5 Things You Need to Know Before You Start Keeping Fish

Are you stressed out? Then, maybe it’s time to enjoy some fish. And, no, we’re not talking on a dinner plate, but fish that are alive and well and swimming happily in a home aquarium.

Pretty and graceful, fish can actually have a calming and mesmerizing effect on their owners. In fact, studies have shown that having an aquarium in your home can actually reduce anxiety and stress levels. But before you run out to the pet store, here are five things you need to know about keeping fish in your home.

Fish Require Accessories

Even a simple goldfish will require a decent-sized bowl and, ideally, some decorative rocks for the bottom. You will also need a net, water conditioner, food, a few fake plants and maybe a decoration in which your fish can hide. And if you get a bigger tank, you’ll also need a filter, a pump, lighting, an algae scrubber, and possibly a heater and thermometer.

Fish Tanks Need Regular Cleaning

No one wants to talk about it, but your fish will poop in the water it lives in. So, yes, your tank’s water quality will go down a little bit each day. Plus, any food that your fish doesn’t eat will also begin to muck up your water. That’s why fish tanks require regular cleaning. Although, the frequency will vary depending on the size of your tank and the number of fish you have (as well as some other factors), you can probably expect to clean your tank approximately once every two weeks.

Fish Need Room

When it comes to buying fish for your tank — the more, the merrier, right? Well, actually, no. Fish need room to swim and grow. So, fish enthusiasts often recommend that you use this rule to stock your fish: one inch of fish per one to two gallons of water in your tank.

So, for example, if you have a ten-gallon tank, you can stock it with five fish that will grow to be two-inches long. Or maybe two fishes that will grow to be three inches in length. This is a rough guide because a one-inch slender fish is going to require less tank space than, say, a one-inch-long but chonky goldfish. Also, remember when making your calculations that it’s highly likely that your fish are going to grow bigger.

Fish Can Live a Long Time

Are you ready for a commitment? Fish living in an aquarium can live longer than you expect. For example, tetras and gouramies can live to be five years or more. And that goldfish you picked up on a whim? With proper care, it can live 10 to 30 years.

Tap Water Can be Unsafe

Many areas of the world add chlorine to tap water to make it drinkable. Unfortunately, chlorine is highly toxic to fish. So, before adding tap water to your fish tank, you are going to have to remove that chlorine. Fortunately, dechlorinating products are readily available at most pet stores.