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How to Choose From The Different Types of Pet Fish

It definitely can be fun to have pet fish in the house, as long as one sees to it that they handle them suitably. If not, it may result in quite a lot of frustration, since there wasn’t a sufficient amount of homework done. If there’s one significant matter to consider before getting a pet fish, it is that one should be very thorough and comprehensive in their research of looking for the right types of pet fish to have. Since there are so many of them to choose from, it can become even more daunting to deal with. One has to make certain they purchase a fish which is fitting to their lifestyle, time and resources. Below are some crucial tips to look further into on the matter of picking the ideal type of pet fish to own.

1. Research is always the initial step to making the appropriate decision. It is essential for would-be fish owners to learn all there is to know on how to tend to them. The Internet can be a very useful resource of information, and there are lots of things one can find out about fish. It is also essential to know that some fish are intended to live in specialized types of aquariums as well as water temperatures. Their behaviors, the amount of space they need in addition to the foods they eat should be looked into.

2. It’d also be wise to visit the pet shop and get the opinion of the store owner or supervisor. They might have an abundance of species in stock which one can avail of. This might make the selecting part a lot less complicated, combining the knowledge that the would-be owner has and the many more pieces of information to be gathered from the pet shop supervisor. These professionals can give a lot of in-depth details regarding fish food, potential diseases and other matters.

3. it’s also essential to delve into the favored fish type. Once one has made up their mind on what kind to get, they will have to look for further information regarding that particular species so as to keep themselves prepared on how to look after them suitably.

These are highly vital tips for individuals who want to own pet fish at home. Since there are so many types of pet fish to consider getting, abiding by the points presented above can really help make things a lot simpler to deal with.

 

Why Fancy Goldfish Make the Best Pets

Oftentimes when hunting for a new pet, new pet owners choose between a dog or a cat. Other people think outside of the traditional box though and consider fancy goldfish as a pet option. Fancy goldfish have a number of different benefits that make them a prime pet candidate for any pet owner.

1. Great for a Busy Lifestyle

For anyone who wants to care for a pet but has a lifestyle that is not conducive to the common choice of a cat or a dog, fancy goldfish are a great option. Compared to other pet choices they are much easier to care for and feeding can be easily scheduled with an automatic feeder.

2. Inexpensive

For most pets, food and medical bills can become costly expenditures when looked at over the life of the animal. Often times just purchasing an animal from a breeder can be very expensive. Goldfish are relatively inexpensive when compared to other options and are especially good choices for first-time pet owners.

3. Ideal for Older Pet Owners

Later in life, many people choose not to own a pet solely because they don’t want to worry about their pet’s care if it out lives them. With life expectancies on many cats and dogs commonly 15 – 20 years, this can deter many people from pet ownership for a large section of life. Goldfish are a perfect choice in this situation and are easy to care for which is another great resource for older pet owners.

4. Countless Ways to Display

Often times, goldfish keepers become creative with the display tank for their goldfish. It can be a source of fun and enjoyment to set up your tank in different ways. Kind of like redecorating your home, this can change the whole ambiance and feeling of your room.

5. Gorgeous to Admire

Fancy goldfish are simple beautiful to look at. They are very majestic and refined animals that were kept by the rulers of China over 1,500 years ago. They are perfect to just sit back, relax and admire. Because they come in many different types and colors, fancy goldfish can be found to suit anyone.

 

Glass Or Acrylic Aquariums, Is One Better?

n the past there was little choice of materials for aquariums. Glass was the only thing aquariums were made of. Even with the wider range of materials these days, some people still prefer glass.

Some pros associated with glass:

  • Clearer: Some people find that glass tanks appear clearer; whereas, some acrylic appear to be cloudy.
  • Scratch resistant: Glass tanks will not scratch as easily as the softer acrylic aquariums may.
  • Convenient: It is easier to find glass aquariums. Almost all stores carry glass. You can even find them at yard sales or advertised in papers.

Some cons associated with glass:

  • Heavier: Even when empty a glass tank weighs quite a bit. This can mean it is more difficult to move. You will also need to consider the weight when it comes to choosing a stand for your aquarium.
  • Break more easily: Glass is more rigid so it can be cracked or broken easily. This can be an important consideration if you have young children in the house.
  • More likely to leak: While sealants have improved over the years it is still more likely that a glass tank will have problems with the seal.

