Successful aquarium management is based on really simple concepts, and when followed, success is almost guaranteed. The common goldfish is an extremely robust pet that should live for ten to twenty years with adequate care.

Nonetheless, we hear several failures, and many people desire to have an aquarium but abstain due to two misconceptions, first, that goldfish are fragile; and second, that an aquarium requires constant maintenance.

The Major Reasons Of Aquarium Failure


Numerous unethical and short-sighted vendors, in order to enhance sales, advocate adding more fish to an aquarium of a given size than is necessary.

Additionally, the novice desires to have as many fish as possible, making this one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome. The correct ratio is one inch of fish per gallon of water.

That means, ten one-inch fish, five two-inch fish, or two five-inch fish might be effectively kept in a ten-gallon aquarium of the standard rectangular design, properly planted, and in good light.

Successful aquarists stick to this guideline, and some of the most exotic and fragile types may require even more water per fish.

If the novice is currently overstocked with fish, some should be discarded or a larger aquarium obtained. If the fish become unhealthy due to overpopulation, it will be impossible to save any of them.

Generally, a partial change of water or the removal of some of the fish will ease the situation. Occasionally, the condition is caused by a decomposing snail or mussel, or by the decomposition of uneaten food.


Many individuals intentionally kill their fish. When the fish appear to be hungry, they are fed. This is a grave error. Food is limited and difficult to obtain in nature.

As a result, the fish must exert themselves in order to obtain it. In the tight limits and artificial circumstances of the domestic aquarium, less food can be digested effectively, since fish, like men, suffer from dyspepsia, but with more severe symptoms and consequences.

Fish should never be fed more than they can ingest in a single feeding. ( This is not true while rearing young fish. )

If there is any food remaining after five minutes, they have been overfed and the excess should be removed using a dip tube.

It is OK to feed daily throughout the summer or at any time when the water temperature is 60 degrees or above.

When the water temperature is between 55 and 60 degrees, every other day is acceptable; when the temperature is between 40 and 55 degrees, feedings separated by around three to six days will maintain them in good health.

A precise scale is difficult to create, in part because young fish may absorb more food than older fish, and in part because the temperature in an aquarium fluctuates during the day.

The preceding scale provides an excellent starting point, to be supplemented with some personal opinion.

Allow me to state that there is almost no danger of starving a fish, as the faults are nearly entirely on the opposite side.

A correspondent once wrote to the author that she had kept a fish for seventeen years and fed it rice wafers once a week throughout that period.

The subject of fish feeding is a tough one to properly impress onto the general audience. When the fish swim coaxingly to the near side of the aquarium, it’s tempting to feed them regardless of whether it’s their meal time or not, but people who like their pets will do them a far greater favour by denying them until their scheduled eating time.

How To Change Aquarium Water

If it becomes essential to change the water for whatever reason, one critical point to remember is to avoid subjecting the fish to any rapid shift in temperature, either higher or lower. This is one of the most common causes of illness and, in some cases, death.

With the preceding parameters properly monitored and followed, there should be no need to replace the water except at infrequent intervals, such as when the aquarium becomes dingy or overloaded with plants.

Aquarists with experience replant around once a year, periodically adding water to compensate for evaporation.

By changing a little portion of the water every few days, the fish are stimulated and presumably benefitted. A volume of between one-fifth and one-tenth of the overall volume should enough.

Even this minor water change is unnecessary if the aquarium is in good shape and not overcrowded. However, it cannot cause harm and may even be beneficial.

In situations of overpopulation, a daily partial water change should be performed, the quantity varying according to the degree of congestion.

Again, some discretion should be exercised.

A sprinkling container is ideal for replenishing the aquarium’s water supply. The tiny streams oxygenate the water effectively and do not disrupt the aquarium’s contents.

When using flowing water, a very little stream will enough. When reintroduced to still water, fish accustomed to running water should be allowed enough space.

Dioxide as a waste of their chemical metabolism. Under the influence of light, plants perform the polar opposite, converting what is toxic to one into life.

This explains why healthy plants are preferred and the term “balanced aquarium,” as a self-maintaining exchange has been formed.

Nonetheless, water absorbs a considerable quantity of oxygen from the surrounding air.

However, the fish consume more oxygen than this method can provide, and if oxygen-liberating plants are not employed, the fish get restless, rise to the surface to breathe the air, and may eventually die of asphyxia unless the water is changed.

The phrase ” balanced aquarium ” is a misnomer, as no aquarium is ever perfectly balanced.

In reality, we always aim for a more active oxygenating ingredient, as excess oxygen dissipates harmlessly into the air, but excess harmful carbon dioxide cannot be readily absorbed by plant life. Perhaps a more accurate term would be “reciprocating aquarium.”

