Aquarium Care

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

Posts Tagged ‘Nitrate Levels’

How to Safely Add New Fish to an Established Aquarium

Introducing new fish to an already existing aquarium is not as easy as it may seem. There are a lot of things to think about and prepare before you can safely transfer your new fish to your aquarium. You cannot just buy any aquarium fish you want then dump them in the tank as soon as you reach home.

First thing to check is the quality of your water. It is stressful enough for all the fish involved when new fish are introduced to their number. Do not add to it by making them suffer in poor water quality. The stress in them might reach fatal levels. Make sure that you have the highest possible water quality by testing for the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. Do the necessary changes or cleaning before you add the new fish to the aquarium. If you dont like frequent aquarium cleaning, add an EcoBio-Block to your aquarium to give it the beneficial bacteria and trace minerals that can reduce harmful substances in your water and keep it clean, healthy and clear.

When choosing what fish to add to your aquarium, you need to determine if they will live companionably with your existing fish. Some fish will eat smaller fish, some others will fight and kill each other. You also have to know if your water will sustain the new fish. This means that you have to get the aquarium fish that will survive the temperature, pH, nitrate and ammonia levels you currently maintain. It is advisable that you add more than one fish at a time, to reduce the chance of any fish picking on just one new fish.

Your first step when preparing the aquarium for a new arrival is to rearrange the tank. Your established fish have their own hiding spots, and may become territorial if a new fish is introduced. Rearrange the plants and decorations, which will remove established territories and make the environment new for all of your fish. Make sure that there are plenty of hiding spaces where the fish can go until they get used to each other.

When introducing new aquarium fish to an established tank, never bring your new fish home from the pet store and immediately dump them into the tank. This will shock their system, and they may not make it.

For best results, you may want to set up a separate tank where you quarantine new fish for a week to check for signs of illness. Sometimes, pet store fish carry diseases, and you don’t want to introduce these into your aquarium. If you decide to transfer your new fish directly from the pet store bag to your established tank, first float the bag with the fish in your aquarium for a few hours. This allows time for the water temperatures to equalize. Then, open the bag to release your new fish into the tank.

Careful preparation to the aquarium, timing of the introduction of new fish, plus proper acclimatizing will ensure a smooth transition with minimal stress to all your aquarium fish.

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Sticky: Aquarium Care Series: Real-life Problems with Algae

by Ruby Bayan, OurSimpleJoys.com

Green Algae

Green Algae

Problems with algae are some of the most common concerns I hear about. Below are actual questions posted by our visitors, followed by my suggested solutions.

~ Green Water ~

Question: I have just performed a water change to my 230l tank, and the water has turned into a greenish hue. Nitrate levels are okay, I tested them. Could you tell me why this has happened? Will it harm the fish? – Therese

Answer: Hi Therese, green water doesn’t harm fish — and some people actually like the color. It’s an algae bloom. You may be exposing your tank to too much light. And there’s enough nutrients in the water to feed the algae. If you don’t like the greenish color, you can reduce the lights a bit, do another water change, or add plants to absorb the nutrients that feed the algae. You may also want to consider using a diatomaceous filter.

Follow-up Question: I still have that green water problem which started about 2 weeks ago. I have been keeping the neon light of the aquarium off, and I have performed a 50% water change, but the water is as green as ever. I can hardly see the fish. I am considering using a green water treatment. I have heard that this could be harmful to the fish. What is your opinion of this? Should I add some live plants, although my fish make a meal of these? -Therese

Follow-up Answer: Hi Therese, here’s something a bit radical — daphnia. These are minute crustaceans that are actually a favorite of fishes. If you can find a supplier of live daphnia, they will eat off your green water in no time — that is, if the fishes don’t eat the daphnia first. :) Yes, live plants are always a good option because they absorb the nutrients that the green algae will otherwise thrive on. And, this is just me, but I’ve never liked using “chemical treatments” for algae.

~ Brown Algae ~

Question: I have a well established 6 year old temperate goldfish tank. It is a 29 gallon acrylic with a aqua clear 300 filter. I have 4 oranda gold fish and 2 black moors. In the past i have had an algae issue that has since been taken care of but now i have a brown sludge like fungus growing constantly in my aquarium. It got my fish sick and i gave fungus medication, cleaned the tank very well and have been feeding every other day rather than every day. i do about a 30% water change every week and the fungus (?) keeps coming back. My question is how do i get rid of it and is it even fungus or am i going about taking care of it the wrong way because its not what i think it is. thanks, AP

Answer: Hi AP, I have a suspicion that you’re dealing with brown algae. Goldfishes are notorious for polluting the water. It’s possible that your filter and water changes are not able to cope with the waste products they produce. These waste products are food for algae; add to that a low-light situation, and you have the perfect habitat for brown algae (diatoms). Just vacuum them off and try raising your illumination level a bit. I know it’s tricky because too much light will encourage green algae. Have you considered adding plants? Another solution worth exploring is a water-conditioning product called EcoBio-Block, which releases beneficial bacteria that helps address water pollution and algae buildup.

