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Cleaning Your Aquarium

Cleaning Your Aquarium

This subject may not seem worth an article, but you’d be surprised how little people know about cleaning your aquarium.  I remember when I was a young fish keeper boiling the gravel on the kitchen stove to make sure was as clean as possible, I look back now and think what the hell was I doing??

Everybody likes a clean aquarium, thinking the inhabitants are well kept, happy and not distressed , a little like a cat or dog bed or bird cage, but with aquatic life this can be different.

The aquarium needs to sit somewhere in the middle of this, clean but not overclean.  The popular saying in aquarium talk is you keep water not fish, and this is so true. Bacteria is the key and you do not want to clean this out.

Weekly Cleaning Routine:

Use a non abrasive pad to clean the glass and avoid scrapers around silicone joints if used.  Change any pre-filter pads , avoid over cleaning the main filter pads.

Fortnightly Cleaning Routine:

Use a gravel cleaner to clean the gravel or substrate, it is advised to rotate and do 50% at any cleaning session, this stops taking to much water out of the aquarium, 20% maximum water removal is a good target.

Use this water taken out by the gravel cleaner to clean any filter sponges. NEVER rinse under the faucet as any chlorine will kill the friendly bacteria.

Monthly Cleaning Routine:

Remove rocks or woods or ornaments and remove trapped uneaten food or waste.  Aquarium ornaments can be cleaned using a sponge, avoid any abrasive pads as may remove the paint.  Trim any live plants and remove dead leaves etc.  Exchange or recharge any filter media like carbon.

Never use furniture polish or any household chemical in or around the aquarium and turn off the lights when cleaning to try and keep the stress down from the cleaning of the aquarium.

 

For all aquariums, big and small AquariumH2o has the supplies you need to keep your dream aquarium! When we say we have all the supplies you need, we mean it, we are a one-stop shop for all that you need. If you have any questions, call us at 856-985-9339 or email us at sales@aquariumH2o.com.

Bottom Feeder Fish So Important

Why Are Bottom Feeder Fish So Important?

So why are bottom feeder fish so important to an aquarium?

Why are bottom feeder fish so important?  A bottom feeder is an aquatic animal that feeds on uneaten foods, algae and other debris on the bottom of the tank. In essence, cleaning the aquarium for you.  The general room of thumb with stocking quantities is one bottom feeder for 6 of mid or surface feeding species.  Bottom feeding types are usually catfish based species or loaches, popular in the ornamental trade.  See Swell UK’s article on bottom fish.

Aquarium fish can be broken down to three types of fish:

  1. Surface Feeders, these are aquarium fish with mouths on the top of the head, like guppies.
  2. Mid Range Feeders, these are aquarium fish with mouths at the front of the head, like tetra’s.
  3. Bottom Feeders, these are aquarium fish with mouths at the bottom of the head, like corydoras.

Most types of bottom feeders have barbells to help locate food, as in the wild are usually in dark dee water with little natural light.  They often have a flattened body shape as they spend most of their lives skimming the bottom of tanks and aquariums.

Uneaten food from over feeding or fish waste can pollute aquarium water fast, as due to being a small body of water usually 10-150 gallons.  Bottom feeders eat this food source and therefore help maintain a better aquarium water quality.  Also, create zones in the aquarium to stop over crowding of species.

It is important that you use aquarium foods that are suitable for bottom feeders, it is common in aquariums that the bottom feeders can starve, if you are only feeding floating flakes there is often little food that gets to the bottom of the aquarium.  Granule’s or sinking pellets are suitable for bottom feeders, Aquariumh2o stock Dajana products specially formulated for bottom feeders.

For all aquariums, big and small AquariumH2o has the supplies you need to keep your dream aquarium crystal clear! When we say we have all the supplies you need, we mean it, we are a one-stop shop for all that you need. If you have any questions, call us at 856-985-9339 or email us at sales@aquariumH2o.com.

choosing the right aquarium substrate or gravel

Choosing The Right Aquarium Substrate

When setting up a new tank choosing the right aquarium substrate or gravel is one of the most important considerations to be taken into account.
Careful consideration is the key to your success or failure in many cases.

