Great Tips for Keeping Your Favorite Fish Healthy and Happy

New aquarium owners need a little help to get their freshwater or saltwater aquariums off on the right foot. Even seasoned fishkeeping veterans can use some more helpful tips. With that in mind, Aquatech Aquarium Service has put together a few handy tips for aquarium maintenance and other fish keeping tasks:

Clean Your Gravel and Ornaments First

When starting a new saltwater or freshwater aquarium, always make sure to thoroughly wash the aquarium gravel. This should also be done periodically as part of regular aquarium maintenance. You should also clean any large rocks and ornaments you want to use before you place them in the aquarium. Never use any soap or detergents when you are cleaning gravel or ornaments. Cleaning solutions usually have chemicals that are highly toxic to fish. Try using a colander to clean your gravel instead.

Add your gravel to the colander and then run clean water over it. Stir up the gravel continuously so that any debris in the gravel falls out. Continue to clean the gravel with the colander, repeating the process until the water runs clean. Place gravel in the aquarium very carefully so you don’t scratch the inside of your custom aquarium.

Condition the Water Properly For Easier Aquarium Maintenance

Fish need to get oxygen from the water they swim in, similar to the way humans get oxygen from fresh air. Just like air, water contains many other chemicals other than oxygen. Clean water that is free of toxic chemicals is critical to the long term health of your underwater life. Unfortunately, ordinary tap water from the sink comes with countless chemicals that are toxic to fish.  Chemicals such as chlorine and fluorine are just as harmful for fish to breathe in as they are for humans. Just like dirty air, you must eliminate these chemicals from your water in order to support healthy aquatic life. To condition the water for your fish properly, you should add dechlorinating solution and other aquarium water supplements to any tap water you use for aquarium maintenance. These supplements are available at your local aquarium sales and tropical fish store.

Not Everything Green Is Good

Algae is no good for you or your aquarium fish and plants. Algae buildup in saltwater or freshwater aquariums causes green deposits on the inside of the glass. It also gives the water in your custom aquarium a dirty and murky look. Since algae is a plant, it competes with your aquatic life for oxygen in the water. This creates numerous health problems for your aquarium fish.

Your local fish store or aquarium fish supply outlet has a variety of tools to help fight algae buildup. You can use algae scrub brushes with long handles to reach all the way into the tank. You can also use aquarium algae magnets to scrape off excess algae from the glass. Make sure to clean up any algae that may come off the sides and  float down to the gravel of your custom aquarium.

Keep Notes for Your Aquarium Maintenance

It helps to keep a journal that details how often you perform regular aquarium maintenance. Starting at your setup date, make notes of all your water test results. Keep a list of any fish you purchased, and when and where you bought them. As you perform your aquarium maintenance tasks, keep a record of them in your journal.

If any issues should arise in your custom aquarium, you can refer back to your notes, and even show them to your aquarium sales or fish store. They can take a look and offer advice to you based on the information in your journal.

If a paper journal is too difficult to manage, you don’t have to worry! There are apps available for both Android phones and iPhones that allow you to easily document all your aquarium maintenance tasks from startup, as well the sea life you have in your custom aquarium.

Call the Professionals for Regular Aquarium Maintenance

If you still want the look and beauty of a custom aquarium, but don’t have the time or desire to perform regular aquarium maintenance, there is still hope! Call the professionals at Aquatech Aquarium Service in Los Angeles. Harold Weiner and his aquarium service staff have been helping people with their aquarium maintenance for over 25 years. They’re wizards at saltwater and freshwater tanks, and can even take care of your koi pond maintenance.

Glass Or Acrylic. Which Is Better for Your Custom Aquarium?

Congratulations on your decision to create your very own beautiful custom aquarium! Keeping fish in a freshwater or saltwater aquarium is a great pastime that is richly rewarding. Once you have decided where you will put your new slice of the underwater world, you’ll need to decide whether to use glass or acrylic for your new custom aquarium. Although both materials work well, there are some important differences. Here are some facts to help you make up your mind:

It’s a Custom Aquarium, Not a Scratching Post!

Both glass and acrylic react very differently to scratches. Glass is a hard material that is very difficult to scratch. To scratch glass, you need a relatively hard material and a considerable amount of pressure. A piece of rock or aquarium gravel usually will not leave a scratch if you accidentally rub one up against the glass.

On the other hand, acrylic has a tendency to scratch more easily. Anyone who moves or unloads acrylic aquariums must take care not to scratch the tank. Sometimes, just brushing against an acrylic tank with a handbag or jewelry can cause a scratch. Since you can scratch acrylic rather easily, fish keepers must take care to use acrylic-safe algae scrubbers when cleaning an acrylic tank. Also, make sure you do not accidentally pick up any pieces of aquarium gravel in the scrub pad while you are using it.

Although acrylic aquariums scratch more easily than glass aquariums, you can easily remove most scratches in acrylic by buffing them out. Scratches in glass are much more difficult to remove, and may require a replacement glass panel. Fishkeepers can purchase an acrylic polishing kit in most fish stores. You can use these kits to remove scratches on the outside of the tank. You should not use these polishes on the inside of your tank, as they may leave a toxic residue that could make your custom aquarium unsafe for fish. However, if you are careful when cleaning, you should not get any scratches on the inside of your tank.

Passing the Strength Test

One major advantage that acrylic holds over glass is the fact that it is much lighter and much stronger than a piece of glass of the same dimensions. Especially for larger custom aquariums, acrylic materials save more than half the weight of glass while maintaining the same or better strength and structural integrity. This also means that an acrylic tank will cause less stress on the structure that is supporting it than a glass tank will.

A Shattering Effect You Don’t Want for Your Custom Aquarium!

Another big advantage in using acrylic over class is its ability to withstand heavy impacts. Glass shatters if you hit it hard enough. It takes quite a bit of force to break a glass tank. However, the force required is still far less than what it takes to break an acrylic tank. Acrylic is much more durable and less prone to cracking and breaking than glass is.

Great for Any Shape

Because acrylic is a plastic, you can mold it into almost any shape imaginable. It is far easier to build a curved or rounded custom aquarium with acrylic than glass. Since glass is relatively rigid and brittle, it’s a lot easier to create glass aquariums that are rectangular in shape. It is possible to have curved glass to use with your custom aquarium. However, curved glass tends to be more expensive than flat panels. Curved glass also has more of a tendency to distort light coming into or out of your aquarium. This can make fish on the other side of your custom aquarium appear larger or smaller than they actually are.

They Call it Mellow Yellow

One inherent flaw with acrylic is its inability to withstand ultraviolet light. Over time, exposure to UV light will cause an acrylic tank to yellow, and the material will eventually become brittle. Even acrylic materials that are UV resistant will eventually yellow over time. In the long run, there are no chemicals that can help acrylic stand up to UV light as long as glass can. This process accelerates as you add more UV lights, or the closer your custom aquarium is to a window.

Ask a Custom Aquarium Expert

Both glass and acrylic aquariums have pluses and minuses. The right material for your custom aquarium depends on the design of your aquarium system.

If you’re planning on building a custom aquarium it pays to speak with a custom aquarium design expert. Harold Weiner and his team at Aquatech Aquarium Service have been helping aquarium owners in the Los Angeles area for over 25 years. Whether you need help with a custom aquarium of your very own, aquarium or koi pond maintenance, or just some fish supplies, Aquatech Aquarium Service always has the answer.