Prevention is Better than Cure

You love your fish, right? We believe that you wouldn't be doing this hobby if you didn't. We have a lot of questions regarding various fish diseases, particularly White Spot. So instead of dealing with each individual case seperately, we though we'd share this information in an article instead.

Here we will be covering good practise basics when handling fish, feeding them and taking care of them when disaster does strike. We will also provide some good advice for best practise in the keeping of fish and good-to-have equipment as well. 

Handling Fish


You've collected your fish from your fish store and are eagerly anticipating it going into your tank at home. You get home and acclimate the fish for about 45 minutes (just as the book says), add the fish to the tank and then you feed the fish. This is wrong. While we do feed our fish every day, we generally do not feed immediately after we receive a shipment, this will be delayed until the next day. It is not a good idea to do this and there are several reasons why:

To further elaborate on handling fish, especially new ones, stress can be caused by the following:

So you can see how many parts of just this process can cause stress for fish, and that's not including the hellish ordeal they have to go through just to get to us at Dorry Pets. The following statement is particularly true for freshwater fish: Up to 80% of deaths in newly acclimated fish can be directly linked to pH shock. For a general reference, our tanks are kept between 6.5 and 7.0 for acidophiles and betwen 7.5 and 8.0 for alkilophiles such as Malawis. Our marine tanks are normally kept at between 8.2 and 8.4.



Feeding Fish

When it comes to feeding fish, we have heard and seen some serious and potentially-serious problems in the way people approach this. The most common problem is this: you take a bit if fish food and throw it into the system. How hard could feeding a fish be? Well, it's not always as simple as that. The amount of food you throw into your system should be determined by how many fish you have in that system. Less is often more in this case. Take less food and feed the system and slowly add more food if needed. The fish should eat all of the food your provide within 2 to 3 minutes. 

Another cause for concern is throwing flakes into the system. The problem with just doing this is that flakes will float for a long time before finally sinking. This leaves room for two problems.

Our recommendation is to take the flakes in your fingers and dip them into the water to allow the flakes to soak for a second. Releasing the flakes after that will allow the flakes to sink and distribute throughout the water column. This method also prevents the fish from taking in too much atmospheric air from feeding at the surface of the water. Some fish will eat from the surface, like Betta Splendens, Archer Fish and Arowanas. Please note, however, that these fish are adapted to eat from the surface. Most marine fish, however, do not eat from the surface of the ocean and for good reason too. Predatory fish are found all over the reefs and in the open water. For a fish to the leave the sanctity of the reef would be suicidal. 

Another good tip to follow is to not only feed flakes. Make a concotion of food like flakes, pellets and mix them with Seachem's Vitality. Add vegetable based food with protein based foods as well to ensure that your fish have a varied diet that consists of both. Even premixing flakes, pellets and frozen foods into a tub or similar container is recommended. Also, most fish are grazers and require several feedings over the course of a day. So prepare enough food that will allow for 2, 3 or even 4 feedings. Feeding small amounts a few times a day far exceeds the benefits of feeding a large amount of food only once a day. 



Taking Care of Already-Established Fish

So your fish are already established in your aquarium and you have little to no intention of adding any more. Your fish are healthy, but this alone does not guarantee a problem-free aquarium. Below are some ideas for you to prevent fish loss, even at these later stages. 

So, taking all of the above into consideration, one can easily see why aquarium-keeping can become difficult and it is entirely understandable why so many people out there lose their interest in this hobby. We are confident, however, that by just sticking with some of these tips, you'll find keeping your fish healthy a little bit easier. Please don't misconstrue this information as a problem-free guide to fishkeeping. Every aquarium is different and each presents its own unique set of challenges. There are myriad things that could create problems in any aquarium and it would be virually impossible to write about each thing here. Aquariums were founded on trial and error and slowly we learn. So we encourage you to tell us about problems you've had in your tanks and how you solved them. In this way, we learn from each other.