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Bare bones aquarium keeping

By Matt Williamson
Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Keeping an aquarium is a fun and enjoyable hobby for the entire family!
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Setting up your aquarium properly - the first time

Choosing your aquarium set-up is very important. You can purchase the right marine aquarium supplies online at Big Al's Online. The first rule of thumb: a tank will weigh approximately 10 lbs per gallon. A proper aquarium stand is essential for all but the smallest tanks. For larger aquariums (65 gallons plus) you need to test the best location for your set-up and whether floor joists will be necessary. Condo dwellers should check their buildings' regulations for possible size restrictions. Purchasing the right marine aquarium supplies can be done completely online.

The following aquarium care considerations are important.

-Allow a new tank to run 24-48 hours before adding any fish. -Maximum capacity is roughly 1 inch of fish per gallon. Never add more than a ¼ of this load in a 2-3 week period.

-A new aquarium will take 4-6 weeks to fully stabilize. For a freshwater tank avoid delicate species (i.e. Angels, Neons, Cardinal and Rummy Nose Tetras, most bottom feeders and algae eaters) during this breaking-in period. Recommended starter fish are Danios, Barbs, Mollies, Swords, Platties and many Tetras (other than the above species). For a saltwater tank, "cycle" with either uncured Live Rock or Damselfish and do not add more livestock until the tank has stabilized (determined by water testing).-

Regular maintenance is critical to being a successful aquarist. Regardless of your filter system, chemical waste build up must be diluted by regular partial water changes, using a Gravel Cleaner to vacuum the bottom. For freshwater tanks you should replace 1/3rd to ½ of the water every 2-3 weeks or a ¼- 1/3 weekly. Slightly lower ratios of water can be replaced for marine tanks. Water lost by evaporation is not a water change. Replacement water should be the same temperature or slightly warmer (never cooler) and always treat new water with a conditioner beforehand.

-Since every aquarium is different, the use of a Nitrate (NO3) test kit is advised to ensure your maintenance schedule is right for your tank.

-Do not skimp on filtration. This is your fishes' life support system. Most Manufacturers ratings for a filter capability should be scaled down by approximately 1/3rd.

-Chemical filter media (carbon, ammonia resin, etc) should be replaced every 2 weeks. Reusable media (sponge) should be rinsed in water from the tank as required, never in chlorinated tap water. Try to avoid changing or cleaning more than 1 section of your of your filter media within a week so as not to disturb the beneficial bacteria living there. -Aquarium and Reef Aquarium Lighting is also an important consideration and can make the difference between success and failure with live plants. Reef aquarium lighting is absolutely crucial. Most coral species will die without proper spectrum and intensity light.

-Do not overfeed your fish. Feed once or twice a day, ensuring all food is being consumed within a minute or two. Scoop out any uneaten food.

-Educate yourself. Good information is available for free online at BigAl's.

Fish keeping is equal parts science and learned experience. When differing opinions are presented, let common sense prevail! Happy Fish keeping you're your friends at BigAl's Online.

Remember: BigAl's offers all Marine hobbyists or beginners to the tropical fish hobby all solutions for aquarium care, beginning with picking and choosing the right marine aquarium supplies including the correct aquarium lighting or reef aquarium lighting. An aquarium hood and the correct size and choice of aquarium stands is important too.

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