Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Easiest Way to Setup a Saltwater Aquarium: Part One

Establishing the Basic Needs of the Tank

Everyone has admired the large saltwater aquariums that can be found in the offices of most dentists, physicians, cosmetologists and marine enthusiasts but have believed them to be far too much work to bring into their own homes. Fortunately, this is not the case. While the process of establishing a saltwater aquarium can be a costly one, in terms of manual labor there is a very simple method which almost guarantees success.

Step 1: Assemble and prepare the equipment. During packaging and production the aquarium and all of its corresponding parts have almost certainly been exposed to various pollutants, such as dust and chemicals, which will be very harmful to the fish if it is allowed free reign in the aquarium. Prior to use every piece of the aquarium should be washed with hot, fresh water and cleansed with a soft piece of cloth to prevent scratching.

Step 2: Place all of the components in the tank WITHOUT adding any of the decorative features. Then fill the tank to the fill line (which may or may not be already marked on the aquarium-2 to 3 inches from the top is generally adequate to prevent major spillover when the tank is cleaned or the fish fed) with saltwater (if you have chosen to make your own saltwater solution read below for instructions). Turn the tank on and allow it to run for 24 hours to ensure that all components are fully functional.

- Making Your Own Saltwater -

Ocean water is the natural habitat of all saltwater marine animals and, consequently, the best water source for any saltwater aquarium. If ocean water is not available, however, and the owner of a saltwater aquarium does not wish to purchase a pre-made saltwater solution it is possible to make saltwater. It is important to use a sea salt mixture that is free of impurities rather than table salt when creating saltwater in order to reproduce the natural environment as accurately as possible. These mixes can be purchased from any store that specializes in the sale of tropical fish.

Step 3: Landscape your aquarium. Organic substances are not only more aesthetically pleasing than their plastic counterparts, they provide a more pleasing environment for the fish as well. Keeping in mind that fish generally use what humans consider to be decorations as shelter when in the wild it is important to consider the types of fish which will be inhabiting the tank prior to choosing its decoration.

Step 4: Start the 30 day cycling process, during which the ammonia should be tested regularly. This can be done with or without fish in the tank.

Following these simple steps will allow the amateur marine enthusiast to place aside their fears and enjoy the benefits of a happy, healthy aquarium in the privacy of their own home.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

How to care about an invertebrate Marine Aquarium

Marine Aquarium Care- Invertebrates Only

The care required for an invertebrate only tank is very similar to that of any other saltwater tank; however, the invertebrates are far less hardy than fish.  It is recommended that you become skilled with a fish only tank before attempting an Invertebrate aquarium.  Most Invertebrates require a specialized diet. Check with the supplier before purchasing and be sure that you are willing to make the commitment to have food delivered if necessary.  There are two different types of invertebrates, tropical and cold water.  Make sure that the type you are buy is compatible with its other tank mates.

A few examples of tropical invertebrates are tubeworms, red hermit crabs, cleaner shrimp and the sea apple. All of this marine life is compatible in terms of water conditions.  They require a water temperature between seventy five and seventy nine degrees Fahrenheit, a P.H. between 8.2 and 8.4 and a salinity content of 1.020-1.024.  As you can see, there is very little wiggle room associated with these measurements.  It is extremely important to check the levels daily, or the results could be costly.  These invertebrates are not compatible, however, with their food source needs.  Check with the supplier for compatibility before combining tropical invertebrates.        

 Unlike their tropical counter parts, cold water invertebrates are usually not sold in stores.  They have to be collected from tide pools.  It is important to make sure that these species are not on the endangered species list before removing them from their home. It is equally important to do research in order to verify that you are able to properly feed them and care for their very specific needs.  Sea Anemones, prawns, shrimp, and starfishes are a few varieties that have been successfully maintained in an aquarium.  They require a water temperature between fifty four and fifty nine degrees Fahrenheit, a P.H. between 8-8.4 and a salinity content of 1.024-1.025.  Luckily they do eat the same food.  They feed off of a diet of small pieces of raw fish, shrimp, squid and mussels.

When keeping cold water invertebrates such as the species mention above, it is a good idea to keep a separate tank full of shrimp, mussels, and scallops to be used as a food source, if you wish to use fresh rather than frozen foods.   Be careful when keeping shrimp, as all of the invertebrates listed above feed on shrimp, including shrimp themselves.  It is unlikely, however that a healthy live shrimp will be eaten whole by another shrimp or starfish.  Invertebrates should be fed more frequently in smaller amounts than fish. Try to feed only an amount that can be consumed in the first thirty to sixty seconds.        

