Aquarium Care

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Posts Tagged ‘Good Bacteria’

Sticky: Starting a Healthy Aquarium- Allowing Your Aquarium to Cycle

Many people hear the word bacteria, and they automatically think of sickness, gross, dirty, and disease. The truth is, most bacteria are actually not harmful. In fact, in all environments, bacteria make the very base of every cycle of life. Without bacteria, the base wouldn’t be there, creating an unstable and unhealthy environment. This is especially true in an aquarium. An aquarium needs to have a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in order for fish to live long and healthy lives, and to cut down on maintenance work keeping your aquarium clean.

Beneficial bacteria neutralize toxins from aquarium waste, such as animal excretions and extra food.  Without the good bacteria, these wastes build up and release poisonous toxins that are harmful to fish and other aquarium inhabitants. Without these bacteria, your fish and other animals will get sick and eventually die.

The best time to create a good healthy base of beneficial bacteria is when you first set up a new aquarium. The key component when cycling a new aquarium is exercising extreme patience. The bacteria need time to grow and colonize your filter and the surfaces in the aquarium itself. If you add your animals to the aquarium before a sufficient amount of bacteria have grown, you’re going to be putting your fish at risk.

newly cycled aquarium

Newly cycled aquarium

There are several ways to cycle an aquarium. One way is to set up your aquarium completely, without adding your fish or animals and letting it run for two to three weeks. Adding very tiny amounts of fish food to the water as the aquarium runs will help expedite this process. Another way is to add fish very slowly- fish that are hardy and can take a small amount of toxins. Guppies are a good choice of fish. Many experienced fish keepers use feeder guppies for this task, as they’re cheap yet tend to be very healthy and good at dealing with steep swings in water quality, which is normal as a tank first cycles.  Goldfish are NOT good fish to cycle aquariums with. They excrete more waste than a growing colony of bacteria can handle, and you’ll have a difficult time cycling your tank with them. The last and fastest way to cycle a new tank is to add beneficial bacteria that are commercially ready to simply pour or toss into the water. If you use the EcoBio-Block Products, your tank will remain cleaner much longer with less effort.  Once you put in the product, EcoBio-Stone does the rest. These additives will take weeks away from the cycling process, allowing you to add your animals faster to your waiting aquarium.

There are a few signs that will let you know when your aquarium has finished cycling and is ready for inhabitants. You should test the water for ammonia and nitrites with simple to use testing kits that you can find at any pet store that sells aquarium supplies. During the time the tank is still cycling, if you test every day, you’ll notice at first a very fast spike in ammonia then in nitrites. When these go down and your nitrate levels go up, then it is safe to put in your fish. Aerobic beneficial bacteria in your tank feed on organic waste breaking them down into ammonia, then into nitrites and then the nitrites get broken down into nitrates. As the days go by, with more food for the bacteria in the tank, the bacteria will grow and multiply. Sometimes you’ll see cloudy water in the tank- this is normal. This is just a bloom of bacteria floating in the aquarium water column. Anaerobic bacteria in your tank will cause the nitrate levels to decrease. When your tank has finished cycling and your aquarium environment is balanced, your water should be clear. EcoBio-Stone keeps levels of beneficial bacteria high in your tank, which keeps your aquarium water clear, clean and healthy.

Conventional aquarium cleaning techniques remove these bacteria from the environment. Completely changing filter material, constantly vacuuming aquarium gravel and continuous sterilization of aquarium furniture and other decorations kills and removes these good bacteria. To keep the bacteria in your tank and keep your tank looking clean, simply remove bits of extra uneaten food daily, and wipe down the glass of your tank with a clean cloth or sponge. Once a month, clean out your filter material by gently rinsing out the filter with aged and tepid water, which will keep the bacteria in your filter but remove debris. Try to not over feed your fish, as this is the usual main reason for fish deaths and unhealthy aquariums, even after you allow your tank to cycle.

Cycling your tank is a natural process when starting your new aquarium. Given some time in the beginning, your fish tank will reward you with long lived and healthy inhabitants for years to come.

 

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Choosing The Best Fish For A Beginner’s Aquarium

community fish tank

Community fish tank

If a person decides to join the many who find enjoyment from keeping fish as pets, they should put some effort into becoming informed about the best fish for a beginner’s aquarium. There are important differences in how to go about this depending upon whether one is using an existing set up or creating an environment for new pets. There are many types which are practical choices for the novice owner of these diverse aquatic creatures. As the piscean enthusiast becomes more experienced, many become devoted collectors and continue to add new varieties to their stock.

The typical beginner’s first notion may be to go with the type with which most are familiar, the common goldfish. Some may be aware that this variety was first bred as pets for the Imperial Chinese family. Many are less knowledgeable of the fact that goldfish are not necessarily the easiest to care for.

Many varieties of these pets are suitable for thriving in a tank, yet the problems associated with raising different breeds ranges from simple to quite complex. So there are many factors a novice at this hobby should consider, such as how well a breed tolerates water conditions. Other important considerations are, how easy a chosen type is to feed, how large they will grow, and whether or not they are too aggressive to live with other species.

One of the mistakes made by many newcomers is to start with too small of a tank. The less the volume of water, the bigger the impact any change in water quality will have on the creatures which live in it. Another concern is that the water in a new tank can contain harmful chemicals or minerals that may harm its denizens, the best and easiest way to keep water clear and healthy is to use EcoBio-Block, a volcanic mixture with beneficial bacteria living and multiplying in the block. It creates a healthy ecosystem by keeping levels of good bacteria high.

A common error for beginners is to add too many fish to a new tank. A good rule of thumb is to start with no more than two or three fish, so that the proper levels of chemicals and bacteria for a healthy environment are reached. EcoBio-Block can also speed-up new tank syndrome. The next step is to choose the correct types of occupants for the tank.

Good types to initially stock one’s tank with are schooling fish, those that travel in schools. Common types of these are Cyprinids, smaller species that are related to Minnows and Carp. The many varieties of these include Barbs, Danios, Rasboras, and White Cloud Mountain Minnows.

Certain breeds of Catfish, known as Corys, which include Bronze, Panda, Bandit and Spotted Corys, are hardy animals which are fairly easy to care for. Another popular type for the novice are Rainbowfish, which are colorful schoolers that are best kept in groups of six or more, yet are easy to raise.

By starting in moderation and slowly adding more as the hobbyist’s knowledge increases, choosing the best fish for a beginner’s aquarium is not difficult. Once a little experience and success with one’s initial choices has been achieved, many budding aquarists will want to add more varieties and larger tanks as they do research and gain experience.

 

 

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