Aquarium Care

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

Posts Tagged ‘Partial Water Change’

Necessary Steps To Simplify Aquarium Care And Maintenance Tasks

Aquarium care and maintenance involves certain tasks that should be done daily, and others that are less frequently needed. All these routine tasks are necessary to keep fish healthy and the aquarium environment clean and problem free.

Daily care involves checking over your fish by observing their behavior. Healthy fish will swim freely, with their fins erectly held. Their skin and gill areas will be free of any puffiness or marks that show parasites or infections. Check that all the equipment is working properly, and that water temperature is not fluctuating.

When you feed your fish, never give them excessive amounts. Uneaten food falls to the bottom, and will encourage algae growth, ammonia production and water to cloud. You can keep it cleaner and clearer by using one of the EcoBio-Block products. These products introduce beneficial bacteria that rid the water of toxic ammonia that is produced from excess food particles in the water.

Keeping the exterior of the fish tank clean is another important step in aquarium care and maintenance. Wash it every week, using only clean clear non-chlorinated water. Any soap or chemical cleaners must be avoided, as they can get into the tank’s water and kill fish. Maintaining a clean fish tank not only makes it easier to observe your fish, it also promotes the growth of aquarium plants as it allows more light to enter.

Generally, a partial water change is recommended every two weeks or so, the timing depending on how large your aquarium is and how many fish it holds. Changing the water will reduce the ammonia content. An easy way to keep ammonia levels acceptably low is by using any of the EcoBio-Block products which introduce ammonia-controlling bacteria and reduce the need for water changes. Choose the product according to the size of the fish tank.

Periodically, you will need to remove any algae growth from your fish tank. Some algae thrive with light, and grow on the inside of the tank so must be scraped off. Other kinds live in the gravel bottom, thriving with the organic waste in the water. By using EcoBio-Block products, the production of ammonia and nitrites is controlled, so less algae will grow.

Uneaten fish food and fish waste drops to the bottom of the aquarium constantly, and settles between the pieces of gravel and sand. This can form harmful gases and nitrites as it decomposes, so cleaning it away monthly is part of your aquarium care and maintenance. This is generally done by vacuuming the gravel.

If you make use of EcoBio-Blocks, then the ammonia and nitrite produced is kept under control. Less frequent cleaning and washing of the gravel is necessary, and tank water will be much clearer and cleaner. These products have a life of up to two years.

Aquarium care and maintenance can be made easier with the introduction of beneficial bacteria. As long as these bacteria are present and able to proliferate, they will keep the tank water clean and clear and so ensure the health of the fish.

Find the right techniques to aquarium care by going online. There you will find many methods to clear water of organic waste that will harm your fish. Head online and learn more today.

 

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Sticky: How to Cycle an Aquarium

aquariumcycleDid you ever think you couldn’t have fish because “they just die”? If all your fish die within a week of buying them, it’s not just the fish. The most common cause of mass fish deaths is an improperly cycled tank. Before you buy any fish, it’s absolutely imperative to make sure your aquarium is well-cycled.

What is cycling? Simply put, the cycling process is the time it takes to set up a biological filter for the nitrogen cycle to function inside the aquarium. Your aquarium is much more than a tank full of water, it has to be an entire contained eco-system to keep your fish healthy. The goal with your cycling time is to develop a culture of beneficial bacteria (or “bio-bugs”) that will break down the ammonia from the fish’s waste into nitrites, and then from nitrites into nitrates. Ammonia is extremely toxic to your fish and will kill them very quickly with much less than one part per million in your aquarium.

There are several methods for cycling. This is a method that is very effective, easy to do even for beginners and does not subject any live creatures to the potentially deadly cycling process. First, set up your aquarium with filtration, heater, aerator, etc. and fill with water. Add whatever de-chlorinator you prefer; if you’re not sure what’s in your water be sure you use a treatment that eliminates or neutralizes chlorine, chloramines and potentially harmful metals. With the filter running, add a tiny amount of fish food…about one or two flakes. The food can be old, stale food that’s no good for feeding anymore — it’s only there to rot. As the food decomposes it will produce the ammonia that will feed the bio-bugs as they get established in your aquarium.

That’s it! Keep adding one or two flakes every day throughout the cycling process, then do a partial water change before you add fish. It’s safe to add fish when both ammonia and nitrites test at zero but there are nitrates in the tank to show that ammonia is actually being broken down. A full cycle takes 36 days to complete, though some hardier fish can be added after a couple of weeks as long as you keep a close eye on the water parameters.

Don’t want to wait 36 days? There are a few products on the market that can help speed up the process. There are bottled, refrigerated products such as Bio-Spira that can give the cycle a big boost by adding the bio-bugs directly (via a liquid) instead of having to wait for them to get established in the aquarium. The only problem I’ve found with those products is that you add them, it boosts the bacteria, and that’s the end of its use. One great cycle-time reducer is the EcoBio-Block. This product is a little more expensive than Bio-Spira, but you get a lot better value for your money.

To use the EcoBio-Block, rinse it off in some de-chlorinated water and then place it in the tank after the water has been treated and filtration is going. Make sure you set it somewhere near the aerator or below the flow of an HOB filter (the kind that hang on the back of your aquarium). The EcoBio-Block has the beneficial bacteria the aquarium needs sealed into it; the flow of water facilitates the dissolving of the seal and ensures that the bio-bugs get the oxygen they need. These blocks can take a couple of weeks to start working (though sometimes they work much faster), and once it’s working you’ll be able to begin adding the fish you want, hardy or not, because this effectively finishes the cycle. Test your water; it may not be necessary to do a partial water change before adding fish unless there’s an excess of decomposed fish food in the bottom. Don’t take the block out! The EcoBio-Block is still useful for about 1 1/2 to 2 years; it’ll keep the bio-bug population healthy and contains all the trace minerals that normally have to be replenished through water changes. The minerals are time-released into the water to keep it healthy without constant water changes.

In short, the cycling process is simple but time-consuming. If you decide to shorten the cycle time take care with which product you purchase to help, there are a lot on the market that don’t actually do what you need. The above have proven to be good, reliable products that greatly aid with this process. Once you’ve achieved a good biological filter and the nitrogen cycle is up and running, you can start adding the fish!

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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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