Aquarium maintenance: long term

aquarium-vacuum

Making your aquarium last: tips for long term aquarium maintenance

syphoning aquarium
syphoning aquarium[
For most aspiring fish keeping enthusiasts and beginner aquarists, just getting the aquarium to function well enough to keep your fish alive and happy in the first place is enough of a challenge, but this article will focus on how to keep it that way by applying a long term aquarium maintenance routine.

No matter how much care and effort you put into setting up your aquarium perfectly for the introduction of your first batch of fish, over time you will notice that the environment changes. Gradually, you may come to realize that the bright and colourful tank that you once enjoyed has lost its original lustre.

Applying a regular long term aquarium maintenance routine will help to ensure that your tank looks like new even years after you began keeping fish in it. Key to this is assigning some monthly and annual tasks that will keep your tank fresh and lively.

See also low maintentance fish keeping

Weekly tasks

. Check your fish for signs of distress, usually if they are breathing heavier than normal or are scratching themselves on objects. Check for any spots, marks, red blemishes or fungus. Also check that all the fish are present. Sick or dead fish may be hiding. Take the appropriate action.

. For the keener aquarist, do a 10% partial water change with aged water. Check your water parameters such as ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph and hardness.

. Vacuum any accumulated fish waste on the gravel surface.

See also keep your livebearers healthy

Monthly tasks for a healthy aquarium

While aquarists should be well aware of the importance of daily tasks such as maintaining the proper temperature and feeding the fish, the constantly changing conditions of an active fish tank make some monthly tasks necessary to keep the aquarium in like-new condition. Scheduling these tasks and adhering to them over time will help keep your aquarium in excellent shape.

• Partial water changes. One of the most critical elements of long term aquarium maintenance is frequent water changing. Generally, a 25% water change monthly will help maintain the proper water quality for a tank, but 10% weekly can sometimes be even more effective.

Water changes should be accompanied by a test of the water quality in order to make sure that you have not upset the necessary balance of nutrients that your fish need to survive.

• Gravel churning. If you use a gravel substrate to line the bottom of your aquarium, you should use an aquarium vacuum to clean up the rot and waste that can easily collect underneath the gravel at least once a month. You need to really dig up and disturb the gravel so that the vacuum can suck up accumulated waste.

If you are using an under-gravel filter, it is necessary to clean the gravel when you do your water changes in order to prevent waste from collecting in between the gravel and preventing effective water flow.

• Cleaning algae and dirt from the glass. Every healthy aquarium will feature algae inside of it. This is an inescapable sign of a healthy underwater environment, making regular monthly cleanings necessary.

Controlling algae as part of a long term aquarium maintenance routine is important because algae grows incredibly rapidly and can overwhelm your tank if left unchecked. One of the best ways to control algae growth is to use a specialized algae scraper once a month along the interior of the tank and on any decorations that have been consumed by algae growth. Or better still reduce the wattage of your lighting.

• Plant pruning. Any aquarium that features live plants will eventually end up with dead leaves and plant matter decaying inside the tank. This waste can quickly build up and stress the environment for your fish, so your plants should be pruned at least once a month and dead plants removed as soon as they are discovered.

• Equipment checks. Always schedule a monthly equipment check so that you can be sure that every part of your tank is functioning properly. Over time, you may notice that your tank heater does not provide as much heat as it used to, or that your air pump valves need replacement.

Catching faulty equipment before its too late can be the only way to skirt disaster, which is why effective long term aquarium maintenance is necessary. If you can catch and replace defective equipment before it affects the livelihood of your fish, you stand a good chance of keeping your aquarium in excellant condition for years to come.

• Filter cleaning. Although you spent time and energy cycling your tank so that beneficial bacteria could grow on your sponge filter, you should regularly clean off the filter so that water flow does not get obstructed. If you have this kind of filter, it is easy to clean without losing all of the helpful bacteria.

Removing your sponge filter and rinsing it in the same water you use in your tank is the best way to remove unwanted particles without harming the bacteria on the sponge. This is vastly preferable to replacing the sponge or wiping it perfectly clean, since that would require you to cycle your tank again afterwards from scratch.