Some pros of acrylic:

  • 17 x stronger than glass: This is especially important with larger aquariums.
  • Impact resistant: Acrylic is softer and more flexible; it will give with a blow instead of cracking or breaking.
  • Weighs half as much as glass: This makes it much easier to move your tank. Even a large tank could be moved by one person when empty.
  • Insulates 20% better: This reduces temperature fluctuations which can make it difficult for your fish. It can also reduce the heating and cooling needed in your tank.

Some cons associated with acrylic:

  • Difficult to find: While some stores now carry a line of acrylic aquariums, it may be difficult to find one in the size you need. You may have to consider having one custom made.
  • Flammable: You have to be sure that no heat source is near the aquarium. Make sure that no candles are set close to it or floated in the aquarium.
  • Solid support under tank required: The stand you choose for your aquarium will have to have a solid top that fully and completely supports the base of the aquarium.
  • Special cleaning tools: You may have to get special cleaning tools that are made for use with acrylic. This can be expensive if you have to replace the cleaning tools you currently use.

Since there are good and bad points to each type of aquarium, it may end up being a matter of personal choice. It would also make sense to take the cost into consideration. If someone is selling a glass aquarium for a lot less than you could purchase a new acrylic tank it would be silly not to choose glass. People with more than one aquarium may decide to try one of each type so that they can do their own comparison.

 

Betta Fish Supplies and Plants You Will Need For Your Aquarium

As a betta fish owner, you will need certain equipment to keep your betta healthy and happy. First, you need the right size tank for the number of fish, lighting, filtration, a thermometer, gravel, food, plants, and a heater. Although these are all very important items, there are others that are often overlooked and have equal importance.

The Scraper

Algae will most certainly build up in your fish tank. The scraper is the perfect tool to remove it from your aquarium. The best scraper you can buy is one that has two sides to it. One side is a sponge that will help get rid of the loose algae residing on your aquarium walls. The other side is tougher, so it will help remove all the dried algae that is more difficult to scrape. When purchasing a scraper, look for ones that have long handles so you can reach every part of your tank. The opposite sides have a fork-like plastic device that is perfect for moving gravel and planting.

Do I need a net?

A net comes in handy when cleaning out your fish tank. You have a large selection of choices, depending on the size your betta fish needs. If you have fry or little fish to scoop up, a smaller net will suffice. The webbing in the smaller nets is much softer which is better for the smaller fish. Chances are you have some debris and uneaten food floating around in your aquarium. You can also use the net to remove some of this debris. If you are planning on removing your betta fish from your tank, you should use all different size nets to do this. There are so many things fishnets can be used for; it’s worth the inexpensive investment.

Siphon

One of the most forgettable, yet vitally important pieces of equipment is a plastic hose called a siphon. Debris will accumulate in your aquarium and create an environment that is unhealthy for your betta fish. For regular maintenance, it is recommended to siphon away all of those particles by placing one side of the hose in an empty bucket, and the other side in your fish tank. If you have a manual siphon, simply suck on one end of the hose to get the water rolling. If you have an electric siphon, you will not need use manual suction.

There are different hose sizes for various uses. For example, if you need to clean the gravel bed, you would use a wider, longer type of hose. That design and shape is most suitable for finer debris and needs to be sifted out of your tank. Many betta fish owners believe you should change part of your water at least once a week in between siphoning.

Now that you have the right betta fish tank supplies, let’s talk about the types of plants you can add to your tank!

Betta fish are part of a rare group of fish that have something called a labyrinth organ. What this organ does is allow bettas to breathe in not only water, but also atmospheric air. In their original habitat, the labyrinth organ allowed bettas the ability to swim in shallow waters as well as on the surface to feed on plankton and larvae.

The Fish Tank

It’s time to introduce your new betta fish to your aquarium! When doing this, try to create an environment that will look and feel like his natural habitat. Not only will it make your tank look beautiful, but it will also keep you fish healthy and happy. You can do this by adding ornaments and plants to the tank that resemble his native home.

Which plants should I choose?

When creating a look and feel that resembles the betta’s habitat, you can choose either real plants (which will help the oxygen flow in the water) or ornamental plastic plants. Some people like to use both. You choice will depend on which serves your betta fish best and which plant doesn’t interfere with his natural movements.

