Aquarium Care

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Posts Tagged ‘Aquarium Plants’

Sticky: Controlling Aquarium Algae

Most aquarium hobbyists have to contend with the problem of algae growth sooner or later. The problem can come over time or burst out suddenly as algae bloom.  Understanding the kind of algae you might get in your tank is a big step toward fixing any problem that might arise. The first thing to do is to learn how to identify the algae and then follow the protocol to control it.

Kinds of Algae

Brown Algae – This kind of algae is the most common and is usually found in new tanks or low-light aquariums. You can recognize it by the soft clumps that they form on aquarium walls and fittings.  They are also referred to as diatoms and can be removed by scrubbing. Because they feed on nitrates, adding live plants will help as will algae eaters like the Otocinclus catfish or aquarium snails.

Cyanobacteria – Although cyanobacteria are often referred to as blue-green algae, they are really microbes that float through the tank as blue-green sheets.  They are easy to remove and need to be controlled as they can cause the death of fish or plants in the tank.

tank with green algae

Green Algae

Green Algae – Green water in the tank is usually the result of this kind of algae and often comes because of poor water quality.  This is the kind of algae that is referred to as algae bloom and will grow in tanks that are getting too much light or haven’t cycled properly. It usually forms a film on the tank walls and fittings and can be wiped off. Once the water in the tank has stabilized the algae will usually disappear. If it doesn’t, more drastic methods are necessary.

Thread Algae – Long threads (up to 30 cm) hanging on leaf edges are thread algae.  Low iron is usually the reason for this condition. Threads can be removed by taking a toothbrush and twirling the threads around it. Another way to control this growth is with Siamese algae eaters.

Green Spot Algae – Hard green spots on tank walls and on aquarium plants are the difficult to remove green spot algae. They usually occur in tanks which have too much light or are low in CO2 and phosphate. Normally, they are removed by scraping with a razor blade.

Red/Brush Algae – Red algae or brush algae are most likely to develop on slow-growing plants. pH does not affect them and they are hard to remove by hand. The only control known are Siamese algae eaters.

How to Control Algae

The best ways to avoid algae problems is to limit organic waste and keep good conditions in your tank. Regular water changes and limiting fish food to about as much as they can eat in a minute will help. Live plants also use up the nitrates which feed the algae which will keep them from growing. Algae need light, so keeping the tank out of the sun and only using artificial light for up to 12 hours a day will also discourage growth. Another simple and easy way to reduce the likelihood of getting an algae problem is by the addition of beneficial bacteria, which keep the tank clean and non-conducive to algae growth.

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Sticky: Types of Aquarium Plants

planted tank

Planted tank

While many novice aquarium hobbyists decorate their tanks with sunken pirate ships and other novelty items, these decorations eventually grow old. If you are looking for some attractive, natural-looking décor for your home aquarium what you need is a few live aquarium plants. Not only are live plants beautiful in the aquarium, they are also very beneficial for your fish and for your aquarium as a whole.

Types of Live Aquarium Plants

Live aquarium plants can be divided into three general categories: ferns and mosses, rosettes, and stem plants. Ferns and mosses are those plants which do not flower and propagate by producing spores. This category includes plants like java ferns, crystalwort and willow moss. The rosette category includes flowering aquarium plants which are often used ornamentally in ponds as well as the home aquarium. Some popular specimens in this category are Amazon swords, vallisneria and water lilies.

Stem plants are the largest category of aquarium plants and they are also some of the most popular. Some of the most commonly used stem plants include hornwort, cabomba and anacharis. Plants in this category often grow quickly and can be easily propagated by taking cuttings and rooting them in substrate. Some stem plants are also very hardy, able to thrive in a variety of aquarium environments including brackish tanks.

Floating Aquarium Plants

As an alternative to these three categories, live aquarium plants can also be divided by their rooting requirements. While most aquarium plants need to be potted or rooted in substrate, some plants must be allowed to float on the surface of the water. These plants provide a complementary look to rooted plants in your aquarium while also increasing the oxygen content in your tank and providing a place for small fish and newly-hatched fry to hide.

Some of the most popular floating aquarium plants include hornwort, a slow-growing plant, and anacharis, a plant that grows very quickly. Water sprite, duckweed and azolla are frequently used in goldfish ponds because they provide a healthy food source for fish as well as attractive decoration. Many floating plants can thrive when rooted in substrate but floating free on the water’s surface allows for the maximum level of growth and spread.

In the home aquarium, live plants can be very beneficial. Not only do they help to filter out toxins and produce oxygen – they also suppress algae growth and provide your tank with a beautiful and natural décor scheme. In order to maximize the effectiveness of your live aquarium plants, pot one or two in an EcoBio-Planter. These planters are made from natural zeolite and crushed stone which makes them a simple yet attractive item to add to your tank. EcoBio products are infused with beneficial bacteria which immediately start working to nitrify tank water, making it cleaner, clearer and healthier for your fish. EcoBio-Planter has the additional attraction of being great for your plant’s life as well.

If you are serious about starting a planted tank you will first need to decide what type of plants you want to cultivate and what is needed in order for them to thrive. Aquarium plants require fluorescent lighting and periodic feeding in order to achieve their maximum growth. If you care for your plants properly they will repay you by helping to keep your tank clean and clear, creating an ideal environment in which your fish will be able to thrive.

