Creating the Perfect Environment For Tropical Fish

I have been keeping freshwater tropical fish for many years now. If you want to prevent problems with your aquarium and your tropical fish you need to carefully prepare your tank, even before you add fish.
Here is the sequence I used to prepare my aquarium for my tropical fish.
I selected a glass aquarium over acrylic because glass is stronger, easier to clean, does not scratch and will not sag or bend like acrylic.
I bought my tank from a store that specializes in all types of fish. So I was pretty confident in the selection I made that it would not leak. But just the same, you can save your self some grief by performing a leak test of any tank you buy.
Also at the time you leak test it; it is a good idea to clean your tank with warm water. Do not use soap or any other cleaning agent since it may cause problems with your fish.
Before putting in the substrate I placed an aerator at the rear of the aquarium. This way I can cover it with the substrate so it is out of view except for the bubbles.
Ensure you rinse the aerator with warm water to remove any contaminants before placing it in the aquarium.
If you are new to aquariums, you are probably wondering why they call that stuff at the bottom of your aquarium substrate. Substrate is defined as a substance that is acted upon in a biochemical reaction. When we develop an aquarium, we need to also develop bacteria to keep ammonia and nitrites out. This bacterium clings to the stuff at the bottom hence the term substrate.
The substrate I chose was gravel because for my weekly cleanings it is much easier to clean and I liked the look of it. I placed about 50 pounds of gravel in my tank as the substrate. I have it about two inches deep at the front of the aquarium, and gradually increased the depth to three inches as I approached the back of the aquarium and covered the aerator.
Before placing the substrate in, ensure you rinse it with warm water to remove the dirt. If you do not do this your aquarium will be cloudy and difficult to clean up.
I feel this was the most critical step. I obtained five five-gallon buckets, washed out the buckets and then filled them with hot water. I added a conditioner to remove the chemicals and let them sit overnight. I then added the water to the tank using a deflector to prevent disturbing the substrate.
Since I only added twenty-five gallons at a time, this process took me five days.
Filter and Heater
With the tank full, I then added the heater and set it at 77 degrees that is ideal for tropical freshwater fish. Ensure you keep the heater covered to prevent cracking the heater.
Next I placed the filter in and turned it on to start cleaning the water. Ensure you get enough filter for the size tank you select. For my 75-gallon tank I needed three filters.
Besides cleaning your water the filters will also keep colonies of bacteria that will remove ammonia and nitrites from your water.
I use live plants in my aquarium and when the water got to 77 degrees I placed wisteria in the tank. These are good for removing nitrates from the water and give your shy fish a place to hide.
Nitrogen Cycle
Once I had my temperature up to 77 degrees, I placed bacteria in the tank. This step is important to prevent getting ammonia and nitrites in your aquarium. With all my chemistry parameters in spec, pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, I placed three Blue Gourami in to start the nitrogen cycle.
With fish in the tank, waste and decaying excess food will start producing ammonia. Ammonia is toxic to your fish and will be kept at low levels by the bacteria you have placed in the tank. Initially you will see a slight ammonia spike but then it will drop off to zero.
The bacteria will consume the ammonia producing nitrites. Nitrites are also toxic to your fish but other bacteria that you have placed in the tank will consume the nitrites, producing nitrates.
Your live plants will remove nitrates and when you replace part of your water when you clean the tank.
Once your ammonia spike is gone and the nitrites are gone, you have established an environment that your fish will thrive in. The bacteria will keep your ammonia and nitrites at zero. The bacterium now resides on the substrate, filter mechanism and on the tank walls.
You can now start adding fish to your aquarium slowly. I added three a week so as not to upset the equilibrium I had established in the aquarium.

