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Aquariums

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Home Aquariums: Why They Are Handy

The practice of keeping fish in the home came about in the late 1800's. These
fish were usually kept for short periods of time, and were used as a food
source. Home aquariums were generally kept only in coastal towns where the fish
were readily accessible. Today, however many things of changed. We wouldn't
dream of dipping a net into an aquarium and frying up the family pet for
dinner. That's what Red Lobster is for. Home aquariums are for our personal
entertainment and enjoyment. Aquariums add life and color to any room. They
soothe sick patients at doctor's offices, and entertain small children while
their parents are shopping at Nordstrom.

When considering adopting a family pet, think fish. They are a good compromise
when your children are eying that puppy in the window of the local pet store.
Aquariums need little care in comparison to cats, dogs and even birds. When
going out of town, it is acceptable to leave the fish alone for a week or even
longer. Just have a neighbor feed them once or twice. There is no grooming or
bathing needed for fish. While a home aquarium does require regular maintenance
and cleaning, it is minor compared to the care required for larger pets.
Aquariums are usually less costly, as well. Dogs and cats require regular
visits to the veterinarian, vaccinations, flea and tick medications, etc. Last
year the purchase of pet toys was a billion dollar industry. We don't have to
worry about buying a tug rope or a stuffed friend for our fish.

An aquarium is less of a commitment than larger pets, and can still be a
welcome addition to the family home. Aquariums are great learning tools for
small children. Kids get excited if they are involved in process. They can
learn responsibility by having to help with the chores associated with aquarium
care. Teach the children how to feed the fish and how to clean the tank.
Aquariums are very handy for helping kids develop language skills, as well.

It's amazing how much conversation can take place between a two-year old and an
aquarium. Let the kids name the fish. Have discussions and ask questions like,
what color is that fish? What are the fish doing today? Count the fish. Just be
careful with counting. If one of the fish has decided to eat some of its tank
mates that could turn into a different type of learning experience altogether.
This doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing; you just have to be prepared
for it. After all, kids do have to learn about the cycle of life and death
somehow. It would certainly be a lot easier to cope with the death of goldfish
as a child's first loss, rather than a human family member.

In these times of having five hundred plus cable channels and excessive video
games, an aquarium can be a refreshing touch to a home. The next time you sit
down for a family dinner, try looking at the aquarium instead of the
television. You never know, it may just start an actual conversation.

How to Care For Aquarium Fish

An aquarium is perhaps the easiest type of pet to have. There are some basic
steps to caring for fish once the tank is established. There are things that
should be done daily to care for fish and some things that need only be done
weekly or bi-weekly. Daily maintenance of an aquarium is fairly minimal. Look
at the fish every day to make sure they appear to be overall healthy and happy.
This may seem silly, but the main cause of sickness in fish is stress. So, a
happy fish is a healthy fish. Check to see that all lights and filters on the
aquarium are plugged in and functioning correctly. Feed the fish daily. Only
feed what can be consumed in the first two to five minutes. Any excess food
will become debris in the tank and lead to illness or attribute to excess
nitrite levels. You should check the water ph and temp weekly. Any necessary
adjustment should be made promptly. Check with your local pet store when
purchasing fish to find out what levels are appropriate. They vary amongst fish
species.

Filter cleaning is extremely important. Filters collect waste excreted by the
fish and left in the tank in the form of excessive fool. The filters will
eventually fill with debris and be unable to do their job unless they are
cleaned. In addition to eliminating waste, filter sometimes act as an aeration
device cycling oxygen through the tank. If the filters are clogged, circulation
slows. This limits the amount of oxygen in the tank. If left untreated, this
could be deadly for your fish. Change the filter on the aquarium every two to
three weeks depending on need. You will know when it needs to be cleaned
because the water will become cloudy or smelly. Some filters need to be
replaced, while other simply need to be cleaned with water.

The proper way to change water in a tank is to do it gradually. First unplug
any lights and equipment before cleaning the aquarium. Change approximately one
third of the water in the aquarium every one to two weeks. Water from the tap
should be treated accordingly before adding to the tank and adjusted within two
degrees of the aquarium. Again, check with your local retailer when purchasing
fish. Some treatments allow the tap water to be ready in as little as an hour,
while others need to sit overnight before being added to the tank.

Clean the sides of the tank with a scrubber to remove any built up algae. Be
careful not to disturb or scare the fish. Move rocks and decorations to loosen
any debris. Try to collect this debris when removing the water, either with a
bucket or a vacuum type of siphon. Prune any dead leaves from aquatic plants.
Clean the outside of the tank with a squeegee and clean tap water. Clean the
cover and lid. Lastly, plug the aquarium back in, and enjoy the freshly cleaned
tank.

Tips on Aquarium Care and Cleaning

The proper care and cleaning of your aquarium is the most important, yet most
overlooked aspect of owning an aquarium. By avoiding the care and maintenance
of a fish tank, not only will it lose the visual appeal, but your fish will be
unhealthy and unhappy. By following a daily, weekly and monthly care program,
you will maintain a beautiful, clean and healthy aquarium.

Daily Cleaning Routine

To maintain a clean aquarium, there are some daily tasks that must be done.
First and foremost, it's important to check the temperature of the tank and
make sure it stays consistent. For tropical freshwater fish, the temperature
should average at around 77 degrees. Too much heat in your aquarium will
promote the growth of algae. Always check for sick or dead fish daily. If you
have a sick fish, it should be removed from the tank immediately or it may harm
the other inhabitants of the aquarium. Lastly, check that the pump and filter
are functioning properly.

Weekly Cleaning Routine

Weekly maintenance is necessary to keep the tank healthy. On a weekly basis,
any waste should be removed from the surface of the gravel at the bottom of the
tank. Using a siphon tube will accomplish this. If water is removed during this
process, be sure to replace it and keep the water in the tank at the same
level. Add chemicals and chlorine weekly so the balance within the tank remains
the same. At this time, it is best to test the water for the ammonia and nitrate
levels. Don't overlook testing the pH of the water as well. If you are raising
live plants, tend to them each week. Trim them back if they are getting too
big, and remove any dead or sick leaves. Re-anchor and new sprouts into your
gravel. Also, check your tank for snails. You can remove snails by floating a
piece of lettuce leaf in the tank. The snails will be attracted to the lettuce,
and you can remove them using a net.

Monthly Cleaning Routine

Finally, some monthly steps will assure that your aquarium stays clean and
healthy. A partial water change should be performed each month. Using a siphon
hose, remove 20 to 25 percent of the water from the tank. Always make sure that
your chemical balance is correct. High levels of chlorine and ammonia will cause
death. Cleaning the filter should be a monthly task as well as changing the
filter cartridge. Be sure not to clean the filter too thoroughly as it contains
helpful bacteria that aids in stabilizing the chemical balance in the tank.
During the monthly cleaning, scrape and remove all algae from the surface of
the tank. If you find you are having a significant amount of algae, consider
adding an algae eater to the tank. Should you already have one, be sure to keep
an eye on the temperature of the tank and you may also want to limit the time in
which a light is used. Any increased heat source will speed up the production of
algae inside the aquarium. If your tank is located in direct sunlight and you
are having an algae problem, it is best to relocate the tank.

By following a maintenance schedule, you will be sure to keep a clean, clear
and healthy tank. Aquarium care is essential and must be performed regularly to
ensure the long and happy life of your fish. Provide yourself with an aquarium
to be proud of by keeping up with the care and cleaning.

Aquarium Care for the Freshwater Guppy

Guppies are perhaps the most popular type of freshwater fish to keep in an
aquarium. Luckily, they are fairly easy to keep as well. Guppies are hardy fish
that can adjust easily to minor fluctuations in water quality. However, don't
allow these fluctuations to become common practice, as they do cause some
stress to the fish. The water temperature in an aquarium for guppies should be
kept between seventy two and eighty two degrees. The P.H. level should be kept
between 7.0 and 8.2. As you can see these specifications are much more
forgiving than those for certain tropical or marine fish. Guppies mature
quickly and usually only grow to be about one and a half to two inches long.
There small bodies and feathery fan like tails add a lot of interest to the
tank. They are just fun to watch.

As with any type of aquarium, there are three basic components to caring for
the fish. Diet is very important. Guppies should be fed very small amounts as
often as three times a day. Guppies will eat just about anything, but their
main diet should consist of frozen or flake foods. This should be especially
regarded when there are baby guppies in the tank, because guppies will eat
their young. The next most important feature to caring for any fish is
appropriate water regulation. The specific temperatures are listed above, but
it is also important to make frequent water changes. Usually every one to two
weeks, depending on need. If the water starts to smell or become cloudy, this
is a good indication that it is time to change the water. If water changes are
made gradually, meaning change approximately one third of the tank at a time,
then there is little disruption made to the fish.

Last on the list for keeping fish healthy, is to keep them happy. Try to
recreate their natural environment. It is recommended to keep a variety of
plants in the aquarium for guppies to seek refuge. There should be about one to
two inches of substrate in the bottom of the tank. Colored rock or dead crushed
coral make a nice addition to the aquarium, and may help to make the fish feel
more at home.

A few varieties of guppies are the Fantail, Flagtail, Spadetail, Deltatail and
the Roundtail. The names of all of these different types of guppies focus on
the tails because they are so remarkable and unique. The tail itself is usually
about one third of the size of the whole fish. It is possible to mix guppies
with other varieties of fish. However be careful when mixing because, guppies
are targeted as easy prey due to those fancy tails. Guppies breed very quickly,
usually about every three to four weeks. They will interbreed amongst
themselves, so the aquarium could very quickly become filled with many
different varieties of color. It is very feasible to have an attractive
aquarium without having any other fish at all. If you don't want the species to
interbreed, simply keep them in separate tanks.

General Care for the Freshwater Aquarium

Okay, so you have decided that you want to own an aquarium. It is a good idea
to make out a wish list before purchasing any fish for the aquarium. Keeping an
aquarium will require patience. Unfortunately, it is not realistic to go the pet
store and just start picking out fish. Take a trip to the pet store in order to
gather information and window shop to determine the types of fish you wish to
keep in your aquarium. Carefully research these fish to ensure that they are
compatible for water temperatures and P.H., as well as the food that they eat.
Be careful not to put prey and predator together in the same tank. Keep in mind
that freshwater fish are hardier than the marine variety, and will be less
susceptible to water fluctuations.

One reason that freshwater fish are hardier than saltwater fish is the
saltwater itself. Just like any living creature, a fish's body requires water
in order to function properly. Water is absorbed through a fish's skin in the
freshwater environment. Alternatively, a saltwater fish actually has to drink
the salt water, because the body fluids are extracted through the skin by
osmosis. The salt is then excreted in the form of highly concentrated urine.
Freshwater fish are a good choice for an inexperienced aquarium owner because
there is more wiggle room in the water specifications. Some freshwater fish
have a variation of as much as ten degrees of acceptable water temperature.
Conversely, most tropical fish will only allow about two degrees of variation
in water temperature.

It is not uncommon for the novice fish keeper to become easily discouraged.
Water conditions are hard to regulate and unfortunately fish, even the
freshwater variety, are not the hardiest of creatures. Sometimes they do not
survive these fluctuations. It is important to be patient. An aquarium needs to
run for a minimum of twenty four hours before adding any fish at all. You may
want to allow the tank to run and filter with decorations and any plant life
for a few days before introducing the fish. Be sure to clean the decorations
and any substrate thoroughly before adding them to the aquarium. Live plants
are highly recommended in new aquariums as they will help to generate the good
bacteria necessary to reduce the amount of ammonia in the tank. It is a good
idea to test the ammonia and nitrite levels before adding fish to the aquarium.
Begin by adding only three to four small fish. A general rule is to wait another
thirty days before adding additional fish, because that is the incubation period
for most fish illnesses. In addition, test the nitrite and ammonia levels before
adding these additional fish. The ammonia levels should return to zero. This
also takes about a month.

There are a few basic tips that will keep fish healthy. Don't over feed the
fish. Any excess food will become debris in the tank, and then turns into
ammonia, which is toxic to fish. Change the water in the aquarium regularly.
Replace approximately one third of the water in the tank every two to three
weeks. This will minimize the disruption to the fish in the aquarium,
eliminating the need to remove the fish from the tank. Lastly, don't forget to
clean the filter. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, as some filters need
to be replaced more frequently than others.

Coldwater Aquarium Set-up and Care

As the hobby of having an aquarium becomes more and more popular, it should be
noted that the easiest aquarium to care for and set up is a coldwater tank. As
the name suggests, coldwater tanks require no heating set up. This cuts costs
when setting up your first tank. It also makes the aquarium much easier to
maintain in the long run. Keep in mind that only certain coldwater fish can
survive in a tank without heat. Most common are goldfish and guppies, but there
are a multitude available and you will be able to have an array of fish living
in your coldwater tank.

The supplies you will need to set up your aquarium may seem lengthy, but it is
actually a much shorter and cheaper list than that of a heated freshwater tank
or a saltwater tank. Obviously the first thing you need is a tank. It's all
about personal choice here as they come in many sizes and shapes. When you
purchase the tank, a kit often comes with it and includes some of the other
things you may need. Just to make sure, check that you have a filter and an air
pump. These are the most important pieces to the whole set up. If you are buying
your tank as a kit, make sure it is specified to be a coldwater set-up. You will
notice that no heater will be included.

After the purchase of your tank, you can now consider how you wish to decorate
it. Many types of gravel and sand are available in a lot of colors. You can add
accent plants as well to make it appear more natural. Many people add little
figures or signs to personalize their aquariums. It's all up to you in regards
to decor. Be sure to buy a net, an algae scraper and conditioner for the water.

If you choose to have a tank with lighting, that is ok, just be aware of the
problems it may cause. By adding light to the tank, you are also adding heat.
Algae thrives on heat. Though a light won't harm your tank, it may add to algae
growth. This is not uncommon and is easily cleaned. Your fish will enjoy having
the light, so it is probably best to buy a hood that includes a light. Try to
keep the tank out of direct sunlight when you choose it's position within your
home. This will also add to algae growth.

Once you have your tank set up and the water is stabilized, you may add your
fish. Be sure to only buy coldwater fish to add to this tank. If you are unsure
of what types of fish are coldwater, ask for help at a pet store. They will
offer you some extra tips on the types of fish you are purchasing as well. Once
your fish are added, you will have a wonderful underwater scene to enjoy for
years to come. It is important to clean and care for your tank on a routine
basis. A complete cleaning of the tank should be done every 2 months, including
a water change, scraping algae, rinsing the gravel of waste and changing filters.

You will find that as time passes, you will form a routing of caring for your
coldwater aquarium. It is worth the effort to maintain the tank, as you will be
rewarded with a wonderful addition to your home.

Aquarium Care for Freshwater Fish

Freshwater fish are perhaps the easiest fish to care for in comparison to
saltwater species because they are usually hardier fish. A basic aquarium set
up will be required. You will need a tank, some rocks or substrate to line
bottom of the tank. You will also need a filter, and some lighting. When
choosing fish, it is imperative to make sure the fish are compatible. Not only
do they need to be compatible for water temperature and P.H., but they also
should have similar food requirements. Try to keep the fish relatively the same
size. It has been said that if a fish is small enough to fit in another fishes
mouth, that is usually where it ends up. So don't be discouraged if this
happens. Even fish that have been housed together for several months have been
known to disappear on occasion.

