Aquarium Care

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Posts Tagged ‘New Tank’

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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Set Up A New Aquarium And Stop New Tank Syndrome Before It Develops

Research has shown that watching fish swim in an aquarium reduces stress and blood pressure. Beginning a brand new aquarium requires some understanding of the process. If done without any understanding, many fish put into a new fish tank may die of new tank syndrome. This article will show you exactly how to start a new aquarium and reduce the frustration of new tank syndrome.

The first step is deciding on the size tank you would like to purchase. There are tanks with capacities of just a few gallons to tanks with over 50 gallons. When you purchase your tank, be sure to also buy a sturdy stand. You can figure the weight of a filled tank by multiplying the total tank gallons by 10. If your tank holds 40 gallons of water, it would weigh 400 pounds filled.

After choosing the tank, other supplies you will need include a filter, air pump, hood, gravel, heater, ammonia, nitrite and pH test kits and water conditioner. You will also need an algae scraper, gravel siphon and decoration. Plan to purchase between one and 1.5 pounds of gravel per gallon of water. Hold off on buying the fish for now. If you have added an EcoBio-Stone, it will need some time to build up an adequate amount of beneficial bacteria before adding fish; otherwise, your fish could succumb to new tank syndrome. New tank syndrome, a condition where fish die a short time after being introduced to a new tank, is caused by high nitrite and ammonia levels. If fish are put into a new aquarium, there may not be enough beneficial bacteria to keep the nitrite and ammonia levels at a safe level.

Once you have your supplies, if you have purchased an EcoBio-Stone, be sure to place it in chlorine-free water and let it soak overnight. While it is soaking, it is time to start putting your aquarium together. Your first step is rinsing the tank and gravel thoroughly. Do not use soap or any other kind of detergent. This will kill the fish. Next, set up the filter and the heater according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Now add the gravel, decorations and attach the air pump to any decorations that require it. Follow this with water. Make sure you add a water conditioner to remove any harmful chemicals, such as chlorine, from the water. A water conditioner will keep the pH level at 7.0, which is what most fish thrive in. Set the heater to a level that will keep the water between 76-78 degrees Fahrenheit. After soaking the stone, add it to your tank. Now it is time to cycle your aquarium.

To avoid new tank syndrome, you must cycle your aquarium. Cycling your aquarium refers to the process of letting the aquarium build up enough good bacteria to support fish. On its own it takes about 35 days to build up enough good bacteria to keep ammonia and nitrite levels in check. Using EcoBio-Stone, your tank will have colonies of good bacteria built quite quickly. One block lasts about two years and will keep your tank water clear and bacteria levels at the correct amount.

Now is the time to buy just two or three fish. Before releasing the fish into the aquarium, set the plastic bag you carried them home in into the tank. This allows the fish to adjust to the water temperature. Wait 10 minutes. Gently release the fish and throw the water in the bag away as it will have fish waste in it.

Each week you should check the pH levels, nitrite and ammonia levels. The latter two should be zero. Each month change 20% of the water (remember to add water conditioner), clean the gravel using the siphon. Add new activated carbon to the filter and wash the filter itself. If you take the time to learn how to start a new aquarium, you will avoid new tank syndrome and enjoy your new fish tank for years to come.

An EcoBio-Stone is a must when you prepare to start a new aquarium. It helps to provide attractive equipment and healthy environment for the inhabitants.

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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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