Home Aquarium: commissioning and maintenance | Pet care.

The choice of an aquarium

Aesthetics or substance?

There are many designs of aquariums to choose: some of them meet more aesthetic aspects, with designs curious, as aquariums delimited by a frame on the wall, circular aquariums and tanks that look like a coffee table. Without a doubt, the most important to take into account is the suitability of the Aquarium for fish that live inside. Unfortunately, many of the most curious aquariums are not designed with this in mind. Think of how easy that will be the maintenance of the tank, in how much space there is to fish and decorations as well as if the Aquarium will be free from vibrations.

Security and access

If you want to assemble a large aquarium, be sure that the soil is sufficiently strong to support its weight and using only cabinets designed specifically for large aquariums. A plug should be closely and enough space around the Aquarium to gain access to all the material for the maintenance. When putting in place permanent Aquarium, check that it is level before filling. If the Aquarium does not have a base, be sure to put a layer of styrofoam or plastic foam between the glass base and the platform. Remember that once the Aquarium is full it will be extremely heavy and difficult to move.

The location of the Aquarium

Before buying an Aquarium, you should choose a suitable location for it, since this will dictate the size and shape of the tank that you can install. Choose a location away from sources of heat (that could cause fluctuations in the water temperature) and sudden (next door) movements, which could stress fish. The vibrations also alter fish, since they are amplified through the water and they are easily captured by the system of the lateral line of the fish. As a result, avoid placing the Aquarium under direct sunlight, since this may lead to grow algae or problems related to the heat during the summer.

Aquariums "all-in-one"

Many stores provide solutions "all-in-one" in which offer aquariums with all the essential utensils to prepare them for the fish. They usually end up costing less that if we buy the tools separately, and we will avoid the concern of having to make us choose filters, heaters, lights and other utensils needed.

Essential utensils

Filtration is vital

A filter is essential for an Aquarium. Without a filtration system of some sort which functions 24 hours a day it could not have the fish properly. A basic filter makes the water through a sponge, which retains the waste particles and keeps the water with a clean appearance. Also on the sponge (or other material, in the case of larger filters) growing beneficial bacteria that eliminate contaminants hazardous, making water safe for your fish. There are several types of filters on the market: inmates are suitable for small aquariums, but the external provide a better filtering in the case of larger aquariums.

Heating the water

Tropical fish are usually found in waters that are 23-26 degrees and should be kept at this temperature in an Aquarium. To get it use a heater with a thermostat. Once set, the thermostat will turn on and shut off when it is necessary to maintain constant water temperature. Put a thermostat in a corner of the Aquarium, where there will be a sufficient water flow to allow an even distribution of heat. Be sure to locate the thermostat quite below the surface of the water, so the heating element will not be exposed to air during changes of air.

The lighting brings life to the Aquarium

There are several options for lighting aquariums, although a single fluorescent will be enough to afford a basic vision, two fluorescent will provide a more powerful lighting. You can also purchase some fluorescent that produce light that specifically promotes the growth of plants or intensifies the patterns of coloration of the fish. Many aquariums have built adequate lighting, but if you install your own, be sure to only use lamps suitable for aquariums. Lighting for the home probably will generate too much heat and may shatter if it receives splash accidentally.

The "furniture" of the Aquarium

Choosing the right substrate

The type of substrate or gravel that you choose should be based on the needs of the fish and if you want to have live plants . Avoid gravel with sharp edges, as these will damage the barbels of fish that live on the bottom of the Aquarium. The fish prefer natural colors gravels; in fact, some species feel uncomfortable before the gravel of colors or shades intense which, in addition, subtract merit colours. The plants will grow better in a substrate of fine grain and you can also add nutritional supplements to improve the conditions for growth. If you really like living plants, it is worth to investigate a little more, since hitting the substrate is very important and it is difficult to replace it once the Aquarium is filled with water.

Keep a natural look

Although the ornaments of fluorescent colors and the yellow submarines tend to appeal to some people, especially young children, can your fish don't you like them. In nature, the fish depend on refuges, such as wood, rocks and plants, which provide them with security, and many avoid the very lit areas, to not be visible to predators. Without a right in an aquarium environment, they can get stressed out and be uneasy, which in extreme cases can give as a result diseases and even death. To decorate your aquarium, a natural design will keep your fish happy and healthy.

Aquarium plants

The choice of plants

There are hundreds of species of plants of Aquarium from which to choose. Some will only grow well under specific conditions and others will grow well in all types of aquariums, so it is a good idea that will advise when purchasing them. Some good species with which to start are the valisneria, the hygrophila, the anubias, the cryptocorine and MOSS and the Java fern. As a very general rule, the plants with fine, feathery leaves or red are difficult to care.

Planting techniques

The majority of the plants are supplied in bulk (loose) or potted. It can be potted plants cost more, but their quality is often better and its roots have taken root. In the case of the potted plants remove the pot outside, leaving the protective Undercoat that surrounds the roots, and place the base of the plant just below the gravel.
Plants in bulk usually consist of several plants fastened with a weight. Remove the weight and separate stems and plant each plant in a large area.

