Deck the Halls:
The Holiday Season is a hectic time for you and your family, but can also be a stressful time for the fish in your aquarium. With all the hustle and bustle going on, it is easy to overlook the aquarium and not pay attention to any warning signs that something is wrong in the world of your fish. Prior to the start of most of the festivities, you most likely cleaned the aquarium, changed the filters, and did a partial water change, and maybe added a few new fish so the aquarium would make a great display for all of your family and other guest during the Holidays. You will need to take a few precautions with decorations near the aquarium to keep the stress of your fish to a minimum. Colorful lighting is fine, but try to avoid placing blinking lights near the aquarium. Room/air fresheners should not be used near the tank, as they may contain harmful chemicals that can damage the delicate gill membranes or coral polyps. Ideally, your aquarium should not be set up near a fireplace, but, if it is, be sure to circulate the warm air throughout the room to avoid a localized hot spot near the aquarium. If possible, you will not want to locate any ornamentation that attracts too much attention close to the aquarium to avoid commotion near the residence of your fish.
‘Tis the Season to be Jolly:
Family gatherings and getting together with friends for a party offer their own hazards for the aquarium. People unfamiliar with aquariums may be fascinated with the display of tropical wonders swimming before them and will want to feed the fish because they look hungry. You can head off problems by posting a “feeding schedule” on the tank to overlap the party period and have premeasured portions of food guests could feed to your fish. (You should not be the only one who gets stuffed during the Holidays!) Aquarium etiquette may be encouraged by placing a small sign asking guests to refrain from knocking on the glass to get the fish’s attention, not to open the top to let the fish nibble on their fingers, or give the fish a “sip of the bubbly” for the Holiday. One less visible hazard to the aquarium can be elevated CO2 levels from large groups of people in the same room. Higher levels can actually lower the pH of the aquarium water, so be sure that all of the circulating pumps are running at full speed to help drive off excessive CO2. For really large groups, you may need a fan to circulate fresh air into the room. If you allow smoking in the house, air purifiers would be great, and try to keep any fingers with nicotine on them out of the water; it is very toxic to fish.
And, a Good Night to All:
With a little bit of planning, both you and your aquarium can survive the Holiday Season. Before things get too hectic, it is a good time to make sure you have the normal “emergency” supplies on hand for those unplanned equipment fixes (extra heater and pump), unexpected water changes (salt mix, dechlorinator, ammonia removers) or replacement light equipment. Once the New Year is here and things have settled down, you can start to plan your new aquarium and planning your survival mode for the Super Bowl party!