Here is a more information about plant types:

Plastic – plastic plants have a lot of benefits. They don’t produce oxygen like live plants, but at the same time they require much less care. There are a large variety of options when it comes to plastic plants. They can add a lot of beauty and color. If you do choose them, remember to clan them every time you change the water.

Natural – one of the most common decorations used in betta fish aquariums is a natural water plant. There are a lot of different choices from which to choose, with certain plants being a better choice for certain species. If you decide natural plants are right for you and your finned friend, be sure to purchase them from a reputable dealer. They will know the best plant for your betta fish.

If you look at the roots of live aquatic plants, you will notice they grow downward in the water. You should check these plants on a regular basis. Sometimes they can start to look brown and soggy which means it’s time to remove them. Also, if you notice they start hindering your betta’s movement because of their size, remove those as well.

Many betta enthusiasts believe the Chinese evergreen is the best plant for betta fish. Other recommendations are peace water lilies and philodendrons. Peace water lilies sit gracefully at the top of the aquarium, while philodendrons are usually found in riverbanks and swamps. Another safe plant for betta fish is the photos plant. This plant is often found in fish aquariums and terrariums. It is the ideal plant for indoor setups because it doesn’t need a lot of light. Java ferns as well as water sprites are also great options.

That kind of betta fish care will keep your finned friend very happy!

Having the right tank supplies will help you maintain good water quality to avoid possible betta diseases. Click the link to visit and read betta fish care online resource materials to improve your knowledge about the subject.

Tank Ornaments Of Ancient Civilizations

There are literally hundreds and hundreds of different fish tank decorations that you could choose from. These days the ones that are being sold are so beautifully detailed that they are good enough to be displayed in your prized cabinet. And with automation, they make the fish tank itself look more like a work of art.

The key is to figure out the type of theme that you will be pleased with. After choosing your theme, it will be so much easier to scan through the pages and pages of aquarium decor on your favorite online store to find the perfect decor for you. The theme you choose should be one that you are interested in and will give you immense pleasure watching the fish swim among the items for a long time to come.

To start your brainstorming going and give you some cool theme ideas which you can try, I will be introducing you to the gorgeous fish tank ornaments that you can get within themes that represent ancient civilizations long gone.

The Ancient Greek And Roman Theme

The Ancient Greek and Roman Theme is probably one of the simplest themes to choose. This is because it is also one of the most well known ones. Being very favored by aquarium enthusiasts makes it one of the easiest tank decor to get online as well as in pet stores. The Greek as well as The Roman Themes are actually the same because both cultures share very similar backgrounds, so for the rest of this article I’ll just refer to it as the Greek Theme. The main ornaments in this theme consists of columns. These columns come in complete as well as ruin forms. By matching the various columns, you will be able to construct a complete Greek Temple of your own if you wanted to.

Apart from the columns, you can also get statues of the Gods. The main God in this case would be Poseidon or Neptune because he is after all the God of the Sea. But you can also get statues of Zeus, Aphrodite, Ares and more.

The Ancient Egyptian Theme

This theme is awesome. I really love the new ornaments that they are producing these days. These include the generic Egyptian pyramids as well as the Sphinx, which incidentally is my favorite. There are also Sarcophagus of Pharaohs, a Pharaoh busk and Egyptian columns. If this is not enough, you can also get some cool Egyptian vases with holes in them that make nice caves for your fish.

To make this theme work, you would need to use a background of a desert scene or get one of those new 3D backgrounds which makes the theme look extremely authentic.

The Polynesian Theme

The Polynesian Theme is made up of the world famous Easter Island heads. Arrange a couple of them in a row to create an Easter Island effect. To enhance the look, get a backdrop depicting an island scene.

There are also colorful Tiki Heads that you could use for your theme. There are quite a number of this that can be placed along with Polynesian huts to create a great beach scene. While not really ancient, they would still look like it did come from the world’s greatest sea dwellers.

The Ancient Asian Theme

Asian decor has always been famous. No one can resist the mystery and allure that Asia has always had. There are some really great Asian ornaments on sale that you could use. No longer are you confined to just Pagodas and Temples. These days you can get numerous Buddhist statues in complete as well as ruined forms. There are still Pagodas and temples that you could get, but the newer versions are extremely detailed and the ones that I love so much even have the roots of trees over them, making them look really ancient.

