Monthly Archives: July 2012

How to Choose Healthy Fish: Avoiding Sick Fish in your Tank!

So you’ve decided to pony up the cash and buy yourself some fish. Congrats! You’re not only on the right site, but you’re reading just the right article, since it’s on how to pick healthy fish. You definitely don’t want to end up with sick fish.

It’s a simple question, how to choose fish, but not exactly the easiest to answer since so much of it can boil down to personal taste, preferences, or inexplicable proclivities. The main thing is, you don’t want to pick out sick fish! Some basics, though, are the following:

  • The fish have to be healthy. That means no clamping of the fins, no rubbing, no rips, tears, bites, and no panting. They should be as active as is typical of their breed in any given environment. If they’re not doing so great in the store, it’s unlikely they’ll improve after being brought home. Sorry, Charlie. Similarly, don’t buy any fish that were in a tank with a sick fish – they could very easily have poisoned the water and the other fish around them.

Fish Doctor MD & Associates, Unltd.

  • The fish should seem well fed. Their tum-tums shouldn’t be concave, but should have rounded contours.
  • Don’t be fooled by the fish’s color. Some fish just take time to develop their full coloration. In fact, some fish won’t even form all their colors until they reach maturity. The body should have some colors and still appear smooth. If you see any bumps, patches, discolorations, etc., keep looking. It’s nothing personal, this is just how to pick a healthy (not sick) fish.

All that said, even the fish wizards out there can be fooled when picking out fish. Simply put, there’s no guarantee a seemingly healthy fish will actually be that way once you bring them home. It’s not something to freak out or stress about, just a fact – and you should take consolation in the fact that beginners and experts alike are equalized by the challenge of how to choose fish. But with these tips, you can at least make that much more of an educated and informed decision about your purchase.

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!

How to Clean Up Aquarium Algae

What is aquarium algae? Well, algae are just a kind of plants that grow in the water. A little is okay, but in an aquarium, a lot can be disastrous. Aquarium algae are going to grow no matter what you do, since, like any plants, they thrive on water, sunlight, and nutrients. But you don’t want these aquarium algae to turn into weeds and become a jungle in your aquarium.

So what do you do?

Well, there are a couple things you can do. The easiest is to buy a plecostomus. It’s also known as a “sucker fish” because it sucks or eats aquarium algae. It’ll hook itself onto the sides of your tanks and go to work wolfing down aquarium algae, and will love you for letting them do it. They don’t even want any money for it or anything! They’re omnivores but usually stick to plants. So, that means they’ll help keep your tank aquarium algae-free. (Siamese flying fox and octocinclus can also be used for this same purpose, but the plecostomus is far more common.)

If you don’t have a plecostomus or don’t want to get one, that means you’re going to have to remove the aquarium algae by hand. That’s far less fun than just having a fish do it for you, but it is doable.

Yup. It’s gross.

You can also scrape the aquarium algae off as soon as you see it forming, which will make clean-up quicker and more endurable. If you have a glass tank, you can use a razor blade to take the aquarium algae off.

Changing water  after scraping a large amount of algae is often is the best way to keep nutrients from accumulating inside the tank.

You can also be mindful of how long your tank might be in the sun. As I said, algae are plants, so if your aquarium is going to be exposed to sunlight, aquarium algae will grow much quicker than if you had put it in the shade instead.

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!

How to Choose the Proper Aquarium Lighting

It might sound counterintuitive and potentially dangerous, but no fish tank is complete with aquarium lighting. Your fishy friends won’t get electrocuted from the lights, but aquarium lighting is essential for your scaly companions to live long, healthy, juicy lives.

Now, there are different types of lights, and the kind of aquarium lighting you need will be dictated by the size of your tank, how many plants you have, and whether your fish are nocturnal or not.

Lighting for Aquariums

Fish imagine all the world is a stage, mainly because they always have spotlights shining on them.

Here are the main different kinds of aquarium lighting and how to select what you’ll need if it’s right for you. Ready?

  • Fluorescent tubes: Depending on the light requirements for your plants, you might need one or more tubes. There are literally dozens and dozens of different types of plants, so, stay tuned for another post exclusively on that topic to supplement this one on aquarium lighting. At the very least, though, you’ll need one. These lights should be changed out once a year since they put out less light as time goes on.
  • Mercury vapor lights: These are ideal for tanks that are taller than 20 inches, but they’re also huge power suckers. They use a lot of electricity and therefore take a while to reach their full intensity after being switched on. These should be on for 12 to 14 hours a day, and if you don’t feel like planning your social life around your aquarium lighting setup, you can get a timer that will automatically turn them on and off even when you aren’t home.

Another aspect to be aware of is the aquarium lighting’s color. If you’re just starting out and this is your first tank, you can’t go wrong with white. If you’re more advanced, different-colored fluorescent tubes can be combined to shine different colors down on them and help add a more soothing vibe to the room the fish live in. A white light and a pink light, for example, can cover the full light spectrum and really help your fish’s color pop.

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!