Basic care of plants

The creation of an exhibition that thrives and contains a good range of plants can lead to more research, but some simple tips will help to make a good home for resistant plants any Aquarium. The two most important aspects that must be taken into account are the substrate and lighting. The substrate must be made up of a material with grains between 1 and 2 mm. diameter (of a size between sand and fine gravel), while the lighting should consist of a minimum of two fluorescent. You can improve the lighting of your Aquarium by replacing the normal fluorescent by some special or higher intensity, which foster the growth of the plants and adding a reflector.

The arrival of the fish

The filling of the Aquarium

Once the Aquarium and any external tool are in place, you can add the substrate (gravel) before filling the Aquarium. Rinse the substrate under the tap water first to remove dust. You can also fill the aquarium with water from the tap, but make sure it is cold to avoid the addition of metals from some heating systems. If you use a hose, let the water run a few minutes to remove the old water stuck in the hose.

The treatment of water

Once the Aquarium has been filled partially, can place the heater and filter in place following the manufacturer's instructions and checking that everything works properly. It is good idea to add a liquid to desclorar water, which will remove the chlorine, chloramine and heavy metals from the water. (When performing water changes, add the desclorador in a bucket before pouring the water in the Aquarium). The aquarium needs time to settle down, warm up and stabilize before adding fish. During this period you can carry out the landscaping of the Aquarium and think that fish wants to have.

When will be able to add the first fish

When your Aquarium take running a week it will be ready to receive the first fish. The filter will now need to start cleaning the waste products generated. This process usually take time, since bacteria need to grow and settle, and the delay may cause dangerous fluctuations in the quality of the water. If you have patience, you can add a bacterial product in the tank a month before adding the fish. This "fishless cycle" allows the filter to "ripen" and greatly reduced the problems associated with the new aquariums. Start to add fish only when ammonia and nitrite levels have increased and then decreased down to zero.

Regular maintenance

Keep the water clean

Fish excrete waste in the Aquariumsubstances, giving as a result the production of ammonia and nitrites, which are toxic for fish. A filter removed ammonia and nitrites through the creation of a suitable environment so that the bacteria grow and to "feed" of these waste products, but this may take some time. The bacteria that settle on the filter only grow as waste from the Aquarium product levels increase. It is therefore important to ensure that these levels increase slowly and steadily, which can get slowly populating the aquarium with fish and taking care to avoid feeding them too much.

Because changing the water

There are two main reasons to carry out regular changes of the water in the Aquarium: one is the reduce the accumulation of nitrates (final filtration product) and the other is to replace lost nutrients that help stabilize the conditions of water and minerals. The volume and frequency of changes of water rely heavily on of the levels of nitrates in the water, so the weekly analysis of the water are essential. As basic indication, replace the 10-20% of the water every two weeks. Take cold water from the tap, treat it with a desclorador and allow it to warm temperature environment prior to use.

Substrate cleaning

Much of the waste from the Aquarium products are deposited on the substrate. Live aquarium plants using these products of waste as a source of food, but in areas without plants these products can build up to dangerous levels, promoting the growth of algae and the deterioration of the water quality. With the use of a tool to clean the gravel, can remove and siphoning the waste products from the substrate. Remove the water removed by the siphon or, even better, use it in the garden or for watering house plants and regard it as a water change. Remember to always disconnect the power supply before carrying out any operation in your aquarium.

Keep the filters clean

Your filter will need regular maintenance to remove accumulated waste products and to keep it running properly. Clean the filters every two weeks. And the external once a month. Always rinse the sponges and other materials in water taken from the Aquarium, the chlorine in the tap water will damage the useful bacteria in the filter. If your filter contains carbon, replace it every few months. Main sponges or biological means only need to be replaced once a year. To ensure that the bacterial populations remain adequately high, never change more than half of the once filter sponges.

Maintain healthy fish

Check your fish for signs of disease

Under normal conditions, the immune system of the fish avoids disease to triumph, but problems occur when the fish is stressed, is injured or when the basal levels of pathogenic organisms rise dangerously. Making sure not to populate the Aquarium in excess, putting new fish in quarantine, monitoring the water conditions and carrying out a good maintenance of the Aquarium will avoid the appearance of most of the diseases.

Avoid stress and poor water conditions

Stress is the leading cause of disease in the Aquarium and can come as a result of various factors, including transport, sudden changes in water conditions, an inadequate decorations, the aggressiveness of other fish and fluctuations in the levels of heating. The poor quality of the water can trigger health problems because the immune system of the fish reacts excessively to pollutants from the water and fight continuously, on a losing battle. Always fix the cause of any disease before treating their symptoms, since while the stress or the poor quality of water are present, treatments are usually ineffective.

Take advantage of full treatments

Before using a treatment, carry out basic maintenance, and remove the carbon or chemical filter, since they will also absorb the treatments. Some treatments may reduce the amount of oxygen available in the Aquarium, so keep the water surface moving as much as possible to increase aeration. Always give the full supply (outlet do not leave) following the manufacturer's instructions. Some diseases have a "life cycle" and complete treatments are designed to prevent reinfection. After the use of a treatment, take a small water change to change and replace coal or chemical means. Avoid using two treatments at the same time, the combined effect of many common treatments can be dangerous, although you can still use descloradores or fertilizers for plants.
Published for educational purposes

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