Tropical Fish Tanks For Beginners

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How many trips to the pet supply center do you want to make when you are first setting up tropical fish tanks? You might be surprised how many times new owners run back and forth to the store to get items they have forgotten.

Let us take a look at the essentials for setting up tropical fish tanks, and try to keep your trips to the pet store down to one.

Get started with an aquarium kit

One of the easiest ways to avoid all the extra trips is to buy an aquarium kit. It is very common for pet stores and large department stores to have kits in stock which look great at first glance. They have the aquarium, the filtration system, lighting system, a net, and many times a good cleaning system. Some kits even include a can of fish food to get you started.

Tropical Fish Tank Plants – Enhance The Beauty of Your Aquarium

What fish tank should you buy?

What these kits often lack is proper sizing. One of the first requirements is thinking about what fish you are planning to keep. Different sizes of fish require different amounts of water. Even goldfish can require up to 10 gallons of water each with a starting point of 20 gallons in the aquarium. Many of the kits are a 20-gallon aquarium, which means you have room for only a few fish and you have reached capacity.

It is better to err on the side of an over-sized tank instead of having too small of a tank. A small tank allows the buildup of ammonia and other poisons very rapidly. This is one of the reasons you may wish to steer away from most prepackaged kits.

Tropical Fish Food – It Is Not Just The Flakes

Essentials for tropical fish

When you are buying each piece separately you need to make sure you are getting these essential components:

  • Aquarium
  • Gravel
  • Plants
  • Filtration System
  • Air Stone
  • Cleaning Equipment
  • Water Treatment Chemicals
  • Lighting System
  • Heating System
  • Appropriate Fish Food

Most of these items will need to be matched in size to the volume of your aquarium. Make sure you buy a filtration system which is equal to the volume or rated for higher volume. You never want to undersize your filtration system.



Don’t buy your fish tank at a discount store

Size matching is where going to a discount store often gets owners in trouble. The staff at many of these stores have no idea what they are talking about, they were just hired to stock shelves and give you the products you ask for. Pet specialty stores have trained staff and can advise you on the proper sizes.

Even online stores are very helpful in selecting the right equipment. They are excellent at putting together custom kits to match your start-up needs to be matched to the types of fish you are going to purchase.

Tropical Fish Lighting – A Critical Component to A Healthy and Lively Tank

Final tips

Tropical fish tanks are not difficult to setup or maintain once you have purchased all the essentials, the problem usually comes when you keep overlooking one more critical parts of the puzzle. Compare any kits or the advice of your salesperson to the above list and make sure you are getting everything you need.

Goldfish Life Expectancy – The Startling Truth About How Long Goldfish Should Live

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Ask the average person who buys goldfish for their home the goldfish life expectancy on their new purchase, and they will probably answer in months, or at the most a couple of years. The answer is quite different than you would expect.

Would you believe a common goldfish can easily live to be 10 to 15 years old? This is not what most people expect from their own experience probably included burying fish, flushing them down the toilet, or other methods of disposal.

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What if someone told you goldfish often can enter into their twenties when cared for properly? You might begin to think this is going to involve some kind of science fiction water additive. There are two recorded cases of goldfish reaching 43 years old. These two cases may be extreme, but it gives you the startling truth you need to be aware of.

Goldfish life expectancy is not what most of us believe simply because most people do not care for their fish properly. If you walked into a zoo or professionally ran aquarium the caretakers would be able to point out many of their goldfish which have been with them for many years. The reason their fish survive is that they know how to care for them

What is the biggest contributing factors to your goldfish’s lifespan? This is the one topic almost every professional, pet store, or breeder will try to drill into your head. Water quality is the most important item in a goldfish’s life. You must maintain the water in a very clean state, keeping it well oxygenated, and managing the PH balance. Water temperature is important, but not as critical as the other components. A goldfish can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but not dirty water.

