* Prices may differ from that shown
Right where do i start, well i suppose chosing what type of set up you want would be as good a place as any.
Choosing your tank
I would recomend buying the largest tank you possibly have the space for as the larger the tank the easier it is to keep your water chemistry stable.
The most popular tanks are glass held together with sealent which all of these tanks need to be stripped down and have there sealent replaced every ten years, if you dont like the idea of this you may be better suited to a plastic tank as these are made with out seams so never need resealing and are actually very strong, they do scratch easier than glass but they are available in some great shapes these days, i have a perspecs (plastic) coffee table fish tank which looks great.
Setting up your tank
A tank full of water is very heavy, sometimes impossible to move so decide on a definate place for your fish tank.
This idealy should be near to a power point and have a good space above the tank to allow for cleaning.
Choose a strong level surface if you havent chosen to buy a tank with a stand or base to put your tank on.
You shouldnt put your tank directly onto a hard surface, you should use either polystyrene, cork or sponge under your tank to stop it cracking when you add the water.
I know this is going to sound realy daft to say this but dont put a large fish tank up stairs in your house as it is likely to go through the floor due to the weight, a friend of mine made this mistake and came home from work one night to find his fish tank in his livingroom instead of his bedroom.
Try to posision your tank away from direct sunlight as the sun shine directly on you tank can increase your water temperature and will cause a lot of alga growth, you know the slimey green stuff.
You will need a heater and a filter for your tank, these are available from most pet shops, i cant tell you here which one to buy as it will depend on the size of your tank but either at the same time as buying your tank or once you know the size of your tank the assistant at the pet shop will be able to tell you what size heater and filter you will need.
I use gravel in the botoms of all my fish tanks, gravel is available in a lot of different colours so you could even colour co-ordinate this to the colour scheem in the room your tank is in.
A word of warning though if you have chosen an under gravel filter system remember to fit this before adding your gravel.
Right then, now you should be ready to put your filter and heater in your tank but remember dont switch these on untill your water is in as common sence should tell you filters will burn out without water and heaters unless you have brought a type specially designed to switch off once out of water will crack
Right then now you can fill your tank with water, switch on your filter and heater and set the thermostat on your heater to 24'c or 75'f
you will probably already have a light in the hood of your tank if brought new but if not you will need to get one from the pet shop.
Right your tank is ready, leave it for 3 days to begin maturing
After 3 days you can add plants to your tank.
Hairgrass is a nice plant which looks like a pampus grass.
Amazon sword plants look a bit like a minuture rubber plant.
twisted vallis is my favorite as it is thin but tall leaved allowing your fish to swim in and out of the leaves.
leave your tank for a further 4 days then you will need to test its ph level, you can buy a testing kit for around £5 from your pet shop to do this. all you do is use the tube provided in your kit to take a little bit of your water, add the required amount of drops of solution to the tube as stated on the box, shake the 2 together and look at the colour against your ph scale on the box, you need a ph of 7
If it shows a 7 then great you can go and get some fish, if not leave it another day and test again, dont worry you wont need to buy another test kit, each kit will test about 20 samples.
Buying your fish
obviously if you are intending to just keep one large fish like my oscar you can just go and buy your fish but if you want a tank full of smaller fish you need to introduce these gradually, at about 8 fish per week
for a tropical tank i would recomend:
glow light tetras
rummy nosed tetra
these are all ideal community fish
once your tank is up and running you will have to do a 20% water change on your tank about every 3 weeks, this isnt difficult all you do is take out 1/5 of your water and replace with fresh water, at the same time as doing this swill your filter sponges out but not in tap water use the water you have just taken out of your tank as this helps keep a good build up of bacteria which is essential in your tank.
You can use a plastic back drop to give you a picture at the back of your tank and ornaments to decorate your tank in any type of theme you like but remember to wash all ornaments before adding them to your tank.
Now all you have to do is sit back and enjoy relaxing wholst watching your new tank.
Hi. I have only kept tropical fish for around 3-4months but already feel I have a vast knowledge of the subject. I am writing this to explain how I got started, which may guide other people to do the same, as fish keeping is an excellent and very rewarding hobby!! 1) I started by going to my local libary, they only had 2 books on tropical fish but they were both on how to set up aquariums, types of fish, and loads of info. 2) The next thing to do was buy my tank and stand. I brought a tank 4ftx1.5ftx1ft, around 170litres which is a reasonably large tank. However this tank, although looking brilliant and almost new, was second hand, and i would not advise anybody into buying a second hand tank as I recently encountered a burst seal along the back which could have been disasterous. So make sure you buy a NEW tank! as these are 1) much safer and 2) you can get guarantees and what not on these! 3) Then I went to my local fish shop, Talai aquatics in a town called Haywards Heath in West Sussex if anyones local (the shop is good and the main owner/worker Matt is very helpful, but it is over priced considerably). I asked the guy how to setup, what I'd need, etc, (although the best idea is to probably talk to an expert before you buy the tank)!!! He advised me on everything which I will come to. 4) When I had saved up enough I brought my gear ... a 200w heater an Eheim internal "aquaball flter" lots of gravel (give your local shop dimensions of your tank and they'll advise you on how much you need) plastic plants, (as I felt more comfortable with them at this stage, just starting out and all) a large castle (very decorative and beautifuyl, providing safe havens for nervous bottom feeders) and some mopani wood, (as I feel this has mor eshape and beauty than standard bog wood) 5) Then I washed my aquarium and gravel and filled the bottom with a sloping layer of
gravel higher at the back sloping down so the dirt settles at the front and is easy to clean. Then I added loads of dishwasher salt any kind of that thing will do, and chucked everything in, nets, ornament, etc to sterilise them. 6) After leaving the salt in over night I emptied the water and filled the tank with standard tap water, setting up all of the ornaments, filters, and heaters, how i wanted and turned everything on. After leaving this for around a week I took a water sample to my local shop, where they tested it and gave me a computer print out (many shops are doing this now). This saves going straight out and buying a full kit, straight away. The results were good but ammonia and nitrites (bad bacteria) were high so "starter fish were added". Starter fish are hardy fish which as they poo the good bacteria feeds of this and develops, overcoming bad bacteria. This is called maturing the tank, so the water becomes suitable for fish. 7) After another 6 weeks(ish) of having these starter fish (which consisted of 6 zebra danios and 6 neon tetras by the way) and 2 further water tests, the water had finally matured and the bacteria in the filter had developed, so now i made my first water change. A few days later I brought 3 "ancistrus" which look like plecostomus, but only grow to around 6 inches where as most plecos grow to atleast 30cm+!!!!! unfortunately over a few weeks two of these died, in my oppinion due to tempewrature changes as most of you in the uk will know, it has been very hot, as the temperature (which should be around 77-79 degrees f for a community tank (tank with many species which live together)) was fluctuating to around 82-83 degrees f and then falling to 79 degrees f in a matter of hours. Anyway. Now, a month later I have another ancisrus and my original one, as well as 6 corydoras (peppered catfish) which I highly recommend!!! I now have a tank which measures 2.5ftx1.5ftx1.5ft with a