Starting A Freshwater Aquarium

If you are thinking about starting a freshwater aquarium, you will need to know what the terms are that people who have freshwater aquariums use. If you do not know these terms, then you may not be successful at keeping your fish healthy and happy.
Here are some of the important terms you should know:
Aerator - This is a device that adds oxygen to the water in your aquarium. They come in various shapes and sizes. Mine is a tube that lies underneath the substrate and bubbles up through the substrate adding oxygen to the water.
Algae - Is a single cell plant present in all aquariums. I add algae eaters to my aquarium to keep the algae to a minimum.
Ammonia - Is a chemical created by the decay of fish waste and excess fish food. This can be toxic to your fish but is consumed by the bacteria in your tank keeping the ammonia levels at zero ppm.
Bacterial Bloom - This is when the bacteria in your aquarium reach such a large population that they can be seen as cloudy water in your aquarium.
Filter - This is a device that takes water from your tank, filters the water to remove contaminants, and then returns the water to your tank. Bacteria colonies reside on the filters and grab up ammonia and nitrites as they go through the filter.
Heaters - Are submerged tubes with electrodes that keep your water at a constant temperature.
Ick - Is a common disease that could affect your freshwater fish in your aquarium. It is a parasitic disease that creates white spots on your fish.
Nitrates - When the bacteria in your tank consume nitrites they produce nitrates. The nitrates, at low levels, are not that toxic to your fish. They are removed by your aquatic plants and when you change out the water in the aquarium.
Nitrites - When the bacteria consumes ammonia the by-product is toxic nitrites. The bacteria in your aquarium will consume the nitrites.
Nitrogen Cycle - Also called the biological cycle, start up cycle, break-in cycle, nitrification, or cycling, is the process of creating beneficial bacteria that will consume toxic ammonia and nitrites. All successful aquariums will go through this process.
H - Is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of the aquariums water. Tropical freshwater fish like the pH at 6.5 to 7.9.
Substrate - This is that stuff at the bottom of your aquarium usually made of gravel or sand. I prefer gravel because it is easier to clean. Substrate means a substance that is acted upon in a biochemical reaction. The stuff at the bottom of your aquarium is called substrate because of the bacteria that is attached to it. This bacterium is created during the nitrogen cycle.

Benefits of Live Aquarium Plants

When you include live aquarium plants in your fish tank it creates a more natural environment for your fish which is beneficial in so many way. Including plants is just as important as ensuring you have the right temperature or type of water for your fish.
Please keep reading to learn about the great benefits live aquarium plants provide.
Fish breathe oxygen just like we do, only, obviously, they do it in a much different way. Oxygen enters the water in two primary ways. One, through the air and as a result there is a good oxygen concentration near the surface; and two, via plants. The oxygen entering from the surface is not sufficient and will not penetrate very far into your tank. If you do not have live plants you will need an airstone and pump. This is an additional cost and given all the other benefits inherent in live aquarium plants, having real plants is the obvious choice.
You will always need a filter in your aquarium and you will have to remove debris manually but plants can help with filtration as well. Fish create waste products which ends up harming the fish if not removed. Plants are great to help with the removal of carbon and bacteria in the water. If you do not have plants, you will need to make sure that in addition to a mechanical filter, you will also need one to filter for chemicals like carbon and bacteria.
Fish Health:
Fish get stressed out and have an innate need to hide. In their natural habitat, fish will often take to the weeds and other plants that offer refuge. Some species of fish will prefer rocks or SpongeBob's Pineapple so make sure to check with your pet specialist or check on line to learn more about the preferences of your fish. Having live plants as a hideout will result in healthier fish that live longer.
Prevent Algae Build-Up
Guess what? Algae and live plants absorb the same nutrients from the water, but live plants need more of it and absorb it faster thus winning the growth race. If plants use up most of the nutrients, algae will not be able to form. Keep in mind how much work this saves you now that you don't need to constantly scrap algae from the inside of your tank!
Live plants look better. This is the least 'important' benefit, but a benefit nonetheless.
Although the benefits outweigh the cons, there are a few things to keep in mind before running out to purchase some new live aquarium plants. For example, lighting. Plants need light in order to perform photosynthesis resulting in all those great benefits mentioned above. Plants can also play host to unwanted parasites like snails and should be observed in a second container for a few days before being introduced to the tank. Finally, live plants are, well... alive, and so they need to be cared for as well. You will need to pay attention to them, prune them back, remove dead leaves, etc.
Overall, it seems clear that plants are a natural part of an aquatic environment and are a much better option to plastic.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...