Lack of proper plant life In Your Aquarium

The ability of different plants to produce oxygen varies. It is therefore important to keep this in mind when selecting a planting choices.

Purely aesthetic plants are attractive only when an adequate supply of oxygen-producing plants has been given.

Anacharis, Vallisneria, Sagittaria, Nitella, Bacopa, Fontinalis, Potamogeton, and Ludwigia would be named in the order of their oxygenating abilities.

Insufficient Aquarium lighting

Plants, as previously said, require light to function. Choose a location for the aquarium near a window with good, bright light, preferably one with around two hours of direct sunlight each day.

In warmer weather, it is important to avoid overheating a tiny aquarium in the sun. A temperature range of 50 to 75 degrees F. is considered safe.

The existence of a tiny type of vegetative life floating in the water causes green water. Their growth is typically accelerated by a combination of excessive direct sunshine and a high number of fish in the aquarium.

There are various methods for getting rid of the water. First, change it, add a few fresh-water mussels, reduce the light using tissue paper or other measures, and remove some fish from the aquarium.

To chemically clean the water, add one grain of permanganate of potash (dissolved) to each gallon of aquarium water. This will cause the water to become purple, then brownish, for a few days before clearing up.

However, unless the initial circumstances are altered, the water will quickly turn green again.

Remove all snails and mussels before applying this chemical. Goldfish can resist the suggested strength of the solution and will most likely benefit if infected with fungus.

Green water, while unattractive, is not harmful. On the contrary, transferring a sick fish to a tank with green water is frequently used to heal it. Daphnia will clean the water in a few days if it is alive.

How To Know When The Fishes Are Sick?

The drooping of the dorsal ( back ) fin is the first symptom of discomfort in most fish.

This fin should be carried straight and firm. When a fish is unwell, its movements become slow, and it seeks for a quiet spot to hide.

In some of the more exotic species, the dorsal fin is so overdeveloped that the fish, even when healthy, lacks the power to maintain it erect.

When such fish grow sick, their fins stiffen and lose suppleness. Fins should be distinct and well-defined.

The fish need care when they become thick-looking, opaque, lined with crimson veins, clouded with red, bloodshot at the base of the fins, or ragged and split.

The thinness of the body is another symptom of bad health. Fish feces in good health is generally black in color.

The fish is likely to be out of condition if it is pale, dotted with gas bubbles, and slimy in appearance.

Fishes who are ill. It is always safer to separate a sick fish from its peers.

If the problem is infectious, the aquarium or tank should be carefully cleaned, paying special attention to the plants.

They can be disinfected for all practical purposes by immersing them for one hour in a permanganate of potassium solution ( 3 grains by weight per gallon of water ).

Plants will also provide satisfactory outcomes if they are briefly immersed in concentrated lime water.

Either of these procedures should be used for all new plants brought into the aquarium, particularly those obtained from the wild or aquaria in poor condition.

If an aquarium becomes polluted, it may be disinfected by dissolving it in permanganate of potash at the specified strength and leaving it to stand for two to three hours after removing any mussels, snails, and fish.

It is not harmful to return to clear water if a small amount of the permanganate solution remains.

It is a significant danger to put freshly obtained fishes into an established aquarium of healthy fish unless they originate from a source beyond suspicion.

They should be confined and closely monitored for two weeks, especially if they are imported goldfish. They may have previously been infected with illnesses that are only in the process of incubation but will still develop.

Water Depletion Due to Chemicals The continuous absorption of minerals from water by plants and fish creates a situation that needs be addressed.

This can be accomplished by adding salts on a regular basis. Combine three parts evaporated sea salt (Turk’s Island Salt) and one part Epsom salts.

A level teaspoon full to 20 liters of water once every two or three weeks would be useful. Typically, the fish will avidly consume these salts as they descend to the bottom, acting as a moderate cathartic for them.

The breakdown of plants, for example, creates an acidic environment in the aquarium, which is bad for the fish and produces the majority of the crumbling seen on snail shells.

Any typical acid condition can be neutralized with ten drops of lime water per gallon of aquarium water, but a preferable technique is to maintain a little piece of Plaster of Paris in the aquarium.

It neutralizes the acid while dissolving, but because it only dissolves under acidic circumstances, there is no risk of making the water excessively alkaline.

If the Plaster of Paris dissolves fast, this indicates a very acidic environment. Two weeks is a short time to dissolve a portion half the size of a shell-bark in a 20 gallon aquarium. Pieces of gypsum will serve the same purpose, although at a slower rate.

