Aquarium and accessories (II) | Pet care.

In the previous article (the Aquarium and accessories I) missed a first look at the General characteristics of an aquarium prepared for the life of the guppies, then explaining everything you need to know about the aeration of the water. We now conclude the aquatic circuit with specifications on filtration, heating and lighting, fundamental elements for the survival of the fish.

Filtration

If the Aquarium have a good filtration system, it is not necessary to add an aerator, because the filter already supplements its function. The filter can be inside or outside, sponge, Pocket, backpack, with turbine, background, etc. There are many models and each one has its advantages and its disadvantages in terms of efficiency, size or price.
Instead of analyzing the details of each model, I think it's better to see the way in which the water filtration is achieved. Then you can already discuss you with your provider about the model that you prefer. The objectives of the filtering are as follows:
  1. Remove materials in suspension such as the remains of food, excrement and the like.
  2. Eliminate hazardous gases such as ammonia.
  3. Eliminate harmful compounds, such as nitrites, or create a suitable substrate for the bacteria transform them assimilated nitrate by plants.
  4. Remove different compounds that give a certain "color" to the water and that can be dangerous to fish.
  5. Eliminate the traces of drugs that have been used for fish to any treatment.
Filtration can be carried out by various means:
  1. Mechanical: the water passes through filter materials, such as sponge or wool polyester, which retains the solid particles.
  2. Chemist: the water passes through a medium, such as activated carbon or zeolites, which absorb gases and other products in solution.
  3. Biological: the water passes through a medium rich in nitrifying bacteria that convert ammonia into nitrites, and these into nitrates that can be absorbed by the plants in the Aquarium.
In practice, the three systems tend to coincide. For example, a mechanical filter using sponge or gravel also will serve as a substrate for nitrifying bacteria, and the same happens with the active carbon and zeolites, which are basically chemical filters. Live plants also act at three levels, while the Aquarium substrate provides a mechanical and biological filtration.
However, to allow the biological filtration it is necessary that the water is rich in oxygen, because the nitrifying bacteria are aerobic, i.e., they consume oxygen.
Whatever filtration system used, the water from the filter can be used also to shake the surface and air. If the filter is outside and the water arrives via a tube with many holes, aeration is even more effective since the water is exposed to the air as it descends into the Aquarium.
However, the guppys come from relatively slow waters (or even stagnant) and do not require an excessive movement. You have to place the outlet of the filter so that suck the water just above the bottom, which is where it tends to accumulate more dirt and where is less oxygenated.
It is important to regularly clean the filter, because otherwise it could reach load of dirt and colmatar, which would lose effectiveness and it could be dangerous if you develop anaerobic bacteria inside. Regardless of the efficiency of the filtration system that is used, must not forget never the partial water changes.

Heating

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The guppies prefer to live at a temperature of 22 - 24 ° C, but support some degrees above and below this point. The important thing is that the temperature remains constant and will not experience fluctuations, because sudden changes cause them stress that tends to degenerate in the form of serious diseases.
As a general rule can be considered that the power of the heater should be 0.5-1 Watt per litre, assuming that the Aquarium is in a room at an ambient temperature of 19 - 22 ° C. Therefore, for a 120 liter Aquarium will be sufficient a few 100-Watt heater. If the Aquarium is large this ratio can be reduced because the greater volume of water will also better retain heat.
In very large aquaria it is recommended to use two heaters whose sum of powers to provide the necessary total, or a little more. Eliminating the possibility of the temperature drops sharply in the case that one of the two should fail. Never use a heater whose power is excessive for the aquarium in which it is installed, because if the thermostat block on the "connected" position could become aquarium fish soup until you give is account of the failure.
There are many models of heaters, but the most common are those who are supplied with thermostat and light pilot, and they are fully submersible. To ensure that the water temperature is correct you will need a thermometer placed in the end of the Aquarium away from where is the heater. It must be controlled daily routine. In your usual store you will find a variety of thermometers. It is recommended that you purchase two to always have one replacement.

Lighting

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In addition to the purely aesthetic appearance, the aquarium light meets two important biological functions. It is vital for the growth of plants and the well-being of the fish, whose diet and activity are determined by the cycles of light and darkness. If not provided a superior lighting, fish will swim inclined and the phototropism of plants they are oriented toward the place from which the light reaches them (usually to the nearest window). The type and intensity of the lighting much influence the overall look of the Aquarium.
The cycles of light and darkness shall be twelve hours, to simulate the inherent cyclicality of the tropical regions. With respect to the necessary power, we can rely on the following data (valid only for fluorescent tubes):
  • Depending on the length of the Aquarium: 10 Watts per each 30 cm in length.
  • Depending on the surface area of the Aquarium: 10 Watts per each 90cms2.
Depending on the volume of the Aquarium: 4 watts per each 10 liters of capacity, provided that the Aquarium is rectangular (ortoedrico) and with a depth equal to its width.
With respect to the type of lighting, it is often necessary to experiment a little to find which best suits each case in particular. There are fluorescent tubes that emit with greater intensity in the red and blue ends of the spectrum, especially favouring the development of plants. These tubes also can much enhance the coloration of some guppies, but may distort others. On the other hand, "daylight" tubes, which provide a natural colour to fish, they are not suitable for plants. Tubes of various types can be mixed in large aquariums, but children should decide on one or the other.
The lighting and temperature also depend on many other variables. To learn more deeply, we recommend that you consult a good book on technical aquaristics. Your dealer will recommend the most appropriate.
Published for educational purposes