1.) Get a GOOD test kit. Don't rely on strips or the LFS
to tell you your water quality. Get a GOOD test kit. Learn it. Love it.
2.) IF YOU HAVE CATS...DON'T PARK THE TANK ANYWHERE NEAR THE CAT BOXES. The ammonia is attracted to the water and WILL get in there and kill your fish. GUARENTEED. It took me 3 months and a few dead fish to figure this out.
Unfortunately, i think it is more risky to move my 29gal tank or my litter boxes at this point. To help alleviate some of the airborne ammonia, I placed two shallow, wide water bowls right next to the litter boxes. I change the water every time I change the litter. hopefully this will absorb some of the harmful ammonia.
3.) OMG READ. Read until your eyes are blurry. Read about the fish you want, the nitrogen cycle, everything you can
4.) avoid chemicals wherever possible. try to control problems with water changes, temp changes (ich), etc. Control what you can naturally.
5.) LISTEN TO VET OWNERS.
6.) Don't start doing water changes if you haven't done any in a very long time. My friend had a tank (40 gal
) and didn't do water changes for like a year. Just topped off. One day he got spunky and decided to do a 25% change. The ammonium changed to ammonia with the pH change of the water and boom....15 mins later, completely dead tank.
Not sure what to do if you neglect your tank other than slap your hands. Just get in the habit of doing changes from the get go. And stay in the habit.
These are just the things I have learned so far. Hope it helps someone else.