 

Easy Methods to Eliminate Cloudiness in Aquariums and Fish Ponds

If you are among the many individuals looking for tips on how to clean up a cloudy fish pond or aquarium and have carried out just about everything the professionals say to do, yet you’ve still got cloudy water, then the advice below should be of help.

There are various factors as to why a pond will end up green or cloudy. Weather conditions tend to be the leading culprit. Various temperature ranges, rainwater, and an excessive amount of sunlight will play a role in a cloudy pond.

Furthermore, insufficient purification and over-feeding will result in difficulties, along with inadequate chemical compounds. Listed here are a few of the real solutions when it comes to preserving a fish pond or aquarium.

Filtration Systems: Are They All the Same?

  • Submersible filtration systems are challenging to upkeep since you need to climb into the waters in order to execute proper servicing of them plus they usually elevate the temperature of the water.
  • Sand filters are generally difficult to thoroughly clean and don’t capture all of the particles within the sand, enabling a few to re-enter the pond or aquarium. Furthermore the sand filter needs to be functioning twenty-four hours each day for ideal purification and should be backwashed on a regular basis.
  • The bio-filter is nearly the same as the sand filtration system only that it can be even tougher to completely clean.
  • Cartridge filters are likely to be the most effective filters to make use of. They filter out basically all of the wastes, are incredibly simple to wash, and keep working for an extended period of time. You may use cartridge filters in fish aquariums as well.

Which Chemical Solution Should I Purchase?

Algaecide is highly suggested to get rid of algae and clearing up any cloudy or green pond. On the other hand, algaecides are a toxic not just to your fish, but to the surrounding environment as well. Algaecides consist of copper sulfate which can build up in the internal organs of fish and other creatures. A few cities have prohibited copper sulfate since it seriously will contaminate bays and lake and can be considered unsuitable for aquatic environments.

There is, however, an organic algaecide that exists filled with beneficial microorganisms which will benefit the overall wellness of the pond. A probiotic solution is one of the best choices you can make.

Oxygenator Plants May Be a Good Idea

Any underwater plant species that thrives beneath the surface of the pond, or even if part of a plant is submerged underneath the pond water, is considered to be an oxygenator plant. These underwater plants typically have thin roots designed only for anchorage to prevent movement from any currents or wind.

The nutrition and gaseous transaction occur on the exterior of the plant directly to each individual cell. With these plants in the water, you can be sure that any cloudiness will start to vanish due to an increase of oxygen in the water.

Install a UV Clarifier

One of the most effective methods for managing pond cloudiness and algae is to install a UV clarifier. The potency of the UV illumination, which is produced at a particular wavelength, is a miracle for pond keepers. UV light is a natural occurrence and is the main trigger of sun burnt skin when we are in the sun for an extended period of time.

The ultra violet light rays eradicates the cloudiness by getting rid of the cell walls of the algae, bringing about the system known as flocculation, which is essentially the process in which bacteria heaps together into large clumps.

This bulky piece of bacteria is now far too big to simply go through any filtration systems without notice, so the next time it runs through a filter it will be removed for good.

Why Algae Occurs and How to Get Rid Of It

It is the case that every spring, as temperatures rise and daylight hours increase, an algal bloom occurs in everyone’s koi pond. Dreaded algal blooms like green water that make koi disappear from view or unsightly string algae that seems to pop up from nowhere seem to be an inescapable fact of pond life. There is a lot that happens during the transition from winter to spring. One thing that many koi owners experience is an increase in disease. This increase is, in part, linked to the fact that little beasties like parasites are doing well in the increasing water temperatures but a koi’s immune system is still coming back into full strength so there is a period in the spring when they are more vulnerable. Additionally, the increase in temperatures, sunlight and available nutrients from dead and decaying plant material and fish waste act to fuel algal growth and a bloom occurs. But what about the beneficial bacteria in the filter media? They are still there but, like a koi’s immune system, are not at full strength yet (more on beneficial bacteria later). Algae a pretty simple as living things go. They need sunlight, carbon dioxide (given off from the gills of respiring koi and atmospheric CO2) and nutrients (nitrates, phosphates, ammonia etc.). There is more to the story though when it comes to water chemistry and how well algae will do. Algae do well when pH is on the higher side and this is because certain nutrients are more readily assimilated by the algae under these conditions. Algae also thrive under conditions of stagnant water or decreased water flow (you’ve probably noticed that stagnant ponds tend to harbor a lot of algae). Different algae behave differently though- read on for the characteristics of the most problematic types.

