It’s really hard when a recreational pastime turns out to be something that requires time and energy that need to be redirected from other, more important work. Keeping pets is not half as easy as it looks and people often make the mistake of biting off more than they can chew, making life miserable for both themselves and the unfortunate animal. But there is a solution to every problem, and the search for a low-maintenance, highly-lovable pet can be put an end to by going a little deeper into the waters. Among other things, fish can be the ideal solution to all your pet-problems concerning expenses and effort.
Although I have taken the view of a pet lover too busy to keep other time consuming pets, fish are such creatures that are dearly loved by quite a few people and they come third in UK’s list of favorite pets after dogs and cats.
The advantages of keeping fish are many and varied. For one, feeding them is inexpensive and easy, they don’t require exercise or grooming and they are confined to their respective aquariums all day thus being incapable of messing up your household in any way. In fact, fish living in a properly decorated aquarium are one of the best artistic ornaments you can have for your house. Fish are quiet and they can be left alone in houses unlike pets like dogs and cats who might throw tantrums out of separation anxiety. Some fish even interact with the owners and are liable to training.
However, keeping fish is not just all rosy and fun but comes with its share of responsibility, little though it maybe, as well. The most important part of having pet fish is the maintenance of the aquarium. There are over 25,000 varieties of fish, about 2,000 of which are suitable for keeping in an aquarium.
Fish can be of freshwater, cold water or marine type, and the aquarium has to be set up as per the specific requirements of each individual variety. It is advisable that first time fish owners start off with hardy, low-maintenance fishes like the goldfish or angelfish. The aquarium should be kept running for over an hour before the fishes are put in. Even the simplest of aquariums are armed with filters and oxygen pumps to ensure a regular supply of clear, oxygen-rich water. The cartridges of these filters need to be replaced and they need to be rinsed and cleaned monthly. The ammonia, nitrate and pH levels need to be checked and made suitable to the standards of the particular kind of aquarium one is trying to build, and monitored regularly. The decorations within the tank should be cleaned every month and 10% of the water needs to be replaced with dechlorinated water on a weekly basis. The tank walls also have to be scrubbed for algae. The tank must be placed at a spot which is not over-exposed to sunlight or high-traffic as the constant motion may scare the fishes.
The next important thing to do is to choose which fish can co-exist inside the same tank. Unwise choices result in smaller fish becoming prey to larger ones or aggressive behavior between two fishes. For example, semi-aggressive tropical fish bully inmates which are smaller in size. So, it’s wise to have all the fish of the same size.
The things that need to be kept in mind while choosing different fishes are; their water and temperature requirements, whether they exhibit similar behavior or not and their different swimming levels. With the right choices, one can make a huge shoal of the same variety of fish or mix and match different colors to give the tank a vibrant look. A single betta or goldfish in a small tank is also nice to watch.
Feeding your fish a varied diet keeps them healthy. Proper research should be done regarding the types of food that are favorable to a particular fish variety. The amount of food provided should, however, be kept under control as over-eating is one of the main reasons for the death of fish. Feeding them a regulated diet twice a day will familiarize them with you so that they will react to your presence at other times as well.
Fish kept in aquariums are, after all, bred in captivity in an artificial environment, so that it helps to decorate the aquarium to make them feel more at home. But the fish should have enough room to themselves to move about and stretch their fins. One can even incorporate larvae and snails into the aquarium; they not only contribute to the environment but are also useful in that they eat algae off the walls and keep things tidy. Fish that are well taken care of tend to be happy and happy fish tend to live longer. Some varieties of goldfish can live for about 20 years! Taking good care of fish involves respecting their individual personalities and not tapping on the glass of the tank to make them move as this shocks them and turns them away from the owners.
A fish tank is as much a hobby as a mode of relaxation. It is a pleasure to the eye and keeps the mind at ease to just sit and look at a beautiful aquarium with fish swimming about in it. Spending time looking at the aquarium also helps to know your pets better and detect any unnatural behavior or illness in any of them so as to take action in order to prevent it.