The goldfish often is considered the most typical fish to get for an aquarium, especially for beginners. A little, round fish bowl with a solid orange goldfish swimming in it has even become quite an iconic image. The truth is, though, that goldfish can deviate far from that standard. In fact, many of the fancy types look so weird you might not even recognize they’re part of the goldfish family. The reason for their unusual appearance is breeding.
The Results of Breeding
Thanks to breeding, you can find all sorts of weird-looking and beautiful goldfish varieties. It has been estimated that breeding has produced over 125 different types of goldfish. These are a few of the characteristics that have been changed through breeding to create such a wide diversity.
- Eyes. Some eyeballs bulge, whereas others face upward. The bubble-eye goldfish has delicate sacs of fluid that look like bubbles beneath its eyes.
- Color. Gone are the days of just orange goldfish. They can also be yellow, red, white, black, blue, purple, calico, and mixed.
- Shape. They can have slim bodies or egg-shaped ones.
- Appendages. Other unique traits include interesting head growths and flowy fins.
A Note of Caution
If you’re considering getting one of these fancy goldfish types to add to your aquarium, keep in mind that most are fragile and require expert care. The features that make them so unique also make them extremely vulnerable to their surroundings. Many of the accessories in your Big Al’s tank could pose a danger to these fish.
If you’re a beginner fish owner, it’s best to start out with the common variety or other hardy kinds such as the comet, shubunkin, and fantail. As with any type of fish, it’s smart to do your research before making a purchase to ensure you have the proper habitat, products, and knowledge to care for it and that it will get along with any other fish you may have in the same tank.
Bettas are naturally found in the warm Asian waters of countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia. A common misconception is that they are happy and healthy in small spaces with little need for attention to the water quality. This is not the case. In fact, bettas need plenty of space in which to swim and water conditions that meet specific criteria.
While bettas can sometimes survive with temperatures as low as 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the most suitable temperature for the water is between 75 and 82 degrees. If the room in which the tank is housed is kept in this range, you can forego a water heater, but if the room is any cooler, this is a necessary investment.
Test the water parameters regularly with a kit to ensure the compounds and overall conditions of your water are conducive to healthy, thriving fish. In addition to temperature, parameters that need testing include:
- Ammonia levels
- pH balance
- General hardness
- Carbonate hardness
Water samples from your tank can also be taken into a store to be tested.
Cleaning the Tank
Dirty water results in health issues for bettas and is detrimental to their fins. When feces and decomposing food are left in the tank, ammonia levels can quickly rise, creating toxic conditions that result in damaged gills and a weakened immune system. Nitrate levels can also increase, poisoning the tank’s inhabitants. It is imperative to maintain an unpolluted environment, cleaning a three gallon tank each week and smaller tanks more often. If you opt for a water filter, you can double the span between cleanings. Do keep in mind that filters with too strong of a suction can result in fin injuries. Be sure that the water parameters are met after each cleaning.
A tank’s water condition is integral for the overall well-being of this tropical fish. Create an environment that mimics the natural habitat to provide a healthy and happy life for your betta.
If your Betta comes in a small container, look for a cluster of bubbles around the rim. You may even find one in the corner of your home aquarium. This bubble nest is used for mating and storing eggs.
The Male Guardian
The male is responsible for protecting the eggs. First, he builds a nest by blowing small bubbles on surface. In the wild, this often happens under floating debris. He will then mate with a female underneath the cluster and collect the eggs as soon as they’re released. At this point, the female’s job is done. It’s the male who will closely guard the nest, making sure to retrieve any eggs that drop from the cluster. The nest also serves as a shelter after the eggs hatch. Young fry will remain close until they are large enough to venture out.
What to Do With a Bubble Nest in Your Tank
Nesting can be a sign that your Betta is healthy, but don’t stress if you never find a cluster. Some species blow bubbles more often than others. You might see it daily or only once a year. The type of setup you run is also a factor. If there’s a lot of circulation or surface movement, you probably won’t see any nests.
In general, proper maintenance will limit your Betta's ability to nest. You should never stop performing water changes or running your filter. If you do want to take a stab at breeding, consider a separate tank or a few surface plants. You can even scoop out the nest out with a spoon or small cup and replace it once you’ve finished a water change.
Stick to Your Routine
Bubble nests are fun to watch, but they are not necessary for keeping bettas. Unless you’re a breeder, stick to your regular maintenance routine and enjoy the excitement if and when it happens.
