Aquarium Care

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Sticky: Starting a New Aquarium

Sit back and enjoy your new aquarium

Sit back and enjoy your new aquarium

Aquariums can be beautiful and fun additions to any home. The easiest way to start having an aquarium in your house is to choose a freshwater aquarium. These are easier to manage and you have a greater chance of success than if you tackle a saltwater aquarium.  Even so, there is a lot to buy and many things to think about before you can have fish swim around your tank.

You need to select a tank size and make sure it fits into the space you have allotted. You need to select a tank size of at least ten gallons as mistakes are less likely to be lethal if there is more water to work with. Fish tanks are heavy. A full 20 gallon fish tank is over 200 pounds.  Make sure you have a good supporting system for your fish tank so it doesn’t collapse.

Choose a tank with a larger surface area, such as an oblong tank. Fish do better with a larger surface area. Glass tanks are better for beginners so choose one of those as opposed to an acrylic fish tank. Most tanks come with standard measurements which can be used to select the tank for you.

Your initial purchase checklist should include the following:

  • A suitably sized aquarium, possibly 20 gallon-sized
  • A stand or surface for your aquarium
  • A hood or lid for your aquarium
  • An aquarium light
  • A heater that heats the size of the aquarium you are buying (check with the staff at the pet store if you have any doubts about the heater size and wattage).
  • An aquarium thermometer
  • Substrate for the bottom of the aquarium
  • A fish net
  • Something to condition the water
  • A filter for the aquarium

You should get enough substrate to fill the bottom of the tank to a level of about two inches.  In general, a pound of substrate should be purchased for every gallon of water in the tank. This means you should buy about 20 pounds of substrate for a 20 gallon tank. The filter should be adequate to filter out the junk in the tank. A filter should be able to filter about 100-150 gallons per hour.

Once you’ve rinsed out the aquarium, you’ll need to fill it with water. Place the aquarium exactly where you want to keep it. Buy a bottle of aquarium water conditioner. Buy two buckets that you only use for the aquarium. Fill the tank with washed substrate to a depth of 2-3 inches. Put a clean plate on top of the gravel (this keeps the gravel from splashing up). Let the cold water in the tap run for a few minutes to clear the lines of excessive minerals and then fill the bucket up to three-fourths full. Pour the water from the bucket onto the plate until the water is halfway up the tank. Then add your plants and decorations. Put in the heater and the filter but don’t plug them in until the tank is full.

Next, fill the tank with water using the other bucket. You can remove the plate when the tank is halfway filled with water. Start the filter and the heater and run for a minimum of twenty four hours before adding fish.

You’ll want to consider adding an EcoBio-Stone or other EcoBio-Block product, depending on the size of your tank and your particular needs. These are porous volcanic and cement rocks which slowly release necessary trace minerals and calcium in to the water. They contain beneficial nutrients and helpful bacteria that create the proper ecosystem for your aquarium helping you minimize your maintenance time and reduce the need to change the water in your tank.  Nitrifying bacteria are established in your tank and the tank is cycled more quickly. The water stays clear and odor is kept to a minimum. EcoBio-Block products last for up to 1.5 or 2 years and require no maintenance.

If all goes well, you’ll have a healthy, happy aquarium system that will last for years with a minimum of interference by you. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy your new aquarium.

 

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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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