The most common tropical fish set up is the community tank, this is the term used for a tank of several different species of fish that all have similar environmental requirements and temperaments. Due to these similarities, it is likely that your fish will live together peacefully.
Community tank fish include- Angels, Loaches, Plecs, Rasbora, Gourami, Rainbows. Large species to include – Oscars, some Chichlids, Catfish, Large Barbs, Large sharks.
Caring for your tropical fish
When you have purchased your new fish and taken them home, place the bag in the tank and allow it to float for approximately 15 – 20 minutes. This will allow the temperature of the water in the bag time to adjust to that of the tank. Ensure that your tank is kept away from direct sunlight as too much sunlight could raise the temperature of the water; this could in turn reduce the amount of oxygen in the tank and will also cause excessive algae growth.
Setting up a new tank
A filter is essential in a tropical fish tank, beneficial bacteria are needed to break down toxins produced by the the fish and a filter will provide a good surface area for the beneficial bacteria to live and multiply, and will also help to oxygenate the water.
Tap safe products should be added to the water to remove chlorine and other heavy metals found in tap water, as these are harmful to fish.
A bioactive tap safe will also add beneficial bacteria to the water therefore giving the filter a head start.
A heater is necessary for a tropical fish tank. A community tank will require a constant temperature of between 24C – 28C depending on the species kept.
A layer of gravel should be spread across the bottom of the tank to provide a growing medium for plants, this will also give the fish somewhere to forage around for food particles. Always wash gravel, plants and ornaments to remove any sediment or snails before adding to your tank.
The most suitable rocks for the aquarium are granite, slate and sandstone. Avoid rocks with sharp edges and those such as marble, limestone and soft sandstone as these contain a high mineral content that will alter the ph of the water.
Ensure that your tank is set up and allowed to run for a minimum of 72 hours prior to the fish being added, this will allow some beneficial bacteria time to develop and will also give you an opportunity to check that all the equipment is working correctly.
Feeding your Pet
Tropical fish flakes or granules should be fed in small amounts once a day, it is extremely important not to over feed your fish especially in the first few weeks of setting up a new aquarium as overfeeding will pollute the water and be harmful to your fish.
Good water quality is essential to keep your tropical fish healthy. Always ensure that your filter is working correctly, this will help to remove harmful nitrates and ammonia. Filter sponges should only be washed using the tanks water. Chlorine in tap
water will kill beneficial bacteria which control harmful toxins. If you do start to have problems ensure that you find out exactly what the problem is because you may be causing more damage by guessing.
Most fish illness occurs when water quality is poor. It is therefore extremely important to maintain good water quality to prevent illness and aid recovery. Poor water quality will kill your fish if not treated quickly. Any carbon should be removed from a filter before treatment is carried out.
White spot: Caused by a parasite. White spots begin to appear on the fish, if left untreated white spot can be fatal. Treat with a recognised white spot treatment.
Fungus and fin rot: Cotton wool type growths appear on the fish, particualy on the fins. Like white spot, fungus can be fatal if left untreated. Treat with a recognised fungus treatment
Swim bladder: The fish will appear to lose balance and will swim abnormally (up side down or on its side). It is caused by an infection to the swim bladder – an organ that the fish use to maintain balance. It can be treated with a recognised swim bladder treatment