The best thing to do is to schedule your filter cleaning several days apart from your tank cleaning so that there are enough beneficial bacteria present to keep your fish happy in the process. If you have a large tank with several filters, stagger your filter cleaning so that there is enough time for bacteria to grow back on the freshly cleaned filter before you clean the next one.

See also how to clean a tank

Annual maintenance tasks for long term aquarium maintenance

Keeping your aquarium freshly cleaned on a monthly basis can help reduce the chance of having to replace major elements of your aquarium on an annual basis, but it is important, nonetheless, to give your entire aquarium a quality once-over in order to be certain that the environment is ideal.

The following list of tasks should be exercised at least once a year, although many experienced aquarists suggest that a bi-annual check once every six months is even better for effective long term aquarium maintenance, depending on the complexity of your tank and its bio-load.

• Change your light bulbs. While it may seem like your aquarium lighting setup is working perfectly fine, you may want to change your lights at least once a year. Even if the lamps appear to be working just as well as the first day you bought them, they may not be providing the same ultraviolet frequencies as before, hindering your aquarium’s reproduction of natural daylight.

• Check your pumps and filter mechanisms. While you should be cleaning the actual filter media of your tank once a month, the mechanical elements responsible for water flow also need some regular attention. A specialised tubing brush can help you wipe away any debris that may have gotten into the motor or impeller of your setup.

Some pumps may require annual lubrication in order to work properly. If you discover that any of these parts are cracked, damaged, or otherwise working improperly, they should be replaced as soon as possible. Effective long term aquarium maintenance requires that these parts are kept in pristine working order.

• Examine your fish. Your aquarium is nothing without your fish, so it is important to give them a close visual inspection at least once a year, though preferably even more frequently. Look especially for signs of sickness in your fish. You may want to set up a hospital tank for your ill fish so that they do not infect the rest of the community.

This could also be a convenient time to exchange some fish. Unwanted residents of your tank can be sold off and replaced with different, more interesting fish that can give you a new appreciation for your aquarium.

• Close search for rot and decay. If you have been properly taking care of your monthly long term aquarium maintenance tasks, you should not have any major problems with dead plant matter or decayed fish food in your tank. However, it is important to regularly give your tank an especially close look in order to be sure.

Dead fish, of course, should be immediately removed as soon as they are discovered. The same, however, goes for any decaying or rotting material in your tank. Any of these can seriously affect the water quality if left in the tank, and lead to sick or dying fish, as well as greater long term aquarium maintenance complications later on.

Beginners guide to newly bought fish

The beginning aquarist’s emergency setup: new fish survival guide

Beginners guide to newly bought fish

It seems perfectly reasonable to a newcomer; excited to be entering the world of fishkeeping, purchasing their first batch of fish at the spur of the moment and taking them immediately home to introduce to their brand new aquarium habitat.

Beware, however, as this is a common cause of unnecessary fish death due to what is frequently called New Tank Syndrome. A brand new fish tank is not immediately ready to support your fish, and introducing them immediately can unbalance the delicate ecosystem of your aquarium.

See also cycling a new fish tank

and how to start a fish tank

How to keep your new fish alive

Although the situation described above may seem perfectly reasonable at first, the fact of the matter is that the fish tank environment is a much more subtle one that it may appear at first glance. Simply throwing your fish into a tank of tap water and hoping for the best will not work.

Your fish tank needs some time to become established before it is ready for fish to be introduced; this is performed through a process called fish tank cycling. A properly cycled fish tank is ready for fish to inhabit it because the bacteria necessary to process fish waste matter are present in the filters, providing the correct quality water to support life.

How to cycle your fish tank

A brand new fish tank does not contain all of the elements necessary to sustain your new fish’s life. In order for this to happen, it must be given enough time for the nitrogen cycle to take place: Bacteria will grow in the filter, converting toxic ammonia (broken down from fish waste) into nitrite, and nitrite into less harmful nitrate.

