Getting Creative With Your New Custom Aquarium

When you are ready to have a custom aquarium of your own, it is important to think about what you want for your space and how you want your aquarium to function. With just a small amount of planning, you can easily work with the space you have, and then add some custom flair that will turn your aquarium into the center of attention in the room.

What do you want your custom aquarium to do for you?

When purchasing an aquarium, first think of how you want your aquarium to function in your home.

You may want it as a prominent, impressive visual fixture that you can be proud to invite others to see. Consider placing the aquarium in a main area of your home such as a living room or entry way. If you regularly entertain guests, place the aquarium in the space most used for this purpose.

As a calming visual, you may consider having an aquarium in your bedroom or a quiet reflective space in your home. When going to sleep, having a tranquilly designed aquarium will ease you into slumber.

To be very Zen, consider having Aquatech Aquarium Services custom install a pond or environmental aquarium.

Having an aquarium in your space will be one of the most impressive and relaxing things to look at on a daily basis.

Considering the space

There are many options to consider when thinking of where you could potentially place your aquarium. How much space you can dedicate to an aquarium will also decide the size, type and placement of your aquarium.

Your aquarium might be better suited against a wall to save space in a smaller home or room. As a centerpiece aquarium, you may want it to be in a middle of a room with a 360-degree view. This could be a larger scale aquarium that has visibility all along its perimeter.
Custom options are available from Aquatech Aquarium Service to work with the space that you have.

Customizing your aquarium’s design

Taking some time to write down and draw what you want your aquarium to look like with greatly help in planning the final design. The current aesthetic of your space will influence the overall design of your aquarium.

In a more neutral room, you may consider adding a splash of color by having tropical freshwater fish and bright foliage. If you are trying to create an overall mood to your space, there are many different lighting options to choose from for your aquarium.

If you have an unusual shape in mind, consider a more durable acrylic tank!

Freshwater aquariums vs. saltwater aquariums

Deciding between having freshwater fish or saltwater fish will determine the overall look and maintenance of your aquarium. Generally freshwater fish are easier to maintain, while saltwater fish can add a more exotic touch to your aquarium.

Aquatech Aquarium Service are great at helping you select the right fish for the type of aquarium you desire. With so many different varieties and sub-varieties of fish, it is nice to have an expert on hand!

Aquatech Aquarium Service provides great results!

Once you have taken the initial steps to creatively planning your aquarium, the next step is to make your ideas come to life by contacting Aquatech Aquarium Service .

We actively work with clients to realize their vision and will be helpful from the initial custom aquarium design to our professional aquarium installation.

Soon enough you can have the aquarium of your dreams!

7 Smart Ways To Spruce Up & Refresh Your Aquarium

Have you been looking at an old tank, wishing you could give it a new look? With the help of your local Culver City aquarium service, your dream can be a reality. You’ll find that you can update your tank easily. These seven tips will have your old tank looking like the first time you set it up.

Completely Empty Your Aquarium

Giving your aquarium a full cleaning isn’t something that happens often due to planning. If your aquarium is active and populated it means re-homing your fish and plant life while you drain and clean your aquarium. However, as any Culver City aquarium service will tell you, a deep cleaning goes a long way to making your tank feel brand new all over.

Only Replace the Hardware You Have to

Most of your behind-the-scenes equipment, like your filter and pump won’t need to be replaced. Look at each piece of hardware and decide if it still works. You should also check if there is a newer design that works better. There’s no reason to spend money to replace your working equipment.

Make Plans for Your New Design

Before you start buying and replacing pieces of your tank, take some time to really think about what you want from it. The internet is full of aquarium ideas that can get you started in your direction. Additionally, you can get lots of ideas from an experienced Culver City aquarium service that has seen and done it all.

Consider Moving or Housing Your Tank

Tank placement should be considered as part of your planning stage. Simply moving your tank can make it feel new again. In addition to moving your tank, you could consider putting it into custom furniture like a cabinet. Even more unique, you could place your tank in your wall for that sleek, clean look. Changing the location or housing can be a huge step in updating your tank.

Choose New Substrate, Plants, and Fish Shelters for Your Tank

Most of the look of your tank, besides the fish, comes from the accessories you chose to include. You can make your tank look completely different simply by putting new plants in it. If your tank is tropical themed, try making it look like the bottom of a lake. Your background change will definitely make it feel completely new.

Consider New Species

The next step in freshening your tank design is to consider new animals. If you want your tank to feel new, completely changing the fish inside will get that done. However, remember that if you decide you’re going to replace your fish, you should donate your old fish to someone who will love them.

