Saturday, 26 November 2011

Keeping Healthy Aquarium Community

Maintenance plays a large role to ensure that the best living condition is provided for your pet community fish. A routine maintenance schedule is needed so that you don’t forget and things remain in orderly manner without having equipment breakdown. Basically daily temperature and pH checks are necessary so that you fish will not suffer sudden shock that can upset their health condition or make them sick. Apart from that, depending on the type of fish that you are keeping, a weekly 25 – 50% water change is a must-do routine and during this period whatever accumulated debris and waste have to be removed so that this doesn’t cause elevated ammonia and nitrite levels that can disrupt the water chemistry. For the things that need to be conducted monthly, do ensure that the filters are working properly by taking out the media and rinse it properly before putting back. From time to time, sometimes you might find that the aquarium lighting can fail and thus requires you to replace it immediately.

Gravel cleaner will ensure that you do end up sucking the gravel as well
During aquarium maintenance, one of the most basic things that you should always remember is that new top-up water that are to be added to the tank must always match the aquarium condition in terms of pH and temperature. There are quite a number of proprietary treatment chemicals made for aquarium use such as chlorine remover and water conditioner, thus always make it a practice to use it every time you are changing new water. When it comes to stripping down the filter and washing the media, during the whole process, the bacterial growth and population can become disrupted. Although this is perfectly normal, what you are trying to do is to prevent overload of the system that can lead to the condition which can be harmful in long term. Always remember that you should never ever use soap or detergent in the cleaning process because there is a risk of introducing toxic chemicals which can kill your fishes. Usually use of clean water is more that sufficient and bear in mind, it doesn’t have to be 100% squeaky clean because you will still need the beneficial bacteria to remain in the media to repopulate and grow back.

How to properly diagnosis and identify common fish disease is also equally important because if you do not know what you are dealing with, you can never find the right treatment method and solution to combat the illness. Most of the common diseases are caused by bacteria and viruses, usually not life-threatening unless the fish’s immune systems are weakened by the unfavorable and harsh living conditions which go back to the reason why tank maintenance plays an important role to prevent all that. One basic rule of thumb is that prevention is always better than cure and that is the first thing on what we are trying to achieve here. Once a specific disease has been identified, get the appropriate medication which you can easily purchase from aquarium pet stores or if there is any veterinarian, you can also ask for prescription drugs which are more effective than those conventional types. Sometimes dealing with disease is a tricky part. Always remember, never apply the medication going to the whole aquarium and the right approach is to isolate out only the fish that is sick to another separate tank and quickly remove it so that it doesn’t become contagious. Always follow the right dosage indicated by the manufacturer because most of the time, it is not the disease that kills but it is due to the incompetence of the owners who do not follow the proper direction when applying the meds. More is not necessarily better and the frequency and how you apply the medication including also the environment condition during the treatment period like water temperature should also be taken into account.

When it comes to the cleaning part, there are various tools and equipment you can use to make your job easier. A bucket, net and transparent hose are the basic things that you will need. Apart from that, there are other stuffs like for example a gravel cleaner is very useful to suck out the debris accumulating within the gaps without disrupting the roots of the aquatic plants. If you are placing your aquarium too far away from the closest drain point, try to ask the help of a plumber to construct for you an extended drain pipe so that you can channel out the water easily when doing the water change. A magnetic stick-on scrubber is also useful especially when you want to get rid of the algae growing on the sides of the glass or acrylic walls. The scrubber when used properly is meant to prevent accidental scratching that can cause you to lose the aesthetic value of your aquarium. Nowadays modern aquarium setups will also come with built-in self cleaning systems which basically work to change the water automatically based on a preset time period and then having a large container/canister placed on top of the tank that will drip fed to the aquarium below to continuously provide fresh water. Of course this will cost a lot to purchase and it can only be set up by professional aquarium experts but think of the time savings you can achieve especially for those working executives who are too busy to spend time on the maintenance schedule.

Starting a new aquarium from scratch

Observing how your fish behave also comes under the general maintenance. Although it doesn’t require you to move things around, all you will need to do is to sit down and spend some time to watch and check whether there is any abnormality. Sometimes if you notice that the fish is not eating the food that you provide for them, this is the first sign that rings the alarm bell that tells you that something might be wrong. On other instances, sometimes you can also find that you pets will suddenly become inactive. For example, if let’s say you have a goldfish which will just stays idle on one corner instead of happily greeting you and ask for foods every time you move closer to the tank, then something is not right here. There are other abnormal signs like the fish frequently scratching on the gravel surface without stopping, some scars or wounds on the body, reddish patch, swollen belly, white cottony growth are just few of the examples. When the conditions start to show up and appear you should take immediate actions to apply remedy because some diseases if not treated at the early stage, can be fatal when prolonged unattended. My advice is, when you first notice this, quickly make an effort to find out what went wrong by either searching for the information in a book, ask fellow aquarists or by simply typing the search query in the internet. Finally, learning by experience is always the best tool towards having a successful and well maintained community aquarium.

Other aspects of pet fish keeping: Understanding fish breeding techniques

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