Where There’s a Gill…

A healthy goldfish shows off its gill.The gill is a very important organ in any tropical freshwater fish. For humans the act of breathing happens in the lungs. The exchange of carbon dioxide gas for oxygen gas is an important function for all living creatures. But aquarium fish do not have lungs as humans do. Instead, they have filaments on either side of their throat: the gills.

How the Gill Works

Although most people are aware that fish use their gills for breathing, these organs do much more than simple gas exchange. As the water moves over the filaments of the gills, they exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide. Fish take water in by the mouth and push it outward over the filaments of the gill. The delicate structure of the gills of aquarium fish makes them very important for maintaining the health of your fish.

Gills and Fish Health

There are a number of ailments that fish in freshwater aquariums can suffer affecting the gills. Columnaris (also called Cotton Wool Disease) may leave yellowish gray patches on the gills. Velvet or Gold Dust Disease can leave gold to white spots on the fish, and the animal can have difficulty breathing because of damage to their gills. Parasites such as copepods can also damage the gills. Ammonia poisoning causes the gills to become red or bloody, leaving the fish gasping for air. Fortunately, all of these can be treated if caught quickly enough.

Keeping the Fish Breathing

Good aquarium maintenance is the most certain way of preventing these ailments from damaging your fish’s gills.  Some of the ailments mentioned above require medications for the fish in order to combat the ailment. Something like ammonia poisoning can be remedied by improving your cleaning routines and making sure tank filters are working properly. Some of the diseases are contagious, however, and  a full cleaning and disinfecting of the tank may be necessary, in order to keep all your fish healthy.

Making sure that regular maintenance of your aquarium is very important for the health of your fish. How frequently you do a thorough cleaning of your tank can depend on the size of the aquarium. If you do not feel confident about your own ability to do the cleaning, especially if you are dealing with the aftermath of a contagious fish disease, look to an aquarium cleaning service like Aquatech Aquarium Service for expert help and advice.

Careful attention to your fish can ensure they get proper care and thrive. Make note of whether there seems to be discoloration around your fish’s gills or if they seem to be having a hard time breathing. If you notice that one of your fish is ailing contact experts to determine what specifically you need to do to bring them back to good health.

Jellyfish Are an Aesthetic Saltwater Delight

Aquarium jellyfishThe latest trend in ornamental saltwater aquariums, jellyfish provide an aesthetic delight for hobbyists with their mesmerizing forms and soothing movements. With the right setup, you can have these exotic creatures anywhere in your home.

It does require a lot more thought, however, than just setting up a standard aquarium, since jellyfish are such delicate organisms. If you follow these steps, you can successfully set up and enjoy your new jellyfish habitat for years to come.

Jellyfish have very specific requirements when it comes to establishing a compatible ecosystem. If you are setting up your own tank, pay particular attention to how the water moves in your tank. Jellyfish can easily be sucked into a filter and liquefied. If you’re not using a tank and filter setup that’s specifically designed for jellyfish, you’ll need to make several modifications.

Keep it simple

If you enjoy “aquascaping” then jellyfish are not for you. Decorations threaten the integrity of the jellyfish, literally. By necessity, their tanks must be plain.

Next, make sure you place your tank in a convenient location out of direct sunlight, away from heat sources and electrical equipment. Then, you can install the filter, following the instruction that came with it. You can use any aquarium filter designed for a tank of at least 8 gallons.

If using the kit filter, you need to remove the sponge filter from cellophane wrapping and rinse in fresh water. Then, lock the filter cartridge into the bubble tube by inserting the bubble tube into the cartridge and rotating. Lock the filter cartridge into the bottom of the tank by inserting it into the bottom of the tank and rotating. Plug the clear airline tube into the air pump.

Next, make sure you rinse the gravel in fresh water. Use aquarium gravel that is porous to keep helpful bacteria, which consume waste created by the jellyfish alive. Make sure you.

After you have covered the bottom of the aquarium evenly in gravel, add a layer of glass marbles to completely cover the gravel to protect the delicate jellyfish tissue from being torn on the gravel. Make sure the marbles cover all the gravel and the entire filtration cartridge.