Freshwater fish should be fed twice daily. Feed only a small amount that can be
consumed within the first two to five minutes. Over feeding is a common mistake
among novice fish keepers. Any excess food should be lifted with a net if
possible, as it will become debris and quickly dirty the tank. Water should be
kept regulated and tested weekly. Any discrepancies in P.H. and water
temperature should be corrected immediacy in order to minimize stress caused to
the fish.

Stress is significant because it causes illness in fish. It is important to
monitor the activity and overall well being of the fish in an aquarium. The
signs of stress will be fairly obvious. Slow moving or lethargic looking fish
will require a stress coat that can be purchased at a local pet store. Try to
avoid overcrowding the tank. This should help to reduce the amount of stress
caused to the fish.

Change about a third of the water in the aquarium at a time, because this type
of change will cause the least amount of disturbance to the fish and other
inhabitants. This will need to be done every two to three weeks. Use either a
bucket or a siphon to remove the water from the tank. Try to remove any loose
or floating debris at this time. When adding the new water to the aquarium, be
sure that it is within approximately two degrees of the tank water. The sides
of the aquarium should be scrubbed regularly to remove an algae build up. Again
be careful not to disturb the fish. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after
handling the aquarium. Lastly, check the manufacturer's recommendation on
filters and change them accordingly. Filters collect any fish waste or left
over food. They can't function properly unless they are clean.

Introduce hardy fish to a new tank. These fish can withstand higher nitrite
levels that are present in a new aquarium. Choose fish such as danios, barbs,
gouramis, and live bearers. Don't add more than three to four small fish per
week. Acclimation times vary per species, so check with your retailer before
adding any other new fish.

All about Care for an Acrylic Aquarium Kit

The practice of keeping aquariums came about in the late 1800's. They were
fairly crude. Usually these ancient aquariums only had one side that was made
of glass, with the other three sides being made of metal or wood. Most
aquariums consisted of fish that were native to the region of its owner simply
because of availability. Also most old school fish tanks contained only fresh
water fish. The reason being that salt water would corrode the metal frame that
held the aquarium together.

Aquariums drastically changed in the 1960's with the invention of silicone
adhesive. Metal frames became obsolete and more people started to keep salt
water fish and invertebrates. More recently glass tanks have become less
frequently used due to the flexibility of acrylic. Literally flexibility!
Acrylic aquariums are far more for forgiving than there glass counterparts. If
a heavy object strikes a glass tank, it will almost certainly break. The
flexibility of an acrylic tank will prevent this catastrophe from happening. In
addition, acrylic offers more flexibility in design than glass. Acrylic
aquariums have been made into everything from coffee tables to gum ball
machines.

That being said, there is a short downfall to owning an acrylic aquarium. They
do scratch more easily than glass. When cleaning your aquarium, be careful not
to use paper towels, and harsh or abrasive chemicals, as they can scratch the
acrylic surface of the aquarium. Always use a cleaner specifically labeled safe
for acrylic. Use plastic or rubber scrubbers, rather than metal to clean the
sides of an acrylic tank. Be careful not to accidentally pick up a piece of
substrate or gravel while cleaning the inside of the tank. However, if you do
happen to scratch an acrylic aquarium, all is not lost. The tank can be
repaired, unlike glass. There are acrylic repair kits available at specialty
pet stores, your local hardware store and of course online.

When purchasing an acrylic aquarium kit, there will be many different options
to choose from, at many different price points. Aquarium kits can be purchased
at places such as specialty aquatic pet stores, from huge retail chains, or
again online. A fish lover can choose from small cylinder shaped tanks that can
double as a coffee table lamp to wall huge wall sized aquariums. While, there
are some basic things that will be included in most kits, such as, a filter,
some substrate or coral and sometimes lighting, the kits themselves can vary
greatly. It really doesn't matter where you buy your starter kit, but keep in
mind that it is extremely important to buy your fish from a reputable dealer.
Don't buy fish that are hovering near the surface, or that are located in a
tank with other dead fish. Fish diseases are extremely communicable. Be weary
of a fish dealer that refuses to catch a specific fish out of the tank for you.
After all this is going to be your fish and you have a right to choose.

Care of Live Aquarium Plants

To add that special effect and enhance the natural setting within your
aquarium, try using live plants instead of fake plastic plants. The use of live
plants will not only add a pleasing visual appeal, but will also help maintain
your tank. By adding oxygen to the water, the use of live plants helps keep
your aquarium balanced and will aid in fish health.

The most important factor in growing and maintaining healthy aquarium plants is
the lighting used. For a well planted aquarium, it is suggested to use 2-3 watts
per gallon of water. The use of fluorescent bulbs is practical and adds a nice
lighting effect. Take caution when deciding to use florescent lights if your
tank has a depth of 20" or more. The low growing plants, or plants with
multiple leave levels will suffer from a lack of light as the florescent rays
will not provide enough light.

Once you have figured out what type of lighting you will use, you must turn
your attention to the hardness of the water. The majority of aquarium plants
will thrive in water that has a hardness between 4-12 dH, and between the range
of 6.5-7.2 for pH. Plants need clean and clear water to survive best in, so
proper cleaning and maintenance should be performed on the aquarium. Most
plants will not survive if there is too much debris or waste in the water, so
keeping up with cleaning is essential.

Once your plants are established in a clean, well lighted tank, you must care
for them by making sure they receive the nutrients required for healthy growth.
Plants need both macro- and micro nutrients. Macro nutrients are usually found
naturally in tap water and in the fish themselves. These nutrients include
nitrates, sulfates and phosphates. Macro nutrients should never need to be
added to the water of the tank. They exist on their own. Micro nutrients are
needed in very small amounts. Copper, iron and zinc are among the micro
nutrients live plants will need to survive in the aquarium.

Generally, the water and the fish in the tank will provide the nutrients and
fertilizers needed for plant growth. It is rare that any supplements will need
to be added. One important factor in having healthy plant life is your
filtration system. Stay away from under gravel filters because they produce a
steady flow of bubbles that disturb the surface. The filter plate on under
gravel filters also limit's the composition of the gravel in which the plants
are rooted. All other kinds of filtration systems will work well. The only
things to be concerned about are if your filter causes too much disruption to
the water surface. When this happens, carbon dioxide is lost and plants will
suffer. Also make sure the filter creates a current that keeps nutrients moving
throughout the tank.

By having a good chemical balance in the aquarium and having an efficient
filtering system, you will be sure to have healthy live plant growth. These
plants will add to the beauty of the tank and will also keep your fish relaxed
because it will be a natural setting for them. If you are considering adding
plants for decoration within the aquarium, consider the great benefits of using
live plants.

How to Care for Live Aquarium Plants

Plants play an important role in aquarium life. They help to absorb nitrites
that are toxic to the fish. In fact there are some plant only aquariums. There
are many different varieties of aquatic plants. Tubers are a type of plant that
needs to be anchored by the root to the bottom of the tank. They may be tied or
simply buried underneath the substrate in the bottom of the aquarium. There are
also floating plants. As their name suggests they simply float in the tank they
do not need to be anchored and will not usually require fertilizer. The only
regular care required is to make sure that water droplets are not regularly
deposited on the leaves, as this will cause decay.

Water lettuce and Lily pads are examples of floating plants. Rooted plants,
like tubers need to be anchored to the bottom of the tank. It is suggested that
the roots be tied to pieces of rock or wood. These species usually grow to be
fairly tall and will add length to an aquarium. When planting these, remember
to allow plenty of room for growth. The roots will grow outwards and require
additional space. Another type of aquatic plant is known as cuttings. These
plants may be transplanted from other thriving plants, without have to root
them. Cuttings should be planted individually. They will grow vertically and
sprout shoots at the joints of the leaves. When these shoots grow to be a
couple of inches, it is time to cut them and plant them individually.

Live plants may be kept in aquariums alone or with fish. The plants may even be
used as a food source for some species of omnivorous fish. At the very least,
they will provide shelter and a feeling of refuge for the fish. All plants
require some form of light in order to thrive through photosynthesis. Check the
specifics on the types of plants with your local retailer. Some plants will
thrive on the waste put out by the fish in the aquarium, while others will
require regular fertilization. Again check with your supplier for compatibility
and feeding requirements. When purchasing plants, make sure that they are true
aquatic plants. Live plants should be pruned weekly. Dead or broken leaves
should be removed daily.

A live plant aquarium will require the same basic equipment needed for an
aquarium containing fish. The basics are as follows. You will need a tank, some
sort of filtration system, lighting and some basic cleaning tools. The plants
are fairly easy to care for, but you do have to keep up with your regular
maintenance. Synthetic plants may be a good alternative to live plants, if you
are not willing to make the investment in live plants. Faux plants have come a
long way in recent years. So much so, that your fish may not even notice the
difference. Whether you choose live or synthetic plants, they will add interest
and life to any aquarium.

How to Care for Aquarium Catfish

Catfish are common fish found in freshwater aquariums. Catfish are very unique
and differ from other fish in regards to their health and care. The most
distinguishing feature of a catfish is the prominent "barbells", which look
like whiskers on a cat, hence giving these one of a kind fish their name. The
other thing that set catfish apart from any other fish is the fact that they
have no scales. They also possess a strong, hollow ray on their fins that a
stinging protein can be emitted from if the fish is irritated or in danger.

The most common catfish found in aquariums are the armored catfish. This group
is smaller in size than other types of catfish and make a great addition to an
aquarium. When you are setting up your tank initially, it is best to decide
then whether you are going to house catfish. Your decision will impact the type
of gravel or sand you will use as well as the pH of the water within the tank.
Armored catfish prefer soft bottom material because they forage for food within
the substrate. Catfish feel more secure when they are hidden from the light, so
be sure to have caves and hiding places for this type of fish.

Overall, the care of catfish does not vary from caring for your other fish. You
should try to include a food that will settle on the bottom of the tank as these
fish are bottom feeders. The water should have a temperature in the middle to
upper seventies and the pH should be neutral. This is usually the same set up
and water balance you will use to house other fish as well, so it should not be
a major concern when you add your catfish.

Catfish are known to be somewhat goofy and comical, but this may depend on the
species of catfish you have. Their behavior will vary, but as a whole, the
catfish is an entertaining addition to an aquarium. There are group and
schooling catfish that get along well with each other. There are also loners
who always stay away from their neighbors. Catfishes are the ideal candidates
for community tanks because they inhabit niches and shelters on the bottom not
occupied by other aquarium inhabitants. They generally get along well with all
types of fish. Only in combination with some larger Cichlids can there be a
problem as the Cichlids tend to extend their territorial claim to the entire
tank.

The one thing to consider before adding a catfish to your existing aquarium
set-up is the size of the other fish. While catfish generally get along with
most fish, they are a predator and will attack and feed on smaller fish.
Catfish are also nocturnal, and should be fed later in the day or at night. You
may have to adjust the feeding times depending on what your schedule is now and
what other types of fish inhabit the tank. With the number of species of
Armored catfish, you will be sure to have a colorful and amusing aquarium with
the addition of these comical fish. As with all fish, be sure to keep the
aquarium clean and healthy so as to ensure the health of the fish as well as
your enjoyment for years to come.

Marine Aquarium Care -- Invertebrates Only

The care required for an invertebrate only tank is very similar to that of any
other saltwater tank; however, the invertebrates are far less hardy than fish.
It is recommended that you become skilled with a fish only tank before
attempting an Invertebrate aquarium. Most Invertebrates require a specialized
diet. Check with the supplier before purchasing and be sure that you are
willing to make the commitment to have food delivered if necessary. There are
two different types of invertebrates, tropical and cold water. Make sure that
the type you are buy is compatible with its other tank mates.

A few examples of tropical invertebrates are tubeworms, red hermit crabs,
cleaner shrimp and the sea apple. All of this marine life is compatible in
terms of water conditions. They require a water temperature between seventy
five and seventy nine degrees Fahrenheit, a P.H. between 8.2 and 8.4 and a
salinity content of 1.020-1.024. As you can see, there is very little wiggle
room associated with these measurements. It is extremely important to check the
levels daily, or the results could be costly. These invertebrates are not
compatible, however, with their food source needs. Check with the supplier for
compatibility before combining tropical invertebrates.

Unlike their tropical counter parts, cold water invertebrates are usually not
sold in stores. They have to be collected from tide pools. It is important to
make sure that these species are not on the endangered species list before
removing them from their home. It is equally important to do research in order
to verify that you are able to properly feed them and care for their very
specific needs. Sea Anemones, prawns, shrimp, and starfishes are a few
varieties that have been successfully maintained in an aquarium. They require a
water temperature between fifty four and fifty nine degrees Fahrenheit, a P.H.
between 8-8.4 and a salinity content of 1.024-1.025. Luckily they do eat the
same food. They feed off of a diet of small pieces of raw fish, shrimp, squid
and mussels.

When keeping cold water invertebrates such as the species mention above, it is
a good idea to keep a separate tank full of shrimp, mussels, and scallops to be
used as a food source, if you wish to use fresh rather than frozen foods. Be
careful when keeping shrimp, as all of the invertebrates listed above feed on
shrimp, including shrimp themselves. It is unlikely, however that a healthy
live shrimp will be eaten whole by another shrimp or starfish. Invertebrates
should be fed more frequently in smaller amounts than fish. Try to feed only an
amount that can be consumed in the first thirty to sixty seconds.

When setting up an invertebrate tank remember to include live rock, because
some invertebrates feed on the parasites that grow on the live rock. A
substrate should also be included in this type of aquarium. It will provide a
place for the crabs and shrimp to dig and bury themselves. A light should be
included as well, if you intend to keep anemones.

Saltwater Aquariums from A-Z: Purchasing an Aquarium

There are a million different types of aquariums on the market, and with the
number of choices available and the fact that there is no guaranteed formula
for success for creating a saltwater aquarium it can be very difficult for
individuals to choose which type of aquarium they should purchase. There are a
number of factors which should be considered before the would be biologist ever
sets foot inside a pet store.

The first is size. As trite as it may sound an aquarium is a definite example
of a time when size matters. The size of the aquarium must be sufficient to
hold the types and number of fish which the owner intends to place inside. Just
as you would never attempt to place a large goldfish inside a small bowl neither
should you attempt to place a large saltwater fish in a small aquarium. This is
particularly true if you are attempting to add a small carnivore, such as one
of the smaller breeds of shark, to your home. These predators need space to
swim or they will slowly make themselves mad and perhaps even perish from the
confinement (a bit melodramatic and Victorian, but true nonetheless).

There are several options for size when it comes to aquariums, and a good pet
shop should be able to help advise consumers as to which size would best suit
their needs.

Another consideration is materials. Glass and acrylic are the two choices most
widely available on the market at the moment. Each has its own advantages and
disadvantages. Glass is by far the more popular of the two due to the fact that
it is less likely to scratch, allowing the sides to maintain their clarity. It
is also considerably less expensive, an important consideration as it can cost
a great deal of money to establish a saltwater aquarium and every advantage
should be taken. Finally, the nature of the silicone sealant used in glass
aquariums allows the tank to expand more readily when water is added.