Pieces of coral, seashells, and so on seem out of place in a fresh-water aquarium, and many of them are hard enough to hurt the fish if they happen to bump against them.

A Word to the Wise. It is far preferable to begin with a few hardier species until the fundamentals of aquarium maintenance are thoroughly established.

If you can keep ordinary goldfishes in great condition with almost no losses, it’s time to move out into more diverse and intriguing breeds.

Some novices, who have more passion than expertise, lose important fish in the start and get disgusted with a hobby that, if correctly understood, would have provided them with many hours of enjoyable amusement.

Aeration. There is always enough plants or air surface in nature to keep the fish adequately supplied with oxygen, but in the aquarium, especially on gloomy days when the plants give out little oxygen, it is hard to keep the fish from rising to the surface.

As the air flows through the water, enough oxygen is absorbed to maintain the fish in good condition at all times. This is also beneficial to the fish at night.

There are several pumps that may be utilized for this purpose.

The air should be released in the smallest bubbles possible. Liberators are produced specifically for this purpose, but a suitable DIY method is to force air through a tube by placing a piece of basswood or other open-grained wood at the end. Allow the liberator to dry out for a day or two if it becomes blocked.

An air pump may also be used to power an aquarium filter or to create a fountain using water other than what is currently in the aquarium.


Scavengers, Frog Tadpoles are the best, and those kinds of snails that do not damage the plants, must be introduced to get rid of offal and waste materials in general.

When not overfed, they clean the glass of the green covering of Algae, the minute water plants, however they are not unpleasant because they are one of the fishes’ natural meals.

Aquarium Covers

It’s a common misconception that full access to air in the aquarium is important for the fish’s well-being, but this isn’t true, especially if there’s a lot of plant growth.

A quarter-inch-high glass cover encourages more lush plant growth, maintains the surface of the water clear of dust or bubbles, stops things from unintentionally falling into the aquarium, protects the fish from leaping out, and our buddy the cat from fishing in. Wire gauze, properly fastened, can be used for the latter.

When it comes to tropical fish, the glass cover should sit directly over the aquarium or jar, with no gaps.

This raises the temperature of the water by a few degrees. Several tropical fishes may also leap through a very small hole.

This is most likely to happen when they are first placed in an aquarium or when they are otherwise agitated.

As the mating season approaches, our wild native fishes have an increased inclination to leap; the single-tail goldfish shares this trait.

How To Arrange An Aquarium

The aquarium should be placed on a stable support, such as a stand, table, or shelf, preferably facing a northern or north-eastern exposure in the summer, while in the winter it should be placed to receive two or three hours of sunlight daily, preferably in the morning, as the aquarium must receive adequate lighting or failure will occur.

If used inside, it should be positioned near a window or beneath a skylight to allow in daylight and sunlight while avoiding direct exposure to the sun’s rays during the hot summer months.

The greatest results will be obtained when the light is such that it stimulates plant development without causing significant fluctuations in the temperature of the water.

The position near a window also allows for necessary ventilation and aeration; the slight draught, even when the window is closed, protects against an excess of coal or illuminating gases and tobacco smoke; and in warm weather, it will moderate the temperature of the water if direct sunlight is avoided.

Aquarium Equipment

Cleanliness is the unbreakable rule in aquarium equipment and upkeep.

The inside should be washed with water, the glass wiped with table salt, either on the fingertips or a soft cloth, and then thoroughly rinsed; neither soap or alkaline chemicals, nor any greasy or filthy vessel, should be used.

Fill the bottom with two inches of well-washed sand or grit (small pebbles) and cover with tiny or bigger stones; this depth is required for optimal plant roots.

Following that, the plants should be arranged, and for the indoor aquarium, the best oxygen generators, Sagittaria, Cabomba, Vallisneria, Nitella, Potamogeton, and Ludwigia, should be planted in natural groups, interspersed with a few slips of Anacharis and Fontinalis, to enhance the effect; considerable opportunity being afforded for the display of individual taste either by arr

These will grow all year and flourish indoors; therefore, to provide shade from too much light, they should be placed towards the window, leaving an open area on the inner side for the fishes to disport themselves.

Most attractive water gardens may be made if closely clustered, each type slightly by itself.

Planting is usually done directly in the sand or grit, with the lower ends of the plants covered and weighted with pebbles, but it is preferable to plant in low flower pots or dishes that have been filled with a little clean earth or pond mud and covered with pebbles so that the plants are not uprooted when the sand and grit are removed and cleaned.

Sagittaria and Vallisneria should be planted deeply so that the runners are covered; the others can be put in sand or grit without roots, as with some of the plants, or they will grow without roots.

