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Aquarium Supplies - Aquarium Air Pump

aquarium air pumpAquarium air pump is a very important component in an aquarium fish tank setup. The main functions of the aquarium air pump are to generate air bubbles and create turbulence on the water surface that allows large surface area for exchange of gas. Thus, this helps to increase oxygen level in the water and at the same time release carbon dioxide produced by the fish to the environment.

Different kinds of aquarium pumps are available in the market ranging from small to large compressor capable of creating huge air output enough even for 55-gallon aquarium. Certain types of aquarium pump also help to drive filtration process such as the aquarium box filter and both function simultaneously to help clean the water and also creating water turbulence for aeration purpose.

Air pumps are often used together with an air stone that helps to diffuse the air into smaller pocket of bubbles for even larger surface area. To ensure optimal air output, always clean the air stones as often as possible because blockage might put more pressure and heavy load on your aquarium air pump unit. This is often blamed for pump failure even before the warranty period. Most units available in the market today are within the $20 to $30 dollar range while some higher capacity units can go as high as $50+.

When choosing for the right aquarium air pump, always bear in mind that, price is not the determining factor because your main criteria is to buy a unit that is suitable according to your aquarium size. Common mistake made by aquarium owners is to oversize the aquarium pump until it creates too much turbulence making the fish having difficulty maintaining position in the water. I would suggest getting a unit that allows you to control air output on the pump itself rather than using air valve to regulate the supply.

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Buy Fish Tank Supplies

fish tank suppliesThe most important consideration when you buy Fish Tank Supplies is to look for the best deal from the most reputable fish stores. It is a good practice to visit several local pet shops and aquarium fish stores and select which is the one that can provide with the best service and with the most helpful salesperson to assist you with questions when making your purchase.

Depending on which types of aquarium fish you intend to rare and the size of your aquarium, buy the equipment that complements well with the needs and requirements. For instance, aquarium filter, air pump and aquarium stands should be purchased based on your tank size while the type of lighting will depend on whether your aquarium is a fish only tank or with plants and corals. Therefore, it is important that you might want to deal with the establishment that has sales assistant who is willing to spend time with you while offering a good price bargain with healthy fish stock and supplies. Sometimes if you intend to save time without worrying about buying individual items, then you should consider getting an aquarium starter kit, which comes with everything to simplify the task.

When setting up your aquarium, one of the few basic things to buy is of course the fish tank itself that comes complete with the fish kit like lighting, filter and heater. Usually these items are rarely sold separately because they are part of the aquarium tank essentials. If you prefer to buy it online, then there’s no chance for you to forward your queries regarding the items and therefore it is up to you to research and find out whatever information you can find about the fish tank supplies.

Once you’ve bought all the necessary items, do not get excited just yet and jump into buying your fish because there are routines involved such as selecting a good location for your aquarium, test all the equipment and then cycling the tank with feeder fish to establish stable water chemistry. After everything is done, you are now ready to shop for your new fish. Read on tropical fish for sale …..

You might also want to consider getting unique aquarium.

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Buying Aquarium Heater

aquarium heaterTemperature is one of most important control parameters in an aquarium fish tank. If temperature is not properly maintained and allows to drop drastically in a short period of time, the fish will be exposed to temperature shock and thus making them susceptible to aquarium fish disease. That is where the role of an Aquarium Heater comes in.

Certain fish like goldfish, which generally thrives at temperature between 18 to 22degC, does not need aquarium heater unless temperature changes rapidly especially during cold weather conditions. Other tropical fish such as discus, which is native to the Amazon River, are more susceptible to slight change in water temperature and thus, it is imperative that the temperature must be maintained around 27- 30degC. And because fish are "cold blooded", maintaining the right temperature is important in order to ensure that the metabolism of the fish remains at a certain level to be healthy.

It is very important to buy an aquarium heater for your fish tank and prepare in case of emergency. Other than a heater, placing a stick-on thermometer on the outside surface of the aquarium is also recommended so that you will know when to switch on or off depending on requirement. Aquarium heater also does not need to be on all the time. Sometimes, a slight drop in few degrees overnight should not affect the fish tremendously but for smaller fish tank, usually 5 – 10 gallons, a temperature drop is much more rapid and thus having an aquarium heater does come in handy.

Certain automatic fish tank heater also comes together with a built-in heat temperature sensor and thus it will automatically adjust itself depending on the temperature of the water. I would recommend this type of setup because a person would not be able to monitor the temperature of the aquarium all the time and thus, an automatic heater is the best option and most suitable to be used for all aquariums.

