People often blame the retailer when newly purchased fish die, yet the old fish live. The problem, though, is usually with the aquarium, not the fish.
It is not uncommon for aquarium fish to die. It is an unfortunate part of the hobby that every aquarist must experience. When newly purchased fish continually die, and there seems to be nothing wrong with the other aquarium inhabitants, the hobbyist usually becomes suspicious of the retailer who sold them the fish. More often than not, though, it is the water quality of the hobbyists aquarium that is to blame.
One of the basic tenets of the aquarium hobby is keeping water parameters at certain levels. The ph, ammonia, and nitrite levels must be kept within an acceptable range for fish to survive. In actuality, though, aquarium fish can be surprisingly adaptable to deteriorating water conditions. As the water quality deteriorates over time, for example, the ph slowly changes or the ammonia levels creep up, the fish already in the aquarium have a chance to adapt to the deteriorating water.
The newly purchased fish, though, have gone from one set of water parameters new conditions that are drastically different. Since the new fish have not had the benefit of being able to adapt to the slowly deteriorating water conditions as the old fish have, they go into shock, and die. The trauma of going from a store tank to a home aquarium is hard enough on a fish, without them having to adapt to a completely different water chemistry. The new fish aren’t exactly fish out of water, but think of them as fish in completely different water, which is almost as bad. So what can the hobbyist do to prevent their new fish from dying?
Test Your Water Before a New Fish Purchase
Many people assume that if their aquarium water was good once, it will stay that way forever. Nothing could be further from the truth. An aqaurist should always test the aquarium water regularly, and especially before a new fish purchase. Most aquarium livestock retailers will be happy to test their customer’s water for them, free of charge. If you don’t have a home test kit, take advantage of this free service.
Carry Out Regular Maintenance
One of the most important aspects of owning a home aquarium is performing routine maintenance. At least once a month, some of the water should be changed and the gravel siphoned. This will ensure that the fish waste trapped in the gravel won’t raise the ammonia levels in the tank and degrade the water quality. It is wise to purchase new aquarium fish just after routine maintenance has been performed.
Use Beneficial Bacteria Supplements
The most important part of setting up an aquarium is ensuring that the biological filter is working. Having a good biological filter in an aquarium means that there are plenty of beneficial bacteria cultures in the tank to brake down and remove harmful waste products from the water. Adding a bacterial supplement when new fish are added will ensure that the biological filter is ready to handle the larger amount of waste that a new fish will produce in the tank. Tetra’s new Safestart aqurium supplement with patented Bio-spira bacteria works so well, that new fish can be added to an aquarium instantly.
It is never a pleasant experience to watch fish die in a home aquarium. Even though many retailers will sell inferior aquarium fish to hobbyists, the home aquarist should still take every precaution to ensure their aquarium, and the creatures in it, are healthy. Before pointing the finger at the retailer when new aquarium purchases die, the hobbyist should make sure everything is fine with their own aquarium.