 

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Necessary Steps To Simplify Aquarium Care And Maintenance Tasks

Aquarium care and maintenance involves certain tasks that should be done daily, and others that are less frequently needed. All these routine tasks are necessary to keep fish healthy and the aquarium environment clean and problem free.

Daily care involves checking over your fish by observing their behavior. Healthy fish will swim freely, with their fins erectly held. Their skin and gill areas will be free of any puffiness or marks that show parasites or infections. Check that all the equipment is working properly, and that water temperature is not fluctuating.

When you feed your fish, never give them excessive amounts. Uneaten food falls to the bottom, and will encourage algae growth, ammonia production and water to cloud. You can keep it cleaner and clearer by using one of the EcoBio-Block products. These products introduce beneficial bacteria that rid the water of toxic ammonia that is produced from excess food particles in the water.

Keeping the exterior of the fish tank clean is another important step in aquarium care and maintenance. Wash it every week, using only clean clear non-chlorinated water. Any soap or chemical cleaners must be avoided, as they can get into the tank’s water and kill fish. Maintaining a clean fish tank not only makes it easier to observe your fish, it also promotes the growth of aquarium plants as it allows more light to enter.

Generally, a partial water change is recommended every two weeks or so, the timing depending on how large your aquarium is and how many fish it holds. Changing the water will reduce the ammonia content. An easy way to keep ammonia levels acceptably low is by using any of the EcoBio-Block products which introduce ammonia-controlling bacteria and reduce the need for water changes. Choose the product according to the size of the fish tank.

Periodically, you will need to remove any algae growth from your fish tank. Some algae thrive with light, and grow on the inside of the tank so must be scraped off. Other kinds live in the gravel bottom, thriving with the organic waste in the water. By using EcoBio-Block products, the production of ammonia and nitrites is controlled, so less algae will grow.

Uneaten fish food and fish waste drops to the bottom of the aquarium constantly, and settles between the pieces of gravel and sand. This can form harmful gases and nitrites as it decomposes, so cleaning it away monthly is part of your aquarium care and maintenance. This is generally done by vacuuming the gravel.

If you make use of EcoBio-Blocks, then the ammonia and nitrite produced is kept under control. Less frequent cleaning and washing of the gravel is necessary, and tank water will be much clearer and cleaner. These products have a life of up to two years.

Aquarium care and maintenance can be made easier with the introduction of beneficial bacteria. As long as these bacteria are present and able to proliferate, they will keep the tank water clean and clear and so ensure the health of the fish.

Find the right techniques to aquarium care by going online. There you will find many methods to clear water of organic waste that will harm your fish. Head online and learn more today.

 

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The Importance of Selecting the Proper Lighting for Your Aquarium

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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In Search of the Right Aquarium Plants

If you are setting up an aquarium and you don’t yet have any decorations or plants, you may notice that your tank looks incomplete. In fact, plants aren’t just decorative, but a necessary addition to your aquarium. Aquarium plants provide hiding spots for your fish, making them more comfortable in the tank.

There are two main choices for aquarium plants: real and fake. Keeping real plants alive requires specialized care, above and beyond keeping your fish alive. Plastic plants, on the other hand, are easy to care for, even if it’s your first aquarium.

Plastic plants are long lasting and very easy to clean. You only need to take them out of the aquarium and wash with soap and water. The colors are varied and sometimes even more vivid than real plants. Although you have to be careful about the too bright colors or it might stress your fish. Some of them will adjust their colors to a less vibrant color in order to be less conspicuous to predators. Better stick to the more natural marine tones to bring out the natural bright colors of your fish.

There are also aquarium plants that are made of silk. They are a little more expensive but they appear more realistic and are easier to care for than other plastic plants. It is important to buy only silk plants that are designed for aquariums and not those found in craft stores that may contain chemicals that are harmful to your fish.

Fresh plants are of course, the most natural looking. Like some kinds of fish, though, they can be very hard to maintain. Some of them will thrive only under specific water temperatures or pH levels. Find the fresh plants whose specific needs are compatible with the water requirements of your fish.

There are other more noteworthy benefits in choosing real plants over fake ones. They give out oxygen and use up nitrates in the water thereby maintaining some balance in the nitrogen cycle. They also provide for breeding grounds for some fish and can be the natural food source to some others.

Although, fresh plants may appear to have many benefits, most varieties have special requirements that may discourage some people from using them. Many of them need lighting and special fertilizers. All fresh plants need light for photosynthesis. The amount of light required by these plants may vary depending on their kind. A special aquarium fertilizer is also a requirement for most plants. You cannot use your ordinary garden fertilizer. This will most likely kill your aquarium.

Cleaning fresh aquarium plants is more difficult than cleaning fake ones because you’ll have to clean them where they are planted. Decaying plant matter means a lot of waste at the bottom of your tank, which can reduce water quality. Products like EcoBio-Block can help keep your water healthy by providing a continual source of beneficial bacteria that breaks down organic waste, such as decaying plants, into safer by-products. Prune dying parts of the plant just like you would prune your houseplants. Healthy live plants improve your aquarium habitat, but if not cared for properly, they can reduce your water quality. Only you decide whether fresh aquarium plants are worth the additional maintenance.

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