Two main types of algae

1) Phytoplanktonic (free floating) which includes types that cause “green water” or “pea soup” water conditions. This type of algae may be the most common to afflict pond owners. Spring is often when ponds turn into what appears to be a large vat of pea soup-certainly not how koi keepers want their ponds to look. Besides being a spring bloom occurrence, this single celled algae is often associated with newly established ponds as well due to the fact that the filter hasn’t had time to establish a sufficiently large bacterial population yet.

2) Benthic (attached) which includes “string algae” or “horsehair algae”, “water net” and “blanket weed”. String algae can be a tough one. This algae can remain dormant for years in a dried state until introduced to water after which it will thrive. Another problem is that when you manually remove it from your pond (which is the best way) the action of removing it causes it to release spores into the water and the cycle starts again. As string algae tends to produce a good deal of dissolved oxygen it tends to aggregate bubbles tangled in its “hair” and before long a big, unsightly mat of the stuff floats to the surface further reducing the beauty of you pond. Of course, something that produces dissolved oxygen in your pond is a good thing, right? Yes, up until the point that it dies, sinks to the bottom and is broken down by bacteria that use oxygen to do so thereby depleting your pond of dissolved oxygen.

Prevention

The following is a list of ways to prevent algal growth in your pond.

Shade

Sunlight is a big component that is necessary for algae to thrive so by shading your pond in some way you can effectively reduce some of the algae fuel entering your pond. One way you can do this is the old fashioned way- trees. Try planting trees that provide canopy overhead near your pond. Besides aerial shade there is also the aquatic kind. Pond owners have, for a long time, installed aquatic plants like lilies in their pond to not only create shade but they make your pond more aesthetically appealing. The “magic” number to shoot for when it comes to aquatic plant coverage is 60-70% surface coverage. Another way to reduce light penetration is through non-toxic coloring agents that essentially tint your water a certain color and reduce the available light in your pond.

Reduce Nutrient Loads

Nutrients like nitrates and phosphates are key to algal growth so by reducing and nullifying these components you can severely limit algae’s ability to grow. This is achieved by not overfeeding your koi, by keeping close tabs on water chemistry and making adjustments as needed. Make sure your pond isn’t subject to fertilizer runoff as that will often carry a lot of phosphates. Be sure you have plenty of filtration and beneficial bacteria to assimilate nutrients etc. You may also need to perform several water changes in an effort to reduce nutrient loads. If this is the case be sure that the water changes you do are gradual to ensure that your pond doesn’t undergo a significant pH swing as this may cause harm to your koi.

Adding Salt

Salt seems to be a go-to remedy for a lot of things in the world of koi keeping and it turns out that it can help control algae blooms as well. There is a caveat with using salt to combat algae in your pond though and that relates to the fact that high enough salinities will also harm or kill your aquatic plants. For example, common plants like water hyacinth and lotus will begin to die back at 0.10% whereas water lily won’t die off until 0.5% and to deal with algae effectively you will want to shoot for 0.25 to 0.30%. You will have to determine if salt makes sense for your algae problems based on your species of aquatic plants.

UV Sterilizers

One of the most effective ways of combating single celled algae like that which causes “green water” is an in-line UV sterilizer as part of your filtration system. Its an excellent and non-invasive way of dealing with certain types of algae (and harmful bacteria for that matter) that can easily be added to your existing piping. UV Clarifiers are also an option if you are just targeting free floating algae but its less powerful (algae requires less powerful UV to be killed) so if you are going have a UV system you might as well have one that is going to kill other microbes and bacteria, too. For most ponds a 30 watt system should suffice but be sure that the light you are getting is rated for the number of gallons you have.