Fancy Tail Goldfish – Colorful Beauty Gliding Through the Water

The second biggest factor is a proper diet. You need to make sure to balance your goldfish diet to provide them enough food, but not too much. We often feed our goldfish like they are human. A little extra food will not hurt them. The problem is an overfed goldfish becomes constipated, dirties the water faster, and is more prone to illness. Balance the food intake by only giving the fish what they can eat quickly. Do not be tempted to overfeed at one time to compensate for missing a meal later.

The other thing professionals do it to watch their fish closely. When they notice a fish becoming ill, they will remove it from the other fish and then treat the fish in a different tank. Since many diseases are caused by water quality, they will recheck the main tank’s water to make sure the other fish are safe.

When you properly care for your fish you will suddenly become one of the people who believe in a long goldfish life expectancy. Taking great care of your goldfish may even get you into the Guinness Book of World Records, it is only 44 years away, well within reach of your goldfish.


Tropical Fish Diseases – Learn The Signs Before Your Fish Become Victims

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Taking care of tropical fish do not require a lot of effort on your part, but you cannot just ignore them either. Tropical fish diseases are almost always caused by our own failures to properly care for our fish, especially water care.

Before we get into describing common diseases let us make sure you understand clearly how to avoid most problems. Make sure you have a filtration system which is rated properly for your size of fish tank to keep the water clean. Take care of the filtration system according to the manufacturer’s instructions, never put off replacing filters or doing routine cleaning. Change out 15 to 20 percent of your aquarium water every week. Drain the water from the bottom of the tank to pull out excess dirt, feces, and excess food.

Do not overfeed your fish. This leads to increased levels of ammonia and fish feces in the water. Both of these conditions lead to an increase in tropical fish diseases attacking your fish. It is our responsibility to give fish a healthy living environment, and when we do, they remain healthy.

One of the most common tropical fish diseases you may run into is Ammonia Poisoning. Yes, it is not technically a bacteria or virus, but your fish are quite ill. This is caused by us. Check the filters, clean the tank, replace a large percentage of water, and then test the pH balance of the water. When ammonia poisoning sets in your fish may start having a purple tinge to their gills. You will see the fish near the surface, and they will appear to be desperate for air.

Bacterial Fin Rot is another disease which attacks tropical fish on a frequent basis. You may start to see the fins getting frayed, or damaged looking. The fins will appear shortened, and often get a white edge on them. You will need to get a good antibiotic treatment from your pet supply store. Before treating the water make sure you have cleaned, replaced some of the water, and resolved water quality issues which allowed the bacteria to attack in the first place. The treatment is usually highly effective and your tropical fish recover quickly.

Tropical Fish Food – It Is Not Just The Flakes

Ick is another of the highly common tropical fish diseases, often considered the most common. If you start seeing small white spots covering your fish, looking like they have just been sprinkled with salt, they have the ick parasite. To treat ick you will want to add malachite green to the aquarium. Be aware malachite green will kill your snails or other invertebrates, so remove them first.

This is just 3 of the very common tropical fish diseases or afflictions you may encounter. Your pet supply center can recommend treatments for almost any disease, but the one thing they cannot do it take care of water quality and proper feeding for you. You can avoid most diseases by being very careful in caring for your fish, and save yourself the trouble of battling these common diseases.


Cichlid Fish – The Family of Fish Which Keeps On Growing

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Cichlid fish are one of the favorite families of fish for owners who love vivid colors, high variety, and fish which are very social in the aquarium. The challenge with Cichlid fish is figuring out which one you are talking about.

The Cichlid fish family is vast with over 2000 species already identified and more being found every year. With some species topping out at only a few inches, others reach almost a meter in length. Obviously, the smaller fish are the ones you will be interested in for your aquarium, with the most common size of cichlid fish for aquariums being about 5 to 6 inches in size as mature adults.

Fish Keeping – The Art of Maintaining A Great Aquarium

While there may be over 2000 species of Cichlid fish, you will discover the number carried in most pet stores to be much more limited. Commonly you will find they carry about 5 to 10 different species. Some of the most common ones you will find in the pet stores are as follows;

Kenyi African Cichlid – This species of Cichlid reaches approximately 6 inches in length. They are commonly a beautiful light blue coloration with darker blue fins. Another common coloration is a bright yellow with vertical tan strips on their body. The Kenyi is considered a fish for the more advanced hobbyist, primarily due to feeding needs and their tendency to be a bit aggressive towards smaller fish.