Why do you need substrate? You do not actually need it as many fish are kept in aquariums without substrate and would be easy to maintain, but would not look attractive and the fish are not going to act like they are in natural underwater environment.

The first considerations are what fish you are going to keep? What PH range is required?  Hard or soft water? Substrates chosen specifically for these will help.  Coral based sand for instance will give hard, alkaline water parameters and a silica gravel base will give a more neutral PH.

Additional consideration is do you want to have natural live plants? If so, choose a substrate that is designed for plant root growth.

What size substrate do I use?  Larger fish especially cichlids are better with coarser heavier gravels. Bottom feeders prefer a smaller gravel size or sand.

Adding Substrate

Gravel is probably the most popular substrate option for many aquariums. The variation in shapes, sizes and colors make gravel suitable for a variety of set-ups.

Substrate material should be between half to 2 inch thick especially if plants are going to be grown.

Wash it first under fresh running water to get all particles of dirt out to stop your aquarium going cloudy.

To calculate how much sand or gravel you’ll need to buy in order to achieve a two Inch (2″) gravel depth in your fish tank, please use the following formula:

  1.  Multiply tank length by tank width (in inches); Example: 36″ in. x 14″ in. = 893
  2. Divide the answer by 10; 504 / 10 = 50.4 lb or 23 kilo

Spread the substrate out evenly and try to create a slight slope in the front to allow cleaning to be a little easier.

Using proper consideration while choosing the right aquarium substrate will make your next new tank set up a proper success.

How To Choose and Introduce New Fish to Your Aquarium

How To Choose and Introduce New Fish to Your Aquarium

Here are some useful tips on how to choose and introduce new fish to your aquarium.  Every aquarium owner loves this part of fish keeping. The excitement of going to your local fish store, choosing your new fish, asking advice, buying new supplies. Then, rushing home to add them to your collection.

How To Choose and Introduce New Fish to Your Aquarium:

  • Use a reputable long established aquarium store, does not have to be a big strip mall store, often the best aquarium stores are tucked away offering in many cases generations of experience and knowledge.
  • If you are just starting out and are adding fish to an aquarium, never purchase more than three fish on any visit.  Another great tip is take some of your aquarium water with you if you do not own a test kit to check your water quality.  Often stores will charge a small fee to check your water quality, well worth it to stop any issues increasing stocking density may cause.  Also, see our Blog on new aquarium syndrome: https://www.aquariumh2o.com/2019/09/19/new-aquarium-syndrome/.
  • Talk to the staff and tell them what you already have in your collection and what they recommend for your level of experience and local water conditions. Some fish like Discus require soft water and if you live in a hard water area will make it more difficult to keep these type of fish.
  • Once you get back home, first thing to do is turn your aquarium light off, they are stressed enough from the ride home without adding to been thrown straight under bright lights.
  • Place the fish transport bags so they float on the aquarium and leave them for at least 10-15 minutes so the water temperatures in the bag and aquarium equalize again to minimize stress.
  • When opening the transport bag don’t rip it or try to puncture it, use scissors or take off the rubber band. Most experienced fish keepers will not add the store water to the aquarium when they introduce the fish as well, so get your aquarium net and place over a vessel like a small bucket and slowly pour the contents through the net so catching the fish, then slowly introduce the fish to the aquarium. You can of course add the water if easier, just mix the water slowly together.   Finally, slowly tip the fish out so they can escape.

How To Choose and Introduce New Fish to Your Aquarium

  • Keep the aquarium light off to ensure the fish can get used to their new home.  Monitor the new arrivals for stress, be sure they aren’t being picked on as new kids on the block.
  • Enjoy watching the new fish in your aquarium, after all, that’s why you bought them.

