Aquarium Care

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Tips in Selecting an Aquarium Tank

There are many things to consider when selecting an aquarium tank. One of them is the size of the aquarium. To determine the ideal size for you, you have to know the kind of fish that you are putting in the aquarium and exactly how many of them. Also, try to find out how big your fish can grow. If you buy a fish without finding out its maximum growth size, you may someday find your aquarium tank too small or too crowded. Remember to choose the aquarium that will be big enough for all the fish at maximum growth size.

The amount of water that the fish needs is also a factor to look into. Follow this rule of thumb to find out how much water your fish will need. A fish that will grow to adult size of less than 4 inches, like guppies and tetras, will require a gallon of water for every inch of fish. A large fish like the cichlid will need at least 55 gallons and the angelfish, at least 29 gallons. It is essential that your aquarium tank is able to hold the amount of water that all your fish need.

Size of aquarium tanks vary from two and a half gallons to several hundred gallons. They come in various shapes too: rectangle, round, bow front, hexagonal or cylindrical. If you’re a beginner, you might want to buy the prepackaged kit that contains all that a beginner will need to start. This may include the aquarium outfitted already with filter, heater and light. Pick the smaller tanks for starters for minimum maintenance. Just remember, not too small or your fish will not have enough room to be healthy.

You will have two choices in materials for your aquarium tank. Glass tanks are generally less expensive and more available. Glass will not scratch easily but can be very heavy. They also are not as flexible as acrylic so shapes are limited. Acrylic tanks, on the other hand, being lighter, boast of a wider range of shapes and sizes that you can pick from. They are, however, more expensive and more easily scratched.

A filled aquarium will weigh about 10 pounds for every gallon of water. So a large aquarium will really be very heavy. Bear this in mind when choosing your stand. You do not want to put it on anything that might collapse under the heavy weight. There are specialized aquarium stands built in metal or wood that could provide the necessary support for your aquarium. Some even have compartments for your aquarium supplies. Be sure also that your aquarium comes with a lid or a ‘hood’ and that it’s the right size for your tank.

After making your choice and purchasing an aquarium tank, put it in a bathtub or your backyard and fill it with the right amount of water. Connect and plug all the equipment like the heater and the filter and let it stand overnight. You should always do this before putting in the fish to determine if there are leaks and that your equipment works properly. With the correct aquarium tank size and type, and proper precautions in ensuring the safety of your fish, you guarantee them a happy and healthy life in your aquarium tank.

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Aquarium Care Series: Cleaning Your Aquarium: Maintenance Routines

by Ruby Bayan, OurSimpleJoys.com

One of the joys you will experience in fish keeping is making sure that the underwater kingdom you have conjured remains in its ideal, pristine condition for the longest time possible. Feeding and looking after the health and wellness of the plants and fish is just one aspect of tank maintenance; housekeeping is another.

Keeping your aquarium clean doesn’t have to be unpleasant or tedious. Some minor tasks can be done regularly to avoid, or delay, a major cleanup or an overhaul. Usually a tank overhaul is necessary only when severe pollution has occurred, and a new setup is the only way to remedy the situation. If you can take care of your aquarium community diligently enough, there will be no need for a major cleanup for many years.

Let’s look at the essential tasks in keeping your aquarium setup clean and well maintained.

Maintenance Routines

Your aquarium contains living organisms that feed, respire, grow, age, and expire. From bacteria and other microorganisms, to algae and broad-leafed plants, to an assortment of exotic tropical fishes; the ecosystem in your aquarium comprises a slice of natural life. As caretaker of this ecosystem, you must be there to ensure that the natural balance is maintained.
On a regular basis, therefore, these are the things you need to take care of:

  1. Half an hour after every mealtime, remove all uneaten food. They will rot, clog the filters, and make your water toxic for the fish.
  2. Daily, check all the equipment supporting your aquarium. Be sure all working efficiently because when filters, lights, aerators, or temperature regulators fail, there is a major risk of pollution and distress.
  3. Observe the fishes – isolate and medicate those that look weak and sickly before the whole tank becomes contaminated.
  4. Check your aquarium glass cover – clean as necessary so that tank illumination is not hampered.
  5. Check for the growth of algae. You can scrape it off the walls with an algae scraper, a scrub pad, or a magnetic cleaner.
  6. Trim overgrown plants and remove dead leaves and branches.
  7. On a weekly or bi-weekly basis, perform partial water changes to minimize ammonia and nitrate build-up. Replace no more than 20% of the total water volume, and be sure that the replacement water is of the same temperature and composition as that of the tank. In between water changes, add fresh water to make up for quantity lost through evaporation.
  8. Siphon off wastes and debris that have accumulated on the substrate, the plants, décor, and at the corners of the tank. Stir the top of the substrate a bit to unearth the dirt and debris. You can use a siphon hose or a glass tube sediment remover. This task can be performed while siphoning off water for the regular water change.
  9. Clean or replace all filter elements (carbon, filter wool, sponge, etc.) every two-to-three months. You may also need to have your power filters and pumps checked and serviced for worn out parts.
  10. Replace fluorescent and UV lighting once or twice a year because these bulbs degrade with use.
  11. Consider using a water-conditioning product like EcoBio-Block to clarify water and reduce the need for water changes.

If despite diligent maintenance, you find yourself having to deal with accidents, pollution, or a change of mind, here’s a short tutorial on how to do a general overhaul of your aquarium.

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