How To Train a Goldfish To Do Tricks

Jewel Cichlid – This pretty example of Cichlid fish sports a salmon-colored body with orange highlights near the gills and eyes. Their sides carry a few beautiful light blue spots to increase their beauty even further. They grow to almost 6 inches in length. Due to size, this Cichlid needs to be housed in a larger tank, with a 30-gallon tank being a good starting size.

Tropical Fish Tanks For Beginners

Electric Blue Cichlid – The Electric Blue is a very brightly colored neon blue with deeper blue highlights on their body. They are slightly smaller at only 5” long, but still, require a larger tank of around 30 gallons. For any of this variety of Cichlid, you need to have rocks and driftwood on the bottom of the tank to provide them with places to hide and play.

Bumblebee Cichlid – True to the name the Bumblebee cichlid is decorated with beautiful deep yellow and black colors in a vertical striped pattern. They are another of the 6” long fish, making them ideal for slightly larger tanks.

Feeding Cichlid fish is not hard. They take readily to tropical fish flakes, frozen foods, or even live spirulina algae. Caring for their temperature needs is just as easy since they are comfortable in ranges from 72 degrees to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

The biggest challenge with your Cichlid fish will be maintaining proper water quality. Since they are a larger fish they produce more waste products. Do not neglect filter cleaning or changing out 15 percent of the water weekly. If you maintain great water quality your Cichlid will stay healthy and last for many years.


How To Train a Goldfish To Do Tricks

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Dog owners, cat owners, and bird owners always seem to look down on goldfish owners. They will point out their pets can learn tricks, but your pet just swims around. What they do not realize is goldfish memory is much better than previously understood, and you may be able to teach them a few goldfish tricks, too.

Types of Goldfish – A Fascinating Variety of Fun Goldfish

How long is a goldfish’s memory?

Before starting to teach your goldfish tricks it is important to understand how long they remember things. Goldfish memory has been measured to last around 1 to 3 months, not very long. Do not let this discourage you, because as long as you keep doing the tricks and playing with your fish, you are constantly renewing the memory.

Does your goldfish already have a good memory?

How can you already tell your goldfish has a good memory? Have you noticed how they start circling, coming to the surface, and anticipating their feeding? They would not be able to do this without having memory.

Goldfish Life Expectancy – The Startling Truth About How Long Goldfish Should Live

How to train a goldfish

Training goldfish requires the same techniques as training any other pet. You will be using positive reinforcement of their behavior. Do not expect them to learn advanced tricks, but you can teach them to limbo, or even play soccer. Both of these are adaptations of current behavior.

Positive reinforcement can be accomplished using food as the reward. Goldfish have been trained to go through tubes, dunk basketballs, and many other unique tricks. This is not some wishful thinking, but actual studies done in high schools and universities have repetitively shown goldfish memory can hold onto these new actions, and repeatedly do them to receive their treat. Be sure to also prepare your fish tank to make sure your goldfish enjoy life.



Goldfish training kit

It does take patience, and repetitive work to start training your goldfish. One of the easiest ways is to buy a goldfish training kit filled with techniques and advice to train your fish.

The really fun thing about improving goldfish memory and teaching tricks is to see the shocked looks on our friend’s faces. It is unlikely they have ever seen a goldfish do tricks or stunts. They may begin to believe you are a magician with animals.

Tropical Fish Tanks For Beginners

Teach only a few tricks

How many tricks can you teach your goldfish? It really depends on your persistence and determination. Albert Einstein is the goldfish who has entered the Guinness record book as having the largest repertoire of tricks, has learned more than ten different stunts. Another fish who is being trained to break the record has already learned nine. These fish are of course extreme examples. Be prepared to have your fish only learning a few simple tricks is more realistic.