capacity of 125 litres as my other one leaked!! But I prefer the smaller, and deeper awaurium, for now anyway. And thats how I got started! Now I'll give you a few tips I have learnt!! 1) Dont rush anything, this includes the tank maturing or even releasing new fish! Stress can cause disease and so much care should be taken to prevent stress! 2) Buy large bottles of things like nitrivec, and aquasafe as they are quite expensive and many places do refils of your old bottles for cheaper prices. 3) Don't buy fish, or atleast be very careful about buying fish from garden centres, as most run on a system where the same water is used in all the tanks to save money on heateing appliances and filtration, meaning if one tank has a disease, it will be in all the tanks!!! IN THE EVENT OF A LEAK... 4) In the most unlikely event of a leakage (this can come on very wuick my whole 200litre tank emptied in less than 5 mins) first buty a maller tank as an emergency tank, it can be plastic of watever and only needs to be small. If the tank starts leaking put buckets (used for fish only) and ank tanks under leak to collect some water. Then take the hood off and take out all ornaments and plants, believe my it is much easier to catch fish when there are no obstacles. Then (try and get someone to help you) fill a normal (or large if you have one) plastic fish bag and fill with water then put all the fish in, dont be fussy if you get gravel in the net or whatever, it is a race against time, to collect fish before the water goes! (Miraculously I only lost one fish when my whole tank went!) Then put any heater you even if not suitable really and any filter into the spare tank and fill with water you hav collected. The fish will be ok in the bag for an hour easily. Put a thermometer into the tank and let it go round for a few mins, maybe add some antistress stuff you can buy or whatever! and dont turn any light on the tank on, keep it dark = less stres
s for fish!!! then put bag(s) of fish in tank as if releasing fish from shop. then let them swim out, (you wont need to wait long for water to adjust). also an air supply would be good, so just a pump and tubing will do but airstones ean smaller bubbles and are specially designed! then worry bout your carpet! and anything else! we have to get a new ceiling downstairs but luckily the house insurance covered it. But doesnt cover the tank! So BUY A NEW TANK! with a guarentee!!! Then You'll need to buy a new tank and use whatever water you have as well as treated tapwater to transfer the fish. I feel sorry for you if this heppens to you! Its a horrible experience! Anyways, thanks for reading any questions, comments or anything please email me @ email@example.com I'd love to hear from you! Craig McConochie
So youve decided to start or think about keeping your own aquarium ........ Why ? maybe it is because of the pleasure of seeing sll those differnt colours confined to one space or ........ maybe its because it sets a tranquil atmosphere. Before you think about buying your aquarium to house your fish you have to think about a few things... 1) do you have the space. 2) do you have the time and effort these fish need. 3) do you have the budget to keep on paying for there expenses. If the answers to the above quaestions is 'YES' then read on...... Firstly, you have to think about the tank. TANK Choose a tank that is suitable for your house. It would be prity stupid if you chose a 4 ft tank to fo on a 3ft cabinet becasue simply this would not work. You also have to consider small children and pets , Aquariums are best kept high out of harms reach. REMEMBER THERE IS STILL A DROWNING HAZZARD ALTHOUGH THERE IS A LID! When you have your perfect aquarium in the perfect spot (which has to be out of diresct sunlight to prevent frying of the fish and algae growth. A little tip- Downt but a cheap £10 aquarium that has just being knocked up quickly with a few panes of glass and some sealent. Quality is better A Lid is best although not essential becasue in most cases it will house your light and it makes it look complete. GRAVEL/SAND Now you have your aquarium set up in the right place you have to think about the lining. Gravel is best although sand can still be used, it is a devil for replacing or cleaning it. Gravels come in differnt colours you have you dull natural gravel to your bright colourful gravel. Some people may say that the colored stuff isnt that good, but as the fish can only see a short distance they prefer bright colours to guide them. Dont go and dig some gravel up in your garden or buy a big cheap bag from your local DIY store for two reasons the gravel HAS to be calcium free. And you can buy the
proper stuff from your local petstore for about 20p a lb. When you purchase ANY gravel from ANY petstore make sure you throughly wash it to get rid of the dust on it to prevent the water going VERY cloudy. ACCESORIES Now you have your aquarium and it is lined with gravel or sand. Although not essential the fish DO prefer accesories such as plants and bridges ETC for them to play around in and explore. Some Accesories are inexpensive and worth it. Little bridges can be brought for as little as £2, Plastic plants can be also brought for around £3. Plastic plants look ok and do not require any attention. Although real plants can be brought and MUST be brought from RELYABLE petstores. The plants need a little more attention and cost a little more so i would stick to plastic ones witch look as effective although can supply natural food for the fish. At the end of the day it is your desicsion as to whether you've got the time ETC. FILTER,LIGHTING,HEATER Now we are moving on to the expensive stuff! Firstly you need a strong filter the more buttons and nobs it has on it the better! Most filters stick on to the sides of aquariums with suckers that stick to the side of the aquarium but check before you but or it WILL be a struggle! The lighting, you need a long bar light witch MUST ammit WHITE light. These can be brought inexpensively and housed in your lid of the aquarium. The heater, i recently read a review on a where someone had purchased a heater for around a tenner. Either it was second hand or NOT very good as that person said about having to keep adjusting it. Rod heaters are the best as they dont take up much space. If you buy one for about £20-£30 (which is the most expensive item, apart from the tank) you are guarenteed a good buy only one temp has to be set (which should be AROUND 24oC) then if the water temp gets to high it switches it self off and if it gets to low it switches it self on. So you dont have to bother keep trying to adj
ust the room tempature ETC. The filter, Filters are best if there kept small and have suctions to stick it onto the corner of your aquarium, The aquarium should have a fast and slow switch becasue when you have younger smaller fish the filter tends to blow them around in circles! THE FILTER AND HEATER SHOULD BE DISGUISED AS MUCH AS YOU CAN BY THINGS LIKE PLANTS. BACKGROUND It is Important to have backgrounds stuck to your Aquarium not only will it make the aquarium look better in general it will make the fish feel they are in a natural envirmonet. POSITIONING THE TANK The tank should be positioned OUT of direct sun-light as this can prevent algae growth whitch can be a devil for cleaning off! pH BALANCE The pH balance of the water in the tank is not always essential but some fish do prefer the water slightly alkaline around 6.2, 6.3. You dont have to bother with this too much but if your keeping more professional fish you can get your water tested for free at pet stores such as FOCUS DIY, PETWORLD (Which is a VERY good pet store for providing pet supplies at a cheap rate and with freindly advice). Then the water can be adjusted accordingly. ClEANING OUT YOUR AQUARIUM Aquariums are best kept clean as the TROPICAL OR MARINE fish occupying are native to clear clean waters. Around 2-3 litres of water should be sucked or pumped out off your aquarium and replaced with CLEAN, DE-CHLORINATED water. The whole thing should be totally cleaned out every month but try to avoid wiping ALGAE of your plants etc as this is natural food for the fish BUT, Dont let it grow too much ! THAT IS JUST ABOUT ALL THE THINGS YOU SHOULD ABOUT STARTING YOUR OWN SUCSSEFUL AQUARIUM ! Now. The fish....... You can either buy TROPICAL or MARINE fish. TROPICAL FISH- These fish can be expensive and in expensive. They require a LITTLE less attention than MARINE fish. TROPICAL fish are best for begginers. These only need to be fed Aquatic fish flak
es but some fish prefer differnt types of food. MARINE FISH- I dont know who came up with this name becuase all off the fish are MARINE fish even TROPICAL fish. These fish are a LITTLE more expensive. They require more attention. MARINE fish are better off for more profesionals as some of them require to be fed LIVE bait ETC.