Acrylic tanks come with their own advantages. There is almost no limit to the
shape and size that an acrylic tank can take, allowing for a greater amount of
creativity in tank design. It is also considerably more durable than glass, an
important consideration if the aquarium is going to be displayed in a public
place or if the owner has small children. Where a small bump may crack or
otherwise damage a glass tank acrylic tanks are made of hardier stuff. It is
also easier to adjust the filtration options on an acrylic tank, as it is not
necessary to have the number of special tools available that are necessary to
cut glass.

Whether acrylic or glass the would-be saltwater aquarium owner will probably
have the option to purchase a pre-drilled tank to prevent overflow, giving the
tank a much smoother appearance than the antiquated but still popular "hang on
the back" method.

Buying an aquarium can be a tricky business; however, the truth of the matter
is that as long as the ecosystem is properly designed and the tank cleaned
thoroughly prior to use there is no right or wrong choice. It is all a matter
of personal preference.

Saltwater Aquariums and Aquarium Algae-Prevention

Anyone who has had an aquarium knows that algae is unavoidable. It is just one
of the things that fish owners, both salt and freshwater, have to deal with on
a regular basis.

There are four main variety's of algae; green algae, brown algae, red-brush
algae, and blue green algae.

Green algae is the variety of algae that most people are familiar with. Green
algae thrives in any aquarium that receives an abundance of light. The two most
commonly seen green algaes in aquariums are hair algae and hard "green dot
algae". Hair algae are long wispy strands of algae that are easily cleaned from
the tank. The green-dot algae appears as green dots of algae on the side of the
aquarium, it is very difficult and time consuming to remove green dot algae.

It is common for brown algae to appear when a tank that has just been started.
It typically puts in an appearance within the first two weeks. Its appearance
in established tanks means that the aquarium owner needs to test the nitrate
and phosphate levels of this tank. Brown algae is unusual because it thrives in
aquariums that do not receive a great deal of light. When brown algae appears in
the tank the aquarium owner needs to clean the entire tank and increase the
lighting. It is not unusual for brown algae to disappear when the tank
conditions stabilize.

Red-brush algae is a variety of algae that loves aquariums that have a high PH.
It is incredibly difficult to manually remove red-brush algae from aquariums.

Blue-green algae is deceptive because it's not an algae at all. It is really a
cynobacteria. When it appears in the aquarium it looks like a slime that is
taking over the tank. Blue-green algae can be fatal to aquarium plants and can
jeopardize the health of the fish.

There are many ways you can discourage the growth of algae in your saltwater
tanks.

One of the simplest ways to limit the amount of algae in your saltwater tank is
to reduce your lighting. Leaving your aquarium lights on for less then nine
hours a day will limit the amount of time algae has to photosynthesis. Use the
lowest wattage possible.

Use distilled water whenever you clean your saltwater aquarium or change the
water. Changing your water every two to three weeks will limit the amount of
time algae can grow in your tank. When you change the water make sure you
vacuum your rocks. Also keep the use of additives to a minimum. Change your
prefilter pad weekly.

Stock your tank with algae eating fish. In saltwater tanks this will be; hard
star fish, Yellow Tang fish, Blennies, Turbo snails, Angel fish, and small
Hermit Crabs.

Purchase the largest, strongest algae glass cleaning magnet you can find and
then use it. If you use the magnet each and every time you clean the water your
tank the glass on your tank should stay algae free. Be sure to clean the magnet
after each use. For particularly stubborn algae spots, you will have to use a
razor blade. Don't forget to clean the overflow pipes.

How to Care for and Clean a Saltwater Aquarium

Most people are unaware or uninformed of how to properly clean and care for a
saltwater tank. It's best to understand how to care for your saltwater tank
before even buying one so as to avoid possible problems down the road. The
first thing you should be aware of is that you will need to buy filtered water
or buy a reverse osmosis kit. Otherwise you can use regular water, making sure
it is at the correct temperature, and add in chemicals to remove chlorine and
other unwanted chemicals. Maintenance is a necessity and you will need to clean
your tank at least once a month. It is best to try to clean the tank as often as
every two weeks however, don't over clean your tank or you will remove some of
the beneficial bacteria. Most people think that removing this bacteria is a
good thing, but it's the exact opposite for a saltwater tank. This bacteria is
actually essential to maintain a healthy and balanced aquarium.

If you are just starting out with a new saltwater tank, you will need to let
the tank sit for 30 days before adding anything to it. It is recommended that
you buy some test strips to test out the water and make sure everything is
balanced. Nobody wants to invest in a $60.00 fish and have it die because the
water was not tested and the chemical balance was off. Once the tank is
established and the chemical levels are stable, it will stay that way, and you
shouldn't need to test it if you do frequent water changes. When cleaning the
tank, you will need remove of stir the gravel to remove sediment that could
possibly change the chemical make up of the tank. Use caution when cleaning an
acrylic tank and be sure that the cleaning supplies being used will not harm
the tank in any way.

The best thing to use to remove algae is phosphate drops. When added to the
water on a regular basis, algae does not build up as quickly. Another way to
avoid an algae problem is to invest in some hermit crabs and snails to keep
your rocks and tank clean. Hermit crabs and snails are known to be the clean up
crew, and can make a huge difference in your saltwater aquarium if you have
enough of them. You will also need to buy a scraper or a scratch pad to clean
the glass. A regular cleaning tool will not be strong enough to remove the
algae from the glass.

It is very important to aim the filter head down into the water. Failure to do
so will result in a build up of salt on the lid of the tank. Good lighting and
a strong and efficient filter are a necessity. The tank should only be lit for
about 6 hours a day. The more lighting, the more algae will form. You can buy a
timer from the pet store to make sure the light is on at the exact time each
day. Otherwise the lighting could range from day to day and algae will form.
Try to position the saltwater aquarium away from direct sunlight as this will
also add to the growth of algae.

The key to maintaining a healthy saltwater aquarium is to keep it clean and
algae free. By remembering the ways to avoid algae, you will be able to keep a
healthy aquarium for years to come.

Aquarium Care Tips for Saltwater Fish

In general saltwater fish are usually a little more difficult to maintain than
their freshwater cousins. That being said, it is not necessary to be an expert
in order to maintain a saltwater aquarium. Just as with freshwater fish, there
are some saltwater species that are hardier than others. There are a few basic
needs that if met will ensure that the fish are cared for properly.

The most important need that any creature has is the need for food. This is not
different for fish. It is important to mimic the type of food that a fish would
typically eat in the ocean. These foods can be purchased in flake, tablet, or
frozen forms. In addition, there are vitamins that can be added to the foods to
replace any nutrients that may have been lost in the freezing or drying
processes. Just as we humans don't like to eat the same thing every day,
neither do fish. Keep a variety of food handy because they will not eat the
same food daily. Research the specific needs of the fish before you purchase
them to make sure you are able to provide the food that they need. Be careful
not to over feed the fish. This will cause a build up of debris in the tank.
Only feed an amount that can be consumed in the first two to five minutes. Try
to remove any excess food after feeding time in order to keep the tank tidy:
and take notes. Remember how much was consumed previously and try to replicate
that at the next feeding time. Over feeding fish is a common mistake,
especially amongst new aquarium owners.

The next item on the list of raising a healthy fish is keep the water properly
regulated. It is imperative to keep the salinity levels, P.H. and temperature
consistent in a saltwater aquarium. Test the water daily and make any necessary
adjustments immediately. Check the water for cloudiness and clean the filter
regularly.

Have you ever heard the saying that a happy baby is a healthy baby? Well, the
same is true for fish. Fish should be made to feel as comfortable as possible
in their new home. You should try to recreate their natural habitat. Research
to find out what type of specific corals, sponges and plants the fish have in
their open water environment. If a particular fish lives on a coral reef, try
to incorporate that into the grand scheme of the aquarium. Stress can be
minimized by providing ample opportunities for fish to act normally.

Lastly try to avoid overcrowding the tank. This is another common problem that
can be easily avoided. A general rule of thumb is one small fish per every ten
gallons of water. Keep in mind however, that what is considered a small fish,
may not be so small next month. Research, again is important because it is
necessary to find out how large a fish will grow and weather or not it is
compatible with its tank mates.

Purchasing a Tropical Saltwater Aquarium

It would be a mistake for a person to plan on putting together a tropical
saltwater aquarium without first learning how to set the aquarium up first.

Before you can set up your aquarium and start filling it with exotic fish you
need to purchase the items that will make your tropical saltwater aquarium a
success.

The first thing the potential saltwater enthusiast needs to purchase is an
aquarium. Tropical saltwater aquariums can range in size from small , which are
typically twenty gallons, to large, which can hold up to one thousand gallons.
When you go to the store to purchase the aquarium consider how much work you'll
want to invest in your tropical saltwater aquarium once its up and running. The
larger the tank the more time you'll spend cleaning and maintaining the
aquarium. Another thing that you should consider when purchasing a aquarium is
whether or not you want the tank to have a background. Many owners of tropical
saltwater aquariums like to add to the ambiance of their aquarium by painting a
back ground on the tank, this must be done before filling the tank with water.
Also make sure that you purchase a filter that is large enough and powerful
enough to filter your tank. You will also need to get a heater that is capable
of warming the water in your tank, remember tropical fish and tropical coral
mean are accustomed to warm water.

The next thing the potential saltwater enthusiast needs to do is decide what
kind of aquarium substrate you would like lining the bottom of your aquarium.
You can line your aquarium with a layer of crushed coral or a layer of live
sand.

The next thing you'll need to get is a saltwater mix and a saltwater
hydrometer. You can purchase both of these items at a store that specializes in
tropical saltwater aquariums.

While your at the pet store and your credit card is out, you might as well
purchase a spare filter. While your doing that you should also buy a
replacement filter media. This media can be something like activated carbon and
filter floss. Purchasing a replacement filter right away can save you a lot of
time and money if your original filter abruptly stops working. It might not be
a bad idea to purchase a spare heater for your aquarium.

Saltwater test kits are kits that test the levels of ammonia, nitrate,
Salinity/specific gravity, carbon dioxide, pH levels, alkalinity,
Chlorine/chlorine, carbonate water hardness, phosphate, dissolved oxygen, and
the amount of iron in your aquariums water. Purchase several of these kits and
use them often. One way you can save a little money on saltwater test kits is
by purchasing a master test kit. The master test kit.

Other items every successful tropical saltwater aquarium owner keeps on hand
are rubber gloves, an aquarium glass scrub brush, two large five gallon bucket,
a power strip. and a fish net.

Responsible tropical saltwater aquarium owners have a spare quarantine tank
where they can keep newly purchased fish or fish that appear to be getting sick.

Preparing Your Custom Made Saltwater Aquarium

There is little in life as pleasing as the beauty of a fully outfitted, custom
made saltwater aquarium and the aquatic residents that make it their home. The
process of purchasing an aquarium is an easy one for many-after all, there are
so many choice for the decorating of such a thing that they seem to be almost
endless-but the process for establishing maximum utility and making the
aquarium livable for its new residents is a bit more complicated.

The first thing that needs to be done after the purchase of a new aquarium is
to cleanse the tank itself and all of its accessory parts with freshwater, sans
soap, and a soft cloth. This will remove any dust and chemicals which it may
have accumulated while in the factory and prevent them from harming the fish.
Once all of the parts have been cleaned the tank should be set upon a level
stand which has been placed an appropriate distance from the wall to enable the
electrical cords to reach an outlet plug with a minimal risk of minor amounts of
sloshing from the tank causing an electrical fire. A soft cloth should be placed
beneath the tank to keep the condensation from the saltwater aquarium from
causing damage to the surface of the stand beneath it.

Once the aquarium has been properly installed it should be filled with
saltwater. You can either purchase an already made saltwater solution or make
your own. Once you have filled the tank you should let all of the equipment run
for 24 to 48 on a test cycle to ensure that everything is working properly. Take
this opportunity to test the temperature, salinity and pH of the water to ensure
that the conditions are optimal for the breed of saltwater fish which are going
to be inhabiting your aquarium (it is best to research this ahead of time-not
all saltwater fish thrive in the same conditions).

At this point you can now do your landscaping. Remove approximately one half of
the water and decorate your aquarium with whatever landscaping tools you choose
(rocks, plants, etc.). It is important to first remove the water in order to
make the landscaping easier and to prevent spillage. Once you are finished,
replace the water up to the fill line (if the tank does not come with a fill
line you can use a permanent marker to make your own on the side facing the
wall).

It is important that the tank go through an initial 30 day cycling process,
either with or without live fish, during which you are going to want to keep a
very close eye on the ammonia levels of the water. During this time do not use
an ammonia reducer, as this will simply force the process to start all over
again. Once all of these steps have been completed you are ready to add your
fish, sit back and enjoy your new, custom made saltwater aquarium!

Making Your Home Saltwater Aquarium Picture Perfect

Imagine the joys of being able to take the picturesque beauty of the Baltimore
National Aquarium and bring it into your home. Unless you are a true enthusiast
of the aquatic world you probably do not have the resources required to install
a twenty foot tropical fish tank in your walls or an open shark tank in your
living room (and really, why would you want to?) but with some creative
aquascaping you can make your home saltwater aquarium every bit as picture
perfect as the ones designed by the professionals in Baltimore.

When selecting decorations for your home aquarium you will be given an option
of decorating with either plastic accoutrements or bringing nature into your
home by installing live plants and other organisms in your aquarium. The choice
is certainly yours; however, bear in mind that the fish you will be installing
in your tank undoubtedly would be using the types of things that you would
consider decorations for shelter when out in the wild. Therefore, it is in the
best interests of your fish (and your aesthetic senses) to go the natural route.

Live rock is an invaluable addition to any saltwater aquarium, serving not only
as an aesthetically pleasing ornamentation but as a vital part of the aquarium's
ecosystem. Live rock is rock that is covered with both micro- and macroorganisms
which will help filter the waste products out of the water, making it a safe
habitat for its aquatic inhabitants. Driftwood and sand are also essential
elements of a saltwater fish's natural habitat and provide a beautiful backdrop
to showcase the glorious beauty of your saltwater fish.

Live plants are also a beautiful, functional addition to your saltwater
aquarium, as they serve to help oxygenate the tank and provide the fish with a
spot to inhabit and, if you are incredibly lucky, lay their eggs. There are a
variety of choices for you to choose from, and it is very helpful to choose the
breeds of fish which you wish to place in your tank prior to making a decision.
They will thrive best with the same types of vegetation which would be present
in their environment had they been allowed to stay in the wild rather than
coming to grace your home aquarium. It may be necessary to make some special
concessions in order to assure the well being of your saltwater plants. Plants
need carbon dioxide and light to perform their photosynthesis process, so your
tank is going to need to be well lit at least part of the day and may require
the addition of an artificial carbon dioxide producer. The sand, silt or gravel
which you choose to cover the bottom of your aquarium with must be of an
adequate depth to allow the roots of the plant to take hold; around 8 cm is
generally adequate, although this may vary from plant to plant. These
adjustments may seem like a great deal of extra work but will be well worth the
end results.

