Monthly Archives: June 2012

How to Set Up a Fish Tank: Choosing Aquarium Rocks for Decoration

When figuring out how to set up a fish tank you’ve got a lot to think about!

No one deserves to live in a totally barren and empty home, and that includes fish, from the lowly tetra to the mighty snapper. One of the best ways to gussy up your fish’s house is with aquarium safe rocks that are both decorative and functional. “Functional” meaning there are fish aquarium rocks that do more than just make the aquarium look nice and purty.

Rocks can help break up the tank and divide it into separate territories, which are critical for different types of fish. Sandstone, granite, slate, and aquarium lava rocks are all calcium-free and well suited for this purpose.

You don’t want to pick rocks like tufa or limestone, which will change the chemistry of the water – they’ll make it hard and alkaline. Also, some nice-looking rocks from the western United States contain metal ores which can be toxic to fish even at very low concentrations. So do your homework before you figure a rock is a rock. They aren’t. Not all rocks are aquarium safe rocks.

This decorative rock looks smart and also lets your fish play a quick round of soccer!

Something to consider, assuming you have located the best rocks for you and your fish’s lifestyles, is whether you want the rocks to just be eye candy or not. Rocks that are green and gray increase the tank’s overall color palette. Grainy aquarium safe rocks and weathered rocks will add more texture. Warmer colors will glow in the tank’s lights. Darker rocks like slate offer more contrast.

Also, don’t forget to wash your ricks. A seemingly clean rock can actually be a hotel or dirt, grim, and dust. Bust out the elbow grease and scrub, scrub, scrub to make those aquarium safe rocks truly aquarium safe. Use water, of course, and a designated scrubbing brush for this purpose – unless you really want to wash your back in the shower with something you used on aquarium lava rocks. Hey, we can’t stop you.

If you found this information helpful, you may want to check out my eBook!

Perfect for beginners!

From the basics to more advance fish keeping advice, this is a must have for any beginner aquarium hobbyist. This guide will give you every bit of information in an easy to read step by step guide.

This link will take you to my eBook’s splash page and you can learn more about it.
Click here!

 

Thanks for reading!

Aquarium Temperature and Fish Tank Heating

You might think all it takes to be a fish enthusiast is buying an expensive tank, some rocks, plants, a great case for it, and then position it in front of a window so all your neighbors see you love animals, but you would be wrong. Not only is that a horrible position for your tank, but you also have to concern yourself with the ideal aquarium temperature. That means buying the right heater and installing it properly to regulate the aquarium water temperature.

If you really love your fish, you’ll buy every heater on earth and display them so the fish can see them all. That way the tank will be warmed by their warm fuzzies knowing they have such a great provider as a mommy or daddy.

Why? Well, because tropical fish, like humans, need warmth. Humans get it from the thermostat, bundling up, or going outside. Fish get it from aquarium heating. You obviously don’t want to boil your fishies, but understand that the water’s temperature affects its ability and capacity to contain oxygen. The warmer the water, the less oxygen it can hold, which can affect the plants and your scaly compadres. With the proper aquarium heating unit you can regulate the temperature to a natural level of 73 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Even in a heated room, if you keep tropical fresh-water fish, you have to regulate the temperature.

There are three different types of heaters you can choose from:

Rod-type heaters, which are attached vertically to the rear wall of the tank with sticky suction cups.

Bottom heaters, which have heating cables installed on the floor of the tank before everything else in put in it. It works perfectly fine for aquarium heating, but if you’re going to go this route, you should most definitely ask your dealer for help. There are less powerful and more powerful ones, and they are definitely variables to consider if you also want to nurture the plants in the tank as well.

Finally, there are thermofilters, which are a combination of a heater and a filter. When water flows through them, it is cleaned and then slightly reheated.

Remember that all of these can help maintain the ideal aquarium temperature. Pick the one that makes you feel the most special inside.

If you found this information helpful, you may want to check out my eBook!

Perfect for beginners!

From the basics to more advance fish keeping advice, this is a must have for any beginner aquarium hobbyist. This guide will give you every bit of information in an easy to read step by step guide.

This link will take you to my eBook’s splash page and you can learn more about it.
Click here!

Thanks for reading!

Setting up an Aquarium: How to Choose an Aquarium and Stand

So you’ve selected the best possible fishy friends for your lifestyle and personality, and now it’s time to give your tiny guys a totally crunk pad: the perfect aquarium. Set up for the tank your guys will be living in is usually pretty easy — the “tough” part is selecting one, and even that isn’t that hard.

Let’s start by going the different types of tanks, and then we’ll get into how to set up an aquarium.

This 16-wheeler, spotted in Irvine, California toting the EuroCombi tank is not recommended for beginners!

First off, know that there’s no such thing as a “right” tank. It’s your call, and, usually, you want to go as big as your property and budget will allow. Here are the main varieties you’ll run into:

  • Acrylics: These are usually more expensive, but for that price, after you’re done with aquarium set up, your reward is a tank that can’t be scratched or stained as easily. You could scratch and stain them if you really want, but don’t you have better things to do with your time after setting up an aquarium?
  • Glass cubes: Pretty much what they sound like. It’s a cube made of glass, easy to assemble. Just make sure to get a hood so your fish don’t go overboard!
  • Readymade cabinets: These are handy because after you’re done setting up an aquarium like this, you’ve got a convenient place to store all the lighting units, external filters, and cables you need. Well, that your fish need. Not you.