When I was a kid, we had a tropical fish tank for years. I had wanted to set up a tank of my own, but my wife was not too keen. On a visit to my Dad?s house earlier this year, he had set up a new aquarium, which was a focal point in his room. This time, Helen agreed to setting up a tank of our own. This is where the real work began. Setting Up your Aquarium ------------------------------- I decided to set this up one weekend, while my wife was away. Prior to making a purchase I had gone to local pet shops, and looked in local free papers to get an idea of costs. I also took advice from a friend who kept fish. He suggested buying all new equipment, thus avoiding any disease, or ending up with equipment in poor condition. I visited a specialist aquarium supplier in Glasgow. They were able to supply the fish, and the tank itself. They manufactured tanks on the premises. I selected a tank based on the measurements of the room, and the budget I had set. The shop was doing starter kits of all sizes. The starter kit contained gravel, the tank, a fluorescent light, a mahogany cupboard for the tank to sit on, a matching hood, heater, filter unit and plants. The shop was helpful in giving advice on which fish live well together. Based on their advice, I bought 20 neon tetras, 2 gourami?s, 2 molly?s, 2 tropical brown frogs, and a male siamese fighter fish, 2 sucking loaches. The whole lot came to £200, ouch! The first step was to level the base, and then assemble the tank. Levelling the base is important when you consider the amount of water that goes into the tank. Once this was done the next step was to wash the gravel to remove dirt, then poured this into the bottom of the tank. I was advised to use about 2? of gravel, to give the plants a good root base. Then I fitted the heater and the filter to the sides of the tank. The tank needs some rocks and bogwood, to create hiding places for nocturnal fish. The tank should be fill
ed with cold tap water (not hot). Once the tank was full, the heater and filter can be switched on and the water brought to the temperature. Ideally, the tank should be left for one week, before the fish are put in the water. This is to get the nitrogen cycle going. However, impatient that I am, I could not bear to wait the full week, and added the fish after a couple of days! Care is needed so as not to over-populate the tank. It is recommended that 10 square inches of surface area per one square inch of fish (if you can imagine such a thing!) Food and Ongoing Maintenance -------------------------------------- The fish should be given a pinch of food, twice a day. The food can be dried flakes, or freeze dried food. Too much feeding can block the filter up and poison the water. The food should ideally all be eaten within five minutes of putting it in the tank. Fish can be left for a couple of days even, without being fed. Alternatively they can be given block food, if you are going away for a couple of days. To maintain a healthy environment the water needs to be changed on a regular basis. Ideally 20% of the water should be changed every fortnight. This should be carried out by syphoning out the tank water, and slowly add cold water to avoid temperature changes. You should also carry out water tests regularly. The most common tests are for nitrite/nitrate and ammonia. Kits are available from most pet-shops and cost approximately £4 to £5. The kit should last several months. For those living in hard water areas, you should also carry out pH checks. Most fish survive in a soft brackish water. Problems you may encounter ---------------------------------- Problems occur mainly due to lack of maintenance and over-feeding. Fish naturally excrete ammonia, but if levels get too high, the environment will become toxic. Regular checks need to be done in the first few months of set up. If nitrite
levels are too high, this is usually due to lack of filtration, i.e. too much waste in the water. This could be the filter is not big enough, or more simply, there are too many fish in the tank! This is highly toxic and could cause the fish to die. The first thing you need to do is a 50% water change, and ensure the filter is cleaned more regularly. If nitrate levels become significant this should be treated the same way as nitrite. Algae occur when the fish tank is getting too much light. This green substance is unsightly and depletes the oxygen supply. Treatment includes cleaning off all the algae, using equipment available from the pet-shops. The tank should not be in direct sunlight, or leave artificial tank lights on for too long each day. You could add a few algae eating fish, such as the loaches or catfish. General --------- Offspring! A clue that a live bearer may be about to give birth is that she will sink to the bottom of the tank, and will not seem able to swim properly. Most common aquarium fish are live bearers. They generally give birth at nighttime. It is worth investing in a nursery tank, which can be suctioned to the side of the main tank. This separates the mother from the fry, as she will eat them too, not withstanding some of the other fish in the tank. Our female molly has had three lots of fish in the last nine months, and the first two lots were all seen as a tasty lunch and an alternative to dried food! We are doing better with the third litter, but they aren?t out of the danger zone yet. We have had problems with the nursery tank coming away from the wall of the tank, meaning the fish can get out into the big blue yonder, which is when they will be eaten. Once they are about the length of a thumbnail, they should be ok to survive on their own. Get friendly with the local pet shop or specialist aquarium shop as they can offer a lot of help. There are also many books for sale, in petshops, which gi
ve help and advice on setting up your first aquarium. Alternatively there are plenty of sites on the Internet.
I have a 3 foot tank at home and I love to just sit infront of it and watch my fish for hours. But the one thing I dont like is the amount of time it takes to clean it out. On average it takes me about 3 and a half hours to clean my tank out, and then for another hour or so after that I am up and down changing little things around until I get it looking perfect. To set up a successful Tropical fish tank you will need : *A Tank (obviously). The bigger the better, as this gives you a larger area incase you make a mistake. *A Water Heater. You will need to get the right heater for the size of your tank. For a 24x12x12 inch tank you will need a heater with 75-100 watts, for a 36x12x15 inch tank you will need 100-150 watts, and for a 48x15x15 inch tank you will need 120-180 watts. *A Aquarium Light. If your tank is 24 inches in length you will need 1 tube with a wattage of 15. If your tank is 36 inches long you will need 2 tubes both with a wattage of 20. If your tank is 48 inches long you will need 2 tubes both with a wattage of 30. *An Air Pump. Every air pump is different so you will have to check when you buy your tank what size you need. *A Filter. There are several different types of filters. You will have to find the one that best suits your tank. I use an under-gravel filter, I have tried other types but I find this one to work the best. *Gravel, Decorations and Plants. There are hundreds of different types of gravel, decorations and plants. You can pick any you like. Fresh Start Water Treatment. This makes your tap water safe for fish to live in. So far I have just told you the essential things you will need. But there is a few things you will need to maintain your tank and in-case of an emergency : *A Spare Air Pump. *A Spare Heater. *A Spare Light. *Spare Plugs and Fuses. *Insulating and Wate
rproof Tape. *A Siphon Tube. *An Algae Cleaner/Scraper. *A Thermometer. *A Net. *A Range of Water Testing Kits. *Silicone Sealant. *A Breeding Trap. Now lets move on to actually setting your tank up. 1.If you decide to use an undergravel filter then you must place this in the bottom of the tank first cutting to size if necessary. Then fit the airlifts to the filter plate. 2. Rinse the gravel thoroughly. Turn the tap on high and continuasly disturb the gravel with your hands. Keep doing this until the water runs clear. 3. Spread the gravel on the filter plate or on the bottom of the tank if you are not using an undergravel filter. The layer of gravel should be several centimetres thick. About 7.5 cm should be enough if you are using an undergravel filter and slightly less if you are not. 4.Rinse rocks, bogwood and any other decorations in clear water and arrange them in the tank to your own liking. Try not to do everything symmetrical as this will make an already artificial aquascape look even more unnatural. 5.Place the Heater in the position you would like it, but try not to let it touch the gravel as this would cause a hot-spot for your fish. DO NOT switch it on yet. 6.Place the air pump inside the tank, again to your own liking, but DO NOT switch it on. 7. Now you can start filling your tank. A useful tip is to place a dish in your tank and pour the water into this so that you dont disturb the gravel. Add a little warm water aswell to raise the temperature by a few degrees, and you will also need to add a little Fresh Start which is a liquid that makes your tap water safe for Tropical fish. 8.Once your tank is filled then you can place your plants. Do this in whatever fashion you like but remember alot of fish like to have ample swimming space. 9.Place the condensation tray that came with your tank into position. 10
.Fit the light and thread any tubes through the slits in the aquarium lid and place the lid into position. 11.Having checked that you have not missed anything you can next switch on all the electrical equiptment and adjust the temperature and air flow as necessary. If you need to adjust any of the electrical equiptment please make sure you turn them off first. Thats it your done you have your own unique looking aquarium to be proud of. I suggest leaving the tank running for a week or so as it is before you add any fish as then any adjusting that need doing can be done without terrifying your fish.
