A pristine, creatively designed marine habitat inhabited by beautiful, healthy fish does not exist without diligent aquarium maintenance. Anyone who has successfully kept a goldfish alive for any period of time can attest to the fact that fish are a bigger responsibility than one might expect.
Prospective pet owners often approach fish with the idea that they are so much easier to keep than a dog, cat, or bird. In some ways this is true: fish don’t have to be walked, never growl at visitors, tend not to screech and scatter bird seed all over the floor, do not require an unsightly litter box, and rarely watch you hopefully every time you grab a snack. Easy, right?
But one quick online search can disabuse would-be aquarists of any idea that aquarium maintenance is simple. The list of equipment and instructions for proper aquarium set-up rivals that necessary for equipping a standard operating room! In addition to the tank and fish, you need just the right type of gravel, lighting, a heater, a filtration system, a water test kit, a vacuum for the gravel, and chemicals for conditioning the water.
Before making any purchase, you need to decide whether you want a freshwater tank or a saltwater tank and educate yourself on what fish best survive beginner mistakes. Also, you must learn what fish will live together peacefully and healthily. Some fish do not play well with others and should not be paired with possible prey. Other fish might get along well but require different water conditions. Learning how to acclimate fish is equally important–you cannot just dump a bag of stressed out, disoriented fish straight into your waiting aquarium or you’ll soon be googling, “Is it safe to flush a fish down the toilet?”
Once the aquarium is set up, the fish are in residence, and everything is humming along nicely, there are regular aquarium maintenance tasks to tend to in order to keep the environment healthy and balanced. Water must be tested, a steady temperature must be maintained, evaporated water should be replaced, and the tank will need cleaning every couple of weeks. Fish are sensitive creatures, and a dirty, cloudy aquarium is not just an eyesore, it can be toxic for its inhabitants.
While the ins and outs of aquarium maintenance may seem daunting, the benefits of keeping an aquarium far outweigh the responsibilities. According to a 2019 survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), more than 13 million U.S. households enjoy the benefits of fish ownership. Watching fish in an aquarium can ease stress, which in turn lowers blood pressure and heart rate. A burbling fish tank can provide white noise and act as a sleep aid. In school settings, children with behavior problems find aquariums calming. The same is true for Alzheimer’s patients. In a business setting, an attractive aquarium makes a good first impression on clients. As an added bonus, the stress-reducing function of an aquarium improves employee focus and creativity, maximizing productivity.
With so much involved in keeping an aquarium healthy, however, it might feel like the pressure of maintenance outweighs the benefits. Fortunately, aquarium maintenance professionals can take the stress off your hands. In fact, the number of people who have discovered the value of hiring an aquarium maintenance service has skyrocketed in the past few years. Aquarium maintenance pros will even get your aquarium up and running for you!
So, if the idea of keeping a pristine, creatively designed marine habitat inhabited by beautiful, healthy fish appeals to you, don’t let the challenges of aquarium maintenance deter you. Let a professional handle it!