Before you start fishkeeping, you need to ask yourself this important question: Is fishkeeping the hobby for me? If that answer is blurry for you, this post may help you find your answer. Fishkeeping is great for people of all ages, but like any hobby, it may not be for everyone. It’s better to recognize that before investing time and money into the hobby.
Fishkeeping is the act of just that: keeping fish alive, healthy, and happy in a controlled environment. It’s a very informative and rewarding hobby, where you can learn a lot about fish, plants, and water chemistry. There are so many ways to get started that it can be intimidating for new people entering the hobby, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. All fishkeepers had to start somewhere; usually with smaller, easier tanks while learning. As knowledge and confidence rises, they move on to more complicated set-ups, larger or multiple tanks, and even breeding various types of fish. This leads to our first main point.
Fishkeeping can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it.
If you want a small tank with 1 or 2 fish, artificial plants/ornaments, and a simple filtration system, then you can do that. If you want a larger tank with a variety of fish and plant types to experiment with, and a homemade filtration system, then you can do that. Simply put, like most hobbies, you control how complicated and expensive you want the hobby to be as long as it’s within your comfort zone.
Since fish cannot communicate, it’s up to you to ensure that the fish, plants, and water chemistry are in good condition. This requires some knowledge of these items in your tank. Once a few basic concepts are understood, it is quite easy to keep up a fish tank because a lot of the same information applies to multiple topics.
Some simple research is required to be a successful fishkeepr.
While some information is unique to your specific fish and tank setup, there are many common topics that should be reviewed and understood before starting. This will avoid unnecessary dead fish and plants while you are starting.
These topics normally include the aquarium water cycle (ammonia, nitrates and nitrites), keeping/mixing aggressive and passive fish, proper filtration, and handling common fish diseases such as Ich. After a basic understanding of these topics, you should be well on your way to caring for your first tank. There is no lack of information thanks to fish enthusiasts around the world (such as us here at Homebrood Exotics) who like to share their experiences and knowledge in the fish community.
Fish and plants can be hardy or delicate, depending on the species. Mistakes and accidents will inevitably happen and cause you to lose a fish or plant; even your favorite. It’s one of the more unfortunate topics of the fishkeeping hobby.
Be prepared to deal with untimely fish and plant deaths for various reasons, some unknown.
No one wants to kill their fish, plants, or other critters living in their tanks. The whole point of the hobby is to keep them alive and healthy. But it does happen, and sometimes you can figure out why and sometimes you can’t. It’s something you should accept before starting, especially with the first few fish you purchase.
It’s good to look towards more “beginner-friendly” fish that are more hardy and more forgiving if you make mistakes in your water chemistry. Starting with more delicate fish and plants can be frustrating if you begin losing fish and can’t understand why. Sometimes a loss of fish can be avoided with proper knowledge or access to someone with more knowledge than yourself that can assist. Even more advanced fishkeepers will lose valuable fish without ever knowing the cause.
Don’t let this deter you. It can be unpredictable at times but as long as you are doing what you can, and learning from your mistakes, you can begin to avoid common mistakes.
While it can be intimidating and overwhelming at first, if you start small and grow, it can be a great long term hobby for yourself and others around you. It’s an easy hobby to do with your kids as well!
If you do some learning beforehand and your confidence is high, you can dive in a bit deeper with a more complex setup without going overboard. Knowledge and experience goes a long way here.
Despite everything you may do, prepare to lose a few fish on your journey. Sometimes it simply can’t be helped.
Check out some of our other beginner posts for more beginner friendly information if you’re just starting out. Not all folks will agree that these points are important, and that’s okay. For myself, understanding these key points is what convinced me to jump into the hobby, and maybe it’ll be enough for you as well.