My father and I have kept tropical fish for about eleven years. Over those years, we have had some real tragedies, and a few really amazing moments. I will talk a little about those later, but you are here because you are no doubt interested to some degree in keeping fish. UPDATE AT BOTTOM PLEASE NOTE: THIS OPINION, ALTHOUGH FAIRLY COMPREHENSIVE, CANNOT REPLACE THE ADVICE OF A REPUTABLE DEALER. NINE TIMES OUT OF TEN, A FISH KEEPER WILL HAVE ONE OR TWO DEALERS THAT HE OR SHE HAS A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH. FIND A DEALER NEAR YOU AND BUILD A RELATIONSHIP. AFTER ALL, YOU WILL HOPEFULLY BE VISITING THEM REGULARLY FOR MANY YEARS TO COME. Just before I start, here is a tip. The people who work in fish shops (usually) know a lot about the subject. Bleed them of their knowledge! Drain every bit of information from them. I have developed a strong relationship with the staff at two of my local retailers, and sometimes they know things that aren’t in books that they have picked up in conversation with other hobbyists. Remember, Staff can be a mine of information. My father kept Cichlids before he got married and so he already had some experience that he passed on to me when we started up our first of four tanks. Before we even thought about buying a tank, we got a book. This has been a real lifesaver at times as well as helping us successfully breed several species of tropical fish. The book is BAENSCH AQUARIUM ATLAS. You should get a good encyclopaedia without question. Whether you get this one or another is up to you, but this is my recommendation. When you have had a flick through the book, and decided roughly what sort of fish (e.g. tropical or marine), you can think about where you are going to put the tank. You will usually be advised to keep the tank out of the sun. This is sound advice, but if you plan on keeping suckermouth fish, it is an advantage to catch a little sun either early in the morning, o
r in the evening. This encourages a little algae growth for the fish to eat. You must ensure that you avoid the midday sun, as this may over heat your tank. Whatever you do, even if you ignore the rest of this opinion, DO NOT GET A TANK SMALLER THAN 2ft X 1ft X 1ft. Apart from being cruel to the fish, toxin levels fluctuate much more as there is less water to dilute them and temperatures rise and fall much faster. Both of these factors often lead to the fish regularly becoming diseased. Even if they don’t get ill, fish kept in smaller tanks tend to have a shorter life span than those in a larger tank do. For an average community tank, a 3ft X 1ft X 18 inches tall is fine. Obviously, for stable conditions, get the largest tank possible. Just ensure beforehand that the place you plan to position it in can take the weight. The encyclopaedia has a detailed description on how to work out weight. Depending on your knowledge of fish keeping, there are two ways of buying your equipment. If you are a complete beginner, you can buy a complete set-up, with all the things you need to get going. Most shops will offer to come and help you set it up for a small fee. If you have a little previous knowledge, you can save yourself some money by buying a magazine like “Practical Fishkeeping” and buy the tank and equipment from various mail order outlets. I find that Aquacadabra have quite competitive prices. So, what equipment do you need? The basic items to get you up and running are: A tank, an under gravel filter plate which links to: - A powerhead, this is a water pump that draws water down through the gravel and through an uplift pipe to re-circulate the water. My recollection of the exact maths is rusty after all these years, but I think that the pump has to be able to process the volume of the tank three times an hour. Any more and the tank will be like a whirlpool, and any less, the muck being sucked into the gravel will st
art floating back out. <br> While I am at this point, I will describe the under gravel system of filtration. This works via a water pump that circulates the water by drawing it through the gravel. This process sucks the mess into the gravel where bacteria break it down (a pump that is too powerful will also kill this friendly bacteria and plant root systems). When set up correctly, this is an efficient method of filtration, you just need to use a “Gravel Hoover” attached to your siphon when you do your water change. It is a lot easier to see this in the shop rather than me explain it. It basically sucks the muck off the bottom. The next thing you need is gravel, although you can buy all kinds of multi-coloured gravel to decorate the tank with, I always use standard pea gravel. This gravel has no sharp edges for fish to injure themselves on, and the natural colour tends to make the fish more comfortable. This gravel is preferable when you plan on breeding fish, or if you have catfish that like to explore with their sensitive barbels (whiskers). Catfish are naturally shy and require this gravel so they feel camouflaged. If you have brightly coloured gravel, the catfish will just hide and you will probably never see them. When placing the gravel in the tank (depending on the size, I am quoting for a 3ft tank), you should put between two and three inches deep in the tank. This gives a reasonable depth for plants to root in and catfish can dig around without uncovering the undergravel filter plate. If it gets uncovered, the filtration will decrease in efficiency, as the water will not travel through the gravel. This depth of gravel also ensures the friendly bacteria will have plenty of surface area in the gravel to get established. I will also point out that you will generally need to wash the gravel thoroughly until the water runs clear. This is important because if you don’t, the chances are that you will have cloudy water for mont
hs. The lid is important as it performs a number of functions. Firstly it holds the light tubes. We have live plants in our tanks, so there are two fluorescent tubes to each tank. If you are planning on plastic plants, one tube is quite sufficient. Your local fish shop will advise you on the type of tube you require depending on the type of plants and fish you are thinking of, as well as the depth of tank that it has to penetrate. The lid also keeps dust off of the surface of the water, thus reducing maintenance. Some people think that the lid is just to stop the fish from jumping out. To that, I would say that there ARE a few types of fish that jump, but for the others, if they are attempting to jump out, it is a warning that something is seriously wrong. If you see fish gasping at the surface or trying to jump, you should check the temperature, followed by P.H. and toxin checks in that order. If you are still not sure, get in touch with your local shop, they will usually be able to help out. Some of them even come out to help. A heaterstat is vital for the smooth operation of this mini-ecosystem. Many tropical fish require a temperature of between 24 and 27 degrees C. The heaterstat will maintain the temperature at the optimum level for your set-up. A few words of warning for you, buy a well known brand of heater. With an important piece of equipment like this, a few more pounds buying the best could save hundreds of pounds worth of fish. This I have experienced in one of our disasters. We went to bed one night and when we got up the next morning, a whole tank of fish had been cooked because the heater failed and jammed on. Think hard about it. Another useful gadget that I can recommend is a stick on thermometer. This provides an easy means of checking the temperature in the tank, and if you spend a little extra, you can get one with an alarm that you can set to sound when the temperature goes too high or low (I wish I had got one of them sooner)