 

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When it comes to aquarium keeping, it just comes down to how much time and expense you can give, either way AquariumH2o has the supplies you need to make your dream aquarium, fish, turtle or reptile tank come to life! When we say we have all the supplies you need, we mean it, we are a one-stop shop for all that you need.  From an Gravels & Substrates to maintenance care and Aquarium Aeration, we have you covered! If you have any questions call us at 856-985-9339 or email us at sales@aquariumh2o.com .

Fish Species Explained – Angel Fish

Fish Species Explained – Corydoras

Fish Species Explained – Corydoras

Fish Species Explained – Corydoras covers a wide selection of bottom feeder fish, covering nearly 200 species. Callichthyidae, the Latin name and Corydoradinae been the sub species where the abbreviated word Cory.  Check out other species in our Information Center.

Corydoras are peaceful bottom feeders, best kept in small shoals. All Corydoradinae species originate from South America. They can be very active and alert while moving around the aquarium. It is important to always have hiding places for them to rest.  Be mindful when feeding that food meant for bottom feeders is used, as sometimes bottom feeding fish can starve if no food ever reaches the bottom.

Originate – South America
Water Conditions – 7-7.8 PH Tropical 72-80 Degrees
Community Fish – Ideal, use ratio of 1 bottom feeder to 6 surface or mid range fish
Breeding – Egg Layer
Comments – Best kept in small groups or pairs. Make sure the aquarium has a good base of gravel for corydoras to search for food and as they generally scavenge.

Conclusion

Fish Species Explained – Corydoras are a must for any freshwater tropical aquarium, attractive and useful for hoovering up all uneaten food. Can easily live for up to 5 years and are very hardy species.

Check out our shop for fabulous accessories for your tropical aquariums, reptile habitats and more.

Fish Species Explained – Angel Fish

Fish Species Explained – Angel Fish

Fish Species Explained – Angel Fish

Fish Species Explained – Angel Fish, looks at the requirements of the Pterophyllum Species, check out other species in our Information Center.

Pterophyllum is a small genus of freshwater fish from the family Cichlidae commonly known to most aquarists as angelfish and contain over 20 color variants and shapes. All Pterophyllum species originate from the Amazon Basin, Orinoco Basin and various rivers in the Guiana Shield in tropical South America.  This unique body shape allows angelfish to hide among roots and plants.

Originate – South America
Water Conditions – 6-7.2 PH Tropical 78-82 Degrees
Community Fish – Suitable with larger community species, can be territorial
Breeding – Egg Layer
Comments – Best kept in small groups or pairs.

Conclusion

Fish Species Explained – Angel Fish in a fish tank can be very easy to care for.  Once set up in an aquarium, Angel Fish require little maintenance other than proper water conditions and tend to be hearty fish that can live for 5 to 10 years.  Angel fish can have very distinctive personalities and can be quite personable. However, they tend to be territorial and can be aggressive towards other fish.

Check out our shop for fabulous accessories for your tropical aquariums, reptile habitats and more.

Fish Species Explained - Tetra's

Fish Species Explained – Tetra’s

Fish Species Explained – Tetra’s

Fish Species Explained – Tetra’s, looks at the requirements of the Tetra Species, check out other species in our Information Center

Tetra’s are a common species.  Easy to obtain and generally easy to keep.  Tetra’s are a favorite with aquarium fish keepers all over the world. They are generally originate from Africa, South & Central America.  Species Group-Characidae which contains over 150 species and sub species.

Fish keeping Level- Easy/Moderate

Popular Tetra’s available for your aquarium.

Fish Species Explained - Tetra's

Neon Tetra ((Paracheirodon innesi)

Originate South America
Water Conditions 6-7.2 PH Tropical 68-82 Degrees
Community Fish Yes
Breeding – Egg Layer and not easy to breed
Comments. One of the most popular aquarium species available, easy to keep, look great in small shoals has a light-blue back over and blue horizontal stripe along each side of the fish grow to approx 1.2 Inch in overall length.

