In the past few years we have been able to coach a lot of people both newbies and experienced fish keepers and aquascapers alike into this hobby. There is a lot of misinformation that is around and we wanted to set the record straight.
I am honoured to have worked with customers like one of my customer, Ali in the development of this FAQ. I hope that it will be a benefit to everyone as well and please if you have a question and need an answer to please message me through Facebook.
I just bought my fish and less than 24 hours they have already died. What did I do wrong?
Let's be frank, We don't sell fish that is unhealthy it is against our policy.
If a fish dies within 24 hours consider the following:
1. How long has your tank been running for? If it is only been running for an hour and you are using cold water to fill the tank and also not using Seachem Prime and Seachem Stability you are putting the fish in shock. Not only from the chlorine in the water but the sudden drop in temperature. This will mean a high degree in deaths or the chlorine can literally burn the gills of the fish.
2. Are you restocking your tank? If you have a brand new tank and you overstock it it's like asking your family, your parents, your siblings and cousins to live in the smallest room (bathroom) in the house. Without adequate food, ventilation or space the well being of yourself and your loved one will degrade badly. When you overstock a tank too quickly this is the type of scenario you are bringing in.
3. The third and crucial reason why fish will die is because of stress. Yes its sad to hear but moving fish is stressful for them and there might be stress related factors..just like humans that can kill them from no apparent reason.
How much water to fill in the tank?
This is a matter of personal preference. However, consider having your tank 80 - 90% full. Keep a bit off the top to allow proper gas exchange to occur.
How long should I have the tank running for before adding in fish?
The hobby will teach patience, persistence and proactivity.
It usually takes 6 weeks for the tank to be ready. This is because it takes this long for the bacteria to grow and kick start the nitrogen cycle.
You can most certainly help it by adding Seachem Stability.
Also consider adding a single fish such as a Danio to really kick start the cycle.
What treatments needed before adding the fish?
Check out how we do it here
Do I need a heater for my aquarium?
This is dependent of where in the world you are.
If you live in Sydney then yes a heater is vital to be successful in the hobby. During the summer months the temperatures will be quite warm and it is not as crucial but during the other months like Spring, Autumn or Winter you do need a heater.
What tests need to be carried out on the water and how often?
The basic tests for an aquarium are the following:
pH - pH stands for Parameter Hydrogen - it is measured on how basic or acidic you water is. Most of the fish in our shop lives between 6-7.5. We recommend you use the following test kit
Ammonia/ Ammonium - NH3/ NH4 is basically fish pee. And being freshwater fish they will need to keep on excreting Ammonia. Ammonia in the water is highly toxic to fish..just imagine keeping your pee and poo in your bedroom while you sleep, in your dining room when you eat. It's not healthy. Ammonia however is easily detectable due to the fowl smell and cloudiness in the water. Your fish will also always be on the surface. To fix this you need to do an emergency 90% water change and monitor your tank. Usually this happens because you overstock your tank. To test it consider using the following Test Kit
Nitrite - NO2 Nitr (I) te with an I is a transitory stage of the Nitrogen Cycle - it is a reaction of Ammonia when bacteria breaks it down to Nitrites in the Aerobic Stage of the cycle. Nitrite is usually quite transitory and it is the 'midway' point for your fish. In new tanks where you can get new tank syndrome. You don't necessarily need to test it.
Nitrates - NO3 Nitr (A) te with an A is the final stage of the Nitrogen Cycle. It is produced from Anerobic Bacteria in your tank. It is the last component of your tank. When you detect Nitrates it means that your tank is finally cycled. You can use the following test kit for it.
Please note that you should be changing your water on a weekly basis to remove nitrates. Nitrates is a slow poison for your fish and to get rid of it is to change water.
When do you need to test? Every time you do a water change is the best way to do it.
There are ways to cut the time though.
Consider using JBL Proscan or the JBL Master Test Kit. We recommend JBL because of the accuracy of the Nitrate component of the test kit.