Basic knowledge of fish keeping, together with the right aquarium supplies, is crucial to the livelihood and longevity of your fish. It's important to maintain the optimum living conditions for your fish and other living things you may have in your aquarium if you are to enjoy them for a long time.
To illustrate this, I shall share with you my own experiences when I got started with this hobby for the very first time as a child. The first experience was with bettas and the second with goldfish; two different kinds of fish with different requirements.
My first pet fish were a pair of bettas (a male and a female) which my mom bought me because she knew that I liked fish and felt sorry for me because a toy fish was all I had.
We put the bettas in a small plastic jar with a floating live plant. The male was aggressive. He continuously chased after the female and attacked her until she was full of bruises. One night, running out of place to hide, the female desperately jumped out of the water onto the floor. Fortunately I was nearby and was able to save her.
My mom then suggested that we separate the fish. So we put the female in a different jar. However, I felt that the female was lonely. So one day I asked my mom if I could buy another fish. There was a beautiful green male betta that I decided to buy.
At that time I didn't know that bettas were fighting fish and that the males would fight with each other. So at first I decided to put the new male in the same container as the first male. I knew the first male was aggressive and I just wondered how he would react toward another male.
To my amazement the two males fought with each other and there was no sign that they would stop. After a while I got worried. I didn't want any of them to die so I finally separated them and put the new male together with the female, and to my pleasant surprise they got along pretty well.
However, that little jar was kind of small for a pair of fish although they got along. So, we decided to move the fish to a much larger plastic container. Later I added a couple more females so that it became sort of a betta community tank.
Being fascinated by the beauty of the male bettas, I bought a couple more and put each in individual jars. I fed them dried food and occasionally bread. However, I fed them too much. The water would become cloudy fast from fish waste and uneaten food. So, I completely changed the water every other day. I would fill up the jar with new water right from the tap.
As you might guess, the fish didn't last very long. After only a few months they started to get sick and eventually one after the other died.
Dirty water, untreated new water, fluctuating water temperatures, and trauma from being moved frequently during water changes were some of the factors that contributed to the fish's low resistance to diseases.
Although it's acceptable to keep bettas in relatively small containers without aeration, it would be much better to put them in a tank of at least 2 gallons, and you would still need to observe certain basic things such as not feeding them too much and setting aside new water to equilibrate the temperature and remove chorine prior to water changes.
I was only about 10 years old at the time and didn't know anything about fish keeping. Neither did my mom. Also, back then there were very few books about aquarium fish and the aquarium supplies were not as sophisticated as they are today.
Today, there are plenty of good books and magazines as well as web sites about fish aquariums. So, if you're serious about taking up this hobby, you should start by reading a few of them and gain the basic knowledge before you even buy your aquarium and fish.
In the next article you will learn what happened when I tried to keep some goldfish, also with very little knowledge. In the mean time I invite you to visit my web site (see below) to learn more about aquarium fish keeping.
About the Author
Jonathan Wangsa is the webmaster of