Before buying an aquarium heater, you must also know the wattage to match it to the size of your aquarium. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to take 5 watts for every gallon of water. For example, if you have a 10-gallon aquarium, you will need at least 50 watts of aquarium heater for it to function properly. Before buying, also check whether the manufacturer has a good reputation and get the best one, which you can afford.

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Aquarium Supplies - Aquarium Lighting

aquarium lightingBasically, there are two different types of Aquarium Lighting, one is metal halide, another is fluorescent lighting. Fluorescent is always the preferred choice when it comes to a simple home aquarium setup because it does not emit as much heat as metal halide and high-end florescent tube is more than enough to produce full-spectrum illumination to enhance the health and improve skin coloration of the fish.

Fluorescent tubes are usually used for those aquariums that contain only fish without freshwater aquarium plants or saltwater reefs. However, depending on requirements, reef tanks and live coral will do better only with metal halide system that produces high intensity lighting. Somehow for the best result, mixing fluorescent tubes with metal halide is always the preferred choice because it will provide full benefit of both systems and experienced aquarium hobbyist are known to prefer such setup.

Proper lighting is necessary to replicate the natural conditions found in natural habitats. Aquarium fish needs at least 12-14 hours of light exposure and thus the best setup should have a timer that automatically turns on and off the light for specific period of time daily. Aquarium light tubes should be contained in a light hood and general maintenance will require the tubes to be replaced at least once every 9 months to ensure best performance.

The Purpose of Aquarium Light

Lighting does not only play its purpose to provide visual appeal or with the intention to decorate the aquarium but its role also include providing natural equilibrium. It is important as a unit that functions as biological clock for the fish that lives in the tank. Pets like all living beings, when exposed under the normal and natural alternate day and night cycle will usually exhibit more alertness and overall appears healthier. Don’t forget when the lights get dimmed out, these are the best time for most species of fish to relax and rest. This will turn your aquarium into having a proper conducive environment and more important, a place to call home to live in.

The energy emits by the light also allows live plants to perform photosynthesis and generate new leaves. Not only that, the micro-algae that acts as food source for the fish also rely on natural spectrum to thrive and produce in large numbers sufficient to strike a proper balance. The best aquarium lighting which you should go after are those that provide illumination which resembles as close as possible the one similar like in the wild habitat with regards to quantity and most important quality. The quality of light is usually measured based on the intensity and spectrum range that it produced. Energy is lost as the beam has to travel long distance towards the bottom of the aquarium and as a general rule of thumb, the application and use of fluorescent tubes are recommended for depth of only up to half meter. One thing an aquarist should always take note is that maintaining a crystal clear water is of extreme importance as water with a lot of suspended particles with cloudy appearance will prevent light from reaching bottom of the tank.

Examples of Common Light Tubes.

These days, there are endless list of manufacturers with different brands all serving multipurpose functions. Phillips for example is the most commonly heard brand name in pet shops providing florescent tubes with the dominant blue color type being the favorite among aquarist. It is usually installed in conjunction with daylight lamps to create the spectrum that resembles those at natural lakes in Africa and especially for those cichlids tank. This are made for freshwater setup that contains very less plants with mostly hardy species and it is also mainly for those with rocky type of environment. For reef and live plants setup, you will also come across Osram and Sylvania metal halide brands made specially to provide full and strong illumination.

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Aquarium Fish Disease: Fish Lice and Anchor Worm

argulus fish liceArgulus or Fish lice is a type of crustacean parasites that will attach onto the skin and fin surface and draw blood from its host. It actually looks like a flattened disc (about 0.3-0.5cm) and the parasite can move from one host to another. Fish lice is usually introduced to an aquarium when the owner did not realize that the new fish already has the parasite attached onto it. Note that fish lice is actually native to tropical countries and because fish are exported elsewhere to every continent, the fish lice will actually unintentionally brought along.

Infected fish will often swim in an erratic manner trying to scratch itself on the aquarium surface in order to get rid of the parasite. The open wound and lesions caused by the needle piecing (inflicted by the parasite) is often exposed to secondary infection and thus it is very important that the fish lice must be killed as soon as it is detected. Fortunately, there are anti-parasite formularies available in aquarium fish shop, which can help to get rid of the parasite.

fish anchor worm lernea elegansLernea Elegans or Anchor Worm is as dangerous as fish lice and it is a common problem affecting tropical fish. The parasite is highly contagious and the worms will actually release eggs that will infect the whole aquarium community. It appears as an elongated Y-shape straw and it lodges itself under the scale of the fish causing sores and lesions. However, unlike fish lice, it doesn’t move around once it attached itself but it will release offspring and multiplies in large numbers.