How to Know How Often to Feed the Fish

So you’ve got some fish and you’ve got a tank picked out. Shoot. How often should you feed your fish? Do you know? Just like how there are many school of fish in the ocean, there are many school of thoughts out there about how often to feed the fish. Well, it’s actually fairly easy.

See, you only need to feed your fish once a day. You might read other articles or books on how often to feed the fish that say you should do more, but you’re not trying to fatten your fish up to eat them, are you? Over-feeding is a common issue and, unfortunately, fish aren’t able to look up and tell you they’ve had enough to eat. Nope. If you put it in there, they’ll eat it. They don’t know better, but you do. See, fish don’t really need to eat that much, but even they are confused about the “rules.” There are some other rules when it comes to how often to feed fish, but this is the biggest one.

Feed fish often

How often to feed fish? Once a day!

When you do feed your fish, only give them enough that they’ll eat in five minutes. If your fish are shy or nocturnal, you might want to overlap feeding time with when the lights are turned off.

Something else to be aware of on how often to feed fish is that feeding time is a great time to take a closer look at your fish. How are they looking? If there are any unusual changes or strange twists in behavior, it could mean they’re sick or have a disease or even poisoned. Yikes. We’ll get to that later, but, again, since you can’t ask your fish how they’re feeling or if they’re hungry, this is your chance to keep tabs on your fish.

Once a week, you should let your fish go without food. This is to benefit their digestion process. It isn’t cruel, they need it. Just bear in mind that this doesn’t apply to little juvenile fish who are still growing. They need to eat each and every day.

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!

Choosing Live Fish Food for Your Aquarium (Brine shrimp, Bloodworms, Silversides, Tubifex Worms)

Fish are not like us. Humans don’t like to eat things alive. Fish don’t mind at all. In fact, there’s a whole category of fish food known as live fish food. That’s what we’ll be looking at in this post. (If you want to read about dry fish food and other fish food types, click here.)

To clarify, “live fish food” is a term used to refer to food that is, yes, alive, but also frozen food animals. They both have the same nutritional value, but some fish will not feast unless they see their food wriggling about. It’s kinda like how we put ranch dressing with tabasco on pizza, or salad dressing on salad. It’s just better that way.

Now, there are a couple different types of live fish food. This is what they are:

Mosquito larvae. The larvae comes in black, red, and white. Not all of them are available anywhere, but they are not substitutes for each other. For instance, the red mosquito larvae may contain harmful substances since they come from polluted waters — so be sure not to give your fish too  many. When you buy your larvae, ask where they came from — the ones imported from Southeast Asia are always the safest.

Tubifex Worms. There are a lot of different types of worms you can feed your fish if you want to go the live fish food route: tubifex worms, and bloodworms.

Live Food for your hungry fish!

Yum. Live fish food, aka worms.

Brine shrimp. Once sold as Sea-Monkeys – remember those? –  these little suckers are super-resilient. Interestingly, brine shrimp also don’t feed, themselves, but consume their own energy reserves stored internally.

Silversides. An excellent source of marine protein and oils, silversides are fish that you can buy frozen and use as food for aggressive feeders and larger carnivorous fish.

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!

How to Pick Fish for Your Aquarium

Aight, so you got an aquarium, a space all picked out for it, have completely flooded your apartment to make your fish feel more at home when it sees you doing the breaststroke around the breakfast nook. Now you’re probably scratching your hairy head – or bald, if you shaved it to, again, make your fish feel less exotic by comparison – and asking yourself, “Hmm, how to pick fish?”

Well, I’ll tell you how to pick fish for your aquarium. In a recent post, I showed you how to choose healthy fish for your aquarium – and while those tips definitely hold true here, you need to figure out what kind of fish you want when you think about how to pick fish out at the store. Do you want an active fish? A lazy one? A flashy one? A dangerous one? One with lasers on it? Spikes? How about a nice swinging pendulum magikarp?

The point is, you should probably brainstorm a list of questions before going to the fish-supply store. Even if you have your heart set on a certain breed or gender, you might change your tune when you ask the staff about the following topics:

how to pick aquarium fish

This little guy is ready to come home!

  • Whether the particular fish likes plants or open areas better.
  • Whether it prefers to be alone or will tolerate or thrive better in the company of other fish.
  • What it eats and where in the tank it eats its food.
  • How much space the fish needs.
  • What kind of water pH the fish needs.
  • Whether they’ll make delicious sushi or not. (Only ask if this you’re not serious about being a real fish owner.)
  • The temperature the fish needs the water to be at.

You’re going to want to make the tank be set up to its optimal condition for that particular fish. That way you can just bring your new friend home and set them loose – not have them explore the plastic bag you’re likely taking it home in.

Okay! Now you’re an expert on how to pick fish! Go out into the street and quiz the first four people you see on this topic to make them feel small and you feel big!

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!

Choosing an Aquarium Tank Size-Need Aquarium Volume calculator?

Have you ever heard people say, “size doesn’t matter?” Well, don’t be fooled: Your aquarium tank size definitely matters. Also, they probably weren’t talking about aquarium tank size in the first place, but that’s what you’re here to read about, right?

Check the link at the bottom for a nice calculator for aquarium volumes.

