Aquarium Care

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

Posts Tagged ‘Driftwood’

Sticky: Keeping Your Aquarium Well-Balanced

Well balanced aquarium

Well balanced aquarium

The hardest time to keep a balanced aquarium is when the aquarium is first being started. You add water – usually from the tank – and you condition the water as best you can but still, you sometimes lose fish in the beginning.  What is the best way to balance your aquarium?

The nitrogen cycle is an important aspect of your fish tank. It’s also called the nitrification cycle. It actually turns dangerous ammonia into nitrite and finally into nitrate, which is much safer for the fish. Ammonia is given off as part of the waste products of the fish and fish food, and is relatively toxic to the fish. Nitrifying bacteria come from the air and go into the water, starting the nitrifying cycle and help dangerous ammonia levels to go down.

A quick and easy way to balance your tank and keep it clear is to use one of the EcoBio-Block products which contain nitrifying bacteria. These multiply in the blocks and then spread into the water and attach to various things in the tank. The bacteria will then break down and reduce ammonia and nitrite levels. For example, you can start a tank with ammonia levels of 0.75 and small nitrite level of 0.1. Within a few weeks of using the EcoBio Block product, you can normally achieve ammonia, and nitrite levels of zero. The nitrogen system of the aquarium is properly balanced by the bacteria in the block and you lose much fewer fish because you don’t have an unhealthy system.

You need to balance the pH of your aquarium as well. Some can be a bit alkaline, meaning that the pH is too high or it can be acid, which means the pH is too low. Check the pH of your system using a pH test strip and then consider whether or not you need to change the pH.  Most fish can tolerate a pH of between 5.5 and 8.0 and if it is an established system with healthy fish, you may not want to make drastic pH changes in your system. If you need to lower the pH, you can try adding a piece of driftwood to your tank or add peat to your filtration system. You can raise the pH by adding coral or a seashell. Such gradual changes aren’t likely to hurt the fish but will help the fish gradually adjust to the pH changes.

All tanks eventually get some algae and some is beneficial. Too much algae, however, makes your tank unsightly and you need to prevent this as much as you can. Begin by keeping direct sunlight away from your tank. This holds true for the lighting in the tank, which should be on for no more than 12 hours per day. Make sure you go through frequent water changes so that the nutrient levels are diminished in the tank. Use algae eating fish, such as mollies, suckermouth catfish or Siamese Algae Eaters. All of these will keep your algae levels down in the aquarium.

It takes a lot of maintenance to keep your tank well-balanced. You can use a product like EcoBio-Stone to help keep that balance with a lot less maintenance. Such blocks last at least two years and will keep your fish tank healthy for a long time to come.

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Here Is How To Beat Cloudy Aquarium Water

Cloudy aquarium water is disgusting to look at, dangerous for the fish to live in, and may even smell bad. What kinds of cloudy water are there and why does it happen in the first place? How do you get rid of cloudy water permanently?

There are four types of cloudy water: green, yellow, brown and white. Each comes from a different cause.

Green Cloudy Water

When a tank has too much decaying material, things like fish waste or uneaten fish food, this sets the stage for waking up to green water in your aquarium one morning. The decomposition creates nitrites. The nitrites are blue-green algae’s favorite food. Cloudy green water is created by an algae bloom.

Yellow Cloudy Water

Occasionally an aquarium owner will notice that the water has turned yellow. This can be caused by driftwood secreting tannin into the water. It can also be caused by dead plant decay or a build-up of fish waste.

Cloudy Brown Water

You may notice brown water in your tank. This is caused by brown algae overgrowth. This overgrowth is due to a lack of light in the tank.

White Cloudy Water

New aquariums may develop white, cloudy water. This is due to a bacterial bloom caused by the imbalance of bacteria and nutrients in the water. Another cause for white or grey cloudy water is dust from the aquarium decorations or gravel settling to the bottom of the tank. This is most often seen when a tank is brand new, even before fish have been put in. Be sure to rinse any new decorations prior to adding them to the tank. Gravel should be vacuumed occasionally to keep waste and uneaten food from accumulating.

Getting Rid Of Cloudy Water

To avoid getting most cases of cloudy water in the first place, it is very important that you not overfeed your fish. Fish eat whenever food is presented, so should be fed twice a day an amount that they can eat within 1-2 minutes. Use a net to take uneaten food out of the tank if it has not been eaten quickly.

A very simple way to clear cloudy water forever is by placing EcoBio-Block in the tank. EcoBio-Block will completely clear cloudy water without using chemicals and it will keep the water clean and odor-free.

