Whether you have had huge tanks your whole life, or just want to get a little goldfish, there are a few important things to know to set you up for success.
1) Evaluate your current situation, and decide what you need. If you have a small pond, then only plan to get another one or two small fish. Remember, the more water + the less fish = higher chance of success, less work and costs for you (in general). How much money do I have to spend on this new fish? How much more time do I want to spend caring for my fish? Is the tank or pond that I have now in good working order, or should it really get some upgrades before I commit to caring for a new life? Also ensure that what you want to get, will get along with the fish you have.
2) Be prepared to, and quarantine, the new fish, period. Saying that the person, shop, auction, whatever, already quarantined the fish, defies the very definition of quarantine. The fish has to be in YOUR environment, exposed to YOUR temperature changes, YOUR water source, etc. for a set period of time, ideally 4-6 weeks, before any decisions can be made about the health of that animal. Diseases and parasites, (such as a herpes virus you or I might get as a fever blister when we work too many long hours), often lay dormant within the animal, even for years, but then overtake the fishes immune system and become a problem during times of stress i.e. moving to your house! And then gives it to the fish you already have, and then, you have a big problem, which could have been avoided in a quarantine tank. Have another set up, a tank from a garage sale (or I got my last one at the local thrift shop), get it cycling and have the water quality in it going great, and put your new fish in there. Preferably your 2 new fish, as they really like to have a friend and will do better in at least a pair. It’s a little more work, but so worth it, for so many reasons. In fact, if everyone did this one important step, there would be almost be no need for me as a fish doctor! So go ahead, I dare you to try and put me out of business! Quarantine those new fish! And no I do not recommend prophylactic treatment with a bunch of chemicals, dewormers, antibiotics, etc. Just use this opportunity to bond with the new fish, up close and personal, before they are introduced into the main system. Observe them and check their water quality carefully, every day, and then treat any problems as, or if, they arrive.
3) ONLY then should you begin to look for your new fish. Of course if goes without saying to get fish from a reliable source with a great reputation. Word of mouth is the best. But also use your powers of observation. Choose the fish that chooses YOU! Not the little lonely one in the back corner with the torn fins who is all alone…he is for the shop owner to assume accountability for. Look carefully for torn fins, being interested in you and the surroundings, swimming strongly with the other fish, showing a strong interest in food, with a bright color and no visible marks, bumps, or other abnormal bulges or discolorations. You want the one (s) who can’t seem to want to swim over to you fast enough and say “Hey Buddy, What’s UP? YOU look awesome, want to hang out with me?”! And if your not lucky enough to have experience this with pet fish, and I hope you do, then at least pick one who seems the most vibrant, to you.
4) Safely transport the new fish home. Proceed directly to already established quarantine tank. Get the assistance of whoever you are getting the fish from, with the safe transport of your new friend. But if you want more help, I have an article for that which I can provide you with.
5) Feed, love, care for, and check temperature, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and Ph, AT LEAST, on this new fish, every single day while in quarantine for the next 4-6 weeks. If problems arise, consult me, right away. I have seen Ph crashes kill thousands of dollars worth of fish in less than a day. Don’t wait and see, this is what the quarantine period is all about. One month later and all is good? No problems or concerns whatsoever? Then congratulations on your new addition! It is now safe to introduce the new arrival to the rest of the gang, of course ensuring that the water in the main tank matches what your new fish has been is, especially as far as temperature is concerned.
So there you have it folks, everything you need to know about getting, and keeping, a new fish healthy and happy, in 5 simple steps! And I remember, I am DrQ, here to help YOU, keep your animals happy, and healthy, years longer. What other questions do you have? Connect with me on Facebook #jenaquesten, Twitter @drquesten, Linkin, Google+, and almost everyone else you might like to hang out, and I will answer. Have a great day, and, best wishes for you and your fishes!