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- Aquariums – General
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- Tropical Fishkeeping
Tropical fish make for excellent pets because they are easy to care for and beautiful to behold. The benefits of tropical fish attract new owners with little to no experience in maintaining an aquarium. Contrary to what many believe, it does take some know-how and planning to successfully set up an aquarium. A large part of that process is selecting the right fish. By following a few beginner-friendly tips you can ensure your best chances of buying tropical fish that will thrive in their new home.
1. Select Hardy Fish
Some fish are hardier than others. As a beginner, you are likely to make a few rookie mistakes. Sensitive fish can die easily from minor issues. Therefore, your best plan is to get fish that are able to adapt and survive.
It is also cruel to buy flashy, pretty fish that are not likely to live long in an aquarium set up by a newbie, states AquaticCommunity.com. Fish are happier when the conditions in their aquarium are suitable for them. With hardy fish, there is more room for error that is not too damaging than with Clownfish and other less adaptable species.
2. Select Peaceful, Nonaggressive Fish
Fish are classified as peaceful, mildly aggressive, moderately aggressive or aggressive. Managing aggressive fish takes experience. Some fish fight and can cause serious injuries, which could be fatal or lead to infections, according to AquaticCommunity.com. A beginner will have an easier time keeping less aggressive fish alive.
You should be especially careful if you select fish with delicate fins. Even normally peaceful fish occasionally nip the fins of their aquarium mates. Tiger barbs are particularly known for fin nipping.
It is best to start with peaceful fish and do some research to see if the species you want are likely to get along.
3. Select Cheap Fish
Although it may sound a bit heartless, you are better off buying fish that are cheap in case they do not make it. Also, aquariums are usually more expensive than people think, particularly once you add up all the costs of decorations, a filter, gravel, and other miscellaneous needs. Spending a lot of money on tropical fish forces you to cut corners when setting up your tank, which reduces your chances of success.
AquaticCommunity.com recommends purchasing a mid-sized aquarium and less costly fish than getting expensive fish and having to put them in a small, more affordable aquarium. Larger aquariums literally give you more room for errors. More space means more water, which dilutes harmful pollutants. If, sadly, one of your fish does not survive its body pollutes the water until you remove it. These substances can harm or even kill your other fish.
4. Select Compatible Fish
Compatibility is not just a word thrown around by dating services and websites. Some fish species get along with other species and some are not compatible. For example, predatory fish species should never be put in the same aquarium with calmer tropical fish, according to Pets-More.com. Certain fish do not play nice with others.
Select sociable fish and you have a better chance that all your fishies will coexist in relative peace.
5. Select Healthy Fish
This may seem like a no-brainer but many people forget, or do not know how to, examine fish before buying to ensure they are in good health. Some clues that indicate a fish with health concerns is relative inactivity or hyperactivity, according to Pets-More.com. You should also closely look at their scales, fins and tails for any spots or marks.
Choosing beginner-friendly tropical fish not only makes it more likely that you will succeed in keeping fish alive but also increases your enjoyment for the hobby. Nothing is more discouraging than putting time and money into setting up an aquarium to then find all of your new fishy friends floating belly up. If you pick the right fish, they will thrive.
More and more aquarists are turning to acrylic aquariums.
Let’s face it: glass is heavy and glass breaks!
Because acrylic is molded as a single piece and features few seams – catastrophic failure is less of a possibility. Plus, the single piece and lack of seams ensures that visibility and transparency with acrylic aquariums is generally better than with glass aquariums. Granted, with acrylic aquariums there often is some viewing distortion at the corners- but this is typically minimal.
Acrylic is also much lighter than glass. Acrylic aquariums come in more (better) shapes and sizes. However, acrylic is also more expensive than glass and scratches very very easily. This means whenever you are handling decorations or tools within your acrylic aquarium, be very careful as your tank will scratch very easily.
Direct Aquarium is celebrating our 3rd Anniversary. We wanted to say thank you to our dedicated customers with a great thank you gift: super savings on aquarium replacement bulbs on orders placed before 2/27.
We’re excited to pass along the following coupon codes:
Take 10% Off All Aquarium Replacement Bulbs This Weekend
Use Coupon Code: 10%OffBulbs
Take 5% Off All Non-Bulb Orders
Shop Now: http://www.directaquarium.com
Use Coupon Code: take5
Sincerely, The Direct Aquarium Team
We’ve retired some of our long running coupon codes. However, great savings at Direct Aquarium are still just a click away.