Temperature is important for jellyfish

Now you can add the heater. Set it to 77 °F – the appropriate temperature for a tropical species, including the common Blue Jellyfish (Catostylus mosaicus) – and affix it to the inside of the tank so that it will be completely submerged.

Once that is done, you can fill the tank with salt water. In the kit tank, the water level needs to be 2 inches (5.1 cm) above the top of the bubble tube for proper water circulation, but below the light bulb housing, so the water does not get over-heated by the light. The safest bet is to buy salt water from your local aquarium store to ensure it has the right pH and salinity. at this point, you should plug the light, pump and heater into an electrical outlet and make sure those components power up correctly.

Now it is time to establish the bacterial colony. If you are using a kit, it should contain Stress Coat and Stress Zyme, which contain helpful bacteria that will colonize your filter. The bacteria digest the waste from the jellyfish. You will need to feed the bacteria before adding any live animals to the tank; otherwise, the tank will accumulate biological waste, which contains poisonous ammonia.

The kit also should contain a bottle of Cycle Starter, and you will need to add the entire bottle. Cycle Starter contains the ammonia excreted by animal as waste and digested by filtering bacteria as food. Run the tank for 7 days. During this time, the bacteria colony will grow in your tank.

Before you add your jellyfish, you will need to check that water for ammonia levels, salinity and temperature. If those elements are well within specifications, you can add jellyfish!

A Filter to Maintain Clean Aquarium Water

An aquarium filterEvery aquarium owner should know the basics of aquarium maintenance.  A good working filter is important to any aquarium owner who wants to keep their fish happy and healthy. When the beginner fish-keeper starts out, they will find “filter” on the list of equipment to buy, and they will go along with that. But they may not understand just what the filter does, and what the options are.

What a Filter Is For

The primary function of an aquarium filter is to remove particles and chemical waste products that develop in a living environment. It is necessary to remove such substances to prevent the habitat from turning toxic to the fish. Additionally, clean, clear water is simply much more aesthetically pleasing. So choosing a filter that satisfies the basic needs is important.

Types of Filters

There are several types of filters to select from.

  • Air-driven internal filters
  • Undergravel filters
  • Internal power filters
  • Power filters
  • Canister filters
  • Wet/dry filters

Air-driven internal filters are suitable for small aquariums housing small fish. They work gently, and yet are powerful enough to keep the water conditions as they ought to be.  Because this type of filter is placed inside the tank, the aquarium can be placed close to walls, if space considerations are important. Internal power filters are a second type of filter suited for smaller tanks, like the air-driven internal filters. The provide good filtration and water circulation, as well as save space.

Undergravel filters are placed underneath a substrate of gravel. They pull the water through the gravel in order to do their work. They tend to be less expensive than other models. They rely on a powerhead or an air pump in order to work. They can be used for either large or small tanks, but are better if the fish population of the aquarium is small. In the case of such filters, the substrate needs to be positioned on a grid, to allow circulation through the filter.

The most common type of filter is the power filter. They deliver chemical, biological and mechanical filtration. They do hang on the outside of the aquarium, so the position of the tank has to accommodate them. Their external placement makes it easier to maintain the filter than other types of filters. It can also be used with a wide variety of fish.

Canister filters are larger than other types of filters. They can require more effort to maintain, but they provide exceptional filtering ability. They can provide superior filtration of biological, chemical and mechanical matter. Because they are multipurpose filters, they can be used for different types of aquariums, from freshwater planted aquariums to various saltwater types.

Wet/dry filters call for the most labor to set up, as the installation can be elaborate. They are great for aquariums containing only saltwater fish. They get their name from the fact that portions of the filter for the biological material are exposed both to the water and the air. This type of filter can be customized to the needs of a specific aquarium. They often are located under the aquarium, and require an overflow box.

Ask For Help

Any first-time fish owner can get aquarium maintenance advice and service from the knowledgeable experts at Aquatech Aquarium Service’s Los Angeles location.  We can help you select the best filter for the type of aquarium set-up that is desired. Although there are a variety of choices, anyone wanting to keep their fish alive will not skip the step of including a filter in their tank equipment.