Posts tagged Freshwater

Standard Aquarium Shapes, Common Designs









Corner Pentagon




Double Bow


Corner Bow

Cichlid Aquarium

Aquarium from Brian Boudreau on Vimeo.

100 Gallon African Cichlid Aquarium
150 lbs of base coral
50 lbs of crush coral substrate

2x Rena Filstar XP3 Canister filters
Rena 400 Air Pump
2x Marineland Flexible bubble wand – 48″

These pumps are very strong and cycle over 700 gallons of water per hour. This allows me to keep more than 50 fish stocked in the tank.

Shot with HV20 & Raynox HD6600 Pro. Edited in Sony Vegas 8 Pro and Music made in Cinescore

Fish Compatibility Charts Marine and Freshwater

These charts serve as a general guideline. Tropical Fish are individualistic, aggressive, & opportunistic to a certain degree. Make sure to stock your fish at appropriate sizes, don’t over-crowd, keep them well-fed, and above all, under close constant observation.
Freshwater Fish

Marine Fish

Q & A
Q: What does “reef safe” mean?
A: Reef Safe is a broad term given to
marine fish that will not damage coral
and do not readily consume small fish
or invertebrates.

Old Tank Syndrome – lack of proper maintenance

So, your tank is doing well. No fish losses, no diseases, and crystal clear water. Everything seems fine. Then all of a sudden…

In a closed system keeping an aquarium in balance depends on many factors. Everything that has been added to the tank will remain there in one form or another.

Even evaporating water leaves all the minerals and impurities behind as only pure H2O evaporates.aquarium fish

Considering this, there will always be some accumulation or declination of various elements. The lack of proper maintenance will not be immediately noticeable. Fish adjust to environmental problems, which go un-noticed to the human eye, adding to the potentially dangerous situation, which in the long term will be detrimental to your fish.

Often the problem becomes noticeable when new fish are added. we look toward our fish store when a new fish becomes ill and does not do so well. In many cases however, new fish introduced into an established tank are shocked by the harsh environment to which your tank inhabitants were able to slowly adjust.

Fish are able to adapt slowly to even the harshest environments, but get shocked by sudden environmental changes.

The shocked fish will be susceptible to diseases and a tank wide out-break can threaten the entire fish population, since all the fish are weakened and stressed by the negative conditions even if they had enough time to adjust to the environment.

The first sign of “old tank syndrome” is rising nitrate levels. The nitrification process, which oxidizes ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate, is continuous. The same process also produces hydrogen ions. Hydrogen ions directly influence the pH level. PH, in simple words, is the bonding of carbonate ions (buffer) with hydrogen ions. The more bonding, the higher the pH. Accumulating hydrogen ions will use up all available buffers. If none are left hydrogen ions will acidify the water, resulting in a steady but continuous decline of pH.

If left unchecked, the pH will eventually drop below 6. At this point, the beneficial bacteria will be in serious danger and cease to convert ammonia into less toxic compounds (nitrite, nitrate). The consequence is a build up in ammonia.

aquarium fishEven at this point, there are no visible signs of something going badly wrong, except if the basic water parameters are checked on regularly.

The increase in ammonia at this stage will not have a big impact but harbors a potential and deadly threat. Ammonia consists of either ammonium (NH4 – not very toxic) or ammonia (NH3 – very toxic). At a pH below 6 ammonia is in the less toxic form of NH4 which in effect protects the remaining fish.

Adding new buffers by replacing evaporated water, the old tank syndrome shifts slightly over to more acceptable pH readings and acceptable ammonia, but will be high in nitrates and water hardness. (Carbonate hardness = buffers).

To remedy the old tank syndrome, water changes are essential. A few Gallons per day will eventually raise the pH to the point where the beneficial bacteria are “re-activated” again, solving the ammonia problem. This has to be done slowly to prevent any disaster by drastic changes in the environment. Ammonia has to be monitored and the water changes should be paused if pH is rising but ammonia not declining. The bacteria need to catch up first. Remember ammonia gets toxic with rising pH.

Prevention of course is the best remedy. Regular maintenance of the tank will prevent the old tank syndrome. Maintenance is essential.

Aquarium Maintenance Simplified

The aquatic ecosystem in its complexity is an interlinked set of variable factors. A good maintenance schedule will keep them in balance and can prevent most if not all problems related to a neglected aquarium.