Each piece of volcanic rock has live bacteria living within it. As they multiply, they disperse into the water. These bacteria are beneficial to the tank’s environment, breaking down nitrites from the waste products in the water, maintaining clear water and clearing cloudy aquarium water. One EcoBio-Stone will last about two years. Aquariums with this product will need fewer water changes and generally be much less difficult to maintain. For a totally natural way to ensure the health of your fish tank, this product is really a must.

Long time aquarium keeper, Leonard Boyler’s favorite products make aquarium care and maintenance really easy from start up to clarifying your cloudy fish tank. To learn more about keeping your aquarium water clear and your fish healthy, please visit ONEdersave.com.

 

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Aquarium Care Series: Step-by-Step Aquarium Installation

by Ruby Bayan, OurSimpleJoys.com

homeaquarium-sThe ideal freshwater aquarium setup is housed in the best tank and adequately oxygenated by sufficient aerators, conditioned by effective filters, illuminated by appropriate lighting, sustained by efficient heaters, and enhanced by aesthetically designed décor. How to put them all together to work harmoniously may seem like a Herculean task but with a few simple steps to follow, installing a new aquarium is just one of the many fulfilling adventures in tropical fish keeping.

Preparations

Before heading out to the aquarist store to buy everything you need for your new hobby, plan out the installation on paper. This will save you the trouble of having to redo or return equipment and tank inhabitants when things don’t quite come together. These are the steps to take before anything else:

  1. Decide on the size of the tank and its location. It’s best to get the biggest tank you can afford because communities are easier to establish in large aquariums. Remember, though, that a large tank will also require a sturdy stand, and appropriately sized lighting, filtration, aeration, and heating equipment. The ideal location is where you have elbowroom for maintenance and access to water, and which is not too near direct sunlight or a heat source.
  2. Decide on the types of equipment you will use. With the many available models of filters, aerators, heaters, and lights, you have a wide array to choose from.
  3. Decide on what types of fish you want to keep. Do enough research on the different requirements of the various species of tropical fish, and from there, plan out your landscape.
  4. Choose the substrate and decorations you will use. You can include live (or plastic) plants, rocks, slates, driftwood, colored stones, pots, non-toxic figurines, and tank backgrounds. It will help if you can draw a landscape design as a guide.
  5. Ask a friend or family member to help you install your aquarium. Remember that water conditioning ideally takes about a week, so, don’t expect to introduce fishes into the setup the same day you install the tank

Initial Setup

You can purchase your tank, equipment, and decorations on the same day. Buy your plants and fishes a few days after you’ve set up the tank so that the water will have stabilized, in terms of composition and temperature, and be just right for its new inhabitants. Here are the initial installation steps:

  1. Clear the area where the tank will be placed. Position the baseboard or Styrofoam pads and place the tank on it, making sure the tank is absolutely level. Remember that once the tank is set up, it is not advisable, if not impossible, to nudge or push it about.
  2. If you are using an under-gravel filter, assemble the parts as directed and position it on the floor of the tank. Under-gravel filters are most effective if they cover the entire floor of the aquarium.
  3. Wash all décor under clean running water. Rocks, shells, and driftwood may need to be scrubbed to remove dirt and unwanted deposits. Wood should be pre-soaked; otherwise, it will float.
  4. If you are using large rocks that need to sit firmly at the bottom of the tank, position them directly on the under-gravel filter. Then pour the pre-washed substrate to cover the filter plates. Slope the substrate a little so that the contour is slightly lower towards the front.
  5. Arrange other large decorative items as desired. Be sure that none of the décor leans on the tank walls.
  6. Install the aeration and heating systems. Organize the tubing and wiring so that they can be easily concealed, convenient to manage, and safe from accidents.
  7. Carefully fill the tank with water. So as not to disturb the substrate and décor too much, put a saucer on the substrate to control the water flow.
  8. Turn on all the equipment to check if everything is working properly as expected. If you’re using plastic plants and incorporating water-conditioning products like EcoBio-Block, you can put them in at this time. Let the setup stabilize for a couple of days.

Introducing Plants

Your initial setup will have become stable after a few days — it’s then ready to receive the flora and fauna.

When you purchase your live plants, some of them will be sold in clusters or bunches. Separate them so that they can be planted individually for better growth and proliferation. Remember to wash them under clean running water to remove unwanted debris or parasites. Remove dead and bruised leaves and roots.
Referring to your landscape design, position your plants to your heart’s delight. Start by planting the tall ones at the sides and at the back ends of the tank. Use smaller, rosette-type plants as foreground accents.