Look into Your Lights

If your tank setup is older, newer lights, like LED lighting can change your entire tank’s look. With LED lights, you’ll see your tank in a crisper, cleaner light. Your Culver City aquarium service can help you pick the perfect lighting setup for your tank.

Aquatech Aquarium Service is the premiere Culver City aquarium service. With a full, knowledgeable staff ready to answer any questions and help with any projects you’re trying.

3 Aquatic Plants That Can Take Over Koi Ponds

As the world becomes more globalized, we’re seeing worlds combine in new and unique ways. One of the results of globalization is a larger variety of aquatic plants and animals available to the aquarium trade. Now your options for unique and beautiful koi ponds are greater than ever. However, along with all the great options for your aquarium or pond come unwelcome invasive species. You’re probably familiar with the idea of invasive species.

You’re probably familiar with the idea of invasive species, like the Snakehead fish. The Snakehead fish is predatory and able to move short distances over land. It has populated New England all the way from Asia. Another invasive species you may have heard about are Japanese beetles, these critters will destroy your rose bushes and gardens. Snakeheads were brought as food stock, and the Japanese beetles were accidentally introduced to the US.

Animals are not the only kind of invasive species, however. Aquatic plants, when brought to lands they didn’t originally come from can cause rampant destruction in new rivers, lakes, and oceans. These are the three most common invasive plants you may come across in the aquarium trade. Once you’ve learned about the kind of damage they can create, you’ll learn how to prevent it.

Water Lettuce

Don’t let the name fool you. While it’s got the least threatening name possible, this plant can cause massive damage. It has invaded Hawaii and can cause problems with rice and taro crops. This plant floats, and can clog up rivers and lakes while out competing the native plants. Additionally, Water Lettuce lowers oxygen concentration, creates mosquito nurseries, and steals habitats from other plants and animals.

One of the bigger challenges for managing Water Lettuce is the fact that it’s inedible. Water Lettuce is full of calcium oxalate crystals which can cause burning in your throat and mouth, and damage your GI tract. Because of this, many animals will not eat Water Lettuce. In fact, only two animals are good at eating Water Lettuce. The hippo and the manatee are happy to munch down on Water Lettuce, however there’s no effective way to use these animals to fight the invasion.  To make thinks worse, Water Lettuce is ugly on top of all its other qualities.

Water Hyacinth

The Water Hyacinth is beautiful, and you may be tempted to use it as an ornamental plant in your koi ponds. However, you shouldn’t use hyacinth in any kind of pond, whether it’s a koi pond or otherwise. Water Hyacinth grows very tight, and can quickly grow in massive patches, acres wide. Once Water Hyacinth begins to grow like this it blocks light from reaching the lower levels of the water. This does more than stop other plants from growing. When the light can’t reach under the water hyacinth it stops lower plants from photosynthesizing, and your koi pond can stop producing oxygen.

On top of the decreased oxygen production, the mere presence of the Water Hyacinths stops gas exchange. If you let your pond get overgrown with water hyacinth you’ll end up with an oxygen starved pond filled with dead or dying fish. Because water hyacinth grows so thick, it slows or stops the movement of water on the surface of the pond. This will cause rapid algae growth as well as breed mosquitos.

Water Hyacinth grows and reproduces in two ways. The first way is through budding. While in their active growing season, the water Hyacinths grow smaller plants, or “daughter plants” that are essentially small hyacinths growing off the parent plant.  Once the daughter plant has grown and established enough, it will break off and start the process over on its own. In addition to the budding method, hyacinths will reproduce by producing seeds. These seeds are especially sneaky because they can lie dormant for years waiting for the environment to encourage growth.

Anacharis

One of the features these plants have in common is how easy they are to care for. Of the plants on this list, the Anacharis is the easiest. The Anacharis only requires medium light, which is perfect for lakes or koi ponds. Additionally, it does not need to be planted to grow, and even thrive. When the Anacharis is floating, it will grow roots down the stem and draw nutrients directly from the water. It’s difficult to remove because it’s easy to create new ones simply by breaking the stems. Any pieces you leave behind when you’re removing them will immediately begin to regrow and start over.

Anacharis blocks out light and steals the nutrients of most native aquatic plants. Because Anacharis grows faster than these native plants it makes it easy for them to out compete the native plants. In addition, when left to grow freely, Anacharis forms thick mats of floating plant that make it difficult for recreational activities such as fishing, rowing, swimming, and even boating. If your propeller gets tangled in a mat of Anacharis, your day is surely ruined.

How to Prevent These Plants from Growing in Koi Ponds

The most effective way to keep these plants from being a problem for your koi ponds is to avoid them from the start. There are lots of species to choose from when starting koi ponds that you’ll always be able to find a safer alternative.

