Top 10 Mistakes New Fish Owners Make – #2

The #2 Mistake – Not Doing Your Regular Maintenance

Fish are not maintenance free pets. Many owners think this when they first start, but some fish systems require the same care and cleaning as any other pet. Especially when you are first starting out, it is important to keep up with your regular scheduled cleaning. Maintaining a regular maintenance schedule for your aquarium will be of the most benefit to your fish by keeping your water quality within appropriate parameters.

Our best advice: add your regular maintenance to your TO DO list and make it a priority. Get the whole family involved and take the time to give your fish a happy, healthy home. Here is a helpful checklist for everything you need to do on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.

If you follow the above checklist, get the family involved and make fish care a priority, your fish will have a long, happy life. If you’re confused or unsure the best way to clean your tank, watch our Best Tank Cleaning Practices video.

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How to Help A Sick Fish

How to Help A Sick Fish

“Help! I have a sick fish. What do I do?” is the most common question we get asked. Regardless of the issue, there are some things you should always do:

  1. Check your water chemistry. Low cost, reliable, at home test kits should be included in every new aquarium and pond setup. Make sure you use yours regularly and know how to properly read all the results. In a pinch, many pet fish stores offer free or low cost testing. Many issues that cause sick fish can be related to water quality. At the first sign of illness, test your water quality!
  2. Look at your fishes’ diet. Just like the food we eat affects our overall health, so does your fishes’ food. Most fish foods will start to lose their vitamin content after only 90 days! Flake foods will lose their vitamins faster due to increased surface to mass ratio. If you have some questions about what diet is best for your fish, ask your local fish veterinarian or pet fish store for recommendations.
  3. Check your other fish for signs of disease. There may be one susceptible fish in your tank or several. The number of fish affected will help indicate what illness you are dealing with.
  4. When was the last time you added new fish? Adding a new fish that was under considerable stress from transport and then dropped in an alien environment can bring lots of fun parasites and diseases into an established tank. Just like you bring home lots of new germs from the airplane ride with complete strangers, so does your new fish addition.
  5. Call a professional for assistance. Do not waste time falling into an internet black hole. Many seasoned fish hobbyists can help with general husbandry and diet issues. For disease diagnosis and treatment, you will need to contact your local fish veterinarian. We realize that there are currently many over-the-counter medications available, but keep in mind that these are not regulated products. No one is checking the contents of those little foil packets before you dump it in your tank/pond. Treating a fish that does not need medication can breed resistant strains of bacteria that can affect your fishes’ future health. For a list of veterinarians who see fish, check out the American Association of Fish Veterinarians and the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association.

What’s new at AVSNCA

Don’t worry, we’re still here! It’s been a very busy month! Dr. Sanders attended the American Association of Fish Veterinarians inaugural meeting and the Eastern Fish Health Workshop in Shepherdstown, WV. Both were great meetings with lots of great presentations and discussions with fellow fish veterinarians. Some of our ongoing cases were discussed in order to develop new treatment and diagnostics plans.

For you fellow veterinarians, check out the Aquatic Animal offerings at the upcoming AVMA Convention in Denver, CO, July 25-29. Dr. Sanders will not be able to attend this conference, but had the chance to attend last year’s in Chicago, IL. We hope to take part in the next one, in Boston, MA in 2015.

Sadly, our radio show on KSCO 1080am has been canceled. We will let you know if it makes a comeback or if Dr. Sanders will be appearing on any other programs.

Our office has moved! Finally, after our one year mark, Aquatic Veterinary Services of Northern California has moved into our very first “official” office! Our new address is 331 Soquel Ave, Suite 211, Santa Cruz, CA 95062. Our phone number remains (831) 278-1081.

Stay tuned for our newest project: Setting Up Your First Fish Tank! Interested in learning how to get started in fish husbandry for the first time? We’re assembling a step-by-step guide to take all the stress out of your first fish tank! Stay tuned!

Lots of fun and exciting things are on the horizon! Stay tuned!

Damselfish and others above the reef in Cozumel
Damselfish and others above the reef in Cozumel