Restocking the Aquarium is Simply In the Bag

Acclimating new fish in a tank during restockingOK, so you just bought some new tropical fish for restocking your freshwater aquarium, and you want to get them home and into the tank as soon as possible.

So you race right home, open the bag and dump them right into the tank right?

Wrong!

There is a right way and a wrong way to introduce your new tropical fish to your fish tank, and what we just described is very much the wrong way. Some gentle preparation is in order to move those new fish into their new environment safely.

When Restocking, Acclimation is the Key

The purpose of acclimation is simple: the water that the fish or corals are packaged in has different temperature, pH, and salinity parameters than your aquarium. Fish, and especially invertebrates (including corals), are very sensitive to even minor changes in these parameters, so proper acclimation is the key to ensuring their successful relocation.

Of course, this whole process begins with selecting some healthy fish from your local aquarium specialist. Take special care to make sure the breeds of fish that you have are compatible and get along. Most pet stores are staffed by knowledgeable clerks and attendants who can help you pick out fish that will be able to share a tank without causing one another harm.

Now that you have chosen your new fish, the process begins, bringing them back to your home is an important part of the process of preparing them for their new environment. As you transport your new fish home, make sure you cover the bag with something to help reduce the stress experienced by the fish during transportation.

Once home, let the bag float in your tank for 15 minutes to a half hour, allowing the fish to get used to the temperature of the water in your tank. Certainly the water in the transport bag will be remarkable different in temperature from the water in your tank, so this process of acclimation is very important.

Equalize the temperature

After the temperature equalization, open the bag and being very careful not to spill any of the water into the tank, get a clean cup and put some tank water into the bag. You will want to put an amount in the bag about equal to what already was in it, thus approximately doubling the volume. Allow the bag to float for another 15 minutes.

Now take the bag out of the tank and open it to allow you to reach in with a net. Gently scoop up your new fish with your net and withdraw the net from the bag, allowing the net to simply rest in the water until your new fish swim out of it and into their new habitat.

Repeat this process until you have brought all of your new fish from the bag into the tank.

Once you have completed the transfer, it is very important that you do not empty the remaining water from the bag into your tank. This water may contain germs or diseases from the pet store, which may result in a deaths or illness to your fish.

So there you have it! A simple restocking method for introducing your new fish into their new habitat safely! Follow these simple step for an easy and enjoyable time with your tropical fish tank!

A Plethora of Possibilities for Perfect Plantlife

java fern in aquarium
Java Fern

Everybody loves the look of real plantlife in freshwater aquariums, especially newbies who are just getting their feet wet (pun intended!) in the hobby. But the big question is this: What kinds of plants are best suited for the beginning aquarist?

One can find a wide variety of plants at your local store, but which ones are best?

Well, here’s our take on things. The following five plant species are fairly simple to grow and maintain, and can make even the most rank beginner’s tank look like a miniature ocean forest with a minimum of expense. Plus, if you stick to these five, you likely will avoid wasting money on plants that just won’t work.

Best plantlife bets for beginners

The Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) tops our list, largely due to the fact that it does not require gravel or sediment, or even high-intensity light to grow. In fact, for this species, less is more when it comes to light. You could even make your entire tank a java fern forest, if that suits your taste. This species is sometimes seen attached to driftwood and rock in planted aquariums. One issue though is the Java fern’s slow rate of growth, so you will want to plant it first, before you put any other plants around it.

Another great low-light plant with which beginners will find success is Wisteria (Hygrophilous difformis). Wisteria needs to be planted in gravel or sediment, though it can survive if not planted. A very fast-growing plant, wisteria is well-equipped to out-compete algae, as it reproduces at a relatively fast rate and usually requires regular pruning to keep it from overtaking your aquarium.

