Aquarium Care

Useful articles, news, information, product reviews about aquarium care

Archive for November, 2009

Looking for the Right Fish for Your Aquarium

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

So you want to get an aquarium. Your first step is to figure out what kind of fish you want. But just how do you choose from the colorful tanks on the wall of your local pet store?

This can be a daunting experience for new fish keepers. Of course, you want fish that appeal to you and have the right ‘look,’ but when selecting fish for your new aquarium, there are three important questions to keep in mind. First, how large will this fish grow? Second, what are the fish’s water quality requirements? Finally, how well will this fish live with the other fish I want?

Some fish will stay small, say an inch or less. These are generally considered community fish. Many fishkeepers select a group of similar community fish to fill their tank. Good choices for tropical community fish include guppies, swordtails, Platies, and dwarf Gourami. When selecting these varieties, choose fish that are about the same size, and avoid mixing different varieties unless you have been advised that they will get along well together. Never purchase just one community fish; they are used to swimming in schools, and will get lonely in your aquarium. A good rule of thumb for this size of fish is one inch of fish for one gallon of aquarium water.

The other kinds of fishes can mature to much bigger sizes, anywhere from 6 inches to several feet. These kinds of fish should be kept solitary for they usually show aggression to other fish that are smaller or weaker. When choosing one of these bigger fish you will need an appropriately sized aquarium. While it is possible to house them in a 10-gallon tank, it must be upgraded to a bigger size once they mature to adult size.

It will be better to just purchase the aquarium that can accommodate their adult size, when you first get your fish. Once you’ve selected the kind of fish you want, find out the maximum size they will grow to, then buy the appropriate aquarium.

There are some varieties of fish that will survive almost any water condition. A popular example of these is the goldfish. They have a reputation for being almost invincible. They will most likely flourish even without lighting or filter, but this is not good aquarium practice.

The slightly more picky tropical fish need a narrower water temperature range, as well as high-quality water. To achieve the water quality these fish need, test your water frequently, use a good filter on the aquarium, and consider products like the EcoBio-Block, which improves your aquarium water quality and reduces maintenance. Some fish need a specific pH, or have other water quality requirements. Be sure to do your research so that the fish you choose have similar water requirements.

The last category of fish includes saltwater or marine varieties. These are tricky to keep, and are best left until you have fishkeeping experience with freshwater fish. In addition to temperature, light, and water quality requirements, you must also keep an eye on the salt levels in the aquarium. These beautiful fish require a lot of work to keep them healthy, and you cannot mix freshwater fish with saltwater varieties.

Lastly, whatever the species you decide on, always remember to buy only those fish that are healthy. Inspect them carefully for uneven scales, irregular growth or injuries. Check also if they have bright eyes and intact fins. They should have healthy appetites and move actively and naturally in the water.

The fish you eventually choose for your aquarium will bring you many happy days of living nature experiences that are guaranteed to reduce your stress and give comfort and beauty to your home or office.

Leonard Boyler has been keeping fish for more than 20 years. His favorite products make aquarium care and maintenance very easy from start up to clearing up cloudy aquariums. To learn more about how to clear up your water and have healthy fish please visit ONEdersave.com.

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The Importance of Selecting the Proper Lighting for Your Aquarium

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Lighting is always a requirement for aquariums. Not only does it highlight the fish and the dcor but it also serves the ecosystem in the tank, particularly if you have decided to add fresh plants to your tank.

When buying an aquarium, getting a full tank setup means getting all the necessary equipment, and that includes the lighting. However, if you prefer to have a more customized setup, purchase separate lighting instead. The light you have to get will depend on the size of the tank and your selection of fish and plants.

The power of the aquarium lighting should be around 2 to 3 watts for every gallon of water in the tank. Keep in mind, however, that the lighting requirements for the aquarium with live plants would be more than that of the same aquarium with artificial plants. Be careful though, because more light is not always good for all fish. Some fish thrive in a brightly lit habitat, while some are bothered by too much light and end up being stressed. Furthermore, an environment with too much light causes algae to grow much faster.

For your lighting needs, you can choose between using fluorescent or incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are inexpensive, and therefore good for smaller aquariums, but their yellowish glow is not quite the same as natural light. They also generate heat so it would be a good idea to keep a thermometer handy, and monitor the water temperature regularly.

