When planning a new aquarium it can be tempting to put as many decorations as you can into it and there are lots of articles around about things you can make for yourself and how to make it look as natural or as exotic as you want.
However, it’s equally as important to know what not to put into your fish tank, after all the last thing you want is an aquarium which looks beautiful but which ends up polluting the water and poisoning the fish.
There are a few materials to avoid because they can degrade and leach chemicals into the water over time so always make sure anything you buy to put into the tank has been designed specifically to be immersed in water for a long period of time.
Our fish tank experts from Aquacadabra.com were kind enough to put together this list of five items you should definitely avoid putting into your fish tank:
- Unsealed painted plastic
If you are planning to put plastic toys into your tank then you need to make sure they are properly sealed and prepared for prolonged under water use. Plastic toys which you buy from a pet shop should have been treated but make sure this is always the case.
Unsealed plastics left in water can produce toxic chemicals so make sure they are never used in your tank. Plastic which has been declared food safe should be safe to use however always do research and check thoroughly. If you have any doubts avoid plastic items for your tank.
- Anything the fish can bite or eat
There should be nothing in your tank which your fish can bite or eat other than food – check any plants which are in the tank to make sure they are not harmful or even toxic to fish before you add them in.
Also check things like rocks which fish could nibble a corner off and eat – anything loose or chewable should be avoided and removed from the tank immediately to save any harm happening to your aquarium fish.
- Untreated wooden items
Never put untreated wood into your tank as it can change the chemistry and make-up of your fish tank water. Make sure that any wooden ornaments you buy from pet shops are already treated – they should be and are therefore fine to include.
But never put wood that you have picked up in nature into your tank as it could add all sorts of pollutants and cause problems within your fish tank. If in doubt, leave out wooden items to avoid the risk.
You should never put shells into your freshwater aquariums because they can cause chemical changes to the water levels. Shells change the ph hardness in the water making it more difficult for your fish to thrive and it will be harder to keep the tank balanced.
- Degradable objects
Don’t put anything into the water which could degrade as it will release chemicals over time into the water and can pollute the tank harming the fish. Nothing degradable should ever be put into your fish tank. Even fish food should be removed if the fish don’t eat it, along with plant debris and dead or sick fish.
There are plenty of external items which you should never put into your tank in case they contaminate the water and poison your fish so always take care when buying anything to add to the tank.
But another little known source of water pollution is you. You should avoid putting your hands into the fish tank unless absolutely necessary, however, if you do, make sure they are completely free from any kind of soap, oils or hand cream as any of that could leach into the water and poison your fish. Wash your hands thoroughly with water to remove any soap residue before putting them near the water in your fish tank to avoid polluting your fish yourself.
You should also check regularly to make sure that any decorative items you are using in your tank don’t have sharp edges or corners which could cut or hurt your fish by accident – they won’t necessarily pollute the tank but a cut fish can become infected so keep an eye out for sharp edges.
Most items you can buy in an aquatic store should be fine to add into your tank so if in doubt always ask advice from a specialist and check everything over before you take the risk of adding it to the tank to protect your fish.
On the bright side there are plenty of stunning decorative items and plants which are perfectly harmless for your fish and will leave you with a natural looking, soothing aquascape for your aquarium. With a little care and attention you can have an amazing fish tank without risk.