Beneficial Bacteria

Besides UV sterilizers one of best things you can do for your pond is adding additional beneficial bacteria (link the previous 2 words to my article on nitrogen cycle). This is especially true during spring time when your filter media is not ramped up like it would be in summer. One of the more popular products on the market for getting bacteria populations up is called Microbe Lift and they even have seasonal “blends” depending on your needs (and season). Its generally a good idea to give your bacteria a boost from time to time but when it comes to algae you may find yourself in a cycle where the algae dies (either naturally or via algaecides), it decomposes on the bottom and causes high levels of nutrients like ammonia and nitrates and those nutrients then fuel the next generation of algae. Adding the beneficial bacteria will allow the nutrients to be assimilated before they become available for more algae thereby starving out future algal growth.

Koi Clay

Koi clay is one of those additions to your koi pond that can only help. This “stuff” is a natural way to add a lot of great minerals to your system and koi seem to love it. As a side effect it has been reported to really be effective at inhibiting and killing string algae. It is a calcium bentonite clay and when added to your pond it will temporarily cloud up. It clears up in a day and will have added lots of beneficial minerals and removed toxins. It is said that Kentucky produces so many great race horses because they eat the grass growing in Kentucky’s particularly calcium-rich soil and similarly Japan’s koi might be so revered because of the clay rich ponds in which they are raised. There’s lot of great koi clays on the market but one particular clay that receives a lot of attention is Gene Winstead’s Ultimate Koi Clay.

Chemicals for Treating Algae

Barley Straw

One algae treatment you may have heard about but is perhaps a bit unexpected is barley straw. You can get it as raw barley straw or its extract. This treatment for green water can take up to 30 days to really get going and the results can be hit or miss for people. Some speculate that the barley straw works by breaking down and releasing a toxin that prevents algae while others suggest that the break down process produces hydrogen peroxide which creates a poor environment for algal growth. According to Rutgers University no one actually knows how barley straw prevents algal growth but its important to note that it prevents algae, it doesn’t kill existing algae so it shouldn’t be used as an algaecide. This treatment is more effective on free floating algae as opposed to string algae and is typically used in the spring time.

Simazine

Most algaecides can be placed into one of three categories: potassium permanganate-based, copper- based and simazine-based. Simazine is a fairly commonly used algaecide. The way this chemical works is by disrupting the photosynthesis process and thereby killing the algae. Caution should be used with this chemical as it can harm or stunt the growth of your aquatic plants (as they use photosynthesis too).

Potassium Permanganate

Use potassium permanganate with caution. Not only is it used for parasites like costia but will also readily kill algae however you need to monitor the pond after you add it. The dose should be something around 1 teaspoon per 1000 gallons to start but you may end up doing more or more treatments based on your needs and how much algae you have. You will need to double up on your pond aeration as you will see a lot of your fish come to the surface and gasp to get air. Keep up the treatment for about 8 hours and make sure the treated pond water doesn’t go through your filter media as your beneficial bacteria will be killed off. Potassium permanganate will get used up as it kills the algae and parasites etc. so you won’t have to do a big water change as you would if you added a lot of salt. It would be very helpful though to vacuum the bottom of your pond after the treatment is over and your fish aren’t showing signs of stress.

Algae Fix

Algae fix can be placed in the “copper based” category. Most copper based algaecides are in the form of chelated copper (which lasts longer). It can be effective as an algaecide as it disrupts algae cell metabolism however as with most treatments there are some cautions to be aware of. Vascular plants like water clover won’t be affected by the copper but other plants that derived nutrients from the water itself may be negatively affected. The other thing to consider is copper’s affect on invertebrate organisms like snails and crayfish. Because most invertebrates have copper-based hemolymph (blood) copper-based treatments will harm or kill these organisms.

Green Clean

One of the newer products on the market Green Clean kills algae via oxidation and results are very rapid. There is no residue and it is not copper based. Though it is advertised as a “broad spectrum” algaecide users have reported that it is best for string algae and not ideal for green water (free floating) algae.

Accu Clear

This solution is in the family of treatments that cause green water algae to flocculate (suspended materials form small clusters and sink to the bottom). The idea is that your filter will take of the rest but as mentioned previously if you don’t vacuum the bottom afterwards it’s a good idea to pump up your beneficial bacteria populations to handle the excess nutrient fallout from the decay of the algae.

