How to keep and maintain tropical fish tank
For those of you thinking about getting a tropical tank and stocking the aquarium with many varied species of tropical fish then this blog is for you.
I will cover this topic in three sections:
1. Aquarium or fish tank installation
2. Stocking with variety of fish
3. Maintainence of the tank
Before any work is done with the tank itself, determine the best location for the aquarium. It should be placed away from windows, outside doors, heat vents and air conditioners. Rapid changes in temperature are extremely stressful to fish, and direct sunlight will quickly turn your beautiful tank into a murky green algae farm.
Also, keep in mind that water weighs a lot and together with the stand or cupboard the whole assembly will be very heavy so it is vital to Be sure your floor will support this amount of weight.
Place your aquarium in a room where you spend large amounts of time. Check for nearby electrical outlets, as most tanks will need at least three, depending on how much equipment the aquarium needs. It’s important to consider LED or low voltage lighting both for safety and efficiency. The filter pump should be placed under the cupboard and pipe runs to from filter should be long enough to be aesthetically out of sight. When buying a tank it’s worth noting that sometimes a smaller tank will be required for breeding fish or as nursery for the smaller fish. In the next section will cover breeding in a little more detail.
To setup an Aquarium you will need a good size glass fish tank typical 3foot wide should be a minimum.
You need a filtration system to keep water clean, healthy both for fish health and keeping the water algae free but more about that later. Prepare the empty tank as follows:
* Rinse out the tank to get rid of any dust or debris inside.
* Set the tank stand into place, making sure it's level and adjust accordingly. If you don't have access to a carpenter's level, place the tank on the stand and fill with one to two inches of water. Check to see that the water is an even distance from the top of the stand on all four sides. An unbalanced aquarium can be extremely hazardous. Also, placing a tank on an uneven or tilted surface increases the risk that the tank will crack or leak. Using anything other than a manufactured tank stand may void your tank's warranty.
* Make sure there is enough space between the wall and the back of the aquarium to adequately fit filters and to allow easy access for maintenance.
* When placing glass tank on purpose built cupboard it’s better to use polystyrene tiles under the tank. The polystyrene will compress and take out any surface irregularities between mating surfaces and at same time will act as sound insulator from tank to ground. This is good for the fish too as they will not be disturbed by household vibrations, door banging etc.
the tank approximately 1/3 full. Carefully dry off the bottom edge of the tank and the stand. Now check for leaks. Look for water beading up on the bottom edge or running down the sides of the stand. If the tank leaks, empty it and return it to the store for a replacement. You can attempt to fix it, but repairing a leaky tank is difficult, with no guarantee of success.
Consider having a quite, but powerful pump system for the tank. The flow rate has to be slow so as not to suck the smaller fry fish that you may have bred in the tank.
Once the aquarium is installed and filled with water the filters need to be run for a day or so. before stocking fish.
2. Stocking with fish
Most beginning aquarium owners are overwhelmed with the large number and variety of decisions required when setting up a new aquarium. The owner must decide on the type, size and placement of the aquarium; whether it will be freshwater or saltwater; live or plastic plants; types of filters, heaters, lights, and food; and a hundred other technical questions that must be answered for designing a proper aquarium capable of maintaining its inhabitants. Choosing fish really is a subject best discussed for future blog but to start you off I suggest adding one or two species at a time.
My personal favorite is keeping the Guppies because the males are colourful have a flamboyant ritual for attracting the females and mate all day. They are live bearer and have between 50-100 fry and are easy to keep fish.
larger fish like the Gouramis are kept as male female pair but they are egg layers and breeding is a little more complex. Red Swordtails are also my favourite particularly the males with their long swordlike tails capable of swimming backwards lightning fast. Angel fish are also good to keep but they are ferocious eaters of other smaller fish and need to be watched.
3. Tank maintenance
How to Clean Your Tank
Scrape the Algae
Algae scrapers, not surprisingly, are used to raze algae off tank walls. Those fitted with razor blades are perfect for glass tanks, but acrylic requires special plastic blades to prevent scratches. The blade is mounted on a handle to enable you to keep your hands out of the tank. Another type is the magnetic algae cleaner, which uses an abrasive pad against the glass and a strong magnet on the outside of the glass. When you move the magnet around the glass, the scraper cleans the glass
Clean the Gravel
Gravel cleaners are an indispensable part of efficient water changes. The larger diameter of the tube reduces the suction of the drain hose, causing the gravel to be lifted only partway up the tube. The agitation separates the debris from the gravel, and it flows up the tube and out the drain, while the gravel gradually falls back down. By moving the tube throughout the substrate while siphoning out the water, you can remove most of the organic waste from the tank.
Change the Water
You can certainly perform water changes with a hose and a bucket, but there are several devices to make things easier. The first type incorporates a water-driven pump. These are hooked to a faucet; when the water is turned on, the water flowing through the device sucks water from the aquarium. Then you turn a valve and the tank refills through the same hose.
There are also automatic water changers that mount on the tank rim. They siphon and fill simultaneously through a water-driven pump device and can be left running on an aquarium for extended time periods for a constant, gradual water change.
Once the Aquarium is setup you can sit back and enjoy the view. The beginning aquarium owners will be faced with a variety of decisions. If they start by researching the individual fish and their requirements and then build their aquarium around the needs of the fish, they will be rewarded with a healthy, beautiful aquarium that will provide countless hours of enjoyment. At some point you will have enough expertise to start breeding the fish and this can be fun. Breeding fish also requires strict control of water ph as most require softer water, ideally you should collect rain water and filter it from the toxins.
The fish need good supply of live food such as mosquito larvae, earthworms, sludge worms, bloodworms, daphnia and feeder fish. Food for larvae and young fish include infusoria (Protozoa and other microorganisms), newly hatched brine shrimp.
I keep an outdoor pond and it’s a valuable source of mosquito larvae and a favourite amongst all the fish. More info on my outdoor pond check out my How-to-make an outdoor pond Blog.