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Self-Improvement & Hobbies

Costly mistakes to avoid

Maintaining an aquarium is no walk in the park. Take a moment to read up before investing your interest
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - January 29, 2011
By: James Ong
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Costly mistakes to avoid

For most first-time parents, making mistakes whilst caring for the newborn child is not unheard of. In fact, it is inevitable. You can do as much research as you can on parenting, but putting knowledge into action is a lot tougher than it seems.

Likewise, no matter how much knowledge you have about rearing ornamental fish, you may still make some of the most common mistakes of many aquarists. Fortunately, these mistakes can be avoided if you make the effort to be aware of them.

Setting up in a rush

If fishkeeping is a new hobby to you, take the time to read up about aquariums before getting started. Do not start asking questions only after you have had your tank for some time. Rushing to set up your own little aquarium will almost certainly spell a quick and untimely end to your beloved fish.

Purchasing fish

Before selecting new fish, take time to learn about their feeding habits and how to care for them. Refrain from buying a particular type of fish on impulse just because you like its pretty colours. Don’t buy it either if the salesperson can't provide you with critical information about it. Also, if you do not know if the new fish can reside peacefully with your current fish, the results can be death, injury or stress-related diseases. Learn about the compatibility of various fish types you are considering for your aquarium. Lastly, when you select your desired type of fish, avoid buying any individuals that are in poor health by looking out for symptoms of common illnesses.

Overcrowding the tank

Cramming too many fish into an aquarium at once, especially in a tank that is not fully cycled, or has just completed the cycling process, is akin to sentencing the fish to a slow death. Even in a well-established system, placing too many new additions into the tank too quickly can cause “new tank syndrome”.


Unconsumed food usually lies at the bottom of the tank, creating nitrates which are harmful to fish, and overworking the biological filter. Many people overfeed their fish. When they don’t see the fish accepting the offered food, they will throw even more into the tank, thinking that the fish missed seeing the food. But you should put in only what your fish can consume in two to three minutes per feeding. No more, no less. And you must learn and understand the composites of the food that you are feeding your fish by comparing their nutrients. Purchase only high quality feed.

Tank maintenance

Adequate water filtration is critical for keeping an aquarium fresh. The lack of good water-flow throughout the tank might lead to problems such as low dissolved oxygen, and the build-up of slime or other harmful algae which will compete with the fish for food and oxygen. A good water purification filter is an investment that will pay for itself in the long run. A properly maintained tank seldom experiences problems like high nitrates, bacterial outbreaks, or other water-quality issues. You should set up and follow a regular aquarium maintenance routine for the benefit of your fish.


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