As a fish enthusiast, I can honestly say fish make great pets. I have had the pleasure of owning Bettas, goldfish, zebra danios, guppies and tetras. Each of them has had their own unique personality and has been a source of joy for myself and my family. I like to keep our fish tank in my home office next to my laptop. I find that watching my fish swim about is a wonderful cure for writer’s block!
Fish make amazing pets, however, they don’t have very long life spans; they usually live 1-3 years. Unfortunately, I have had my fair share of fishy funerals. We are always sad to say goodbye, but we are quite grateful for the joy that our fish bring to our family. Over the years, I have compiled a few tips for adding new fish to our fish family.
Tips for Introducing New Fish Into Your Family’s Aquarium
Before you bring your new fish home:
- Ask an expert. When you bring your child to the pet store to pick out a new fish, bring a list of your existing fish. Before my children can get attached to the “perfect” fish they found, I check with the people running the aquarium department. You can avoid a lot of fish tank conflict by making sure that all of your fish are compatible.
- Check your tank size. Too many fish in a too small tank is a recipe for disaster. Fish need plenty of room to swim freely, even if your fish are small. Overcrowding can lead to aggression in fish and a poor fish tank environment. Ask the experts; they can tell you the appropriate amount of fish for your tank.
- Test your water. Before you head off to the pet store, make sure that your tank water is chlorine free and the appropriate pH level. You can do this with a simple test kit that you can find at your local pet store. Some pet stores will test your tank water for you; all you have to do is bring a water sample with you.
- Provide hiding spots. It is always a good idea to have hiding spots for both your new and your existing fish. Depending on your fish tank, you can add live plants, plastic plants and accessories. I know my family always loves the addition of a sunken pirate ship in our aquarium.
Adding your new fish:
- Be calm. Fish are living creatures and they can absolutely feel stress. They have just been plucked from their home and placed into a little plastic bag. Make sure you or an older child carefully handles the fish bag; try your best to limit the jiggling and sloshing. Then place your fish in your car out of direct sunlight and head straight home.
- Turn off the lights. If you have aquarium lights, make sure you turn them off. Lower the lighting in the room as well. Dimming the lights will allow your existing fish to calm down before you add your new fish. Keeping the tank environment stress free before the introduction is key.
- Regulate the temperature. Float the sealed bag that your fish is in on top of your aquarium. After 10 minutes, add 1 cup of your fish tank water to the bag and reseal. Allow it to float another 10 minutes. Repeat this step until the bag is full. Use a fish net to remove your new fish and gently place it in your aquarium. Do not empty the bag of water into your tank; discard it.
- Monitor your tank. After the introduction, make sure you check in on your fish periodically. You want to make sure there are no signs of aggressive behavior among your fish family. By following the steps above, you can greatly reduce the stress your fish may feel.