Thursday, February 25, 2010

Planted Aquarium Problems You May Encounter

Planted Aquarium Problems
Problems that you may have with a planted aquarium are as follows: If you have fish in your tank they may nibble on the plants or even dig up the roots. If you have this planted aquarium problem, then you may opt not to have live plants, but rather put in rocks, caves, or fake plants. But if you are careful enough, you should be able to find plants that your fish will not want to ingest. Fast growing plants can handle a few nibbles, so if your fish are nibblers then consider getting a strong, fast growing plant.

Another planted aquarium problem is having dead and decaying plants in your tank. Even though plants can act like natural filters by absorbing the nasty compounds found in the water, they can also re-release those compounds back into the water if they die. So always observe your plants and if they look unhealthy or dying, remove them as quickly as you can.

Plants need light to survivor. So avoid any plant growth problems by having adequate lighting for the types of plants you put into your aquarium. Fluorescent lights are the best for this, but some plants even require stronger lights, and if your a beginner aquarium keeper, it is not recommended that you start out with plants that require very demanding lights.

So to sum up some of the problems that you may have with a planted aquarium, you will not want to have fish that will eat up your plants, nor do you want fish that can dig away at the roots. It is also important that you prune and remove any plants, including loose leaves, so as not to allow them to die and pollute your aquarium. Lastly, you will want to make sure that you have the proper lighting for you plants so they can grow. Avoid these common problems with planted aquariums and you will find joy and satisfaction in keeping a beautiful aquarium with plants.

Freshwater Aquarium Problems You May Encounter

Freshwater Tank Problems
Having an aquarium can be a truly satisfying hobby, especially if a tank is well maintained and filled with colorful and attractive fish, rocks, plants, and other creatures. But even a clean, beautiful aquarium can become very unsightly if it becomes dirty, if you have sick fish, or if the tank is covered by algae.

This can become a major problem if you do not take care of your tank. An aquarium may appear to run on autopilot, but it doesn't in actuality. You must stay on top of your tank or you will have problems! What can you do to make sure you don't run into major problems with your aquarium?

The most important thing is to make sure your water is clean, fresh, and healthy. Adding a good filter can help to ensure this. A filters job is to cycle your water while removing waste and other substances that are in your aquarium. If you are using a filter that utilizes a filter cartridge, then you will want to check this on a daily basis and make sure it is still clean. If not, then you will want to change it. Monthly cartridge changes are highly recommended!

If you are not careful, algae can overtake your tank very quickly. And it will get all over everything in your tank. A simple solution is to add fish that feed on algae, such as a Pleco. You may only need one or may need a few, depending on the size of your aquarium.

If your tank has substrate at the bottom, such as gravel, you will want to use a siphon to vacuum any buildup of debris that has embedded itself into your substrate. While you are siphoning out debris you will also be taking out dirty, nasty water. A good rule of thumb is to remove about twenty percent of your water each time you clean. This will keep your water mostly fresh and it will not disrupt the ecosystem too much.

You will want to add back clean, fresh water into your aquarium, but be don't put cold or hot water in. It is good to check the temperature of the replacement water prior to adding it to your tank and make sure that it is fairly close to your tanks temperature. And make sure that no harmful chemicals are being added into your aquarium via your tap water. Always test your tap water, and if you detect even a hint of a dangerous chemical, such as chlorine, then you will want to add another chemical that will de-chlorinate it.

Once your tank is fully established it won't take much to keep it maintained. However, if you slack in maintaining your aquarium it won't take long to look dirty and gross. Heed this aquarium keeping advice and your will avoid having problems in your freshwater aquarium.

Planted Tank Filter Advice for Beginners

Planted Aquarium Filter Advice
To make an aquarium look really awesome you may want to consider adding some freshwater plants. Why? That's a really good question to ask. The reason they are awesome is because of all the things that plants can do to enhance your aquarium. For example, most freshwater plants are colorful, thus adding beauty to your tank. Plus, they can help in maintaining your aquarium, acting as a natural filter, as well as give shelter for any fish that you may have.

