How to Live in Harmony with Freshwater Fish

Did you know that there are over 30,000 species of fish worldwide? Living in harmony with freshwater fish, whether outdoors or inside your home, helps keep fish thriving.

May 1, 2023By Meagan Hubbell
how to live in harmony with freshwater fish

When you spend time outside exploring, you have likely encountered a variety of different species in your local streams and rivers. As you encounter other species, it is important to be aware of conservation efforts to help other fish species stay abundant in your local ecosystems.

Fish are an important part of local ecosystems, and knowing how to help care for them can help protect your favorite outdoor areas. Adding to your knowledge about protecting streams and understanding the importance of water quality for aquariums can help you understand how to care for fish.

Tips for Interacting with Wild Game Fish

brown spotted fish

Salmon, bass, and trout are some of the most popular species that are fished throughout the world. Keeping their population healthy and thriving is important not only for the avid fisherman but also for helping to keep ecosystems running smoothly.

The conservation strategies used to bolster wild populations will vary by species. For example, trout and salmon are coldwater fish. This means that when the water temperature increases, these species can easily become stressed physiologically. Ideally, water temperatures will stay below 70 degrees to keep these species thriving.

One of the ways to keep the water temperature below 70 degrees is to ensure that the tree populations are left untouched. This means making sure that your local community isn’t cutting down trees near streams or rivers where salmon and trout live. Even though bass can survive in water temperature that exceeds 70 degrees, keeping the trees near the habitat will also benefit them.

Protecting the trees that surround the rivers and streams also helps prevent erosion. Erosion causes excess sediment, which can harm fish habitats. Keeping the tree population safe, in turn, also keeps the fish population safe as well.

How to Protect Local Freshwater Fish in Streams and Rivers

fish upstream

Have you ever been on a walk or hike near a local stream and noticed smaller fish swimming peacefully throughout the stream? As long as their habitat is protected, they will continue to live in harmony. Unfortunately, humans spending time outside can impact their habitat without knowing they are doing so.

One of the most important ways to keep smaller freshwater fish such as darters and sunfish healthy is to protect their habitat. When people play in the streams and rivers and move rocks to make different piles, this may seem like an innocent act, but can have negative repercussions for the fish in that stream.

During the breeding season for certain species of fish, many species attach their eggs to the sides and bottoms of the rocks. They can also use branches and logs for breeding habitat as well. When you move the rocks or branches, you inadvertently damage eggs for the species to continue growing.

So next time you are outside enjoying a local stream or river, look but not touch. The local fish species will continue to thrive with your intentional actions to protect them.

Best Ways to Care for Freshwater Fish in Aquariums

fish tank

Remember that each species of fish may have specific habitat and water quality standards. However, there are some general tips you can use when keeping fish at home as pets. In an aquarium, monitoring the water quality is the most important thing you can do.

When investing in tools to help keep your aquarium healthy, having a water quality kit is imperative. These kits will measure things like ammonium, nitrate, and nitrite, which are all an important part of the nitrogen cycle needed to keep the water healthy. Testing for the pH level is also important, and many kits typically have this test.

Another critical component of caring for freshwater fish at home is their diet. There are a variety of types of food available, but remember that each species may have specific dietary needs. A typical food source for small freshwater fish is bloodworms.

If you have larger freshwater fish as pets, such as bass, these larger fish will eat smaller fish, such as minnows, as part of their diet. Also, as fish age, their food source may change.

Understanding the physiological needs of fish in a controlled environment such as an aquarium also helps you to better understand what environmental threats can impact fish in the wild.

Living in Harmony with Freshwater Fish

fish rocks

Whether inside the aquarium in your home or outside in your local rivers and streams, fish need your help to stay protected. At home, remember that water quality for your aquarium is one of the most important things to ensure your pet fish stay healthy. When spending time outside, remember to leave the outdoor water sources as you found them.

Remind others not to move rocks and branches in streams, and that keeping tree canopy abundant helps protect the water temperature for game fish. Awareness and knowledge about conservation efforts are essential when it comes to living in harmony with freshwater fish.

Meagan Hubbell
By Meagan Hubbell

Meagan is a gifted teacher and writer with 16 years of experience in the classroom. As an avid animal lover, she has two rescue dogs named Hogan and Reese, that have been members of her household for 15 years. Hogan is a Maltese and Poodle mix, and Reese is a hound mix. Meagan is also a mom to two boys and married to a stream and fish ecologist. When Meagan isn’t writing or teaching, she spends time outside hiking or on a road trip to the mountains.