. You can also get a large variety of stands and cabinets to put the tank on. I will not go into this as most of the time, it is just a matter of personal choice. You can choose between a metal stand that you can put one or two tanks on, or you can use a cabinet that the tank goes on with storage space for equipment and food. Lets move on a step now, Your tank is built , on it’s stand, and you have put the equipment in position. You are now ready to fill the tank with water. Chlorine is used to treat tap water to make it safe for human consumption. Unfortunately, this chemical is fatal for fish. To remove chlorine and any other contaminants (like copper from the pipes), I personally use a product called “Aquasafe”. There are clear instructions on the bottle and the cap is also a measure to ensure the correct amount is used. Now you have removed the chemicals from the water and put it in the tank, you should turn the powerhead on to start the operation of the undergravel filter system. You can also buy a product called “Cycle” from most aquatic retailers that you can add to the water at this stage. As there are no fish yet, this product provides the nutrients that the fish normally provide so that the bacteria can become established in the gravel. You can also switch on the heater now and check that it is heating the water to the correct temperature. DO NOT! And I repeat DO NOT remove the heater from the water while it is switched on. It is a submersion heater and if it is removed from the water while operating, it could be damaged. At the start you can position the heater so it is easily accessible to adjust. When the temperature is steady at the preferred level, you can reposition the heater in the desired location. I prefer to put the heater relatively close to the powerhead, this means that the warm water is moved around the tank and prevents hot and cold spots. If the tank is more than 3ft long, you should use two
heaters. This reduces load on the heaters and maintains a steadier temperature. You now leave the tank to mature and establish an ecosystem of it’s own. You would normally leave it for a month, but if you use Cycle, the tank should be ready within three weeks. As always, if you have any concerns of the tank’s readiness, speak to your retailer for advice. The reason you have to leave the tank to mature is that while the ecosystem is establishing itself, the toxin and P.H. levels will fluctuate wildly. Fish are sensitive creatures, and variations in either of these things can cause disease or prove fatal in a bad case. Let us skip two weeks. We are about a week away from introducing the first few fish. It is at this stage that I plant the tank. Use your retailers advice on what type of plants thrive in your local water conditions and will make the fish you are thinking of feel most at home. The advantage of having plants in your tank is that they will help to add oxygen to the water. As you will find out from your retailer, supplying oxygen to the tank is quite a complex equation. It is related to the surface area of the tank, how much water the pump can move an hour, and the number of fish that you want to keep. Your retailer will have set-up hundreds of tanks over the years and will be able to guide you through all this in simple terms. You can plant plastic plants if you so wish, but ONLY BUY plants from your aquatic retailer. If you buy plastic plants from any other place, they may well be toxic to fish. Please adhere to this advice as many people put pretty plastic flowers in the tank one-day and find all the fish dead the next. This is what happened to my father’s Cichlids. He went on holiday for a week, and the person who said that she would look after them thought she would put a colourful plastic flower in to brighten it up, the fish were dead the next day. Please only buy plastic plants from a reputable aquatic de
aler. Also stress to your children (if you have any) that it is very dangerous to put toys in the tank. The reason that the fish die is that in the wild, the river can wash the toxins away, in the fish tank, the toxins become concentrated to fatal levels. OK, we have arrived at the stage where the first fish goes in. The first thing you need to do is think of the fragile ecosystem that has been nurtured for something like a month. When the first few fish go in, they start producing waste, as nature dictates. The bacteria will handle this increased level of pollution over time. If you were to put a large number of fish in the tank in one go, the bacteria would be overwhelmed by the pollution and the tank would quickly become fatally contaminated. My advice would be to add three fish at a time giving a week or two between additions to allow the ecosystem to stabilise before adding more. Always start with the cheapest fish on your list to minimise any losses. Sometimes it is worth asking your dealer to sell you some cheap fish such as Platties that will establish the tank further. Then, when you are ready to add your first choice fish, the dealer will buy back the Platties by giving you a discount on the fish you are buying. Don’t expect this service from most dealers, but the exceptional ones will do anything to help you get into the hobby successfully. From this stage on, it is up to you and your retailer. So many things can happen that it would be impossible to include them all in this opinion. Hopefully, this opinion will help you in some small way and get you started in a hobby that will give you many years of enjoyment. I will now note again the two publications that I have found MOST useful. There are many other sources of information out there, but these are my particular favourites. The “BAENSCH AQUARIUM ATLAS”, and the magazine “PRACTICAL FISHKEEPING”. Please feel free to print this opinion for
your own records and if you think it is useful, tell your friends to join Dooyoo and have a look themselves. By the way, working from these very basic guidelines, we have successfully bred: Guppies, platties, corydoras catfish, Farlowella suckermouth catfish and Kribensis cichlids. Due to the relatively hard water in my area, I have failed to breed several types of Gourami. UPDATE: 14th August 2001 There are a couple of things that I forgot to mention in the opinion that can be quite important. Firstly, you should never put sea shells and stones into the tank as decoration. This is because there is a large risk of introducing toxins and chemicals to the water. These items absorb toxins while in the sea which are released in the warmer water in the fish tank. Shells can also be home to small creatures that can harm your fish. They could have anything from parasites to crabs in them. The other point that I forgot to mention is a very important one. It is that you should ALWAYS read all instructions on food and equipment! It is there to help you make the most of the item in the safest way. I forgot to mention this before as I read the instructions to everything without having to think to do it. I have found that some people don't always do this. I will also add a big thank you to all those who nominated this opinion. I am well chuffed to have got my first crown. Thanks!!!
So your thinking about setting up an aquarium but dont know where to really start? Thats what i was like a few years ago. It seemed like there was so much to learn and it would be impossible to set up a sucessful aquarium. I am writing this for all of you out there who have no knowledge on the subject and need advice. The fist thing you have to decide is what type of aquarium you want. The three choices are coldwater, tropical or marine. I have had aquariums concerning the first two, but never a marine aquarium. Therefore i shall only write from experience. Coldwater The coldwater tank is the easist to set up and maintain. For this you will need your tank, a filter, a light, plastic plants, gravel and some other ornaments. A filter takes out the muck that fish create and also puts oxygen into the water. An air pump can be brought to put extra air into the water, although this is not necessary with a filter and should only really be brought once you are familar with you tank. Plasic plants are used for various reasons. the first being that real plants dont take too well to cold water. Indeed i have tried and they always end up dying polluting the water. Once you have set up your tank it is time to add the water. Once this has been done you will need to apply some de-chlorine into the tank to take out the chlorine that is present within tap water. A product such as "Safe Guard" will do this. After the tank is set up, it is best to leave it a few days before you add any fish. This is to let the aquarium become established. Also only add a few fish at a time. Tropical The tropical tank takes more effort to set up and maintain but is worth it. When designing the layout of the aquarium you need to take into consideration the needs of the fish you are going to buy. For example create plenty of caves for timid or nocturnal fish to hide in. Also real plants should be used here as they provide food and extra oxygen. Also the
y are cheaper than plastic plants. A heater will need to be purchased for your tropical tank, and your local pet shop will tell you the one needed for the size tank you have. When selecting fish you need to take into account that some will not get along. Always ask for community fish. Thats it. Of course you will need to read further on the subject, but this gives a basic guide. Good luck.
