A plan to keep your tank spick and span.
Maintenance is an essential part of keeping fish. Owners that lead a busy life or lack confidence can always get a specialist to do the work for them.
Maintaining an aquarium is not as simple as one might think. “Remember, water temperature is critical and some fish need fresh water while others thrive in salt water tanks,” says Daniela Iurascu, Marketing Manager at Aquarium Architecture. “And, where salt water is concerned, it has to be changed every two weeks,” she adds.
“Aquarium maintenance is tailor-made to the individual client and can comprise of:
- A cleaning service with (24/7) emergency call out;
- livestock and dry goods supply;
- redesign and aquascaping of existing aquaria;
- computer monitoring of water parameters;
- aquarium removal services;
- and education on fish tank maintenance.”
Algae thrive in water full of nitrate and phosphate. It can physically be removed from surfaces like the aquarium glass and tank decoration with an abrasive pad, an algae magnet or special scrapers with plastic or metal blades.
Algae can also be prevented by plenty of water changes and by using special resins. When algae-eating fish are introduced to the environment, they naturally clean the tank and entertain the aquarist at the same time.
The biggest reason for changing the water regularly is to dilute pollutants that have built up over time. Filtration breaks down ammonia and nitrite into less harmful nitrate. High levels of nitrate (from 40-140 ppm) can cause algae and may have an adverse effect on newly acclimatised fish. Very high levels of nitrate can actually kill fish.
Other factors affect aquariums as the water ages. Phosphate levels build up through fish waste and food is a major cause of algae in freshwater aquariums. If the water becomes very acidic it can suffer from pH collapse, where the pH drops from six or seven to three or four overnight with dire consequences for most fish.
Water changes add buffers, which help to maintain pH. One of the most effective ways to change the water is to introduce a siphon tube. A self-starting siphon device can be used to drain water from the tank into a bucket.
Experts only remove a proportion of the tank water at any one time and always use a de-chlorinator and thermometer to check the temperature and make the water safe for fish. They never remove all the water or strip the tank down as too much beneficial bacteria will be removed in one go, causing potential water quality issues.
Gravel vacuuming removes all the dirt and debris from the gravel. To do this properly, it is sensible to use a gravel vacuum and siphon tube that self-starts and saves the enthusiast from having to suck the pipe.
The principle of gravel vacuuming is to place the wide diameter intake over the gravel. Once started the vacuum will lift the gravel and spin it around inside, removing any debris. The debris then flies up the tube into the bucket and the heavier gravel is dropped back down.
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