Look for plants that won’t survive in the wild where you live. However, if you really can’t find an alternative, or if you just love one of these invasive plants there are steps you can take to be safe. For starters, never release anything from your koi pond into the wild. You shouldn’t dump your pond’s plants into a stream, river, or another pond.

When you’re disposing of your plants, do so safely. You’re either going to want to dry them out completely, or freeze them. Whichever method you use, you should dispose of them in a sealed bag. Build stone walls around your koi pond to keep your plants separated from local waters in the event of a flood that could otherwise enable your plants and animals to escape.

Armed with this information you’re ready to build the koi pond of your dreams that’s safe for the environment. Aquatech Aquarium Service has a wide variety of supplies and equipment to help you realize your vision.

Be Redundant. Your Fish Will Thank You for It

When you hear the word redundancy, it’s usually used in a negative way. Redundancy is often characterized as a waste of time or money. However, when it comes to your fish tank, redundancy is the only protection your fish and plants will have if an important system fails. Aquarium maintenance service professionals always suggest system redundancy to safeguard your fish — and your wallet. Here’s a handy list of ways you can put redundancy to work for your aquarium.

Spare Parts

The simplest way to improve redundancy is just keeping extra equipment on hand. As anyone who’s had an aquarium for a while can tell you, everything eventually fails. Extra equipment may seem expensive and unnecessary when everything’s humming along, but you have to keep the true costs of extra equipment in perspective. An extra return pump might look like $300 sitting unused on a shelf in your closet. In reality, it’s an insurance policy that guards against the cost of replacing the entire aquarium’s contents if the primary pump fails. The peace of mind you gain by keeping extra equipment on hand is well worth the investment.

Avoid Overheating

When your aquarium heater malfunctions, it can quickly kill everything in saltwater aquariums. Unfortunately, there’s two different ways for a fish tank heater to malfunction, both catastrophic. Their controls can fail, and if they’re stuck in the on position, they’ll quickly cook everything inside the aquarium. If they get stuck in the off position, or if the heating element no longer works, the dropping temperatures will wipe out all but the hardiest of fish. The best way to prevent overheating in aquarium design is to employ two heaters. You can save a little money by choosing heaters that individually can’t handle the whole aquarium, but are powerful enough if used in tandem. If one breaks, you’ll still have one working while you get a replacement.

To take the concept further, you can use separate thermostats for as many heaters as you can. It’s a sure way to avoid overheating. All your heaters would need to get stuck in the on position to overheat your tank, which is very unlikely.

In addition to using thermostats and extra heaters, you can attach your other electronics to safety panels as well. For example, you can connect your lights to a circuit that will shut down if the temperature exceeds 82 degrees. Additionally, you could have another circuit with fans that switch on to blow air across the water in the sump.

The final element of preventing overheating is to make use of an exhaust fan. You can set this exhaust fan to activate when the humidity gets too high, or the temperature reaches 81 degrees. If you’re not sure how to set this up, your aquarium maintenance service tech can answer any questions you have about overheating issues.

Water Testing

The pH balance of the water in your aquarium is very important. While you can’t keep a redundant supply of water for your fish, there are a few ways to add redundancy. It’s smart to test your water using testing kits from different manufacturers. If they both agree, you can be pretty sure the readings are accurate. If they’re different, you should try a third brand to see which is out of whack. In addition to using your own kits, your aquarium maintenance service provider can test the water for you.

Skimmers

Redundancy on your skimmers is typically simple and relatively inexpensive. On larger tanks, you can use dual skimmers in creative ways. Dual skimmers allow skimming to occur even when you’ve shut down one for either mechanical failure or cleaning.  As well as making sure you’ve got constant skimming, you can set one skimmer to “wet” skim while your second skim extracts dry foam. If you use this method you’ll remove more skimmates, ensuring your system is more efficient.

Not only can you employ redundancy on your skimmers, but also on your scum cups. If you’ve got a large skimmer, you’re probably aware that the skimmer will occasionally overflow, particularly during power outages. One way to reduce the likelihood of this occurring is to use one-way valves. In addition to the one-way valve, you can use a delay timer that turns on after 15 minutes.

Top Off System

This one requires a little more effort and forethought, but you’ll be glad it’s in place if there’s ever a large loss of water in your aquarium. A top off system replaces water that’s evaporated or spilled from your aquarium. These types of systems add freshwater, even to saltwater tanks. This freshwater is set to fill automatically when it is depleted. Usually, this works fine, but occasionally the top off reservoir replacement does not stop. This will cause a rapid flood of fresh water to the tank. This drops salinity, and that can lead to big problems with your saltwater environment.

