Unlike cats or dogs, fish are relatively easy to look after, and don't demand a significant amount of attention. This is what makes them such a popular choice of pet.
You must bear in mind though that the vast majority of people clean out a fish tank in just a few minutes, not giving any thought to the welfare of their fish. Unlike cats or dogs, fish aren't able to convey emotion.
This eBay guide has been produced with beginner hobbyists in mind, and outlines some simple steps to take to ensure that you're caring for your fish in the best and easiest possible way.
Properly Caring for Fish Step One - Say No to Fish Bowls
Although they're popular and aesthetically pleasing, fish bowls do not provide what a fish requires, and that is oxygen. Because of their rounded shape, the more water that they're filled with, the less oxygen is available to the fish.
It is also worth bearing in mind that due to the rounded shape of fish bowls, they're not the easiest to clean. They also concentrate heat very easily.
What this means is that when they're placed near a window, it can lead to overheating, which will of course have a detrimental effect on the health of the fish.
Properly Caring for Fish Step Two - Cycling Your Tank
Before placing fish into a tank, it is important that the tank is cycled. By cycling the tank, you allow for a build-up of bacteria which converts harmful Ammonia from fish waste into harmless products, which are easily removed when the water in the tank is partially changed.
Here's how to cycle a tank:
1. Set up the tank with gravel, rocks, plants, and filter as if fish were present.
2. Add a few flakes of food into the tank. By doing this, it encourages bacteria to break it down, producing Ammonia. This Ammonia is then broken down by another type of bacteria called Nitrosomonas. It is broken down into Nitrite, which is then further broken down by Nitrobacter to form Nitrate, which is harmless.
3. Over the period of one week, the water in the tank will appear cloudy. This is a sign that the bacteria is multiplying, and is absolutely normal.
4. After a period of around three weeks, the water should appear clear again. At this stage, you should test the water for Ammonia using a testing kit. If there is no Ammonia present, you can now start stocking the tank at a recommended rate of two fish per week.
If the above mentioned steps are not followed, it could potentially result in a dangerous build-up of toxic chemicals, which will kill any fish that are placed into the tank.
Properly Caring for Fish Step Three - Remember, Fish Need Space
It is important to remember that, just like humans, fish need space. A fish tank should be stocked with 2 gallons of water for every inch of fish for smaller species such as:
* Neon Tetras
* smaller Cichlids.
It should be stocked with 5 gallons of water per inch for larger species including:
* the vast majority of Cichlids
Bred from Carp, Goldfish can grow over a foot in length. "Common" Goldfish and the Comet Goldfish varieties will easily grow to this length, if they are given enough space.
If these fish are kept in a smaller space, it can stunt their growth, and shorten their lifespan dramatically. It is well known that Goldfish can live for over ten years, if kept in the right conditions.
Properly Caring for Fish Step Four - Filters are Vital
There are three different varieties of aquatic filters. These include:
* Mechanical Filters - This type of filter is used to extract floating particles from the water, storing them in a medium such as a sponge. Similar to sweeping dirt under a carpet, these filters do not actually remove the particles from the tank. You should therefore regularly clean the medium, preventing the detritus from rotting and spoiling the quality of the tank's water.
* Biological Filters - This type of filter has a large enough surface area to allow the growth of beneficial bacteria, which in turn prevents the build-up of toxic substances such as Ammonia and Nitrite.
* Chemical Filters - This type of filter contains various resins which can alter the properties of the tank's water to suit the needs of the fish, if the composition of the water is very different to that of the fish's requirements.
Properly Caring for Fish Step Five - Partial Water Changes
Although it may be tempting to remove all of the fish, empty the tank, scrub all rocks, and then put everything back again when cleaning your fish tank, not only does this make hard work for yourself, it also disrupts the biological balance of the tank.
If you do this, algae will only grow faster, the water will become cloudier, and the health and happiness of the fish may suffer as a result.
You should follow these steps to ensure that the fish tank stays clean and balanced:
1. You should use a siphon tube every two weeks to suck up dirt from the gravel in the bottom of the tank.
2. At this stage, you should remove approximately 30% of the water in the tank.
3. Next, you should clean the tank's filter, especially if your tank uses a mechanical filter.
4. Leave tap water in a bucket for 24 hours in order to remove the Chlorine from it, making it safe for aquatic use.
5. Refill the tank with this tap water and leave it for two weeks.
6. Finally, you can remove algae growth from the rocks and glass sides of the tank if you wish; however, if you leave it, it provides a source of food for the fish in the tank, whilst removing Nitrates from the water, and preventing algae from growing in other parts of the tank.
Properly Caring for Fish Step Six - Gravel
Providing a natural substrate for fishes to root around in, gravel ultimately prevents fishes from becoming too stressed. As it also has a large surface area, it allows more bacteria to grow, which acts as a biological filter itself.
Properly Caring for Fish Step Seven - Plants
Many beginner hobbyists believe that plants in a fish tank absorb Carbon Dioxide and Nitrates, whilst outputting Oxygen. Quite simply, this isn't the case, as plants also respire, and at night time their Carbon Dioxide output is greater than their input. Plants are therefore, as such, another respiring organism in the fish tank.
How to Buy Fish Supplies on eBay
Now that you've found out about properly caring for fish, you can now begin your search for fish supplies on eBay. To start your search, go to the All Categories link on the homepage of eBay. Click Pet Supplies, and then select Fish under Categories.