A lot of debris and gunk that builds on the walls, plants, and gravel in an aquarium is from overfeeding or fish flakes that sink and never get discovered, thus turning your beautiful aquatic habitat into a murky reddish mess. Well, put on your dinner jacket, because we’ve found a nice table setting for your finned family members.
I had noticed that when I fed my fish, the flakes would swirl around from the pull of the filter, even though I was adding them to the opposite corner of the aquarium. The fish were swimming their tails off to catch some grub, with a lot of it getting sucked into the filter. First, I bought a lighter motor, even after reading that I had the perfect one for my size aquarium. I would just feel bad for them having to chase their food – I know what you’re thinking, but hey, they’re domesticated. We need to give them an easy, posh life. So, I started researching the matter and came upon a ring that suctions to the side of the tank, near the top. For less than $5, it keeps the food contained within it’s circle, occasionally releasing a flake here and there, that gently falls to the gravel, unless your fish are as fast as mine and snatch it up. It took a couple weeks for them to feel comfortable swimming up to it to feast. They’d wait for the occasional flake to fall, then I, feeling sorry for them, would poke the flakes to fall down for them. These days, when they see me approach, they swim right up to the ring like they’re picking up a greasy bag from a drive thru window.
Fish are little zen masters that bring a calm to the home. I’ve kept a simple, 10 gallon aquarium the entirety of my adult life. And while some people think it’s a lot of upkeep, they aren’t being patient. Yes, the first couple weeks, one swimmer might not make it overnight. That’s expected. Once you get the hang of how much to feed them – imagine the size of their tiny stomachs, then cut way back on that handful of flakes. Avoid putting the tank in direct or semi-sunlight, as this instantly grows algae. Keep live plants to promote oxygen, and use a quality filter. You don’t have to spend a lot on the fish or the setup. I’ve had feeder fish – the type some buy to feed to larger fish (yikes!), live to grow 4-5 inches in a freshwater tank. Isn’t all water fresh? Well, this means that you don’t add anything except basic pH drops every now and then if your water gets cloudy. I keep a jug of distilled water and add it occasionally, when the water gets low. Saltwater aquariums require a lot of extra care and things can get costly. My tank stays clean, clear, and while I lost one of my three fish in the first couple weeks, the current ones are thriving.
Fish are good luck in some cultures. Keeping them in the bathroom, kitchen, or bedroom is bad luck. I’d say the only downfall to having an aquarium in the home, is the guilt you feel saying “I just got back from the new sushi place around the corner and…”. Just don’t. What happens at the sushi spot, stays at the sushi spot.
Fish do have feelings. They are interactive and very smart. Once you get them a feeder ring, you’ll see how they know where to find their din-din, and you can start to add sports equipment to their tank to burn off the fish flake calories. Yes, fish play sports with balls and goals and stuff. That’ll be another discussion.