If you've never kept any fish before, then I guess you might think that they are "boring" or along the lines of "they dont do anything" and I guess if you were comparing them to horses then you'd be right! After all, goldfish only have a 3 second memory - so what did you expect?! However, having said all that im still a fan of keeping fish. (However im also a great fan of horses....and one day, yes that is ONE day, I *WILL* have my own horse!) The first thing you must do is decide what type of fish you would like to keep. Either coldwater varieties, tropicals or marine varieties. Ive currently only got a small tank with goldfish, but I dont have much time to look after any other animals (along with my gerbils, cat, looking after some horses, studying for A-levels!) However we did used to keep tropical fish (well my dad did, and I just "helped"!) If you're after some gorgeous fish, then Id definitely go for marine fish, some of them are stunning to look at. Look lovely in a large tank, marine lighting, anenomies, the lot! However id not recommend these for beginners. If you're after something a little more spectacular than goldfish (not that im knocking goldfish!) then go for tropicals. They require a little extra maintenance than goldfish, but a lot of the tropicals are suitable for beginners. After you've decided which you would like to keep then next on the list is to buy a book (or preferably a few books) about your chosen variety! Then, after actually reading the book comes the really fun bit!! The trip to the local pet shop or aquarist's! First on your shopping list should be the tank. ~ Tank ~ The first thing that will become apparant will be the enormous choice in sizes. They range from bowls to gigantic swimming pool sized things! Also there are a number of differently shaped tanks on offer now including the
traditional square ones and rectangular ones, we also now have hexagonal ones, octagonal ones, pyramid shaped ones, one's that are hexagonal shaped yet are effectively "on their side" so are about 4 foot tall off the ground....to name but a few! Generally for beginners Id say stick to the more traditional shapes. The third thing you will notice would be whether to purchase a glass or a pastic one. Generally id recommend glass one's, this is purely cosmetical reasons really. I simply prefer glass ones. Also though the problem with plastic one's is the fact that they *do* scratch. No matter how much you think that it wont - it WILL! Generally though its only the smaller tanks that are plastic, along with many of the hexagonal shaped ones. The only plastic one's I do think are worth mentioning would be the one's that are tinted in either blue or green (from what ive seen), they are hexagonally shaped, but with a further tank next to it, again hexagonally shaped, with a little tube running between them. I think they do look very effective, particularly with lights installed. ~ Stand ~ This isnt necessarily going to be on your shopping list, it wasnt on mine! However if you are opting for the "swimming pool" sized things, then maybe a stand of some description should be bought. One thing you should remember is that once filled with water it WILL weigh a lot. Obvious you may be thinking, but its surprising how many people forget this simple fact and then wonder why their best cabinet has bent in the centre after they purchased thier 4' x 2' x 2' glass aquarium! ~ Hood for the tank ~ This should be on your "got to buy" list. It may not seem essential, however I suppose you'll never have had fish leaping out of the tank at feeding time before?! They DO do that!! Also you should think about the amount of e
vaporation that will occur, particularly with tropical or marine varieties - where the water is heated anyway. So you've now got the tank, the stand if you need it, and the books/manuals....now for the even more fun bit!! ~ Filtration ~ You have a few options here: ~Chemical~ The media that is in the filter removes dissolved waste materials that are found in the tank, e.g. fish waste, old food. The most common form of Chemical filtration is the use of activated carbon. This can also remove Nitrates, Phosphates, Ammonia and other similar chemicals that can be found in the tanks' water. The carbon reacts with the chemicals, and binds them to its surface (or something similar, you can tell im doing A-level chemistry!) ~Mechanical~ This basically is the physical removering of suspended particles of waste, excess food, plant matter, infact any little bit of dirt in the tank. Generally a mechical filter involves some form of material that allows the water molecules to pass though, but not any other larger clumps of stuff. Only problem with this type is the fact that: (a) its not very pleasant to clean out (b) things can go wrong with it. However, within the mechnical filter section, you have further sub-categories. For example, you can buy the variety that are simply hung from the side of the aquarium - either inside or out, or you can buy an under-gravel filter (which is the type I have). The under-gravel one's actually use the gravel itself as the filtering material, and are ideal for smaller aquariums because: (a) you dont have a filter inside the tank taking up vital swimming space! (b) dont need cleaning that regularly (c) cheaper (generally) (d) more cosmetic to look at - after all, you cant see it!! ~Biological~ This uses the process in which beneficial bacteria convert organic's that have b
een broken down into the toxic elements of Ammonia & Nitrite into less harmful compound Nitrate. (Doing A-level biology too!) :P One disadvantage of this is the fact that it doesnt occur rapidly, can take a fair few weeks to become established properly. One of the filtration methods is essential to your aquarium. It should definitely be on your "must buy" list. Apart from the fact its more hygienic, and generally nicer for your fish, it will benefit you too - as without filtration of any kind you would need to clean the tank out on a much more regular occurance. ~ Pump ~ A mechanical filter can only work efficiently with a pump. Within my tank, the air bubbles are placed inside a plastic tube (which came inclusive with the filter), the bubbles then filter the water, down, passing through the gravel (hence filtering any yucky bits out), then up through the tube, where a constant trickling of water and bubbles aireate the surface of the water. ~ Lighting ~ This isnt absolutely essential, however once you've had a tank with lighting you'll never go back. You simply cannot beat it at night! If you are planning on keeping live plants in your tank, then you really really should buy lighting, after all, a plant cannot live without light! As there are plants in the tank you will need high quality light for them to photosynethesise effectively, all in all oxygenating the tank and making the whole tank look lovely. If you are going to opt for a marine aquarium then I would seriously recommend the purchase of a special light designed for this. Some of the lights on offer are designed to mimic "moon lighting" and the likes, which really benefit marine aquariums. These "moon lighting" varieties give the whole tank a sort of blue shimmery effect - they look beautiful, but only really with marine aquariums. ~ Heating ~ Heating is obviously only
essential for tropical and marine aquariums. Goldfish require a water temperature of, ideally, 18 degrees C. So no heating is needed. There are, like with filters, many different varieties on off, including "rod heaters" These normally stick to the glass using suckers to heat as much of the water as possible - for this reason they normally are attached at an angle. Other heaters are simply attached any old how to the glass basically. One useful piece of equipment to buy would be a thermometer, quite simply, so you can keep an eye on the temperature! ~ Gravel ~ As with most aquarium supplies, there is a huge variety in what could be thought of as "gravel is gravel...right?" - well you'd be wrong! There are different sized pieces, different coloured stuff, glow in the dark varieties! to name but a few!! Generally for all tanks Id advice on the natural variety, I simply am not a fan of coloured stuff! Apart from in bowls maybe. One thing to remember though - make sure you buy the gravel from a fish shop, as the gravel has to be calcium free....so dont go nicking any from a gargen or something! Make sure the gravel is washed throughly before placing in the tank - if you dont wash it you will end up with a cloudy dirty tank before you even get an fish in the tank! (PS dont use any soap!!) I have my gravel to about 4cm depth, if the tank were larger, then Id have it deeper. ~ Wood/rocks ~ You simply have to have something in your aquarium, whether it be wood or a rock, or both. Some pieces you can buy look lovely, whereas some dont!! However do buy them - particularly wood. After all you simply dont know what has been on the wood, chemicals and the likes. ~ Plants ~ Again, here there is a huge choice. Either live or artificial, I currently have artificial, although I prefer live, like I said, if I were to get a larger tank then I would go for l
ive varieties. Personally I dont think you can beat them! However some fish are known to be a little distructive on your plants! After setting up the tank you can add the water, then turn on the filtering systems, then leave for at least 48 hours. Preferably longer. This will allow the plants (should they be live) to settle down, the filtering system to start working, and the water to settle. Also you should add de-cholrinators to the water. ~ Other pieces of useful clutter! ~ ~Fish net~ Generally I bought one and havnt really needed to use it much! When im giving the tank a 100% clean out I prefer to scoop my goldfish out in a jug - then they are not out of the water at all. However this is not essential! ~Glass cleaner~ You can get magnetic varieties or sponges to clean the inside of the glass. Ive never used a magnetic one - so cant comment on how good they are! Personally a bit of elbow grease and a sponge do a good enough job! ~Bucket and hose pipe~ I use a plastic bucket and a hose pipe as a cleaning mechanism. As long as you place the bucket below the tank, then let gravity do all the work (you can tell im doing A-level physics too!) :P It saves scooping the water out bit by bit, much quicker. One solumn piece of advice though - DO make absolutely 100% SURE that either: (a) the hose pipe has some form of mesh filter on the end in the tank - because: (i) gravel doesnt get wedged in (very annoying!) (ii) fish dont, well shall we say - get in the way!! I have to admit, this happened to me....once! Ive made sure since that my fish are OUT of the tank before carrying this task out! In a way I did the fish a favour - it was honestly ill. However I really didnt intend on it! Ive felt guilty ever since! I mean I dont even kill house flies - or spiders - and I HATE spiders!! As well as the fact that this method gets rid of all the water (into the bucket by the w
ay!) it also acts as a gravel cleaner - effectively like a Noo Noo, and for all non-Teletubbies' watchers - thats a vacuum cleaner!! ~ Where to put the tank ~ One vital piece of advice - often forgotten - dont forget the plug sockets!! Position the tank wisely! Position out of direct sunlight - that will: (a) heat up the water (b) encourage algae growth Now, onto the fish! [hooray!] Make sure you know what the surface area of the tank is, then, after reading the books, you should know the minium area required for each of the fish. That is one major fault I have with the tall tanks out their on the market - they may look nice, but with 20 fish in the tank, with only say, 30cm square surface area - thats not much oxygen to go around! Last but by no means least.... Sit down and enjoy!!