Any home aquarium should replicate a natural environment as closely as possible. Keeping your fish healthy is all about consistency, especially when it comes to Betta care. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a tank.
Be Aware of the Tiny-Bowl Myth
A common misconception is that Betta fish prefer to live in tiny bowls. Just because this is how they are sold in pet stores, does not mean the theory it true. This species has been known to inhabit the rice paddies of
Your Betta may be able to survive in one inch of water, but it certainly will not thrive.
You should never keep a Betta in less than one gallon of water. Instead, opt for two and a half gallons or more. Keep in mind that larger tanks allow for a greater degree of error. Nitrates, ammonia and other toxins build up much more quickly in smaller tanks, so you will need to do more water changes with more accuracy. The water parameters in a small aquarium can fluctuate considerably, even when you simply put your hand inside the tank.
Your tank should include the following basic elements:
- Gravel substrate
- Water heater
Bettas don’t require lighting, but a hood lamp is necessary if you want to grow plants. Choose a few low-light varieties that don’t require a lot of maintenance. Bettas are social, but they do enjoy their privacy from time to time. If you don’t have plants, be sure to give your fish another non-metallic feature to hide under. Just be sure that any artificial items you select do not alter your water chemistry.
Most people who have pet fish already know that they can be great, low-maintenance animals. Likewise, their aquariums can be beautiful, central fixtures that bring a sense of tranquility into any space. At Big Al’s Pets, we also know that keeping an aquarium and pet fish isn’t just about décor. In fact, fish-filled aquariums bring many great health benefits to people of all ages.
Studies dating as far back as the 1980s have shown that watching fish reduces many of the physiological signs of stress, including blood pressure, pulse rate, and muscle tension.
Helps With Pain Management
In one study with dental patients, those who had a fish tank in the room with them were better able to manage their discomfort and needed less pain medication than those who were not able to observe a fish tank.
|Soothes Alzheimer’s Patients
Aquariums are great for seniors, and they have had a particularly beneficial impact on Alzheimer’s patients. Beyond lower blood pressure and stress levels, one study showed that when Alzheimer’s patients watched fish, their appetites increased leading to 17% more food intake. They also needed fewer nutritional supplements and showed less physical aggression.
|Calms Hyperactivity Disorders
Children love aquariums too because it’s fun to watch fish swim around, of course! Research also shows that children with hyperactivity disorders like ADHD can especially benefit from having an aquarium, as observing fish has a proven calming effect.
|Helps With Sleep and Combats Insomnia
Children, adults, and seniors can all enjoy the nightly benefits of owning a fish tank. If you suffer from insomnia, studies show that by placing an aquarium in your bedroom, you can drift to sleep more easily by watching the graceful, calming movements of the fish. Children also love aquariums at night because their light makes the dark seem less scary and makes them feel at ease as they fall asleep.
Adding a Crayfish to Your Fish Tank
Crayfish make an exciting addition to fish tanks and aquarium environments. These are dynamic, interesting animals with a high degree of interactivity. Before you decide to incorporate crayfish into your fish tanks, you should take the time to understand a few basic things about these interesting animals.
Do Crayfish Get Along With Aquarium Fish?
Crayfish are regarded as moderately aggressive aquarium dwellers. They like privacy and will seek little nooks and caves inside a tank. A crayfish will defend its territory against intruders. Water temperatures and other factors, such as their molt cycle, also have the potential to vary a crayfish’s temperament. Small crayfish varieties such as Cambarellus can cohabit with docile fish species like tetras, platies, and mollies
Preparing Your Tank for a Crayfish
Since crayfish species have a range of specific care needs, it is best to purchase these animals from a trusted source. Misidentification on the part of an uninformed aquarist can lead to problems before very long. Accurate information will help you prepare your tank environments for a new inhabitant.
Brackish and freshwater environments are crayfish’s natural habitats; in the wild they tend to move from place to place. Though crayfish have the ability to survive in salt water for a short period of time, a salt water tank is not a suitable environment for them.
• Limit crayfish populations to one per tank
• Do not add seashells or other objects that can affect the pH balance
• An undergravel filter should be avoided; crayfish are natural diggers and so may clog the filter
• Crayfish have relatively large bioloads so twice weekly water changes are recommended
• Long bubble walls or air bubblers are required to keep tank water sufficiently oxygenated
A Colorful and Exciting Addition
Crayfish make excellent aquarium inhabitants though some particular preparation measures are called for. With proper care, a crayfish can live for several years.