Fish Keeping – The Art of Maintaining A Great Aquarium


What does this all have to do with Goldfish memory? Imagine the goldfish’s tiny brain, and then start imagining it being able to do this many tricks. It is an amazing feat of memory and training on the part of the fish and their owner. Your accomplishment will be much more impressive than a dog owner teaching their dog to roll over or sit. They will be amazed at your goldfish’s new skills, and possibly a little embarrassed with having considered your pet inferior in the past.

Pet Health Questions – Do You Know Where To Get the Best Answers?

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Pet owners are always filled with pet health questions. Your pet is acting a little odd, and you are not sure if they have a health problem or just having a bad mood day. Where should you go to get the best answers?

The challenge for all pet owners is the diversity of problems which come with your pets. If you seek out advice on cats you quickly discover it is not specific enough. You need to be asking questions about your specific breed of cat. All breeds have their own unique health risks and concerns. With the diversity of problems and questions, you need to seek the experts to get the best answers.

If you have a specific breed of cat or dog the real experts for your pet health questions are easy to find. Do a quick search for the organizations, clubs, and societies for your breed. The breeders and pet owners in these associations are going to know the specific issues for your pet. They will be happy to help another owner figure out the proper direction for caring for their pet. Many of these groups have websites which share information about common problems with the breed. By checking their sites, and with their members, you can find answers which may have escaped your attention if you only searched for a generic cat or dog questions.

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Have you selected a veterinarian as your pet’s primary care provider? If not, do it now. Your pet is going to get the best care from a vet who knows the animal and sees it on a regular basis. This is going to be your other source of getting your pet health questions answered. They are the experts on treatment, and on diagnosing hard cases. You need to have a great relationship with a vet.

No matter what breed of pet you have, or even if it is a mixed breed, buying a good book on pet care will provide you with answers to 90 percent of your pet health questions. It is good for every pet owner to have a book on their breed or a general care book for their type of pet. While the internet is a great place to hunt down information it takes time. A book is almost instantaneous on providing you consistent answers. If you take the time to read the book leisurely you will know more about pet care than nearly everyone in your community. You will be a pet care expert. It is a simple step most pet owners neglect.

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Using the internet as a research tool on your pet health questions before you contact an association or your vet can work great. You will be able to give a more thorough explanation of your pet’s condition and get higher quality answers. The best way to get great answers is to always use a variety of sources while trusting your vet as the final authority. By learning how to do a little research, and learning more about your pet you will have to maintain a healthy pet.

Fish Keeping – The Art of Maintaining A Great Aquarium

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Fish keeping is one of the largest hobbies in the world. Some estimates put it as the second most popular hobby in the world only surpassed by photography. This makes perfect sense when you consider the beauty, elegance, and ease of care in keeping tropical fish.

One reason fish keeping has become so widely popular is due to many apartments and rental homes allowing their renters to have aquariums even when all other kinds of pets are not allowed. Fish are clean, do not damage property, and unless the tank breaks cause no problem.

Cichlid Fish – The Family of Fish Which Keeps On Growing

As a budding hobbyist, your first venture into fish keeping should be limited to varieties which are easy to care for, inexpensive, and fun. A few of the best families are guppies, tetras, and mollies. All of these fish are great freshwater tropical fish which stay small in size making tank maintenance very easy.

If you tell most new fish keepers they should start with guppies they will wrinkle their nose and think you have lost your mind. Why would anyone want those little gray fish which seem to be only good for producing more guppies? What they are overlooking is how vast the guppy family is. You will find a variety of colors, fin styles, and attitudes within the guppy family. They do remain very small at around 1.5 to 2 inches in mature length. They are easy to feed being very happy eating tropical flake food.

Tetras are often thought of as a step up from the guppies. They have just as much variety, grow a little bit larger, and are just as easy to care for. They love flake food just like guppies making them great for your first efforts at fish keeping.

Mollies can round out the group of fish great for new fish keepers. The variety is still vast, with a little more variety in body style. Mollies happily eat flakes, too.

