Pets come in all shapes and sizes, and some pet owners simply prefer fish. But how do you keep aquarium fish at home healthy. Experts say that is more than simply clean water, regular feeding and a good filter. You need to stimulate them too. Here’s how.
Fish, like many pets and humans, are as unique as any one individual, breed, or species. Fish can have different personalities, just like your dog or cat, and those personalities will come with a variety of emotions, much like you yourself experience. One of the most common emotions that fish experience is happiness, although it is not expressed in the same way as other pets or people show it. However, there are ways that you can tell if your aquatic friend is generally feeling positive or negative.
Do Fish Get Bored?
One of the contributing factors to a fish’s happiness is their activity level. One way to tell if a fish needs more stimulation or engagement is their movement. If you notice that your fish are swimming in patterns or routes that are unusual, more vertical and up and down instead of swimming in a horizontal path, this can be an indicator that your fish is lacking stimulation and their stress is showing through their behaviors.
Aggression And Other Forms Of Unhappiness
Stimulation plays a key role in your fish and how they can appear physically and mentally. If your fish are not stimulated or entertained, this can also lead to anger and frustration issues. Unhappiness can take form in different ways. They can also appear depressed and docile. Their frustrations can appear in different ways, from being aggressive to other fish sharing the same aquariums or even detrimental to their own health, refusing to eat, trouble sleeping, or breaking routines and patterns. It is important that you monitor your fish if you are concerned that they might be experiencing such emotional distress. Fish are like any pet, and you as their primary caregiver should notice changes in their behaviors in order to be able to address them.
Ways To Address These Issues
There are several ways in which you can address problems of unhappy and moody fish friends. As mentioned, the reasons for their mood change can differ. It is important to understand why they are unhappy and how to make the necessary corrections, whether it is in their feeding habits and diet, to the surroundings.
Aquarium Fish Toys
If fish are bored, and they can indeed show signs of disengagement and boredom, you can address this through various means. Providing your fish toys is a great way to keep them preoccupied and satisfy their need for stimulation. Fish are naturally curious, much like many animals and pets. Toys can provide that sense of mystery that will engage them and interact with them.
Many aquarium fish, such as betta species, are attracted to things that float on top of the surface. One simple toy that you can find to help engage with your fish is a clean ping pong ball that will float on the surface. Bettas feed off the surface water so anything that changes up there will surely interest them. Additionally, there are many different betta toys to help challenge their curiosity and boredom. These, including the ping pong ball suggestion, will vary from training kits to floating or sinking toys and decorations which should introduce different aspects into your aquarium for your fish. Mirrors also provide a great way of interacting with their environment and can help keep your fish engaged in a more minimalist or smaller space.
As previously mentioned, decoration along with toys provide different levels of engagement and interaction for your aquarium residents. Depending on the size of your bowl, it is important that you provide different decorations to give your fish different areas to swim and move around. It is that curiosity and need for interaction that makes things like sunken ships or underwater castle decorations very popular. It is not just an aesthetic choice for the pet owner or to make your tanks or aquariums prettier, but allows your fish to swim in and around. When choosing decorations for your fish, you want to consider a few different things. Choose things that will not only allow them to swim around but also hide and look through, with different entrances and windows. Add a little nature to the scenery as well, with plants too.
Plant Aquarium Decorations
Having plants also provides an added benefit of helping with keeping your aquarium clean. Natural bacterial growth from plants and even rocks introduced from nature will help break down contaminants in the water such as the fecal matter or poop from your fish. Other great choices would be shells and moss balls to interact with your fish and decorate your tanks. One important note when choosing decorations is to be careful of the material or design of some decorations. Try to stay away from anything that can trap your fish or get their fins and tails caught in.
If your fish are showing signs of unhappiness or boredom, one other aspect to consider is the aquarium size. Fish are meant to be in large open waters. Putting them in a small bowl is similar to being caged up. You want to ensure that they have enough space to move freely, as well as house their different decorations as previously discussed.
Fish are social, and will live a lot healthier and happy with others around them. It is important that when you are considering introducing multiple species into a shared aquarium, that these species will get along with each other and not cannibalize or hurt the other fish. You want to ensure that your tank or aquarium has enough room to house your different fish. Introducing other fish is a great way to ensure that they stay entertained and engaged.
Aquarium fish are just like any other pet that you would consider bringing home and taking care of. They need to be given the right amount of attention and love. And those that are provided their necessities will live a long and happy life. Many people won’t understand just how expressive fish can be. However, once you begin caring for them, you will learn their moods and emotions. Moreover, you’ll understand that they too, need to be kept entertained.