After being left to grow in the filtration system for a few weeks, the bacteria will take care of this job by themselves and let your fish lead long, happy lives. During this time, you are recommended to add fish to the tank one at a time over the weeks so as not to overwhelm the bacterial colony.

If you already brought your fish home

If you have just bought a brand new fish tank, threw in your fish, and are only reading this now, you need to adhere to the following emergency setup guide. This will take some work, but if you are careful about it, you will be able to avoid having any of your fish die.

• Do not over feed the fish. For the first 2 or 3 days do not feed the fish at all. Then start light feeding the fish for a couple of weeks. As the weeks go by and the filter becomes more established, increase feeding to normal amounts.

• Do not add ammonia. You may have read that you need to add ammonia to your fish tank in order to create the correct environment for your fish— you don’t anymore. This is only for a fishless tank cycling in which you let the bacteria grow before adding fish. Now that you have fish in the water, they will start producing ammonia by themselves, and that is precisely the problem.

• Change the water daily. Essentially, the problem you are facing is that your fish are slowly being choked by their own waste. You need to flush out the waste by changing 25% of the water volume every day for the first few weeks. This will keep the ammonia levels suitably low until the bacteria have a chance to grow.

• Use de-chlorinated water. If you filled your fish tank with tap water, chances are that there is chlorine present in the water. Dissolved chlorine is added to tap water in order to prevent bacteria from growing. Also, chlorine irritates and burns the fish. Furthermore, the beneficial bacteria will not grow in chlorinated water.

Thankfully, there is an easy way to de-chlorinate most tap water: simply leave the water out and exposed to air for 24-48 hours and the chlorine will evaporate. Having a large barrel of water standing in the garden to draw from can make this task easier. Most pet stores also carry commercial de-chlorinating chemicals that can do the same thing in a rush. If you already have fish in the tank, you should immediately de-chlorinate your water this way.

Keeping up the emergency setup

You will need to keep a careful eye on your fish and make sure that they look healthy. Changing 25% of the water every day should be enough to remove the waste, but you will also want to check for disease during this time.

Your fish, having just been transplanted into a new habitat, are highly susceptible to a wide range of problems at this point. Check for sick-looking fish with inflamed gills or ones that look like they are struggling for air. If you see that your fish look like they are gasping for air at the surface of the water, then an immediate water change is needed.

Heavy breathing, rapid gasping and wide opening gills are also indicators of toxic water. Fish in water with ammonia, nitrites and chlorine, after a few days, will succumb to illness. It can be useful to set up a temporary “hospital” tank in which you can isolate sick fish so as not to threaten the rest of your population.

During this time, you will want to check the ammonia and nitrite levels in your tank regularly and cut back on feeding your fish too much. More food turns into more waste, which can cause an ammonia spike and create more damage. Once you begin to see readings of zero ammonia and zero nitrite regularly for a week, it is safe to call off the emergency and begin enjoying your new tank normally.

How to set up a home-based breeder business

Setting Up A Home-Based Aquarium Fish Breeding Business: An Overview

Setting up a home-based aquarium fish breeding business can be an exciting step for any fishkeeping enthusiast to partake in. While experience goes a long way in ensuring the success of your ambitions, just about any aquarist can begin breeding and start realising profit in the fun and rewarding business of fish breeding at home.

Why home fish breeding works

breeding tanks
professional breeders multi-tank set up

When you visit your local aquarium fish store and take a look at the various imported species of fish that they offer, chances are that a great deal of them come from commercial breeding farms that, in some cases, can be separated by hundreds or thousands of kilometres of distance from the store itself.

Naturally, this presents problems for the local store owners: namely, the health of the fish during transport. The local store has to pay for the number of fish they purchased regardless of how many of those fish show up dead-on-arrival or battling sickness and stress. These newly imported fish undergo a quarantine period where they are nursed back to health during which the shopkeeper will not be able to sell them.
 
For this reason, many local stores are more than willing to purchase their fish from local suppliers who can provide healthy, happy fish at similar prices and with a greater chance of their continued survival. Fish which can be put up for sale within days. If you are interested in setting up a home-based breeder business, you can earn a decent living through a reliable network of these local stores.