It does require some work on your part in order to have live plants in your tank. But the benefits are spectacular! Its not hard to have freshwater plants and if you have the right kind of lighting and you don't put in any kind of fish that may eat the plants, you'll be good.

If you think back to chemistry class, you may remember the topic of photosynthesis and how light plays a major part in the growing process. But in addition, the real benefit of plants is they consume the nutrients in the water that are given off by fish, and thus is harmful, but in return they give off oxygen, which can enrich your tank! Having a good lighting system is imperative to this process. So basically, if you put in live plants in your tank, you are actually adding a live filter.

But you will still need additional filters to make your tank run smoothly. Don't use an under gravel filter, but you may consider any hang on the back (HOB), that is big enough for the size of your aquarium. Try to avoid any filter than can cause a lot movement with the water. You want your water to cycle but you don't want a huge under current.

Yes, adding live plants to your aquarium is certainly beneficial plus it makes your tank look beautiful. Using plants as natural filters is a good route to go and it is more natural for fish than fake plants. Always add an additional filter to remove excess debris, but avoid too much current flow. Hopefully this filter advice for planted aquariums will help you in setting up an aquarium filled with beauty.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reef Aquarium Problems You May Encounter

Reef Aquarium Information That Hopefully Will Help You Avoid Problems
It's nice to see that you are interested in starting a reef aquarium. However, there are some things that you need to consider before starting out. Aquarium keeping for beginners is a big hobby and you will want to make sure you are totally prepared so as to avoid any problems that may come your way.

One of the first things that you want to think about is, what are you going to keep in your reef aquarium? This is important to consider because if you know what creatures or things you are going to house in your tank, then you will be able to know what other things go with them, or what is needed to allow them to thrive. Take just for an example, are you going to have corals? If you do, are you going to have soft or hard ones? If you are not sure of the difference, then it is absolutely imperative that you do some additional research to learn all there is to know about corals. To keep these types of creatures in your aquarium requires superb lighting and water chemistry. In addition, you will need to know how to feed them correctly.

Without knowing what you are going to put in your tank, then you are planning for failure!

Another consideration is cost. How much are you willing to spend to set up a reef aquarium, and how much will you need to have each month to maintain your reef aquarium? To be perfectly honest, a reef aquarium can cost a lot of money and it definitely takes quite a bit of time maintain it. When you have a reef aquarium, you also need to run other items that can cost you money as well. Have you considered the extra cost it would take to run specialty lights, pumps, and filters? Then there is the job of changing the water on a regular basis. It is highly recommended that you change roughly 10% of the water on a weekly basis. This can be costly if your tap water has chlorine and you have to de-chlorinate it each week. And it certainly can be costly if you decide to buy water from your LFS (local fish store). You can save yourself a lot of money if you invest in a reverse osmosis system, and it will not only benefit your reef aquarium, but also you as an individual. However, you will still need to purchase salt mixes.

Another cost, but not as much, is feeding. The more creatures you have in your tank, the more diversity you will need in feeding. One type of food will not feed every tank mate. If you have fish, then they will require certain kinds of foods. If you have invertebrates or corals, you will need a different type of food.

Then there is water chemistry. Your water will be depleted of necessary elements as your creatures use them up to survive, so you will have to also invest in having certain chemicals to add back into your system. And in order to know what is low, or high for that matter, you will need to have on hand different kinds of test kits and buffers. And these are necessary if you want to succeed in this hobby.

Can you see where I'm going with all of this? It is not as simple as saying you want a reef aquarium, but it means that it will take money, time, and knowledge to setup and maintain it. All of this sounds very negative, but I hoping to enlighten people a little before they embark on the wonderful world of reef keeping. These are things that you need to consider or you will encounter problems. But don't despair, there is enough information out there that can help you to become knowledgeable and with enough desire you can understand it and become good.