Ok so you want to set up an aquarium after seeing how beautifully relaxing they are to watch drifting around their environment? Well first off you need to decide what kind of fish you want in your tank - goldfish, tropical fish or marine fish. If you want something a little more exciting than the humble goldfish then I would suggest starting off with Tropical fish, they come in all shapes, sizes and colours - many of which are virtually indestructable for beginners. ~~~TANK~~~ Having decided the type of fish you wish to keep (in my case tropicals) you need to decided how big a tank you want to keep, and where you want to put it. There are a number of different shaped tanks on the market now square ones, rectangular one, hexagonal ones, octagonal ones, pyramids etc in fact almost any shape you wish to think of. I would reccomend a rectangular one to start with, I began with a 3ft high octagonal one that was a nightmare - so be warned. In addition to the shape and size, decided what you want the tank to be made of. There are glass ones - more common and pretty inexpensive, especially if you buy second hand. There are also acrylic ones, which are fashioined into all shapes from one piece of material making it stronger. However they do tend to scratch more easily and are more expensive to buy. ~~~STAND~~~ Once you have your tank, you will also need a stand or cabinet on which to set your tank, generally it is best to get a stand or cabinet that is designed to hold a fishtank - dont forget the glass tank itself is heavy, when water is heavy it will be a whole lot heavier. Water weighs about 8lbs per gallon, so in a full tank that is a LOT. You dont want your favourite table collapsing under the weight so think on. ~~~POSTION OF TANK~~~ If you are having a huge tank say 6ft, is it feasable to have it in your bedroom? As I said water plus tank and assessories is very very heavy - will you floorboards take it?? Ok s
o that is an extreme case, but postioning the tank is very important. You dont want it near a window, as in bright sunlight algae will thrive and you will end up with a green tank. Don't have it near a draughty doorway as temperature control will be a nightmare. Also make sure that the floor is even, an uneven floor will lead to stress cracks over time, and you know what that means.......yep gallons of water all over your floors. You will also need at least 3 plug sockets if not 4 within easy distance of your tank, an extension underneath the tank is NOT a good idea, remember all the water?? The tank will need to be easily accessible too, for cleaning, feeding and setting up purposes. Those ones set up in the walls may look nice but I wouldnt fancy doing a water change or catching the fish! This also leads me to say, make sure your home and your fishtank are covered for damage on your insurance. ~~~HOOD/TOP FOR THE TANK~~~ As well as serving the purpose to house your lighting, air pump and any other acessories the hood reduces evaporation from your tank, and stops the fish jumping out, it also makes your tank look finsished. All the above equipment is 'essential' should you want to keep fish in any resonable sized tank - if buying new then it will cost a great deal - however it is worth checking out papers such as 'the admag' and 'loot' for complete set ups, as you can usually get the lot with extras for around £100. Now you have got the tank, stand and hood set up and in position, you can think about the other 'necessities' for keeping tropical fish: ~~~FILTRATION~~~ Mechanical This in a nutshell is removing suspended particles of waste, excess food, plant matter and general dirt from the aquarium. Most filters use some sort of mechanical filtration through filter floss, pads or sponges that trap the waste as water passes through it. Sounds nice hey? Chemical This is done by the use of various media or resins placed in the filter. This media removes dissolved waste materials such as fish waste, that can cause odors and discoloration of the water. Chemical media placed inside the filter can also remove Phosphates, Nitrates, Ammonia and many other toxins. The most common form of Chemical filtration is the use of activated carbon. Biological The process in which beneficial bacteria convert organics that have been broken down into the toxic elements of Ammonia and Nitrite into the less harmful compound Nitrate. This however does not happen over night and usually takes between four to six weeks to be established. Filtration is an essential part of keeping the tank healthy and clean, as you and I go to the toilet so do fish, not to mentuion debris from plants and uneaten food. This waste has to be removed or broken down into non hazzardous products by the above methods. WIthout filtration the tank will soon become cloudy and the fish will soon suffer - can you imagine living in your own waste? ~~~LIGHTING~~~ Fish need light, as do the plants in your tank, the queswtion is what type of lighting to use. As there are plants in the tank you will need high quality light for the to photosynethesize. Metal Halide systems provide the best lighting for aquarium plants. These lights provide intense high quality light without the need for multiple tubes. Metal Halide systems are very costly and are out of the reach of most beginner hobbyist, again look out for set ups in the papers, as you will generally get everything you need for that tank. ~~~HEATING THE TANK~~~ Tropical fish are just that, they live in warm water - to mimic this environment you need to heat the water. I use a rod heater, which sticks using suckers to the wall of the tank at an angle to heat as area of water as possible. Be very careful though and make sure the
heater is for underwater use. Once set up I check the temperature of the water once a day and the heater once a month. It is always best to have 2 heaters I have found, just in case one breaks down. These are not too expensive at around the £10 mark. ~~~THERMOMETER~~~ You should always have at least one thermometer in your tank, I have 2, one on the side of the tank - a strip type one. Another I have is a mercury type one that floats in the tank. This should be checked once a day. ~~~OTHER EQUIPMENT~~~ Other equipment you will need when keeping fish as a hobby are: Glass cleaner - magnetic or sponge to clean the inside of the glass. Plastic buckets - for use only for fish purposes 2 or 3 good sized ones should do it. Gravel cleaner - invaluable piece of kit! Has dual use, 'hoovering' the muck from the gravel, and making water change time easier. Very inexpensive at around £5. Net - you will need one! Now you have all the essentials for keeping your fish in, how about something nice for them to swim around and ruffle through? ~~~GRAVEL AND SAND~~~ Most fish tanks you will see have gravel on the bottom, sizes and shapes vary from bright pink to more natural pebble like gravel to mulitcoloured 'clown vomit' gravel. My personal choice is natural pebble, I feel it shows the fish off better and looks more like a natural environment. Make sure you buy the gravel from a fish shop, as the gravel has to be calcium free (this raises the ph of your tank). Make sure the gravel is washed throughly before placing in the tank - if you dont wash it you will end up with a cloudy dirty tank before you even get the fish in there. Once washed you can place in the tank. Make it a depth of at least 3 inches. Don't worry to much about sculpting the gravel as the fish will do that themselves once they are in there! You can also buy large rocks or pebbles t
