With the many "gadgets” available to the average beginner in the way of well-designed aquariums, thermometers, heaters, thermostats, aerators and filters, there is little left to do but take care of the four important things for fishes to keep them in perfect condition. These are quite important and most helpful for your fish, and no matter how well set—up a tank may be, unless their needs are correctly met, disaster is a foregone conclusion.
Healthy aquarium fish
First comes the matter of feeding. It has been stated many times that fishes (or any other animal for that matter, including humans) can be quickly killed by the mistaken kindness of over-feeding.
Fishes in nature sometimes go a long time between meals. It may be a matter of hours, days, yes, in some cases even weeks. They are made to be hungry by nature, and anything that we may do to upset this routine will surely cause trouble. Therefore, it is the kindest thing you can do to keep them hungry! This does not mean practical starvation by any means. They should be just hungry enough to be always eager for a meal.
Hungry fishes are usually healthy fishes, and the best way to keep them that way is to feed sparingly. You should feed about as much as they can easily clean up, and we mean really clean up, in five minutes. The five minute rule should be the guide for all around good health and general routine feeding..
As to what to feed, that again is another story, but here the Beginner should try to plan a balanced diet of both living and prepared foods. Almost any of the well known brands of prepared foods sold by leading dealers are good wholesome foods. Most dealers too carry live foods in season such as White Worms cultures, Tubifex Worms and Daphnia. For those fishes large enough to eat them, nothing is better than an occasional meal of finely chopped earthworms that may be had for the digging. These can be found in the winter time under sheltered spots where the earth is a bit moist and protected from freezing by old logs or fairly deep layers of rotting leaves.
Next in importance to good feeding is the need for plenty of air-surface space per fish.
There is hardly an aquarist today, who, at one time or another has not been guilty of over-crowding. When fishes gather at the top of their tank "bubbling" for air, they are in reality on the verge of suffocating. That is if they do it constantly, whether anyone is near their tank or not. Sometimes fishes that are reasonably hungry will come to the top looking for food when someone comes near their tank. This is different from the frantic gulping that they do when they need air due to over- crowding, foul water, or any other situation which might cause them distress through lack of oxygen.
Such a condition needs immediate attention and relief. There are three ways to handle this problem. First, reduce the number of fishes in the tank. Second, increase the air-surface of their water by giving them a larger tank. Third, apply mechanical aeration. “Rather too few fishes for a tank than even one too many”. is a safe rule to guide the Beginner. One way to estimate the required surface space for Goldfish is to have just one inch of fish, not counting the tail, to every 25 square inches of water-surface.
As for the Exotics—small fishes, Guppies for example, should have at least 3 square inches of surface per fish. Larger Exotics such as Swords, Platies, etc., need about 6 to 8 square inches. Medium sized Barbs and similar sized fishes need about 20 square inches, and the large fishes such as the big Barbs and Cichlids of 5-inches or more require not less than 54 square inches of water surface to get along happily. These figures are the least per fish that can be used to keep the fishes alive. For good healthy, growth and breeding these figures should be doubled and tripled if possible.
The third important thing for healthy fishes is to keep them in even temperatures. To submit them to sudden temperature changes simply means to invite disease, the most common being "shimmies"—“ichthy" and "fungus," either singly or altogether. Most temperature changes are inadvertently made by guessing at the temperature of the water that is being used to completely change or partially change the water in a tank. It is best to be sure. Use a good thermometer and not just guess with a "finger dip" A 2-degree difference is all that can normally be considered as safe.
Water changing should be handled with a good bit of care and discretion. Do as little of it as possible. Avoid situations which might make water changes necessary such as the direct action or reaction of over-feeding or over-crowding. Then again, either too much or too little light might make it necessary for a full or partial change of water. Watch the danger signs carefully and if the water has to be changed, make sure it is the same temperature as the water to which the fishes were accustomed.
Finally, adding an EcoBio-Block product to your fishtank will help to keep your fishtank clear and clean reducing the possibilities of stress from overfeeding or overcrowding and making your fishkeeping hobby both simpler and more enjoyable, while reducing the frequency of water changes.
Proper feeding, plenty of air-surface space, suitable even temperatures, and the addition of EcoBio-Block will assure you of a fair measure of success.