Monday, February 23, 2009

Fish Tank Sand Pros and Cons - Should You Use Sand Or Gravel?

Fish tank gravel is what most people use to cover the floor of their fish tanks. While gravel is a popular choice, there is also aquarium sand available at pet retailers and online fish supply stores. Aquarium sand can give your aquarium a tropical look, but fish tank gravel is economical and easier to use. The best decision for your tank can only be made after you weigh the pros and cons.

Gravel is the easiest fish tank floor covering to use. It comes in many different colors that you can use to customize the look of your tank. You can have everything from neon green and pink to natural looking grey and brown stones.

Gravel is also easier to clean. You can use a gravel vacuum during the cleanup process to suck up small bits of debris and waste. The vacuum will eliminate the tiny pieces while still leaving the gravel intact on the fish tank floor.

On the other hand, gravel shifts a lot more than sand does. If you plan on using live plants in your aquarium design, you may find that they will become disheveled and uprooted over time. It can also display pockets and needs to be smoothed out from time to time.

Aquarium sand is a bit trickier to use. You must turn off the filter on your tank when you first start to use the sand. It is very cloudy to begin with and you have to give it time to settle. You also may need to get an upgraded filter that won't get stuck on the tiny sand particles. Debris shows up much more clearly with sand than it does with gravel.

On the positive side, live plants root well in the sand surface. Sand gives a much more professional look to your tank. It's also an aesthetically pleasing choice if you have a tank with tropical fish.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Marine Tropical Fish - What You Need to Know As a Marine Tropical Fish Pet Owner

Having marine tropical fish in your home or office may be an easier task than you think. A lot of people assume that marine tropical fish are hard to care for. Despite a few basic guidelines and compatibility rules, taking care of tropical fish is no different than freshwater fish. If you want to start your own marine tropical tank, here's what you'll need to know.

Marine tropical fish are popular because of their bold and bright colors. They live in saltwater environments. The fish are normally caught in the wild and require more live food than other types of fish. Their tanks have to be kept between 76 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit to replicate the tropical water environment.

To start, you'll need a tank, sand, a heater, salt mix, a hydrometer, a protein skimmer and a pH kit. You can ask the aquarium specialist at your local pet shop for tips on how to use these components together to take care of your marine tropical fish. There are also many books and websites on the topic, since taking care of tropical fish can have a learning curve.

If you want to make your marine tropical fish tank easy to take care of, you should start with Damselfish and Clownfish. Damselfish come in many different varieties, but the most popular color is blue. Clownfish were the model for the main character in the film "Finding Nemo."

Once you get more comfortable with taking care of marine tropical fish, you can move on to other varieties. Blennies, Gobies, Tangs, Hawkfish, shrimp and crabs are all good choices for the intermediate saltwater aquarium owner. For a challenge, you can care for tanks with Triggerfish, Lionfish, Seahorses, Anemones, Corals, Eels, Groupers and Starfish. Make sure you check with marine tropical fish compatibility charts before adding any new fish to your tank.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fish Tank Cleaning - How to Properly Clean a Freshwater Fish Tank

Cleaning a fish tank is an important part of owning an aquarium. Your fish need a clean environment to live if you want them to stay healthy and happy. Excess food and fish feces build up over time, which eventually turn into harmful ammonia, so it's important to keep your tank clean not only for its appearance, but for the health of your fish.

Getting on a good fish tank cleaning schedule will help you avoid algae build up and make it easier to clean the tank each time that you do. You can do a routine clean up in about a half an hour. Cleaning your tank on a weekly basis is the best way to stay on top of the grime and keep your fish healthy.

Many people mistakenly believe that you have to drain the whole tank and replace the water each time you clean the take. Actually, completely cleaning an aquarium can be harmful to the fish. As the fish live in the tank, good bacteria that cuts down on disease starts to grow in the tank. When a tank is cleaned from top to bottom, you remove these good bacteria, putting your fish in harm's way.

You need to regularly replace 10 to 50 percent of the water that is in the tank on a regular basis. Most people do 25 percent. This way you'll be able to add fresh water without completely removing the good bacteria. If there are algae on the sides of the tank you can use a scrubber but don't remove all of the algae because it is natural to their environment and very healthy for them.

Make sure to check the filter for debris, but don't replace it each time you clean. Good bacteria build up in the filter as well so you'll only want to replace it when you absolutely have to. Just use a clean bucket full of chlorine-free water and rub your hands across the filter several times to get the bulk sludge and slime off, that's it!

When decorative items become stained you can remove them from the tank and soak them in a 10 percent bleach solution for 15 minutes, use a brush and be sure to rinse them thoroughly before replacing them! If you do not rinse them thoroughly you could easily kill all of your fish!

Finally, replace the filter, the decorative items and add new water, remembering to use some type of water treatment solution to remove all chlorine. It's also a good idea to add a little conditioning salt to prevent disease.

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