You can use a float switch as well as the sensor in your reservoir to double check the need for top offs. Either will stop the flow of water in the other malfunctions. Additionally, you can add a timer to the system. Set this timer to only allow the solenoid to come on long enough to refill daily water evaporation.

Smart Aquarium Design

The final form of redundancy is a second bottom in your tank. Glue the second piece of glass to the bottom of the tank. This will not only strengthen the bottom of the tank, but it will also prevent a dropped item from causing a crack that could cause anything from a slow leak to a catastrophe down the line.

If you combine these tips for redundant systems along with regular aquarium maintenance service,  you’ll guarantee a long life for your custom aquarium, and all the fish and plants it holds.

Why Your Man Cave Should Be a Fish Room

We all know having a “man cave” or personal space is important. It’s great to have somewhere to relax after a stressful day. As it turns out, the best way to relax in your man cave is to make it a fish room. Fish rooms can be help you relax in multiple ways. If you like to tend to your aquarium, you can spend many happy hours looking after your fish and plants. If you’d rather just enjoy watching the fish without all the work, you can hire an aquarium cleaning service to get all the benefits of having a fish room without most of the effort.

Studies on the effects of aquarium fish in your home have shown a surprising number of health benefits. You’ll be doing yourself a favor by having an aquarium in your man cave or den.

Reduced Blood Pressure

There is a demonstrated relationship between sitting near an aquarium and enjoying a large decrease in blood pressure. Interestingly, this effect is even observed when the aquarium is simply decorated with plants and other objects. Adding in some fish does increase the effect a great deal, of course.  There’s something about watching fish swimming back and forth that fascinates and soothes your mind.

Calming Effects

The underwater scene created by your custom aquarium has a naturally calming effect. It’s one of the reasons why aquariums have become standard in many waiting rooms. Waiting for an appointment can be stressful, and aquariums help keep you cool while you’re cooling your heels. People who are waiting for a dental appointment have been shown to feel much calmer when there’s an aquarium in the office, and they have even reported feeling less pain during their procedure because they’re more relaxed. That’s why having an aquarium in your man cave could even help you sleep better at night!

Reduced Stress

Watching your fish move is almost hypnotic. The movement of your fish will reduce stress and help relax your mind to remove the aggravation from your everyday problems. It’s hard to know exactly why it’s calming to watch fish while they swim. Some feel that because their comings and goings are totally random, it never gets boring, but because they swim so gently,  it doesn’t make you edgy to wonder what they’ll do next.

In addition to the medical benefits of having an aquarium, there are many other boons. Having an aquarium in your man cave or home is a great conversation starter. You’ll be able to talk for hours about the history and behavior of each of the fish in your aquarium. The best part is, no one has to know you skip the hard work by hiring an aquarium cleaning service.

If you invite your whole family into your man cave, your aquarium can also be a great learning opportunity for your children and their friends. There are a great many benefits children can get out of a fish tank. Like any pets, fish require regular attention and care, and children learn responsibility by learning to take care of them.

Encouraging Learning

An aquarium can stimulate your children’s natural curiosity and get them thinking about nature. Your fish tank can encourage learning in children from ages 2-14 with a variety of different activities. Younger children love to learn the basics of fish biology by watching the fish grow in the tank. In the same way, your fish tank can help your children learn their colors and counting. Very small children are delighted just to watch the fish going back and forth, and will giggle uncontrollably when the fish abruptly change course in the tank.

Instilling Responsibility

Letting your children help care for the fish in your aquarium helps them get the feeling of being responsible for someone or something other than themselves. It also helps with helps with emotional stability. Like adults, children receive all the health benefits of watching fish in your custom aquarium. But fish can also be a young child’s confidant. Children tend to treat all animals like friends, and letting them talk to the fish about their troubles is a harmless relief valve for them.  Fish will always listen, and they never judge.

An Aquarium Cleaning Service Makes It Easy

If you’re in the greater Los Angeles area, and you’d like to add a custom aquarium to your man cave, contact Aquatech Aquarium Service to find out how easy, affordable, and captivating it can be to set up and maintain your little piece of the ocean blue.

5 Smart Ways To Save On a Saltwater Aquarium Installation

A new aquarium installation is a big decision. Good aquarium equipment isn’t cheap, and you need to keep in mind the initial setup costs for your saltwater aquarium, plus the ongoing operating costs to keep your custom aquarium flourishing. However, once your aquarium is set up, you’ll be amazed at how much enjoyment you get from it for so little money.