When setting up an invertebrate tank remember to include live rock, because some invertebrates feed on the parasites that grow on the live rock.  A substrate should also be included in this type of aquarium. It will provide a place for the crabs and shrimp to dig and bury themselves.  A light should be included as well, if you intend to keep anemones.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Before Stocking Your Saltwater Aquarium With Tropical Fish

When most people look at a saltwater aquarium the first thing they notice are the fish.
Fish of all shapes, sizes, colors, styles, and personalities. One of the most devastating things that can happen to a tropical fish lover after they have gone to the effort and expense of purchasing an aquarium and setting it up is to purchase fish that are riddled with disease that die shortly after they are brought to their new home.

The odds of purchasing a healthy fish is by purchasing it from a reputable pet store.
If you walk into a store that sells pet fish for private aquariums and your immediately flattened by the odor of rotting seafood turn around and walk away. It isn't unusual for fish stores to have a peculiar musty scent. Strong odor can indicate a store who is not as concerned as they should be about the care of their animals.

Take a good look at the store's aquariums. The tanks should be clean. The water should be clear. Don't be alarmed if you see a tank that has a sign announcing that the fish in the tank aren't for sale. Many fish stores don't have enough room for a quarantine tank.

The staff should be friendly, attentive, helpful and informative. If the store is having a slow spell the employees should be cleaning tanks or feeding fish. When they catch a fish, the professional handler should use two nets and corner the fish, eliminating unnecessary stress.

The rule of thumb is that if there are more then three dead fish in a tank consider shopping somewhere else. Dead fish happen. When stores are busy they don't always have the time to clean the deceased fish from the tank. So one or two is not necessarily a bad omen, but more then that and you'll want to consider looking somewhere else before you stock your saltwater aquarium.

When you are shopping for tropical fish take your time and really study the fish. Take note of their physical condition. Study their eyes, fins, mouths, scales, and abdomens. Put your hand as close to the glass as you can without actually touching it. The fish should either swim towards your hand, looking for food, or they should dart for cover. If a fish doesn't look or act healthy, don't purchase it.

Before you go shopping for tropical fish, gather a little knowledge. Make sure that the fish you purchase are compatible. Make sure you know what kind of food they require (predatory fish generally need frozen or live bait). If you decide that you want to own a predatory fish that requires live food make sure that you have a way of keeping that food alive, in many cases this will mean a completely separate tank. If you are eventually planning adding coral to your saltwater aquarium you may want to start thinking ahead and purchase fish that are compatible with coral.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How to Safely Change the Water in Your Saltwater Aquarium

As with people fish thrive when kept in an environment as close to their own as possible. For this reason aquariums should be carefully structured to imitate the natural environments of the species it is home to as closely as possible. Even if it is not possible to duplicate exactly the living conditions found in the deep blue the fish will benefit from the effort.

Fish are also very adaptable creatures. It is what allows them to live and thrive in captivity when many other marine animals are unable to make the change. The fish will adapt to the environment around them and learn to live in the conditions of their tank. It is important that these conditions remain as constant as possible. As in nature a tip in the balance of the elements in an aquarium can bring with it devastating consequences. It is important that changes in the aquarium environment be few and far between.

This is generally a very simple matter until the time comes for the water in the tank to be changed. In nature the water in the ocean is constantly cycling; therefore, the water never has the opportunity to become stale and overloaded with elements that will have a negative impact on the well being of your aquatic friends. Since this is not the case in an aquarium even with an excellent artificial filtering system and organic filtering methods combined it will still be necessary on occasion to manually clean the tank.

The water with which you replace the dirty water in the aquarium should be as close as possible to the water that was originally filling the tank. 
What this means is that if you opted to buy a pre-made saltwater mix when you started your tank you should continue to use that same pre-made saltwater mix. If you made your own saltwater you should use the same type of sea salt in the same proportions that you used in the beginning. If you opted to transplant ocean water or purchased filtered ocean water you are going to want to use that same type of water when you make the change.

Water in aquariums should be changed every couple of months, more if you happen to notice that wastes are beginning to build up. This will be evident by the hazy look the previously clear water will take on and the obvious accumulation of waste at the bottom of the tank. Be sure when you change the water you also clean the components of the tank and the inside of the glass itself. Putting clean water into an empty tank is along the same lines as putting clean clothes on a dirty body-there is little point.

By keeping your tank clean and the conditions as constant as possible you are giving your fish the best possible chance to thrive in their artificial environment, guaranteeing that you will be able to enjoy their beauty for a very long time.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Switching From a Freshwater to a Home Saltwater Aquarium

Many people would like to own and maintain a saltwater aquarium but they shy away from them, turning instead to the freshwater variety because they have been told that saltwater aquariums are difficult to maintain and require additional equipment. 
That is not necessarily true.

