Keeping a tropical fish tank isn't always easy. Rather than thinking of it as just an aquarium full of pet fish, it's better to consider it your own private ecosystem. Not only do the fish affect the atmosphere, but the plants, rocks, temperature, lighting, and more can change the quality of life inside your tank. When it comes to keeping your tank free of disease and parasites, there are many precautions you can take.

When it comes to choosing items for your tropical fish tank, keep in mind that while you may be introducing a lovely new live plant or a new species of compatible fish, you may also be inadvertently bringing unwanted organisms into your tank. For example, when buying live plants, it's important to make sure that there are no snail eggs on the leaves. Otherwise, it's all too easy for snails to breed and create havoc inside your tank—not only do they eat food, but some types of snails can feed on sick or sleeping fish as well.

Buying decorations for your tropical fish tank can be quite fun indeed. However, before introducing it into the tank, make sure that it is clean. If you'd like to include shells or driftwood in your tank, your best bet is to buy them at the store rather than pick them up off the beach. There is simply no telling what tiny organisms may be living there. Additionally, if you want to include plastic toys or decorations, be sure they are of high quality. Buying cheaply made plastic accessories may introduce chemicals, dye, or even lead into your tank.

It's always a bit of a risk introducing a new fish into a tropical fish tank. You never quite know if the new fish will bring some new illness into your tank. Oftentimes the fish may initially look fine, but some chemical in its original tank will disagree with yours. To avoid having this happen, it's a good idea to watch your local fish store carefully.

For example, do you see any tanks that look dirty or neglected? Are there tanks with sick fish in them that haven't been labeled? Are there tanks that are overcrowded or simply too small for the fish inside them to thrive in? If you spot any of these signs, it's a good idea not to frequent that store.

Additionally, not all fish that exhibit odd behavior may be sick. Learning the nuances of fish behavior can mean the difference between picking a sick fish and one that is simply shy or nocturnal. If you notice a fish hiding, being stationary, or discolored, it may not be a sign of illness. However, if you see a fish struggling to swim or breathe, this is a sign that the tank is contaminated with some sort of sickness. Learn more about how to take care of your tropical fish tank today!

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