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Tips for Maintaining a Freshwater Aquarium

By Edited Aug 30, 2015 0 0

Here are a few tips for maintaining a freshwater aquarium:

Aquarium Tank

The best tank is the biggest tank. A bigger tank will stabilize the environment better so it will be easier to maintain the correct temperature and ph-balance. Buy the biggest aquarium you can afford to buy.

How much water is really in the freshwater aquarium? There are going to be rocks, gravel and decorations in the bottom of the tank and they take up a lot of space.

There is a general rule that applies to standard aquariums. The rule is that you should have one to two inches of narrow fish per gallon of filtered water. This rule is not very good. How do you measure fish? I would go with one goldfish or narrow fish per ten gallons of water. It is an easier rule to remember and to figure out. Longer and bigger fish need more space so lower the amount of fish per gallon for the larger fish. Also, keep in mind that fish grow. That one tiny goldfish might grow to be a monster (probably not but it's an example). When deciding how many fish to put in your fish tank, there are a few things you should consider:

 What type of fish are going to be placed in the tank? Some fish produce more waste, some fish are bigger and some fish just don't get a long and will need more space to get away from each other.

What type of filter will you be using? If you are using multiple filters, you can probably put more fish in the tank because there will be less waste in the water.

How often will you clean the tank? If you are planning on cleaning the tank often, you will want less fish in the tank. It is hard to clean a tank that is overfilled with fish.

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Aquarium Fitlers

You should always use at least two filters in an freshwater aquarium for improved efficiency and for extra filtering. The best combination of filters for a small aquarium would be a back hanging filter and a sponge. A sponge filter can also be combined with an internal filter if you desire. When cleaning the sponge filter or the filter cartridge, always clean it in used aquarium water. This will allow it to keep the bacteria on it that helps with bio filtering. There are a variety of other filters to choose from including under gravel, canister, fluidized bed and wet or dry.

The four types of filters to choose from include:

Biological - This type of aquarium filter eliminates nitrogenous waste from the water. Always have at least one biological filter in the tank.

Mechanical - The mechanical filters remove large debris from the water such as unused fish food and waste.

Chemical - This filter removes chemicals that have been absorbed into the water such as carbon or zeolite. There are usually not any chemicals in an established aquarium so there may not be a need for a chemical filter.

Germicidal - This type of filter uses ozone to destroy diseases found in the water.


Just about all fish will need a water temperature of seventy six to eighty degrees Fahrenheit. Some fish prefer warmer water and Goldfish do not even care what the temperature is set at. To get to the correct water temperature in your freshwater aquarium, will need around twenty five watts for every ten degrees of air temperature.

Aquarium Water Cycling

It takes a long time to cycle the water in a fish tank. Some tanks take up to six weeks to reach peak filtration A great way to give the filtration process a head start is to add a used sponge the the aquarium.

Aquatic Plants

Aquatic PlantsPlants, especially live plants, not only look great but will provide helpful benefits to the freshwater aquarium. Live plants might be difficult for a beginner but they are easy to take care of once you get the hang of it. Live plants will remove the carbon dioxide from the water and will replace it with oxygen that is used by the fish. Hornwort and Banana plants are both great at removing carbon dioxide from the water and they are easy to take care of. Some fish like to nibble on plants. If you have Silver Dollars, Goldfish or African Chichlids, it might be best to use artificial plants or a hardy plant that can handle a little nibbling. When using plants, keep the substrate around three to five centimeters deep and mix it with laterite. Put a two centimeter deep layer of gravel on top of the substrate. This will create a good foundation for the plant's roots. Make sure you clean the gravel thoroughly before putting it in the bottom of the tank.

Feeding the Fish

You should feed your fish the highest quality foods you can afford. The best fish food will include brine shrimp, spirulina, lobster shell, vintamins and fish meal. Fish get almost all of their energy from fat as their digestive system cannot handle meat. The best brands of fish food include Ocean Nutrition, Sanyu, Omega, Hikari and Spirulina. The high quality foods will give the fish energy to last through the day and night. The fish should be fed two times per day. Only give them enough food to last for a few minutes as you don't want to overfeed the fish. When I was a kid, I was watching my uncle's fish while he was out of town and I overfed them and they died. My uncle was not happy with me. You do not want that to happen.

Cleaning the Aquarium

You should clean the freshwater aquarium and change the water every week. You only need to change 20% of the water each week. Use a gravel vacuum to suck out some water. The fish can stay in the tank. Replace the water you remove with clean water that is the same temperature as the water in the tank.

 Water Chemistry

Keeping track of the chemicals in the water can be confusing. The ammonia and nitrites should be at zero. The nitrates should be below twenty and the KH should be above eighty parts per million. If you own Discus, keep the PH below seven. African Cichlids should have a water PH of eight. Most fish prefer a water PH of 7.2 to 7.5. To lower a PH in tap water, try using a reverse osmosis system. These can be installed for a low price by Culligan or some other water softening company. Once you get the water chemistry right, the fish will be happy.

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