Arranging your tank properly ensures that your pet has a smooth transition to its new home. Follow these steps from Stephen Zawistowski, science advisor emeritus for the ASPCA:
- Buy a 20-gallon tank. Not only will your fish have plenty of room to swim, but it’s easier to maintain healthy water conditions in a larger aquarium.
- Fish like to hide and have a place to relax. Use plastic plants or other tank décor, such as a treasure chest, to add camouflage.
- You’ll need a filtration system to keep the water fresh and eliminate waste. Choose either an easy-to-clean filter that hangs on the tank’s side or an invisible version that hides under the gravel (but is admittedly a little more trouble to clean).
- Fill the tank to one inch below the rim with tap water (65 degrees for goldfish; 78 for tropical fish). Most fish thrive in water with a pH of about seven—neither acidic nor alkaline— so test the pH with a kit and use a chemical neutralizer to adjust the level. (Both are available at pet stores.) Then let the water sit for a few days before introducing your new pet.