The beauty of a well decorated saltwater aquarium is incomparable, and will
bring pleasure to its owners for years to come. For further assistance in
selecting tank accessories that are both beautiful and functional consult with
your local vendor of tropical fish.

How to Safely Change the Water in Your Saltwater Aquarium

As with people fish thrive when kept in an environment as close to their own as
possible. For this reason aquariums should be carefully structured to imitate
the natural environments of the species it is home to as closely as possible.
Even if it is not possible to duplicate exactly the living conditions found in
the deep blue the fish will benefit from the effort.

Fish are also very adaptable creatures. It is what allows them to live and
thrive in captivity when many other marine animals are unable to make the
change. The fish will adapt to the environment around them and learn to live in
the conditions of their tank. It is important that these conditions remain as
constant as possible. As in nature a tip in the balance of the elements in an
aquarium can bring with it devastating consequences. It is important that
changes in the aquarium environment be few and far between.

This is generally a very simple matter until the time comes for the water in
the tank to be changed. In nature the water in the ocean is constantly cycling;
therefore, the water never has the opportunity to become stale and overloaded
with elements that will have a negative impact on the well being of your
aquatic friends. Since this is not the case in an aquarium even with an
excellent artificial filtering system and organic filtering methods combined it
will still be necessary on occasion to manually clean the tank.

The water with which you replace the dirty water in the aquarium should be as
close as possible to the water that was originally filling the tank. What this
means is that if you opted to buy a pre-made saltwater mix when you started
your tank you should continue to use that same pre-made saltwater mix. If you
made your own saltwater you should use the same type of sea salt in the same
proportions that you used in the beginning. If you opted to transplant ocean
water or purchased filtered ocean water you are going to want to use that same
type of water when you make the change.

Water in aquariums should be changed every couple of months, more if you happen
to notice that wastes are beginning to build up. This will be evident by the
hazy look the previously clear water will take on and the obvious accumulation
of waste at the bottom of the tank. Be sure when you change the water you also
clean the components of the tank and the inside of the glass itself. Putting
clean water into an empty tank is along the same lines as putting clean clothes
on a dirty body-there is little point.

By keeping your tank clean and the conditions as constant as possible you are
giving your fish the best possible chance to thrive in their artificial
environment, guaranteeing that you will be able to enjoy their beauty for a
very long time.

Good Deals On a Saltwater Aquarium?

Aquariums make a lovely addition to any home, and the exotic nature of a
saltwater aquarium and the tropical fish who inhabit it have caused these
household decorations to rise in popularity over the years. Unfortunately,
because of their exotic nature and high demand it can often be quite costly to
purchase and outfit a saltwater aquarium. The tank is not the only factor to be
considered when calculating cost, although it is bound to be one of the
greatest. There is also the cost of the plant life, sand, gravel or silt, the
rocks (particularly if you are using live rocks), coral, the filtering system,
the stand, the lights and, of course, the fish themselves.

With all of these costs it is no wonder that people look for deals whenever
possible when attempting to put together their aquarium. The most common venue
for purchasing an aquarium is to simply go to some form of pet store, such as
Petsmart, that offers all of the things that are needed to establish a
saltwater aquarium in one convenient location. This is much easier than
attempting to put together an aquarium piece by piece and is the method
generally chosen for those who do not want to wait months for their aquarium
while they attempt to find the perfect pieces at the perfect bargain, an often
frustrating hunt. These pet stores can also be invaluable when it comes to
obtaining the saltwater and chemicals necessary to get the aquarium up and
running; however, unless the store is running a special this is probably not
going to be the method of choice for getting a good deal on an aquarium.

Online retailers offer consumers a better chance at good deals on an aquarium
and all of their parts, and the ease of navigating the internet means that a
search that could take months on foot can be done in only a matter of minutes
from the comfort of the consumers own home. A would-be aquarium owner can
search the online retailers who sell these parts new or they can choose to
utilize such sites as e-Bay and Amazon, who offer these products gently used at
prices much lower than can be found in any of the major retailers.

It is important to shop around a bit before making a commitment if you are
attempting to get a good deal on an aquarium. Never take the first deal offered
to you until you have seen how it compares to the competition. Regardless of
what the retailer may claim, chances are that the offer will still be there in
an hour or two after you have had the opportunity to examine what the
competition has to offer. If the product is being sold by a private seller
rather than a retail chain it may also be possible to barter the price down,
particularly if this is something that they have been attempting to sell for
some time.

With a bit of ingenuity and the proper resources it is possible to obtain a
quality aquarium at a bargain price-it simply requires a bit of patience and
faith. Happy hunting!

Caring for your Freshwater Aquarium

The most important factor of owning an aquarium is the proper cleaning of the
tank. Many new owners are unsure of how to go about this. This information will
help new freshwater aquarium owners keep a clean and healthy tank. These first
two questions are the key to maintaining your aquarium allowing you to enjoy
this beautiful addition to your home.

When should I clean my tank? You should clean your tank once every two months
unless you can really tell it needs cleaned before then. Why should I clean my
tank once every two months? Because your tank will start building up algae on
the inside and your gravel will retain waste that could make your fish ill in
the future.

The following steps are easy and quick and will provide your fish with a clean
and happy aquarium.

Step 1 (prepare for cleaning)

You have to prepare for the steps to follow before removing your fish from your
freshwater aquarium. There are some supplies you will need to clean the tank, so
it's best to have them handy before starting. You will need some kind of
container that your fish can be placed in until it's time for them to be put
back in the tank. It doesn't have to be a large container, but make sure your
fish do have enough room to swim freely. This container is dependant on how
many fish are living in the tank. You will also need a fish net, a towel or
paper towels to wipe up any spills that may occur, a water pitcher or a bucket
for refilling the tank, food drainer, a clean sponge, and a clean rag. After
you have these things gathered, you're now ready to begin cleaning your
freshwater aquarium.

Step 2 (Removing your fish)

This may be the most important step in the cleaning process. It is time to
remove the fish from the tank. The first thing to do is make sure that the
container in which the fish are being placed has water that is about the same
temperature at the tank, other wise your fish will go into shock. When the
container of water is ready, use the net to catch each fish one-by-one and
place them in the container. Once all the fish are collected, be sure to place
the container in a safe place where it will not be spilled. It is common for
fish to become stressed when they are moved, so the water temperature and
reducing as much unneeded activity is very important.

Step 3 (Removing the fish tanks old water)

When all the fish are out of the tank, it is time to start emptying the water
from the aquarium. Using the pitcher or small bucket, begin to remove the
water. The water from the tank may be disposed in a sink or toilet. This can be
a messy task, so be sure to clean up all spills to prevent any possible
accidents. It is not necessary to remove all the water from the tank. Most
freshwater aquarium owners remove approximately 3/4 of the water. The remaining
original water will help acclimate the new water you will add later.

Step 3 (Removing and cleaning your tanks gravel)

Most of the waste that gathers in a tank settles into the gravel at the bottom.
It is very important to clean the gravel when you clean your tank. At this time
you will remove the gravel. You can use the fish net, a small scoop or even a
dustpan to do this. Place the gravel in a container. Once you have removed all
the gravel, transfer it into a strainer of some sort and run it under hot
water. Be sure to mix it up while you are rinsing so that all the sediment and
waste is removed. Once the gravel has been cleaned, place it aside. You will
not be putting it back in the tank at this time.

Step 4 (Cleaning the tank)

Now it's time to clean the inside of the tank. This can be a tedious chore if
there is a lot of build-up on the glass. Some freshwater aquariums have algae
growth on the glass. The warmer the water is inside and the more the aquarium
is exposed to natural sunlight, the more algae growth you will have. This can
be cleaned off by using a scratch pad. Try to use the least abrasive pad you
can to avoid scratching the class. Cleaning with hot water will aid in the
removal of algae. Make sure to never use any type of cleaner or detergent when
cleaning the tank. This will be fatal to the fish. After removing the algae,
finish by wiping down the rest of the tank with a towel or soft rag. You may
have to repeat this a few times. Try to rinse the rag or towel frequently to
remove all the waste. If you have decorative pieces in the tank, be sure to
wash them as well using hot water. After completing these steps, your tank
should be clean of waste and build-ups.

Step 5 (Putting it all back together)

Now it's time to replace everything. Start by replacing the gravel into the
tank, followed by refilling the water. Take notice of the temperature once
again. Try to add water that is of the same temperature as the original water
in the tank. Add your finishing touches with decorative pieces, then carefully
move the fish back in. It may take a little while for the fish to adjust to the
new water, but after having followed all these steps, you can be sure that your
tank is clean and healthy.

You won't have to completely clean your tank for another 2 months. Always
remember to change the filters if they are dirty. As an added tip, if you
remove 20% of the water every month and replace it with clean water, this will
cut down on the complete cleaning of the tank in the future. To maintain a
healthy tank, it is important to clean it properly and keep up with the
aquarium care. By doing this, you will ensure a long life for your fish and an
enjoyable experience for observers.

Fifty five Gallon Fresh Water Aquarium

A fifty five gallon freshwater aquarium is a good choice when purchasing a new
tank, if nothing else, simply because of its size. These tanks are large enough
to accommodative a variety of fish, but still small enough to keep in tight
spaces in the home or office. Your local retailer can assist you with specifics
in purchasing, but here are some suggestions for the basics. Purchase an acrylic
tank, because they are lighter in weight and easier to care for than glass
aquariums. Also the visibility is better in an acrylic tank. If you don't
already have a stand or a suitable replacement, keep in mind that you will need
to purchase one. You will need a heater for temperature control, and a
thermometer for checking the water temperature. It will take approximately five
bags of rock or other substrate to line the bottom of the tank. Choose a bright
color to add some interest to the aquarium.

In addition, you will need to purchase a filter for the tank. Filters can be
complicated. Do a lot a research to find out what type of filter is suggested
for the fish that you choose. There are filters that go beneath the substrate
in the bottom of the tank, as well as filters that attach to the side of the
aquarium. They also vary greatly in price. It is not necessary to buy the most
expensive filter when setting up a basic freshwater aquarium.

The aquarium will also need lighting. Again, based on personal preference you
can keep it simple or get very technical. Most fish will respond nicely to a
basic light that is simply turned on for a few hours each day. An aquarium
should contain some form of plants for added interest. The plants serve a place
for the fish to seek refuge and feel safe. There are many varieties of
freshwater plants that would work nicely in a fifty five gallon aquarium. Just
be sure to purchase an aquatic specific species. If you don't want the hassle
of live plants, plastic is always an option. They have come along way with
synthetic plants. In most cases the fish may not even notice the difference,
unless of course they try to eat them.

Once your tank is established and you are ready to add fish, choose your fish
carefully. Start with hardy fish, such as live bearers, gouramis, barbs, and
danios. These fish are hardy enough to handle higher nitrate levels in the
tank. Allow about thirty days for these fish to become acclimated to the tank,
before adding any new fish. It usually takes about thirty days for the symptoms
of ich or other fish illnesses to show up. It is important to make sure that all
existing fish are healthy before adding any new species. The transportation of
new fish itself is stressful enough, without having to add disease to the
situation. When purchasing fish, it is important to remember that a fifty five
gallon aquarium can handle about fifteen to twenty small fish total. This will
allow plenty of growth room for the fish.

The Easiest Way to Setup a Saltwater Aquarium

Establishing the Basic Needs of the Tank

Ocean water is the natural habitat of all saltwater marine animals and,
consequently, the best water source for any saltwater aquarium. If ocean water
is not available, however, and the owner of a saltwater aquarium does not wish
to purchase a pre-made saltwater solution it is possible to make saltwater. It
is important to use a sea salt mixture that is free of impurities rather than
table salt when creating saltwater in order to reproduce the natural
environment as accurately as possible. These mixes can be purchased from any
store that specializes in the sale of tropical fish.

Everyone has admired the large saltwater aquariums that can be found in the
offices of most dentists, physicians, cosmetologists and marine enthusiasts but
have believed them to be far too much work to bring into their own homes.
Fortunately, this is not the case. While the process of establishing a
saltwater aquarium can be a costly one, in terms of manual labor there is a
very simple method which almost guarantees success.

Step 1: Assemble and prepare the equipment. During packaging and production the
aquarium and all of its corresponding parts have almost certainly been exposed
to various pollutants, such as dust and chemicals, which will be very harmful
to the fish if it is allowed free reign in the aquarium. Prior to use every
piece of the aquarium should be washed with hot, fresh water and cleansed with
a soft piece of cloth to prevent scratching.

Step 2: Place all of the components in the tank WITHOUT adding any of the
decorative features. Then fill the tank to the fill line (which may or may not
be already marked on the aquarium-2 to 3 inches from the top is generally
adequate to prevent major spillover when the tank is cleaned or the fish fed)
with saltwater (if you have chosen to make your own saltwater solution read
below for instructions). Turn the tank on and allow it to run for 24 hours to
ensure that all components are fully functional.

Step 3: Landscape your aquarium. Organic substances are not only more
aesthetically pleasing than their plastic counterparts, they provide a more
pleasing environment for the fish as well. Keeping in mind that fish generally
use what humans consider to be decorations as shelter when in the wild it is
important to consider the types of fish which will be inhabiting the tank prior
to choosing its decoration.

Step 4: Start the 30 day cycling process, during which the ammonia should be
tested regularly. This can be done with or without fish in the tank.

Following these simple steps will allow the amateur marine enthusiast to place
aside their fears and enjoy the benefits of a happy, healthy aquarium in the
privacy of their own home.

The 30 Day Cycling Process

The importance of the thirty day cycling process cannot be understated; this is
a vital part of establishing the ecosystem of each individual aquarium. The
exact processes which are occurring during this cycle, however, are often not
well explained, or else they may be a little too well explained and no one
without a degree in organic chemistry can understand a word that is being
spoken.

The truth is that while the nitrogen cycling process is a complex one it is not
by any means impossible for the average citizen to understand. James Kostich of
Aquatics Unlimited took the time to gather together a thorough, day-by-day
explanation of the processes which are occurring during the thirty day cycling
process in a manner that is simple for even the amateur aquarium designer to
understand. This explanation can be found at
http://www.bestfish.com/newtank3.html; however, the process is briefly summed
up below.

If you are using fish to stimulate the cycling process take a great deal of
care. While on the first day there is likely to be no ammonia in the tank, by
the end of the third day these levels will have reached near toxicity. It is
important to carefully monitor the fish during this crucial state; it may be
even better to use an artificial source of ammonia to trigger this process.
This will allow you to establish the proper balance in the tank without placing
your aquatic friends at risk. While ammonia levels are beginning to rise first
stage bacteria are beginning to grow.

By the fifth day these first stage bacteria will have begun to metabolize the
ammonia into nitrite. This process will be well established by the end of the
first week. At the end of the second week ammonia levels will be completely
safe for the fish and nitrites will be at their peak. From here until
approximately day 27 the second stage bacteria will be working to begin
metabolizing the nitrite to nitrate. By day 30 ammonia and nitrite levels
should be all but non-existent as nitrate levels reach their peak and the
bacterium are well able to handle maintaining the chemical composition of the
water.

