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5 Ways to Keep Freshwater Fish Healthy and Happy

Posted by on Mar 23 2022

When it comes to caring for freshwater fish, preparation and monitoring is key to keeping them alive. Having a well set up freshwater aquarium, good quality food and routines are all factors in keeping your fishy pals in top condition.  

5 Steps to Healthy Freshwater Fish

At CD Aquatics, we are experts in freshwater aquatic life and we pride ourselves in giving you the best advice so you can provide the best care to your freshwater aquarium fish. Whether you have goldfish, guppies or tropical freshwater fish like Angelfish, here are 5 ways to maintain healthy freshwater fish.

Setting Up A Freshwater Tank.

The freshwater tank setup is probably the most important step when it comes to ensuring a healthy life for your fish. Our environment affects us all and freshwater fish are no different. The size of the tank and its potential location need to be considered before you even bring home your fish. For the first time fish parent, it can be difficult to know where to start so here are a few key points to remember.
  • Size - The size of the freshwater aquarium you choose depends on the amount of fish you intend to keep. The water quality will be reduced if you overcrowd the tank. Too many fish and not enough space lead to low oxygen levels which can cause disease and death. Fish need plenty of space to move and breathe so consider the size of fish and whether you plan to add more in the future.  


  • Location of the freshwater tank - Keep the fish tank away from direct sunlight and sources of heat to prevent fluctuations in water temperature. Be sure to avoid placing tanks near windows or radiators. Ideally, an aquarium should in an area that can be easily accessed for feeding and cleaning. Think about situating your freshwater aquarium away from high traffic areas to avoid the risk of it being knocked over.


  • Water quality - A healthy PH level is essential to the health of your freshwater fish. The PH level refers to acid levels of the water, on a scale of 1-14, with 14 being extremely acidic. Since different species of fish require different PH levels in their water to thrive, it is always best to seek the advice of your freshwater fish supplier to know the right PH level for your fish tank. It is not easy to determine the quality of the tank water by just looking at it so water testing kits are the best way to keep on top of the aquarium water quality. You can read more about the importance of aquarium PH levels here.
When setting up the fish tank, it is recommended to use artificial lighting in the aquarium as this develops normal day and night behaviour patterns, which supports the wellbeing of fish. You can also add decorative elements to your aquarium which not only look nice but will provide cosy hiding places for small freshwater fish who will hide to reduce stress. If you are new to setting up an aquarium, you can learn more about it here.

Clean The Freshwater Aquarium Frequently

Fish will thrive in a clean environment and freshwater fish are no exception. Some fish like goldfish are notorious for producing a lot of waste so having a good filtration system and a regular cleaning routine will prolong the life of your tank inhabitants.
Cleaning a freshwater aquarium can be quite a task for the novice fish keeper but some gadgets and tools can make the process much easier. Gravel vacuums and algae scrapers are useful for removing debris and waste and will speed up the process.    
A good filter is essential for tank maintenance and will provide the best environment inside the freshwater aquarium. CD Aquatics stocks a wide range of fish tank filters and spares and can advise you on the best filter for your setup.
 As an additional way to keep the water cleaner for longer, you could invest in an Airstone. Often known as an aquarium bubbler, these accessories improve water quality by distributing oxygen around the tank via tiny air bubbles. These bubbles circulate the tank water which helps to reduce the gases produced by natural organisms.

Regulate the Temperature of the Freshwater Fish Aquarium

The temperature of the aquarium water will affect the overall health of your freshwater fish. Fish find significant changes in temperature highly stressful and it can affect their metabolism. Stress also lowers the immune system of fish making them susceptible to disease and parasites. 
So, with this is in mind, aquarium heaters and coolers are necessary to the survival of freshwater fish. Bear in mind that different species of fish will tolerate different water temperatures, so keep this in mind when deciding which species of freshwater fish will share a tank. An aquarium thermometer will give you an accurate reading of the temperature of the water. It will also let you know how well the heaters are working and will indicate fluctuations in temperature.

Use High-Quality Freshwater Fish Food

Our fish friends require a healthy, balanced diet to maintain good health. Not all fish food is the same and not all freshwater fish eat the same food. Feed your fish the food that is best for them and allow them to eat as nature intended. Catfish, for example, require food specifically made for them like King British Algae Wafers. These wafers are great for algae eating, bottom feeders like catfish because they sink to the bottom of the tank, allowing them to feed naturally. 
Routine is also important when it comes to feeding freshwater fish, but what happens when the routine is interrupted by a trip away from home? There are a few things you can do if you don’t have anyone to feed the fish in your absence. Automatic fish feeders are the perfect solutions as they can offer approximately 30 days of food and are suitable for tablet, flake and pellet forms of food. Fish feeder blocks are also a popular way of feeding fish while you’re away. Slow-release fish food holiday blocks can last up to 14 days and can feed around 10-15 small fish.

Observe Freshwater Fish Activity

It’s both entertaining and calming to watch fish swim back and forth in their aquarium. Watch them for long enough and you will start to notice patterns of behaviour. Being able to spot abnormal behaviour in fish will help to treat any minor problems before they become bigger issues. Freshwater fish feed in different ways, for example, they are either surface feeders, midwater feeders or bottom feeders. Is your Guppy suddenly swimming at the bottom of the tank instead of its usual position at the surface? This could indicate abnormal water temperature and you will swim to the bottom to stay cool. It is always best to learn about the species of freshwater fish you have so that you will be able to tell when they’re unwell.
A few other signs to look out for are 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Lack of energy
  • Tiny white spots
  • Misshapen or damaged fins
  • Swimming erratically or in a spiralling motion.

Now you have the basics, you are ready to care for your freshwater fish with confidence. If you need supplies for your freshwater aquarium, CD Aquatics can help. Take a look at our aquarium supplies or contact our friendly and knowledgeable staff with your queries. Call us on tel:01922 416284

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