If you're just learning how to care for your aquarium and your fish properly, then you can expect to make a couple of mistakes while you learn. Unfortunately, some fishkeeping mistakes can quickly turn fatal for the fish who live in the aquarium. The best way to protect your fish tank from accidental contamination or poisoning is to learn as much as you can about caring for your fish properly.
Water problems are one of the most common problems that aquarists have when trying to keep their fish healthy inside a clean tank. You should check the pH, nitrate, nitrite, alkalinity, hardness and ammonia levels in your tank on a regular basis. Dip aquarium test strips in the water to determine whether you need to make adjustments to the water in your tank. Lowering or increasing the alkalinity, pH or ammonia level in your tank will prevent fish from being sickened due to poor water quality.
Be Careful How You Clean
Chemical cleaning products are a no-go when cleaning your fish tank, and even some non-toxic cleaners can still cause potentially dangerous changes to your tank's pH. Use only cleaning products that are sold especially for use on fish to clean inside your tank. Also, be careful to use clean, chemical-free distilled water when you are making water changes in the aquarium. Water that has been treated with fluoride and other chemicals is bad for your fish and can contaminate your tank's water.
Be Careful How You Decorate
Make sure that anything you put in the water in your tank is safe for your fish. You do not want to use decorations with metals, chemical paints, components that look like fish food or anything else that might disintegrate while it's in the water. Random decorations you see at the dollar store might look cute at first glance, but if they aren't non-toxic and completely waterproof, you may end up unintentionally harming your fish by placing those decorations in the water.
Taking Care of Your Fish
You need to be very careful about adding new fish to your tank, as well as monitoring the health of your existing fish. If a fish shows signs of illness, including spots, fungus, lethargy or a noticeable change in appearance, he is probably sick. Sick fish should be treated with medications as soon as you notice a problem. If a fish becomes extremely ill or dies in your tank, remove him from the tank immediately to avoid water contamination and the spread of illness.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.