Having had an aquarium for 25 years with a high degree of success, I've had people asking me for advice. Here are some of my secrets to success.

Don't Overcrowd A general rule in the hobby s one inch of fish (fully grown length) per gallon of water. So for my 30 gallon aquarium, I can have up to 30 inches of fully grown fish. I don't go quite this high. Instead I set my length limit to approximately 80% or 24 inches.

Have adequate filtration Rule of thumb is to have filter(s) capable of handling five times your aquarium size per hour. So my 30 gallon tank would need 150 gallons per hour. I went above and beyond this by having three filters with a combined capacity of 430 gallons per hour.

Perform Routine Water Changes Every week I siphon out and replace 20% (six gallons) of water. I have six gallon jugs that I keep tap water in. The purpose is so chlorine added by the municipal water plant has a chance to evaporate out of the water. Water sits a minimum of 24 hours in these jugs before being added to the aquarium.

Avoid Messy Fish Some fish are messier than others. Goldfish foul the water fairly quickly. Chinese Algae Eaters and Plecos tend to rip up the bottom.

Limit Lighting Like people, fish need to sleep. Therefore do not leave the light on 24/7. Turning the light off at night also lowers your electric bill but less obvious is that it makes algae growth tougher.