Fish are great pets – quiet and fascinating to watch.

Whether you have an aquarium filled with exotic fish or a solitary gold fish, there are basics you need to know to create a healthy environment for your fish.

pH Levels
The pH scale is used to describe the relative strength of acids and bases. It ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, a pH less than 7 is acidic and a pH greater than 7 is basic.

It is important to create optimal conditions for pet fish in your home aquarium including the natural pH level of your fish. You should know the optimal pH level for your fish and avoid fluctuations to keep your fish healthy. When choosing multiple fish for an aquarium try to choose fish with similar optimal pH levels, so all your fish will be comfortable.

Many products are available to help you control, change and monitor the pH levels in your aquarium. These products tend to be easy to use and fast-acting. Some products also help to remove unwanted substances like chlorine from the water.

Protecting Your Fish
Fish can become ‘stressed’ by handling, shipping, fighting, moving to a new aquarium, a change in water or the addition of new fish to their aquarium. Try to minimize your fish’s exposure to stressful events to help keep them healthy.

You can also try a product formulated to protect fish during times of stress. These products help to condition the water so it’s optimal for your fish, and they also provide a protective barrier on the fish itself.

It can also be helpful to not replace an aquarium and all accessories at the same time. Fish create ‘good’ bacteria within their environment and removing all water, accessories and changing the filter will effectively erase the bacteria leaving the fish susceptible to disease. When changing to a new aquarium, use the same filter for awhile, or put the same accessories in the new tank without cleaning them. There are also products available to encourage development of beneficial bacteria in the water.

Algae build-up in your aquarium is usually caused by too much sunlight or leaving the light on too much. If this is a problem for your tank, try reducing the amount of light on the tank by moving it to a darker area with little direct sunlight only turning the tank light on for eight hours a day. If it’s not possible to move your tank, you can easily control algae with either algaecide products or algae-eating fish.

Ick is the shortened name for Ichthyophthirius multifilis or White Spot Disease. It’s a parasite that is capable of killing a large number of fish in a short period of time. A serious outbreak of Ick will look like white grains of salt on the skin of your fish.

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for controlling Ick and reducing fish loss. PET VALU stores sell treatments that can kill the parasite as well as provide a synthetic slime coat replacement that helps form a barrier against repeat infection.

A wool-like fungus can grow anywhere on your fish. Fungi spores are naturally present in water. Water fungi, like their land relations, are actually plants that grow and thrive on dead organic matter.

Damaged or injured fish are more susceptible to fungus while healthy fish will resist infection. If left to develop, fungus can eventually kill your fish. There are effective treatments available to help cure fish and protect against regrowth.


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