The only way to deal with the problem is to actually scoop up the infected fish and place it on a damp cloth. Using tweezers, carefully remove the worm attached to the fish. Removal will cause bleeding and be prepared to reintroduce the fish back to an aquarium with fresh and clean water in order to prevent infection on the open wound. Add in and maintain aquarium salt concentration of 0.5% to help out with the situation.

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Koi Fish

koi fishKoi Fish or better known as nishikigoi in Japanese is one of the most popular and favorite pond fish among pet enthusiast. The fish is known for its bright and brilliant coloration combined with different patterns and markings. Koi generally requires low maintenance and is easy to take care of provided that the pond is equipped with high-end filtration system. Koi is also known to live very long (up to 20 years) and there are some who claim that they can live up to decades although there is no clear evidence to substantiate the fact.

Koi are basically meant to be judged and viewed from the above as the fish swims in the pond. They are highly appreciated for their graceful movement around the water and they can even recognize the owner who feeds them. Their feeding and breeding characteristics are generally more or less similar to the goldfish. One obvious characteristic is of course, they are not picky when it comes to food.

Koi are omnivorous fish which means that they will eat both meaty (chicken liver, chopped fish) and vegetable-based food (peas, lettuce) . There are some owners who even go up to the extent to buy and feed them with high quality fish pellets specially formulated to bring out the colors. If they are properly cared for, koi can grow very fast and reaching large size up to at least 20 - 25 inches long.

The Koi fish classification is quite complex and is mainly developed and used by the Japanese. They are grouped according to different major varieties based on a number of features such as color combination, patterns, scale types and arrangement. For example, the kohaku can be easily identified with presence of red spots on a white body background. Further to that, these major varieties can be further divided and grouped into different sub-varieties based on other characteristics.

How to select and buy a mature Koi Fish
First thing first, decide on which variety you are going to purchase. Of course the choice that you make must be within the budget. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you the price range because I’ve not updated myself on the price list for quite some time now. Next ask yourself some of these basic questions.

Is the fish perfectly well-balanced when swimming in the water? A good specimen should not be tilting to one side or look off balance. Next, Look at their movement. Is there any jerk and is the movement smooth as they move across the water? Sometimes depending on how you convince the seller, you can even request to scoop up the fish and check for the scale deformities. All these require skills that can only be learned through years of observation and from experience.

Interested in this topic? Find out more about How to Set Up and Maintain a Koi Pond. Other related topics: Types of Aquarium Fish

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Aquarium Supplies - Ultraviolet Sterilizer

aquarium ultraviolet UV sterilizerUltraviolet (UV) light sterilizer can be used as an effective mean to control bacteria population in an aquarium and to prevent harmful spread of aquarium fish disease. It helps to create a better living environment for your fish and it can be used both for fish tanks and ponds.

UV sterilizer is not meant to create a completely sterile environment. Most people always have this wrong perception because only the water that passes through the UV lamp gets treated and the number of bacteria reduced. It is impossible to ensure all the bacteria is destroyed because there will always be some present in the aquarium water filter, aquarium plants, gravel bed and decorations.

The purpose of reducing the bacteria load in an aquarium is to give your fish a better chance of survival in case disease breaks out. It is mainly used to control spread of disease such as ich not by completely destroying the parasites but to reduce the population so that effected fish can fight off the disease and ensuring also that other fish will not succumb to the same condition. (Note that ich is very hard to contain and it is normal to find the parasite present even on the fish skin surface)

The most common method in choosing the right UV sterilizer is by taking into consideration of the microwatts/cm2 value and usually a benchmark figure is about 28 000 for it to be effective. You might want to consider also on the length of time for the exposure (measured in seconds) on the amount of water which your UV unit can hold. Don’t get confused by all these numbers here because basically what you need is your aquarium tank capacity and the salesperson might be able to provide a good recommendation for your requirements.

comparison between fluval and eheimComparing Between Different Fish Filters (Advantages and Disadvantages). How about other brands like the BiOrb?

Goldfish Flipover Disease - Swim Bladder Disorder

swim bladder diseaseFlipover Disease or sometimes known as Swim Bladder Disorder is very common illness seen affecting Goldfish. Flipover disease will cause the fish to list or swim on one side and it will struggle to maintain balance and buoyancy in the water. At the advanced and critical stage of the disease, goldfish will float upside down and most of the time it will stay that way. When this happens, usually there is little chance for recovery and the only cure in sight, is by using surgical procedures conducted by veterinarians. Therefore, it is very important to treat early symptoms as soon as possible once it is detected so that it won’t come to that advanced stage.