Through the end of this weekend- 9/25 we will be running a 5% off special for new customers. To take advantage of this coupon simply enter the coupon code:
The Direct Aquarium Team
For some quick savings on orders over $100 use coupon code
for a quick 10% of your order. Happy shopping from your friends at DirectAquarium.com
Clown fish are also known as anemonefish and are now sometimes reffered to as a “nemo” fish from the animated film “Finding Nemo.” Clown fish have become one of the most popular saltwater aquarium fish to date, largely because of their great personality, colors, and ease of care when compared to other saltwater fish. The internet has great resources but you should never be caught without a good hard source for information.
Clown fish should be kept in a minimum size tank of 30 gallons. Since 30 gallons is the minimum size if you are keeping a clown fish in a 30 gallon aquarium, you should keep your tank lightly stocked to reduce potential stress situation.
Diet and Food:
Clownfish are omnivores should be provided a varied diet of vegetables. Clownfish will eat frozen food and will also accept flaked food. Consult with your local fish shop or where you purchased your clownfish and ask what they have been feeding them. If you are going to change their diet you should do so gradually and not overnight.
Pairing and symbiosis:
Clown fish do great when paired together. Clownfish are hermaphrodites and can change sexes when paired together if needed. Clownfish will thrive when paired with an anemone. Clownfish are said to have a coating on them that protects them from the string of jellyfish and anemones. This mucus covering helps the clownfish to be seen as friendly by the anemone. The anemone provides protection for the paired anemone fish and whatever food the anemone doesn’t eat the clownfish will clean off of its tentacles. It is important to know that the anemone may not host the clown fish immediately.
Clownfish will also pair with some fake anemones, however fake anemones do not provide the correct protection.
Clownfish can be bought tank raised. This means the fish has been bread and raised in an aquarium, likely with other clown fish. This makes it less stressful on the clownfish when they are transferred between tanks and helps the acclimation process. It also helps to buy tank raised fish because these fish have been raised for the purpose of the aquarium hobby. They have not been harvested from the ocean, aside from the original few who started the breading.
For more information you should always have a hardcopy book on hand from directaquarium.
The Betta Fish
Beta fish have been known to be a very popular fish due to their low living requirements when housed in a normal household. Betas are a great beginner fish and teach many of the fundamental basics of fish ownership. This post will cover a few things that will help your Beta thrive! Betas can live up to 4 years with proper care.
Betas are sometimes kept in cups smaller than some peoples fist in fish stores. This is only temporary housing and should not be used as a permanent habitat for your Betta fish. Beta tanks should be greater than one liter. As with all animals they will do best in larger habitat.
Feeding and diet:
Fish stores that sell Bettas will have different fish foods and normally have a food that is Beta specific. Beta foods can be flaked, tablet or frozen. Feed no more than your fish can eat in 3 to 5 minutes. Overfeeding can cloud the water. Most foods come with instructions. According to Aqua Cultures Betta Pellet food you should feed sparingly twice per day 6-8 pellets per serving for 1 fish. Skipping 1 day out of 7 will not prove fatal for your fish.
Betas live in tank water between 74 degrees and 82 degrees. Direct aquarium carries a few small aquarium heaters that are great for heating fish bowls under 5 gallons.
Betta Care Tips:
Water Changes should be done two times a month and change between 25 and 40 percent of the water. In small tanks water can be dipped out of the tank and discarded on potted plants or gardens, or just in the sink. Replacement water should be kept on hand at the correct temperature. With small tanks it is very important to keep replacement water at the correct temperature or you will shock and stress your fish. You can put replacement water in a pitcher the night before and leave in the same room as the tank. This will ensure the replacement water is at the same room temperature.
Betas should never be kept together in the same bowl. Betas will fight and one will die in the aftermath. Betas can be kept as a community fish but not with aggressive fish such as other Betas or guppies. Consult your local fish shop on their fish inventory to know which fish are compatible.
Betas should never be exposed to a mirror or anything that will reflect their image. This will make them territorial and stressed. They will think they are fighting and may injury themselves trying to attack the side of the bowl.
Betta fish have good eyesight and will begin to move to the top of the tank when they see your hand starting to feed them.
