Maintaining a healthy aquarium

Like any creature, fish can become ill, and whilst there are many treatments available to cure them, it's always better if you can prevent diseases from occurring in the first place. The best way to do this is to maintain a healthy aquarium for your fish. The majority of common fish diseases are caused by poor water quality, so through maintaining a healthy aquarium you'll not only be giving your fish a great home, you'll be keeping them healthy too. Here you'll find our top three tips for maintaining a healthy aquarium.

Set up your aquarium early

Whilst you may be eager to add fish to your tank as soon as you've set it up, it's very important to give the tank time to become established before putting fish in it. To do this, fill your tank with clean tap water and test the water pH. Most pet stores sell pH testing kits, or you can bring a sample into a Pets at Home store where we'll test it for you. Most fish prefer a balanced pH (7), but some fish do best with more acidic or basic water, so make sure to find out which they are suited to when choosing your fish. Once you've set up your tank, leave it for at least three days before adding fish, to allow time for any impurities to dissipate.

Set up a filtration system

Filtration is essential for keeping the water in your aquarium clean, which is why it's worth investing in a high-quality filtration system. Choose a filter that is either sized for your specific tank or a larger one, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. If the water looks cloudy or has dirt floating in it, then you'll need to filter or change the water. You can regularly test the water quality with a pH kit if you want to, to check that it is healthy for your fish. You should also manually remove any uneaten food or waste with a net every couple of days and scrape any algae build-up from the sides of the tank to keep it clean.

Introducing your fish to its new home

When you bring home your fish, it's likely that it will be in a small plastic bag, and whilst your fish will probably be keen to explore its new home, you can't just transfer it straight into the aquarium. In order to allow your fish to regulate its temperature you will need to float the bag in the tank for about half an hour then open the bag to let your fish venture out at its own pace. We would recommend keeping three or four small fish or two medium-sized fish in a 20-gallon aquarium. When choosing your fish, make sure to check that they are compatible breeds as otherwise they may fight.