To truly enjoy your new saltwater aquarium without worrying about how much it will cost you in the end, use these cost saving tips. They’ll make your aquarium installation much easier on your pocketbook, and they’ll make setup worry-free:

1.) Size Matters

The larger the tank, the more upkeep it will require. You’ll also have to supersize all the gear that keeps your custom aquarium functioning. On the flip side, you don’t want your tank to be too small that it can’t hold the number and variety of fish and plants you want. Like all things, it’s best to avoid too little and too much fish tank.

A modestly sized fish tank is generally best for beginning aquarists. A tank in the range of 30 to 55 gallons should be big enough for lots of fish, but small enough to keep the aquarium maintenance at a reasonable level.

If you’re on a tighter budget, consider a tank that is small enough to keep on a desk or other existing flat surface. The desk will have to be sturdy enough to hold the substantial weight of your aquarium. When in doubt, it’s smart to budget for the additional purchase of an aquarium stand.

2.) Be Cautious About Reef Tanks

Starting with a fish-only or FOWLR (fish only with live rock) system versus a reef tank will save you a ton of dough. Reef systems come with some significant added expenses. These expenses include the price of special high-intensity lighting that corals and other photosynthetic invertebrates demand. Reef tanks also need ongoing supplementation of calcium and alkalinity.

Include fish that won’t continue to get too large for your tank as well as are known to be disease resistant. Consult with fellow hobbyists to determine the best fish to include in your budgeted saltwater aquarium installation.

3.) Look for Energy Efficient and Used Equipment

Utility costs add up. Purchase energy efficient pumps and powerheads to save money on electricity.

You can also save money by purchasing used tanks and equipment. You will  need to be careful when doing this as you don’t want to purchase faulty equipment or a busted tank. Check the seams of tanks to make sure that they will be stable when water is added to the tank. Glass tanks are usually best.

Purchase your used aquarium tank and equipment from someone you know and trust, or from a seasoned hobbyist. Buying used equipment online might not be the best option as you can’t ensure that it comes from a trustworthy source.

4.) Have a Quarantine Tank On Hand

This is a money-saving suggestion that not too many people think of initially. By making a small investment in an additional small quarantine tank you can save the lives of your other fish. As a bonus, it saves the costs of replacing fish in the future. If a fish is sick, they can easily wipe out the rest of your other saltwater fish. This could be an expense of thousands of dollars in some cases.

This is also a great suggestion to use when you initially purchase a fish for your tank. Keep new fish in the quarantine tank for a few days before introducing it to your custom aquarium. This way you can observe to see if it is healthy before letting it join the others.

5.) Don’t Overfeed Your Fish

Lastly, do not overfeed your fish. This is cost effective as well as preventative of fish getting sick from overeating. Fish always look like they are starving, and they very quickly learn to recognize feeding time. When you see your fish begging for food, you may be tempted to overfeed them as they will seem to do this every time. It is important to only feed fish a tiny amount of food, three to four times a day or as the food manufacturer label prescribes.

Ask a Pro About Your Aquarium Installation

A basic saltwater aquarium on a budget is certainly possible. When you decide you want a saltwater aquarium installation, it’s smart to go to a local aquarium or fish store. The prices on the internet may be lower, but nothing can replace the guidance, assistance, and long term savings you will get with expert, hands on help.

If you’re in the greater Los Angeles area, call Aquatech Aquarium Services.  They’ll get your aquarium installation off on the right foot, and they’re available for regular aquarium maintenance as well.

The Inside Scoop On Hermit Crabs for Saltwater Aquariums

Hermit Crabs make a very peculiar looking and wonderful aquatic addition for all kinds of reef or saltwater aquariums. Also known as one of the ‘Tank Janitor’ creatures, they are well known for helping keep tanks free of debris and algae. Many keepers of saltwater or reef custom aquariums use hermit crabs to keep their tanks a little cleaner and help reduce aquarium maintenance. They are also known for charmingly taking up residence in empty shells they find suitable.

Here are a few tips you can use for keeping your hermit crabs healthy and happy in your custom aquarium. We’ll first take a brief look at their biology, and their care requirements:

What Are Hermit Crabs, Anyway?

Hermit crabs are crustaceans that live in the ocean, or near its surface. Hermit crabs belong to the order Decapoda, the infra-order Anomuran and the superfamily Paguroidea. Although we call them ‘crabs’, scientists consider them more closely related to lobsters and porcelain crabs, than to true crabs (brachyurids).

You can find hermit crabs throughout the seas and oceans of the world apart from the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Of course, keepers of many reef or saltwater aquariums keep hermit crabs as well. You can find hermit crabs in both land-dwelling and marine forms in the wild. Many terrestrial crabs have fascinating lives and are important in the pet trade in their own right. However, this article will focus on marine dwelling hermit crabs.