The Internet also provides a great way to make a profit through your home-based breeder business, especially through using local classifieds websites that let you undercut the local fish shop entirely, selling and delivering your fish directly to customers who, if they are pleased with your fish, will become repeat customers and pass the word on to their friends.

How to begin setting up a home-based breeder business

juvenile discus fish
juvenile discus fish in growing on tank

Naturally, the first thing that you need to do is choose which species of fish you would like to breed. Buying quality pedigree fish can pay dividends in the long run. In general, you can expect to get a higher price on species that are harder to breed successfully, or on common species that you can breed with specialised morphs or colours, ie of high pedigree. It is just as expensive to breed and raise expensive fish as inexpensive fish but the returns are greater. It is better to compete on quality than quantity.

 

 

• Killifish are a popular choice, but need a lot of involvement to breed;

• Discus fish are difficult to breed, but can earn breeders a healthy profit and are always in great demand.

• Angelfish are easier to breed, but are not likely to gain a good price unless you pick a specialised colouring or finnage.

• Guppies are easy to breed, and make an excellent beginner’s breeding fish. Some specialised varieties can even fetch good prices.

Pedigree livebearers

• Bettas are easy to breed, but you will have to specialise— for example, pedigree bettas such as koi bettas are highly desirable.

pedigree koi betta fish
pedigree koi betta fish

There are many other options available, and a successful fish breeder will want to have a selection of species available. Once you become established as a fish breeder, you will develop a good reputation and begin to get repeat customers who will be interested in other species you can provide.

Once you have chosen your fish, you can begin grouping them into suitable pairs or spawning groups. This will require sexing the fish, which is a simple process for some species and a very specialised one for some others. There are several important traits to consider in your pairs or groups that will yield higher-quality results in the resulting offspring:

 

 

• Markings, colour and finnage. Choosing fish that display attractive markings and bright colours should produce similarly attractive young. Many people are impressed by the colouration of tropical fish, and this factor will play an important role in the value of the fish you breed.

Similar markings and colours should be paired together, as differences in these attributes will often produce unattractive young. It is generally good advice to avoid crossing different strains of fish for this reason.

• Fish health. Only mature, healthy fish should be used for spawning because unhealthy fish can produce sick or deformed young.

• Pair Compatibility. This is an important factor for some species of fish. For example, some species of cichlids will only form pairs after being raised together for months or years. Other species will respond poorly to induced breeding and begin to bully one another, sometimes to death.

As an additional consideration for pair compatibility, fish must be of the same species. Hybrid fish tend, like many other members of the animal kingdom, to produce sterile young.

One final tip: Keep your eyes and ears alert for any new species of breed of fish that crops up. If you feel you could successfully breed these novelties then you could make money if you are ahead of the curve.

Breeding strategies for egg-laying fish

Breeding egg laying

While livebearers are very easy fish to breed and offer a great starting point for beginners, you will eventually need to begin breeding egg-laying fish in order to realise a profit. There are five major groups of egg-layers to be considered when setting up a home-based breeder business:

• Egg-scattering fish These species of fish scatter their eggs during spawning. The eggs either fall down into the substrate, attach to plants, or float to the surface. These fish will produce large numbers of small eggs, and may eat their own eggs. So must be separated from eggs soon after spawning.

• Egg-depositing fish These fish will deposit their eggs safely on a substrate in the tank. This may be the glass wall of the tank, or on rocks or wood present in the tank. The eggs tend to be larger than scattered eggs. Some of these egg-depositing species will care for their eggs and the resulting young, while others will not.

• Egg-Burying Fish. Setting up a home-based breeder business with egg-burying fish can be tricky. These fish inhabit lakebeds that are dry for some portion of the year; the eggs lay dormant until the annual rains begin and hatching begins then. Recreating these conditions in an aquarium can be difficult.

• Mouth-Brooding Fish. Mouth-brooders are fish that retain the eggs and sometimes even the young fry in their mouth until the fish are ready to fend for themselves.

