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.


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.