It’s a Crabby Way of Life

The most prominent feature of hermit crabs is their need for protection and their dependence on the shells of other marine animals to live. However, shells aren’t the only thing that hermit crabs like to inhabit. People have reported hermit crabs using Tusk Shells, lengths of bamboo or even living sponges. Other species of crabs inhabit the tubes of tubeworms that sometimes enter saltwater aquariums by accident as hitchhikers on live rock.

Hermit crabs use two of their six sets of legs for walking. The crab uses its other legs to move their bodies within their shells and to grip the shell’s interior. Hermit crabs use their front pincers as a ‘door’ of sorts, to block entry into the shell when they have retreated inside.

The Shell Game

As hermit crabs get larger, they need to adopt larger shells to accommodate their growing bodies. In the wild, hermit crabs can evict the current resident of the shell they want. It is imperative that you leave a variety of shells in the aquarium for the needy hermit crab to choose from. This is especially true if you have snails in your aquarium as well. Hermit crabs may just choose your snail’s shell as its new home if it can’t find another one it likes. Some hermit crabs can be quite particular about the shape of the opening and style of the shell they want to live in. That’s why it’s smart to have larger shells of the same type your crab is currently wearing available for them to grow into.

Always make sure to properly clean all shells before you place them into your saltwater aquarium. You can do this by boiling the shells for 5 minutes. Then, tap out the water on a hard surface. This ensures there is nothing lodged inside the shells. Next, dip them in de-chlorinated water, and then drain the water back out again.

Crabs Are on a See-food Diet

Like humans, hermit crabs eat so many kinds of things they’re considered omnivores. A crab will eat just about anything it can get its hands on. They seem to especially enjoy eating many algae species, uneaten fish food, and even dead animals. Usually, most saltwater aquarium keepers will rely on the hermit crab’s ability to scavenge for food. If food seems scarce, you can give a hermit crab an algae pellet or two. However, some aquarists provide a cockle or mussel as a treat for their hermit crabs.

Caring for Hermit Crabs in Saltwater Aquariums

Because they’re so adaptable, most owners of saltwater aquariums believe that hermit crabs are not difficult to keep. It can come as a surprise to learn they can be a little delicate to handle. Hermit crabs are by far the least fussy eaters you’ll find for your tank, and are less likely to be damaged from handling than many other forms of aquatic life. However, hermit crabs to tend to suffer more from a less-than-ideal environment. Therefore, when you take them home from the fish store, they may be less healthy than they should be.  They will need a good environment and feeding to strengthen again.

Generally, saltwater aquariums that you want to add hermit crabs to must have been running for a while on its own, not a new custom aquarium ready for stocking. In other words, a reasonably aged tank, at around six months, is ideal. The parameters of your seawater, such as the pH, temperature, ammonia, nitrite and SG, all need to be totally acceptable. The ideal tank temperature for hermit crabs is between 72 and 78°F with a pH range between 8.1 and 8.4. The specific gravity of the tank should be between 1.021 and 1.028 with kH levels between 150 and 215 ppm. To put it in simpler terms, your seawater needs to be very, clean and seaworthy for your hermit crabs to flourish.

Call the Experts on Reef and Saltwater Aquariums

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, and you’d like to add hermit crabs to your saltwater reef tank, it’s smart to speak to the experts at Aquatech Aquarium Service. They can make sure your tank is in perfect shape, and establish a maintenance schedule that will keep it that way.

5 Saltwater Starter Fish You Should Avoid

Saltwater aquariums are popular for their wide range of attractive fish and accessory options. In our last entry, we went over the 6 Big Rules for Choosing Saltwater Starter Fish. However, when selecting fish for your custom aquarium, a list of fish to include is only half the story. It’s just as important to know the types of fish to exclude.

Unlike freshwater aquariums, you may find it more difficult to find the right fish. New saltwater aquariums will need to start off with a population of fish that are hardy, easy to manage and won’t be aggressive towards others.

Even if you think that a certain fish comes from the ocean, or you have seen before in established reef tanks, that doesn’t mean they should be included in home aquariums. Most pet stores will not be knowledgeable or advertise which fish to avoid, so it is helpful to do a bit of research. Here are several varieties of fish that would do more harm than good in a new custom aquarium:

Groupers

Although groupers are a smaller than a lot of other fish, they can still prove to be hostile to your custom aquarium’s fish population. They have mouths that will expand to be quite large. Therefore, they will eat most anything alive that will fit inside of it. Unless you have a tank that is at least 200 gallons and include large fish that can take care of themselves, it is best to not include Groupers in your saltwater aquarium.