Now when it comes to money I can't help you there, but at least I've made an attempt to let people know that it will be quite expensive. Don't let this article be of discouragement to you, but rather, let it be an outline that you can use to explore the world of reef aquarium keeping for beginners and finding joy and satisfaction in doing it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Freshwater Tank Filter Advice for Beginners

Aquarium Filter Information for Beginners
If you are deciding on having a freshwater aquarium, something that you will need to give thought to, is what kind of filter you should use? The reason why is because a filter for your tank is very necessary. There are a number of kinds of filter categories that you will need to consider. This brings us to a discussion of mechanical, chemical and biological filtration.

Mechanical, Chemical, and Biological Filtration Advice for Freshwater Tanks
The mechanical filter removes the visible solids from your aquarium water, whereas a chemical filter gets rid of any chemical buildup. A third type of filter is biological. This filter removes all kinds of organic compounds from your tank water. Biological filtration occurs when micro creatures convert various compounds into nitrate and nitrite which are then broken down by other micro-organism.s If these types of compounds are not eliminated from your tank you can easily get an algae outbreak. Not good! Waste from your fish and other creatures in your aquarium will cause a rise in ammonia levels, and this in time will kill your fish. Biological filtration is very effective in removing those high levels.

So before you actually add fish to your tank, you will want to allow your tank to cycle, which gives micro-organisms to develop and to multiply.

A very common filter that many use is a filter that simply hangs of the back of your aquarium. Oftentimes these types of filters utilize all three of the filtration systems we already mentioned and their simplicity makes it easy for beginners. But you are not limited to just a HOB filter. But rather you could also consider a gravel filter or a canister filter.

When it comes to filtration for your freshwater aquarium, bigger is always better. You can't go wrong with having a filter that is too big, but you will have problems if you have one that is too small. Even though a filter is a single piece for your aquarium, having one is of utmost importance and to be honest with you it is probably the most important item that you can have for your tank. I hope this advice helps you to be able to setup and enjoy your aquarium for years to come.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saltwater Tank Filter Advice for Beginners

Saltwater Aquarium Filter Information
When it comes to saltwater aquariums and filters the majority of people only know about mechanical filters. However, there are actually 3 kinds of filters. Mechanical, of course, but then there are chemical and biological filters. Each filter has its own function but all three are pretty much necessary to keep your tank water clean and healthy.

Mechanical Filtration for Saltwater Tanks
Just as there are different categories of filters (mechanical, biological, and chemical), under each category are different types of filters. One example of a type of mechanical filter is a reverse osmosis filter (RO filter). You may be familiar with this type of filter because it is common in a lot of homes. It is designed to filter out tiny particulate matter that may be in your tap water. RO filters come in varying filtering levels all measured in microns. There are layers and layers of filtering sheets inside the RO container and these sheets have tiny holes. And if any substrate comes along that is bigger than the hole, guess what? You probably guessed that they get captured and are not allowed to pass on.

Another excellent example of a mechanical filter is a protein skimmer. The water in your aquarium will gradually become saturated with dangerous chemicals that can harm your tank mates. Some substances include nitrates and phosphates. It becomes like an oily substance and it will rise to the top of your aquarium water.

A protein skimmer can remove these organic compounds by means of a unique process. The filter utilizes microscopic bubbles. The more bubbles the better. What happens is the bubbles will carry the organic compound molecules up and out of the water. They are light enough that as the bubbles rise they ride along and end up overflowing into a tray as the bubbles pop. It's a really neat filter!

Chemical Filtration for Saltwater Aquariums
The second category of filters that we have already mentioned is called chemical filtration. An example of a common chemical filter is activated carbon. As water passes through and around the carbon, toxins and other dangerous elements are absorbed into it, much like a sponge. Carbon filtration can result in crystal clear water, eliminating any unwanted yellowish tint that can result from a build up of some these dangerous chemicals.

There is a draw back to using this type of chemical filter though. Not only does it take out bad chemicals and elements, but it also removes some that are necessary. So some, like myself, do not recommend using it. And as the carbon sucks up the surrounding elements it can become over-saturated rather quickly and so it needs to be replaced often. Because if you don't, it can cause more harm than good, by re-releasing those dangerous elements back into your aquarium, and that would not be good at all!