 Aquarium set up is usually pretty hassle-free. So long as you read the instructions and follow them closely, you should have no problems. In another post we’ll go over some of the more complicated problems associated with setting up an aquarium, usually associated with the dreaded Harbinger Fishy Tank 698-X. They’re hard to find and are usually labeled with a big skull and cross bones as a warning to all customers, alongside a label that says: “Caution: several people have died in aquarium set up. Don’t say you weren’t warned!” Okay, so that doesn’t really exist. Not anymore.

Quit worryin’ so much! Now you know how to set up an aquarium and pick the right one for you and your fish friends.

If you found this information helpful, you may want to check out my eBook!

Perfect for beginners!

From the basics to more advance fish keeping advice, this is a must have for any beginner aquarium hobbyist. This guide will give you every bit of information in an easy to read step by step guide.

This link will take you to my eBook’s splash page and you can learn more about it.
Click here!

Thanks for reading!

Picking the Perfect Aquarium Position

The aquarium position you select for your tank is not anything to take lightly. Selecting the right equipment, tank, and plants won’t do you a whole heck of a lot of good if you put it in the wrong place.

Let’s assume for a moment you live in a gigantic house. No, you know what? Let’s say you live in a solid gold millionaire mansion and a famous rapper lives next door. He’s actually a good resource to tap later when it comes to making your fish hustle and flow, but that’s another post for another time. We’ll also explore the best fish to give your manservant and next door neighbor in another post if there’s enough interest in the comments below. (Fun fact: Rick Ross hates Siamese fighting fish and prefers a nice feisty candiru instead.)

First, let’s dip into choices for aquarium position locations you shouldn’t make. Kitchens are a bad idea because the fumes from household cooking can affect the fish – also, you may also accidentally cook your fish. Don’t stare through that aquarium window when you’re out of groceries and think, “I’ll improvise!” That would make you a bad fish parent.

Correct aquarium location

Do you know where the fish tank should go in your new home?

Also bad is a hallway (drafts from doorways and noise from passing foot traffic will be disturbing), close to a door (again, vibrations and noise), and any room with too much light (it’ll make the tank too hot during the day and too cold at night).

Ideally, you want to put the aquarium where it will not be affected by foot traffic, light from windows, or heat from radiators. Great aquarium positions include corners of rooms and really any area that is quiet — it should be far away from windows. If it’s a corner that’s too dark to grow a houseplant, it might be perfect for an aquarium.

Remember that you will want to scout out the best location ahead of time since it will be hard to find the “perfect” spot and also a sizable tank filled with water and such can weigh as much as 150 pounds. And since you’re living in a giant mansion, you should conserve your lifting muscles for your gem-encrusted wallet, not your fish tank.

If you found this information helpful, you may want to check out my eBook!

Perfect for beginners!

From the basics to more advance fish keeping advice, this is a must have for any beginner aquarium hobbyist. This guide will give you every bit of information in an easy to read step by step guide.

This link will take you to my eBook’s splash page and you can learn more about it.
Click here!

Thanks for reading!

Selecting Aquarium Gravel or Aquarium Substrate

Much like a beach needs the ocean and the sand to be complete, so to does your tank need water, plants, and what’s called aquarium substrate. Aquarium substrate” is just a fancy way of saying “fish tank gravel,” and, no, ordinary sand won’t work in your aquarium bottom. So put away that tiny yellow plastic shovel and pail and read up, children.

The type of aquarium substrate you need will depend on the type of aquarium size, plants, and of course the fish you have. It’s pretty simple, but don’t just pick them at random.

Aquarium Substrate

Here are the different types:

River sand: Ideal to line your aquarium bottom if you have a bottom-dwelling species. It allows for the easy flowing of water and plant roots.

Fine gravel: This is perfect if you have a smaller aquarium or if a larger aquarium substrate would look a bit queer in a tiny tank. Proportion and style is key.

Medium gravel: It’s your typical one-size-fits-all kinda gravel. Should work for just about any size aquarium. A totally standard aquarium substrate, if that’s what you need.

Coarse gravel: If you want to create a really snazzy stream-bed effect in your tank, use this. You can also mix it in with some medium gravel for a different effect. It will fool your fish into believing they don’t just live in a tank!

Once you’ve selected the proper gravel to fill your aquarium bottom with, remember to wash it because it’s likely to be dusty and dirty. True, they’re supposed to be dusty, but you don’t want to dump in a bunch of contaminants into your tank. Place small amounts of it in a bucket, add water, and then agitate it with either your hands or a designated wooden spoon, for example, set aside for just this very purpose.

Drain, repeat, and keep doing it until the water drains as clear. Do this until all the aquarium substrate is clean. You can’t hear it, but your fish will thank you. If you spring for the enchanted gravel that lets you understand what fish say, then you will be able to hear it. But that’s another post for another time.

If you found this information helpful, you may want to check out my eBook!

Perfect for beginners!

From the basics to more advance fish keeping advice, this is a must have for any beginner aquarium hobbyist. This guide will give you every bit of information in an easy to read step by step guide.

This link will take you to my eBook’s splash page and you can learn more about it.
Click here!

Thanks for reading!