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fishWant to keep your finned friend and his tank in top shape? Follow these three tips from Stephen Zawistowski, science adviser for the ASPCA.

  • There’s no need to replace all of your tank’s water each week— swapping out just 10 to 15 percent (so 1 gallon for a 10-gallon tank) will help keep it clean. (And once you’re done, use that water to feed your plants. It contains fish waste, which acts as a natural fertilizer.) Another way to keep your tank clear? Add a few snails—they’ll eat standard fish food but also gobble up the naturally building algae.
  • Like any pet, fish need a well-balanced, healthy diet. Options vary by species (pellets versus flakes for example), but check in at your local pet store—in some cases you can go with organic feed. One to try? AquaOrganic Fish Feed ($18, theaquaponicstore.com). Also, be careful not to overfeed: Sprinkle just a few pieces of food at a time and watch that no leftovers fall to the bottom, since excess food can pollute the aquarium and put the fish’s health in danger.
  • Instead of plastic mermaids, opt for live plants, like anubias and baby tears. They help create a healthier environment by releasing oxygen and absorbing the nitrates released by the fish. Another option: Try AquaFarm, a tank with plants along its cover—the roots are in the water, which helps remove nitrates, while fresh basil and other usable herbs grow at the top. ($60, backtotheroots.com)
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