The great thing about this threesome of beginning fish families is the ability to intermix them in the same tank. You can set up your tank and have a good mix of guppies, tetra, and mollies to add interest and excitement to your tank. Since they share the same types of foods, water requirements, and are similar in size they get along great. You will find fish of their own species tend to congregate together.

How To Train a Goldfish To Do Tricks

Your fish keeping efforts are greatly simplified when you take on a mix of fish with similar traits. No worries about mixing different foods, worrying about attacks from aggressive fish, or hitting a perfect water temperature. The biggest concern will be when the fry and eggs show up from these small fish. Then you may see their carnivorous attitude as they busily consume the young, even their own.

Fish keeping is one of the greatest hobbies to undertake. Watching fish gently swim through the water can give you feelings of tranquility. Your annoying troubles from the day may wash away with the bubbling water in the tank.

Tropical Fish Lighting – A Critical Component to A Healthy and Lively Tank

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Tropical fish are conditioned to love light. Their natural environment would have the brightness of a tropical sun during the day, and the deep darkness of night. Tropical fish lighting is required to help maintain your fish in their healthiest state and to increase the brilliance of their color.

Older aquariums often came equipped with a single screw in the bulb socket. These sockets were intended for having an aquarium light which was of the proper power and provided the proper spectrum of light. The first problem which many un-knowledgeable fish owners created was by replacing the bulb with a standard incandescent light. Suddenly there is too much brightness and far too much heat.

Today the best advice in tropical fish lighting is to use fluorescent light strips. They produce less heat and provide the proper spectrum of light. Make sure to replace your light strips every 6 to 9 months to keep them producing the best quality of light. As the gases in the tube dissipate the spectrum of light narrows providing less efficient lighting.

Tropical Fish Tanks For Beginners

Tropical fish lighting should be cycled on and off for day and night. You can accomplish this by simply turning it on in the morning, and off when you go to bed, or you may want to get a timer so you do not need to worry about it. A timer will help on setting up a variable lighting time for summer and winter times, too. The breeding cycles of many fish are predicated on the amount of daylight time.

Your tropical fish lighting is not only for the benefit of your fish but for the benefit of your aquarium plants, too. Since you are using artificial light it is important to have live plants. They help use up the light and deter the growth of algae. If you do not have enough live plants algae is almost certain to grow rapidly making your tank a green mess.

Sometimes the biggest challenge in fish tank lighting comes from the tank itself. Most tanks include a cover which gives you room for only one light. Often this one light is not adequate to fully illuminate the tank. You can then choose to add additional light strips over the tank, or to the rear of the tank just below the outer edge of the tank glass.

Aggressive Tropical Fish – Do Not Make Your Aquarium A Buffet

One word of warning on lighting. It is a real balancing act to get enough light to have a bright tank, but not enough to create an algae bloom. If you keep having too many algae growing to consider reducing the wattage of the bulbs or add more live plants to the tank.

Throw away the idea of having a naturally lit tank. Tropical fish lighting is a necessity to reduce the growth of bacteria, increasing fish colors, spurring breeding, and helping your aquatic plants to grow. Choose high-quality fluorescent fixtures and they will last the life of your tank.

Fancy Tail Goldfish – Colorful Beauty Gliding Through the Water

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Are you seeking to fill a fish pond in your yard, or an indoor aquarium? While many people think of goldfish as boring, they neglect to realize the wide variety of types. The fancy tail goldfish could hardly be called boring with their beautiful tails and fins.

The fancy tail goldfish has a longer, fuller, softer looking tail than the standard goldfish you see in stores. The fins are longer and fuller, too. This gives the fish a very special fluttering appearance as they swim gracefully through the water.

They are not only a great looking fish due to their tail and fins, though. The fancy tail goldfish come in a wide variety of colors, and patterns. While your mind is thinking about the golden orange color of most goldfish, the fancy tail can be white, gold, orange, black, or a mix of those colors. They are beautiful to see and add some thrilling color and excitement to your fish collection.

