Introduction Generally speaking, freshwater fish are hardier and more resistant to water temperature and pH variations. This makes them the best fish to start a collection as with. However, they are still fish and they do still require fresh water that is full of oxygen.
As with any other living thing, a fish create natural wastes. In their natural environment, there is usually a large body of water with a wide range of other organisms which provide an effective cleansing system. In the aquarium, however, you control the quality of the environment your fish live in. It is, therefore, up to you to ensure that waste materials are dealt with effectively. If they are not, then they will eventually hurt your fish.
But don’t despair. Maintaining a healthy environment for your fish is not that difficult. You need to add a filter, but you should also consider other living things which can absorb these wastes. Underwater plants, like many others above the surface produce oxygen as they grow, making them an excellent addition to any freshwater aquarium. It’s also a good idea to refresh the water in your aquarium – about 10% every 2 or 3 weeks is about right as long as you have a filter and some live underwater plants. If you don’t, then a little more often may be necessary. Don’t forget if you use tap water to fill your aquarium, then this must first be treated to remove chemicals often added to the domestic water supply. Your local pet shop owner will be able to advise you on suitable treatments.
Things to consider as you are buying your tank is the type of light, hood, stand and thermometer you wish to use. These can have an impact on the growth of the plants and water temperature.
How to choose an aquarium Aquarium volumes are measured in a range of units. Most common are litres or gallons, but you will also see quarts and there may well be others too. The good tanks range in size from about 45 litres all the way up to 130 litres or even more.
Tanks tend to be sold by their length and depth. In general, you should try to get the largest tank you can. Once established, a larger tank is easier to clean and you can have many different types of fresh water fish dwelling in the same tank simultaneously without incident and with plenty of room to grow.
Choosing a good stand In order to make an educated decision about which stand you need to buy for your aquarium you must consider many factors. These factors include:
- will it be able to support the weight of not just the tank but the water that fills it?
- will the tank be in a level area or does it need to be leveled in some way?
- should the stand be connected to other forms of support to strengthen it?
Don’t forget, even small tanks when filled with water are very heavy.
Choosing the right type of light Lights are critical to the health of the plants in your tank. They also enable you to see your fish more clearly.
The one real problem that they cause is the build-up of algae which you will be required to clean on a regular basis or else the water purity may begin to be reduced. The lights can also give off significant amounts of heat which may affect the water temperature. This is not such a problem for the coldwater aquarium. Generally, in freshwater at least, your fish will be happy in warmer water, but remember that warmer water will contain less dissolved oxygen, so the warmer the water, the less fish you will be able to keep! When thinking about lights it is important to find a balance between a light that is strong enough for plants to grow and for you to be able to see your fish, but not so strong as to cause your fish undue stress.
The importance of choosing a good hood The hood is the apparatus that acts as a lid for your tank and keeps the fish from making a jump for it and dying on your floor. Additionally, it keeps dirt particles, garbage, unwanted animals and other such things from getting into the tank. It also shields your light. Make sure that you get a hood that matches the size of your tank for the best results in protecting your aquarium.
Picking the right type of thermometer The thermometer is an indicator of the temperature either in the environment, whether the air or water. Usually they are created from glass tubes and have mercury or alcohol in them. As the temperature rises or falls, so too does the level within the thermometer. Your local pet shop will have these types of thermometers in stock. You can probably just buy a very basic one and is all that you will really need.
Besides all the things that have been discussed until this point, you should also have gravel, filters and the like for your tank. The proper type of food can also be purchased at your local pet store.
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