Push your luck with a colourful home aquarium

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 January, 2012, 12:00am


The Chinese have been breeding carp for thousands of years and mutations of the Prussian carp have turned into the wonderful spectrum of goldfish.

As many believe an aquarium in the home brings good luck, managing director Gilbert Chow at Wellon Aquarium Products provides some insight.

Most novices believe maintaining an aquarium is a complex undertaking but Chow disagrees. 'If you keep your water in good condition, then it's very easy to feed your fish,' he says.

'If you add regular tap water to an aquarium without using a conditioner, it could harm your fish's sensitive gills and protective membranes.

'The conditioner helps neutralise chlorine and chloramines in the tap water to reduce bacteria and pathogens that could harm humans.'

Chow recommends getting a water filter, air pump, heater, aquarium top with a fluorescent light and conditioner. 'If your filter is good the tank is easy to keep clean,' says Chow, who started his business in 1983.

When it gets cloudy, he adds, change about a third of the water every one to two weeks, then add some conditioner. 'It's like adding fish medicine.'

The easiest way to get your tank going is goldfish, says Chow. 'Goldfish aren't as sensitive to water temperature as other fish. If it's cold or if it's hot, it's okay. Water temperature is important for koi. If it's too hot, their skin will change to a yellowish colour.'

Koi are a cold-water fish that best survive in a temperature of 16 to 23 degrees Celsius. For tropical fish, optimal temperature ranges from 23 to 28 degrees Celsius, says Chow.

When trying to pick a tank size, Chow suggests one that is 25 to 30cm high.

If you choose a tank around 50cm high, the internal water pressure may be too high.

As goldfish and koi come from the carp family, it doesn't mean they can live together in harmony.

'There are some fish that you can't mix, especially tropical fish, which can be very fierce,' says Chow. 'Some goldfish and koi attack one another.'

In selecting fish, Chow advises researching their usual habitat, whether it's at the top, middle or bottom of the tank. Some, such as lionfish and goldfish, explore all regions of the tank.

For bottom feeders or fish who dwell in the middle, buy pellet food that sinks, advises Chow. Feeding in the morning and night should be sufficient.

Remove any excess food with a net after about three minutes.