If you have live plants, you’ll need an aquarium fluorescent light. Available in the form of tubes or compact fluorescent bulbs, their light is much brighter and does not give off any heat. The fluorescent light can be used by your live plants. If your tank is very heavily planted, you may need more than 3 watts per gallon. A compact fluorescent bulb will fit into any fixture designed for incandescent bulbs, while fluorescent light tubes need to be purchased at the correct length for your aquarium hood.

Although ordinary household fluorescent lights can be used, full spectrum fluorescent light is best, especially for bright-colored fish and plants. Full spectrum lights are composed of all the important wavelengths of light with each part of the light spectrum having different effects on the aquarium. The bright colors of tropical fish are brought out by the purple end of the spectrum while the blue parts promote the growth of algae. Aquatic plants generally will thrive on the orange to red parts of the spectrum.

Although a lot of fish are nocturnal, it is still important for the main aquarium light to be turned off at night to imitate the natural order they are used to. The use of submersible LED lights will allow you to watch your fish when the main aquarium lights are off. You can use different colors to highlight the dcor or the fish. To watch the fish without disturbing their daily routines, use small red or blue LED lights.

Replacing your aquarium light bulbs is an inevitable part of aquarium maintenance. Regardless of whether the light is still working, replace the bulb every year, because they grow dimmer over time.

The well-being of the fish and plants as well as the appearance of your aquarium depend on how well you have chosen your lighting. It is therefore important to make the selection with great care.

Leonard Boyler has been keeping fish for more than 20 years. His favorite products make aquarium care and maintenance so easy from start up to clarifying cloudy aquariums. To find out more about how to have clear water and healthy fish please visit ONEdersave.com.

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Why Aquarium Water Testing is Important

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

One important thing that a person setting up an aquarium must not overlook is aquarium water testing. When you have arranged the decor in your aquarium and put water in, do not immediately add the fish but instead, let the water stand for several days to let the water settle. Beneficial bacteria in a product like EcoBio-Block will help you to speed up the nitrogen cycle. You can monitor this cycle daily with water quality tests, and add the fish a few at a time. At the start of the cycle, you will see a spike in the ammonia level. This will be followed by a nitrite spike when the beneficial bacteria convert the ammonia into nitrites.

Once you have fish living in your aquarium, test the water daily for the first few weeks as the water adjusts to having fish living in it. After this initial period, test the aquarium water weekly. Although most aquarium supply stores will test it for you, it is much easier to purchase a water test kit and do it yourself at home.

You will be presented at the aquarium supply store with a wide variety of testing kits to choose from. There are basic kits with strips that test important water quality indicators like pH, nitrate, water hardness, ammonia, nitrites and others. The strips change color to indicate the quality of the water.

The basic kits are convenient, but have some drawbacks. They are cheaper but are not very reliable. You can go instead with more complex testing, which involves a test tube. Add also a thermometer to your testing supplies so you can test the water temperature.

The health of your fish depends largely on the quality of the aquarium water. That is why it is essential that you do regular aquarium water testing. You need to add whatever is necessary in order to bring your water level to healthy levels for your fish.

Healthy pH level is around 6 or 7 for most fish, but they will generally tolerate a fairly wide range of pH. Any decor, food or medication added can change the pH level in your aquarium. You can increase or reduce the pH to healthier levels by adding some chemicals. A natural, but much slower approach will be to add driftwood or peat for more acidic water or a lime rock if you want more alkaline.

High ammonia levels are toxic to fish. Nitrite levels too, must be kept as close to zero as possible. What will reduce both will be partial changes of water. An easier way is to add beneficial bacteria. Nitrites will be converted to the less harmful nitrates by the beneficial bacteria.

Even simpler and less trouble is to have a bacteria colony established with the EcoBio-Block which gives long-term, continuous results. The bacteria breaks down ammonia into nitrites and then into safer nitrates. The bacteria live and multiply in the block and disperse into the water, keeping the water clear and healthy.

Aquarium water testing is a very important part of keeping your aquarium environment safe and healthy for your fish.

Leonard Boyler has been keeping fish for more than two decades. The products he likes best make aquarium care and maintenance very easy from start up to making your cloudy fish tank clear. To find out more about what you can do to keep your aquarium water clear and healthy for your fish please visit ONEdersave.com.

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