How To Train a Goldfish To Do Tricks

The fancy tail variety of goldfish is just as hardy as any other variety. This ensures your investment in fish is safe. They can survive in a wide range of temperatures ranging from almost freezing to tropically warm conditions. They can work great in outdoor ponds in most of the world and easily survive in indoor conditions anywhere.

Keep in mind as you are considering what goldfish to put on display what size of fish you want. While a fancy tail goldfish is a variety of goldfish, they do not grow nearly as large as their more traditional brothers. Where a standard goldfish may become 12-inch or longer in length a fancy tail goldfish rarely exceeds 6-inch long. This smaller size makes them ideal for your indoor aquariums, and still large enough to use in many outdoor ponds.

Fantail goldfish require a food which contains vegetable material in order to sustain proper health. For an outdoor pond, you can include natural plant life, which the goldfish can use to supplement their diet.

One other item you should consider is whether you want your goldfish to spawn. If you want them to lay eggs and have the chance of reproduction you will need to give them a layer of small gravel stones on the bottom of the tank or pond. This is their natural habitat for reproduction, and without it, they will not attempt to reproduce.

You will need to decide if you are going to be highly selective about your fancy tail goldfish or not. The highest quality fish are considered to be the ones with the deepest cuts in their fin separations going almost completely to their back. Most of you will probably not be this selective. You are looking to buy fish which look great in your water displays, not fish to use for breeding purposes.

Types of Goldfish – A Fascinating Variety of Fun Goldfish

The best method of selection for you is probably going to be based upon buying a wide selection of colors and varieties of fancy tails. This will give you the most colorful display. You will enjoy watching them swimming, growing, and feeding for many years to come.

Tetra Fish – The Tiny Terrors of the Tank

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When you want to fill an aquarium with variety, fun, and keep the price low there is no better choice than the tiny tetra fish. This family of fish has variety in color, style, and all of them are perfect for an easy to maintain the tank.

One of the best aspects of the tetra fish is their easy care. Almost every variety of tetra is considered a great candidate for beginning hobbyists. They survive well in normal household temperatures of 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit making managing water temperature very easy.

The feeding needs of the tetra fish are equally easy. You can feed them flakes, freeze-dried, or frozen foods and they will do great.

Being a very small fish, with most varieties growing to around 2” in length, they are a great starter fish for tanks starting as small as 10 gallons and going much higher. The fun thing with a larger tank is getting a wide variety of tetra species and mixing them together. This adds color, action, and variety in your tank.

Tetra fish are a very low cost to purchase, too. Almost all tetra start under $5, with many being under $3. This allows you to populate a fish tank quickly and still keep your costs very low.

Here are some of the tetra fish you may want to add to your collection:

Black Phantom Tetra – This tetra sports a very long, tall dorsal fin equalling almost 1/2 of their body length. While their body color is mainly orange, the fins are black. The gill covers are also a beautiful black highlighting the sides of their bodies.

Red Belly X-Ray Tetra – This is one strange looking little tetra. With an almost translucent body and a red underbelly, you almost believe you are seeing right into the interior of the fish. With a large back eye, you may begin thinking your tank is inhabited by ghost fish.

The Glowlight Tetra – The glowlight of this shiny silver tetra is in the form of a pretty neon orange or red stripe racing down their side. The fish are very energetic little swimmers and add a great flash of light and color to the tank.

Bleeding Heart Tetra – One of the larger tetras at 3” long. With a long flowing dorsal fin, whitish body, and a bright red heart right on their sides, they add great beauty to the tank. The eyes are rimmed in red making you imagine their bleeding heart has caused red eyes and tears to enter the tank.

Red Minor Tetra – If you love large flowing, soft fins and tails the Red Minor is the tetra for you. With their orange to red colors, black flowing fins, and fluttering tails they are one of the prettiest fish in the tetra family.

Fish Keeping – The Art of Maintaining A Great Aquarium

Tetra fish include a wide variety of colors and body shapes. You can have a tank filled with interest and fun all on a very low budget. Along with the beauty comes one of the easiest to maintain families of fish you will ever find.