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Routine Fish Tank Maintenance

Regular Basic Care Required for an Aquarium

(The First Tank Guide)

As with any pet, your new pet fish will require some care and attention. Also, since your fish needs an environment significantly different from our own, there is some equipment which will also require care.

Though the maintenance and care required for an adequate sized fish tank is not as high as for a dog or a parrot, it is still a commitment you are making, and will be necessary to provide safe and healthy accommodations for this new member of your family or household.

The information below (and throughout most of the First Tank Guide is for maintaining a fish tank of ten gallons or more with an appropriate filter. Small fish tanks (any tank smaller than ten gallons), fish bowls, or any fish tank without a filter will require significantly more care and maintenance. If you have a small tank or bowl, please review the information on care of small fish tanks and fish bowls for details and recommendations.


Your new fish will require a home. Beyond just the fish tank, you should give consideration for the environmental requirements of your new pet. Does it need to be warm or cool? If it needs to be warm, you'll probably need to get a heater to keep the tank warm. The fish will definitely need a filter to keep the water from becoming toxic between weekly water changes.

What other equipment will your fish need? You want to do some research on the fish you are interested in keeping before you get them so that you can be sure to provide a suitable environment for them.


Your fish will need food. There are many types of fish food on the market to give you a wide variety to choose from so you can meet your fish's particular needs.

Some fish need to be fed more often, others need to be fed less often. However, if you are using processed foods, you will probably be feeding once a day or more often.

Different fish have different dietary requirements, so it is important to select a variety of good, healthy foods that will meet your particular fish's nutritional needs.


As with any live animal, there is some cleanup necessary with your aquarium. The biggest issue, and probably the most important, is keeping up with the regular weekly 10-15% (or more) water changes. Insufficient water changes contribute to a number of different problems for fish and for your fish tank, which can make the aquarium much less enjoyable, make the tank more work to care for, and make the environment much less healthy for your fish.

Keep up with your water changes and your tank will be much more rewarding.

Equipment Maintenance

The aquarium equipment you have to house your fish will need some maintenance. If you keep up with this, your equipment should last a long time and continue to be effective.

With a little routine maintenance and care, your fish tank should be a nice addition to your home or office for a long time.

"My 3 year old daughter desperately wanted a fish so the family troops off to the pet store and buys - you guessed it - painted glass fish. I thought, "Wow, pretty fish." [It] never occurred to me the terrible things that are done to make them look like that. Now after [an] awful heart-wrenching morning explaining to my daughter her fish is in heaven with God, after only a week, I decided to look up these fish and see what I did wrong. Well I figured it out, my mistake was not researching what fish I was buying. A hard lesson learned at the expense of my daughter. I will never understand how people can justify hurting another creature solely for profit. Thanks for all the info on these lovely but mistreated little fish."
March 22, 2003
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"Thanks for your help again. Your web site [the First Tank Guide] is a wonderful resource for me, I go there everyday."
November 15, 2004
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