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Page 2 about The Seven
Essentials of Keeping Pet Fish

This page continues the discussion of the Seven Essentials of Keeping Fish. Click here to go back to the first page in this discussion.


Pet Fish Talk, an MP3 PodCast, is a weekly internet talk show about keeping pet fish, such as tropical fish and goldfish, in aquariums, fish bowls, and ponds. The shows were hosted by the Bailey Brothers, DrTom and Nevin, Click on this image for more information.  
Click here to listen to Tom and Nevin Bailey talk about the Seven Essentials of Keeping Pet Fish in Aquariums, Fish Bowls, and Ponds.
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Pet Fish Talk, an MP3 PodCast, is a weekly internet talk show about keeping pet fish, such as tropical fish and goldfish, in aquariums, fish bowls, and ponds. The shows were hosted by the Bailey Brothers, DrTom and Nevin, Click on this image for more information.  
Click here to hear a Special Interview on Pet Fish Talk about the EcoBio-Block Family of Products, which are very effective at keeping aquarium water clear.
2.  Getting Started
The first few days of starting a Fish Bowl, Aquarium, or Pond are the most risky and stressful for the fish. You can reduce this risk by carefully following the advice given at,
•  How to Start a Fish Bowl
•  How to Start a Cool Water Aquarium
•  How to Start a Warm Water Aquarium
•  How to Start a Pond

Be patient, start slowly with just a few fish, and don't crowd too many fish together.


3.  Make Regular Partial Water Changes.
Your fish need fresh water. Your fish can’t live forever in the same old water. One of the Seven Essentials of Keeping Fish is to regularly remove some of the old water and replace it with fresh safe water. This is called a Regular Partial Water Change.

How Much Water Should be Replaced?
If you have a Fish Bowl, twice a week change 15% to 20% of the water. You can't use tap water straight from the faucet. Click here for the details on how to change water in your Fish Bowl.

If you have an Aquarium or Pond, twice a week remove 15% to 20% of the water and replace that water with fresh tap water from the faucet. You don't need to add Water Conditioner to the new water when you replace 20% or less. Click here for more information about Water Conditioner.

But replacing more than 20% of the water during one day is risky, even when you add Water Conditioner. Click here for more information on how to measure 20%. Click on the items in the list below for more details about changing water.

•  How to Change Water in a Fish Bowl
•  How to Change Water in a Cool Water Aquarium
•  How to Change Water in a Warm Water Aquarium
•  How to Change Water in a Pond

Have you been advised to change water once a month in your fish's home? Ugh, that's too long for the fish to live in the same old water. Fresh water for fish is like fresh air for me, and I need fresh air more than once a month.

One of the best things about changing some water for your fish is to watch them after you've finished. Your fish will be more energetic and seem to be happier, and when our fish are happier, we're usually happier too.

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Customer Comments

I rec'd a new aquarium - the largest we have ever kept - 55 gallons for xmas. I haven't kept an active tank for over 7 years, since we started having children. It's amazing how much I have forgotten!
Thanks for such an informative site and for allowing email questions!
Memphis, TN
4.  Clean Your Fish's Home.
At least once each month you should thoroughly clean your fish's home. Click on the items in the list below to read in detail about cleaning your fish's home.
•  How to Clean Your Fish Bowl
•  How to Clean Your Cool Water Aquarium
•  How to Clean Your Warm Water Aquarium
•  How to Clean Your Pond

Click here to read about a complete Maintenance Schedule.

Caution, fish can be greatly stressed, if you do too much cleaning or change too much water on one day. Click here to read more about that.

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5.  Feed your Fish Properly.
Feed your fish twice a day. Feed only floating food, live food, or frozen food. Do not feed pieces of dry food that sink.

Goldfish must eat food that is labeled for Goldfish, and Tropical Fish eat a different kind of food that is labeled for Tropical Fish, so for this reason and several other reasons Goldfish and Tropical Fish are not compatible and should not be kept in the same aquarium.

Give your fish several small feedings each time you feed them. Be sure all your fish get plenty to eat, and be sure they eat all the food you give them, so there are no uneaten leftovers to pollute the water. Remove all uneaten bits of food with a small net after about 10 minutes. Click here to read more about feeding your fish.

6.  Watch Your Fish.
every day for Signs of Stress and Disease such as clamped fins, shimmy, ick, sores, glancing, gasping, and crashing on the bottom. Click here for more details about how to observe these Signs of Stress and Disease.

If you see Signs of Stress and Disease, immediately give your fish the Recommended Treatment. Click here for the complete details about the Recommended Treatment.