• Nest-Building Fish. These fish are not unlike egg-burying fish, except that they actively construct nests for themselves to lay eggs in. Examples include the bubble-nests formed by labyrinth fish.

Whichever type of fish you choose to breed, you must design your tank to have the necessary rocks, plants or other spawning material and enough space for the fish to feel comfortable spawning.

Designing your spawning tank

yellow lab fish breeding set up
Mouthbrooding yellow lab with previous spawning young yellow labs

Since community tanks are filled with neighbouring fish that may predate on the vulnerable young, it is crucial to grow the young fish in a separate spawning tank. Spawning tanks need to have some special construction elements to protect the young fish:

• A protected heater will keep the young fish from burning themselves against the edges of the heater.

• A slow-moving sponge filter will prevent eggs or fry from being sucked into the filtration system.

• Tanks with a dual-layer substrate are ideal for egg-scattering fish since the parents of these fish may eat their own eggs. A permeable layer that lets the eggs fall down out of reach of the hungry parents is ideal for allowing optimal spawning conditions.

• Egg-depositing fish should be provided with a healthy number of fine and broad-leaved plants. Additionally, egg-depositors that do not care for their young should be removed from the tank once the eggs are laid.

• Nest-building fish should be provided with materials with which they can build their nests. Additionally, water currents should be very low so that the nests are not disturbed.

Once you have setup your spawning tank, you need to simulate natural conditions and keep your parent fish in good, healthy condition in order to stimulate the production of offspring. With care and a little bit of luck, you should begin to see young fish appearing in your tanks, ready for sale.

You will also need growing on tanks for maximising the growth rate of your young fish. large tanks without gravel and sponge filters are ideal. This will result in fish that are saleable within 3-6 months depending on species. The earlier you can sell the young the more profit you will make.

Tips on advertising and selling your fish

Like any business, you need to be competitive in the existing market both in terms of price, quality, and advertising. These three factors are what combine to create value in any product or service, and your fish are no different.

While the price is largely determined by the existing local market, and the quality by your fish keeping experience, your advertising is only limited by how much effort you invest in the process. Taking good pictures is a must— high quality photographs of your fish will attract buyers. Invest in a reasonably good digital camera, preferably one that takes animal photos. Then, take many, many different photos and select the best.

It is especially important to include pictures of your adult fish, as well as the young, in your adverts so that your buyers have a good idea about what to expect as they grow. Investing in quality photographs can pay off with a stream of interested buyers, especially if you choose to advertise your breeding business exclusively online.

How to photograph fish

Floating plants in a bare bottom tank

floating plants bare bottom tank

How To Use Floating Plants For A Bare Bottom Tank

water lettuce in aquarium with dangling roots
water lettuce in aquarium with dangling roots

The use of gravel or sand as a bottom-lining substrate for aquariums has been a staple of aquarium culture for years, but recently interest has sparked in using floating plants for a bare bottom tank design. These tanks eliminate the need for expensive and time-consuming gravel cleaning and make it easier to control the nutrient flow within the water of the tank.

Bare bottom tanks eliminate the possibility of uneaten food and fish waste collecting underneath the gravel or sand substrate, where it will rot and pollute the water. Bare bottom tanks also helpfully allow for higher water flow rates. Once the nitrogen cycle complications are taken care of by having your tank cycled properly, using floating plants in your setup can help you enjoy the benefits of plants in your aquarium without the disadvantages of gravel.

The primary arguments against floating tanks are that they tend to look unnatural and can be difficult for certain species to adapt to. The lack of plants can leave some species nervously trying to find a hiding place. Also, without a substrate to hold onto, waste can collect in the water if not vacuumed and filtered often enough.

See also plantless aquarium

Why Use Floating Plants For A Bare Bottom Tank?

frogbit covering the aquarium surface
frogbit covering the aquarium surface

While most of the beneficial bacteria in a fish tank make their homes on the aquarium filter, where a continuous flow of oxygenated water let them filter the waste and complete their part of the nitrogen cycle, the remaining nitrate still needs to be accounted for. Thankfully, these plants tend to absorb more nitrate than other plants, and a healthy population of these plants will help reduce the need for constant water changes.