Last, add bunches of Cabomba, Anacharis, and other plants. These must be weighted down with lead or tin wire scraps.

When filling the aquarium, it is a good idea to lay a piece of paper in the center of the aquarium and allow the water strike it.

The plants will not be significantly harmed as a result of this approach. The use of a watering pitcher for filling will also help to keep the vegetation from being disturbed.

Allow the aquarium to stand for at least a day before introducing the fish, but a week is preferable so that the plants may become active in time to be of actual value to the fish.

A few bigger pebbles sprinkled over the top and brook-worn stones amongst the plants, a pile of rockwork, or a piece of turf stone give a nice appearance, but introducing the hideous submerged castles and statuettes so commonly seen in aquaria is definitely dubious taste.

The stones allow humus and precipitations to settle to the bottom, add to the clean look, allow the establishment of microscopic aquatic plants, and benefit in a variety of other ways.

After the plants have been placed, the aquarium should be filled almost or completely with clean water by pouring it over the wrapping paper that has been spread over the plants so that the contents are not disturbed; and then the plants should be lifted to suitable positions.

After cleaning the exterior, the aquarium should be allowed to stand for a few days before introducing the fishes, however tadpoles and snails should be introduced at the same time so that the water clears and the plants begin to take root and gather oxygen.

The usage of feeding bowls is a contentious issue. Some expert fanciers argue that having the fish hunt their food among the pebbles is best; however, for the novice, they have the advantage of demonstrating whether the quantity given is correct and all the food consumed after each feeding, which is an important observation because all excess should be removed.

The use of pebbles alone in the bottom of an aquarium is not suggested because food particles might fall between the stones where neither the fish nor the snails can reach them, and the decomposition that results is likely to pollute the water.

Aquaria is being tested. It is a good idea to evaluate the aquarium’s tightness before adding plants or sand.

Larger sizes frequently leak following removal or standing dry. These leaks are generally repaired in a few days by filling the container with extremely dirty water and shaking it occasionally.

How To Clean Your Aquarium

It is up to the person to decide when and how frequently to clean the aquarium.

Green water, even if it obscures the contents, is not harmful; fish thrive better in it than in clear water; nor is the residuum on the pebbles harmful if objectionable substances are removed either with the dip or lifting tube, or the lower depths of water siphoned with a small rubber hose, which can be guided to all parts of the tank, removing the heavy vitiated water and moulting.

If the fishes continue to be excessively restless, coming to the surface for air, and avoiding the bottom of the tank, possibly due to overfeeding, more tadpoles and snails may be required, but if these measures do not affect a remedy, thorough siphoning or cleaning is required and must be done immediately.

Getting Rid of Dust and Scum When the aquarium lacks a cover glass or there is significant breakdown of old plants, a scum may build on top of the water.

To get rid of it, cut a piece of newspaper the width of the aquarium. Float the paper at one end of the tank, lifting by one edge, and draw swiftly across the length of the water. Repeat once or twice more with new paper.

If the plants become totally covered in algae or “moss,” try introducing a large number of tiny snails. Because they are unable to crawl on the smaller leaves, the big Japanese species is not usually suited for this.

If this fails, remove and kill the plants, properly clean the aquarium, and replant. In the future, don’t let in as much light.

There is a long and difficult debate regarding the thickness of horsehair, which develops into matted masses.

Once established, this is quite a nuisance since it quickly fills the aquarium and enmeshes young fish, who typically perish before being retrieved.

The only method to get rid of this is to pick up all of the plants, thoroughly inspect each one, and ensure that no single thread of the confervæ remains. If even a smidgeon of growth persists, the situation will quickly deteriorate.

Advice To Beginners

Before purchasing the highly bred Japanese and Chinese types, the newbie would do well to first purchase a couple of the affordable common goldfishes, which are resilient and readily tamed, and study their habits and requirements.

There are numerous gorgeous forms and colors among ordinary American and European goldfishes, ranging from pure iridescent pearly white, glossy silvery and golden hues, to all the tints and combinations of yellow, red, blue, brown, and black.

All goldfish breeds have brilliant or dull white and yellowish tints on the belly, which transition to a glossy metallic yellow on the flanks, and then very gradually shade into golden yellow, red, vermillion, carmine, or the deepest or richest oxblood red.

When he has become acquainted with their care, the novice could select for a five-gallon aquarium, say, one Japanese Fringetail, a Fantail, a Comet, and a Nymph, none larger than three inches; but these should not be put into a newly established aquarium at once, and only after he is assured that it will support that number in comfort. These are easier to keep than the more delicate Chinese and Korean fishes.

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