o decorate your tank, if building terraces out of slate, may I suggest you use a silicon sealant to secure them together before placing in the tank. NOthing worse than a cracked tank due to structures falling over, or squashed fish! ~~~DRIFTWOOD/BOGWOOD~~~ Driftwood looks lovely but takes time to settle in your tank. It must be clean and able to sink and stay in the bottom of your tank. Synthetic versions are available now, which look just as good, with little preparation and no water discolouration. ~~~PLANTS~~~ There are a wide array of plants for tanks on the market. Ask in your local fish shop what they suggest for the water conditions and the type of fish you keep. Make sure you wash the plants well prior to putting them in your tank, as they may well contain snails - which breed like one O. Well if you are with me thus far you must still be really keen to set up a tank - well done you! Now you have planted your tank, installed you heater, filter, pump, gravel, plants and water and set it running - you are almost ready for that exciting trip to the fish shop!! I say almost - it is advisable to let your tank settle for at LEAST 48 hours prior to getting fish. Phone the shop you are getting fish from and find out what temperature they keep their fish asn set your tank the same. DONT go mad at the fish shop, find out about the fish first, dont go buying a fish that needs a specific ph that is different to the tank you have - if you dont want to go to the expense of buying a ph testing kit, most shops will test it for you. DONT buy loads of fish at one go - any fish shop worth their salt (s'cuse the pun) will not sell a job lot of fish into a new set up. DO check out ALL the tank thouroughly - dont buy from a tank that has dead fish in it, or has diseased fish - a common easy to spot one is 'white spot' or 'ick'. Make sure you buy community fish, if you wan
t an assortment of fish, most shops have this clearly displayed. The best fish I think for beginners are Guppies, attractively coloured and cheap to buy, with the advantage of hardiness. Once you have your fish bagged and ready to go - go home straight away. Once home, switch of the lights in the tank, and sit the bag in the water. This helps the water in the bag and the fish 'acclimatise' to the water in the tank. To much difference may shock the fish and kill them. Leave the bag for an hour or longer if you can then net the fish out of the bag into your tank. The reason for this being the water from the fish shop 'may' be contaiminaed with a disease. Hopefully it wont, but netting the fish into the tank will ensure you don't pass the disease into your tank. SIT DOWN AND WATCH YOUR FISH SWIM. Don't be disheartend if they hide, it is a strange environment to them, they will soon get braver. Leave the lights off and leave them alone to get used to things. You can add more fish - never more than 4 at a time about 10 days later. Do make sure you dont overstock your tank, remember fish grow!!
Well most have started with a goldfish in a bowl and then decided to progress to a tank. The main difference between a goldfish and tropical tank is a heater, thermostaticaly controlled. Well lets start.You will need a glass tank,the biggest your pocket and ROOM can take,filtration,lighting and heating(heater.thermostat)THERMOMETER.condensation trays.hood Wipe the glass tank and place it on your stand/table making sure you place polistyrene underneath the tank. If you have chosen undergravel filtration place the plates on the bottom of the tank. Cover with pre washed gravel to a depth of about 3 inches.HIGHER TO THE BACK SLOPING DOWN LOWER TO THE FRONT. With internal power filters place them in the chosen corner on the same amount of gravel. Place the heater in the oposite corner to the filter.DO NOT CONNECT ANY ELECTRICALS TILL THE TANK IS FULL OF WATER. Fill the tank with cold water and connect the filtration.After A further 30min connect the heater and check to see if a little light comes on in it.This tells you the h/stat is heating the tank water. Make sure you have condensation trays covering the top of the glass tank. The lights will be fitted in the hood with the light unit placed somewhere secure at the back or on top of the tank. Leave the tank for a few days and it should come to a temperature of about 75f and if the filter works correctly the water will look clear. You can now add a few fish.Tell your local shop that these are your first fish and they should advise you of the correct ones to try first. FINAL TIPS You have your fish,be mean with the food. More fish are killed with kindness than neglect. After 2/3 weeks change part,not all of the water.20% should be ok.Make sure you use a good DECHLINATOR for the new water you are adding. LASTLY NEVER BUY A LOAD OF NEW FISH AT ANY ONE TIME. BUY A FEW AT A TIME AND ALWAYS WATCH YOUR NEW FISH CLOSELY FOR A FEW DAYS. GOOD FISHKEE
Ever walked into a pet store that sold both marine and fresh water fish? Ever noticed how much more colourful the marine fish seem? Most people I have spoken to have , but they all seem to be put off by the fact that marine fish are supposedly much harder to keep. Nonsense, provided you are willing to spend a little more time preparing things and have a little patience its really easy, although it has to be said a little bit more expensive than keeping freshwater fish. So what do you need to start ? Tank/Hood/Stand A Heater A protein skimmer A hydrometer (to make sure the salts at the right lvel) A cannister filter/internal filter/ whichever one you fancy Enough mixing salt to fill your tank with salt water Coral gravel/sand A test kit (Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate) A few rocks So where do you start? Well a tank would probably be a good place, and the smallest I'd recommend would be a 36"x15"x12" tank. Basically , the bigger the tank, the more stable the water conditions , the happier your fish will be. The hood , light and stand I leave to you, but dont get too many lights as this can cause unsightly slime algae to grow, a small natural light tube will give you all the light you should need. Next we need to think about filtration. Personally I like to use external canister filters , they dont take up any room inside the tank and they're pretty easy to clean , but the choice is yours, you could also use undergravel filters, trickle filters its really up you , but if your only looking to keep fish and a few inverts a canister filter will more than cover your needs. Next you need to wash out your coral gravel/sand and place it in the bottom of the tank. Make sure you wash it throughly or else you'll end up with a cloudy tank. Right now start mixing the salt up in a container. Follow the direction on the side o
f the box, which should tell you how much salt to add per galleon/litre of water. Once you've got it mixed up place a small saucer in the bottom of the tank and pour the water in on this. Lastly attach your protein skimmer, I'd suggest putting it in one of the corners so its out of the way. This little device , skims off crap from the water by using little air bubbles. The bad stuuf attaches to these bubbles which then bubble up into a collection cup for disposal. Once its filled switch on the filter and hey presto you've got a tank filled with salt water.....but hey wait a second , put that fish down. Marine tanks have to be matured before fish can be added, so what you'll need to do is add a little ammonia ( You can get starter bottles at the fish shop ) and leave the filter to mature. Now this maturation process is to allow bacteria to form inside your filter, these bacteria breakdown the ammonia produced by the fish into nitrite. This bacteria usually takes about 2 weeks to form. Next more bacteria form in the 3/4 week period to breakdown the nitrite into nitrate, which is far less toxic to fish and is kept under control by doing water changes when it gets too high. So using your test kits watch for when the ammonia disappears, at this stage, if you really cant hold on any longer you may add a few Nitrite tolerate fishes, like blue damsels/clown fish, but keep a close eye on them. If they start twitching , do a water change to bring down the nitrite levels a little ( A water change dilutes the toxins , therefore lowering them ) Keep testing the water and once the nitrite has gone down your home free, now with regular (1/2 weeks)water changes of about 10-15% you should have a nice little marine set up , just dont add too many fish too quickly about 1 every 2 weeks should do. As far as fish go , I'd suggest going with a few easy species to start off with , damsels/clownfish and ma
bye a hardy angelfish, and if your looking to add in inverts remember that you will have to keep your nitrate levels really low, but a good one to start with is a pair on cleaner shrimp, which have a symbiotic relationship with all fish, as they pick off and eat dead skin cells from them , its really incredible to watch. Well happy fishkeeping all and I hope this helps