Adding New Fish Gives You More Friends To Love

Adding new fish to your aquarium is a fun process of learning about your little friends and giving them a new home. Careful planning and attention to how additions affect your aquarium system will give you the best results.

Making New Friends One Little Buddy At A Time

In the early days of your new aquarium, you have created an eco-system that sustains the water quality of your fish tank. When this is a stable and largely self sustaining system, you are ready for some new friends.

Before buying a new fish, you should learn about it. Below are some factors to take into account when making your choice.

  • Size Learn how big your new friend will get. You, of course, want to get a smaller fish to lessen the bio-load on your new aquarium, but you need to know how big he will get. Fish always start out tiny, the size of ants in may cases, and they are usually sold as juveniles. Your juvenile friend, like a puppy, will grow to be an adult while under your care. Be careful not to put a St. Bernard in a little apartment.
  • Compatibility Many fish don't play well with others. Find out if your new fish is going to be territorial over the entire tank or if he just carves out a micro-habitat for his new home. Cichlids, in particular, require research in this area because many of them can become quite aggressive.
  • Behavior Some fish may have a behavior that you don't like. Learn about when a fish is most active. You may not want a fish that prefers dark conditions because they will hide when you have your lights on and you will never see them. Also, there are fish that you cannot put in a fish tank that has a lot of plants. They might like to root them up and ruin your landscaping!

Doing a little online research can go a long way in developing your fish population into a happy active aquarium when it comes to adding new fish. Take the extra time to learn about your new friends before you buy them.

Also, remember that you don't want to make to many changes to your aquarium system at once. Your water quality and fish health will suffer if you do. In a new aquarium, you should only add one fish at a time and wait a week before adding another one. Test your water quality in between to watch for any spikes that indicate the biological filtration system is being stressed. Treat any spike with a reduction by half in the amount of food that you put into the tank.

Is There A Procedure For Adding Fish To My Aquarium?

Yes. There is a way to add fish to your new aquarium, or an established aquarium, that will cause as little stress as possible to them and the aquatic friends you already have. Here are some things you can do before you begin adding new fish to your aquarium.

  • Make sure you have excellent water quality before adding new fish. This will reduce the stress on your new friend and absorb the additional bio-load he will produce when he arrives.
  • Provide plenty of hiding spots for your friends with aquarium decorations, plants, and placement of aquarium equipment. Often a new fish will dart for cover until he figures out what is going on.
  • Feed the other fish in the aquarium before you adding a new fish. This tends to make your friends, that are already in your aquarium, less aggressive. A hungry fish will tend to be more territorial.
  • Move your decorations around to confuse the fish that are already in the aquarium. When your new friend is added, he won't be the only one without a micro-habitat. This trick puts all the fish on the same footing when establishing territory.
  • If you have an established aquarium, more than six months of good water quality, then add up to three fish at a time. This will lessen the likelihood of a single new fish being bullied by the fish that are already in your fish tank.

Doing a little behavioral adjustment on the fish that are already in your aquarium may sound mean, but it works out well for everyone when adding new fish. Fish can injure each other when fighting and you want to discourage them from being aggressive as much as possible.

As far as adding a new fish goes, the following steps insure lower stress on the new guy and help protect your water quality.

  1. Turn off the aquarium lights.
  2. Dim the lights in the room. The fish can see you and your shadow. Quick movements frighten them and this will help lessen the impact of that.
  3. Float the transport bag in the aquarium for about 15-20 minutes. This helps the fish adjust to the temperature of the water in your aquarium.
  4. Open the transport bag and use a small cup to put some of your aquarium's water in the bag. Reseal the bag and let it float in the aquarium water for another 5-10 minutes. This allows your new friend time to adjust to your aquarium's water. Each aquarium has a different chemical makeup and fish are sensitive to that.
  5. Open the bag and use a small fishnet to catch your new friend. Quickly transfer him to your aquarium. Then remove the bag, with the water still in it, and discard the water in the sink. Don't put the water in the bag into your aquarium because you have no idea what is in it from the store. You don't want to spread disease. (Ideally, you would have a seperate aquarium to quarentine your new friend for observation, but as a new aquarist you probably only have one fish tank.)
  6. Leave the lights off in your aquarium for at least two hours while your new friend gets used to your aquarium. Most tropical fish tend to be more calm in low light. This will also help with existing fish being aggressive.

As I stated above, don't add more than one fish if your aquarium system is younger than six months old. Do water quality testing everyday for a week and then you may be in a position to add another new friend.

Adding new fish can be fun because it changes the entire dynamic of the tank. Older fish may change their behavior patterns and you will see new things happening.

For more information on adding new fish, check out Wikipedia's Fishkeeping page.

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PetSmart - Fish