Abide by these do nots and avoid getting wound up with unnecessary problems in the future.

1. Using detergents to clean your aquarium

Do not use detergents or soaps or anything that may contain oil in it to clean the insides of your tank. If you want to clean the aquarium before putting your water and fish, you should do that with tap water, any remnants of detergents or soaps can be fatal.

2. Placing your tank near a direct source of sunlight

Keep you aquarium away from sunlight sources such as Windows, balcony etc. Don’t get me wrong, natural sunlight is great but, for algae. Natural sunlight will help the algae proliferate which would be detrimental to your aquarium. So unless you want algae to grow everywhere in your tank, it’s best to keep your aquarium away from sunlight.

If at all your aquarium is near direct sunlight, use a back chart paper to cover the side facing the sunlight. hgj

3. Use a water conditioner before using tap water for your tank. 

The water chemistry in your tank is different from the chemistry of tap water. Chlorine may be present in tap water which is caustic and it would harm your fish. Using a water conditioner will ensure that the apposite parameters are met, and help neutralize any heavy metals or other contaminants.

4. Adding all the fishes at once

Do not add all the fishes at the same time as it will lead to an ammonia spike which is created basically because your filter isn’t able to handle the waste of all your new fishes as it takes a while for the beneficial bacteria to grow to the level that can sustain those many fishes. Start off by adding a few fishes at a time so that their waste does not get accumulated over a period of time and in turn will be harmful for them.

5. Know the size of the adult fish

Do not overlook the adult size of the fish you want for your aquarium.. Some fishes that are barely one or two inches can grow up to a size of two feet. Having large fishes in aquariums that are not suitable for them can result to stunted growth and even death. Therefore it is important to buy appropriately sized fish as per your aquarium dimensions.

6. Turn off the aquarium light

Do not leave the light in the aquarium on all the time as it can lead to growth of unsolicited algae and a few fishes (for example diurnal fish) use lighting as a signal to when they should be awake and when they should be asleep. If they don’t sleep, they will get distressed which will weaken their immune system. Turn it on when you wake up and turn it off before going to bed or if you think you’ll forget, keep a timer.

Generally keep a photo period of 6-8 hours based on your convenience, and daily switch on/off at the same time. Ensure that when your aquarium lights are off, the room too has ambient lighting otherwise switching off will not solve the purpose.

7. Putting your hands inside the aquarium

Rinse your hands thoroughly before putting them inside the aquarium. This is extremely important as any kind of sanitizer, moisturizer, perfume, hand wash or anything on your hand that will get into the tank along with your hands shall be absorb by water, and has the potential to affect your fish as well as the aquarium ecosystem. It is highly recommended to rinse your hands thoroughly with tap water before carrying out any maintenance activities.

8. Have a schedule for maintenance 

Do not ignore maintenance. Develop a maintenance schedule. Maintenance activities need to be followed and carried out timely and meticulously. Make sure you change the water in the aquarium, feed your fishes, clean the filters, etc. That’s what differentiates  a healthy aquarium from a toxic one. Do not change a lot of water as it will disrupt the water chemistry.

9. Cleaning the filter and doing a water change on the same day

This is one of the common mistakes that people make- cleaning your filter and changing the water on the same day. Make sure they’re done at least in a gap of three days. When you do a water change, you slightly unsettle the water chemistry and remove some beneficial bacteria. When you clean your filter, you remove more beneficial bacteria. If both the activities are done at the same time, you will remove a lot of beneficial bacteria  which will lead to ammonia spike which can be very threatening for your aquarium. Also, when you are cleaning your biological filter, do not clean it with tap water as they contain chlorine and chloramines which will kill beneficial bacteria that, instead, rinse it with tank water.

10. Be a responsible aquarium owner

This point is very important when it comes to being a responsible aquarium owner. Do not dump the fish, plants, water or any other livestock from your aquarium into local ponds, lakes or any other water bodies as it will create havoc for the environment and will potentially alter or wipe out an ecosystem. By doing so you will avoid a multitude of problems that can have disastrous effects on the environment- for example, you could be introducing a new species of bacteria or some type of disease to your local wildlife which can oust an entire species!

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