 For the most part converting a freshwater tank to a saltwater tank is simple. Most of the equipment both tanks use is the same, with only a few notable exceptions. One such exception is the aquarium substrate. Instead of using the gravel that your fresh water fish preferred tropical fish fare better with a substrate that is made of live sand or crushed coral. Most filtering systems work well in both freshwater and saltwater environments, but many aquarium owners take advantage of the opportunity to upgrade their system, i is also important to remember that the filter you are using in your saltwater tank circulates the water throughout the entire tank. Disturbing the water's surface maximizes the amount of oxygen in the water. If you are planning to maintain a fish only aquarium you shouldn't have to worry about upgrading your lighting system. The only time the lights will have to be upgraded is if you start adding coral reefs to your tank.

A mistake many aquarium lovers make when they are converting their freshwater tanks to saltwater tanks is assuming that all they have to do is add a little salt to the water and voila, a saltwater tank. All they have done is create an environment that will kill any coral reefs, tropical fish, and freshwater fish that they place in the tank. The bacteria in saltwater is completely different from the bacteria in freshwater. People who want to speed the waters cycling process should scoop some aquarium substrate from a warm saltwater aquarium and transfer it to a temperate saltwater aquarium. Before you add fish to your freshly converted tank, make sure you purchase a refractometer and hydrometer to test the salinity of your water. The salinity should have a specific gravity that is between 1.020 and 1.026.

Saltwater causes rust. Check your tank and filtration system regularly. If you notice rust starting to form, it's time to replace your equipment.

Before you start stocking you saltwater aquarium with fish do a little research. Many variety's of tropical fish require a different type of food the freshwater varieties. Several of these variety's have to be fed combinations of fresh, frozen, and live food in addition to fish flakes. Frozen food should not be kept in your freezer for more then three months. If you are purchasing a fish that is going to need a great deal of live food, find out what kind of arrangements are going to Switching From a Freshwater Aquarium to a Home Saltwater Aquariums

Many people would like to own and maintain a saltwater aquarium but they shy away from them, turning instead to the freshwater variety because they have been told that saltwater aquariums are difficult to maintain and require additional equipment. That is not necessarily true. For the most part converting a freshwater tank to a saltwater tank is simple. Most of the equipment both tanks use is the same, with only a few notable exceptions. One such exception is the aquarium substrate. Instead of using the gravel that your fresh water fish preferred tropical fish fare better with a substrate that is made of live sand or crushed coral. Most filtering systems work well in both freshwater and saltwater environments, but many aquarium owners take advantage of the opportunity to upgrade their system, it is also important to remember that the filter you are using in your saltwater tank circulates the water throughout the entire tank. Disturbing the water's surface maximizes the amount of oxygen in the water. If you are planning to maintain a fish only aquarium you shouldn't have to worry about upgrading your lighting system. The only time the lights will have to be upgraded is if you start adding coral reefs to your tank.

A mistake many aquarium lovers make when they are converting their freshwater tanks to saltwater tanks is assuming that all they have to do is add a little salt to the water and voila, a saltwater tank. All they have done is create an environment that will kill any coral reefs, tropical fish, and freshwater fish that they place in the tank. The bacteria in saltwater is completely different from the bacteria in freshwater. People who want to speed the waters cycling process should scoop some aquarium substrate from a warm saltwater aquarium and transfer it to a temperate saltwater aquarium. Before you add fish to your freshly converted tank, make sure you purchase a refractometer and hydrometer to test the salinity of your water. The salinity should have a specific gravity that is between 1.020 and 1.026.

CAUTION: Saltwater causes rust. Check your tank and filtration system regularly. If you notice rust starting to form, it's time to replace your equipment.

Before you start stocking you saltwater aquarium with fish do a little research. Many variety's of tropical fish require a different type of food the freshwater varieties. Several of these variety's have to be fed combinations of fresh, frozen, and live food in addition to fish flakes. Frozen food should not be kept in your freezer for more then three months. If you are purchasing a fish that is going to need a great deal of live food, find out what kind of arrangements are going to have to be made to keep the food alive before consumption.

Most fish owners recommend purchasing a small tank that can be used as a quarantine tank. Placing a sick fish in a quarantine tank will make treating it easier and increase its odds of survival.

Most fish owners recommend purchasing a small tank that can be used as a quarantine tank. Placing a sick fish in a quarantine tank will make treating it easier and increase its odds of survival.