Justin Nowowiejski, DVM, Emergency & Critical Care / Aquatic Veterinarian
Fish tanks are an enjoyable hobby to embark on in any household. There are many types of fish and invertebrates that one can have. A number of research studies have been performed verify that owning fish can have many health benefits. You often see fish tanks, either salt, (with or without corals), or fresh water, (with or without live/plastic plants), in many hospital or medical offices. This is due to the fact that in general, fish cause a soothing/calming effect and lower the blood pressure of people looking at them. These are just a couple of the many benefits of owning a fish tank. When thinking of installing a fish tank there are many daily and/or weekly maintenance requirements that you must keep in mind. In general, fresh water fish are going to be easier to keep then a salt water fish. Additionally, the most difficult tank to maintain would be a salt water tank with invertebrates/corals. For any fish or aquatic environment, the chemistry, filtration system, and environmental temperature are the most important factors in keeping a healthy environment for your aquatic finned friends. It is best that you contact an aquatic fish veterinarian, marine biologist, or a knowledgeable fish store to go over these important requirements that need to be maintained in a steady state. Alternatively, you could hire a local professional that will perform all of the tank installations for you, as well as continue the upkeep and weekly maintenance of your fish tank.
After installing a tank (either freshwater or salt water) and establishing the biologic cycling of the tank, one then has to think about the type of fish they would want to enjoy in their house. Fish just like any animal have certain characteristics of either being aggressive, or is a community fish, where they will all get along. One must be well versed in the behavior of each individual species of fish so as to not make a mistake of placing inappropriate & incompatible fish species in a tank
together. A discussion with your fish veterinarian, marine biologist, or educated pet store will help a family pick the perfect tank and fish for your household. Lastly, it is of utmost importance that you discuss with the individuals who you are purchasing your tank from, whether or not the fish you are purchasing have been screened or properly quarantined for any potential diseases. You should never introduce a new fish to an already established tank without proper quarantine of that fish(s) first to monitor it for potential disease. Many times a fish purchased at a pet shop may look and appear healthy, but when that fish is introduced into the established fish tank, an outbreak of disease will erupt. More often than not this will lead to devastating outcome of the tank and loss of life. It is so important when embarking in this fun and enjoyable hobby that you speak to your local fish veterinarian so you can maintain a happy and healthy aquatic environment for all of your family to enjoy for years.