Ms. Deal and Mr. White
March 30, 2014
Fish keeping may seem like a fun and easy hobby, but without the proper research and knowledge one will kill the fish rather than keep them. Most people think keeping fish is an easy hobby because all you have to do is buy a tank and the fish to put in the tank, but they are extremely wrong. Fish are very hard to care for, and they are also very temperamental to changes within the tank. Fish require constant care and a watchful eye of the water conditions in the tank. If the water conditions in the tank are not set up properly, or if there is a spike or sudden change in the water conditions it could cause the fish to become sick or even kill the fish.
Tank set up might seem like a simple process of just filling the tank with water, but if the water is not treated properly it can be toxic to the fish and it will kill them. Tap water is extremely toxic to fish and needs to be treated to remove the chlorine from the tap water. In order to treat the water one must use a water conditioner, that removes chlorine, that can be bought from a local pet store. Treating tap water is only part of the set up process in a new tank. Once your tank is full of treated water you must cycle your tank.
Cycling a new tank is the process in which the nitrogen cycle is established in a new aquarium. It is crucial that a new tank is cycled properly in order to keep the fish in a non-toxic environment. The purpose of cycling a new tank is to establish beneficial bacteria that convert toxic elements into nontoxic elements. In order for the cycle to begin in a new tank there must be ammonia in the tank. Ammonia comes from the food that is fed to the fish, and it also comes from the fish waste. In order to get ammonia in the tank the person needs to put one or two cheap, but hardy fish into the newly set up tank. The reason for getting cheap and hardy fish is because you are placing then into an un-cycled tank which could be very stressful on the fish, and possibly kill them. The cycle will begin to establish itself once there is ammonia present in the tank. Once the cycle begins the beneficial bacteria will begin to grow in the filter chamber or the filter bed. This bacteria works to convert the toxic ammonia into nitrites, which are also toxic. The nitrites are then converted into nitrates which are not as harmful to the fish, but should be kept at low levels. The tank is fully cycled when the levels of ammonia and nitrites are at zero and the nitrates are being produced. It will take anywhere from two to six weeks for the tank to fully cycle and be safe for more fish. It is very important to wait until the tank is fully cycled before adding more fish into the tank because adding more fish to an un-cycled tank will increase the amount of ammonia in the tank. The increase in ammonia will cause “new tank syndrome” which is where the ammonia levels spike to extremely toxic levels. ...