Ten Golden Rules of Fishkeeping
There are many things to learn in fish keeping, and it can seem like an uphill struggle, but finding out more should be part of the enjoyment of keeping fish. These 'top ten' golden rules should give any fish keeper a good start and avoid some of the common problems seen time and time again.
1. Don't over-feed your fish
The biggest cause of most problems encountered by new fish keepers (and often experienced ones) is over feeding. An aquarium is a 'closed' environment, so whatever goes in the water becomes part of the environment your fish are living in. Food breaks down into pollutants that are toxic to your fish, releases phosphates which encourage algae, and contributes to general waste matter, which makes the aquarium look unsightly and can encourage disease. Overfeed your fish, and the resulting increase in waste will have a detrimental effect on your water quality, causing fish to become ill, and will encourage algae and general debris, making the tank look unsightly.
As a general guide, your fish should eat everything given to them in about a minute, any food sinking to the bottom before it is eaten or left over after a minute and you are overfeeding your fish. Bottom dwelling scavengers or algae eating fish are the exception to this guide, since they will need sinking foods like wafers, and whilst they will take longer to feed, they should still eat everything in a short period. In a new establishing tank, it is best to feed just once a day, but this can be increased after a few months to follow the 'little and often' rule of feeding. Introducing a 'rest' day once a week when no feeding takes place can also help to keep your fish healthy and encourage them to search for food.