Aquarium Care

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

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Sticky: Beginner Aquarium Fish Guidelines

Starting your very own aquarium can be very exciting. Knowing just the right things needed for beginner aquarium fish is important. There are quite a few things to consider when starting an aquarium. You will need to consider the water conditions in your area, how easy they are to feed, and where they were raised.

Beginner fish need to be hardy. They can survive in difficult conditions. They can be overfed, underfed, or live in unfavorable water conditions. Starting with hardy ones is important because beginning aquarists are still learning exactly how to take care of their fish. They are learning how much they need to feed them, how often to change the aquarium water, and how many and what kind belong in one tank together.

Beginner fish need to be able to be easily fed. These are the ones that survive solely on dry food. Dry food can be found at many supermarkets and at any pet store. They can also be fed treats. The treats are usually bloodworms and mosquito larvae. However treats are not necessary and the fish do not need fancy frozen foods to survive.

Commercially raised fish are great starter fish. They have shown that they can survive in a tank as opposed to ones that are caught in the wild. Some fish that are caught in the wild will not survive in a tank. Fortunately, there are plenty of options at stores and pet stores.

Purchasing fish that can survive in tap water is also important. It can be difficult and costly to purchase ones that need purified water. Just be certain to use water conditioner to get rid of chloramines in the water. Knowing your water conditions is also important. The two main types are hard and soft. Take the water to the local pet store and they should be able to tell you which ones will survive the best with your water conditions.

Purchasing non-aggressive fish may also be a positive. If aggressive ones are purchased, only one can survive in the tank. If more than one is wanted it is best to get ones that get along well with others. To find out which ones are non-aggressive, just watch the tank and the ones that are getting along with others and not fighting are the ones you want.

Picking ones that meet these qualifications will help you on your way to purchasing good beginner aquarium fish for your tank. There are many options out there to choose from and they are found at a majority of pet stores and some local shops in your area.

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One Answer To Thriving Fish: Freshwater Aquarium Water Quality

If you live in an apartment, there is a good chance that the only pets you will be able to keep are fish, and that can actually be a good thing. There are a wide variety of fish, and they have very different personalities. You may not be able to play with them like a puppy or a kitten, but the can be a soothing and fascinating addition to your home nonetheless. They do require a bit of preparation for, so you will need to get a tank ready with freshwater aquarium water quality before you go out to select your new pets.

This is, unfortunately, more difficult that just filling a bowl with water and putting the fish in it. Especially if using tap water, that could lead to a very short experience with the hobby. While still easier than maintaining a saltwater environment, there are basic considerations that must be accounted for before adding the beautiful and interesting fish varieties.

If you want to keep fish as pets, you have to maintain the water they will live in just as nature does in the wild. There are narrow ranges of chemicals you need to monitor to keep the fish healthy. Monitoring ammonia, nitrites, the acidity of the water and its oxygenation are all important to keep fish alive. This is relatively easy to check, with kits available at almost any pet store.

Ammonia is going to be a continuous concern and must be monitored. The reason it is so problematic is that the food you feed the fish and the waste the fish excrete add to the ammonia concentrations, and can ultimately kill the fish. Other possible concerns are nitrogen and phosphates which contribute to the growth of algae, which then deplete the water oxygen levels. You can reduce the these problems with products like EcoBio-Block which keeps a continuous supply of beneficial bacteria in the water, breaking down toxins like ammonia into safer by-products and creating a clear and healthy environment for your fish.

Chlorine is usually a factor because we are all rather restricted to tap water as our source for the tank. Nearly all municipalities add chlorine or chloramines to our water to make it healthier for us hardy humans. While it kills things that are bad for people and we tolerate it well, the chlorine/chloramine itself will kill fish. Chlorine will dissipate if the water is left out for 24 hours, however; chloramines must be treated with a special additive. Unless you know for sure that you have chlorine, the safest thing to do is to use the additive.

Another concern for fish is the acidity of the water. There is a range of acidity or alkalinity fish can tolerate, and each species has its own preference, but it is something to check. Kits are available which test the water again using color coding which will tell you the measure of hydronium ions in the water. The pH levels go from very acidic at the zero reading to very alkaline or basic at readings up to fourteen. A reading of seven is neutral and most fish will do well in it.