Summary

Every pond owner will, at some point, have to deal with algae. Typically people will struggle with it during the springtime when temperatures rise but fortunately there are plenty of go-to solutions. There are some that are broad spectrum and some that are will target one kind of algae or another. The solution that is right for you is the one that meets your particular needs. There are plenty of algaecide chemicals available on the market today and a lot of pond owners will attest to their effectiveness however if you find yourself overrun by algae and don’t know where to start try some of the solutions found under “Prevention” in this article first before adding chemicals. You may have to go the chemical route though and if you do be sure to couple those treatments with some of the preventative measures talked about or you may find yourself in the same situation before too long.

 

LED Lighting Basics for Aquariums

As is the case with automobile and home lighting systems, LED lighting systems for saltwater aquariums have become very popular among aquarists over the last few years. These systems have some very good points to them, especially if you invest in a quality light strip. But there are also some issues to be aware of when using LED lighting in your aquarium.

The Benefits of LED Lighting for Aquariums

LED lighting systems are more cost effective in two ways. First, an LED bulb provides seven to eight times more wattage per bulb than other types of aquarium lighting, such as halide and T5HO bulbs. What this means is that you get the same amount of light from a 30 watt LED bulb as you will see from a 250 watt halide bulb. This can create a significant savings on your monthly electric bill. Second, LEDs can last up to 50,000 hours. Although you pay more initially for the LED bulb, you may not have to replace it for seven years, as compared with the yearly cost of replacement of a T5HO or halide bulb. The LED aquarium lighting system packs all these savings into a small space, because LED systems are more compact than other aquarium lighting.

The quality of the LED lighting is also a great reason to invest in this system. LED aquarium lighting can deliver up to 10,000K of lighting, which is enough to stimulate growth in corals and aquarium plants. Also, you have a wide variety of choices in colors with an LED system. When this is combined with computer programming, it can create an aquarium that either shimmers like it is located in the ocean, or the lighting accentuates the colors of the fish and corals for an extraordinary show.

What to Look for in an LED Aquarium Light

One aspect of a good LED aquarium lighting system to look for is whether or not it has a way to cool itself off in order to extend the life of the LED bulbs. This cooling can either be passive or active. The Maxspect Razor R420R uses an aerodynamic design to naturally draw cooler air from beneath the system and through the slim body of the fixture to passively cool the lights. In the case of the Ecotech Marine XR30w Pro Gen3 model, a fan is built into the center of the light strip to provide necessary cooling for the LEDs.

Another item to look for when choosing an LED light fixture is the spectrum range of the lights. You want your system to provide the entire light spectrum your plants, animals, and corals need in order to thrive as if they were in their natural habitat. In the case of the AquaIllumination AI Hydra FiftyTwo LED System, your aquarium organisms can receive a full spectrum of light that is greater than visible light. If you feel that might be a bit much for your setup, AquaIllumination also makes an AI Hydra TwentySix LED system, which has half the bulbs of the FiftyTwo model, but still uses 80 degree lenses to spread the light to best advantage, as well as providing 90 percent LED optical efficiency.

Things to Avoid When Using LED Aquarium Lights

There are a few things you need to be aware of before setting up your own LED lighting in your aquarium. Heat is one item. Although LED lights do not release nearly as much heat into an aquarium system as metal halides or T5HO bulbs do, they are susceptible to reduced lifespan in the presence of heat. Therefore, LEDs should not be used next to halides, fluorescent, or T5HO bulbs, because of the exposure to heat.

Do not get your LED system wet. Although aquarium LED systems are water resistant, they can’t take being dropped into the aquarium. The result will be corrosion and shorting of the circuit board. You also need to control the mineral deposits that can develop on LED light systems for the same reason. Marine aquarium salts can corrode your light system, unless the salts are cleaned off regularly.

Finally, you need to introduce LED lights slowly to coral reef aquariums. These lights can be intensely bright. If bright LEDs are introduced too quickly, corals can sometimes react to the change by expelling their zooxanthellae, leaving behind a bleached coral with no sign of life.

