Almost everything you need to know about pet care.
Aquaria - Buying a fish
Use your local library and study fish books. Visit fishy web sites and make extensive visits to different pet shops to help you to decide which fish you would like to keep. Patience and education will help you enjoy your new hobby. Never make impulse buys! You will end up with an unmatched aquarium of fish that shouldn't be living together. They may fight, or outgrow your tank. Read as many books and magazines as you can to get different ideas while your tank is settling.
When you first start going to the pet shop, take a notepad and write down the names of fish you like the look of. Ask the pet shop aquarist loads of questions about each species. If they can't make time to tell you what you need to know, either come back at a quieter time or go to another pet shop where they can make time to talk to you. A good aquarist should know lots about their fish, including what size they grow to, how resilient they are, which other fish they can cohabit with, and which fish will fight. A responsible pet shop owner or aquarist won't want to sell you any fish that will die quickly. Any pet shop owner or aquarist would want you to become a regular customer. They should understand if you don't buy something each time you visit the shop.
Never buy a fish that looks like it is acting funny, a fish that has dull colours, or isn't recommended by the aquarist. Most pet shops will reserve a fish for you for a few days if you're not sure of its health. It is inevitable that a pet shop will sometimes have fish that arrive or become sick. A good pet shop will place an infected tank in quarantine and won't sell fish while they treat the problem. Don't be alarmed if you see a tank with a 'not for sale' notice stuck to it!
Only ever buy fish suited to your size of tank. Never buy a fish that will, or you suspect may, outgrow your tank. While it is true that being in an undersized tank it will stunt the growth of some fish, this is unhealthy for the fish and will probably lead to premature death. Oscars- astronotus ocellatus are a typical example. They are really cute when they are small, but can grow to 30cm in length! A standard 250 litre tank is really far too small for a pair of adult Oscars. The cute baby fish may double in size monthly and will soon outgrow your tank! If you want to keep Oscars or other large fish, save your money and buy a 350 liter tank along with a powerful filter system to deal with the surprising amount of poo a pair of Oscars can generate - before you buy the Oscars.
Good pet shops have a stay alive guarantee of at least 48 hours, but a week or two is better. Ask what their policy is. Even then, if a fish dies very shortly after you buy it, then it is probably your fault - (sorry). Always test your water before buying new fish and also whenever one of your fishes dies.
Get your fish home as quickly as possible and try not to let the water temperature change. Use an insulated container if you can afford one. Keep the plastic fish bag in a dark bag or box to reduce the fish's stress levels. Before you introduce the new fish to your tank, turn your tank main light off. Float the bag in your tank for a good five minutes before you open it. Let some of your tank's water flow into the bag. Let this mixed water stand for a further 5 minutes. Now it is time to let your new fish loose into your tank. Leave the light off for 15 minutes or so.
Never buy anything from a pet shop or out of town hypermarket pet shop that does not maintain its aquariums well or are filled with diseased, dying, or dead fish. If their pet department assistants knew much about fish, they would probably have jobs at good pet shops.
It is advisable to buy fish that will live in different areas of your aquarium. Get a few interesting catfish or scavengers to smell out fallen loose food in amongst the gravel or sand. Buy a nocturnal fish or two like a knife fish to scout around your tank at night. Consider a small shoal of the same kind of small colourful fish to follow each other around in the open midwaters of your aquarium, a brightly coloured cichlid to make its home in a piece of pottery or hollow driftwood, a surface feeder to look for surface food that finds its way into a corner or eddy and to search the surface for food. A well-thought out selection of fish will make your aquarium very interesting to study for hours on end, instead of minutes.
Don't forget, if you can't resist a certain fish and that fish isn't compatible with your current fish stock - You can always start another aquarium!
We did when we bought a couple of Oscars, thinking they would be an interesting addition to our, well laid out, mixed tropical aquarium. Quickly realizing they needed to be housed separately, when they started digging up the plants and eating our fantail guppies! Trust us, we've been there!
Aquaria section of Madeley Pet Shop
Water Condition - Water is the life element for your fish and plants. That's why it's important to choose the right water care products. Here you'll find a wide selection of products to help you create the right water conditions. You'll also find great products for your aquatic plants.
Brands such as, Easy-life, Sera, Tetra, or Easy-Life can be found here.