Copyright © 2010 – The Aquarium Water Clarifier & Nitrate Remover

Why do My Fish Hide all the Time?

Answer: The answer to that is rather simple – the fish is scared or uncomfortable with the surroundings. The more important question is what is making the fish scared in the first place?

New Surroundings
If the fish was recently added to the tank, the most likely cause is that its simply feeling nervous about its new surroundings. Given a few days, the fish should become comfortable with its new home and spend more time out and about.

In the event your fish continues to hide for more than a day or two, there is another problem afoot. Until you correct the problem, the fish will remain hidden.

Schooling Fish
Fish that normally school with a others of its own kind will hide if kept alone, or if kept in a group that is too small. Always keep schooling fish in groups of at least four or five. If they are kept in smaller groups, they may stay hidden most of the time.

Hiding Places
Many fish do not feel comfortable unless they have a place of their own where they can hide when they feel threatened. Odd as it may seem, providing more hiding places will usually cause fish to stay out most of the time.

Stack rocks to form caves, place pieces of clay pots on the bottom, add pieces of driftwood with arches or holes, or use any structures that allow fish to hide. If each fish knows it has its own personal hiding place, it will feel safe and stay out in the open more often.

Aquarium Fish Nutrition

Most of the times, fishes are not able to get the nutrition
they need in captivity. This is because what they eat is directly dependent
on the fish keeper. If the fish keeper always feed a certain kind of food,
then it is highly possible that the fish gets a deficiently in some nutritions.

Vitamin A Poor growth, loss of appetite, eye problems, dropsy, gill problems, hemorrhage at fin base.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Poor appetite, muscular wasting, convulsions, loss of equilibrium, edema, poor growth
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Cloudy eyes, blood shot eyes, poor vision, avoidance reaction to light (photophobia), dark coloration, poor appetite, poor growth, anemia.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Nervous disorders, loss of appetite, anemia, edema, gasping, flaring of gill covers.
Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamine) Poor appetite, anemia, poor growth.
Biotin Loss of appetite, poor growth, muscular wasting, convulsions, skin and gut lesions.
Choline Poor growth, visceral hemorrhages.
Folic acid Poor growth, lethargy, fin damage, dark coloration, anemia.
Inositol Poor growth, dropsy, skin lesions.
Pantothenic acid Gill and skin problems, loss of appetite, poor growth, lethargy.
Vitamin C Dark coloration, skin problems, eye diseases, spinal deformities.

TREATMENT: Supplement the missing vitamin.
PREVENTION: Feed a variety of foods or commercially available brand foods of good quality

Can I Purchase Live Aquarium Fish on the Internet?

Answer: Not long ago few people considered purchasing fish anywhere but at their local fish shop. In recent years selling fish online and shipping them directly to the customer has become fairly common. Although there are risks when purchasing online, keeping these recommendations in mind will increase your chance of success.

The Risks
Purchasing online presents risks that aren’t encountered at a local fish shop. Not being able to select the fish ahead of time or observe the condition of the shop itself are enough to keep many people from purchasing online. An even bigger concern is stress the fish experience when shipped. Will the fish arrive alive and healthy? What happens if they are lost, or arrive dead or dying? All of these concerns are quite valid.

Reasons for Online Purchases
Before considering an online purchase think about your reasons for buying online versus a local fish shop. Price should not be the issue, as lower online prices will be offset by the addition of shipping fees. Ordering online because you are can’t find a specific species of fish locally, isn’t always necessary. Most good pet shops will order fish upon request, and if the fish dies during shipping, the cost is generally not passed on to you.

Lastly, if you order online because you live far away from a fish shop, odds are you probably just as far from a major airport. The fish may be subjected to a lengthy transit time, which is very stressful. It may be in your best interest to drive to a fish shop even if it is a few hours away, rather than ordering online and risk losing the fish during shipping. At least you can control the temperature in your car, and assure that the fish arrive at your home as quickly as possible.

