When a fish moves to a new home, it can be very stressful for them.
Not only are you introducing the fish to an environment that they are not used to, but the water will be a completely different quality for them.
There can be many different subtle changes, such as the temperature, pH levels, general water quality, and other factors that make up a happy home for a fish.
If you want to keep your fish healthy and safe, then there are a few things you need to know before moving a fish from one fish tank to another, or introducing a completely new fish to your already set up aquarium.
With all that in mind, here is a helpful guide to show you how you can introduce a new fish to the tank without causing it stress.
What To Do When You Buy A New Fish
It is not exactly a secret that fish need oxygen in order to survive.
This means that when you first buy a fish and they are in a plastic bag, you should not keep them without oxygen for longer than twenty minutes, otherwise you might find that your fish floats to the top of the tank instead.
To avoid this from happening, at the earliest opportunity, but no longer than twenty minutes, open the bag or container to allow oxygen through and into the water.
You will also want to be patient, even though at this point you might be really excited about adding the new fish.
You will want to wait around 24 hours before introducing the new fish to the tank.
If you do not, you might find you have a very upset fish on your hands.
If you already have an aquarium, then it will already be considered an established water tank.
It needs to have gone through a nitrogen cycle with some healthy fish already in there, with bacteria being formed previously.
The aquariums that are at the shop you bought the fish from already have an established tank.
So you will find that the container your fish is in should contain water that has all the properties the fish needs in order to be happy, so chlorine, correct pH levels, nitrogen, and bacteria levels.
This will help you to introduce your new fish into the tank.
Preparing A Tank For New Fish Arrivals
One way to do this is by getting the tank ready a day or two before you introduce the fish to its new home.
This means making sure everything is in place to introduce the new fish to its brand-new habitat where it will thrive and be happy.
Think about where the location of the tank will be, as this is the most important step when considering owning fish.
It will need to be on a stable and solid surface to support its weight – the last thing you want is it to come crashing onto the floor.
It will also need natural light, but not necessarily direct sunlight.
Also, the fish tank will need to be placed near outlets for electricity as you will be wanting to connect lamps, thermostats, and aerator pumps.
Once that is out the way, you will then need to consider the size of the tank for the fish, as well as what goes in it.
This could be gravel, plants and other decorations.
Before you put them in, wash them with warm water first.
Once you have added in the items, you will then need to fill the tank with one third of fresh water.
Making The Water New Fish Friendly
You will need to add conditioners and additives to the water, but always follow the instructions on the packaging.
Too much or too little is never a good idea, so you will want to be quite precise.
You should also take note of the waiting times too, as this can affect when you can add the fish to the tank.
Once the pumps start going and circulate the water, the process with bacteria will begin, which you will see much more of once the fish are added.
This is when the tank goes cloudy and then is cleared.
If you are able to add some bacteria and water from an established aquarium, then the nitrogen cycle can be completed within a 24-hour period.
This means your fish will be able to be added, and will be very happy too.
Adding The Fish To The Aquarium
It takes around 24 hours because the chemicals will need to be eliminated in that time frame.
This means the bacteria and chlorine will work to make the nitrates and ammonia to a healthy level for the fish to swim in.
Once you have started the 24-hour process, test the water and set a timer.
Do this again once the 24-hour period is over.
Make sure you let the fish thrive for around two to three weeks before adding more.
Also, adding the fish will help the tank to become established making it healthy and a great place for new fish to be added.
General Tips On Introducing New Fish Into The Tank
When moving a fish into a new aquarium, it is important to remember that the water quality may differ greatly.
Subtle differences in water temperature, pH levels, and other factors can make a big impact on the health of your fish.
Make sure to follow these steps to ensure a smooth transition:
- Check the water quality before adding your new fish. If you are unsure about how to do this, check with an expert which could be the person you bought the fish off.
- Use a quarantine tank for the first few days. This will help prevent any stress from being placed on your new fish during its introduction period. A quarantine tank should be at least half as large as your main aquarium. It should have similar conditions (water chemistry, lighting, etc.) but allow you to observe the fish without having to worry about them escaping.
- Add some live food to the quarantine tank. You want to introduce the fish gradually so they don’t get stressed out by sudden changes in their diet. Live foods such as brine shrimp, blood worms, and daphnia can help keep your fish healthy while they adjust to their new environment.
- After a couple of days, transfer the fish to your main aquarium. Be careful not to overdo it! Your fish will need time to acclimate to their new surroundings.
- Once the fish has settled down, add some decorations. Toss in some plants, rocks, and even another fish if you like.
- Keep an eye on your fish for signs of illness. If you notice any unusual behavior, contact your local pet store immediately.
- Monitor your fish closely after introducing them to avoid any potential problems.
- Don’t forget to clean your aquarium regularly.
Introducing fish to a new tank can be scary, especially if you are new to owning fish, but it is also much easier than you think.
So long as you leave the tank to do its job for 24 hours, then the aquarium should be suitable and ready to introduce your fish into.
Getting an established fish tank will mean that you can introduce more fish into the tank.
It also is not difficult to produce an established fish tank once you know how.