 

Rummey Nose Tetra (Hemigrammus rhodostomus)

Rummey Nose Tetra (Hemigrammus rhodostomus)

Originate South America
Water Conditions 6-7.2 PH Tropical 68-82 Degrees
Community Fish Yes
Breeding – Egg Layer and not easy to breed
Comments. Rummy-nose tetra is a torpedo-shaped fish, usually one central black stripe in the central portion of the tail fin, head is a deep red color and grow up to 2 Inch long. Great addition to a amazonian tank with slight acidic water ideal with Discus. Great shoaling fish and always add interest to any aquarium with their bright red nose.

 

Congo Tetra (Hemigrammus rhodostomus)

Congo Tetra (Hemigrammus rhodostomus)

Originate Congo River Basin Africa
Water Conditions 6-7 PH Tropical 75-82 Degrees
Community Fish Yes
Breeding – Egg Layer and not easy to breed
Comments. Congo tetra is one of the larger tetra species. Congo Tetras are blue on top, changing to red through the middle to yellow-gold, and back to blue with flowing fins. The males get up to 3 inches (8.5 cm). Females up to 2.75 inches (6 cm). The male is larger, usually with more color, also the tail and dorsal fins are more extended. Congo Tetras prefer slightly harder alkaline water and great in shoals, and is a peaceful species.

 

Serpae Tetra (Hyphessobrycon eques)

Serpae Tetra (Hyphessobrycon eques)

Originate Brazil, Peru, Paraguay & Boliva South America
Water Conditions 6-7 PH Tropical 72-79 Degrees
Community Fish Yes
Breeding – Egg Layer and not easy to breed
Comments. Serpae Tetra can grow to be 5 cm (2 in). They have very distinctive coloring with a red body and a black spot near their eye.  As with most South American tera species prefer slightly acidic softer water.

Conclusion

Fish Species Explained – Tetra’s are a perfect fish for just about every type of aquarium.  Tetras are usually easy to keep, generally peaceful fish and very colorful. Found in most tropical aquarium fish stores.  And, generally one of the more inexpensive purchases.

Check out our shop for fabulous accessories for your tropical aquariums, reptile habitats and more.

Real or Artificial Aquarium Decor

Real or Artificial Aquarium Décor?

The eternal question in fishkeeping, do you go Real or Artificial Aquarium Décor plants, rocks and wood ornaments decorations?

Artificial Aquarium Décor

Artificial aquarium decorations are easy to maintain with no dying plants, wood or rocks altering the PH of the water.  Fish tanks with artificial decorations are quick to setup, usually with no additional requirements such as, special lighting to help the real plants thrive. Usually take just a good wash in water  and placement in the tank.

Advancements in the aquatic décor industry has produced better designed artificial rocks, plants and woods.  Ultimately,  giving a real look to aquarium aquascaping.  When done properly, your time and money invested will offer long term, easy to maintain aquariums and fish tanks.

Real Natural Aquascaping 

A fully planted aquarium with thriving aquatic plants, that contains brightly colored aquarium fish swimming in between, just like the below photo, is unbeatable for relaxation and looks. Fish and aquatic life will tend to thrive better in a natural aquarium as there is more natural food from plants and other organic matter.  Turns out this is good for people as wellPsychology Today compiled research and studies in to the effects of “blue spaces” on mental health. These “blue spaces” refer to bodies of water in general and the findings show that being in the presence of bodies of water regularly can reduce levels of anxiety and depression. So, in this case – aquariums are good for your health.  

 

Real or Artificial Aquarium Décor

When it comes to aquarium keeping, it just comes down to how much time and expense you can give, either way AquariumH2o has the supplies you need to make your dream aquarium, fish, turtle or reptile tank come to life! When we say we have all the supplies you need, we mean it, we are a one-stop shop for all that you need.  From an Gravels & Substrates to maintenance care and Aquarium Aeration, we have you covered! If you have any questions call us at 856-985-9339 or email us at sales@aquariumh2o.com .

