Keeping fish and dogs in the same house
7 Newbie Mistakes First Time Aquarium Owners Make
It is a well-known fact that different animals can co-habit. While there are some animals that there is not a hope to ever co-habit, when it comes to fish and dogs, you have every chance for them to live alongside each other in peace.
Setting up a new aquarium can be a fun project with lots to think about and resulting in a wonderful new addition to your home. However, if you have never set up a fish tank before it can be easy to make unfortunate mistakes.
From buying the wrong size tank, to not set up the water levels correctly before adding the fish into the aquarium – there are some very common mistakes which new aquarium owners make. We have highlighted them here to help you avoid making them as well.
- Choosing the wrong size tank
One of the common mistakes new aquarium owners make is to buy a tank which is too small. Maintaining a small aquarium is actually much more difficult than a larger size because it’s trickier to keep the ecosystem in the tank balanced.
Start out with a larger size tank – say around 30 gallons for example. This will help you as a beginner, to maintain the environment in a stable way, to keep the fish healthy, well and safe. Small tanks make it harder to do all this.
This guide to fishkeeping has some great advice you may also find useful.
- Buying the wrong equipment
Another key area where new aquarium owners go wrong is by not buying the right equipment, for example, choosing inadequate filter systems for the size of the tank.
It’s really important to keep the filtration system running as inadequate filtering can cause the water to become polluted and cause harm to the fish. This is a common beginners’ mistake – buying a filtration system that is too small for the tank.
Other equipment that is really important for a tank to thrive is lighting. The lighting needs to be adequate for the plants and the fish otherwise the plants will die and the fish will end up suffering from ill health.
- Choosing the wrong gravel
Choosing the wrong gravel can cause problems with the water and create an unhealthy environment. You need to choose the gravel based on your tank set up including the type of plants you are selecting.
The gravel also needs to be the right type to provide a suitable home for any bottom-feeding fish or marine creatures which you are planning to house in your tank. Many beginners select the gravel based on its color and size, thinking decoratively rather than practically.
- Not preparing the water
One of the most common mistakes made by new aquarium owners is not adequately preparing the aquarium before adding in plants and fish. It’s really important to get the cycle right – the cycle is the time it takes for the aquarium to become the perfect environment for fish and plants.
You can’t just buy a tank, fill it up with tap water and put the fish in – this is one of the most common newbie mistakes. It’s really important to prepare the tank which can take anything from three to six weeks.
The bacteria need to settle down, break down ammonia and nitrate and enable the water to reach the right ph levels. One of the things which newbies tend to do to speed up the process is adding ammonia supplements – using these just interrupts the cycle process.
- Choosing the wrong fish
You need to choose your fish to fit with the environment you are creating inside the tank, otherwise, they won’t survive. Beginners tend to choose fish by color or appearance rather than selecting ones which are the best fit for their tank.
A lot of fish will cope with slight changes in temperature and ph levels but it’s important to choose the fish that will fit with your tank. Don’t try to buy fish and then adapt the tank, it’s the wrong way round and it risks going wrong.
Not all fish will be suitable for your tank conditions so if you are unsure as a newbie, then seek advice from the aquarium stockist you are buying the fish from – make sure you go to an approved specialist stockist so you know the advice you are getting will be good.
- Failing to maintain your aquarium
If you don’t maintain your aquarium properly it can create severe problems resulting in polluted water and potential health issues for your fish – failure to carry out routine maintenance operations is another common mistake made by new fish tank owners.
There can be a perception that fish tank maintenance is difficult, putting newcomers off the process. Regular maintenance includes changing some of the water weekly, keeping the filter cartridges clean and clear of debris and vacuuming the gravel bed. All of these should be carried out weekly.
- Don’t overfeed your fish
Overfeeding fish is a common problem for new fish tank owners – it can be tempting to keep feeding them but they will only eat what they need, and any excess feed will create debris in the tank leading to polluted water.
Once you have all this ticked off, make sure to keep your tank somewhere where your dog will not be able to push over or jump into the tank. Teach your dog to be calm around the fish by not playing games such as fetch or tug-of-war near the tank. By making your cuddle area near the fish will also help your dog to understand as they say in Nemo, that “fishes are our friends”