Aquarium Care

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

Posts Tagged ‘Tank Maintenance’

If You Are Thinking About Getting Your Child A Pet Fish

Fish tend to be the first pets parents allow their children to have. The fish themselves require a lot less work than a dog, but the aquarium still needs a good deal of attention. It is important to teach your children aquarium maintenance from an early age so it becomes part of their routine. It is the only way to have happy, healthy fish.

If you are going to invest in an aquarium at all, get a bigger one. They are certainly more expensive than the tiny little bowls and not as easy for a child to care for. However, the bigger the tank, the healthier the fish. And as long as the child can help out as you clean the tank, it will still build good habits. The bigger the tank, the more water is needed. The more water you need, the less of the percentage of contaminant. A drop of poison in a swimming pool is very different than a drop of poison in a glass of water.

You can also get more fish if you have a bigger tank. It is tempting to start out with one fish to see how your child fares, but the death of a single fish may be very upsetting to a child, while it may not be noticeable if there are many fish in the tank. It is also a better return for your money. Why buy all of the equipment for just a single fish?

Your goal is to keep the ecology in the tank as normal as possible. The fewer the fish, the less genetic diversity, and the more chance of an ecological disturbance if a fish is sick or dies. Think of how life really is in an live body or water.

Tank maintenance depends on many factors, like tank versus bowl and one fish versus many. It also depends on the type of fish. There are different ways to care for salt water and fresh water fish. Salt water may need a more in-depth system to measure brine levels, where fresh water is basically just from your tap (just make sure that you de-chlorinate your water before placing your fish in it though).

The specific components of the system should be discussed with a professional at the pet store. They can help you fit the tank to your budget and your fish. There are a few things to do regardless of what type of system you have. Clean up any large messes, but most importantly you need to change out a third of the water and put in new about every two weeks. If you use EcoBio-Block products, you can reduce this part of your maintenance to once a month or less. EcoBio-Block contains beneficial bacteria that create a healthy environment for your fish. These bacteria which are found in nature, break down toxic organic waste into safer by-products, clarify your water and eliminate odors. All you have to do is put the block in the water and wait for the bacteria to build up in the tank. Just be sure to monitor your ammonia and nitrite levels on a regular basis.

Vacuum your gravel occasionally because this is a trap for left-over food and fish excrement, which may be hard to see and can make fish sick. The filter should be checked every couple of weeks or so. Occasionally, check the pH to make sure it is at healthy levels.

Change the filter inserts at least once per month to ensure everything is going all right. Apart from that, just be observant. Count your fish, if you have a lot of them. Watch how they play with each other every day, if there is bullying, if some are not getting any food, or if others are getting too much. If you have an overly aggressive fish, you should remove it.

Learn the proper aquarium care for your home setup. Check into EcoBio-Block to help with the job. Jump online and learn more now.

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Aquarium Care Series: Treating Common Ailments

by Ruby Bayan, OurSimpleJoys.com

Prevention is always better than cure, so making sure that the aquarium environment is always ideal is your best preventive measure against illnesses. This means regular check-ups on the optimum efficiency of the equipment, constant monitoring of the integrity of the water condition and temperature, diligent precautions against introducing harmful elements into the environment, and most importantly, a close eye on the fishes themselves. Keeping informed on the latest innovations in water conditioning for fish health is also important; for example, beneficial bacteria found in products like EcoBio-Block could help prevent infections and disease.

However, sometimes, no matter how cautious or diligent you are at ensuring the health of your fishes, untoward circumstances bring about health problems that need serious attention. If only for this unpredictable occurrence of fish ailments, you should be ready with enough know-how on ways to address fish health problems.

Bacterial and Fungal Infections

The most common health problem among aquarium fish is infection from bacteria and fungus. The primary culprit is usually bad water quality. Pollution due to the rotting of uneaten food, irregular water changes, and poor tank maintenance contribute to the deterioration of the habitat — this makes the fishes weak and susceptible to infections.

Stress, from mishandling, introduction of aggressive or incompatible species, and habitat disturbances, also leave the fishes traumatized and susceptible to diseases. Malnutrition, or an inappropriate diet, aggravates the situation – anything considered malnourished is definitely taking a serious health risk.

Here are some examples of bacterial and fungal infections, and how to deal with them:

  • Fin Rot – Fish with long, trailing fins are most susceptible to fin rot – a degeneration and inflammation of the fin rays and membranes. Aside from poor water quality and vitamin deficiency, fin rot is often the result of infections arising from damage brought about by mishandling, as well as fin-nipping attacks from tank mates. Infected fish should be removed and the affected areas treated with commercially available anti-bacterial fish medicine. Remedy water condition and compatibility problems, as well as diet deficiencies to prevent the spread of the ailment.
  • Fungus – Aside from bacteria, fungus can attack the areas on the fish body that has suffered some extent of damage (such as wounds or holes left by parasites). Cotton-like fungal growth appears as patches that give the fish a dull, shabby appearance. To treat fungal infections, subject the tank to a fungicide remedy. Address other possible causes like poor water quality, parasites, and aggressive tank mates.
  • Pop-Eye – One of the more serious bacterial infections is called pop-eye, marked by inflamed eyes protruding from the sockets. Looking very sickly, fish infected with pop-eye usually contract the ailment because of poor water quality, mishandling or distress from fighting with other fishes. Antibiotics may be effective but, if the infection has progressed to a form of tuberculosis, the afflicted fish may have to be removed and euthanized.