Feeding your aquarium fish

Feeding Aquarium Fish Guidance

Feeding your aquarium fish is one of the great pleasures of owning an aquarium. Interacting with the fish and watching them come to the surface in full view of you.

There are many different types of aquarium fish food on the market and I will quickly explain the pro’s and con’s of each type.  But one item stays constant no matter what type of food you are feeding, if the all the food as not been eaten in 5 minutes you are overfeeding!

Flake Fish Food


Most popular and widely used food type, manufactured by forcing the ingredients through two rollers to create a thin flake. Great for surface feeders like guppies, mollies and any fish with the mouth on the upper part of the head, an easy way to identify a surface feeder.  Reputable food manufacturers add all the nutrients and vitamins aquarium fish require, often called a ‘staple diet’.

Pro’s
Easy to source and a complete diet. Allows you to see your fish on the surface.
Con’s
Food can be pulled into a aquarium filter easily
Not suitable for goldfish or bottom feeders

Pellet Food

Pellet foods are a great way to feed a mixture of species as other fish can take the pellet ‘on the drop’ and bottom feeders can hoover any that hit the aquarium floor.

Pro’s
Often better value for money and come in different size pellets. Avoids food getting sucked into filters.
Con’s
Not suitable for surface feeders and can easily overfeed.

Tablets Food

Feeding aquarium fish

Feeding aquarium fish

Compressed flake or pellets into small tablets. Adhesive tablets are great for affixing to the front of the aquarium glass to get close and personal with your fish.

Pro’s
Slow release so helps stop overfeeding. Ideal for bottom feeders like corydoras.
Con’s
Not suitable for surface feeders

Live Food

Feeding your aquarium fish

Feeding your aquarium fish

Probably the best type of food to feed, as if the fish were in the wild. Bloodworms and daphnia are the most common to be purchased.

Pro’s
Full of natural food and fun to feed and a great food supplement. Frozen live food is a good alternative and easy to store

Con’s
Always wash the live food and do not add the water to avoid adding disease.  As short shelf life and can be hard to source.

Experienced fish keepers will use all of the above food types to give an all round balanced and interesting diet to the aquarium inhabitants.

aquarium syndrome

What Is New Aquarium Syndrome

Aquarium Syndrome or New Tank Syndrome is a term that basically describes the problem new aquarium setups may encounter.

Due to the small volume in most aquariums water conditions may soon alter for the worse in regards to tanks usually under 100 gallon water parameters.

The cause of the new aquarium syndrome is a lack of friendly bacteria to help break down the waste the fish are producing and maintain a ecosystem in the aquarium. Allow the aquarium to go through the Nitrogen Cycle which can take up to 8 weeks.  The aquarium will then be ‘balanced’, this means all bad toxins and fish waste has been converted to maintain a healthy aquarium.

There are ways a aquarist can help this natural process:

  • Choose an aquarium filter with a large biological capacity and suitable for your size of aquarium and more.
    Aquarium filters are designed to run 24 hours a day.  This allows bacteria to survive and flourish.
  • Seed the filter with bacteria before you add fish.
  • Fit a mature filter or add gravel from another established aquariu this jump starts the cycle
  • Don’t overstock or stock too quickly.  Never add more than 2 fish at a time and leave a week in between to allow the filter to cope with new inhabitants.
  • Don’t overfeed. If you have uneaten fish food in the aquarium after 5 minutes you are over feeding.  Always remove uneaten food.
  • Don’t wash your filter foam media or the gravel substrate under the faucet, the chlorine will kill good bacteria.
  • Change 20% of the water every week for 4 weeks then 10% of the water for a further 4 weeks, this will dilute any toxins.
  • Always leave replacement water 24 hours to allow chlorines to evaporate or add a tap water conditioner.
  • Buy a test kit and check Ammonia (NH3) & Nitrite (No2).
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