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Keeping Pet Fish

Keeping Pet Fish
Fish can be readily kept as pets both indoors and outdoors in temperate climates, or indoors in cooler regions. The types kept will depend on such things as their availability, cost, climate (if kept outdoors), equipment available, and local laws (e.g. the keeping of certain fish may be prohibited in some areas).

If you are considering purchasing fish for pets there are some important considerations to be made:

• Inside/Outside – some climates and fish species are not ideal for outside fish ponds. If you have a large bird population a fish in a pond may become their food source. This may also be a problem if you have a number of cats in your immediate area. In many localities there are strict fencing regulations even for shallow ponds, to prevent accidental drowning of small children.

• Hot/Cold water – different species will have different temperature requirements. Most tropical fish will require a heated tank, while other fish need cold water and will not survive in heated environments. There is a cost issue for heating and your tank must have a lid to prevent the heater burning out.

• Number of fish – you will need to ensure your tank is large enough for the number of fish you want, and aerating and heating larger tanks will be more difficult and more expensive

• Types of fish – not all fish are compatible, some will prey on smaller fish, some are aggressive (Angelfish) and some, like Siamese fighting fish must be kept solitary.

• Time/Cost – initially you will need to purchase a tank, gravel for the bottom, possibly some plants or something for the fish to hide/play in and for some fish heaters and/or aerators. You will also need food and water balancers for each time you change the tank water. A gravity vacuum device is useful for draining tank water. Then there is the cost of each fish and the time you need to feed them each day and change their tank water each week.

• Size – many fish that are purchased young still have growing to do. Ensure you are aware of the average size to which your fish will grow.

The types of fish suitable for pets can be categorised as follows:
• Cold Water
• Tropical
• Marine

Cold Water
These prefer a water temperature around 22oC, and pH close to neutral, or slightly alkaline.
For every 2 litres of water, you can keep up to 1cm in length of fish. The most commonly kept freshwater fish are Goldfish. Goldfish come in various types, including: Comets, Fan Tails, Black Moors, Calico and Shubunkin.

These are generally kept at around 25oC. The water pH should be 6.8 to 7, and you should avoid using hard water.

For every 1 litres of water, you can keep up to 1cm in length of fish.

Common Tropical Fish include:

• Live Bearers - Guppies, Mollies, Swords, Platys
• Tetras - Neons, Harlequins, Head Lights, Tail Lights, Glow Lights
• Catfish - Corydoras, Plecostomus
• Rasboras - Harlequins, Scissor Tails
• Barbs - Tiger Barbs, Cherry Barbs, Rosy Barbs
• Cichlids - Angel Fish, Discus, Firemouths
• Gouramis - Blue Gouramis, Gold Gouramis, Three Spot, Dwarf, Pearl, Moonlight

These are fish which occur naturally in salt water. They are kept at varying temperatures, according to the types being kept. The water they are kept in may be natural, or synthesised If natural seawater is collected, it is important to use a non corrosive, clean container. Marine fish are particularly sensitive to high levels of nitrate or copper in the water. The density of marine fish should be based on no more than 1cm of fish length for every 10 litres of water. They are often more expensive to purchase than other fish.

Marine fish which are commonly kept include:
• Anemone Fish
• Batfish
• Black Tail Dascyllas
• Cherubfish
• Butterfly fish
• Angelfish (various types)
• Lion Fish
• Moorish Idol
• Royal Gramma
• Sea Horse
• Squirrel Fish
• Yellow Tang
• Wrasse (various types)

Marine aquariums sometimes also keep sea anemones, starfish and other marine life.

For More Information on Fish:

See our Marine Animals ebook -click for details

See our Aquarium Management Correspondence Course -click for details

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