Precautions to Take
If you still want to order live fish online, you can be increase your chances for success by taking a few precautionary steps. Keep the following things in mind before placing your order:

* Find an expert – Companies that specialize in shipping live fish directly to customers do a better job of packing the fish, and expediting the shipment.
* Ask about guarantees – A number of online suppliers offer ‘arrive alive’ provisions. If they make no guarantees at all, you are taking a big risk.
* Get a firm price with shipping – Don’t settle for undefined shipping costs when placing your order. Often the shipping can be far more than the cost of the fish itself.
* Go to the airport – If you live near a major airport, consider opting to pick up the package there. The cost will often be less, and there will be no risk of the fish sitting in a delivery truck for a long period of time.
* Consider the weather – If there are temperature extremes consider placing your order at another time. Keep in mind that although your weather may be good, the plane may travel through areas of not so pleasant temperatures. Fish are usually shipped in a cargo bay that is neither heated or cooled.
* Order with others – See if anyone else in your area is interested in ordering fish online. By combining your order you can save on shipping costs.
* Order Securely – Treat the order like any online purchase – very carefully. Personally I’d call my credit card or bank information in to the company if I had a choice. That way there is less chance of your information falling into the wrong hands. If you do fill out an online form, make sure it is a secure one.

I’ve personally ordered fish and plants online, and had both good and bad experiences. If you do your homework, you are less likely to have a bad outcome.
By Shirlie Sharpe, Guide

Common Freshwater Aquarium Problems Troubleshooting Guide

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

While it may seem like a passive endeavor, regular observation provides important visual cues, indicating changes in water quality and alerts you that something may be off balance in your aquarium. Fundamental water parameters that influence water quality, such as pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, are relatively easy to monitor through routine testing. However, many conditions associated with poor water quality develop gradually. Early signals may go unnoticed, leading to more serious or more persistent conditions. The following are some common “problems” or visual cues that indicate something may be off balance in your aquarium.

