Graduating from a small one and a half gallon vase-type aquarium for a beautiful Betta fish, Jewel, to a not-large 5 gallon aquarium for my two Dwarf African Frogs, Henri and Marty, and my Nerite Snail, Tigger, I definitely prefer the five gallon. That is still quite small since many people have much much higher volume fish tanks. However, this fits my lifestyle best. And my three little ‘guys’ seem to do just fine together. An hour a week is about all the time I need to keep my little fellows in good spirits.
When I started with Betta fish, unfortunately, they did not last much longer than six months with my limited knowledge. Even with using scalding water to rinse all the preparatory bowls and utensils for changing their water, my Bettas did not do well for any good period of time. Best I had watched a few videos on “how to set up a fish tank” or “aquarium care for beginners”.
So I switched to Dwarf African Frogs and Snails. I still make sure to rinse all their utensils with only very hot water for water changes before using and after using them to safeguard my creatures. Also I now use Mini Catappa leaves to float in their water (also called Indian Almond Leaves) to aid in keeping any nasty critters appearing in their tank.
I have found, too, that they love to ‘hide’ or sleep under these leaves.
Making sure I test their water every change, I do switch out the old leaves for new weekly. And, of course, I condition their new water with tap water conditioner, a bit of Aquarium Salt, and a drop of Stress Zyme. Use of a turkey baster to clean their water weekly of any debris…mostly old food particles…works well for me.
I do have a temperature gauge that affixes to the side with a magnet to ensure their tank temperature is good…between 72 – 78 degrees. And making sure to keep them out of drafts helps. When summer heats up I usually disengage their heater until Fall really kicks in.
A small filter keeps their water moving for infused fresh air, and it definitely needs to be rinsed every water change to operate properly.
The only other practices I use are to make sure they are in bright light aka sunlight during the day and surrounded in darkness via a homemade cloth at night to keep out all the artificial lights we have these days…so they do get good sleep!
The longest I have had a Nerite Snail is two years…a year longer than their life expectancy. And my previous Dwarf African Frogs stayed with me for a good four years. I had lost a few frogs rather rapidly before Henri and Marty though. One crashed headlong into the side of the tank or a jagged rock possibly. One was rather large and hopped out without me noticing until too late. And one just simply disappeared…still a mystery.
I did purchase some floating leaf rectangles so they can catch themselves and they have worked well.
They love their once-a-week treats…frozen Mysis Shrimp (which I defrost) for Henri and Marty and a dried algae sheet which I cut for Tigger. My snail also has a small piece of bird Cuttlebone for calcium placed at the bottom of the tank to keep his shell healthy. Normally I feed all of them every other day with a mini algae wafer for Tigger and a few dried Bug Bites and Frog Bites for Henri and Marty.
They do love to sleep up in the ‘tree’ branches or under their bridge..the snail also. They are all quite fun to watch. The frogs are little acrobats…it is fun to see them float too. The snail moves rapidly..I had never before seen a snail swim. And, as for eating Tigger never seems to stop…he will eat the froggies’ food also or some of it. This tiny little snail, not larger than the end of my thumb, will tear his one and a quarter by 3 inch treat down from a water clip in just 2 days.
If you feel operating an aquarium might be fun for you get some helpful tips from your local Pet store or Fish Pet store and give it a go.
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