Ornamental fish and aquatic plants represent the majority of the live species purchased by aquarists, backyard pond owners and water gardeners. Oftentimes, these species require special care and environmental conditions. Most hobbyists will seek specific information on which aquatic plants and animals are best suited for the micro- environment they wish to create. Doing this background research before undertaking a project is the best way to ensure its successful completion and also of getting the best return on your investment.
So, if you are planning to start an aquarium or build a backyard pond or water garden, here are a few tips to consider before you undertake your project.
- Learn about the invasive species of concern in your region;
- Become familiar with the laws (federal, provincial or municipal) that govern acquisition, collection, possession, purchase, sale and release of aquatic plants and animals;
- Do not use indigenous fish or aquatic invertebrates that have been removed from their natural environment. (This practice is illegal in certain regions);
- Be well informed about the plant and animal species you plan to acquire. Become familiar with their scientific names so as not to confuse them with other species that may be referred to by the same common name. Learn about their origins, how they reproduce and how to control their spread;
- Consider alternative non-invasive native plant species that are adapted to your region;
- When considering a location for a backyard pond or water garden, select a site that is protected from flooding and that is far from a natural water course;
- When acquiring aquatic plants, make sure they are free of parasites such as other plants, fish and invertebrates that can be found in the soil or water. This can be done by carefully rinsing the plants in clear fresh water until all traces of soil have been removed or by dipping them for 30 seconds in a 10% chloride solution* to remove the parasites and then thoroughly rinsing them in clear fresh water;
- Choose a reputable supplier who can provide information on your specific hobby.
* Not recommended for submerged plants.