Parasites

On rare occasions, even the most cautious aquarist can unknowingly introduce parasites into a well-maintained tank. New fishes, live food, live plants, and some decorations are all potential carriers of aquatic parasites. Here are some of the parasites you should watch for:

  • Fish Lice – Also known as Argulus, fish lice, looking like transparent flat disks, attach themselves to the skin and suck on the fish’s blood. The fish feels itchy and scratches itself on the substrate or on rocks and other hard décor.
  • Anchor Worm – Lernaea, or anchor worms, are greenish-white threadlike organisms that attach themselves to the body of the fish. The skin becomes inflamed and the fish scratches the affected area on hard surfaces in the tank.
  • Leeches – Worm-like leeches attach themselves to the host fish to feed on its blood. The fish feels the irritating suckers and tries to scratch them off on the substrate, rocks, or wood.

To treat parasite infestations, remove the afflicted fish from the tank, and with a pair of tweezers, pull the parasites off. Apply antiseptic to the wounds. Proprietary treatments against specific parasites are commercially available. You will have to treat the whole tank to prevent further proliferation of these harmful organisms.

Other Ailments

Aside from attacks by bacterial, fungus, and parasites, fish also suffer from other maladies, mostly related to intestinal or organ problems. For example:

  • Dropsy – Characterized by a severely swollen or bloated abdomen and is believed to be caused primarily by poor water quality (high nitrate or sodium chloride levels) and malnutrition. Remedy, therefore, involves correcting the habitat conditions and the fish diet.
  • Constipation – Sometimes the fish fails to digest food properly due to a poor diet and overfeeding. Constipated and bloated, the afflicted fish will not want to eat; hardly discharging feces, and feeling weak, it will often rest on the substrate. Experts suggest adding a teaspoon of Epsom salts to every 10 liters (2 gallons) of tank water, and then making sure that the fish is fed the right food in proper quantities.
  • Swim Bladder Disease – Poor water quality, mishandling, and congenital disorder are the main causes of swim bladder disease. The afflicted fish has difficulty staying upright, oftentimes swimming upside down or sideways. Antibiotics and improvement of the water conditions can correct bacterial infection due to a poor habitat. Congenital disorders and permanent swim bladder damage, however, may be irreparable, therefore, euthanasia should be considered.

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Aquarium Care Series: Cleaning Your Aquarium: Maintenance Routines

by Ruby Bayan, OurSimpleJoys.com

One of the joys you will experience in fish keeping is making sure that the underwater kingdom you have conjured remains in its ideal, pristine condition for the longest time possible. Feeding and looking after the health and wellness of the plants and fish is just one aspect of tank maintenance; housekeeping is another.

Keeping your aquarium clean doesn’t have to be unpleasant or tedious. Some minor tasks can be done regularly to avoid, or delay, a major cleanup or an overhaul. Usually a tank overhaul is necessary only when severe pollution has occurred, and a new setup is the only way to remedy the situation. If you can take care of your aquarium community diligently enough, there will be no need for a major cleanup for many years.

Let’s look at the essential tasks in keeping your aquarium setup clean and well maintained.

Maintenance Routines

Your aquarium contains living organisms that feed, respire, grow, age, and expire. From bacteria and other microorganisms, to algae and broad-leafed plants, to an assortment of exotic tropical fishes; the ecosystem in your aquarium comprises a slice of natural life. As caretaker of this ecosystem, you must be there to ensure that the natural balance is maintained.
On a regular basis, therefore, these are the things you need to take care of:

  1. Half an hour after every mealtime, remove all uneaten food. They will rot, clog the filters, and make your water toxic for the fish.
  2. Daily, check all the equipment supporting your aquarium. Be sure all working efficiently because when filters, lights, aerators, or temperature regulators fail, there is a major risk of pollution and distress.
  3. Observe the fishes – isolate and medicate those that look weak and sickly before the whole tank becomes contaminated.
  4. Check your aquarium glass cover – clean as necessary so that tank illumination is not hampered.
  5. Check for the growth of algae. You can scrape it off the walls with an algae scraper, a scrub pad, or a magnetic cleaner.
  6. Trim overgrown plants and remove dead leaves and branches.
  7. On a weekly or bi-weekly basis, perform partial water changes to minimize ammonia and nitrate build-up. Replace no more than 20% of the total water volume, and be sure that the replacement water is of the same temperature and composition as that of the tank. In between water changes, add fresh water to make up for quantity lost through evaporation.
  8. Siphon off wastes and debris that have accumulated on the substrate, the plants, décor, and at the corners of the tank. Stir the top of the substrate a bit to unearth the dirt and debris. You can use a siphon hose or a glass tube sediment remover. This task can be performed while siphoning off water for the regular water change.
  9. Clean or replace all filter elements (carbon, filter wool, sponge, etc.) every two-to-three months. You may also need to have your power filters and pumps checked and serviced for worn out parts.
  10. Replace fluorescent and UV lighting once or twice a year because these bulbs degrade with use.
  11. Consider using a water-conditioning product like EcoBio-Block to clarify water and reduce the need for water changes.

If despite diligent maintenance, you find yourself having to deal with accidents, pollution, or a change of mind, here’s a short tutorial on how to do a general overhaul of your aquarium.

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