Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What You Need - Part 3 of 5

Earlier this week, I listed two of the things you need to keep angelfish: a sizable aquarium and a good filter.

But what about the water?

Angels are very sensitive to water changes. Most pet stores maintain a Ph of 7.0. Angels prefer 7.0 or lower, as low as 6.2. If you add real wood to your tank, you can be dropping the Ph without even realizing it.

Do not add shells or any decorations that contain calcium or you will be raising the Ph above 7.0. This creates too much of a strain on angelfish.

A good filter will keep ammonia, nitrates and nitrites under control.

When you first set up your tank, you need to cycle the tank - which means the filter needs to run all the water through it several times so it is more efficient at handling ammonia and fish waste. You can add fish food to a tank without fish to give the filter something to process. Or you can buy a product through your pet store that helps to cycle the tank. Only when your tank has been up and running for a few weeks and the water is well cycled, should you add your fish.

You can also take some shortcuts: add gravel to the new tank from an existing tank; the good bacteria is already in it (unless you allowed it to dry out) or place some decorations from an existing tank into the new one. You can also use filter media from an existing filter in another tank to get the new one started.

Do not overuse chemicals! Agents like Prime will rid the water of ammonia and chlorine. But if you use too much, you can pull out all the nutrients in the water that angelfish need to survive. Tetras, guppies or bettas will survive too much chemical much faster than angelfish will. I use half the amount recommended to keep my angels healthy - and only treat the water you're adding, never the whole tank unless all of the water in the tank is brand new.

But what about the temperature? Tune in tomorrow!