Aquarium Care

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

Posts Tagged ‘Kind Of Fish’

Looking for the Right Fish for Your Aquarium

So you want to get an aquarium. Your first step is to figure out what kind of fish you want. But just how do you choose from the colorful tanks on the wall of your local pet store?

This can be a daunting experience for new fish keepers. Of course, you want fish that appeal to you and have the right ‘look,’ but when selecting fish for your new aquarium, there are three important questions to keep in mind. First, how large will this fish grow? Second, what are the fish’s water quality requirements? Finally, how well will this fish live with the other fish I want?

Some fish will stay small, say an inch or less. These are generally considered community fish. Many fishkeepers select a group of similar community fish to fill their tank. Good choices for tropical community fish include guppies, swordtails, Platies, and dwarf Gourami. When selecting these varieties, choose fish that are about the same size, and avoid mixing different varieties unless you have been advised that they will get along well together. Never purchase just one community fish; they are used to swimming in schools, and will get lonely in your aquarium. A good rule of thumb for this size of fish is one inch of fish for one gallon of aquarium water.

The other kinds of fishes can mature to much bigger sizes, anywhere from 6 inches to several feet. These kinds of fish should be kept solitary for they usually show aggression to other fish that are smaller or weaker. When choosing one of these bigger fish you will need an appropriately sized aquarium. While it is possible to house them in a 10-gallon tank, it must be upgraded to a bigger size once they mature to adult size.

It will be better to just purchase the aquarium that can accommodate their adult size, when you first get your fish. Once you’ve selected the kind of fish you want, find out the maximum size they will grow to, then buy the appropriate aquarium.

There are some varieties of fish that will survive almost any water condition. A popular example of these is the goldfish. They have a reputation for being almost invincible. They will most likely flourish even without lighting or filter, but this is not good aquarium practice.

The slightly more picky tropical fish need a narrower water temperature range, as well as high-quality water. To achieve the water quality these fish need, test your water frequently, use a good filter on the aquarium, and consider products like the EcoBio-Block, which improves your aquarium water quality and reduces maintenance. Some fish need a specific pH, or have other water quality requirements. Be sure to do your research so that the fish you choose have similar water requirements.

The last category of fish includes saltwater or marine varieties. These are tricky to keep, and are best left until you have fishkeeping experience with freshwater fish. In addition to temperature, light, and water quality requirements, you must also keep an eye on the salt levels in the aquarium. These beautiful fish require a lot of work to keep them healthy, and you cannot mix freshwater fish with saltwater varieties.

Lastly, whatever the species you decide on, always remember to buy only those fish that are healthy. Inspect them carefully for uneven scales, irregular growth or injuries. Check also if they have bright eyes and intact fins. They should have healthy appetites and move actively and naturally in the water.

The fish you eventually choose for your aquarium will bring you many happy days of living nature experiences that are guaranteed to reduce your stress and give comfort and beauty to your home or office.

Leonard Boyler has been keeping fish for more than 20 years. His favorite products make aquarium care and maintenance very easy from start up to clearing up cloudy aquariums. To learn more about how to clear up your water and have healthy fish please visit ONEdersave.com.

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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: The Ideal Freshwater Aquarium Setup: Basic Concepts

by Ruby Bayan, OurSimpleJoys.com

aquawithwhitefishsSetting up the ideal aquarium environment can be a challenge since there are fundamental principles about taking proper care of your fish that must be taken into serious consideration. You will be simulating the natural habitat of your pet fish, within the confines of a glass tank. It will be necessary for you to exercise the utmost care in creating and maintaining an environmental balance. It can be tricky, but that’s what makes the aquarium fish hobby truly engaging!

In order to create and maintain the ideal freshwater aquarium setup, you will have to purchase the best tank you can afford and supply your fish with good clean water (filtration) and the required amount of oxygen (or aeration). Adequate illumination (lighting), proper temperature (heating), and the appropriate landscape (substrate and decor) are also important. Let’s discuss how to set up these elements one by one.

Tank Size

Before you purchase an aquarium, ask yourself the following questions:

Where will I put the tank? Is there enough space? Measure the exact dimensions of the area where you want to install your new tank. Be sure that you will have elbowroom to attach the accessories (light hood and external pumps or filters) and to perform the required maintenance activities (which include cleaning, landscaping, or catching the fish).

Are both the stand and the floor sturdy enough to hold the combined weight of the tank, the gravel, and the gallons of water you will need? Remember, water alone weighs about 10 lbs. per gallon. Depending on the size of the tank and the complexity of your landscaping (the substrate and rock decor), you may need to acquire a dedicated metal stand. Ask the aquarium store proprietor to explain your various options.
What kind of fish will you take care of? How many varieties? How big will they grow?

You will need to do your homework on these topics. Picture the types of fish you want to live in your tank. Find out how big they will get when fully grown. Though schooling fish are a joy to watch, they require a lot of swimming space. Since some species are territorial, you will need to provide them with sufficient “territories” to prevent stress. Basically, if you want to take care of a lot of fish, you will need to buy a larger tank.