7.  Look at the Water.
in your fish's home every day. Be alert for Cloudy, Foamy, or Smelly Water. If you see Cloudy, Foamy, or Smelly Water, take immediate action. Click here for information about how to test your water with your eyes, finger tips, and nose without spending a dime.
Click here for a schedule of daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance tasks. Remember it's easier to prevent fish from getting stressed and diseased, than it is to cure them, after they're sick. Regular maintenance prevents most problems.

Customer Comments

On the FAQ page, one of the first questions is whether there is a good book to recommend for beginners. I'd like to suggest one for you to review and possibly recommend.
My 12 year old son is wanting to set up his first aquarium and I went looking for a beginner book for him. I didn't really find one that was both written for a young person and also complete and accurate. I did find and buy one that was written for adult beginners that I actually think is the best I've ever seen.
I heartily recommend "The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums" by David E. Boruchowitz (2001, T.F.H.) The author's recommendations are in line with the recommendations given on your site. I actually didn't expect to learn anything from the book (as a 25 year veteran, I thought I knew it all, right?) but I've actually enjoyed reading this book and have learned a few things along the way.
The author does a great job in organizing material in the proper order (even advising that it is okay to skip ahead to the fourth section (about fish selection) early (since that's what everybody wants first) but then to return to the beginning and read through the rest of the material in order and then to read the final section again with the proper background to actually make fish selection decisions.
His sample suggestions for community tank stocking all seem very reasonable (though I've certainly not tried all of them). He does a great job of telling the beginner what they need to know without letting the discussion go off onto non-critical topics and gadgets that easily distract both beginner and experienced fish keepers.
I really do love this book! I probably would never have ordered it from Amazon but after actually thumbing through it on the Barnes & Noble shelf, I am glad I bought it even at full price. (The Amazon price was under $13 when I checked and left them a review.)
I've recommended that my favorite local fish store start carrying it along with all of the other "advanced" and specialty books. (Actually I've tried to talk her into bundling it with each "setup" she sells.)
I hope you'll take a look at this book and, if you agree, recommend it to your visitors. I have no financial interest in the book, don't know the author, don't own stock in T.F.H. or have any other connection except really believing that if every beginner read and followed these guidelines, there'd be a lot fewer failures in our wonderful hobby! ...
Gary D.
Highlands Ranch, CO 80126
Reply. Hello Gary. Thank you very much for your advice. You talked me into ordering a copy from, and I added a link to this book just below. Thanks again.
Books for Beginners
The books shown below are listed on You can click on the image or the title of a book to go to the page at, where that book is listed and discussed. In some cases you can preview several of the pages in that book.
Click on this image to go to, where you can learn more about this book.   The Simple Guide to Fresh Water  Aquariums
By David E. Boruchowitz
256 pages
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 Best Selling Books 
  Click here now to order The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums, a bestselling reference, offering an easy-to-understand look at setting up and maintaining a successful first freshwater aquarium.
  Click here now to order The New Marine Aquarium: Step-By-Step setup and stocking Guide, the best selling book about starting a new marine aquarium.
  Click here now to order 500 Freshwater Aquarium Fish: A Visual Reference to the Most Popular Species, a beautiful book, lovingly written and illustrated, with information for the beginner or the longtime enthusiast.
  Click here now to order Fancy Goldfish: A Complete Guide ... by Eric L. Johnson, DMV, and Richard E. Hess. The most encompassing and thorough treatment of the fancy goldfish hobby to date. Hardcover with 176 pages.
Click here now for many more fishy books.
We hope these suggestions help!  ;^ }
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Important Aquarium Products

For excellent health, pet fish need very good food and very good water conditions. These five products are very important.

Premium Fish Food Flakes
Premium Fish Food Pellets
DrTim's Water Conditioner
DrTim's WasteAway
Denitrifying Lava Rocks
Click here now to learn more and add one or more of these products to your fish order.
 About our Fish ...
Almost all the photographs and videos, shown on this web site, were taken by us of our fish in our aquariums.
Compare the healthy, beautiful, energetic fish in our beautiful aquariums to the fish in our competitors pictures. Their fish often look thin with clamped fins and poor color.
We buy the highest quality fish, produced by the best fish farms or caught by the best collectors of wild fish, then we take incredibly good care of our fish in our beautiful aquariums.
If you compare the pictures on this site to our competitors pictures, you can instantly see, our fish and aquariums are better!  ;^ }
Will the fish you get from us look like the fish in our pictures? No! This is similar to buying kittens and puppies that will change as they grow to become cats and dogs.
We stock and ship fish that are the ideal size to sell. Not so small that they will not do well when shipped. Yet not so big that they have become much more expensive.
The fish in almost all of our pictures were young fish like the ones we have for sale that we raised up, and you can too! 
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This page was updated on October 16, 2014.