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A Dozen Don'ts

Most of the advice given in this web site is positive and emphasizes what to do for your fish. This page concentrates on what not to do to your fish.


1. Don't leave Uneaten Food ...
in your fish's home. Get your net and remove uneaten food after 10 minutes. Click here to read more about how to feed your fish.


2. Don't Crowd Your Fish's Home.
Your fish's home has a maximum amount of fish that it can sustain. There is a maximum bio-load that any system can handle. Bio-load is a fancy term for fish waste.

One inch of fish per gallon of water, is a good rule of thumb for beginners. If you are new to keeping fish, be conservative. When you feel like buying a new fish, first check your fish and your water quality. Click here for advice about how to check your fish, and click here for advice about how to check your water quality.

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3. Don't do Too Much at One Time.
Don't tear your fish's home completely apart. No big yearly cleaning of your fish's home is needed. Change some water twice a week. Once a month clean your fish's home. Don't change more than 20% of the water on one day unless you have catastrophe. Click here for more information about cleaning your fish's home, and click here for more about making regular partial water changes.


4. Don't Depend on Scavenger Fish ...
to keep your aquarium clean. Scavenger Fish and Ghost Shrimp will eat bits of food that sink to the bottom of your aquarium, and this will help improve the water quality. But scavengers will not clean a dirty aquarium. Click here for information about cleaning your aquarium.


5. Don't get an Aquarium & Fish at the Same Time.
Get the new aquarium and equipment, take it home, read the instructions, set it all up, and let it run for three days or longer. Then get a few good starter fish. Click here for more information about how to start an aquarium.


6. Don't Have More than 1/4-Inch of Gravel.
A Fish Bowl needs a layer of cultured gravel 1/4 of an inch thick, but an aquarium with an exterior power filter with a BIO-Wheel doesn't need any gravel. If you put gravel in your aquarium, keep it less than 1/4 of an inch thick, and stir it for a few seconds every day with your net to be sure the particles get swept up into your filter.

7. Don't get Impatient and Do too Much too Fast.
Don't add too many new fish at one time. Get a few new fish. Watch them, see how they adjust to their new home, and enjoy them! Don't change too much water at one time. If your aquarium is dirty, do a small cleaning each day. Change 20% of the water each day, until your aquarium is clean and the water is clear.

8. Don't Contaminate Your Fish's Home.
e sure that everything that goes into your fish's water is not contaminated with soap, bleach, pesticides, or other chemicals. If you add ornaments such as rocks, gravel, or plastic plants, be sure they will not contaminate your fish's water.

Some rocks and gravel contain toxic minerals. Some plastic plants are not intended for use in water and may contaminate your fish's water. You'll avoid problems, if you'll shop in pet departments and buy items specifically labeled as being safe to use with pet fish.

Click here to read more about contamination.

Cichlid Stones - Ceramic Aquarium Caves.
You can make piles and arrangements of items like the rocks and pieces of artificial drift wood, shown above, in your aquarium or your fish bowl to create beautiful scenes and interesting caves for your fish to explore.
9. Don't use Pesticides near your Pond.
If you spray pesticides in your garden, be sure none of the spray gets into your pond's water. Fish are extremely sensitive to some garden sprays. Even a small amount of pesticide settling onto the water's surface can cause problems.

10. Don't Forget to Wash Your Hands.
Hand cream, soap, floor cleaners, car wax, and all other chemicals should not get into your fish's water. Before you put you hands in your fish's water or touch anything that will come into contact with your fish's water, wash your hands. Wash them with soap, then rinse them off a couple of times with clean running water. You should also wash your hands, after you touch your fish's water or home.


11. Don't Tap on Your Fish's Home.
It drives experienced aquarists crazy to see people and children tapping on a fish bowl or aquarium. The fish dart around and often bang their heads on rocks or the sides of their home. So whether your fish live in a fish bowl or an aquarium, don't tap on their home. I often hear the excuse, "I thought they was dead." Well learn a little patience, look closely, and wait for the fish to move. Usually they aren't dead. Right?

12. Don't just Top Up with Fresh Water.
It's a common mistake to replace water that evaporates without removing any water. This will cause the mineral content of the water to increase and eventually become too high for the health of the fish. You must remove some water and then replace it with fresh water.
Click here to read a Comment from Mary about her aquariums and our Reply about being careful to avoid contamination in aquariums, fish bowls, and ponds.
Click here and continue on to another page with Customer Comments and our Replies about not contaminating your aquarium.
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This page was updated on May 11, 2015.