FISH CARE

AQUARIUM MAINTAINANCE


Maintenance is essential to the success of your aquarium. Regular water changes of 20-80% are required along with filter and tank maintenance. The more you learn about your new hobby the more you will realize that no one knows all there is to know. Experiment, read, discuss and share your findings with others and you will truly know the full enjoyment of home aquarium and mini reef keeping for years to come. In this section we will teach you how to maintain your aquarium and enjoy being a proud owner of the beautiful aquarium and beautiful fish.

GLASS CLEANING

The glass of the fish tank becomes dirty and you must clean it every time you changing water in the tank. If you practice cleaning glass regularly then you will not face any trouble cleaning it but if you are lazy in keeping the glass clean then after a long period of time the sheath, which accumulates above the glass, becomes stubborn and might cause trouble cleaning.

At one time or another all aquarium hobbyists have the need to clean the glass. For external cleaning, I recommend only using ammonia based cleaners when absolutely nothing else will work. I use one squirt on a rag to clean all of my tanks. After using the rag, try using newspapers to dry the glass and remove any ammonia residue. For internal cleaning there are several very good commercial products available at any retailer.

WATER REPLACING

Water transformation is the backbone to your maintenance schedule. Depending on the biological load on your filtration system (living things in your tank and the waste from feeding them, along with natural decay of plants), the amount of water you need to change regularly will vary greatly. The best way to determine how much water to change is by testing the water before and then about one hour after the change. The reason for waiting is to allow the water to completely cycle through the filter beds. If your tank is new, you may want to continue testing every 24 hours until it is under control.

If you do not yet have test kits for your water, you should. Test kits are the only way to really know what your water is all about. Most local aquarium stores will test your water for you without a charge. This is nice, but not convenient. Buy test kits appropriate to your tank. For marine tanks you will need a specific gravity meter that measures salinity as well.

Prior to changing the water you should perform several steps. First, test the water with your test kits so you will know if you need to change a little or a lot. Next, make any internal changes to the rock and substrate. Next, if needed, clean the inside of the tank glass (see glass cleaning above). Finally, prepare your water by mixing in the right amount of salt to your water.

Now, you can begin to remove the water that will be replaced. For tanks with under-gravel filters, the best method is to use a vacuum tube. To do this, use a long piece of tubing and submerge it until full of water. Put your thumb over the end you will be taking out of the tank to keep the water in then place it in whatever container you will use to do away with the old water and let your thumb off. If the tube is lower than the tank, gravity will take over and start a siphon effect drawing the water out. Some of the gravel may come part of the way up the tube but will probably not come out.

For larger tanks you may want to setup a pump system that systematically removes and replaces small amounts until the new water is exhausted. In either case, remember to add the new water very slowly. Do not add more than twenty percent of the total of the tank capacity in less than one hour. After about one hour the tank should have cycled the total water contents through the filter system and now is a good time to take your second round of test to determine the results of your labour.

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