Most of us have an idea of the type of fish we’d like in our aquariums, but it’s vital to understand a few things before buying fish.
If you’re starting a new aquarium, hold back to start with and add only a small number of fish.
We’d recommend you add a Fast Filter Start to the water as the filter starts to mature. (see – What's your filter for). It’s also worth doing this whenever you add new fish to an existing aquarium.
Choose the right fish for your aquarium; think about how big the fish will grow and whether they’ll get along with existing fish.
Bear in mind where your new fish will swim in the aquarium; there are fish that prefer to live at the top, middle or bottom of the aquarium. Keep a good mix of fish for all-round interest. See – Which fish swim where?
You can keep more than just fish in an aquarium. Shrimps and snails add interest, colour and movement, and can be helpful in keeping your aquarium clean.
When buying your fish, choose them from a reputable aquatics retailer – always choose bright, healthy and active specimens.
Take your new fish straight home. Staying in a bag for longer than necessary will cause them stress. The sooner they are settled in their new home, the better.
Once home, turn off the aquarium lights, open the top of the bag, roll down the sides and float the bag on the water for about 20-30 minutes. After this time, add a little of the aquarium water to the bag. Keep on doing this, on and off, for about 5-10 minutes. This helps the fish get used to the new water conditions. Finally, release your new additions by tipping the bag on its side and pouring the contents into the tank. Check there are no fish caught in the bag.
Leave the lights off for another hour to let the new residents settle in. Keep a close eye on your new buddies; make sure they have settled in and aren’t being bullied by the other fish.
Take care with feeding. Feeding additional fish puts extra pressure on the filtration. Bacteria in the filter need to multiply to cope with the extra waste from the new additions so feed sparingly for the first few days and add a filter starter treatment such as Fast Filter Start. (see – Understanding the nitrogen cycle?).
Feed carefully and ensure all food is eaten; uneaten food should be scooped out with a fish net.