: Population boom of planarian due to overfeeding or excess organic debris. May also be due to fish overpopulation, filter malfunction, or inadequate filtration. While generally considered harmless, large numbers of these worms indicate poor water quality.
RECOMMENDED SOLUTION: Avoid overfeeding and promptly remove uneaten food with a siphon or fine mesh net. Perform regular water changes and siphon out debris from the substrate. Use bacterial additives to supplement existing biological filtration and use water conditioners that actively process and break down organic waste. The planarian population will decrease as water quality improves and the food source for the worms diminishes. Verify filtration is working properly and perform maintenance per manufacturer’s recommendations.
: Bacterial bloom triggered by high levels of ammonia. Nitrifying bacteria that consume ammonia reproduce rapidly to the point that they are visible, creating what looks like clouds of swirling, white smoke. Adding too many fish at one time, overfeeding, overcleaning with chlorinated water, and the use of antibiotic medications are common triggers. If bacterial blooms occur without these triggers, it may indicate inadequate nitrifying bacteria or biological filtration.
RECOMMENDED SOLUTION: Use an air pump with airstones to introduce additional oxygen. The air bubbles help release toxic gasses from the water and the added oxygen helps nitrifying bacteria process the ammonia more efficiently. Use bacterial additives to replenish or re-establish beneficial bacteria depleted by medications or large water changes.
Discoloration due to mineral-rich source water containing iron (i.e. well water). Aquariums with high oxygen levels may experience a more pronounced discoloration (redness) due to the oxidization of dissolved iron particles. High levels of minerals, such as iron and silicate, not only discolor the water but also provide nutrients that spark aggressive algae growth. Water with high mineral content (hard water) also has a greater buffering capacity and makes pH adjustments difficult.
RECOMMENDED SOLUTION: Chemical filter media such as Poly Filter removes specific pollutants such as iron and silicate and is a good choice. Peat or similar water softening chemical media can be used to help stabilize pH to desired levels. However, if the mineral content of the source water is very high, avoid using pH decreasers to adjust pH. The minerals in the hard water will buffer the water, making it difficult to successfully lower the pH. A water purification system such as a reverse osmosis unit provides the most reliable, long-term solution for problems resulting from hard water conditions.
: Chlorine or chloramine in tap water. These chemicals are commonly added to municipal tap water for their disinfectant qualities. Even small quantities of chlorine and chloramine can be detrimental to fish. Chlorine can severely stress fish by attacking their gills, causing them to gasp and breathe heavily. At higher concentrations, chlorine kills. Unfortunately, chlorine and chloramine will not only harm aquarium fish but can affect the entire aquarium system. These chemicals also kill beneficial bacteria and impair biological filtration. As a result, a series of water quality problems, including harmful ammonia spikes, can ensue.
RECOMMENDED SOLUTION: Commercial dechlorinators (chlorine removers) are available to help remove chlorine from tap water. When used as directed, they instantly remove chlorine from tap water to make it safe for aquarium use. However, not all dechlorinators will remove chloramine so it is important to know what chemicals are used to treat your tap water Reverse osmosis (RO) units are a good choice for serious hobbyists who require large amounts of pure water for sensitive reef aquariums. RO units can remove up to 99.9% of tap water impurities including phosphate, nitrate, minerals, and heavy metals for contaminant-free water.
: A decrease in your aquarium’s beneficial bacteria population. These bacteria are necessary to the nitrogen cycle, in which ammonia is broken down. Ammonia spikes are most commonly associated with newly established systems where too many fish are added before a suitable bacteria colony is established. However, ammonia spikes can also occur in mature home aquariums, after gravel substrate or bio-media is cleaned or replaced.
RECOMMENDED SOLUTION: Bacterial additives help replenish beneficial bacterial populations. Simply add the correct amount to your aquarium while setting up a new system or on a regular basis after routine cleaning in established systems. Also, minimize the amount of beneficial bacteria removed from your aquarium with each cleaning. Clean aquarium gravel in sections with each water change instead of cleaning the entire substrate floor in one marathon session. Similarly, do not clean or replace all of your filter media at once or when performing water changes. Replace filter media in stages to allow biological and mechanical media to retain existing beneficial bacterial population.
: Overfeeding can often result in the accumulation of uneaten fish food. If excess food is not removed promptly, it can decay and encourage mold or fungus growth. The decaying food is soon covered in unsightly tufts of fuzzy fungus. While this growth may not directly harm aquarium fish, the presence of fungal growth is an indication of poor water quality. As a precaution, it is a good idea to measure water quality with a test kit and, if necessary, perform a partial water change to remove pollutants and improve water quality.
RECOMMENDED SOLUTION: Remove uneaten food and monitor feedings with automatic feeders. These programmable devices offer an easy and convenient way to prevent overfeeding. Automatic feeders reliably dispense appropriate amounts of fish foods whether you are home or away on vacation. Fill these feeders with a variety of flake or pellet food to ensure proper fish nutrition. Controlled feeding not only encourages healthy fish growth, but also plays an important role in maintaining water quality for the overall health of the aquarium.
: Buildup of organic material in substrate or filter media. Decomposing organic waste materials have an acidifying effect on aquarium water. As the buffering capacity of the water is compromised by decaying organic material, aquarium pH level becomes susceptible to fluctuations.
RECOMMENDED SOLUTION: Inspect mechanical filter media for excess organic waste buildup. Remove old filter media and replace with clean, new media. Also, during your next scheduled water change, be sure to thoroughly siphon a portion of your aquarium substrate. Clean or siphon no more than 50% of your substrate at a time. Over-cleaning your substrate can remove beneficial bacteria living in your substrate and negatively affect your biological filtration. A routine maintenance regimen of a 25% water change, every 1-2 weeks, is the easiest way to reduce waste buildup and improve overall aquarium water quality.
: Algae bloom due to excess light or algal nutrients such as nitrate and phosphate. While algae growth is normal in aquariums, aggressive algae growth suggests steady organic nutrient buildup in a system unable to efficiently process the material. This suggests insufficient filtration or the introduction of surplus nutrients from a secondary source, including food or even source water.
RECOMMENDED SOLUTION: Algaecides may be used for immediate results. However, the algae will return if the root of the problem is not addressed. Keep nutrient levels in check through regular water changes. Use activated carbon or chemical resin media designed to remove organic compounds. Perform regular filter maintenance to remove trapped organic debris. Test your source water for nitrate and phosphate. If these algal nutrients are present, consider using purified water such as reverse osmosis water. Limit the length of time the lights are on to 10-14 hours per day for planted aquariums and 6-10 for ornamental setups.
: Accumulation of organic waste material due to over-feeding or inadequate mechanical filtration. As these organic materials break down, they compromise water quality by releasing nitrogen products as well as the algal nutrient, phosphate. If excess organic debris settles on aquarium surfaces, it can provide a nutrient-rich biological media for algae.
RECOMMENDED SOLUTION: Clean or replace mechanical filter media on a regular basis to maintain optimum performance. To enhance mechanical filtration, use water clarifiers (flocculants) to bind fine particles together so they are easier to remove through filtration. The occasional use of extra-fine “water polishing” mechanical filter media such as micron filter pads are another option.