As an added bonus, most free-floating plants are very easy to care for and get along magnificently with a wide variety of fish. A few examples of useful floating plant species that should be considered for any bare bottom aquarium are as follows:

• Tropical Hornwort. Ceratophyllum Submersum is a phenomenally easy, fast-growing floating plant that thrives in waters with a pH range between 5-8, at a temperature of 10-30 degrees Celsius. Hornwort is one of the easiest plants to manage: if you toss it into the water, it will situate itself naturally and need little-to-no care after that.

dwarf-water-lettuce
dwarf-water-lettuce

•Dwarf Water Lettuce Pistia stratiotes is an easy care fast growing small sized floating plant that does well under bright light. It reproduces by sending out runners that create baby plants that are easily separated at any time. Remove discolored or yellow leaves which will induce new growth.

• Marimo. Aegagropila linnaei, also known as Marimo, which is Japanese for “ball seaweed” is a rootless algae colony that can attach itself to rocks or other tank décor. Marimo can also float around freely within the tank. This particular plant is highly prized for its unique, beautiful appearance: small-to-medium balls of green plant material that make any tank look superb.

• Java Moss. Taxiphyllum barbieri is not actually a free-floating plant at all, and it will attach itself to just about anything within the tank. One of the best ways to realise the use of this plant as a free-floater is to give it a thin wire net to attach to on the interior of the tank and then let it attach to that. It is a popular choice because it provides food to newborn fry.

• Anacharis. Egeria densa is a very hardy plant that grows extremely quickly in a wide variety of conditions. These plants can grow as rooted plants or be kept as floating ones. In both conditions, they provide very useful benefits to the quality of the water as well as the appearance of the tank.

Adding in a healthy number of these floating plants can help structure your bare bottom tank and give you a clean, easily maintained tank without you needing to worry about periodically cleaning the accumulated dirt beneath the gravel or sand.

How to make floating plants look great in a bare bottom tank

floating plants cover fish
floating plants cover gold barb fish

One of the most common arguments against using a bare bottom tank is made by aquarists who do not like the unnatural look of a bare bottom tank. Thankfully, floating plants such as the ones named above can help to create a luxurious-looking underwater environment in an otherwise barren tank.

Since there is little-to-no substrate along the bottom surface of the tank, it is likely that waste will collect along the bottom. Normally, this requires frequent, simple cleaning with an aquarium vacuum cleaner. Even with this solution, however, It is recommended that bare bottom aquarists paint the bottom of the tank a dark colour such as brown or black.

Bare bottom tank aquarists have to clean their tanks less often than those with substrates lining the bottom of their tanks. Many of these aquarists, however, report that waste collects so quickly that they rarely get to enjoy a perfectly clean bottom unless they use a powerful mechanical filter that will collect up the waste matter. Adding a layer of paint to the bottom can help maintain a clean appearance in combination with beautiful and well-kept floating plants for a bare bottom tank.

Setting up a beginner’s community fish aquarium

beginners aquarium

5 Key tips on setting up a beginner’s community fish aquarium

Child choosing fish in aquarium storeIf you are new to the world of keeping tropical fish, there are a number of key considerations that you should keep in mind when you are choosing your very first community fish aquarium. These considerations are important for anyone who would like to keep a healthy, productive and colourful community aquarium, since fish are notoriously sensitive creatures and the choices you make in this regard will seriously affect them.

Often, people who are just starting out in the wide and wonderful world of tropical fish community aquarium keeping will simply walk down the aisles of the aquarium section of their local pet store and collect the most colourful combination of fish they can find there and throw them all into whatever aquarium seems to fit their tastes. While a good eye for beauty is great to have, it is critical to apply some forethought and expertise to your choices as well to ensure that your fish lead happy lives.

See also set up beginners aquarium

and avoid these mistakes

Tip Number One: Choose The Right Fish

choice of beginners fish aquarium storeIn general, your interest in keeping an aquarium should remain focused on the fish that you would like to have living there. While it is perfectly reasonable to see an aquarium you really like and then choose the fish afterwards, it is important that the fish you keep are chosen based on their compatibility with the environment that you wish to keep them in.