Like I said, I personally do not use this type of chemical filter in my aquarium except when I have to put in medicine. It is good in removing any excess medication, but I don't put it in too soon and I don't keep it in too long. And do remember, that if you are using carbon filtration, it is a good idea to remove it if you are needing to add medicine to your tank. It will act like a sponge and remove the medicine quickly, making your purchase of medicine a waste of money and time.

Another chemical filter that is very similar to activated carbon filtration is the use of resin media. It is great in removing the bad stuff and it is a little milder when it comes to taking out elements from your aquarium water that is needed. I highly recommend this type of filtration.

Biological Filtration for Saltwater Aquariums
This now brings us to the third type of filter system for your aquarium, biological filtration. This is the more natural kind of filtration which uses actual bacteria to remove unwanted wastes from your system. As your tank creatures release excreta into the water and as tiny creatures die, the bacteria feeds on this and it converts it to almost harmless nitrates. And if you have a protein skimmer running, the by-product of these bacteria will then be removed through the skimmer.

By adding live rock into your aquarium you can achieve this type of natural filtration. It is called 'live' rock because that is what it is, it is alive with all kinds of tiny creatures from the ocean that are waiting to clean up your tank.

Other types of filters that can act like multiple types of filters are undergravel filters and wet/dry filters. Both are good, but a wet/dry filter is probably the better of the two in my opinion.

A wet/dry filter is usually a separate tank that resides below your main show tank, so it does require additional space, but it works very well. A pump inside the W/D filter pumps water back into your main tank causing it to force water into an overflow reservoir which then overflows back into the tank below. As the water makes its way through the lower filter it passes into such things as live rock, sand that has billions of bacteria, and oftentimes there are other creatures living in there that are effective in removing disgusting stuff from your main tank.

Another popular filter is the use of the mangrove plant. This can be used for example in a wet/dry filter.
As this plant grows it removes organic compounds from the water because it uses these compounds to thrive. This type of filter is very effective and it can actually reduce the load that is often put on a protein skimmer.

What Type of Filter Is Right for My Saltwater Tank?
You may be asking yourself, 'what filter is best for me?' It all depends on what is in your aquarium and how serious you are in setting up a very balanced aquarium. As you consider your aquarium and the types of creatures you are going to put into it, talk with your local fish store and they should be able to help you in determining which filter(s) will be needed. Enjoy and good luck!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

How to Setup a Planted Aquarium

Setting Up an Aquarium With Plants
When you add plants to a freshwater aquarium you are actually creating a miniature underwater environment that copies the original pretty close. Setting up a planted aquarium is a great hobby to get into and if you add fish, this will aid them in their survival. What is the key to success?

Here is some advice that will aid you in doing that. The success of an aquarium that has plants starts from the bottom. What I mean by that is you will succeed if you have good substrate. A good substrate will allow your plants to root well and if you choose a substrate that has a good level of iron, this will cause the plants to thrive.

Fish need to have stable water chemistry to survive and so do plants. If you choose plants that require the same ph and kh levels as the fish you are going to put in, then you should be ok.

You will also want to consider adequate lighting. Too much light will cause an outbreak of algae, whereas insufficient lighting can hinder growth of both your fish and plants. You will need to make sure that the lighting you choose is sufficient for you tank environment. In real life, the sun does not shine 24 hours a day, nor should your lighting be on 24 hours either. And the opposite of that fact is true as well.

It is best that you add your plants before adding any fish, but if you do have fish already, then you may want to put them in a separate tank until the plants adapt and adjust to the tank. After this takes place, you can then add them back in.

Constant monitoring of the water is going to be needed to make sure that the plants are getting enough of what they need, and that they are not leeching anything dangerous into the water to harm your fish. Sometimes plants need additional nutrients to help them grow, but only add chemicals if it is absolutely needed.

Keep an eye on your plants and if you have setup your aquarium correctly you will enjoy them and your fish for a very long time.

