|Cleaning Your Tank
A clean fish tank can go along
way in helping you save money and most importantly,
having your fish happy and healthy.
Here are some tips to help you maintain a well
balanced fish tank :
Always stand your tank on polystyrene before
setting it up as it helps to cushion the base.
In a new tank the good beneficial bacteria which
is responsible for the biological filtering of
fish daily waste takes about 4 weeks to mature.
This can be speeded up by adding a maturing agent
to your tank. (like Mature tank or Safewater).
When it comes to stocking a new tank with fish
you should only put in a few fish to start off
with and then build the stocks up gradually over
the next month or two. This is to let the tank
mature slowly and to stop the nitrites going very
high too soon.
You should always ask for advise when choosing
fish to put in your tank to see if they are compatible
with what you have in your tank already.
When you have purchased your fish you need to
introduce them into your tank carefully, this
is best done by floating the bag for 15 minutes
before letting them out. This lets the temperature
of the water in the bag equalize to the temperature
in the tank. Then dip a little water from your
tank into the bag before slowly letting the fish
into your tank.
When it comes to putting new gravel, rocks or
bogwood into the aquarium make sure that you give
them a good washing first of all. To wash gravel
put a small quantity of it into a clean bucket
and then fill this with cold water. You should
now swill the gravel around releasing the dirt
from the gravel into the water. This dirty water
should be poured away and then swill the gravel
again in the same way until the water is clear.
Rocks need to be soaked in hot or preferably boiling
water for about an hour. To clean bogwood you
should soak it in a bucket of boiling water over
night, this will make the water brown in colour
as it removes the stain from the bogwood. It should
be soaked over night in fresh clean boiling water
until the water is clear the morning after.
Never use a bucket that has had chemicals like
bleach, soap etc. in it as this will harm your
fish. It is best to buy a new bucket and use it
just for the fish tank, maybe even write on it
"Fish tank" so that Dad doesn't use
it to wash the car !
Never put shells, corals or anything off the
beach into your coldwater or tropical aquarium
as this will cause problems in the future.
Every 4 - 6 weeks you should do a quarter water
change, this stops the potential build up of fish
waste getting to high. When replacing this water
you need to treat it in the bucket for 5 minutes
before putting it back into your tank with a water
conditioner. (like Aquasafe, Stress go, Fresh
start or Haloex). These remove the chlorine and
the bad metal ions from the water and put a coating
in to protect the fishes gills. Remember to get
the temperature of the water you are using to
roughly the same as the tank.
The ideal tank temperature for tropical fish
is 75 - 80 F ( 24 - 26 C)
If you should have to strip the tank fully then
always try and keep some of the good mature water.
This will give it a good start when setting it
back up again and remember to unplug the heater/stat
for 5 minutes to let it cool down before you remove
If any of your fish appear not to get on, or
have grown to large then you can return them to
us and we will give you a credit to spend in the
You should feed your fish sparingly twice a day,
if any of the flake food sinks to the bottom then
you have over fed and this can lead to cloudy
tanks and poor water quality. Never crush the
food as even a neon can eat a flake as its like
tissue paper and folds up in its mouth. By crushing
the flake it makes it very bitty and this tends
to make it sink almost straight away again clouding
the water after a while. If your tank is less
than a month old then you should only feed once
a day until it matures, which takes a month.
If your water goes cloudy then it is nearly always
due to over feeding, so carry out a quarter water
change and then add a product to help clear the
water (like Accu clear, Filter aid, acurel) and
from then on cut down on the food as overfeeding
is the most common problem in this hobby.
Should you suffer from algae in your tank then
this can be cured by cutting down the number of
hours that you have your light on and also by
adding an algae control product (like Algazin,
Green away, Clear water).
To grow plants successfully they need about 8
- 12 hours a day of light. Its a case of getting
a happy balance where your plants grow well and
the algae doesn't ! If the plants still are not
growing as well as you would like them then it
might be time for a new light tube as after 12
- 18 months the strength of the light given off
by the tube decreases. Adding a reflector to the
light doubles the brightness and you will see
a tremendous difference. You might want to replace
your light with a brighter one to help with plant
growth (like Power-glo, Triton, Freshwater lamp,
or even Life-glo with its own built in reflector).
You should be testing the water from your tank
every fortnight or every week for best results
as the water in a fishes life is the most important
thing (other than the temperature in a tropical
tank). You should be testing for two main things,
Ph and Nitrites. These important water qualities
keep the fish in tip top health and prevent the
fish being stressed which would normally lead
to poor health. You can bring some tank water
to use for us to test and advise (50 pence charge
per test) or you might want to buy your own kits
so that you can test the water in the convenience
of your own home.
When cleaning internal or external filters always
use water from the tank to wash out the media
as using hot water or even cold tap water (full
of chlorine) can kill the good beneficial bacteria
which is responsible for keeping your tank biologically