If you avoid some of my mistakes, then maybe you might have a better
chance of starting off in perfect position. These are some of the
hints and tips that have helped me, and some that have'nt:
Start off slowly:- Add only a couple of platys or barbs
to start off with, be sparingly when you are adding fish to a new tank. The
aquarium takes time to adjust to the Nitrogen Cycle , don't rush it. To
spare the fish from toxic levels, you can try a Fishless Cycle.
Amount of light in the tank:- Fot the first week I let the light source in
the tank for hours and hours on a stretch - algae built up and my
tank looked like it turned brown. 10 - 12 hours is well enough. If you are using fluorescent lighting, and
and you have plastic plants, 1 lamp is good enough for the fish. Some certain real
plants can grow in inhospitable enviroments (Hygros, Vals, Java Fern). If you are really interested in a
proper planted tank, supplement CO2/2 watts per gallon
is generally acceptable to plants which need light/medium lighting.
Food:-I started of with three meals a day, but because of
my late nights and disrupted morning times, it is fine for the fish to have
two meals a day. Or even 1 meal a day, as overfeeding is a common problem with a new aquarist (see below).
Water changes:- The crucial element in the changes is to
break down the chlorine in the tap water. Don't forget. It is
tiresome to do these chores, and you get into a routine to cut
corners etc. Once I turned on the TV as I did these changes, and lost
concentration. Before I knew what I was doing, half of the input
tap water was in the tank WITHOUT conditioning it(Doh!!!).
Illness:- Always check the fish for ailments - If you
can diagnose and treat the fish quickly, theres more chance of you
Check the filter:- There is a lot of cleaning and
maintenance and make sure that everything is running smoothly. Make sure that
you clean inside the filter. The impeller is very important, you
should clean the impeller chamber at least every 2 months. I check
and clean my one in every maintanance session, can't hurt can it?
Use aquarium water:- When you want to clean the filter outer box, foam,
impeller etc, you can use aquarium water, to safeguard your bio-filter. If you use unconditioned tap water,
every helpful bacteria in your filtercan be destroyed.
Watch for the weed:- If you put a plant right next to a pump,
it's going do damage to it. Make sure that the flow of water is not
right in the path of a plant. If you have a strong powerhead, the option is to use a spray bar.
Electric shock:- The bigger the tank, the more wattage is
needed to run the pump, light and heater. So I would advise you to turn
off the power before dabbling your pinkies in the water - it very well
could cost you your life.
Drip-loop:- Still talking about electricity, allow you
aquarium(s) cord(s) to drop slightly below the outlet and then curve upwards
to the plug(s). This is the "drip-loop" and will prevent water from
travelling down the cord and directly into the electrical outlet.
Overfeeding:- You've just got your new fish, and you want
to make sure that they remain nice and healthy - isn't it tempted to
give them all the food they can eat and a little bit more? Well don't,
overfeeding can lead to all sorts of problems, even kidney failure. Who
wants all your platys to end up as fat as puffer fish?
Don't change too much!!:- Your aquarium has been through the
wars - dead fish, plants, diseases etc, but things are on the up
and it looks like that the toxic levels are reducing. Now, isn't it
time to change a foam and carbon insert and why not add some more
gravel? Nooooo!! Don't to it. It takes time for the biological
cycle to stable, and if you change to many variables it could drastactly
alter many things - PH levels, water hardness, even it could revert your
new aquarium back to its starting point again. Stagger things, never
at the same time.
Watch out for direct light:- Bloody algae, doesn't everyone
hate it? If you have your aquarium in direct sunlight, then algae
will multiply. It may also cause overheating.
Prepare to be disappointed:- When you start up a new
aquarium, the first fish are more or less pioneers. Unfortunately,
you may lose a few. Don't get too attached to these first few pilgrims,
you must just roll up your sleeves and try again.
Bring out yar dead!!:- Your fish will die, from disease
or old age, you must take out any dead bodies. If you leave a dead fish
that was infected, the others may eat some of the flesh, and thats no good
No Goldfish, thanks:- Why? Just why are so many people
mixing Goldfish with Tropical fish? I don't know why exactly, but many people are.
Often they buy a small Goldfish for a small tank and a few Tetras, and everythings
fine. No way, because: the Common Goldfish can get very big (150 - 200mm) after a few years;
Goldfish are Coldwater fish - they live in temperatures of 0-18C, whereas
Tropicals generally enjoy 24C. They can adapt, but they are living in the wrong enviroment,
this can lead to problems. Don't mix 'em!!
Yet more algae?:- Now you have got some really tough,
sticky, green algae on your glass? Use a replacable razor for the
annoying stuff. Don't be a plonker and go and cut yourself (writing this in shame!!)
Is there a standard water change for everone?:- In a word, no.
Everyones aquarium is different: Tank size, water condition, stocking level,
plant level. Because of that, not every aquariums needs the same water
change schedule. The most important thing to consider is Nitrate. As the
Nitrogen Cycle finishes, you get a steady rise in Nitrates after a while.
If your aquarium has a 40 - 100ppm Nitrate level, then its best to do bigger water
changes (30 - 35%), every week. Personally, I use a 15-20% change every week,
even though my aquariums Nitrate levels are below 40ppm.
Is your algae eater getting enough food?:- So, you bought a big Bristlenose Catfish, so he could remove your persistant brown algae? And
then he vacuumed up the stuff in three days? You can supplement his diet, obviously
algae wafers will do well. You can also try with a peice of cucumber - and I find that
using a spare air pump hose weight, and a bit of string, keeps the cucumber on the bottom during the
night. Don't use it everyday and with massive amounts as it can turn the water a bit cloudy in
the morning. Most likelt that the Cat will find his own food anyway, so dont think you have to add a wafer every day.