How to Setup a Freshwater Aquarium

Setting Up a Freshwater Tank
It is good to see that you are interested in the hobby of setting up a freshwater aquarium. Proper setup will ensure that all the creatures that reside in your aquarium will thrive and survive. Saltwater tanks are a little more difficult to set up than a freshwater one, so it is good to see that you have chosen the easier one.

The first step that you want to do is decide where you want to place your aquarium. Once you have chose the location for your aquarium you will then want to choose the size of the tank and the stand that it will be placed on. Make sure that the stand will be strong enough to hold the weight of your new tank. It would be horrible if the stand collapsed because it was not strong enough!

When you buy an aquarium, whether it is glass or acrylic, it comes dirty. Before you add anything to your tank make sure you clean the tank. However, soap is not a good choice to clean it. It is best to just use warm water and a rag.

The items that you will need to properly run your freshwater aquarium include, a good filter, a lighting system, and a heater. You don't need to have the best or most expensive equipment, but it is important that you have the necessary things to keep your tank running smoothly. Additional research may be needed to pick the right equipment if you are not familiar of them.

If you are going to want to place decorations and gravel in your freshwater tank, you will also want to clean these as well. Run decorations under warm water, and place gravel in a bucket and run water through it so that the gravel residue will gradually dissipate. A cloudy tank is not a good tank!

Once you have cleaned these items, you will then want to place them in the tank and then add water. Always check your tap water to make sure that it is free of chlorine since any trace of this chemical will cause adverse affects on any fish you may put into it. You can do this by buying a chlorine test kit. If there is chlorine then you may need to consider using chemicals to eliminate the chemical or use alternative water sources.

When and if the water is safe, you will then add water as well as any of your equipment that you are going to use to run the aquarium. This is another important thing that you will need to do once your tank is set up. You will want to allow time for the tank to cycle. This is called the nitrogen cycle and this must take place before any creatures are added. This process allows a buildup of bacteria in the water that will aid in the removal of detritus that will accumulate from fish in the tank. Another words, they will help remove the poop

It is important that you do not add any fish at this time. If fish are added and there is no bacteria present to break down the nitrogen your fish will suffer and die. After this cycle has run its course, you may then add fish, but slowly, like 1 or 2 at a time. Doing it slowly like this will not overload your system and it will allow the fish to get used to their new environment. Stress is another thing that will kill fish, but if you add them to their new home slowly this can reduce stress and thus reduce death.

After you have added your fish to your aquarium you are now required to maintain your tank. Learn the proper procedures to do this and learn to watch for anything that could cause harm to your fish mates. If you do this, you will enjoy your freshwater aquarium for a long time.

How to Setup a Saltwater Aquarium

Setting Up a Saltwater Aquarium-How to Tips
I'm glad to see that you are interested in setting up a saltwater aquarium and so I am going to give you a few tips that you can use to get off on the right foot. If you keep these tips in mind as you set up your tank, you will find success and avoid heartache that some have encountered (like myself).

Tip 1: A very crucial step in setting up any aquarium or fish tank is to make sure that wherever you decide to set it up at, that it is sitting level on the floor.

I shouldn't have to tell you the reasons why this is crucial but I will: an aquarium that is not level can put undo pressure on the sides and this can cause it to leak (if you have an acrylic tank this will not be an issue however). Another reason to level your tank is because it can be unstable. Bumping it may cause it to fall over. That would not be good! By using a standard level you will be able to get an aquarium that is stable and secure. Measure from all angles and raise or lower any corners to make sure that the tank is completely level. And don't forget to always double check your work to make sure that it is correct and to compensate for any settling.

Tip 2: It is a good idea to fully setup your saltwater aquarium before putting any water in it.

This would include dry-fitting all of your filters, sumps, lighting, etc. By doing this you will avoid having to move it after filling it. It would be a bummer if you realized that you don't like where you put the tank, or you find out that you put it too close to the wall. Ouch!

Something else that goes along with this tip is the background. If you are going to use a background on your saltwater aquarium, install it before adding water. Especially if you are going to be painting the back of your tank. Waiting until the end to paint the back, for example, will be very difficult to do once you have your aquarium in its location, leveled, and filled with water.

