Fishkeeping 101; 4 Tips for Beginner Aquarium Hobbyists

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Laila Afifa

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  • GloFish swimming inside an aquarium. Personal Doc of Wisnu Saputra

    GloFish swimming inside an aquarium. Personal Doc of Wisnu Saputra

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaMany have taken on new hobbies to cope with the sense of isolation due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic quarantine. The current popular hobby adopted by Indonesians is arguably fishkeeping or becoming an aquarist or aquarium hobbyist. 

    For those interested in becoming an aquarium hobbyist either to test their aquascaping skills or broadening their fish species collection, Tempo asked Wisnu Saputra, owner of ONDO aquarium supplies store, about the 4 tips beginners should take note of. 

    1. Know the types of fish you want

    A type of Snakehead fish swims inside an aquarium. Personal documentation of Wisnu Saputra.

    According to Wisnu Saputra - who also runs his store on Instagram @ondofish - highly suggest hobbyists familiarize themselves with the fish species they intend to keep, as he noted many make this basic mistake. 

    “For instance, if you keep a betta fish [known locally as cupang], it can only live by itself. You must be prepared to have many [aquariums] to have these as pets. Once you put them in one place they would definitely fight each other,” said Saputra on September 16. 

    He noted that there are certain fishes that can be placed in one place such as the African Cichlid but only towards the exact same species. 

    2. Aquarium water consistency is key 

    According to the man that has entered the industry for half a decade, one must understand how to maintain water consistency in an aquarium as keeping fish pets in unstable water temperature would likely end in the fish being stressed and eventually die. 

    “Try to maintain a consistent water concentration. This means maintaining a constant temperature when kept indoors,” said Saputra who also noted that keeping an aquarium in an air-conditioned room is plausible but difficult as the temperature must not frequently jump up and down. 

    3. Draining the aquarium 

    The owner of ONDO fishkeeping and aquarist supplies store drains two large aquariums. Personal documentation of Wisnu Saputra.

    He claims there is a misconception in draining an aquarium as many would generally completely drain one which would force the fishes to readapt with its environment. He recommends that the best way is to drain your aquarium gradually in small quantities. 

    “Don’t completely drain them. One or two scoops would suffice. The water parameter will change drastically if drained completely and will force the fish to readapt,” said Saputra. 

    4. Fish feed

    Various fish feeds for the use of home aquarists. Personal documentation of Wisnu Saputra.

    Lastly, Wisnu Saputra said many beginner aquarium hobbyists would make the mistake of overfeeding the fish and leave leftovers floating. The leftovers, he said, would actually end up becoming ammonia and turn into poison for the fish. 

    “[The quantity of fish feed] can’t be generalized. But look at it this way, don’t feed them in bulk but feed them in small continuous quantities until none is eaten by the fish. Use that as a measurement on how much feed you give your fish and don’t forget to remove the leftovers,” said Saputra. 

    SARAH ERVINA