This is an example of minimizing Mother Nature's perfect filtration system in
order to provide your fish with the perfect habitat. Hopefully you have chosen
to artificially stimulate the cycling process so that it is well established
prior to inserting your fish. If you have not it is very important that you
keep a very close eye on them while the tank is undergoing its cycling process.
The spikes in ammonia and nitrite levels can be severely harmful to fish if they
are exposed to it for too great a period of time, and they will likely begin to
show signs of distress during these periods of the cycling process. If this
becomes severe their conditions can be aided by changing a portion of the water
in order to dilute the concentration of these products.




Establishing Live Rocks in an Aquarium

Aquariums are beautiful in their own right, particularly ones which are large
enough to make the viewer feel as though they have been transported into an
underwater wonderland. For many individuals the inside of a clear glass
aquarium is as close as they will ever come to the wonders of the world beneath
the ocean's surface, and for that reason an aquarium which is as close to the
natural habitat of its inhabitants as possible is a joy unto itself.

Live rocks, rocks which are covered with both micro- and macroorganisms which
help to digest the waste produced by the fish, are a vital part of every
natural ecosystem. For that reason it makes sense that they would be an
important part of an aquarium environment as well. It is not as simple as
dropping a rock into an aquarium and allowing all manner of things to grow on
it, however. There is a process that must be followed to ensure optimal
benefits for both the large aquarium and the live rock.

It is very simple to cure live rock before placing it in the aquarium, but this
is an important step that must be taken in order to prevent a build up of
ammonia in the tank which could negatively affect the fish. To cure live rock
first select a plastic container that is of a suitable size to hold the amount
of live rock which you are working with, then fill it with saltwater. Then
place a heater and water pump in the "tank" for optimal temperature and
circulation. Once the water has reached the desired temperature remove the
heater and pump and half of the water content, then preclean the rock in a
bucket of saltwater by swishing it around to remove any lose organisms and
debris and place it in the prepared water. Then reinstall the heater and pump
and allow nature to do its thing!

The process is done when an ammonia reading of the water in which the rock
resides is at zero and it is no longer giving off an unpleasant odor. At this
time it is safe to place the rock in your aquarium and allow Mother Nature's
perfect filtering system to work for you.

Custom Saltwater Aquariums-Aquascaping

The Chinese Emperor, Hungwu, established a company that is credited for
building the very first aquariums, in 1369. The aquariums Hungwu's company
designed were little more then porcelain tubs that were then used to house
Goldfish. As the years passed, these tubs started shrinking in size until they
bore a strong resemblance to the aquariums we are familiar with today. Almost
five hundred years later, in 1841, a tropical aquarium was introduced to the
world. At the time of its introduction, toy fish and a few aquatic plants were
the only inhabitants.

Today the creation and maintaining of aquariums is the one of the most popular
hobbies in the world, second only to stamp collecting. It is believed that over
sixty million people maintain aquariums in their homes. It is estimated that
forty percent of that sixty million are thought to have at least two active
tanks.

As individuals become comfortable with their aquariums they start indulging in
aquascaping.

Aquascaping is the process of using driftwood, plants, and rocks in a pleasing
manner that customizes an individuals saltwater tank.

The first thing you need to remember when aquascaping your aquarium is that the
design you choose must compliment the needs of the fish inhabiting the tank.
Before you begin, spend some time researching the natural habitat your fish
inhabit. You'll want to design a tank that duplicates their natural environment.

The use of living plants in your aquascaping project will add another dimension
to your tank. There is something about the way the living plants float in the
water that is both soothing and breathtaking. On the other hand fish,
especially herbivorous fish that eat sea plants, can be hard on living plants.
If you suspect that a living plant won't survive in your custom saltwater
aquarium you should opt for the artificial variety. There are several lifelike
artificial plants available.

The use of driftwood has become very popular in custom saltwater aquariums. The
price of driftwood, it can be very expensive, often causes aquarium owners to
head to the beach. If you locate a nice piece of driftwood on the beach don't
put it in your main aquarium. First put it in your quarantine tank, and keep it
there for at least two weeks, or until the PH levels of the water match those in
your main tank. Be sure to clean your driftwood thoroughly. You may have to use
rocks to anchor the driftwood to the bottom of your tank.

There are a few things you need to consider when you are adding rocks to your
aquascaping project. Avoid rocks that have sharp edges and points, fish can
slice open their tender underbelly's on these rocks. If you are stacking a
group of rocks together to make a cave use an aquarium safe silicone to glue
the rocks together, this will prevent the rocks from collapsing and crushing
the fish that makes the cave its own. Avoid soft rocks, they break down in the
water.

After you have completed customizing your saltwater aquarium, you may want to
enter it in an aquascaping contest.

Creating the Perfect Reef Aquarium

Just as nature above the sea level is as variable as the sun, from the deserts
of Arizona to the snow topped caps of the Swiss Alps, so can the world under
the sea be a constant study in contrasts, with no two reefs the same. This is
good news for the underwater enthusiast who is attempting to establish the
perfect reef aquarium in their home; there is no established "formula" for the
perfect tank. There's plenty of room for creativity!

One thing that cannot be shirked upon is the size of a tank. It must be more
than adequate to allow the species of fish that are chosen to inhabit it plenty
of room to exercise and grow. Just as a person cannot thrive in an enclosed
environment, neither can a fish. A 75 gallon tank is a generous size for the
home marine biologist to establish their own eco-system and allows for space
for several species of fish to spread out (provided they are compatible
species, of course. Putting two species together who are unsuited to tank life
together is a recipe for disaster, regardless of the size of the tank).

Courtesy of advances in the convenience of establishing a home aquarium it is
now possible to purchase an aquarium that has been pre-drilled in order to
prevent overflow. This provides a cleaner look than the traditional "hang on
the back" overflow system for the home professional who is attempting to create
the picture perfect reef aquarium.

There are many options for decorating a reef aquarium, although it is generally
much more aesthetically pleasing and healthy to the fish to keep all of the
decorations one hundred percent organic. Live rock is a vital element to any
eco-system, yet makes a lovely addition to a home saltwater aquarium. The
microorganisms which grow on the rock (the rock is not really alive, obviously;
it gets its name from the fact that it is a natural habitat for many species of
bacteria) will help to filter out the harmful waste products produced by the
fish that will accumulate in the water of a saltwater aquarium in spite of the
filtering system-after all, how often does Mother Nature need to clean her
saltwater aquarium? She has created the perfect filtering system as long as man
does not add any elements to throw off the balance.

Live plants and coral are also essential elements to the perfect reef aquarium.
There are many different types of plants which can be added to a reef aquarium,
and it is best to choose based on the species of fish which will be inhabiting
the tank. For successful transplantation of live aquarium plants it is
essential that the sand or silt on the bottom of the tank be deep enough to
allow the roots of the plants to successfully take hold. These plants will also
require additional light and carbon dioxide to allow for proper photosynthesis.

There are many options for creating the perfect saltwater aquarium, many of
them very costly; however, with the proper mix of imagination and frugality it
is possible to create a reef aquarium that is aesthetically, ecologically and
financially friendly.

Coral Reef Care Tanks Aquarium

When shopping for fish, it might be tempting to pick the rare and fancy fish
full of colors, and exotic looking shrimp or crustaceans. An aquarium full of
marine life complete with a coral reef and aquatic plants is very appealing.
After all, who wouldn't want to have an underwater paradise in their living
room? It may, not however, be the best choice for a beginning hobbyist. Coral
reef aquariums require much more care than fresh water tanks or saltwater fish
only tanks. Freshwater fish are usually hardier than marine species and
therefore a little more forgiving when it comes to water acclimation. It is
recommended that only experienced fish keepers with a real commitment to the
hobby attempt a coral reef aquarium. A tank containing coral reef life may
require several months of cycling before getting the water just right. The
water in a coral reef tank must be regulated for lighting, temperature and ph.
Start with tap water and then add a sea salt mix to the water. This type of
solution is available at most pet stores.

Salinity of the tank should be between 1.023 and 1.004. Ideal temperature for a
marine aquarium is between 75 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also important to
test the P.H. of the tank. Ideal P.H. is somewhere between 8.3 and 8.4. Test
kits can be purchased online or at your local pet store. They same store will
also carry any solutions necessary to adjust the P. H. There is not much wiggle
room when it comes to these specific staring points. In order to avoid a costly
mistake it is important to be patient, watch the tank closely, and make sure
that you don't introduce any marine life until the tank is absolutely ready.

Once the aquarium is ready, start with anemones and clown fish. They are the
hardiest of reef species, and who wouldn't love to have Nemo swimming around in
their living room? Monitor the marine life closely. Check the activity levels of
the fish, and watch for stress. Stress is the most common cause of sickness in
fish. Remember that these creatures may have come directly from the ocean, and
it may take a while for them to get acclimated to their new home. Another cause
of stress in fish is overcrowding. Make sure there allow about ten gallons of
water per one inch of fish. Account for the full grown size of the fish, not
the size of fish when it is purchased.

The incubation period for most sickness in fish is about thirty days. So after
about a month, if all is well with the tank and the fish seem to be adjusting
well, then it is okay to introduce some new marine life. A mandarin fish or a
dwarf angel fish might round out the collection nicely, and they are fairly
compatible clown fish. Whenever adding new fish, choose the species carefully
for compatibility. The fish should be compatible with water specifics, but also
make sure that their food source is compatible. Always remember to be patient
when adding new fish. Give the existing tank members plenty of time to get
adjusted before making additions to an aquarium. The best piece of advice is to
do research. Make sure that all new purchases will be suitable tank mates for
the existing creatures. With a little luck, and a lot of skill you will be on
your way to having a reef aquarium that will impress any fishkeeper.

How to Create and Care for a Coral Aquarium

Many aquarium owners crave to someday own a saltwater tank displaying numerous
kinds of coral. This may be achieved is fast easy steps if you use coral
starter kits to grow your own coral. This is recommended over buying coral from
a store. By growing your own, you ensure it is properly acclimated to your tank.
Setting up and caring for the coral aquarium, or reef aquarium is a task that
requires a bit of knowledge before starting. There are some steps to take when
setting up a new coral aquarium. The process may seem to take a long time, and
because of this, many people opt to use fake coral instead. However, the time
spent waiting will be well worth it when you are later able to display your own
coral aquarium. If you follow some simple steps and have patience for about 12
weeks, you will be able to create and own your piece of underwater paradise.

To begin, the first thing to do is assemble your aquarium. Find a spot in the
home that you wish to have it displayed. Follow through with the set up as you
would a freshwater tank. When you are ready to add the water to the tank,
follow these simple steps. First, pour the sand into the bottom of the tank.
Add dechlorinated water to the tank. Next, add the salt and make sure it is
mixed until the specific gravity measures 1.205. After the water and salt are
added, arrange your live rock as desired and install the heater and the hood of
the tank. After doing these things, you must then wait 4 weeks to move ahead.

After the four weeks has passed, you will then add your first living creatures
to the tank. It is best to add fish later, and slowly as to make sure the salt
balance in the tank is correct and remains that way. At this time, you can add
a variety of snails or crabs if you wish to have them part of your tank. You
will also need to install a protein skimmer. The tank should be functioning as
if it were full of fish. Make sure the filters are working properly and the
lighting is right. Remember not to leave the light on for more than 10 to 12
hours a day as it may promote algae growth. After adding some snails or crabs,
wait another 2 weeks before proceeding.

Now at week 6, you will add your first pieces of coral. There are many types of
coral used in saltwater coral aquariums. Some of the most common are Button
Polyp, Yellow Polyp, Hairy Mushroom Coral and Bullseye Mushroom Coral. Make
sure when adding your coral, it is attached to the live rock at the bottom of
the tank. Wait another 2 weeks. Don't get frustrated... you're almost there!
During the eighth week, you can add Aquacultured Coral such as Pumping Xenia,
Starburst Polyps and Spaghetti Finger Leather Coral to name a few. Place these
corals into the live rock as you did with the previous set of coral.

Now you have succeeded in creating your reef aquarium. During the course of the
10 to 12 week mark, you may begin adding your fish to your underwater world. It
may seem a long drawn out process to get a coral aquarium up and running, but
the time and hard work will pay off for years to come. Creating and caring for
your coral aquarium will bring you much enjoyment and a wonderful sense of
accomplishment for creating a spectacular coral aquarium.

Basic Aquarium Plant Care

Most people who purchase an aquarium do so for it's visual appeal. People are
known to spend more money on decorating their tanks than the fish and tank
itself. It's a good idea when purchasing these decorative pieces that you
consider buying pieces that are both gratifying to the eye, but also useful
tools for the balance and maintenance of your tank.

Before resorting to plastic green pieces stuck into the gravel, consider using
live plants. Aquatic plants are functional in many ways. Most importantly, the
live plants will add oxygen to the water and will help to maintain the water
chemistry. They also serve as a place where beneficial bacteria can colonize.
This bacteria is essential to have and helps in breaking down waste products in
the tank. Overall, the use of live plants aids keeping your aquarium clean and
healthy while adding a perfect visual effect.

Once the decision to use live plants is made, you must familiarize yourself
with how to grow and care for these plants. The key to growing healthy live
plants is the balance between lighting and nutrients within the tank. It is
best to use more lighting than what is included with standard hoods. The one
bulb that comes with a hood is not enough to promote healthy plant growth. When
adding extra lighting, be sure to compensate that with a nutrient supplement to
stimulate plant growth and at the same time reduce the chance of algae build
up. Algae eating fish will make a great addition. They will keep algae levels
low and will not damage the live plants.

The decision to use live plants should be a primary one and steps need to be
taken to prepare the tank for later use. It is suggested to add all your plants
in the beginning and let them become established. By doing this, you will
eliminate the chances algae utilizing the nutrients added and the extra
lighting. Quick growing plants are recommended as well as some floating plants.
Certain types of fish, such as a catfish, like to seek cover from direct light.
The floating plants will provide this escape for the fish and will add a
pleasing effect to the design and decoration of the aquarium.

Once your plants are established and growing well, add the fish of your choice
and enjoy a beautiful tank. While keeping live plants in the tank, it is
important to care for them as you would any other plant. Always remove decaying
leaves as they tend to drain the nutrients out of the healthy parts of the
plant. Dying roots will rot beneath the gravel. Be sure to remove any part of
the plant that is dying or appears diseased. Many plants that are seeded into
the gravel will reproduce. The new plant growth can be removed and planted in
another part of the aquarium. If you are using a live plant that is primarily a
stem plant, try to remove the lower leaves. These low leaves tend to not get the
amount of light needed to remain healthy.

The use of live plants will definitely help in creating a masterpiece aquarium
that is pleasing to the eye and is a happy and healthy environment for your
fish. Always remember to clean your aquarium on a regular basis and inspect
plants weekly for decay. Scheduled maintenance is the key to keeping a
beautiful and healthy aquarium.

Aquarium Fish Care -- All About Start Up

Okay so you have decided that you want to own a fish tank. Great! All you need
to do is go to the pet store and pick out a tank and the prettiest fish in the
store, and you are ready to go right? Wrong! Starting up an aquarium is a
process. It takes time and a lot of patience. If you are a beginner, it is
recommended that you start out with some hardy freshwater fish, but don't buy
the fish just yet. You need to set up the aquarium first. Most aquarium
retailers will sell an aquarium in the form of a kit. This takes the guess work
out of purchasing.