Tip 3: If you are going to have substrate, such as gravel, in your tank, make sure that you wash the gravel before adding it.

Many people do not know about this and they put the substrate in and then add water and it ends up being cloudy. And it seems like it stays cloudy forever, trust me! To avoid this, put some of the gravel in a five gallon bucket, or something similar, and run water through the gravel until it is clear. Do this over and over again with all the substrate until the water is no longer cloudy. Then when you put the substrate into your tank you will want to place a dinner plate on top of it and gradually add water, making sure to pour the water directly onto the plate. You thus will avoid disturbing the gravel less this way. If done properly you tank water will be pretty clear by the time you completely fill it.

I hope these tips on how to setup a saltwater aquarium helps you. Enjoy the hobby and good luck.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Advantages of Acrylic Aquarium Tanks Versus Glass

Considering an Acrylic Fish Tank
When it comes to aquariums, most people think of tanks made of glass. However, another option is acrylic. There are a number of good reasons why you should consider an aquarium made of acrylic. Hopefully, these reasons will help you in making a decision that will be right for you.

There are a number of sizes of aquariums that are available to those interested in the hobby. Sizes include: 5, 10, 15, 20, 29, 55, 75, 90, 100, 120, and larger gallon tanks.

Problems With Glass Tanks Vs Acrylic
A problem with glass tanks is they are made up of many pieces of glass and they are all bonded together with an epoxy or silicone. Acrylic fish aquariums, though, are made up of one molded piece and this process usually keeps the price down.

Since it is a single molded piece, over time this type of aquarium would no doubt cost less when it comes to maintaining it. And you won't have to worry about having to replace it because it would leak like a glass tank would in time. Acrylic is extremely durable and strong.

And again, this comes down to how an acrylic tank is constructed. It is made up of one molded piece, making it more stronger overall than glass. Another reason why acrylic is stronger is because it is less likely to shatter. Glass has a larger chance of cracking, shattering, or causing a joint to come loose.

Another nice feature about acrylic is the appearance is much more clearer than a glass tank.

Acrylic Tanks Conclusion
These are just a few positives about acrylic aquariums. They are durable, strong, and extremely beautiful. If you choose to have one, you will be able to enjoy it for years to come.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Glass Vs Acrylic Aquariums

A huge difference between an acrylic aquarium and a glass one is an acrylic tank has the tendency to scratch easily. This is a huge drawback and because of this many that have owned an acrylic tank say they will never have another one.

However, the clarity of acrylic is much more clearer than standard glass. There is a marked difference between the two and if you are able to overlook the scratching issue, you may want to consider an acrylic tank.

But if clarity is what you are looking for without worrying about scratches, then consider purchasing an aquarium made of Starphire glass. A really cool benefit of Starphire glass over acrylic is you get less distortion when viewing the tank at an angle.

If weight is an issue, such as when living in an apartment, or having a tank upstairs, then you will probably want to consider getting one made of acrylic, it is much lighter in weight than glass.

A big issue with glass tanks is, over time, they may leak because of having joints held together by caulk. This is pretty much eliminated when you have an acrylic tank. And, oftentimes, an acrylic tank will last much longer than one made of glass.

If you are going to stock very sensitive creatures in your aquarium that cannot tolerate even minor changes in temperature, you may want to have an acrylic tank because it is a better insulator. If you are going to have creatures that require a lot of lighting and you are considering adding metal halide lamps, then acrylic may not be a good choice for you because these types of lights get very hot and they could melt your acrylic aquarium.

If you are considering an acrylic tank, make sure to check that it is constructed very well and that it is thick. Acrylic has a tendency to bow out, whereas glass will not.

Cleaning an acrylic aquarium can be very difficult verses a glass tank. If someone were to try to clean an acrylic aquarium with Windex, it can cause a huge problem, namely hazing.

As you can see, there is too many pro's and con's when it comes to both types of aquarium styles. It basically comes down to preference, weight, what you are going to stock in your tank, and what type of lighting you are going to use. This is only a reference for you and there is always advances in technology, so continue to research the subject for the latest information.