When it is time to buy and introduce your new freshwater aquarium fish to your aquarium, make sure you do it right to give your new tropical fish the best chance at a healthy transition and long life. There are a few things that you need to make sure you do to keep your fish happy and healthy through the process.
New Tank Syndrome
First, make sure you have not just set up your tank. A very new tank will be a harsh environment for fish to be introduced to. When you are adding fish for the first time to a new aquarium, make sure you only add a few at a time. Start out with some hearty school fish – perhaps 3 or so. Let them live in the tank for at least a week before you add more. To combat new tank syndrome more directly you can get a starter solution that will introduce bacteria into your aquarium to combat the ammonia right away. This will offer a nice kick start to your water quality and with such treatments you can add fish quite quickly and expect success.
Pick a Winner
When you pick fish make sure you look at the tank. Are all the fish in that tank healthy? If they are not, you are likely bringing something home with you. The entire school should look good and the water should be clean. From there, you may or may not have the option to request a particular fish. If you do, pick an active fish with no signs of spots, clear eyes, and healthy scales. If you don’t get to pick inspect the bag after your fish are selected to make sure you are happy with how they look and don’t be afraid to swap if you are not.
Go Straight Home
Don’t buy fish and then run errands or go out to eat. If you are buying live tropical fish, your next stop should be at home to get them acclimated. A hot or cold car is no place for these small sensitive fish. The water temperature in that bag is simply too easy to change by the outside air, so head home to take the next step.
Level the Temperature
Float the bag in the water of your aquarium for at least 15 minutes. This will allow the water temperature in the bag to slowly adjust to the temperature in your aquarium and save the fish some shock that they would feel if you simply tossed them in. For a typical small bag from a pet store, 15 minutes should do it. This time also allows the fish to look around a bit, though they will probably still be timid when added to the water.
Add the Fish
Now that they are the right temperature you can add the fish, but don’t just dump them in. Instead, use a small net to scoop them out and put them gently into your fish tank water. You don’t want the water that is in the bag to be added to your water. That store water may have things in it you didn’t anticipate, so minimize it by adding the fish only. After the fish have calmed down and been in the tank for an hour or two you can feed them a bit to make them at home.
If you do it right and follow all the steps, you will be able to have successful fish transfers time after time. Now that you know how to buy and introduce freshwater aquarium fish, you can look forward to watching your new fish instead of replacing them.