In order to get your tank ready, first rinse out the tank with clean tap water.
Rinse the gravel and any substrate as well. If you are using an under gravel
filter, place it in the bottom of the tank. Next cover the filter with
approximately two to three inches of gravel. Fill the tank about a third of the
way full with water that has been de-chlorinated. The next step is to add any
plants or decorations to the tank. Check with your retailer on the specifics
for adding live plants. Some live plants need to be anchored, while others can
be left free floating. Next connect the air pump and filtration system, and
fill the tank the rest of the way. Lastly put the lid on the tank and let it
cycle for one to two days before adding any fish to the tank.

Watch the tank for cloudiness and check the temperature and P.H. of the water.
If all is clear you may add a few hardy fish. It is important to choose fish
that can withstand high levels of nitrites and ammonia, because these levels
are always high in a new tank due to the nitrogen cycle. Debris in the tank
from fish excretions help to generate the good bacteria that is needed in order
for the fish to survive. Since there are currently no fish in the tank this will
take some time. It usually takes about four to six weeks.

Once you have purchased your fish, let them float on the surface of the tank in
the bag for about fifteen minutes. The purpose of this is to allow the fish to
become acclimated to the water temperature in the aquarium. Carefully add the
fish into the aquarium using a net and a bucket. Don't pour the water from the
bag into the aquarium. The water from the bag could throw off your perfectly
regulated water, as well as introduce new bacteria to the aquarium. Watch the
fish carefully for signs of stress. Stress causes illness in fish. Monitor
their activity levels. Inactive fish or fish hanging out near the surface of
the aquarium indicates stress. There is a stress coat that can be used, if
symptoms of stress do appear. Wait anywhere from a week to a month before
introducing any new fish to the aquarium, allowing the existing fish to become
acclimated to their new environment.

Different Types of Saltwater Aquariums

Saltwater aquariums should generally contain fewer fish than fresh water tanks,
because the species tend to grow bigger in size. Marine species may be bred in a
captive environment, or caught in the wild. Captive bred species are easier to
care for and usually hardier than caught species. It generates a great amount
of stress for a fish to be captured in the wild and then introduced into an
aquarium environment. It is often difficult for them to figure out how to eat.
Whenever possible, purchase your fish from a retailer that deals only with
breeders or from the breeders themselves. There are five different types of
saltwater aquariums.

The first type of saltwater aquarium is the fish only aquarium. This is
probably the easiest to care for of the five types, simply because you are only
dealing with one type of species. Amongst the saltwater fish there are both
tropical and coldwater types. They can't be kept together for obvious reasons.
The water temperatures vary greatly. Tropical fish are usually brighter in
color, and therefore more appealing to aquarium lovers than the fish available
in the cold water variety. Most people are somewhat familiar with a few
tropical fish such as the Clownfish or the Angel fish. However, few people have
heard of such cold water varieties as, the Shanny or the Tompot Blenny.

The second type of saltwater aquarium is the invertebrate only aquarium. These
types of aquariums usually consist of shrimp, prawn, hermit crabs and perhaps
even starfish or sea cucumbers. The third type is the fish and invertebrate
saltwater aquarium. These are more difficult to maintain than either of the two
categories separately. Certain invertebrates feed on certain fish, and the
reverse is also true. Therefore, it is important to research the species
carefully to ensure that you do not put predator and prey together in the same
aquarium. Diseases can also spread more rapidly and are more difficult to
prevent and cure in aquariums containing both invertebrates and fish species.

The next type of saltwater aquarium is the coral reef aquarium. Reef aquariums
can be tricky to maintain and must be thoroughly researched before attempted.
The last category of saltwater aquariums is the specialty aquarium. An example
of a specialty aquarium would be an aquarium full of sea horses. Sea horses
should not be kept with any other type of fish or marine life, because they are
timid and slow eaters. Their food source could easily be taken away by other
tank mates. Seahorses prefer to swim vertically rather than horizontally, and
should be placed in a tall tank. An octopus and a shark or a ray are other
examples of fish that require special needs and would fall into the category of
specialty aquarium.

Regardless of which type of saltwater aquarium is chosen, research is highly
recommended before purchasing any marine life. Make sure you are willing to
make the commitment required to care for a saltwater aquarium.

Aquarium Care Guide: New Tanks

When starting a new aquarium it is important to understand the nitrogen cycle.
Many new aquarium owners jump into the hobby of fish keeping too quickly.
Before purchasing fish, the aquarium must be cycled. This could take anywhere
from twenty four hours to four weeks. In an established aquarium there are
certain bacteria that help the breakdown of ammonia to nitrates, but they are
not present in a new tank because they are generated from existing fish. If
there are no existing fish, then there are no good bacteria.

The basic principle of the nitrogen cycle is this. Fish eat food and generate
waste. That waste along with excess food and plant debris become ammonia in the
aquarium. Ammonia is toxic to fish and needs to be broken down. That's why the
nitrifying bacteria is important. This bacteria, turns the ammonia into
nitrites which are more tolerable to fish than ammonia. Next, different
nitrifying bacteria will turn the nitrites into nitrates, which are even less
toxic to the fish and other aquarium life. The nitrates are collected and
minimized by filters; however they will eventually accumulate in the tank.
Regular water changes are required to remove the nitrates from the water.

It is important to set up and run an aquarium before any fish are introduced
into the environment. Wash the tank and any substrate and decorations
thoroughly with water. Don't use any soap. Fill the tank with de-chlorinated
water and attach filters and lighting. Allow the tank to cycle until the water
is no longer cloudy and sufficient P.H and water temperatures have been
established.

Now it is time to purchase the fish! Buy hardy fish such as danios, barb,
gouramis, and live bearers. They should be able to withstand the high nitrite
levels and ammonia in the new aquarium. Only introduce about four fish at a
time. Float the fish in the bag in the aquarium for about fifteen minutes
before adding them to the tank. This will help the fish become acclimated to
the water temperature in their new home. When adding the fish, be careful not
to allow the water from the bag into the aquarium. It may be contaminated, or
will at the very least, throw off the temperature and P.H. Allow the fish about
two hours to become acclimated before feeding.

Only feed an amount that can be consumed in the first two to five minutes.
Overfeeding is a common problem in an aquarium. It is important not to
overfeed, because excess food will become debris adding to the ammonia levels.
This is especially important in new aquariums that lack nitrifying bacteria.
Test the water P.H. every day within the first month. Watch the tank for
cloudiness; if the aquarium becomes cloudy, it may be necessary to add a
clarifier. Monitor the fish for signs of stress or illness. A healthy fish will
be swimming regularly. Lethargic fish will usually hover near the surface of the
aquarium. After about a week change approximately ten percent of the water and
begin regular maintenance.

Caring for a Goldfish Aquarium

Keeping Goldfish can be a fun and rewarding hobby. As with any new hobby,
especially one that involves living creatures, always consider the maintenance
that will be involved. If you care for your aquarium properly, you will be sure
to have happy and healthy Goldfish for many years. Goldfish have a life
expectancy of five to ten years. If you do a good job maintaining their fish
tank, you should have fun, beautiful fish for a long time. Make sure to feed
them correctly and keep their water fresh and clear.

When starting any new aquarium, you should get everything in place before
buying the fish. If you are going to put gravel on the bottom, you may want to
put only a thin layer. This will make it easier to keep clean, as Goldfish tend
to be messy. Make sure that you rinse the gravel thoroughly before placing it in
the bottom of the tank. If you have some decorations, you should add them now.
Make sure that you rinse them well before putting them into the tank. Also be
sure that the goldfish have plenty of room to swim, as they as active fish.
Give them a place or two to hide, and that should do nicely.

Now that you have everything in place, you can add in the water. You will need
to use a dechlorinator, as the chlorine in tap water is poisonous to fish. Once
the fish tank is filled up, you can turn on the filter. Change it as often as
recommended to keep your fish healthy. Goldfish live at room temperature, so
you will not need a heater. They are quite comfortable in temperatures from 68
to 80 degrees. However, they should not be exposed to rapid temperature
changes. You might want to let the filter run in the new goldfish tank for a
day or so to filter out any chemicals or dyes that might have been left on the
gravel and decorations that you just added. Waiting to buy new fish can be one
of the hardest things about fish keeping!

You need to add fish gradually. Fish excrete ammonia. If you add too many fish
at once to a new fish tank, the water will not be seasoned enough to dissipate
it. As the water in your Goldfish tank ages, it builds up beneficial bacteria
that turn harmful chemicals excreted by the fish into harmless ones. However,
this will take some time. Start out with only one fish. The nitrogen cycle will
not begin until you add the fish, so running an empty tank for several days will
not help. Since your fish tank is brand new, you might want to consider making
partial water changes of about 25 per cent of the total water volume every few
days for the first week or so.

You can find Goldfish food at almost any pet shop. Make sure to purchase some
when you buy your first fish. Feed only a small amount. Especially at first.
Any uneaten food will sink to the bottom and rot. Keep this to a minimum. Watch
your fish the first few times that you feed them. Feed only as much as they will
eat in two to three minutes twice a day, or as recommended on the Goldfish food
label. Be especially careful not to overfeed when the Goldfish tank is new.
This will cause excess build up of toxic chemicals and can kill your fish
quickly.

As the water in your fish tank cycles through the nitrogen cycle, you may
notice that is becomes very cloudy. This is a normal process and should clear
up in a few days. Do not add any new fish until the water is crystal clear
again. Clear water will signify that the nitrogen cycle is working and that the
toxic chemicals are being converted to good ones.

Remember that Goldfish will grow large and they need a big space. Don't
overcrowd the tank if you want to keep healthy fish. If you follow this little
guideline, you will be sure to have a healthy goldfish aquarium.

Adding an Oyster to the Ecosystem Inside a Saltwater Aquarium

Saltwater aquariums can make a lovely addition to a home, and are a source of
endless fascination to young and old alike. The different fish and plant life
which are capable of living in a saltwater aquarium are both exotic and
beautiful, and provide a rich introduction to life under the sea. Fish and
plants are not the only things which can be found in the deep blue, however,
and it is becoming more and more common for aquarium owners to attempt to
incorporate these other elements into their home aquarium.

Artificial oysters which open up and blow bubbles into the water have been a
part of home aquariums for many years. With the increase in desire to perfectly
emulate the ocean floor live oysters are becoming a common addition to saltwater
aquariums. It is not common but not unheard of for a pearl producing oyster to
be offered as an addition to a home aquarium; however, it is generally their
less productive relations that become permanent residents. Since scallops and
oysters have more specific needs than many of the inhabitants of the home
aquarium it is necessary the aquarium owner be sure that they are prepared to
make these adjustments prior to installing the oyster into the aquarium.

Oysters require very "pristine" water conditions; these are not the organism of
choice for those who tend to be a bit lazy about cleaning their tank, as the
oyster will not survive long if their water becomes cluttered with junk.
Fortunately, the oyster also filters the water, so this may balance itself out.
They also have specific dietary needs that will not be met with the generic food
fed to many saltwater inhabitants. They will need a specialized organic food
designed especially for filter feeders which can be inserted with a pipette
upstream of the oyster. Each oyster is going to need to be fed individually, so
unless an aquarium owner finds themselves with a great deal of time on their
hands it may be wise to keep the oyster population of their aquarium to a
minimum. These invertebrates also require nutritional supplementation with
phytoplankton, a microscopic portion of plankton that drift through the water.

Certain types of oysters have been shown to have a better chance of survival in
captivity than others. The beginner would be wise to look to these breeds to
begin with, moving on to the more delicate oysters as they become more
comfortable with their needs. Common aquarium oysters are the spiny oyster and
the thorny oyster; strange yet accurate names for these beautiful and unique
creatures.

Oysters are a demanding but beautiful addition to any home aquarium; for more
information on introducing an oyster to a home aquarium consumers should speak
with the retailers who sell them. Remember, no detail is too small when
attempting to take an organism from its natural environment and watch it thrive.

What to Feed Saltwater Fish Aquariums

Anyone who has ever had a pet knows that one of the first things a responsible
pet owner does is make sure their pet has a balanced diet. They know that the
healthy their pets eat, the more likely they are to lead long and healthy
lives. Fish kept in saltwater fish aquariums are exactly the same. The
responsible saltwater aquarium owner knows exactly what types of food his fish
needs to survive and makes sure they keep a ready supply of it on hand.

The first thing you need to know about feeding tropical fish is how much food
they should be getting. The general rule of thumb is that when you feed your
fish use a stopwatch and time how long it takes them to eat. It should take
approximently two minutes for the fish to finish eating. If the fish in your
tank finish their food in less then two minutes they probably aren't getting
enough to eat. If after two minutes there is still food left over then they are
probably getting over fed and you'll have to cut back. A more accurate way of
measuring how much food that fifty adult tropical fish should eat approximately
ten grams of food in one month, but that can carry with variety and growth.

A balanced fish food typically consists of ten percent fat, thirty to
thirty-six percent protein. There should also be amino acids.

The first step in feeding your fish responsibly is knowing what type of food
they eat. Some fish can not be kept in a tank that has coral because they like
to eat the little invertebrates that make the coral their home. Predatory fish
typically need to have frozen or live food. Bottom dwelling fish should be fed
a type of food that is heavy enough to sink to the bottom of the tank, these
fish do not do well with fish foods that float on the tanks surface. Aquarium
owners who are interested in breeding their tropical fish often feed their fish
brine shrimp, which they raise in their own brine shrimp hatchery.

Many saltwater fish aquariums caretakers like using automatic fish food
feeders. Automatic fish food feeders are feeders that can be clamped to the
side of the aquarium. Once the fish owner has loaded the hopper with food, the
feeder will automatically dispense the food at regular intervals, this allows
the fish owner to have more flexibility and not be forced to arrange their
schedules around feeding their fish. The average automatic fish food feeder is
not capable of dispensing frozen or live food, which does make them convenient
for predatory fish. Some absentee fish owners place food blocks in their
aquariums.

Tropical fish owners should store their extra fish food in a cool dry place in
containers that won't allow moisture to seep in. Frozen fish food should be
disposed of after three months.

One of the dangers in overfeeding fish is that the wasted food can wreck havoc
on the pH levels of your aquariums water. If to much discarded food is
contaminating the water it can contribute to the death of your fish.
What Types of Hermit Crabs Should Be Placed in a Saltwater Aquariums?

Hermit crabs have been popular pets for adults and children alike for many
years, and there are many who appreciate their unique beauty (and just as many
do not-it's a matter of taste). With the increasing popularity of bringing a
piece of the sea into the home it is no wonder that the notion of introducing
hermit crabs into a saltwater aquarium has been gaining in popularity.

Just as there are many types of hermit crabs that can be kept as pets, so too
are there many different breeds which can be kept in aquariums. Not all have
the same chance for survival if kept in captivity, however, and it is important
that the aquarium owner make sure that they are familiar with all of the
specific needs of their hermit crabs before they are introduced to the
aquarium. Below is an introduction to some of the most common breeds of
aquarium hermit crabs:

- Red Hermit Crab (Dardanus megistos)- Also known as the White Spotted Hermit
Crab this crab has red legs with black edged spots. It is not a safe addition
to a reef aquarium but is very useful in keeping algae growth to a minimum in a
community aquarium. Only one crab per aquarium please; these crabs are very
protective of their personal space.