Goldfish flipover disease is often associated with poor water quality with high nitrite and nitrate levels. Research conducted has reasons to believe that high concentration of these harmful chemicals will cause dilation of capillaries affecting the air sac and then leading to inflammation and swelling. Since the air sacs functions to control buoyancy and help to fish swim, failure of the organ will cause the fish to flipover. Other hypothesis seems to suggest that parasitic infection and intestinal problems could also be among the probable causes but this has yet to be supported by clear evidence.

Another probably cause of flipovers or swim bladder disorders is temperature shock resulting from large water change. It is very important that the temperature of the fresh water should be confirmed close (around 2-3degC difference) or the same with temperature of the old water before adding in. This will prevent shock effecting the air sacs and prevent it to function normally.

Usually early signs of flipover disease can be treated by changing the diet plan to feed only peas. Frozen small fresh peas should be tossed into the water for the goldfish to eat wholly. Immediately conduct at least 50% water change and test for the nitrate and nitrate levels. An ideal level for nitrites should be close to zero or less than 0.5ppm while nitrates should be kept below 50ppm. Use aquarium water test kits to help you on the testing and if found that the chemicals are still at dangerous levels, increase frequency of water change. Remember to ensure that the temperature of the fresh water is almost the same as the old one in order to prevent escalating the condition.

Related Topics:
» Mouth and Fin Rot
» Dropsy
» Ich or White Spot

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Aquarium Maintenance: Dealing with Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate Poisoning

Ammonia Poisoning

Ammonia is the most lethal form of chemical toxic to fish and aquatic plants. It will directly cause burns to the to the skin layer leading to redness, clamped fins and in worst cases, concentration of 0.2 – 0.5ppm is enough to kill all the fish in an aquarium. Ammonia poisoning is considered a common threat effecting newly setup aquarium whereby colony of beneficial bacteria has yet to establish. It is also sometimes referred to as “New Tank Syndrome” and aquarium owners often get shocked upon seeing all the fish die at the same time.

Usually the condition will subside once the bacteria Nitrosomonas starts to proliferate to adequate levels leading to breakdown of the chemical to nitrite. A fully cycled tank should have zero ppm ammonia. The only way to deal with the problem to contain the situation is by performing large water change (about 70% the volume). Usually the process can be hasten by getting a scoop of water from established aquarium and mix it into the new tank. Monitor ammonia levels at all times during the initial aquarium setup period and act immediately upon noticing weird behavior and reduced activity observed on the fish.

Aquarium Nitrogen CycleNitrite Poisoning
Nitrite is considered less harmful but if were to leave unchecked for longer period of time, it can still pose life-threatening effects to the aquatic community. It can irritate the skin and gills and causes increased stress to the fish rendering them lethargic and susceptible to illness.

Usually, there are different approaches to deal with the problem. First you can consider reducing amount of food fed to the fish or either way increase your frequency of water changes. Fish intoxicated by nitrite poisoning can be treated by increasing the aquarium salt concentration to 0.5% level. If everything goes on well and strictly monitored, soon as time passes by, Nitrobacter bacteria will start to proliferate and perform breakdown of the nitrite into nitrate.

Nitrate Poisoning
Nitrate is generally non-toxic. However at higher level of concentration, up to 300 to 400 ppm will start to create the level of unhealthy living environment for the aquarium fish. Nitrate poisoning can actually be dealt with easily and unlike ammonia and nitrite, the level can be significantly reduced if there are presence of aquarium plants to consume it. Sometimes it is also good practice to leave a healthy growth with a carpet of algae at the corner of the aquarium if you decided to have a bare aquarium with plants for easy maintenance. A good recommended figure for the nitrate level in an aquarium should be in the region of 40 – 50 ppm.

In order to give a better view and understanding, refer to the above diagram to help you out. The nitrogen cycle is plays an important role to convert waste and uneaten food to nitrate, which is actually fertilizer for the aquarium plants. Bacteria is the core to the whole process.

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About Me

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My fascination and interest towards aquarium fish has led me to devote my time towards caring and learning about this wonderful pet.

Aquarium fish keeping is a very challenging and exciting hobby. When I first started, I never knew much or have the necessary guidance back then because none of my family members were actually a keen hobbyist. And because of that, I’ve encountered numerous failures and the worst part is having to deal with dead fish every time when you started to grow fond and getting attached to my pets. However, I persevered and took steps to find out and search for information from other hobbyist, apart from the knowledge gained and learned from my own experience and research. The blog that I’ve created here is meant to share useful information and tips about aquarium fish keeping so that new hobbyist will not make the same mistakes that I’ve made in the past."

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