Ideal for any hobbyist, Quick Dip Test Strips allow you to get quick, accurate, and convenient results with a simple dip of the strip.

Premium Activated Carbon eliminates odors, discoloration, and dissolved organic wastes from aquarium water.

What is the best way to stay on top of the water quality in my aquarium?
In addition to routine water changes, test your water regularly using a test kit. Carefully observe your aquarium daily to detect visual cues that may tip you off to poor water quality.

Acclimating Your Saltwater and Freshwater Fish – Float vs. Drip

Acclimating Your Saltwater and Freshwater Fish – Float vs. Drip
Author: Kara K.

Float Acclimation
The most commonly used method of acclimating freshwater and saltwater fish. This is when you float the bag that your fish has been placed in, in the water of your aquarium. Floating for approximately 30 minutes ensures that the temperature in the bag water slowly begins to match the temperature of your aquarium, making it less stressful on the fish. After floating for 15 minutes, double the volume of water in the bag with your aquarium water. Continue floating for another 10 minutes or so.

Just dumping them into the aquarium without acclimating is likely to cause enough shock to kill your new fish. After acclimating, the bag is opened or cut, and the fish is taken out of the bag with a net and released into it’s new home.

Pros: Temperature is most likely to cause shock in fish. The Float method ensures that the dangers of temperature change are eliminated.
Cons: Owners commonly will dump the bag water into their aquarium along with the new fish. If the water in your new fish’s bag is contaminated with whatever was in it’s previous aquarium, that bacteria will then be in yours.
Float acclimation

Drip Acclimation
Less heard of than the common float method. Drip acclimation requires:

1. A clean bowl large enough to hold your new fish and twice the water contents of its bag.
2. A net.
3. Air pump tubing.

With the tubing, create a siphon from your aquarium, into the clean bowl. Place the all contents of your new fish’s bag into the bowl. Siphon should drip 2-3 drops per second (a knot can be tied in it, and loosened/tightened to adjust the water flow) into the bowl. Let drip until the water in the bowl has doubled in volume. This process should take approximately 30-45 minutes, and definitely no longer than an hour. With a net, gently scoop your fish from underneath and place him into the aquarium.

Pros: Especially handy for saltwater fish because it gradually acclimates them to the salinity, pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels in your established aquarium.
Cons: Temperatures in the low volume of water held in the bowl can drop considerably in half an hour, increasing the risk that your fish will suffer temperature change shock.

The endangered Lake Victoria cichlid (Haplochromis spp.)

The endangered Lake Victoria cichlid (Haplochromis spp.) is found only in the Lake Victoria basin, the most important freshwater fishery in Africa.

The greatest threats affecting the Lake Victoria cichlid are human-related and include pressures from the introduced Nile perch, pollution, and algae build-up.  These factors are causing cichlid species to go extinct before scientists can even name them all.  Biologists believe that 300 of the possible 500 cichlid species native to Lake Victoria have already gone extinct.

The AZA Freshwater Fish Taxon Advisory Group and the Lake Victoria Cichlids Species Survival Plan® Program manage over 2,800 cichlids representing 13 different species at 15 AZA-accredited aquariums.   These institutions have created a collaborative breeding program that strives to preserve many cichlid species for the future.

The AZA Conservation Endowment Fund has provided over $15,000 to the Toronto Zoo, New England Aquarium, and Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for their conservation and education work with the local National Museums of Kenya and the Fisheries Resources & Research Institute (FIRI) in Uganda. The goal of the FIRI is to implement conservation methods for cichlid biodiversity in the region by developing aquariums and pond aquaculture for breeding purposes, to educate the local population about the issues affecting these species, and to urge local fishermen to throw back fish that are too small to eat in hopes of building a sustainable population for the future.

Lake Victoria Cichlid Facts

Status Endangered
Size Their color may vary.  Males are generally brightly colored, while females are more muted in color.
Appearence Cichlids are only found in the Lake Victoria Basin of Africa, which includes the countries of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
Habitat Cichlids are only found in the Lake Victoria Basin of Africa, which includes the countries of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
Diet Their diet differs between species, but cichlids eat algae, plants, snails, crustaceans, other fish and even members of their own species.
Breeding Cichlids are “mouth brooders,” which means eggs and wrigglers develop in the female’s mouth and can number from 10 to 80 wrigglers!
Go to Top
Get Adobe Flash player