5 Aquarium Maintenance Tools You Can’t Do Without

It’s great to watch fish swim and swirl inside an aquarium, but that visual is even nicer when you have plants, gravel and decorations inside of your tank. Like the idea of adding more visual appeal to your fresh or saltwater aquarium? Make sure you have these five aquarium maintenance tools to keep your tank, fish and everything else inside your aquarium looking its best.

1. Tongs

Use tongs to introduce new plants to your aquarium and fish out foreign objects that might find their way inside the tank. Depending on your preferences and the plants in your salt or freshwater aquarium, you might want to opt for a stainless steel pair of tongs for their ability to handle bigger objects. Be sure to keep an eye out for tongs with cutting attachments while you’re shopping in case you need to do some slicing in the future while performing aquarium maintenance.

2. Water Changers

Sometimes referred to as siphons, water changers help keep your tank clean and your fish as well as your plants healthy. You’ll likely have plenty of water changer options to choose from, so make sure you keep your style of aquarium and personal tastes in mind while browsing. One word of advice is that you not select a grated siphon mouth if you have a fry or ornamental shrimp tank because fry and shrimp can find their way up the mouth. Check to see how complex the water changer’s operation is before using it for aquarium maintenance.

3. Scissors

Use scissors to take care of dead branches and leaves dangling from your aquarium plants. Much like tongs, aquarium scissors come in several different lengths to better suit your specific needs. It’s important to note here that you should refrain from using your scissors for anything but cutting dead plant leaves, mainly because you can easily dull the blades and damage your plants in the future by cutting them too close. No matter which scissors you get, make sure they’re as sharp as can be to make aquarium maintenance easier.

4. Gloves

Protect fish and plants from any harmful material that might be on your hands or arms by donning gloves before reaching into the tank. What’s more is wearing gloves goes a long way in protecting yourself from detrimental substances in the tank that can find their way into your system through open cuts or sores you might have on your hands or arms, or any you might sustain during aquarium maintenance. To be extra cautious, make sure the gloves you select are free of allergens.

5. Algae Scrapers

You have the option of using special chemicals to take care of algae in your tank, but if you aren’t experienced with taking proper care of aquariums, you can easily add too much of the chemical to the tank. Make things easier on yourself and your aquarium by using algae scrapers, which you might find faster than algae-scrubbing chemicals. Depending on how much algae is floating around and clinging to your aquarium, you might need to use a siphon to complete your aquarium maintenance.

As you might have guessed, there are several different types of scrapers. One variety to note is algae scrapers made with a magnet and felt to better rid your tank of bothersome algae.

There you have five must-haves when it comes to properly maintaining your aquarium. Know that these aren’t all the tools you’ll need to take the best care of your aquarium and fish, but they are among the most essential. Rather than buying entire aquarium kits, it might make more financial sense for you to purchase your tools piecemeal. In any case, be sure to ask about specials, discounts and coupons for the most important aquarium care tools.

Aquarium Service Tips: Mixing Saltwater for Your Tank

aquarium serviceSaltwater aquariums area a great way to enjoy the most exotic and colorful marine life. Watching exotic tropical fish swim back and forth is a soothing, entertaining way to relieve stress.  Saltwater aquariums require slightly more aquarium service than freshwater tanks, but the results are worth the extra time and effort.

One of the most common chores for a saltwater aquarium is replenishing the salt water itself. Mixing saltwater is a very easy aquarium service task you can do on your own with the right tools from the fish store. Here is a list of things you will need to make the perfect water for your saltwater aquarium:

Gather Your Materials

A Clean bucket or Heavy-Duty Plastic Storage Bin: A large storage bin works well for mixing the water. You can also use them to store extra water. Make sure to thoroughly clean the bucket or bin before you start.

Sea Salt Mix: This is what will turn ordinary water into salt water. Your aquarium service technician can help you in getting the best quality salt mix available. Aquarium service technicians recommend you do not use ordinary table salt or “sea salt”.  It is missing many elements specific to sea life that you will find in sea salt mixes.

A Submersible Aquarium Service Heater: This will ensure the water you use is at the right temperature for the marine life in your saltwater aquarium. Make sure to use one rated for the desired volume of water.

A Thermometer: You will need a thermometer to measure the temperature of the water. Some heaters have a thermal meter already attached. If yours doesn’t, you’ll need a separate one. A floating or battery-powered meter works well to measure the water temperature.

A Small Pump for Circulation: Having a pump helps you to mix the saltwater more thoroughly with less effort. You can also use the pump to transfer the water from the bucket to the saltwater aquarium. That avoids the need to lift a heavy bin full of water.

A Refractometer or Hydrometer: These are tools that you use to measure the amount of salt in your water. They measure the specific gravity of water. The more salt in the water, the heavier the specific gravity of the saltwater.

A Stirring Implement: A simple wooden stick will work just fine. Avoid metal or plastic to minimize any reactions with the salt water. Make sure to clean the stirring implement before using it.

Water, Water, Everywhere

Now all you need is the water. Tapwater works well in most cases. Unfortunately it contains chemicals that are harmful to marine life, such as chlorine, that you must remove first. Seawater is also an appropriate choice, but make sure to use a source of seawater that’s untainted by chemicals caused by wastewater or runoff. Seawater also may need other adjustments before is usable. Aquarium service technicians recommend that you use distilled water, or water treated by reverse-osmosis or deionization (RO/DI).

Fill your container halfway with water. Don’t overfill the container. You’ll  be adding the salt mix, which will displace some of the water. You’ll need plenty of room in the container to mix the salt with the water without slopping over. Once your container has some water in it, add your pump and heater to it. Make sure you have cleaned and tested them before placing them into the water.

Add Salt To Taste

Next, begin pouring the salt into the water slowly into the water and stir it. Test the water frequently to monitor its specific gravity. Your aquarium service technician can recommend the correct specific gravity for your saltwater aquarium.

Let Your Water Rest

Once the water has reached the correct specific gravity, let it sit overnight to circulate, mix, and reach the correct temperature. Leaving the water overnight ensures that all the salt and other elements completely dissolve into the water and reach the desired temperature.

Check It, and You’re Done!

The next day, check the specific gravity and temperature of your water again to make sure it is correct. If you need to, make any adjustments to salinity by adding more water or salt mix.

Now that you have made your salt water, you can add it to your saltwater aquarium! It is a good idea to have extra water already prepared for your next aquarium service and water change.

Aquarium Service Advice From the Experts

Saltwater aquariums are a beautiful addition to any home or business. Whether you are a professional fish keeper or just starting out, a saltwater aquarium provides a captivating display of marine life. If you would like to start your own saltwater aquarium, you can get a great start from the experts at Aquatech Aquarium Service in Los Angeles. Their team, headed by owner Harold Weiner, have been designing saltwater aquariums and koi ponds, and providing aquarium service, for over 25 years. They’ll make sure your saltwater aquarium is a perfect fit for your home or business, and help you with regular aquarium maintenance.