Well, basically, what you should know is that bigger is better. Bigger tanks are easier to take care of and maintain, and the potentially harmful chemicals released in the breakdown of metabolic products are diluted more since there’s much more water in the tank. Generally speaking, though, a great aquarium tank size for a beginner or hobbyist fish enthusiast is a 40- x 16- x 16-inch tank. Even though it sounds pretty darn big, it actually isn’t that colossal. It won’t take up that much space in your apartment, house, or bordello.

But whatever aquarium tank size you go for, make sure there’s a cover on the tank. They reduce evaporation and also prevent your fish from hopping out of the water and flopping about on your skull-and-crossbones mini-rug.

Size of Aquarium

If you raise your fish well, they become human. Will you experience true love with it?

Also bear in mind: The thinking that a small fish needs a small tank is completely wrong. Fish get bigger, grow up, and eventually will want a place of their own out in the city. It’s important not to stand in your fish’s way when they express the desire to become independent, as they may come to resent you later in life. And they’ll definitely resent you if you cram them in a tiny tank since all fish need plenty of room to swim about. They’re fish! That’s what they do!

Another factor in determining what aquarium tank size is optimal is figuring out how many fish you want to keep, what your budget is like, and, of course, whether you can even realistically transport a tank from the store to your home. You can order them online, but, remember that since a bigger aquarium tank size is better, that also will mean shipping will bemore and more expensive. Not prohibitively so, but, well, it’ll add up.

If you need an aquarium volume calculator, check this one out over at aquaticommunity. http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/converter/volume-calculator.php

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 Testing, The best Fish Tank Test!

In another post, I told you all about the nitrogen cycle. Piggybacking off that is aquarium testing. Aquarium testing is important because it’s a surefire way to whether something’s off or hinky about your setup.

Get ready to discuss the great Fish Tank Test!

A lot of things can go wrong. What you need to wrap your mind around is the fact that, in nature, the water is actually alive, in a way. It’s facilitating the life of plants and fish, and is a conduit to processing one’s waste into something beneficial for the other. It’s a different story in an aquarium: The water you get from your tap isn’t alive. It has to be revived before fish can live and flourish in it.

There are kits you can get for a fish tank test, so, breathe a sigh of relief if you thought you’d need a degree in marine biology to keep proper care of your wet ones. But, be warned, there are a lot of different kits.

testing your aquarium

There are aquarium testing kits from a to of different brands that all serve different functions.

One of the main things you’re measuring for in a fish tank test is the water’s hardness. Water gets hard when it has a high mineral content. It alone isn’t toxic necessarily, but it isn’t exactly the most conducive water to sustaining life.

Generally speaking, fish can live in medium to hard water. Plants do best in what’s called carbonate hardness, which is derived depending on the levels of carbon dioxide in it. When fish tank testing, the carbonate hardness should never drop below three German degrees, or dCH, which is the standard unit of measurement for that.

Thee are liquid reagents you can buy from aquarium dealers for fish tank test that can help you determine what’s going on in your water. If something’s wrong with it, be sure to change the water’s happiness with peat filtering, using a cation exchanger, or adding completely desalted water to the 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!

Understanding the Nitrogen Cycle

Nothing exists in a vacuum, and that basic principle holds true in your fish tank, too. The fish, the water, the plants, and even that little glowing treasure chest with a demon’s skull tucked away snugly inside are all part of the aquarium’s delicate ecosystem. The ecosystem lives and dies by what’s known as the nitrogen cycle. Aquariums of all stripes will have this, but all you need to know is this: The circulation of nitrogen-containing compounds is a natural process by which the decaying and dead waste products containing nitrogen are converted by bacteria into harmless substances that are absorbed by the tank’s plants.

To explain it another way, an the nitrogen cycle works like this: Ammonia is expelled by fish through the gills and in their waste products, and the nitrates in that are gobbled up by the plants as if they were a fertilizer, other toxic elements are converted to nitrates by the bacteria in the tank’s filtration system, and then ammonia is also turned into nitrates by the filtration system.

There will be a test on this later.

If you’ve ever left a glass of water out overnight, or have ever tasted stale water, you know water quality just dips over time. It happens. There’s nothing you can do to fight it, but by better understanding the nitrogen cycle that takes place in an aquarium, it will lead to your being better equipped and able to take better care of your fish.

In the wild, nature plants and bacteria break down all the harmful chemicals that accumulate in the ocean, pond, lake, or whatever. You can help out the the nitrogen cycle in your aquarium by putting a lot of plants with ample lighting in your tank. Bacteria, fungi, or any other microorganisms introduced into the bottom of your tank that can easily be exposed to air circulation will also help.

You want to assure the nitrogen cycle takes place in your aquarium, though, because without it, ammonia will start to accumulate. If your tank’s pH level is below 7,you’re fine, but check it often – and don’t be alarmed if the pH level rises after you change the water. It could be for any number of reasons, like your tap water having a different or fluctuating pH level.

The main thing to look out for is signs of poisoning: Fish panting heavily and spending most of their time just below the water’s surface is a surefire indicator that the nitrogen cycle is out of whack. So, do something about it!

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!