Are you looking for a rewarding hobby for your kids that brings a bit of nature into your home? Then how about an aquarium? While there are many great reasons for owning an aquarium, I’m going to share with you two great reasons for having one, and how you can go about setting one up in your home.
My family has always been animal lovers for as long as I can remember. While I’ve always had dogs and cats growing up, my kids have been asking for a freshwater tank for quite some time. We’ve had fishbowls where we’ve cared for a betta or the occasional goldfish, but having an actual tank where we would be caring for more than one fish was entirely out of my element. I had no idea what I was doing or how to go about doing it the right way.
Thankfully the guys at API Fish Care are professionals and experts in everything fish. They’ve been in the industry for close to 60 years, and they develop and manufacture hundreds of quality products to help people create and enjoy their underwater worlds. With their help, I was able to choose a tank that worked for my family. I was able to set it up the correct way the first time so that we could enjoy our new fish family for years to come.
So if you’re contemplating having an aquarium for your kids, but are having doubts, here are two great reasons to get one now, and tips on how you can set it up correctly the first time as well.
Kids are always asking questions, and how about a little science. For those who are homeschooling or even if you aren’t, it’s a great way to introduce aquatic life (zoology) to kids. While you may be fencing questions such as “Do fish sleep?”, “How do they breathe?”, these are all great ways to get them learning. But besides the “life of a fish,” kids can learn about the underwater life components such as bacteria (chemistry) and so much more.
While owning a fish pet may seem as though it’s the easiest pet to take care of, there are still responsibilities involved. Sure, you don’t have to walk your fish; however, you’re still going to need to feed your fish and clean its tank.
How to Set Up an Aquarium and What You’ll Need to Start in 5 Simple Steps
1. GET THE RIGHT SIZE TANK WITH A LIGHT
While fish bowls are great for a single goldfish or a betta fish when you’re thinking of getting a community of fish, the rule of thumb is generally 1 gallon of water per inch of fish. A great starting size of 10-20 gallons is excellent for starting out as the bigger the tank, the more you can add, but don’t add too much as too many fish can also cause problems.
2. WASH AND ADD GRAVEL OR ROCKS
You’re going to need gravel or rocks for the bottom of your tank. There are many varieties so you can choose the one that suits you best. However, before adding your gravel, and other decors that you may add to your tank, wash them thoroughly with warm water. Do not use soap or detergents as those can be toxic to your fish. Simply stir your gravel and drain in a colander until the water runs clear and is clear of debris.
3. ADD WATER AND ½ DOSAGE API® STRESS COAT
Fill your tank with room temperature water about halfway. Since you’ll more than likely be using your tap to fill your tank, you’re going to need to also add API® STRESS COAT. While chlorine may be good for you, it’s not good for your fish. API® STRESS COAT water conditioner makes your tap water safe for your fish by removing chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals from your tap water. It also contains Aloe Vera, known for its healing powers, to help reduce fish stress by up to 40% and to heal damaged tissues and wounds. Follow the directions on the label for proper measurements with the size of your tank.
4. ADD YOUR DECOR INCLUDING PLASTIC PLANTS, HEATER, THERMOMETER, FILTER, AND PUMP
Now it’s time to add your decor, including your plastic plants, your submersible heater, thermometer, filter, and pump. You can place your decor to hide any tubes or equipment placed in your tank. Be sure to place your thermometer away from your heater so that you don’t get a false reading. Tropical fishes need to be kept at around 76º and 78ºF.
5. ADD THE REST OF THE WATER, API® AQUARIUM SALT, API® QUICK START, and the OTHER ½ API® STRESS COAT
Once you’ve added your decor, set up your filter, heater, etc., it’s now time to add the rest of your water and the other half of your API® STRESS COAT. You’re also going to need to add your API® AQUARIUM SALT. Don’t let the word salt fool you, it’s great for your tropical fish body functions. Also, add API® QUICK START as this immediately starts the natural aquarium cycle with beneficial bacteria, which helps to make the water safe for your fish, allowing you to set up and use your new tank immediately without any loss of fish.
Now it’s time to add your fish!
When choosing your fish, choose fish that are community fishes that will get along.
If you want to be sure that your aquarium water is safe for your fish, then they also recommend the API® 5-IN-1 TEST STRIPS which helps you measure the water parameters of the fish and is as simple as dipping a strip into your aquarium and comparing the colors to the color chart provided.
You’re also going to want food to feed your fish. API® TROPICAL FLAKES is made specifically for your tropical fishes. API® TROPICAL FLAKES is a complete balanced food for your tropical fish to grow and function and maintain their strength. While your fish may look hungry, it’s recommended that you only feed your fish twice a day in small amounts that they can eat in about 3-5 minutes.
Once every two weeks, you’ll need to clean your tank. Drain your tank down about 25%, clean the gravel, then fill it back up again. At this time, you’re going to want to use another dose of API STRESS COAT and API AQUARIUM SALT to kickstart the tank once again. If you notice that you’re having problems with your water being too cloudy (you may be overfeeding your fish) or with algae, API has two great products, API® ACCU-CLEAR or API ALGAEFIX that can help.
For more help on how to set up your tank and all that you’re going to need to start your aquamarine adventure, visit apifishcare.com.