Without an adequate supply of oxygen, your fish will not survive. This seems obvious and it is usually not a great concern, as oxygen dissolves in water naturally. To ensure there is enough, you can add plants to the tank, which produce it, and you can have pumps that keep water moving, as well as adding an air stone that bubbles air up through the tank continuously. Another factor is keeping the number of fish appropriate to the size of the tank.

One way to help with the initial establishment of a healthy aquarium is to use beneficial bacteria to help establish an appropriate balance right at the beginning. Using products from a reputable company will ensure the water is ready to help your new pets survive and thrive. One source of quality products to gain and maintain freshwater aquarium water quality are the EcoBio-Block products which in simplifying the process, will make for a great aquatic pet experience.

Find great deals on EcoBio-Block Products by going online. There you will find how aquarium water will benefit from this product. Head online and learn more now.

 

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Sticky: Aquarium Care: What is a pH?

by Ruby Bayan

I was first introduced to the concept of pH back in high school chemistry when we dipped little blue and pink strips of paper that changed color depending on the acidity or alkalinity of the solution. Of course, all I had to do was remember the acronym B-R-A, meaning “blue to red – acidic” to pass the subject. I didn’t foresee that I’d have to deal with the pH phenomenon for the rest of my life. Now that you’re hooked on the hobby, you will have to deal with it, too.

Let’s start with what exactly pH is and then we’ll elaborate on its role in the aquarium and why you need to know how to manage it.

Basic Concepts

pH is short for “pondus hydrogenii” meaning “potential hydrogen,” “power of hydrogen,” “weight of hydrogen,” and “predominance of hydrogen ions (H+)” as a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a particular solution.

The pH scale is expressed as the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration ranging from 0 [high concentration of hydronium ions (H+) = acidic] to 14 [high concentration of hydroxide ions (OH-) = alkaline/basic]. The pH concept was introduced by a Danish chemist, Soren Sorensen, in 1909 (if logarithmic formulas and chemical equations will help you better understand how the pH scale was devised, and how it is applied, the site on Sorensen would be an excellent resource).

Factors That Affect pH

Pure water has a pH value of 7 which is considered neutral (neither acidic nor basic), and generally the ideal condition for freshwater aquaria. However, various factors can cause the water parameters to swing several notches towards acidic or alkaline, which, although almost negligible, could be fatal to the fishes. Here are some examples:

  1. Water Source — normally, tap water would be within the neutral pH range but some water sources are naturally “soft” or “hard,” or chemically treated such that the pH level diverts from neutral.
  2. Substrate and Decor — your choice of substrate and decorative items will influence your tank’s pH reading over an extended period of time. At first, a substrate spiked with corals, shells, or limestone deposits will show high pH levels (influenced by the hardness or mineral content of the water), which could later on diminish as the minerals are used up. On the other hand, the presence of peat, or driftwood that leach tannins, can swing the scales towards the acidic side.
  3. Maturity of the Tank — the natural tendency for well-established tanks is to dip towards acidic. Fishes eventually adjust to this trend, but not if it falls into ranges that are already toxic to them.
  4. Plants — taking an active role in the nitrification process, plants help to maintain a relatively neutral pH by absorbing dissolved salts and waste products.
  5. Water Circulation and Aeration — without adequate aeration, carbon dioxide can remain trapped in the water and lower the pH (make the environment acidic).
  6. Overstocking, Overfeeding, Excess Medication, Poor Filtration — in short, inefficient tank maintenance can wreak havoc on your pH levels.

pH and You

Every well-meaning aquarist needs to have a pH test kit handy. Various types of kits are commercially available — they’re mostly inexpensive but will be a valuable tool in your efforts to maintain the ideal home for your pets.

Test your tap water to make sure it’s safe for the types of fishes you’ve chosen to keep. Remember to pre-check the parameters of the new water you bring in when you make water changes.
Test your aquarium water regularly (daily when setting up a new tank; once or twice a week for established tanks).

Consult your local fish store for the availability of buffer solutions in case you need to make drastic adjustments in your pH levels.

Add an EcoBio-Block to your tank. Its resident beneficial bacteria help control the conditions that can cause unhealthy changes to your pH level.

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