Do It Yourself Aquarium

So you've been begging your 'rents for a pony and they're not quite ready to give in? Maybe it's time to try a different tactic to get a pet. See parents if your will let you put together an aquarium instead. But remember, a fish is for life, not just for Christmas, so take good care of your new aquarium - a lot of lives depend on it!

DIY Aquarium - What You Need:

  • An aquarium
  • Air pumps and under-gravel filter
  • Lighting
  • A hood
  • Decorations
  • Gravel
  • Plants (Live or plastic)
  • Heater
  • Thermometer
  • Chemical additive that removes chlorine from water
  • Fish food
  • Fish

DIY Aquarium - Selecting Your Fish

If you're going to get a bunch of fish, you have to make sure they like the same environment and are sociable enough to get along - that's right, fish can be snobs too! Here are some tips of choosing your scaly posse. Just pick fish from one category for your aquarium.

Social Fish: Danios, tetras, Corydoras, mollies, guppies, and swordtails.

Semi-social Fish: (Only keep these guys with fish that are about the same size) - Barbs, gouramis, and angelfish.

Aggressive Fish: (These guys like to live alone) These fish must be kept singly or in pairs, such as the jewelfish, oscars, and male betas.

DIY Aquarium - Setting Up

Make sure you set up the tank a few days before you buy your fish. Keep the aquarium out of direct sun or particularly hot or cold places. Rinse the talk and all the stuff that is going to go in it - the gravel, little plastic decorations - whatever. Even the smallest amount of soap can be toxic to fish, so just rinse everything with tap water. Fill up the tank with water and use a de-chlorinating chemical additive (available from pet stores).

DIY Aquarium - Bringing Your Finned Friends Home

Float your bag of new fishy friends in the aquarium for five to ten minutes to allow the water temperatures to equalize. Next open the bag and let in some the tank's water, then wait another five minutes. Now let the fish swim into their new home.

DIY Aquarium - Day-to-Day Fish Care

  • Feed your fish according to the package directions. Take care not to overfeed your fish.
  • If any of your fish die, scoop them out right away.
  • Clean algae off the tank walls every week.
  • Clean the tank once a month by removing and replacing two-thirds of the water with clean, de-chlorinated water that is the same temperature as the original water.
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