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How To Care For Your Saltwater Aquarium

Saltwater Aquarium Care – How to Maintain the Health of Your Saltwater Aquarium Plants

Good saltwater aquarium care means taking care of the fish and water quality in your tank but it also means taking care of your aquarium plants. Not only do your aquarium plants create an interesting home and shelter for your fish, they are also essential for the health of your fish, water quality and the tank as a whole. Proper, saltwater aquarium care, therefore, must always take into ...

Saltwater Aquarium Care – How to Maintain the Health of Your Saltwater Aquarium Plants

Good saltwater aquarium care means taking care of the fish and water quality in your tank but it also means taking care of your aquarium plants. Not only do your aquarium plants create an interesting home and shelter for your fish, they are also essential for the health of your fish, water quality and the tank as a whole. Proper, saltwater aquarium care, therefore, must always take into account the health of your marine plants.

Some marine plants are hardy and easy to care for while others need quite a bit of practice and experience. If you are a novice aquarist it is a good idea to start with hardy plants, as these are easier to care for. Once you have a bit more practice in correct saltwater aquarium care you can move on to fussier varieties.

The first thing to do is to decide what you want to achieve with your marine plants. You should do this even before you buy your tank. If you want big, healthy plants make sure you know what equipment you need, what sort of saltwater aquarium care is required and how much time it will take you to achieve these results.

If you are more concerned with the fish in your tank than plant life then it might be a good idea to invest in one or two plastic plants instead. Responsible saltwater aquarium care means knowing what you want and getting the balance right.

While most marine plants do grow into lush, healthy plants they all need good lighting. This is so that they have enough energy for making their own food by means of photosynthesis. Without sufficient light for photosynthetic activity your plants will remain stunted or die. So part of correct saltwater aquarium care involves making sure that your aquarium provides sufficient lighting for plant growth.

To make sure that your plants are getting enough light keep the following rule of thumb in mind: For each gallon of water in a tank you will require 3 to 5 watts of light. Most aquarium lighting systems are below that level, however so you may need to shop around to find adequate lighting to make sure you are providing the proper saltwater aquarium care for your plants.

In the natural aquarium the fish and plant populations are perfectly balanced and compliment each other. Marine plants create shelter, shade, and even food for your fish! Plants that are well lit will give off oxygen and this creates a good environment for your fish. So proper saltwater aquarium care makes your tank healthy and provides optimum conditions for plants and fish alike.

The fish will, in turn, feed off the carbon dioxide released by the fish. Plants also feed off the waste that fish produce. This helps to absorb some of the waste that might become toxic to your fish. So as you can see proper saltwater aquarium care means maintaining a healthy balance for all the life in your tank.

To provide proper saltwater aquarium care for your plants and fish you need to make sure that conditions in your tank are optimal. Plant growth needs water which is at the correct ph levels. It also needs the water to be at the correct temperature for growth and survival.

Unfortunately this might not fit in with the temperature requirements of the fish species you want to keep. So you might have to decide between plants and fish in some cases. Again, good saltwater aquarium care is always about finding the happy medium.

Fish also eat or tear away sections of plants and this might actually ruin the aesthetic appeal of your tank. Plants may be uprooted by the foraging activity of your fish. So plant care can be a bit tricky and does require some patience. One of the most frustrating aspects of saltwater aquarium care is the occurrence of marine algae.

Algae can really be a problem for the marine aquarist. Sometimes despite the best saltwater aquarium care – lights, substrate additives, fertilizers and CO2 systems – instead of lush plant growth you are confronted with algal growth. Algae can be very difficult to get rid of once it has taken root and it can really limit the growth of other plants.

Usually the aquarist employs various methods of saltwater aquarium care for combating this scourge. These might include using algicides, bleach dips, antibiotics (for cyanobacteria), manual removal or fish or invertebrates that feed on algae.

During an algal attack the amount of food and light is decreased and different amounts of fertilizer are tried – sometimes with success. Correct saltwater aquarium care results in some sort of balance being reached.

The best form of saltwater aquarium care and algae treatment is to provide the tank with a water change. In fact if you could change the tank water daily it would be ideal but this is obviously not very practical. You should change 25% of the water at least twice weekly, however. If you can stick to this schedule the amount of algae in the tank will be reduced and your fish and plants will be healthier. A water change should form a part of routine saltwater aquarium care whether you have an algal problem or not.

