November 29, 2013

Aquariums for Christmas

It’s Christmas time again and lots of us are thinking of dusting out and setting up that aquarium tank that was in an obscure corner of the house since last Christmas time. Or, we may be contemplating buying an aquarium to enhance our living rooms for the festive season.{{more}}

Well, you certainly are not the only one, as over the last weekend, I did exactly the same thing with mine at home, and now, I proudly sit and watch the fishes swimming purposefully in a beautifully decorated aquarium, with lights and all of the trimmings.

But wait; for those of you who do not have experience in setting up aquariums, there are some simple steps that you should take to ensure that your fishes live a long and healthy life.

1. Ensure that the size of the filter used is adequate for the size of the aquarium. All custom-made aquariums have instructions as to the amount of water they could hold, for example, 30 gal , 20 gal, 10 gal or 5 gal aquariums. The instructions on most filters will guide you as to the recommended size of aquarium tanks in which they could be used effectively.

Aquarium filters come in varying types. If you don’t have a preference, ask the pet shop attendant to recommend one for you.

2. Do not put fishes in untreated water directly from the tap. Normal tap water contains chlorine used in the water purification. This will kill your fishes. If you want to use this water, you first should de-chlorinate it, using chlorine remover. This is a chemical that you put into the water to remove the chlorine.

Alternately, you could fill the aquarium with tap water and let it rest for 24 hours, so that the chlorine could evaporate, and then introduce the fishes.

3. Avoid exposure of the aquarium to direct sunlight, as this will facilitate the growth of algae in the tank. The only effective method of combating this problem is by removing the tank to a shaded area. If this is not possible, an ultraviolet light should be used to kill the algae. Algae destroyer medications are not very effective.

4. The filters should be cleaned at regular intervals, depending on the type of filter you are using.

5. Very importantly, do not spray insecticidal sprays such as Baygon, Bop etc in the vicinity of the tank, as this will kill the fishes.

6. Only stock fishes that are compatible with each other. For example, Oscars and other cichlids should not be mixed with other species of fishes. Male fighters should not be kept together in the same tank, as they will fight; but they may coexist with other peaceful fishes like goldfishes, guppies, mollies etc.

7. The water in the aquarium should be crisp and clear at all times. If it becomes turbid or cloudy, there is a serious problem.

Some of the reasons for cloudy or dirty looking water are:

a. Over feeding: Fishes should not be fed more than they can eat at any time. If three to five minutes after feeding there is still feed floating or at the bottom of the tank, they are being overfed.

b. Sick fishes: Aquarium fishes are very susceptible to diseases like Ick and fungal infections. In my experience with aquariums, I find that whenever fishes become ill, the water in the tank rapidly becomes cloudy. Fungus on fishes appears like cotton wool on the affected part of the body. Fishes with Ick hardly move and are often found at the bottom of the tank. The fish could also lose scales.

c. Over stocking of an aquarium may also result in cloudy or dirty looking water, as the filter may not be able to effectively remove the excretions of the fishes. A 20 gal tank, for example, should not be stocked with more than three to four gold fishes and a few smaller fishes.

d. Adding a scavenger fish or two helps to keep the tank clean.

For further information, contact: Dr Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd. Tel: 456 4981