Do you have the budget to purchase the appropriate lighting, heating, aeration, and filtration fixtures? You may think it’s easy to answer those questions since you know you want to keep several varieties of fish and believe that all you need to do is buy a 100-gallon tank. Before you pull out your credit card, remember that you will also need 100-gallon filters, heaters, and overhead lighting. Additionally, you will need sufficient aerators, gravel, plants, and decor. So, be sure you are ready to finance the entire 100-gallon set-up before you start making any purchases.

Aeration

Fish “breathe” oxygen from the water, and water absorbs oxygen from the air. This is why aeration is important in a tank setup. Aeration, or the generation of tiny air bubbles in the water, supplements the tank’s water surface area, which is critical for the exchange of gases with the atmosphere. The bubbles also create a disturbance in the water surface, promoting the absorption of oxygen and dissolution of carbon dioxide.
Furthermore, the rising bubbles “stir” the water, which helps to balance the water temperature. The bubbles also create the semblance of water flow that fish thoroughly enjoy.

Choose aerators that suit your tank size and your taste — various models of air pumps and air stones are available. Tubing, connectors, and other accessories make installation convenient and organized. A spare air pump will be valuable in case of a breakdown.

Filtration

In simulating the natural habitat of your fish, you will need to ensure that the environment does not become toxic due to the accumulation of waste products. An effective filtration system is, therefore, another essential element of the ideal aquarium setup. Here’s a list of the various filters that are available:

  • Under-gravel Filters – These are plastic-slotted plates placed at the bottom of the tank, under the substrate. For best results, these plates must cover the whole tank floor. Working in conjunction with the air pump, the filter pulls the floating waste, uneaten food, and decaying plants onto the gravel. The waste products accumulate in recesses in the gravel, where they can be easily siphoned off.
  • Box Filters – These are plastic boxes that are put in the corner of the tank. They also require the assistance of the air pump. This filter uses activated carbon and glass wool (or peat moss) to serve as biological filters. They absorb and retain the fine waste products that float in the water, along with the harmful nitrates and ammonia by-products. Compared to under-gravel filters, box filters are easier to pull out and clean.
  • Power Filters — These are usually external filters attached to the back of the tank. With its own power motor, it sucks water from the tank, passes the water through a sponge (or glass wool and activated carbon), and pumps the filtered water back into the tank. The sponge needs to be cleaned regularly.

Lighting

Fish require adequate amounts of light and dark, like most other creatures on the planet. Correct lighting is essential for the biological clocks and eating patterns of your fish. It is also important for the healthy growth of the live plants in the tank. Apart from those needs, adequate lighting makes the aquarium a bright and colorful showcase for underwater life.

Several types of aquarium lights are commercially available. Full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs are common fixtures – they enhance the colors of the fish and decor, and they don’t give off too much heat. Some hobbyists prefer specialized ultraviolet aquarium lamps because they believe they promote fish health and breeding, along with plant growth. Study the options at your aquarium vendor’s store and choose the lighting that suits your tank and fish community.

Aquarium lights are best mounted inside reflector hoods, placed either directly on top of the tank’s glass cover, or on a special frame above the tank. Some vendors have attached timers to these hoods to facilitate the setting of photoperiod exposures. Fish do not need more than 12 hours of light each day, so a preset timer can be a convenient gadget.

Be sure to replace your light bulbs at least once a year because fluorescent and ultraviolet lights tend to degrade with use.

Heating

Aside from adequate oxygen and light, the right water temperature is essential for the overall health of your fish. Most varieties of aquarium fish come from tropical regions with water temperatures of up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Find out about your fish community’s temperature requirements. With the help of heating elements, ensure that the proper ranges are maintained in your tank.

Submersible heating rods of various lengths, together with programmable thermostats, make it easy to control tank heating. Be absolutely sure that the settings are correct because a faulty or poorly calibrated heater can bring about a catastrophic end to an otherwise flourishing fish community.

Substrate and Decor

After you complete your research on the natural habitats of the fish species you wish to keep, you will have an idea of the type of decor to put in your aquarium. For starters, here are some facts to help you determine what substrate and decor to use:

  • Some fish, known as bottom dwellers, stay close to the floor of the tank and feed on the food that settles on the substrate. For these types of fish, sand is better than gravel (food will sink among the course gravel, making it hard to reach).
  • Fish that are territorial will need “markers” like plants, rocks, or driftwood. Without these items to mark their territory, they will experience stress and may become unduly aggressive.
  • Some varieties of fish are “shy” and need at least a few places where they can go hide. Plants and overturned pots or little caves will be a comfort to them. Plants also provide shade from the overhead lighting, which may be just a little too bright for some species of fish.
  • In case you have chosen fish that are totally herbivorous, consider decorating with plastic plants. Live, decorative plants will always be attractive as food to such fish and may stop looking very attractive when your fish start feasting on their leaves and branches.
  • As a rule of thumb, never try to use anything that’s metallic, water-soluble, corrosive, or biodegradable as part of your decor. You can always be creative with glass and plastic. Before using rocks, pebbles, stones, clay, and driftwood as decorative pieces, be sure you rinse them thoroughly to remove all of the dirt, parasites, or harmful bacteria that may be attached to them.
  • Consider incorporating water-conditioning products in your setup, like EcoBio-Block, which is made of volcanic stones that are home to beneficial bacteria, whose main function is to clarify and deodorize cloudy water.

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