~ Red Algae Hybrid ~

Question: I have had my tank set up for a while. The inhabitants and such can be found under the 46 gallon section of www.geocities.com/aqua_ajb. In my tank I find these little stringy balls of grey matter. They started to appear after I upgraded my lighting from 60W to 124W. I do not know what these little grey things are, but would like to know what cause them so I can fix it. I also would like to what they are. Sometimes they are very easy to pull from the leaves of a plant, and come in a big mass. Other times they are attached to the plant leaves and don’t come of very well at all. It is my guess that these stupid things are algae, but I would like to know for sure. Thank you for your help. AJB

Answer: Hi AJB, I’ve heard about a hybrid of red algae that looks blackish and collects mostly on plant leaves. This may be your culprit. I see you already have a Siamese algae eater — want to consider adding a couple more? Or maybe a couple of Otos. If the algae (ye, I tend to imagine this is algae) doesn’t come off from the leaves easily, cut off and throw away the affected leaves. Then next time you clean out your filters, be sure to wash them thoroughly to eliminate algae spores. Let me know if any of the suggestions work. Good luck.

~ Algae Attack! — A Recap ~

Question: HELP…I have a 10 gallon tank with 3 cherry barb fish. We are having a terrible time with algae growth. We will do a complete water change that includes new rocks, filters, and decorations. The tank will be troughly scrubbed. Within 5-7 weeks, algae starts growing. I have used the algae destroyer and some type of tablet to try to control the growth. No luck. The light is only on for 4 hours a day and that time is in the evening. No direct sunlight on the tank. We do feed the fish at night. We are getting ready to get rid of the tank. Any suggestions on how to keep the algae from coming back. thanks – LLP

Answer: Hi LLP, these things can be annoying, huh? Do you have plants in the tank? One trick is to add a few plants to consume the nutrients that the algae are feasting on. If the plants use up the nutrients, the algae won’t have enough to live on. A more reliable solution is algae eaters — my recommendation is the Otocinclus. They’re small, peaceful, and should be happy to keep your tank algae-free. Also, try this new aquarium-conditioning product called EcoBio-Block to control the nutrients that promote algae. Good luck.

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Sticky: Aquarium Care: Daily, Weekly, Monthly

Healthy tank with EcoBio-Stone

Healthy tank with EcoBio-Stone

An aquarium is an ongoing responsibility and requires daily attention, though if you keep up with the regular maintenance it is quite easy and doesn’t take much time. There are additional maintenance procedures required with various conditions, but here are a few things that must be done in every aquarium regardless of other factors.

Daily Maintenance

While fish do not necessarily need to be fed daily to be healthy due to their opportunistic eating habits and specialized metabolism, they do need to be checked daily and this is best done during feeding. Feed at a time that you have a few minutes to observe your fish and watch carefully for any abnormal behavior or signs of illness. What are you looking for? A healthy fish should be free of any marks, especially red or white marks that can suggest infection or parasites, should not struggle to swim in any way and should not have fins clamped down.

Watch the fish eat to ensure all are active, move easily in the water, and their fins are up. If you notice ragged edges on any fins there may be fish in the aquarium getting picked on, or the fish may be getting their fins caught on rough edges on decorations or artificial plants. If the aquarium is fairly new or new fish have recently been added, watch closely for redness or puffiness around the gills that may indicate ammonia in the water. If any abnormalities are observed, test your water parameters first and if they are within acceptable limits research other possible causes.

If desired, wipe down the outside of the aquarium with a damp cloth every day to remove fingerprints and dust. Never use any chemicals such as Windex near the aquarium as even the slightest trace of such products will kill the fish.

Weekly Maintenance

Depending on your stocking levels, you will need to do a partial water change every week or every other week. This is to keep nitrate levels down and keep essential dissolved minerals at a healthy level for the fish. These water changes generally need to be between 30-50% of the total water volume. In a newer tank that is still cycling or if new fish have just been added, water changes may also be needed to control ammonia and nitrites, though it will likely be more often than once a week for that purpose. For a healthier tank and a significantly reduced risk of ammonia spikes, you can use a time-released water maintenance product such as EcoBio-Block. These blocks last up to two years apiece and keep the water in the aquarium perfectly balanced by breaking down the toxic ammonia and nitrites from fish waste and uneaten food, as well as re-supplying essential minerals in the water as they’re used up by the fish which dramatically reduces the need for water changes.

Algae grow regularly in aquariums and, if visible on underwater surfaces, should be manually scraped off with a scraper sponge that is approved specifically for aquariums. A sponge that is not specifically for an aquarium may scratch glass and acrylic and may have been manufactured with chemicals that are harmful to fish. Filter pads should be rinsed out in a dish of aquarium water to remove excess organic material and then placed back in the filter. Tap water should never be used as the filter pad contains a lot of beneficial bacteria that will die if exposed to chlorine or chloramines, which are removed in tank water with a de-chlorinating water treatment. Top off the water to replace any that has evaporated and the amount used to rinse out the filter pad.

Monthly Maintenance

Every month the aquarium needs a thorough gravel vacuum to remove organic material such as uneaten food and fish waste from the substrate, as well as remove potentially harmful pockets of gasses that can build up in the substrate over time if it is not stirred. If you use EcoBio-Block in the aquarium then you need only stir the substrate manually once or twice a month to help excess organic material get into the filter where it can easily be removed from the system through rinsing filter pads, which can save a lot of time, effort and mess over a traditional gravel vacuum.

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