Don’t worry if after finishing your landscaping the water will be a bit murky – the filtration system will fix this for you in no time.

Assemble the overhead lighting hood, position it properly, and turn it on. It’s best to give the plants and the new ecosystem a little time, like a day or two, to establish a healthy environment before introducing the fish.

Introducing Fishes

When the set-up is ready for its swimming inhabitants, that’s the time to purchase the fish. Remember to introduce a few fishes at a time. Bringing in a whole community of assorted species all at one time will only lead to chaos and severe stress.

Allow the fish to acclimate to the tank’s water temperature by keeping them inside the plastic bag they were transported in. Float the unopened bag on the water surface for about an hour. Then open the bag, and gently net the fish from the bag into the tank. Try not to pour the water from the plastic bag into the tank to minimize contamination.

Introduce other community members a few at a time, when the current inhabitants have become comfortable in their new home.

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Aquarium Care Series: Aquarium Hazards

by Ruby Bayan, OurSimpleJoys.com


Many years ago, I got involved in an aquarium decoration contest, where my winning entry was a tall 100-gallon tank that featured a fully set-up 5-gallon tank inside it. I can’t remember what fishes I put in there but I won the gold ribbon. I was proud of my ingenuity.

I often stretch my creativity when I decorate tanks for myself and others, but there are certain limitations and basic guidelines I work with, to ensure that my originality and ingenuity don’t become hazardous to the living creatures I have in my tank.

Pollutants

Water is the universal solvent, and anything that dissolves in water has the potential to pollute your tank environment. Therefore, the following water-soluble materials should never come in contact with the water in your aquarium:

  • Paper-based items
  • Textile or fabric
  • People food

In case of minor pollution accidents, and to minimize the hazardous effects of cloudy and contaminated water, consider adding water-conditioning products like EcoBio-Block, which uses beneficial bacteria to clarify and deodorize the habitat.

Toxic Materials

Chemicals dissolved in water can render your fishes ill in minutes. At high concentrations, toxic materials can kill them in seconds. Exposure to metallic substances that can contaminate the water, even in negligible quantities, can eventually stress the environment and make your pets susceptible to disease.

Here are some of the potentially toxic materials that you should keep away from your tank:

  • Metallic objects or toys, figurines, and knick-knacks that contain exposed metals
  • Dyed items that leach when wet
  • Oily items like crayons, modeling clay
  • Items that have come in contact with household chemicals like detergents, pesticides, cleaners, and solvent

Natural but Hazardous

Most often we are misled by the idea that since a decorative item is natural, it’s safe for the aquarium. Since we are maintaining freshwater aquaria, introducing driftwood, rocks, and shells that we picked up along the way can risk upsetting the “freshwater-ness” of the tank.

The rule of thumb is to refrain from introducing anything natural that may have come from a non-freshwater environment. The risk is that these items may be carrying mineral deposits, microorganisms, and parasites that existed in their natural locations.
Rocks, shells, and corals that may be innovative additions to your aquarium may leach calcium and other minerals that will affect the stability of your water composition. Driftwood can leach tannins that your fish may not be able to tolerate.

Many attractive artificial (hard plastic; inert) alternatives are available, and highly recommended, but if you would rather use natural wonders, here are tips to ensure they are safe to include in your setup:

  1. Wash the décor in clean running water, scrubbing off all loose particles. Do not use detergent. Boil rocks, shells, and corals for an hour or two for added measure. (Hint: Splash some vinegar on the rock/coral and if it sizzles, the item is calcium-rich and is better suited as a decorative accent on your bookshelf.)
  2. Soak the décor in a bucket of clean water for about a week or two and replace the water daily. This will help remove minerals and tannins that could leach in water.
  3. Dry the décor under the sun or in an oven to kill microorganisms and parasites that may still lurk within the item.

Moving and Disturbing

Those nifty action aquarium décor that opens and closes and goes up and down animated by bubbles rising from an air-stone can be quite engaging to onlookers. The pirate treasure chest, the little boy fishing, and the cute pearl clam — they look cute and interesting, but did you notice how they make some fishes nervous?
Eventually, the fish will get used to the animated items, but not before several days of stress and anxiety. By the time they get used to the jerky décor, it’s time to pull it out for a cleaning. Then when you put it back in, the fish will become jittery again. So, use your better judgment when using these supposedly attractive decorations.

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