Fish, Tanks and Ponds


Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Safe Fish Keeping

Preventing over heating

Over heating: Thermostats can and do occasionally stick in the on position, as a result the tank temperature continues to rise and if this isn't discovered quite quickly then all the live stock in the tank will die.

Think of the cost of replacing the stock of a large aquarium not to mention the stress caused by losing all your fish (it can happen to Discus and reef set ups too) and then think about how much an extra thermostat would cost.

How to avoid an overheated aquarium
Double thermostat wiring diagram

The thermostats are wired in series and the heater(s) are wired in parallel. This is important because it makes the current run through both thermostats but allow the current to get to both heaters (if more than one is in use) even if one breaks.

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Double thermostat layout diagram

Using this layout if the heater/stat became stuck in the on position the water would rise by a few degrees and then the back up thermostat would cut off the heater and prevent livestock losses from occurring.

This takes just a few minutes to set up and the cost of a thermostat is far less than a tank full of fish. Don't wait for it to happen before acting.


Avoid a flood

Leaking filter:

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A siphon pipe showing how to prevent a flood

Pipework could work loose, external filters can leak and it really can end in disaster.

  • 80% of the tanks water will end up on the floor.
  • The heater will be left high and dry and burn itself out.
  • The filter will run dry and the motor will overheat and break.
  • Fish may be lost
  • You'll be left with a whole lot of cleaning up to do and in the worst case more serious repairs if the tank is in an upstairs room.
  • All of which is easily avoided.

If you drill a small 2mm hole in the filters siphon pipe 5cm (2in) below the water surface it will stop the siphon by allowing air to enter the pipe and stop the flow of water.

Now I know what you are thinking, why put the hole so low down rather than just below the surface?

Well if the hole is just below the surface a small eddy will form and allow air in to the siphon and stop it from working so your tank will be left with no filter. With the hole 5cm below the surface this won't happen, of course this will allow a small amount of water to escape from the tank but it will overt the major disaster that it could have been. Much easier to clean up a small spillage than the list above.


Transporting fish

Bagging fish for transporting: When the bag with the fish in it is placed on a surface it is possible for a fish to become trapped in a corner and to suffocate. This is easy to avoid by using any one of three solutions.

Most fish show organisers now insist on one of these methods particularly when fish are entered in to an auction.

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How to properly bag fish

Some fish shops now use bags with rounded corners but for those which don't there are a couple of alternatives. The most simple method would be to tie the corners up, the bag is then left without a corner so the fish cannot become trapped.

Double bagging works too because it also rounds off any corners and also prevents the fish from getting accidentally trapped. This method also offers extra protection against a leaking bag.

I learned this the hard way, please learn from my mistake and don't let this happen to you

About these precautions

There are a few mishaps in fish keeping which don't happen very often but which can strike at any time without warning. All of them will result in the loss of fish, sometimes all your fish and if that happens it can be devastating. With a little planning all these problems can easily be avoided.

Don't wait until it is too late!!!

My story of woe


Anostomus anostomus
Photo by Brian Gratwicke

The above fish is reasonably common these days but back in the 1970s it was far more special. I saved up and purchased a group of them at £5.00 each (quite a sum in the 70's). I got home and took the fish from the outer bag only to discover two of them had perished on the journey home. They had become trapped in the corner of the bag and suffocated. I was extremely disappointed by this and I felt I'd let them down because they died in my care. It was a lesson hard learned, don't make the same mistake that I made.