Sunday, 20 November 2011

Ways to Beautify the Aquarium

Applying the personal touch and creativity towards an underwater landscape can immediately transform a barren-looking tank into a masterpiece. While many perceive the decoration as merely pleasing to the eyes of the onlookers, that is obviously wrong as decorations also provide shelter and place to take refuge for the fishes. There are many ways which you can do to beautify the aquarium and it does simply means adding items to the tank. There are other things like changing the lighting, selecting the type of aquarium glass which has clear transparency, putting up the colorful background, cultivating aquarium plants and many more. Some people decides to create the natural look and setup special theme like the Amazonian jungle, Rift Valley aquarium, Rocky cavern setup and the limit on what you can do is defined by your imagination.

The main consideration when choosing the right decorative item is that it must also meet the requirement of your fishes. The object must not be chemically harmful such as having a paint layer which can peel off over time and it must not leach substances or poison which can alter the water chemistry. Second most important point to remember is that the item should also serve the needs of your pets and to quote an example, it would be pointless to provide heavy foliage of plants for fishes originating from rocky biotopes. Having an aquarium background covering at least the back portion of the tank can help the fish to feel more secure and comfortable as it will reduce the reflection effect caused by shining glasses. Caves made up of rocks and flower pots, become a home for your pets to live in and apart from that, certain fishes also need this type of setup to hide from other fish and divert their attention away from the surrounding environment especially during their mating season.

3 different award-winning aquarium designs
Substrates like sand and gravel also play an important role helping to beautify the aquarium. Depending on preferences, some aquarists like having the fine grainy white sand covering the tank bottom. Others chose larger sized shiny pebbles and the choice on what to put basically is limitless. Substrate is also an important media that serve as the filter material for undergravel filters. Also if you are planning to cultivate live plants, the sandy bed will help the roots of the plants to establish its anchorage and position. Coupled with bogwood and large stones, substrates will create the pleasing looking view of a professionally decorated aquarium. When choosing the type of substrates to add, always remember about the welfare of your fishes because certain species are known to swallow bits and pieces of sand into their stomach out of desperation. One of the most notorious fish displaying this behaviour is goldfish and when it comes to this, the best way is to put only large stones as decorative objects. In marine aquarium setup, addition of coral sand or limestone chips will also act as a pH buffer to prevent extreme fluctuations, so this gives you another good reason to beautify the tank. However, coral sand should not be added to freshwater aquarium as it can alter the water chemistry drastically.

One word of advice, just make sure that the substrate is properly rinsed or else you run the risk of contaminating the water and introduce harmful bacteria that can cause fish disease. When buying the substance also check the coarseness level by grabbing a handful and feel the texture. Best is to choose the type which do not have sharp edges which can cause injury when you fish accidentally touches on the surface of the bed. The worst condition is when your pet is suffering from ich/ick disease causing them to flash and scratch on the tank bottom and thus if the gravel has pointy end, it will aggravate the situation and cause more injury. Certain fish like the kuhli loaches are known to dig and burrow in the sand substrate. Therefore if the sand is too fine or the gravel is too coarse with sharp edges, you might find that they will easily get injured when going about with their normal routine. These considerations should never be ignored and brushed aside and choose the one that you like based on your instinct. Remember it is still your fish’s welfare that comes first. More on how to maintain a healthy and clean aquarium.

When it comes to putting interior décor, obviously you will have a lot to select and choose from. Certain people especially young children love moving objects and thus decides to put plastic made cartoon characters into the tank like mermaids, divers and such. Whatever your choice is, always make sure that these items are chemically inert and the paint does not peel off over time. Bogwood, log, large rocks provide a more natural look compared to the artificial ones. Usually in order for these to become the center of attraction, aquarist would add live plants tied to the surrounding. Depends on how you arrange the rocks, you can actually form a small cave and this is especially useful for those African cichlids which like to hide away from attention. A note of caution however, just make sure that the arrangement is stable or else accidental knocking can actually topple things over and injure your pet fish. One particular set up which is my favorite is using Java fern which you can tie it using threads onto the bogwood surface and wait for the roots to grow and grip on the surface. Once the roots have established its foothold, you can remove by cutting away the threads.

Related topic on fish breeding: Cichlids fish reproduction

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