Mandarinfish

You may be tempted at first to purchase Mandarin fish for several reasons. Their unique coloring and patterns are a reminder of beautiful coral reefs. They are affordable, known to be disease resistant, and their smaller size will seem beneficial for not overtaking space in your custom aquarium.

This might all sound well and good, but the Mandarin’s  picky diets will be a big problem. You will find it difficult to keep them satisfied since they are dependent on eating copepods and will avoid most other general saltwater aquarium foods. It is difficult to have this type of fish survive in less established aquariums. Large reef tanks with a plentiful population of copepods will keep them healthy and satisfied.

Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse

Similar to the Mandarin fish, the Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse are also picky eaters and would probably starve in most saltwater aquariums. Eating parasites off of other fish is what composes their diet. In new saltwater aquariums, there will not be enough parasites to feed them.

In established saltwater aquariums, these are both helpful and entertaining fish. Their normal behavior includes zipping around in a fun spectacle and cleaning off dead scales and parasites from other fish.

Mollies/Guppies

These fish come from brackish waters. This type of water is considered to be something in between fresh water and salt water. It may not be the best choice at first, but once you get your aquarium going, these are fish that can slowly acclimate themselves to a completely saltwater aquarium environment.

You will also need to prepare yourself to expect more fish than you began with. Mollies/Guppies actively breed in captivity.

Damselfish

Avoid the Damselfish at all costs. They are very destructive to the rest of the fish population in saltwater aquariums. Your other fish will find it hard to live with one.

Don’t let their flowy angel-like appearance fool you, they are some of the most aggressive and territorial fish around. A damselfish will chase around other fish to the point that they die from exhaustion. Their competitive nature will also prevent other fish from eating in you custom aquarium.

Getting the Right Saltwater Fish for a Custom Aquarium

A good saltwater starter fish will be able to tolerate less than perfect conditions. Choose fish that are known to be disease resistant, peaceful at co-habiting, and are easy to manage. The fish in our list just don’t make the cut. By referencing this list of saltwater fish to avoid, it should help you establish a flourishing new saltwater aquarium with a minimum of fuss.

If you’re thinking of adding a custom aquarium for your home or business in the Los Angeles area, be sure to Aquatech Aquarium Service. Picking the right fish from the start is the key to a successful and enjoyable custom aquarium, and Aquatech can help!

The 6 Big Rules for Choosing Saltwater Starter Fish

When you are ready to begin your new aquarium installation, it’s important to choose the right fish for your new saltwater aquarium. But how do you know which fish are the right ones to start your new tank? Here’s what to look for when choosing starter fish for your saltwater aquarium installation:

1. Choose Hardy Fish

When you first start your new custom aquarium, the condition of your water can change rapidly. That’s why aquarium installation experts recommend that you start with hardier species of saltwater fish for your new saltwater aquarium.  Fish that are more tolerant of changes in their environment will be less stressed about differences in water temperature and alkalinity.  As a result, these fish usually tend to live longer.

2. Select Fish That Are Resistant to Parasites

Aquarium installation experts agree that parasites such as ich, flukes, and tremotodes can be a nuisance to any custom aquarium. If your fish are stressed by other conditions, such as other aggressive fish or unsuitable water conditions, they are even more likely to ‘catch’ an infection. There are no fish that are immune to these invaders. However, there are certain saltwater fish that are more resistant to these parasites than other fish.

Saltwater fish such as Mollies and Damsels have been known to be more resistant to these pesky parasites than other saltwater fish. That’s not necessarily a good reason to stock your tank with them. For a new aquarium, an aquarium installation expert may recommend that you avoid starter fish like Damselfish because they can be quite aggressive.  You may want to avoid Powder Blue/Brown Tang fish as they tend to be more prone to infection from parasites like ich.

3. Pick Fish That Are Compatible With Everything In Your Saltwater Aquarium

These fish will probably be the first fish in your custom aquarium.  So you’ll want to choose fish that are peaceful and get along well with other fish. Getting along doesn’t just means that they don’t try to eat all the other fish. Fish that are non-aggressive will be less apt to harass other fish both during the day and at feeding time. Some fish are very territorial, and will harass any fish that comes near them, including fish that are bigger than they are. Other fish are greedy eaters and will try to gobble every morsel you put in the tank at feeding time, and will fight the other fish for it, too. Avoiding aggressive and territorial fish help reduces the stress among all the fish you put in your saltwater aquarium.

