A tropical fish tank is the most popular way to introduce marine life into any home. Tropical fish are known for their bright colors, wide range of sizes, and their ability to thrive in an aquarium setting. Though fish have gotten a reputation as being a good “starter pet,” it is important to understand their environmental needs and the work fish ownership requires before starting your tank.
The key to a successful aquarium fish tank is careful consideration and extensive research into the make-up of a tank, as well as regular maintenance and monitoring. Aquarists derive a great deal of pride from a well-functioning tank and enjoy the beauty they add to a home.
A large fish tank is a good starting point for success. Invest in a high quality marine fish tank made with glass or acrylic in the biggest size your home will support (you might consider wall fish tanks if you are trying to save space). Fish tanks should always be filled immediately after purchase to make sure that they are properly sealed and will not leak when full. Wash both the inside and outside of a tank with bleach solution before setting it up to remove any dust particles from the store or box.
Remember that most fish are sold before reaching maturity, so talk to your pet store representative about the amount of room they require when fully grown as crowding fish can stunt growth and lead to health problems. Lastly, aquarium stands are often considered an afterthought, but finding a sturdy stand that can easily hold the weight of the tank and water will ensure that fish tank never collapses or topples over by accident. Designated stands may be purchased at any store that offers fish tanks for sale.
A generous layer of gravel and hiding places for fish tank fish should be purchased next. To enhance the colors of a tropical fish tank many aquarists use brightly colored gravel. Before adding this gravel to a tank, rinse it well in a sink. Even natural colored gravel is typically dyed, and this rinsing will wash away any dye that may have otherwise ended up in your fish’s water. After a few minutes, the water will run clear through the gravel. At this point, it is safe to be placed inside a tank. Repeat the process for any hiding places that you will add to your fish tank. If you plan to host a lot of fish, get more than one hiding place to provide adequate cover.
A fish tank filter should be added and run for a few days before any fish are added to the aquarium. Regardless of the type of filter you will be using, much of the filter’s work is done by small colonies of bacteria that live within it. These bacteria will remove potentially harmful chemicals from the water and turn them to harmless nitrates. In order to ensure that your filter contains adequate levels of bacteria, the empty water should be allowed to cycle through a few times before the tank is inhabited.
Filters are usually differentiated by the volume of water they can clean. Make sure that the volume of your filter corresponds with your tank capacity. For a top quality filter, look into the Eheim 2213 Classic aquarium filter or the Fluval FX5. Fish tank pumps will also help keep the water fully aerated to ensure the livelihood of your fish.
A good aquarium light system for a tank is always important, but nowhere is it more so than in tropical fish tanks. A tropical fish’s natural habitat features high intensity sunlight and warm water, so find a system that will accurately reproduce these conditions throughout the tank. Aquarium lights systems are available in a number of color spectrums and intensity levels, so research the type of fish you are interested in to find those that will create the most favorable conditions.
If plants will be added to a tank, intensity levels must be higher still. During the period before the fish are added, when the filter is running, turn on the lights according to a 12 hour per day schedule. This way, you can be sure that your lights are penetrating the water but not having too great an effect on the temperature. While tropical fish do need warmth, some lights may throw off more heat than is necessary.
When all this work has been done, it is finally time to start adding the fish. Begin by adding just a few at a time, testing the water regularly to be sure that the filter is doing its job. Every few days, more fish may be added until a fish tank is full. Closely watch the interactions among fish to make sure they are coexisting harmoniously, and seem to have ample room to roam.
By setting up your tropical fish tanks with care, you will ensure their health for years to come. All these fish tank accessories will help ensure the health of your fish tank for a long time. A fish tank is a focal point of any room, and the enjoyment that comes with caring for fish is second to none.
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