So what kinds of plants can you grow in a saltwater aquarium? A variety of plants are suitable for a saltwater aquarium. Choose from grape algae (Caulerpa racemosa), Halimeda Halimeda sp, shaving brush algae (Penicillus capitus), fan algae (Udotea flabellum), corralline bush algae (Galaxaura sp.), sea grass, red gracilaria (which your fish can eat) and many others. Proper saltwater aquarium care means making sure that your plants and fish co-exist in perfect harmony.

Proper saltwater aquarium care means really getting to know your marine tank. Do as much research as possible to ensure that your marine plants and fish have everything they need to grow, stay healthy and be happy. If you get it right, your aquarium will provide you with many hours of entertainment, fun and pleasure. Good luck and enjoy your aquarium!

 

How to Clean a Dirty Aquarium

Before you invest your money in an Aquarium take the time to read about how to properly maintain the tank and the fish, before you decide if you are willing to put in the effort.

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A fresh water fish tank requires about 30 minutes to an hour of work a week depending on the size of the tank.

Waht you will need:
1) You will need a clean 5 gallon bucket that has never had chemicals or soap inside of it.
2) A hose or gravel cleaner
3) A bag of natural or synthetic sea salt

I have split the work into two parts the tank which needs to be cleaned ever week on the same day and the filters which can be cleaned every 2 or 3 weeks.

The very first thing you have to do before you start cleaning your fish tank is to unplug your tanks heater if you have one. The heater can not be allowed to be removed from the water while it is hot so make sure to leave it unplugged at least 20 minutes before attempting to remove it. The water help cool the glass on the heater if removed it could crack, or the glass could totally shatter. You should also remember to never stick your hand inside of any fish tank before making sure the heater is not only off but unplugged from the wall. A small crack in the heater could be more then enough to cause a shock to you that can be fatal.

After the heater has ha time to cool you can safely remove the heater from the tank or it the heater is submersible you can just push it down to the bottom of the tank.

Now take any decorations you may have placed in the tank, so all you have are the small gravel at the bottom, this will allow you to get any dirt that those decorations may have been covering up. Now if you do not have a gravel cleaner you are going to have to roll up your sleeves and get your hands wet. You will need to stir up the gravel to get the dirt that has settled between the gravel into the water, and start removing the water into the bucket with the hose. Do not throw out the water you will still need it to clean the filters.

If you have a gravel cleaner, push the plastic tube into the gravel until it hits the bottom of the tank, then start a siphon into the bucket, every second or 2 move the gravel cleaner over an inch or 2 and repeat this process until either you have removed 15 percent of the tanks water of you have cleaned all the gravel.

Now at this point you can clean the Aquariums filters. The insides of the filters are used to grow bacteria, that help break down the nitrites and nitrates that are in the water from fish waste and uneaten food. To make sure we don’t kill all these Aquarium friendly bacteria, we clean the filter materials and sponges in the dirty water that I also full of the bacteria. Take everything out of the filters and rinse them of in the bucket of dirty Aquarium water, then give the sponge a couple of squeezes in the bucket and reassemble the filters, and put them back on the tank.

Now before adding the water sea salt must be added to the tank. All water has some amount of salt in it and to replicate the natural habitat of the fish there must be salt in your tank as well. Add approximately 1 cup of sea salt for every 50 gallons of water.

Now you can add water to the tank, but you must make sure the water is the within a degree or two of the temperature of the water in the tank. A drastic change in the tanks temperature suddenly can throw the fish into shock and kill them or weaken their immunity and help give them a fish disease. I recommend filling the bucket with hot water and checking it regularly till it is the same as the tanks temperature, then slowly add the water to the tank, start the filters and the heater.

Cleaning the filters only needs to be done once or twice a month, but the water in the tank must be cleaned on the same day every week.

 

How To Keep Your Aquarium Clean

No one likes living in a dirty, stuffy house. Thank goodness a little dirt is not hazardous to our health. The same cannot be said for our aquatic friends. Most fish and invertebrates are unable to adapt to changes in water chemistry that result from increased bacteria, waste, and chemicals. Proper filtration can preserve the overall health of the aquarium and maintain its beauty.

