Keeping fish in aquariums is a hobby which is quite common. People are often very apprehensive about keeping fish and having an aquarium.
In fact there are myths surrounding this hobby and believing in these can ruin your interest in this wonderful hobby.
The few myths that will be busted are as follows
Maintaining a fish tank is very expensive - This is absolutely untrue. In fact the bigger the aquarium, the easier it is to maintain. Fresh water fish are very easy to maintain and cost effective. The fresh water fish are hardy and can easily adapt to new surroundings. The only possible expenses that come with maintaining a basic fresh water tank is the fish food, filtration and sufficient lighting. These costs are low and maintaining the aquarium becomes easier with these infrastructure.
The water in the tank has to be changed everyday - This is dangerously wrong and following this can actually kill your fish. The thumb rule is to never change the water completely. Water change ideally should be only 10-20 per cent every week. If you have a filtration system, then even a month's gap can be managed before changing 30-50 per cent water. The bacteria in the water helps the fish survive and changing the water completely may be harmful.
Catfish aka Sucker fish keeps the tank clean- Catfish are not hunters. They do not eat the feces of fish. It is actually unhealthy for any fish to do so. If there is algae, it needs to be scrubbed out. No fish can keep your tank clear and clean. It is highly unlikely that a catfish will keep your tank clean.
Small tanks should be for beginners- False. If you are starting out with this hobby, never go in for a small tank. Small tanks are very difficult to maintain. Big tanks are very easy to maintain and the mortality rate of the fish are also low. Keeping fish (especially Goldfish) in a fish bowl is a very bad idea. The fish have very little space to move around and can die easily.
Over-populating your tank is harmful- This is sadly, another myth. Fish need sufficient oxygen to breath, or they can suffocate in the tank. They also need to have their waste diluted and processed before they poison themselves with it. A fixed amount of water has a fixed capacity to handle these two requirements and only water change periodically is good enough for your tank.
Destroying the natural environment - Fish that are sold in aquarium pet shops are bred in captivity. These fish cannot survive in the natural surroundings and putting the fish back into the lake or river can actually spoil the ecosystem. These fish cannot survive in a natural environment where they have to scavenge for food or hide from other predators
Having a healthy fish tank is easy. All it needs is water change once or twice a month. Fishes are happier and stay healthy that way. If the water conditions are good, nothing more is needed.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published by Times of India, here, and is licenced as Public Domain under Creative Commons. See Creative Commons - Attribution Licence.