The Fun and Rewarding Hobby of Keeping Pet Goldfish

Have you ever discouraged yourself from owning pet goldfish because of what other previous goldfish owners have said about them, particularly the negatives? Well, you shouldn’t; especially if you can’t vouch for the truth on why their goldfish originally died! Perhaps the owner tried to keep the fish in a bowl, after partaking in the TV show myth of happy goldfish swimming in an adorable round bowl. Or, maybe the environment was not a bowl, but it was still confining; depending on how many goldfish the owner was keeping at a time (Goldfish need to swim in schools-that applies to just about every type of fish known to man-except “Siamese fighting fish” or Bettas). Or who knows-maybe this person wasn’t on the up and up when it came to some of the important key points of maintenance. Goldfish care is certainly not rocket science, but they too are not a “set and forget” kind of hobby-I have seen all too many perfectly good pre-owned aquariums for sale at second-hand stores and other places-It makes me sad to see that; perhaps these owners “didn’t have the time” for this hobby after awhile. I cannot speak for everybody who eventually abandons fishkeeping-but it’s kind of a shame to see some people turn their backs on such a rewarding hobby. I don’t want that to happen to you. Let’s look at some of the finer points of owning pet goldfish…

The first is the beautiful colors and patterns. Many out there you will find are not completely “orange”. They have patterns of golden yellow, black, and white mixed in. The fancier the goldfish (such as fantails and moors) the more varied these patterns will be, but even common goldfish can be striking, too. One of mine is two-toned in white and orange. You will also find that goldfish are friendly, intelligent, alert (you will never forget to feed them as they will be greeting you at the glass as soon as it’s time!) And they subsist on a fairly varied diet..pellets and flakes are good, but they’ve been known to enjoy spinach and shelled peas, brine shrimp and bloodworms. If you like live aquarium plants, I would refrain from keeping them around goldfish as they will nibble on them too.

You will also find that goldfish are hardy and long-lived (Japanese koi live even longer-some up to 20 years or more!) I’ve had the same orange and white pet goldfish for going on three years so I can tell you they are pretty tough. They are not completely immune-there are a few goldfish diseases like ick and swimbladder that definitely require attention and solitary quarantining. A goldfish lifespan depends on different things-but do not underestimate the “key points” which I will talk about in the next paragraph. The first point is their habitat.

Yes, absolutely, 100 percent. You NEED to keep them in a tank… NOT a bowl. I would strongly advise you against purchasing one of those “mini” or “nano” tank kits if you plan on keeping goldfish-save those for your solitary Bettas in the future. The tank needs to be fairly roomy-doesn’t have to be gigantic (in such a case, you’d be better off keeping them in a backyard garden pond, where they will thrive in large numbers.) Many experts will tell you that you will need a 30 gallon tank at least. If you own a 29 gallon capacity tank; no big deal here as that’s just one gallon off. There are friendly “natural” tank-cleaners like pleckos and Chinese algae eaters that can give your tank a little cleaning boost. The reason for this larger size is that a bigger tank will keep the water pollution issue to a minimum. Goldfish waste levels definitely exceed that of other freshwater varieties. The smaller the tank, the more frequently the water will need to be changed. You also need a good filtration system and an air pump. A heater for the aquarium will not be a necessity as goldfish are not as temperature sensitive as some other freshwater fish breeds.

Bi-monthly (every other week) water changes are important; the first time you may want to siphon about 25% of the water, the next time and subsequent changes, about half of the water should be good. Now if you are thinking of just pouring that dirty fish water down the drain, take a tip from my brother-in-law who has raised goldfish longer than I have. The bacteria present in fish waste laden water will make great plant fertilizer if you have a garden in progress. Even for a few houseplants, the soil will get a much-needed boost. When you replace the removed water with clean (chlorine-free; no instant from the tap kind of water) be sure to also change the filter cartridge as well.

You should (and will) enjoy your pet goldfish for a long time to come if you remember all the important points made earlier. Goldfish are attractive, not difficult to care for, and quite inexpensive (depending on whether you are looking at common or fancy varieties.) Four “common” goldfish from a pet store retailer set me back only a dollar. “Fancy” goldfish start at a dollar apiece and up from there depending on the type. They will pay you back in dividends as you see how big these little guys will get eventually! I have a four-incher that you would never guess was once two inches long so I hope it doesn’t get any bigger. I consider this particular goldfish the “alpha male” or the “Queen Bee” of my bunch.

If you ever want to take this hobby to the next level one day, you might want to look into garden fish ponds. A lot of work goes into crafting the dream backyard goldfish pond-much more than tank-keeping-so keep that in mind. Until then though, I hope you will get the maximum benefit from raising your goldfish to be happy and healthy in a nice home aquarium!