Some species of fish, for example, are very difficult to keep alive and happy in a community environment. They can be overly sensitive to water quality, require special marine conditions to survive, or represent a species that does not get along with other fish in your community fish aquarium. It is always best to start with hardy, well-disposed community species.

Here are some examples of popular fish that are ideal for living in a freshwater community aquarium:

selection of beginners tropical fish• Barbs And Rasboras; (But not tiger barbs)
• Corydoras Catfish;
• Danios (including the popular Zebra Danio);
• Loaches;
• Guppies;
• Black Mollies; (or any coloured molly)
• Swordtails;
• Tetras;
• Rainbowfish.

There are numerous other species of fish that are well behaved and offer an easy experience for fish enthusiasts to plan their first aquarium. As always, good research is important before any purchase so that you know what to expect.

See also suggested compatible fish groups

Tip Number Two: Choose The Right Size Tank

choice of fish tanksThere is a common misconception among beginning aquarium owners that smaller tanks are always easier to keep than larger tanks. This is not true— in fact, smaller tanks make it harder to control the water quality correctly and make it easier for a tiny mistake to end up with disastrous results.

Ideally, a tank in the range of 200 litres allows for small changes in pH, ammonia, or nitrite levels in the tank to have a less drastic effect than if you begin with a tiny tank. The water quality will change over time and you will need to be ready to address those issues before their consequences become realised.

For a beginner’s community fish aquarium, it is important to appropriately measure the amount of space that you have for your tank and to relate that with the size and number of fish you would like to keep. Two useful rules of thumb can be applied when choosing the size of your tank. In general, you want to have:

• 1.5 litres of water for each centimetre of fish length;

• 30 square centimetres of surface area per centimetre of fish length.

These are not strict rules and they do not take into account the activity level of the fish, social behaviour, and their eventual growth. However, they are very helpful for beginners to gauge the right size of their tank in relation to the fish they’d like to keep: miniature tanks for small schools of tiny fish, and large tanks for larger specimens or greater numbers.

Tip Number Three: Keep Live Plants In Your Aquarium!

selection of beginners aquarium plantsWhile it is possible to successfully keep a thriving community fish aquarium without live plants, it is advisable for beginners to keep a healthy number of live plants in their aquariums for a number of reasons:

• Plants oxygenate the water that your fish and for the essential bacteria rely on to survive.

• Plants, as living organisms, are notably more complex than algae and utilize waterborne nutrients more effectively and readily than algae can. Having a mixture of the two is a good option to consider.

• Plants offer additional decorum that double as an important part of the living ecosystem you are creating. In terms of their natural beauty, they are vastly preferable to little pirate ships or plastic pieces for creating a pleasant aquatic environment.

See also beginners plants

Tip Number Four: Invest In Your Filter

different types of filter
canister, power, sponge, internal filters

Your water filter is one of the most important elements of your community fish aquarium. While you may hear that it is okay to purchase an aquarium filter that turns your water two or three times per hour, it is recommended that you get a filter that will do so at least four or five times per hour for the best results.

When in doubt, remember that it is perfectly okay to get a filter slightly larger than necessary, but that a smaller filter can easily lead to frustrations in your community fish aquarium. Under-investing here can undermine your entire attempt at successfully keeping a thriving aquarium environment.

Tip Number Five: Use A High Quality Submersible Heater thermostat

There are a number of aquarium heaters available on the market, and you owe it to your fish to choose a high quality submersible heater instead of a more expensive titanium solution or a hanging heater. This piece of equipment is vital to your community fish aquarium and, if chosen correctly, will provide years of service without causing any problems.

There are certainly better and more complicated heating solutions on the market, but simple submersible heaters represent the best choice for beginners. Hanging heaters may require you to cut a hole in the aquarium hood in order to make room for the head of the heater, and submersible titanium heaters are more expensive solutions meant for tanks with large, boisterous fish.