Aquarium Maintenance

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Fish are a popular choice for many Australians, with over 20 million fish being kept as pets across Australia in 2007i,ii. If you own fish, properly maintaining your aquarium is essential to keep them happy and healthy.

It's no surprise that keeping fish as pets is a great hobby for many Australians. In fact, the sale of fish as pets contributes $350 million to the Australian economy each yeariii. It is important, however to know the specific needs of your fish and how to maintain their aquarium, since owners often see fish as low maintenance pets and can be unaware of how to prevent pet fish from sufferingiv.

20 million fish are kept as pets in Australia.

Just like with other pets such as cats and dogs, different fish have different needs. When buying your fish, find out how they should be kept, for example what food they need, whether they can live with other fish, and what water temperature they require to live in at the pet storeiii,v.

Replace the water and maintain its temperature

Replace approximately a third of your aquarium's water once a monthiii. Tap water may contain certain chemicals that can make your fish ill, so it's recommended to use a water conditioner, available at your local pet storeiii. Unsatisfactory water quality, particularly in small aquariums, can cause diseases, breathing difficulties and death for your fishiv, so you need to make sure that your aquarium water is always clean. Try to keep the water temperature constant by setting up your aquarium away from sources of draughts such as open windows or doors, and direct sunlightv.

Adequate filtration

Fish waste can contaminate the water in your aquarium, so you should ensure that you have a functioning high quality filtration systemv. Ask your local pet store for a filter that is the correct size for your aquarium. Remember that the filter may become clogged, so it's important to clean it regularly.

Remove diseased fish and other waste

Fish that are ill can contaminate other pet fish quickly, so be sure to remove them from the aquarium and take them to your vet if you suspect your fish are illiii. Remove excess food and waste with a net every second dayv to keep the tank clean and your fish healthy and happy.

Make sure your aquarium is an adequate size to prevent your fish suffering from overcrowding and stress.

Aquarium size and decoration

Ensure your aquarium is an adequate size to prevent your fish suffering from stressiv. Although there are no bans on smaller tanks - such as the classic fish bowl - in Australia, it's advised that these types are avoided to allow your fish to have enough space for them to live comfortablyiv. Also, don't overcrowd your aquarium as it can increase the risk of pollution, disease and aggression problems between the fishiii. Keep your fish's environment well decorated to prevent boredom and lack of stimulationiv.

Following these tips and consulting with your pet store and vet can help your fish live a long and happy life. Maintaining your aquarium is essential to keep your fish healthy, bringing delight to you and your family.

iRSPCA 2014, How many pets are there in Australia? , viewed 12 April 2014," rel="nofollow

iiAustralian Companion Animal Council 2007, Australians and their Pets: The Facts, viewed 12 April 2014,

iiiDepartment of Primary Industries, New South Wales Government 2014, Management of aquarium ("ornamental") fish, viewed 12 April 2014,

ivAnimals Australia 2014, Fish & Crustaceans Fact Sheet, viewed 12 April 2014,

vEllis, S 2013,'Maintaining a Healthy Fish Tank', Global Animal, 6 May, viewed 12 April 2014,