fish in tank

Bringing Your Fish Home

Fish can be incredible pets, and have a hugely diverse set of requirements.

Cold-water fish have limited but definite needs and marine tanks which are best taken on only by experienced owners.

More about bringing your fish home

Whatever type of fish you are going for, it’s important that you know what they will need and have it ready ahead of time. This means it’s important to plan ahead, to make sure you have everything your fish will need from day one. This is especially important for fish, as tanks need time to ‘settle in’ and should be left set up for at least a few days before you add any fish at all.

Bringing your fish home for the first time is a really exciting time, and it can be tempting to rush them into the tank and let them explore, as well as meet any other inhabitants. It’s important to remember to take it slowly – fish can be fragile, and shocks can be enough to kill them, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution.

  1. Have the tank set up at home with the correct water balance, all ready to go.
  2. Bring your fish home in the safe bag they were sold in, most sellers pack very safely. If this comes inside a darker bag, such as a brown paper bag, leave the fish in there and don't be tempted to get them out to check on them. The dark will help keep them calm and less disorientated. If you don't get a dark bag with them, consider covering the bag containing your new fish with a jumper or blanket to get the same effect.
  3. When you get home, put the bag containing your fish in your tank. Don't let them out though! Open the top of the bag and roll it down, the rolled plastic at the top should trap some air. When you place the bag in the tank, this should be enough to keep the bag floating, and having the bag open will let fresh air get to the water. This will slowly make the water in the bag the same temperature as the water in the tank, meaning much less of a shock for your fish when they swim free.
  4. If you have pH monitoring strips, check the pH of your tank water and the water in with your new fish. If there is a difference, very slowly add tank water to the bag, half a cup or less every 15 minutes. Getting the two to the same pH can take several hours but will be worth it as you will protect your fish from pH shock.
  5. Once the water in the bag and the water in the tank are as balanced as you can make them, you can let your fish swim free to explore their new home! Be warned though, adding water from the aquarium you purchased your fish from does mean that any parasites or disease from the sellers tank can be transported into yours. The absolute best thing to do is to isolate your new fish in a quarantine tank for two weeks after purchase before adding them to your main tank, but many fish owners do not have the equipment for this.

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