The first Betta fish I owned got clamped fins which is a symptom of the Ich or Velvet diseases. If this happens to you check that your temperatures are 75-80 degrees and consistent. Water changes should be frequent. And you should pickup some Kordon Ich Attack and treat your water according to the directions on the product.
Water changes are the best way to keep water quality high. When aquarium tank water ages it will slowly evaporate and leave behind all the minerals. This will eventually raise water hardness and change pH for the worst. As you add new water to top off the aquarium this adds more hard minerals unless you use RO/DI water. The only way to keep from adding these hard minerals is to perform bi-monthly water changes.
How much water should I change?
The amount of water you change every period depends on tank size and how many fish you have, or in other words your bio load. Ideally you want to make small frequent water changes, however if you have hardy fish you may do larger water changes less frequently. Generally you should change no less than 60% of your aquarium water in 1 month. This should be done over 2 water changes at least.
How often should I change my aquarium water?
It is advised to never let water changes go more than a month between. Ideally about %25-%30 every two weeks is a good guideline. Changing more than %50 in one change may be to dramatic of a change for inhabitants (remember, water changes are good but also change pH which may stress aquatic life).
The best way to time your water changes is to measure your nitrate levels and change them before they reach a dangerous level. Water changes can be done while cleaning your gravel with a gravel vacuum and water tests should be done before and after so you understand the effects of water changes on water parameters.
Getting the water out:
The easiest way to get water out of your aquarium is using a plastic tube or gravel vacuum. If your tank is small, under 30 gallons, you can use a 5 gallon bucket or water jug and siphon water from your tank into the container. Water can be discarded in a garden or on flowers because it is rich in minerals plants need to grow. If your tank is larger you may want to make multiple trips or siphon waste water directly into a drain. The best way to siphon water out of your tank is to vacuum the substrate while you are changing the water. You can vacuum your gravel bed with a Python Gravel Vac. Phython no spill gravel vacs hook to household faucets and automatically start a siphon when you turn on the faucet and drain waste water directly into the faucet.
Putting water back in:
Putting water back in your tank is as easy as filling a container, possibly like the one you used for siphoning water out of the tank, and pouring it in. Be sure to use tap water conditioner if you have tap water in your house and don’t forget to add in some fish tonic or plant additives. If you have a large aquarium you may consider using a small water pump like the maxi-jet 1200 to pump water from a container on the ground up into the aquarium.
Test kits are a must for the serious aquarium. You could assume frequent water changes and filter maintenance will keep your water up to par, however if you have expensive livestock assumptions are the last thing you want to do. For reassurance that your water parameters are correct, use a test kit.
Aquarium Pharmaceuticals or API makes several test kits ranging from a simple PH test to calcium, copper and phosphate. API also offers a master saltwater and reef kit. I’ve been using an old Nitrate and Amonia test kit I got from a used box of aquarium stuff.
API Nitrate and Amonia Test Kits Review:
Color blind aquarist may have issues reading the given chart. Everyone can count! So a drastic change in color after so many drops would be easier. Retrieve water could be easier. Maybe include an eye dropper. I managed to use a cut piece of airline to put in the water and cap with my thumb and release the water into the test tube.
Easy to use, the dropper bottle is easy to get accurate drops. Easy water level line on the test tubes. Cleaning the tubes is easy and the provided caps allow for mixing the water and solution in the tube without spillage. Over 100 tests is always a good thing too!! After your aquarium settles one test kit will last you at least one year if you test your water 2 times per week.
Using activated carbon is great for absorbing organic compounds in water. Almost every filtration system in the aquarium world uses activated carbon. Refillable filter bags are recommended to reduce costs. Replacing carbon yourself is pretty easy and you don’t have to buy a new filter bag every time.
Can be dusty and dirty on the hands. A quick rinse can rinse away the dust. No sure way to tell when to replace activated carbon. Most sources simply say replace monthly, which leaves me to wonder if I’m using the carbon to the fullest or if there is more absorption to be had?
Absorbs organic compounds before they turn into harmful chemicals, and even then the carbon will absorb those harmful chemicals. Generally easy to handle but can be dirty, will leave a dusty residue behind on hands and surfaces unless prewashed. Overall it’s a must, you can’t live without it, and it doesn’t harm anything, unless you like bad chemicals in your water. To put it in perspective, activated carbon is even used in water filtration pitchers and faucet attachments to absorb water impurities.