The only reason Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana) isn’t at the top of this list is because it is a challenge to grow for even the most experiences freshwater fish hobbyist. It does not require substrate or high intensity lighting, but once it has established itself and is flourishing in your tank, it can become obnoxious and take over your tank. Java moss requires continuous maintenance in the beginning, allowing you to create a lush garden in only a few months. It is a great plant for hiding aquarium equipment in the tank, too.

Here’s one every beginner can grow: Anubias (Anubias nana). It does require you plant it in a gravel bed, but it doesn’t require high-intensity lighting or any specific water conditions. It can, in fact, even prosper out of the water. Anubias prefers water movement around its rhizomes and it is highly susceptible to beard algae, a brownish/greenish algae that takes over the leaves. The biggest negative for this species is its slow rate of growth. So you should prune lightly and only when you absolutely have to trim.

Also known at “turtle grass,” Anacharis (Egeria densa) is a low-light plant that can either be free floating or planted in the gravel. The invasive nature of this species makes it a difficult find in hobby stores, but if you do find it, take heart in knowing that it grows relatively quickly compared to anubias and java fern.

All this plantlife will prosper in a aquarium that has a pH range between 5 and 9. CO2 injection is not required and most of these plants can be found in any local pet store. Follow this list and your new aquarium will look amazing!

Something Fishy: 5 Unique Fish for Freshwater Tanks

collage of five unique fish for freshwater aquariumsDreaming of a cool design for your aquarium is fun! Once you have completed your unique aquarium design  you may want to consider some unique fish for your freshwater aquarium. We have some suggestions that would be fun and intriguing for you!

Five Unique Fish for Awesome Choices

Knifefis

Knifefis require a large aquarium because when properly cared for they can reach over a foot in length. Knifefis are perennial exotic favorites for home aquariums. Cool fact-Knifefis have a well-developed weak electrical organ that assists them in maneuvering dark waters of their South American homeland.

Bichir

Bichir should be housed with large, peaceful fish because they are opportunistic feeders. Bichir are primitive ray-finned fishes collected from Africa. They can breathe air and travel on land for short periods of time using their strong pelvic fins. You will want to include a tight fitting lid when setting up your aquarium and allow adequate bottom space.

Freshwater “Sharks”

Freshwater “Sharks” require hiding places, driftwood, and larger leaved plants. They have no relations to marine sharks, they are curious fish and would make an excellent addition to aquariums of the semi-aggressive type nature.

Eels

Fresh water eels reach up to approximately 24 inches or more! They adjust well to living their lives in captivity because they feed mostly on fish and crustaceans and they have a reputation in becoming very hardy inhabitants. You need to include plenty of space and hiding places for your eels and also you will need a large well-sealed lid.

Ageneiosus Atronasus

They are a species of the catfish family Auchenipterid. They are known to be found in the Amazonas Rivers. When considering Aquarium Design, ideally a soft, sandy substrate would be idea but not essential. Popular setups tend to feature dim lighting, driftwood, and scattered tree roots/branches. However, you decide to set up your aquarium be sure to allow for adequate swimming space.

Aquarium service is key and you will need to have an efficient filtration system.  Efficient filtration is essential this is primarily due to the predatory nature of this fish. Predatory fish leave large amounts of debris in the aquarium. Installation of one or more external canister filters and/or a sump system, organizing the return in such a way that it ultimately creates some surface movement and a degree of flow is created. Large catfish will provide you with a fresh water fish that are unique and interesting.

The fish as listed above are bound to be something that can make anyone’s tank unique and interesting. Remember to do your research before purchasing these fish and you will be set for a great adventure in your next project.

Select the Right Freshwater Tropical Fish

school of tropical fish in aquariumHaving an aquarium and keeping it stocked with tropical fish seems like a pretty straightforward proposition, doesn’t it? Just go to the pet store, pick out and buy some fish you think are pretty, and taken them home. You’re in business, right?

Wrong!

