A New Addition

After lots of procrastination and research and planning, I finally have my new fish tank! It’s a very early Christmas present from Husband – we jointly decided that it would be better to actually have it set up and fully functioning before Christmas. Or at least that’s the excuse I’ll be sticking to…

I went for a starter kit with the main equipment I’d be needing included – a filter, LED lighting and, since I want tropical fish, a heater. This is an Aqua One AquaLED 68 aquarium, purchased from Seapets, where I also got my gravel.

An Aqua One AquaLED aquarium, purchased from www.seapets.co.uk

When I originally thought about getting fish, quite sometime ago, I imagined they’d be a really easy pet. You buy a tank and some pretty fish then pop in some food each day and occasionally clean the tank. It turns out it’s a little more complicated than that. First of all, you shouldn’t buy a tank and then instantly put fish in it. Between filling the tank with water (which needs to be treated with conditioner) and adding fish, there’s a waiting period while friendly bacteria builds up. This is necessary because fish are going to produce lots of waste, which become harmful toxins. The friendly bacteria gobbles this up so that it can’t harm the fish. Basically what I’ve had to get my head round is that my fish tank will actually be an enclosed ecosystem and it needs to be balanced.

This is why I currently have a nearly empty tank. The fish are being added next week.

I have put in my gravel and one rock with some fake plants on it. I am planning on getting some live plants and also some pebbles. I’ve also added a thermometer to make sure the water is the correct temperature. I’ve bought a battery powered gravel cleaner, a magnet algae cleaner, fish food (flake and freeze dried bloodworms), a pack of water testing strips, a bottle of water conditioner and a bottle of biological supplement – basically a bottle of live bacteria to kick start the aforementioned biological cycle.

There is quite a bit maintenance. I’m planning on a weekly 20% water change, using the gravel cleaner to siphon away dirty water and then replacing it with fresh and conditioned water, plus a little more of the biological supplement. Then there’s also weekly water testing to make sure that none of the toxins are building up. If the tests show too much toxins, I’ll need to change the water more frequently or in higher quantities. Obviously the fish need to be fed daily, although there seems to be a lack of consensus over whether it should be once or twice a day. I think there’ll be a certain amount of trial and error here. I’m going for mostly flake food with the occasional treat of blood worms. Once every few weeks, the filter will need a clean out. Once every 8 weeks, the carbon filter media will need to be changed.

Okay so that does sound like quite a bit but really, it’ll be about an hour and a half each week. As pets go, that’s really not a lot. I used to keep rabbits, whose huge enclosure had to be mucked out with a spade once a week. Or my dog that needed daily walks and tons of attention. I suppose the downside is that you can’t cuddle a fish!

I’m really happy to be starting a new hobby. I’ll post all about my new fishy friends when they arrive!

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