Thinking of getting your youngsters their first pet? Congratulations! Pet ownership is a great way to teach responsibility and the importance of properly caring for a living, breathing creature. Fish are great choices for first-time pet owners for several reasons. Not only are they affordable and easy to care for, but they are also generally inexpensive to feed and easy to breed, if desired. Some fish, like livebearers, are better for first-time fish owners than others. Here’s a guide to the varieties Big Al’s Online recommends as the best options to buy your budding fish fans.
While platies are undeniably pretty thanks to their colorful, almost iridescent appearance, they are also great for beginning fish owners. Not only do they eat algae that tends to develop in your tank, doing your cleaning for you, but they are also hardy, strong and known to do well among other passive fish if you want multiple species to live collectively in the same tank.
Guppies make great beginner fish. Not only are they not particularly demanding, but they’re pretty, and come in an array of different colors to make your tank aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Generally, female guppies are less colorful than male varieties, but this isn’t always the case. It’s also important to keep in mind that guppies are fast reproducers, so you’ll want to take that into account when determining whether to have males, females or a combination of the two in your tank.
Considered a great fish for community tanks, this variety is peaceful and low-maintenance. There’s also a lot of variety when it comes to fins and colors among swordtails, so they’re striking in addition to being easy to care for. A live-bearing fish alongside guppies and platies, the swordtail follows a largely omnivorous diet and eats flaked foods as well as algae, freeze-dried bloodworms and brine shrimp, among other sustenance.
The best fish for first-time owners are those that are tough, easy to care for and easy to breed, should you desire to do so. The aforementioned varieties offer all of these benefits, and they’re attractive to boot, making them ideal first-time fish for new owners.
Daily feeding is the primary form of interaction that a person has with their fish. Dispensing the right amount of food is certainly an important part of this interaction. This time also lets you observe the condition of your fish and the conditions of the tank. Daily interaction is an important source of pleasure for fish owners, so people new to caring for fish do not always realize the convenience that a vacation feeder can provide. Exploring the proper use of automatic feeders can help you determine the role such an appliance might play in your life.
Automatic Feeder Advantages
There are three primary reasons why fish owners choose to use automatic feeders:
• A different feeder can be placed on each tank, thereby ensuring that each environment receives the right nutritional input
• The correct amount of food is completely assured; this helps petsitters avoid problems when it comes time for feeding
• A feeder is highly dependable and can maintain the optimal feeding schedule for your fish
Though petsitters and helpful friends can check in on tanks while you are away, many people are unfamiliar with the precise nature of fish feeding. Better feeders can accommodate multiple types of food and can be set to dispense at pre-scheduled times. A vacation feeder lets you stay in control of this important task and removes a lot of the guesswork on the part of sitters.
Before You Buy an Automatic Feeder
If you have never used an automatic fish feeder, you should take time to learn about the many options available.
Affordable, one-use vacation feeders gradually release nutrients over a predetermined length of time; many of these feeders last around 1 week. These are inexpensive though provide less control over the feeding process. Multi-use feeders are more versatile. These provide the ability to control the amount of food dispensed each day; many fish owners prefer ones with programmable timers and other responsive options.
Automatic feeders do not take the place of an attentive, informed caretaker. Remember that daily feeding interaction is valuable for many reasons. Vacation feeders are great when you go out of town for a few days; while home, it is best to take care of fish the old fashioned way.
The world under the sea is full of fascinating and colorful life forms. Many people love aquariums because they bring the unique, underwater world right into a home or business where it can be enjoyed anytime. Beginner corals are a great addition to an aquarium. These fascinating species come in many varieties and instantly transport the viewer deep under the sea. Soft corals are a great choice for novices because they tend to be more affordable and more forgiving of an owner’s mistakes. The following varieties are popular with budding hobbyists.
Aquarium owners who are interested in adding variety and authenticity to their tanks should consider cultivating one of these beginner corals. These hardy species grow quickly and are easy to care for. They are also uniquely beautiful specimens of underwater life.
Many aquarium owners decide to incorporate aquarium plants into their tank because the greenery adds vibrancy as well as natural filtration. In the wild, fish use plants for food, safety, comfort and reproduction, so freshwater aquarium plants are a great addition for the health of your fish. The following varieties are especially popular because they grow quickly and are relatively undemanding.
The right plants can transform a dull, sterile tank. Consider the lighting and temperature needs of your aquarium plants as you begin planning your tank’s terrain. Many varieties thrive with very little care when they are planted in the appropriate environment. Choose species with similar needs and your aquascape will soon be fertile and green.