There are a lot of factors that go into selecting and maintaining an aquarium, and if one doesn’t do their homework and take some special care, a dream hobby can quickly become a nightmare. A hasty purchase or one made from a less-than-reputable vendor can put your fish in peril of dying, and that can get expensive!

So make sure you explore all of your options, conduct some research, and make an educated decision about your purchase. Where you buy your fish is an important consideration so let’s take a look at the options.

aquatech-aquariums-beautiful-freshwater-tropicalOnline or in the store?

At first glance, the number of options you have for purchasing freshwater aquarium fish can be a bit daunting. Aside from the major pet store chains and the “mom-and-pop” neighborhood pets shops, you can buy direct from a tropical fish breeder or through the Internet from an aquarium supply outlet. Each option has it’s up-side; each also has a downside. So it behooves you to take the time and do your due diligence before deciding where to buy.

So let’s look at buying your fish in a store versus buying online. The first and most obvious advantage of buying your fish in a store is that you actually get to see what you are buying and you often can even pick the specific fish. This really doesn’t mitigate the fact that any fish purchased from any vendor can look healthy and there are no guarantees that a healthy looking fish is in fact a healthy fish. But it does give you some control over the process.

Buying from an online store or from a breeder means giving up that personal selection, but there is an advantage to this method of stocking your tank. Tropical fish from pet stores are often already stressed from the shipping process that got them to the store, and the trip from the store to their new home at your house may just be too much for them. Fish purchased from a breeder, however, eliminates those intermediate shipping steps that can stress your fish to the edge of expiration.

And while fish purchased from an online vendor or from a breeding farm may arrive in better shape than those from the local pet store, they also come with a higher price tag. And in addition to paying a premium price for the fish, you also may pay more for priority shipping to get them to you in an expeditious manner.

Not all online retailers and breeders will charge exorbitant fees; some may adjust the cost of the fish to help soften the shipping costs, and some even offer flat rate shipping, as well as bulk discounts. And reputable breeders will offer customers free replacement for any fish that succumb in transit. Of course, those same breeders and online vendors usually strive to ship their best, healthiest tropical fish to give them every chance of surviving the trip.

Beautiful fish for freshwater tanksChoosing healthy tropical fish

No one wants to spend time and money picking out and buying fish only to have them die within days of their arrival in your aquarium. Apart from the aquarium ecosystem itself, which requires attention to maintaining a high level of water quality, there are a few steps you can take to make sure your new pets enjoy a long, happy life. And that starts with picking out healthy tropical fish.

Start when you first arrive at the pet store. Wander around and look at the tanks, really look at them. Ask yourself some questions: Are the tanks clean, or are they slick with algae. Is the water level good, or are the tanks low? More importantly, are the tanks well-stocked or is there a limited selection?

One dead giveaway (no pun intended) is the presence of dead fish in the bottom of the tank, or dead fish stuck to the filters. If either of those to conditions exist, chances are the other fish in that ecosystem are headed to the same fate. If those conditions exist in multiple tanks, you may want to try another store, as this may indicate a variety of problems, from staff negligence to poor water quality to an inferior quality of fish.

You also want to look for tropical fish that are lively and active. Obviously, avoid the top floaters, and stay away from those fish swimming slowly around the bottom of the tank as well. It is a good idea to find out when the store feeds their stock, and arrive in time to observe them during feeding time, and look for the fish with the healthiest appetites! Also, look for fish that have their fins intact, those that are not swollen, showing any redness around their gills and whose eyes are clear. Also look for growths, discoloration ot any signs of bloat; if you see any of those sign, do not buy those fish.

As important as choosing the right vendor may be, purchasing the right fish also means knowing which fish can inhabit the same ecosystem, and which ones cannot. Some species are more aggressive than others, so choosing fish that are compatible is just as crucial as buying ones that are healthy.

With the proper research and deliberation, buying fish for your aquarium can be as fun and rewarding as tending to and nurturing your new pets. So take the time and do your homework. It will pay big dividends in the long run.