- Red Legged Hermit Crab (Clibanarius digueti)-these Mexican crabs are a hardy
addition to any aquarium, eating algae from the tank. They demand a low level
of copper in the water, however, as their bodies cannot survive in the presence
of this metal.

- Scarlet Hermit Crab, or Reef Hermit Crab (Paguristes cadenati)-this hermit
crab generally remains small, around two inches across, and has a red body with
yellow eyestalks. They are very helpful in keeping the algae growth inside the
aquarium under control; however, if insufficient algae is available inside the
tank they must be supplementally fed with dried seaweed.

- Common Hermit Crab (Pagurus bernhardus)-These crabs are more common in Europe
but can be found in other countries as well. Also known as the soldier crab.

Since these crabs carry their homes around on their backs it is important that
they constantly have new shells available to them when they have outgrown their
previous shell. A hermit crab in an improperly sized shell cannot grow properly.
These shells can be purchased from a pet store or an online retailer or, if the
owner is familiar with the requirements of their hermit crabs, these shells can
often be found on a beach. If the owner chooses to go out into the wild and
collect their own shells it is important that they choose the proper type of
shell for their hermit crab to inhabit. As sea anemones are often an important
part of the hermit crabs natural environment they make excellent tank mates,
eating the leftovers when the hermit crab has finished a meal and cutting back
on the amount of tank waste.

Hermit crabs are an intriguing addition to any tank, and require very little
maintenance once their owners are familiar with their needs and their habits.
With the proper care they can live for quite a while, providing endless hours
of joy for their owners and their families.

Testing the Hardness of Your Aquarium Water

As the ecosystem in nature is very fragile and prone to triggering severe
consequences if the balance of elements is altered so is the ecosystem inside
of an aquarium a very fragile thing, leading to devastating consequences if the
balance is thrown off. Because of this it is important that the elements of the
water be tested on a regular basis and necessary alterations made as frequently
as possible.

There are many elements which are important for the well being of your aquarium
fish; temperature and pH have the greatest immediate impact on their well being
and should be monitored closely. There are certain precursors which can be
tested in order to anticipate problems with these elements, and by closely
monitoring these precursors an attentive owner can prevent the death of their
fish in much the same way that an attentive physician may be able to head off
the formation of cancer.

The carbonate hardness, or kh, level of the water should be monitored closely
using one of the commercial systems which are available on the market. These
can be purchased from any saltwater fish dealer or through an online retailer
such as Amazon.com. The hardness of the water is significant because it can
lead to rapid swings in pH. These swings can cause the fish to become stressed,
making them more vulnerable to disease than they would be otherwise. This means
that it will take very little to make them ill; the germs from the fingers of
human hands could be enough to cause an epidemic and wipe out your entire
aquarium population. Remember what smallpox did to the Indian populations
because their immune systems were not prepared? The consequences could be just
as fatal.

Fish will generally adapt to the hardness of the local water supply fairly
quickly; however, to truly thrive their environment should be as close to that
of their natural habitat (i.e. where they would be living if they were not
living in a tank in your home) as possible. This is particularly necessary if
you are entertaining the notion of breeding your fish-bear in mind that much
like human newborns baby fish will not have had a chance to adapt to an
environment that was not suited for them, and many may die because of this.
Organic water plants will also thrive best in water that closely resembles
their natural habitat. There are many commercial products available which will
help to soften the water if the kh level is too high.

By carefully monitoring the kh levels of your aquarium you will be able to stay
one step ahead of the elements and help to ensure that your fish have the best
chance of survival possible.

Caring for Bubble Coral in an Aquarium

As more and more people set up saltwater aquariums, more are also adding coral
to the decor. As with any living thing, it is best to understand the creature
and how to care for it properly before bringing it home. Coral is no different
as it is a live animal that you will be adding to your tank. The care and
maintenance of coral should be well understood before making the final decision
to add this beautiful animal to your aquarium.

The most common species of coral that are used in aquariums are called bubble
coral. Due to the fact that they are so common, we will use this species as a
guideline. Within the bubble coral family, there are three subspecies. They are
simple bubble coral, pearl bubble coral and grape bubble coral. They are all
cared for in the same way, so they will be referred to as bubble coral
throughout the rest of the article.

One of the most important things to know about your coral is how to space them
when you add them to the tank. Bubble coral have long tentacles which are armed
with stinging cells. Mostly, they remain retracted until nightfall, when they
are extended to aid in feeding habits. These tentacles will sting neighboring
coral if they are close enough. Be aware of this as you position the coral in
your tank and try to keep coral pieces at least 6 inches away from others.

As your consider the placement. Also take into consideration the available
lighting where they are placed. If you have additional light sources aside from
the tube in the hood, bubble coral should do well anywhere in the tank. If you
are using the included florescent tubes for lighting, it may be better to place
the coral closer to the surface. This species of coral prefers low movement of
the water. Be sure not to place it in any direct current. Doing so will cause
the coral's vesicles to remain closed. This will eventually result in death.

When you have the coral situated in the aquarium, you must remember it is a
living animal and must eat just as your fish do. For bubble coral, feed it
shrimp or small pieces of clam one to two times a week. Place the food morsels
on the polyp of the coral. Any food that is trapped by the tentacles or among
vesicles, will be eaten almost immediately. It is important not to overfeed the
coral or your fish. Algae is a pest that will cause damage or even death of the
coral. Keep the algae as controlled as possible by scheduled and routine
cleaning of your aquarium. Bubble coral may also get flat worms. These worms
are easily spotted and usually appear as circular spots on the coral's
vesicles. They are not a cause for alarm and usually do little damage if any.
However, if you notice a significant amount or a large population of these
worms, you will have to take action as they could cause death.

Coral is a wonderful addition to any aquarium. Many people are uninformed as to
how to care for this animal. It is advised that you learn all you can about the
animal, how it functions and lives before adding it to the aquarium. Once you
have the knowledge and can properly care for it, coral will help to create a
studding underwater paradise.

Switching From a Freshwater Aquarium to a Home Saltwater Aquariums

Many people would like to own and maintain a saltwater aquarium but they shy
away from them, turning instead to the freshwater variety because they have
been told that saltwater aquariums are difficult to maintain and require
additional equipment. That is not necessarily true. For the most part
converting a freshwater tank to a saltwater tank is simple. Most of the
equipment both tanks use is the same, with only a few notable exceptions. One
such exception is the aquarium substrate. Instead of using the gravel that your
fresh water fish preferred tropical fish fare better with a substrate that is
made of live sand or crushed coral. Most filtering systems work well in both
freshwater and saltwater environments, but many aquarium owners take advantage
of the opportunity to upgrade their system, i is also important to remember
that the filter you are using in your saltwater tank circulates the water
throughout the entire tank. Disturbing the water's surface maximizes the amount
of oxygen in the water. If you are planning to maintain a fish only aquarium you
shouldn't have to worry about upgrading your lighting system. The only time the
lights will have to be upgraded is if you start adding coral reefs to your tank.

A mistake many aquarium lovers make when they are converting their freshwater
tanks to saltwater tanks is assuming that all they have to do is add a little
salt to the water and voila, a saltwater tank. All they have done is create an
environment that will kill any coral reefs, tropical fish, and freshwater fish
that they place in the tank. The bacteria in saltwater is completely different
from the bacteria in freshwater. People who want to speed the waters cycling
process should scoop some aquarium substrate from a warm saltwater aquarium and
transfer it to a temperate saltwater aquarium. Before you add fish to your
freshly converted tank, make sure you purchase a refractometer and hydrometer
to test the salinity of your water. The salinity should have a specific gravity
that is between 1.020 and 1.026.

Saltwater causes rust. Check your tank and filtration system regularly. If you
notice rust starting to form, it's time to replace your equipment.

Before you start stocking you saltwater aquarium with fish do a little
research. Many variety's of tropical fish require a different type of food the
freshwater varieties. Several of these variety's have to be fed combinations of
fresh, frozen, and live food in addition to fish flakes. Frozen food should not
be kept in your freezer for more then three months. If you are purchasing a
fish that is going to need a great deal of live food, find out what kind of
arrangements are going to have to be made to keep the food alive before
consumption.

Most fish owners recommend purchasing a small tank that can be used as a
quarantine tank. Placing a sick fish in a quarantine tank will make treating it
easier and increase its odds of survival.have to be made to keep the food alive
before consumption.

Most fish owners recommend purchasing a small tank that can be used as a
quarantine tank. Placing a sick fish in a quarantine tank will make treating it
easier and increase its odds of survival.

Successfully Raising Coral in Saltwater Aquariums

When people start a saltwater aquarium they do so because they have an
compulsion to create a miniature version of the ocean in their living room.
They want the whole kit and caboodle; the brightly colored fish, the flowing
plants, the half rotted pirates ship, and the coral reef. Growing a coral reef
in your saltwater aquarium is the ultimate goal for many saltwater aquarium
enthusiast.

Beginners that are just starting a saltwater aquarium are not advised to
attempt a reef aquarium. Start with a fish only aquarium and become familiar
first, once you have mastered that you will be ready to add one of the hardier
breeds of coral to your tank.

Before running out and purchasing coral reef, bear in mind that you are not
adding an elaborate rock to your tank. Polyps are tiny invertebrate. These
polyps work together to form the limestone structures we know as coral reefs.
Before you add the reef to your saltwater aquarium you must remember that the
life of these polyps depends on your ability to provide them with the proper
food, lighting, and water.

Having good water is especially important if your want your coral reef to
survive. An abrupt change in your water can cause the polyps to go into a state
of shock, this will cause your reef to become discolored.Your aquarium must be
filled with clear water which will allow the coral reef to get the full benefit
of your lighting. Coral requires a strong water current, outfit your tank with a
filter that circulates the water throughout your entire tank. Avoid a linear
current.

When you have decided on a variety of coral for your coral saltwater aquarium
do some research on the lighting. Some corals have special lighting
requirements.

Remember that coral, like all living organisms, require you to feed them. For
along time it was believed that coral reefs needed only minimal feeding. This
belief was triggered by belief that coral reefs were nutrient poor. People
assumed that the reefs used photosynthesis to feed. The reality is that most
coral needs to be fed, at a minimum, weekly (every two to three days is
recommended). Most coral needs to be fed food that has to be frozen or
refrigerated. Throw away any food that has been open for over five months, it
becomes stale. You may want to consider purchasing liquid or bottled food for
your corral. The size of the polyps in your coral reef will tell you a great
deal about their food requirements. If you have large fleshy looking polyps you
will be able to feed them large pieces of food, minced meat and large
zooplankton. If your have a coral reef that is made up of tiny polyps you have
to remember that they can't digest the large pieces of food, these polyps will
starve to death in an aquarium that is full of food that is to large for it to
digest.

If you have done your homework and are patient and diligent you will be able to
enjoy a very successful and beautiful coral saltwater aquarium.
Stocking Your Saltwater Aquarium With Tropical Fish

When most people look at a saltwater aquarium the first thing they notice are
the fish. Fish of all shapes, sizes, colors, styles, and personalities. One of
the most devastating things that can happen to a tropical fish lover after they
have gone to the effort and expense of purchasing an aquarium and setting it up
is to purchase fish that are riddled with disease that die shortly after they
are brought to their new home.

The odds of purchasing a healthy fish is by purchasing it from a reputable pet
store. If you walk into a store that sells pet fish for private aquariums and
your immediately flattened by the odor of rotting seafood turn around and walk
away. It isn't unusual for fish stores to have a peculiar musty scent. Strong
odar can indicate a store who is not as concerned as they should be about the
care of their animals.

Take a good look at the store's aquariums. The tanks should be clean. The water
should be clear. Don't be alarmed if you see a tank that has a sign announcing
that the fish in the tank aren't for sale. Many fish stores don't have enough
room for a quarantine tank.

The staff should be friendly and attentive. If the store is having a slow spell
the employees should be cleaning tanks or feeding fish. When they catch a fish,
the handler should use two nets and corner the fish, eliminating unnecessary
stress. The members of the staff should be helpful and informative.

The rule of thumb is that if there are more then three dead fish in a tank
consider shopping somewhere else. Dead fish happen. When stores are busy they
don't always have the time to clean the deceased fish from the tank. So one or
two is not necessarily a bad omen, but more then that and you'll want to
consider looking somewhere else before you stock your saltwater aquarium.

When you are shopping for tropical fish take your time and really study the
fish. Take note of their physical condition. Study their eyes, fins, mouths,
scales, and abdomens. Put your hand as close to the glass as you can without
actually touching it. The fish should either swim towards your hand, looking
for food, or they should dart for cover. If a fish doesn't look or act healthy,
don't purchase it.

Before you go shopping for tropical fish, gather a little knowledge. Make sure
that the fish you purchase are compatible. Make sure you know what kind of food
they require (predatory fish generally need frozen or live bait). If you decide
that you want to own a predatory fish that requires live food make sure that
you have a way of keeping that food alive, in many cases this will mean a
completely separate tank. If you are eventually planning adding coral to your
saltwater aquarium you may want to start thinking ahead and purchase fish that
are compatible with coral.

Setting up a Reef Saltwater Aquariums

Saltwater enthusiast have developed a love affair with coral reefs. There is
nothing they love better then to design, stock and maintain a saltwater
aquarium that is teaming with coral.

For years only the most adventurous were brave enough to tackle the challenges
proposed by a reef saltwater aquarium. Until recently coral reef was
notoriously hard to maintain.

Times have changed. Now there are several varieties of coral that even the most
novice saltwater aquarium owner can enjoy. The key to successfully maintaining 
a reef saltwater aquarium is to have your saltwater reef aquarium properly set 
up.

The first thing you'll want to find is a tank. Select the largest possible tank
that you feel comfortable with. The greater the size of your tank, the greater
the water mass encompassing the reef, and the more you will be able to
duplicate the effects of the ocean. You can choose either the classic look of a
glass aquarium or you can select an acrylic tank which gives you a larger
variety of shapes and styles. Acrylic tanks are also more durable then glass
tanks. Make sure that there is absolutely no copper anywhere in the tank.
Copper has a lethal affect on coral.

Before adding the coral to your tank make sure that the temperature of your
water stays consistent. The temperature should remain at 23-25 degrees Celsius
(73-77 degrees Fahrenheit). Your coral will remain healthier in water that is
always at the same temperature.

It is very important that your reef saltwater aquarium be properly filtered.
The three types of filters are mechanical, biological, and chemical.

A mechanical filter is a filter made out of spun nylon floss. Mechanical filter
trap and remove wasteful material and prevent your chemical and biological
filters from becoming clogged. 	There are a variety of biological filters. Some
use the tanks aquarium substrate as a part of the filtration system. The purpose
of biological filters is to contain the biochemical properties and to break down
waste products.

Chemical filters absorbs the ions of dissolved waste. Chemical filters are
typically based on active carbon.

Many reef saltwater aquarium owners like to use other products such as Bioballs
and Protein Skimmers to assist with their filtration system.

The PH level of a reef saltwater aquarium should hold steady at 8.2.

