Aquarium Care

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Posts Tagged ‘Uneaten Food’

Sticky: Aquarium Care Series: Too Many Fish in Your Aquarium

crowded-aquariumwebThere is a question that is brought up rather frequently by beginners in aquarium care, who have not been very successful after having seemingly followed all the basic instructions gleaned from books, the internet, or our dealer friends. They have given recommended foods in conservative amounts. They have good light and temperature control. But here is where the trouble starts, through the acceptance of a fallacious signal as to what constitutes “overcrowding.” The signal watched for is when the fishes gasp at the surface of the water, “blowing bubbles.”

That is a carry-over from the days when goldfish was King. Goldfish and other cool-water fishes are very sensitive to any shortage of oxygen in the water, or the presence of too much carbon dioxide. They quickly express their distress by breathing at the surface. Incidentally, I have often wondered how fishes, never before in such a situation, know enough to get a fresh supply of oxygen at the surface of the water.

Warm-water fishes are better equipped to get along in oxygen-deficient conditions. In a tank containing both goldfish and exotics (a combination not recommended) the goldfish will invariably be the first to register discomfort from overcrowding. The point that I am stressing is that “Tropicals” are apt to “suffer in silence.” When they come to the surface and stay there, conditions are not merely bad, but very bad.

Undetected crowding has been present for some time past, indicated by the poor condition of the fishes. Of course such symptoms can come from other causes, but crowding is one of the first to look for. That suspicion can be confirmed if frequent partial changes of water relieves the condition.

Water changes help keep the parameters within acceptable limits, help remove excess organic material such as waste and uneaten food, and also replenish required minerals in the water that the fish use up over time. If you prefer not to do as many water changes or are physically unable to, there are alternatives that can reduce your labor. My favorite is the EcoBio-Block, which is an aquarium care product that introduces beneficial bacteria into the aquarium (which keep the biological filter healthy) for water clarification. (It breaks down organic waste into safer by-products). This simple-to-use product then slowly leaches necessary minerals into the water to keep fish healthy, reduce fish loss, and help beginners become successful aquarists.

Advising a new aquarist at the height of his frenzy to go slowly in building up his tank of fishes is like talking against the tempest. Recently I fitted out a grandson with an aquarium and a suitable collection of fishes. All was lovely for a few weeks until he was bitten with the desire for more and more.

The dealer could not be blamed for selling to him, but the result was not hard to foresee – a general attack of “Ich.” Overcrowding does not necessarily cause that disease, but reduces the vitality of the fishes so that they are more subject to it.
“No aquarist ever got into trouble by having too few fishes.”

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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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