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Fishing for Friends

Fish can make perfect pets not only because they are low maintenance – their bright colours and tranquility can brighten up any home

How many fish can live together?

It is not how many fish can live together but how many fish your tank has the capacity to hold. This will depend on the size and type of fish. Overcrowding a fish tank leads to competition for food and poor water quality due to the waste being produced. You will also need to know which breeds of fish can live together. A good guide is to allow at least 2 litres of water for every 1 cm of fish.

How can I test the water in my aquarium?

There are several water test kits on the market that are available from most good pet shops. We recommend that you regularly test the pH, ammonia (NH4), nitrite (NO2), nitrate (NO3) and dissolved oxygen (DO) levels.

It is important that the ammonia and nitrite are at a very low concentration, and that the pH is stable. The nitrate level is less critical because it is not dangerous to fish unless at very high levels.

How often should I change the water in the aquarium?

Most aquariums should be cleaned every 2 weeks on average. It is easier to combine cleaning and water changes by using a gravel siphon, as this also removes any dirt and waste from the bottom of the tank.

Can I add tap water directly to my aquarium?

Tap water contains chlorine and chloramines, which are added to our water supply to act as a disinfectant. They are very effective at keeping the water clean for human consumption, but unfortunately fish cannot tolerate chlorine or chloramines. You therefore need to add a dechlorinator to the water before adding it to your aquarium.

What do I feed my fish?

Learn specific details about the fish's diet and its eating habits. This way, you'll avoid getting surprised when you see the fish chewing on other beings in your tank. Make sure your fish will get proper nutrition by researching on the best fish food to give your fish. Also, don't make the mistake of feeding the fish randomly.

There are various ways of feeding fish, so it's important that you know the feeding routines of the shopkeeper and follow this same routine as part of acclimatizing the fish to its new habitat.

Can fish make sounds?

Fish are often thought of as silent, but many fish can make noises by grinding their teeth or squeaking their swim bladders. Catfish are known to croak when pulled from the water.

Do fish sleep?

They don't have eyelids to close their eyes like we do, but fish do slow down and will appear to be zoned out. Fish don't go in to a deep sleep like humans do, but their bodies and metabolisms have periods throughout the day when they are not as active as others. Some fish must keep moving to ventilate their gills, while others may lay down on a leaf or rock to sleep.

(Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to manekaanimallove@gmail.com)

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