxygen. This, along with decaying organic debris, can cause a rise in ammonia and nitrites.

Algae will also grow as they are provided with excess nutrients.

When figuring out how much food to feed your fish, remember that the more nutritious the food, the less of it you need to give. And a variety of foods will encourage your fish to be healthier.

Here are some guidelines on how much to feed your fish.

  • For fish that eat dried foods, follow the directions on the package for the daily amount to give. They should eat within a few minutes of being fed. If you feed too much, leave what’s left in the tank for a couple of hours and then remove it.
  • Feeding fish once a day is easy to remember, and for most fish works well. If your tank has a lot of fish or if you want to feed your fish to condition them for breeding, you may need to feed them twice a day.
  • For fish that eat frozen or freeze-dried foods, feed them sparingly. They may not eat all of it at once and will come back for more if you leave the food in the tank.
  • For fish that eat live foods, feed a variety. This will provide your fish with different nutrients.

Do not get discouraged! Try a little bit of everything and see what works better for you.

-Bob Flickerton at Fish Tank Advisor

 

What’s the best location for a home aquarium? 

The modern-day Aquarium combines art, design, and nature framed within a minimalist contemporary piece of Aquarium furniture that brings a unique sense of tranquility into the home. We’re often asked ‘where is the best location for a home Aquarium?’ It’s a very good question and something that requires careful consideration. 

Let’s start with making the inhabitants comfortable. Fish are easily startled so it’s preferable to find a location that is on the quieter side of your home with less foot traffic. This often translates to a lounge room where we generally spend time relaxing or a chilled space like a bedroom. Keeping your fish calm will also prevent the likelihood of them jumping ship should they encounter sudden movements. 

Avoid locations that have too much natural sunlight. An Aquarium is equivalent to an enclosed ecosystem that accumulates organic waste that is consumed by microorganisms and algae. In general, as the level of toxicity increases so does the potential for algae blooms with the primary limiting factor for growth being light. As such we find that controlling the available light that the Aquarium receives is a great way of preventing opportunistic algae from getting out of hand.

Next, we really need to consider practicality. We recommend ensuring there is enough space around the Aquarium for servicing and it’s always an advantage if there is a window nearby to run a hose outside or refill the Aquarium by a tap on water change day. Ideally, at least 1 meter on either side of the Aquariums is a good amount of space.

We also must consider aesthetics. Many modern-day Aquariums are quite literally living works of art with inspiration for positioning not too dissimilar to the placement of a contemporary piece of wall art. Plain walls in uncluttered spaces are often the best option. Lastly, how good an Aquarium looks in your home will depend on elements like your existing home décor. It’s important that the Aquarium ties into your overall design and doesn’t look out of place. Choosing the right style of Aquarium furniture to suit your home will be important. 

Overall I think if you can find a relaxed, inviting area of your home with limited natural sunlight and access for servicing then you are well on your way to establishing a successful home Aquarium. Wishing you the best of luck. 

-Adam Dalton at CADE Aquariums

 

How should I prepare pond water for fish? 

First, different fish require different water requirements. We can look at the water requirements for cold water fish (Trout) and warm water fish (Koi) for ponds and large tanks.

Most Trout like cooler water (10c°-20c°), however, some require cooler water not warmer than 18c°. All Trout need dissolved oxygen (DO) at or above 4ppm for winter months (<2c°) and 6 ppm at 16c° during summer. When water gets warmer the DO should be even higher approaching 7-8ppm. When first introducing your Trout to water make sure it is free from chlorine, and ammonia levels do not exceed 0.2ppm at higher pH (>7.0) and nitrite does not exceed 0.5ppm at any pH. pH between 6-8.5 is acceptable, however, keep pH lower if ammonia levels are detectable.

Other things to consider for fish kept in outdoor ponds are Predator prevention water circulation, water oxygenation, and water quality. For predator prevention, a favorite is pond dye, which makes it hard for predators such as birds, and river otters to see the fish. Water circulation and water oxygenation can both be accomplished by using a bubbler-type aeration system. Generally, the larger the diffusers in size the more water they circulate and the more oxygen they dissolve in the water. 

Koi require warmer water and prefer water between 15c° and 25c°. Keep this in mind when trying to overwinter koi in cold water. The immune system of koi seems to be less effective as water temperatures cool. Many clients have koi contract cold water fungus or suffer losses from parasites when koi are wintered in water less than 4C°. Koi should be kept in a well-oxygenated environment with DO at 3ppm for winter and 5ppm in the summer. Keep in mind as water temperatures approach 25c°, DO should be closer to 7ppm. Water also needs to be free from chlorine and ammonia levels just like trout. pH should be kept between 6.5 and 8.5 in your koi environment. Remember if ammonia levels are detected it is less toxic if you lower the pH to below 7.

Water and circulation are more often accomplished with waterfalls or streams off to the side so koi can still be viewed. Bubblers work well to add DO but should be placed towards the back and not in the area where you want to view your koi. A good filtration system is required to keep the water clear allowing us to see the koi and helps remove koi waste quickly so it does not break down into dissolved nutrients in the water. Your filter should be easy to clean or backwash at least once a week and preferably twice a week, as Koi waste takes around three days to start breaking down which is why a system such as this is important. It should take no longer than five minutes to backwash your filters, if it takes longer, then you are not cleaning them enough. There are also products to reduce nutrients if needed for koi ponds such as bacteria products and clarifiers. One trick is to use rainwater to fill the koi pond or do water changes, where clean rainwater does not have any phosphates in it, as phosphates lead to algae growth making the water look green or dirty.

The goal for all fish is to prevent algae, duckweed, brown water, and other unsightly problems. Algae can be killed with an algaecide. Duckweed is a little bit harder and you have to use a herbicide. You can help prevent duckweed or algae by using good aeration and pond bacteria most of the time. Pond dye also reduces the growth of algae by blocking sunlight from getting to the algae.

-Lorne Louden BSc. at Pond Pro Canada

 

How often should I do a deep clean on my fish tank?

f you stay on top of your regular weekly maintenance then a deep cleaning should only be needed once every couple of months as required. How often will depend on how many fish you have, the size of your filter and the last time you cleaned your aquarium. I like to watch my water parameters as an indication when I’ll need a deep cleaning, if I can see the toxic levels rising even after my weekly maintenance, it’s likely time for a deep clean.

-Jack Dempsey at TFCG

 

Now that you know some essential fish at home maintenance gather everything you need and start. We know that setting up the proper space for your pond or home aquarium might not be such an easy task. If you lack the time or want an expert’s help, consider hiring a handyman.