Three types of filtration exist on the market – biological, mechanical, and chemical. Varying...

saltwater aquarium, marine aquarium, aquarium supply, reef aquarium, tropical fish, saltwater fish

No one likes living in a dirty, stuffy house. Thank goodness a little dirt is not hazardous to our health. The same cannot be said for our aquatic friends. Most fish and invertebrates are unable to adapt to changes in water chemistry that result from increased bacteria, waste, and chemicals. Proper filtration can preserve the overall health of the aquarium and maintain its beauty.

Three types of filtration exist on the market – biological, mechanical, and chemical. Varying experts will assert that you must utilize all three in your tank. For a marine aquarium with a reef environment, that may be good advice. There is no definitive answer on what combination is suitable for your aquatic environment. Educating yourself on the functions of all three will enable you to pick the filter(s) that will safeguard your fish and invertebrates’ natural habitat.

Biological Filtration
Biological filters are a must for every aquarium. They stimulate the growth of nitrifying bacteria that breaks down harmful ammonia to less toxic chemicals such as nitrate. It sounds simple enough, but how this is accomplished is quite impressive. A widespread method of producing these beneficial bacteria is adding fish to the aquarium. The bacteria, which ride on the fish, drop off and spread throughout the tank and grow. This also leads to increased amounts of dangerous ammonia, so it is important to add fish gradually. It can take several months to establish this cyclical process.

Aquarist believed that they had an easier, quicker solution in under gravel filters and crushed coral. Along with the water, detritus and junk was pulled through the crushed coral, which clogged the filter bed. Some fish enthusiasts have gladly replaced these under gravel filters with biofilters such as canister filters, trickle filters, bio wheels, fluidized bed filters, or sponge filters. These devices incorporate other methods of filtration making them even more useful. Other aquarists opt for the natural route to biological filtration using a mixture of live sand and crushed coral as the tank’s substrate.

Mechanical Filtration
Mechanical filters use a more direct approach to remove particulate matter before it decomposes and adds to the ammonia load. These filters are the most versatile since they can be used in most filtration devices. The key to their efficiency is regular cleaning. Otherwise, waste can accumulate and your effort is in vain. Aquarium owners must always be mindful of the flow rate of their device, which is automatically set to manufacturer’s standards. A reduced flow can lead to an unclean filter (or vice versa) and adversely affects the health of the entire aquarium.

There are a variety of mechanical filters on the market, each with its own advantages. The power filters’ low price, ease of use, and maintenance makes it the most popular of all mechanical filtration devices. These quiet devices can also be used for chemical and biological filtration.

Canister filters are equally as versatile. These large-capacity filters, which run on their own pumps, can be used for mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. Many aquarists prefer the hang-on-tank canister filters to promote water quality, but there are a large variety of canisters styles available.

Wet/Dry filters, also known as trickle filters or bio-towers, are more suitable for fish-only tanks than reef systems. This is due to the biomaterial inside the filter’s wet/dry chamber that becomes dirty and results in a buildup of harmful nitrates.

Internal filters are a great option for smaller tanks. Their compact and simple design makes them easy to operate. As the name suggests, the filter runs within the aquarium and is powered by a small water pump, or air pump.

Protein skimming/foam fractionation is not mandatory, but it is a trusted method of maintaining water quality. Dissolved proteins linger to air bubbles and form protein foam. Protein skimming pumps the air bubbles through a small columnar removing the dissolved proteins from the tank.

Chemical Filtration
Particles are not the only thing floating in your aquarium’s water. Copper, ammonia, and phosphates also threaten the stability of your tank’s environment. Chemical filtration utilizes chemically enhanced products to treat the water. Activated carbon is the leading medium used. Others such as calcium hydroxide, zeolite, and even peat moss work as well.

Protein skimming, Power, Canister, and Internal filters are some of the most common filtration devices used for chemical treatment. Of course these double for mechanical filtration devices as well. Trickle filters are a popular choice amongst saltwater aquarium owners. The water is first drawn from the tank. Then, it is siphoned through the mechanical, biological, chemical, and auxiliary filters. Finally, it placed back into the aquarium.

To target specific chemicals, look to Reactors. Water is drawn through a canister-type chamber where it meets the chemical media. For even more effective filtration, they can be run pressurized.

The methods of keeping your aquarium’s waters clean are numerous. Using biological filters as a base, there is a wealth of combinations that you can build upon to create a healthy environment for your pets.

Copyright 2006
Reef Saltwateraquarium




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