quality will be the ultimate determinant of a successful aquarium. Water
quality involves factors including: pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphates,
(etc...). First of all, it is important to be aware that tap water is
treated with disinfectants (chlorine and chloramines) that are poisonous
to fish. Using water detoxifiers, such as AmQuel, to neutralize these
chemicals are imperative for making tap water safe for fish. Anytime
you add tap water, even when replacing evaporated water, you must use
water conditioner. Proper pH will be determined by the type of fish
you plan to keep. Ideally, for freshwater fish, pH should be close to
neutral (7.0). However, you may need to adjust pH to be slightly acidic
(6.5) if you keep fish, such as Discus, Rams, or Cardinals. If you plan
on keeping African Cichlids or saltwater fish the pH should be alkaline
(8.2). It is highly advised you set your pH accordingly.
- You should
also familiarize yourself with the Nitrogen
Cycle. This is very important regarding the biological system of
your aquarium and will be a significant determinant in the overall health
of your fish. However, when your tank has completed it's initial cycle,
it is important to keep in mind that high levels of ammonia or nitrite
can cause disease or even death. Nitromax is one of several products
that will help keep your ammonia and nitrite levels in the safe zone.
Nitrates are non-toxic to fish but are toxic to corals. Nitrates must
be kept between 0-40 PPM if keeping a reef system. Nitrate is also used
as a food source for algae and at elevated levels will cause undesirable
algae growth. Phosphates are non-toxic to fish but, like Nitrates, will
contribute to algae growth.
decorations will depend on the type of fish you keep. For example, if
you want to keep African Cichlids, you generally want lots of rocks
and caves, and perhaps a few calcium-carbonate corals. No live plants,
they will get eaten! If you plan to have Oscars, you should keep a few
big rocks but mostly empty space for swimming area.
- Your gravel
will play a role in your fish environment. If you want to keep a plant
tank, it is recommended you have Fluorite for your gravel bed. If you
keep African Cichlids or saltwater fish you will want crushed coral.
If you plan to have community fish, any epoxy coated gravel should do.
- Keep in
mind the type of fish you want and try to stick with tank mates of the
same aggression level, whether it's aggressive fish, a community tank,
or a specialized tank (e.g.: Seahorses or Jellyfish). For saltwater
fish, you will want to start out with the least aggressive (e.g.: Clowns
and Butterflies) and build up to the more aggressive (e.g.: large Angels
and Triggers). Also, water parameters are important to keep in mind.
Certain fish require different pH levels. Salinity levels can vary
as in a brackish water tank (salinity 1.010).
- To begin
the Nitrogen Cycle you need to start
with "starter" fish. These fish are relatively inexpensive and should
be hearty enough to adjust and withstand the elevated ammonia and nitrite
levels. General recommendations call for 1 fish per 10 gallons when
starting. For freshwater aquariums we recommend: Mollies, Platies, Swordtails,
and/or Zebra Danios. For saltwater aquariums, Damsels and/or Green Chromis
will make the best choices.
is a main component of any successful aquarium. The filter removes suspended
debris, supports the nitrifying bacteria, and oxygenates the water.
There are many different types of filters to choose from: canister,
under gravel, hang-on power filters, wet/dry filters, fluidized beds,
(etc...). When choosing a filter, you want to make sure it contains
the following types of filtration: mechanical, chemical, and biological.
Mechanical filtration includes a sponge or pad that physically traps
suspended debris. Chemical filtration is filter media, such as carbon
which 'polishes' your water. Carbon will also filter out medications.
The biological portion of your filter is the prime location to harbor
your nitrifying bacteria. This prime location on the filter is usually
designed where there is good water flow and good oxygen exchange, for
instance: using a bio-wheel or bio-balls. Make sure the filter you choose
also has a good flow rate. The filter for freshwater systems should
be able to filter all of the water at least 5-6 times an hour; saltwater
at least 6-7 times an hour.
fish aquariums require heaters in order to keep the water temperature
at a specific level and to avoid temperature fluctuation. If the temperature
is wrong or fails to remain constant, disease or death may occur. There
are glass heaters that are hang-on-the-back or submersible. There are
also submersible titanium heaters. Try to keep the water temperature
between 78 and 80 degrees for tropical fish. The general rule for choosing
a heater is: 5 watts per gallon (glass tanks) and 3 watts per gallon
(acrylic tanks). CAUTION! If you have a glass heater and
installing it for the fist time, make sure you let the heater sit in
the water for approximately 10 minutes before you plug it in. Also,
make sure to unplug it when you drop the water level, when doing water
changes. If you fail to do so, the glass on the heater may break!
USE ANY CLEANING PRODUCTS SUCH AS; DETERGENTS, OR SOAPS ON OR NEAR YOUR
empty the entire aquarium at one time. It's not recommended to perform
more than a 50% water change.
replace your biological filter media, unless you plan on starting over.
- Be careful
when moving decorations around, and make sure gravel doesn't get stuck
in your algae pad because it will scratch your tank.
sure your hands are clean and well rinsed before putting your hands
in the aquarium.