Coral reefs require a filtration system that circulates the tanks water. Moving
water tends to be rich in oxygen and the currents carry food to the
invertebrates living inside the immobile coral. A submersible pump will do
wonders to increase the water flow in a saltwater aquarium.

When you decide that it is time to stock your reef saltwater aquarium with fish
you need to remember a few things before rushing out to your favorite fish store.

Bear in mind that just because a variety of fish lives in the ocean does not
automatically mean that it's compatible with coral. Some fish eat the
invertebrates that make the coral reef their home. Some fish produce waste that
is toxic to the coral. Some fish, like Blow-fish, produce a toxin when they die
that can kill every living organism in your aquarium.

Save Money on Distilled Water in Saltwater Aquariums

Once upon a time, people believed that heating distilled water was dangerous
because it heated faster then regular tap water. This has since been proved to
be untrue. Distilled water does not heat any faster then your everyday, run of
the mill, tap water.

The definition of distilled water is water that virtually has had all its
impurities removed through the act of desolation. Water is distilled by boiling
it. As the water boils the steam is captured and then re-condensed into a clean
container. Many companies have started considering cheaper alternatives for
purifying water, one such method is deionizing the water. As of yet alternate
methods, while successful, have been unable to completely purify the water.

Distilled water is commonly used in lead acid batteries, automotive cooling
systems, and steam irons.

Another popular use of distilled water is in aquariums. Aquarium enthusiast use
distilled water in their tanks because it lacks chemicals that are often found
in run of the mill tap water. Many tap waters contain chlorine and chloramine,
which are fatal to fish.

All to often aquarium owners are stunned to learn how much money they spend
each year just by purchasing gallon after gallon of distilled water. On way
saltwater aquarium owners can save money is by distilling their own water,
provided that they are willing to improvise. The first thing you will need to
do is to find away to heat/boil the water, this can be done with either a gas
or electric stove. Any normal cooking pot will do for the heating. The next
thing to do is find a way to catch and cool the steam, because the typical
cooler is made out of a long spiral shaped piece of copper tubing. Saltwater
aquarium owners will have to find a different piece of tubing because water
distilled in copper is fatal to the invertebrates that live in coral reef. If
you are unable to find a spiraled pipe consider using a pot and to lids. As the
water boils it will start to condense on the lid of the pot, this is distilled
water. Cover the pot with the second lid and pour the condensed water into a
cup. Repeat the process until you have enough water for your tank. It takes a
long time to gather enough water.

When setting up a saltwater aquarium it is important to remember that the
distilled water must be supplemented. By itself the distilled water is to pure
to sustain aquatic life. It is also important to make sure that the distilled
water you are using has not been stored in any containers containing copper.
The addition of copper in the saltwater is lethal to the invertebrates that
live in coral reefs.

Anyone who is unsure about the purity of their tap water should plan on using
distilled water when they are setting up a saltwater aquarium. Make sure you
add a saltwater mix to the distilled water.

After filling the tank with water and installing your filtration system it's
recommended that you let your tank sit empty for a few days. When the water
quality tests accurately after the tank has been running then you can add your
fish. Double checking your water could potentially save you from accidentally
destroying your fish.

Aquarium Care for Sand Sharks

Sand sharks are viewed as the most timid and least aggressive of the shark
species. Sand sharks are usually smaller in size than other sharks and move
fairly slowly. These sharks are found all over the Atlantic Ocean, and are the
most common type of shark. Although these sharks would seem to be the perfect
aquarium kept fish, because of their smaller size, they are not. They still
grow to reach an average length of about five feet, and can weigh as much as
three hundred pounds. This is really too large to keep in a home aquarium. The
population of these sharks has dwindled in recent years, due to fishing
activities. Therefore they are being considered for the endangered species
list. It would be irresponsible to attempt to house one of these creatures,
unless fully educated on their care needs.

Sand sharks adapt the best of all sharks to a captive environment. The types of
aquariums that house these very large fish are usually public state supported
aquariums. These facilities have the resources to build large enough tanks to
house the sharks. Sand sharks can be kept in a tank with other large fish. The
sharks are usually fed three to four times a week to discourage them from
eating tank mates. For the most part this works well, although, every so often
some of the fish seem to disappear. When housing sharks, care should be taken
to ensure there is adequate space for swimming. Sharks by nature cruise the
open waters. When visiting a public aquarium, notice sand sharks tend to be
constantly moving, while some of the other fish just hang out in the tank.

A good alternative for a sand shark in a home aquarium is the catfish shark.
Although labeled as a shark because of their dorsal fins, these creatures are
much smaller. They usually grow to be about a foot long. They will still need a
larger tank with plenty of space, because they too will have a cruising nature.
These fish, like true sharks will eat just about anything that will fit in
their mouths. Therefore be careful not to house it with smaller fish. The
catfish shark should be kept in a tank with brackish water. Brackish water is
more difficult to maintain because it is a mixture of both salt and freshwater.
In the wild these fish live in areas where ocean waters meet streams or rivers.
The Albemarle Sound is an example of brackish water.

The same general type of equipment is required for brackish water and saltwater
aquariums as fresh water. It is a good idea to upgrade filters and heaters,
however, because saltwater and brackish water fish are more sensitive to water
irregularities. Sharks are accustomed to a darker environment, so it is not
necessary to have a lot of lighting. Sand sharks have the same basic care
requirements as most other fish. They need, and adequate food source, regulated
water and an environment that would be similar to their natural habitat.
Saltwater Reef Aquariums

Historically saltwater aquarium owners have shied away from reefs. No one could
understand why when these coral reefs were put into an aquarium the reef had a
depressingly short life span. Now, thanks to some very persistent aquarium
owners, fans of the saltwater aquarium's can enjoy the beauty of their very own
coral reef. Their are reefs for every aquarium owner, from the raw beginner to
the experienced professional. The saltwater enthusiast can now find the
saltwater coral that best suits their abilities, whether they are a rank
beginner or an experienced professional.

Zoanthus Coral is a wonderful choice for the person who is just beginning to
add coral reef to their saltwater aquarium. Reef enthusiast find that Zoanthus
is a hardy coral that flourishes in most saltwater tanks. Zoanthus coral does
not like to be fed a meaty diet and prefers to have its food finely chopped.
Zoanthus Coral can be found in a variety of colors, many experienced saltwater
reef aquarium owners like to use Zoanthus as a filer coral for their more
temperamental varieties of coral reef. Zianthus is also called Sea Mat and
Bottom Polyps.

Another good variety of starter coral is Cladiella, Cladiella is also commonly
referred to as Colt Coral and Finger Leather Coral. The Cladiella Coral is
renowned for is adaptability. Anyone interested in using Cladiella Coral in
their saltwater reef aquarium must make sure that it is securely anchored or it
will not grow.

Something like Siderastrea Coral. Siderastrea is a soft coral, that is tolerant
of light, temperature, changes in the tanks quality of water, and currents. It
is typically tan or gray or white. Although it can occasionally be found in
round domes the typical shape of the Siderastrea Coral is flat plates that can
measure anywhere from 4-12 inches around. Pink Starlet Coral, Starlet Coral,
and Lesser Starlet Coral are three names that commonly refer to Siderastrea
Coral.

Once the saltwater aquarium owner becomes comfortable caring for his hardier
varieties of coral they may wish to move onto something a little more
challenging.

Fish and coral seem to go together, some types better then others. When an
aquarium owner is looking to purchase fish they must consider the compatibility
of the fish to the coral. It is also important to make sure that the fish you
are purchasing for your saltwater aquarium are healthy. Take the time to
examine their eyes, scales, skin, abdomen, mouth and fins before making your
final decision.

The eyes of your fish should be clear and bright. A cloudy film obscuring the
eye could be a sign of an internal bacterial infection. A saltwater fish that
has blotchy scales is a fish that is potentially dealing with an internal
disease. Fish that have bruised mouths can sometimes lack an appetite, look for
a fish with a firm unbruised mouth. Your potential fish should have an abdomen
that is firm, and gently rounded. The fins should be crisp and clean. A fish
that has scales that are ragged or one that's fins are starting to droop and
sag.

How to Install a Wall Mounted Aquarium

The life under the sea has long fascinated the landlubbers who attempt to learn
its mysteries, and the privilege of being able to bring a small piece of it into
their homes has proved too difficult to resist. Saltwater aquariums can be seen
in homes around the world, containing everything from tropical fish to sharks
and stingrays. For many, however, it is not enough to simply have a tank
sitting in the middle of whatever room they have chosen to plant it in for them
to look at and admire. They wish to be in the middle of the ocean itself, to
find themselves surrounded by the marine life they have long admired.

Unfortunately, although science has made many advances in that area it is not
yet possible for man to live under the sea. A small taste of what is would be
like to have the ocean as your floor, walls and sky can be obtained by
installing an in wall aquarium.

In wall aquariums come in many shapes and sizes, from tanks no larger than the
screen on a small television sets to the great tanks that make up the walls of
the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland. Installing these tanks is not
difficult, although it does require a great deal of time and effort; however,
with the proper directions and guidance anyone can allow themselves to enjoy
these beautiful home accents.

Before you get too carried away with the concept of being able to float along
in a mermaid lagoon (even if it is only in your mind) it is important that you
first ensure that your home is going to be able to support the aquarium you
wish to install in it. The strength of your wall studs is going to be the
determining factor on whether it is possible to place an aquarium directly in
the foundation of your home; if they are not strong enough to support the
weight of the aquarium the mission must be aborted at the very beginning.

It is possible to hire a company to come and install your aquarium for you,
ensuring that the cables and pumps will be neatly hidden and the aquarium
seamlessly placed into the fabric of your home. While this is more expensive
than doing it yourself it does guarantee success (after all, if a professional
makes a mistake which installing your aquarium they are responsible for the
repairs, not you). If you are new to the business of installing in home
aquariums, or home repair in general, or if you do not have a great deal of
time on your hands this is probably the option for you.

While in wall aquariums are more expensive than their traditional relations
they bring with them a set of advantages uniquely their own. They generally
require fewer cords and plugs, as well as less maintenance. They allow you to
save space and ensure that little fingers do not find their way into the
aquarium to torment the fish. Most of all, they allow you to bring just a
little bit of every child's dream into your home, blending fantasy and reality
in a way that was previously only available on t.v.

Tips for Great Deals When Purchasing a Saltwater Aquarium on e-Bay

With the world quickly entering the age of the virtual consumer it seems as
though everyone is looking to the internet to purchase and sell their goods.
The savvy consumer can find everything from fungus to jewelry throughout the
mysterious twists and turns of the world's largest shopping mall. Is it any
wonder, then, that e-Bay, the all in one auction site where buyers can
literally buy almost anything, is becoming one of the largest "retailers" in
the world?

Of course, just because they are beginning to exert a dominance over the
international market is no reason for consumers not to take advantage of the
deals that can be had by shopping on e-Bay. e-Bay is an auction site, not a
retailer. Many of the sellers who are listing their wares on e-Bay have a
greater interest in finding a good home for them than in making a good
profit-and the added bonus of no longer tripping over them when they walk
through their house doesn't hurt either. Due to the fact that most of these
sellers are interested in moving their products as quickly as possible the
opening bids are generally well below market value.

Bear in mind, of course, that competition is going to inevitably drive the
bidding up. Unless your mind is completely made up on the precise type of
aquarium you want it may be best to go for one of the less popular models in an
attempt to get the best deal. There will probably not be a great number of
bidders competing over these products and the bids will probably not go a great
deal higher than the minimum bid (we say probably because the only absolutes in
life are death and taxes, and in the auction world the unexpected often
happens). These less popular models are every bit as functional and beautiful
as the more popular models, they just lack the newfangled gadgets which
accompany every new and improved product that hits the market. (If you truly
have your heart set on these gadgets, bear in mind that many can be added
separately a little farther down the road for a great deal less expense).

Be careful not to find yourself starting a bidding war. Do not throw your hat
in the ring too early. Bear in mind that it is competition that drives the
price of a product up. If you are too excited to purchase a product you will
probably play your hand too soon and start a bidding war. The only thing that
is going to mean is more money out of your pocket if you win. It is best to
find an aquarium that suits your needs, then take note of the current bid and
the day that the bidding is ending. On the last bidding day, as close to the
closing time as possible without being over, visit the site and see what the
current bid is. If it is still within your budget this is the time to make your
bid.

Of course, if you find the aquarium that is absolutely perfect for your needs
and you do not wish to wait another minute to add it to your home many items on
e-Bay come with a "Buy It Now" option. This is generally a minimum amount which
the owner has agreed to accept to stop the bidding process and make a sale.
Beware! This price may be higher than the bidding would go, so do not jump the
gun too early unless you feel you have truly found your heart's desire.

With a bit of organization and savvy planning e-Bay can yield tremendous deals
on aquariums and their accompanying equipment. Happy Hunting!

Tips for Successfully Selling A Saltwater Aquarium on e-Bay

Aquariums are a delightful addition to any home, and they inevitably brighten
up the scenery and delight young and old alike. Despite their many assets there
may come a time when an aquarium owner is simply unable to keep their aquarium.
It may be a matter of finances (even though the majority of expenses are
associated with setting up the aquarium there are certain expenses associated
with keeping it running, and repairs and fish food can accumulate to be an
impressive sum as well) or there may a move taking place and the new home will
not accommodate a large aquarium, or the owner may be traveling such a distance
that it is impractical for them to take their aquarium with them. Whatever the
reason, if an owner is unable to keep their aquarium one of the fastest and
most painless ways to sell their aquarium is on e-Bay.

For those who are not familiar, e-Bay is an online auction house and one of the
biggest sales venues in the country today. Every day hundreds of thousands of
people visit e-Bay to view what is for sale and to list their own goods. The
advantage of e-Bay over more traditional sales venues is that it allows
competition to drive up the price of its products so that there is literally no
maximum amount of profit a product can sell for. The name of the game is for
buyers to outbid each other until one buyer finally makes a bid so high that no
one else is willing to try to top them or the time for bidding has passed.

Registering to sell on e-Bay is simple. All a would-be seller needs to do is
open a seller's account, which can easily be done by following the instructions
on e-Bay's homepage, www.ebay.com. Once a seller account has been created the
seller can begin to list their goods. It is free to establish a seller account;
however, there are certain fees associated with selling on e-Bay, so it is
necessary to determine if the potential profits justify the amount of these
fees before committing to selling through this venue. Chances are the answer
will be yes.

There are some steps which can be taken to make sure that the saltwater
aquarium an individual is attempting to sell will sell quickly. Including a
picture of the aquarium with the listing is important, as many novice aquatic
enthusiasts will not recognize a written description of an aquarium. A picture
will draw their attention. The one line description should include as much
basic information pertaining to the aquarium as possible, as the attention span
of most buyers is extraordinarily short and if it is not captured in a first
glance their business will probably be lost. It is also important that the
minimum bid be competitive with other, similar aquariums on e-Bay. It is free
to search these listings, and it is not necessary to have an account to view
them.

Selling an aquarium on e-Bay is an excellent way for a owner to recoup some of
the money which they have invested in their marine life while at the same time
assuring that their saltwater aquarium is going to a good home.






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