4. Choose Fish That Are Inexpensive To Maintain

Saltwater fish vary greatly in the cost per fish. You may not want to choose the most inexpensive fish you can find for your saltwater aquarium. However, choosing a relatively inexpensive fish can help save costs in the long run. Generally, the more exotic and rare the fish, the more expensive it is. Some fish have sold for as much as $400,000!

5. Select Vibrant Fish To Make Your Aquarium Installation Look Its Best

Unless your aquarium is gigantic, the number of fish in your aquarium is bound to be fairly limited. Since you can only fit so many fish in your saltwater aquarium, it’s smart to make each one count. It’s tempting to buy a handful of inexpensive, drab fish to get your aquarium going when you’re on a budget. However, in the long run, your aquarium will be much more interesting if you select each fish for maximum visual interest. Remember, some fish are brightly colored, but shy about swimming in the open areas of your tank. Choose some fish that are fast swimmers to get a good mix.

6. Get a Mix of Personalities

Schools of identical fish look great when they swim back and forth in your aquarium. However, too much of one thing quickly gets boring to look at. Different species of fish look different, of course, but they also act differently as they make their way around your saltwater aquarium. Choose a good mix of “personalities” to add interest to the action in the tank. Mix bold and timid fish, and fast and slow swimmers to ensure a constantly changing aqua

Get Expert Advice From Aquarium Installation Experts

For expert aquarium installation in the Los Angeles area, contact Aquatech Aquarium Service. They’ll help you choose the best starting fish for your new saltwater aquarium. They can help with your aquarium maintenance as well.

How To Move a Custom Aquarium Without Taking a Bath

Moving your belongings to a new home or apartment is physically and mentally taxing. The task takes on a brand new layer of work when you have to move an aquarium along with your furniture. In addition to packing up and transporting your custom aquarium, you also have to make sure your fish, and anything else you have in the aquarium, is moved safely to its new home. Just getting to your destination is only half the battle. It’s important to avoid disrupting the aquatic environment more than necessary. Find out the best way to move your aquarium to your new place without taking a bath or losing any of your scaly sidekicks:

Prepare the Tank

As you’re planning your move, it’s best that you save the aquarium for last. That way, your fish don’t have to swim around outside of their normal habitat for too long. When you’re ready to tackle the task of moving your custom aquarium, drain the tank water into sealable buckets. Re-using your tank water helps preserve helpful bacteria. Note that this method is best reserved for quick moves of less than a day. For anything longer than that, it’s best to simply get rid of the water and cycle in a fresh supply in your tank before letting your fish return home.

A Great Opportunity for Aquarium Maintenance

Next, take care of aquarium maintenance as you remove gravel and plants from the tank. Make sure to keep live plants in bags of water to keep them as fresh as the fish you’re moving. When taking out the filter media, it’s best that you not clean it before packing it up with tank water and bacteria. Again, this only applies to short moves. You’ll want to go ahead and give the filter a good scrubbing and cleaning if it’ll take you a few days to complete your move.

Get Your Fish Ready

To keep water as fresh and clean as possible while moving your custom aquarium, it’s smart to stop feeding them about four days or so before the big day. This might seem cruel, but they’ll be fine. The feeding lull gives them time to flush waste from their systems, and do so in a way that won’t compromise their oxygen supply. Just be sure to round up all the fish once you’ve removed all the plants and gravel and most of the water from the tank. It’s easy to lose count when you’re in a hurry.

Solitary Confinement Isn’t Cruel and Unusual

When the time comes to bag the fish, fill plastic bags less than halfway with tank water. Be sure each bag only has one fish. Store the bags with care in rows inside a styrofoam cooler (or Poly box for warm water fish). Don’t bury the box under a mound of other belongings. You’ll need to refresh the oxygen supply every couple of hours by opening and resealing the bags.

Take care that you keep fish out of sunlight and excessive temperatures while transporting them. You should also keep them in the dark as much as possible to help them stay calm during the move.

Move the Tank

Wrap the tank of your custom aquarium inside blankets or equally soft wrapping, keeping the wrapping tight with packing tape. If you like, you can reinforce the protection with pieces of cardboard bound with more tape. Lift the tank from the bottom, and transport it in a way that it doesn’t come into contact with anything that might bump, fall on top of, or jostle it.

Set Up the Tank

Rather than leave the tank for last in your new place like you did when moving from your old place, make setting it up a top priority. Unpack the tank of your custom aquarium and set up the filter and heater and ensure they’re in working order. Slowly introduce tank water to the fishes’ bags to see how they react before letting them back into their old tank in their new home.

With a bit of planning and patience, moving your aquarium won’t open a floodgate of problems. For the ultimate in ease, contact an aquarium setup and maintenance professional to do the job.