wood aquariums

Wood Aquariums

Wood Aquariums

In the past, one wouldn’t imagine an aquarium made of wood. This is basically because of the common knowledge that water destroys wood, but then again, so is steel yet it has been in use for making aquariums. But now things are changing as people have explored and found out that wood is indeed a very good material for making wood aquariums.

Factors to consider with wood aquariums:

1. Wood coating
When making an aquarium using wood however, just like most of the other commonly used materials, we need a coating between the wood and the water making the aquarium water tight.

2. Stiffness
Aside from that, stiffness is another important factor. To achieve this, thickness of the structure is inevitable to ensure the structure doesn’t bulge as well as bend due to the pressure. This factor is indeed a major advantage for wood compared to the other commonly used materials like steel. This is because wood is usually available cheaply and in good thickness. Steel on the other hand are usually thin and would usually bend under the pressure of the water. This is the main reason you will not find an aquarium made of purely steel, because thick steel come with a huge cost which is not bearable. In cases where the wood isn’t strong and stiff enough one can use either horizontal or vertical beams to reinforce.

3. Use of beams for strength
As mentioned above, either horizontal and/or vertical beams are used to reinforce plywood whenever there is risk of bending of the aquarium structure. To achieve this, there is need for calculation of thickness of the beams to achieve the desired strength. There may not be need to go into the tedious calculations however.

4. Gaps between the wood plates
One of the challenges of using wood as an aquarium construction material is sealing the gaps between the wood plates. This can be solved by either plugging or even gluing. Do not however make a commonly made mistake of simply painting hoping the gaps will be sealed, as this would lead to leakage. Note that painting is not an option even if the gaps appear small.

Importance of silicone
Silicone is a very important material in the construction of an aquarium using wood. One of its main advantages is the fact that it is non toxic and hence it will not cause any harm to your fish. Secondly it is very elastic coming in handy. Also, it is very strong hence can endure pressure to a great extent.

Use of glass
For visibility of the fish in the aquarium, a glass is used on the sides and even on top or bottom as desired, to replace the wood. The thickness should be just enough to sustained the pressure of the water.

Construction process
Construction involves a step by step process but it is recommended that you make the stand first. Then after that, make the side walls, back wall and finally the bottom wall. After that, you can assemble the parts into the whole structure.
Ensure you do a proper coating of the inside of the structure to ensure no leakage. Also ensure you use rust free screws in joining all the parts. When done with the assembly, do a proper outer coating by using thin sheets of plywood.

Conclusion
Constructing an aquarium using wood is indeed a noble thing and it reduces the construction costs considerably. The advantages of using wood far outweigh the disadvantages and wood are very fast becoming a material of choice. When everything is done right, wood is one of the best options.

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how to transport live fish

How To Transport Live Fish

How To Transport Live Fish

Introduction

When it comes to keeping fish in an aquarium, movement from one point to another will eventually turn out to be inevitable. Whether it is moving the fish for a short or long distance, great care must be taken. This is because fish are very delicate and if they are handled carelessly, especially during transportation, they may die. In this article, we are going to discus how to transport live fish in four phases.

Phase one
This phase capitalizes on making sure the fish is safe before the journey. It involves the following steps:-
• Making a good plan of how to transport the fish. Ensure you don’t just rush to transporting your aquarium fish without a proper plan of how to precisely do it. This means you need to know your means of transport in advance so that you prepare accordingly. Ensure you don’t leave your fish unattended whenever you make a stop over. Note that most fish can only withstand a travelling of 48 hours, this means you should make your plan with this in mind.

• Ensure you change the water in the aquarium a number of days before the transportation day. The main purpose of this is to make sure the water in the aquarium is clean. This does not however mean that you change the water all at once. You should rather do so gradually running into a number of days, say 20% for five days.

• Never feed the fish a day or two to the transporting day. This will ensure the fish do not mess up and dirtify the water during the journey. Just to note is that fish can survive without food for upto a week.

• Do not pack the fish until it is time to start the journey.

• Only travel with your when it is absolutely necessary.

Phase two

This involves choosing a container that will be used for transportation. It entails:-
• Put the fish in transporting plastic bags. Ensure each fish has its own plastic bag to avoid crowding.

• Ensure the fish is transported in five-gallon buckets. This is because this is the simplest way of transporting a number of fish in the same container. The bucket should be new and free of any chemicals and it should be covered.

• If the aquarium is small, you can transport it as it is.

• Transport the plants separately in a container inside plastic bags.

How To Transport Live Fish – Phase Three

This phase is about keeping the fish safe during the journey. It involves:-
• First step is to fill the containers to be used for transportation with water from the top of the aquarium.

• There should be no foreign objects in the container with fish.

• Keep the temperature under control.

• Keep your fish in a dark place.

• Do not feed the fish during the journey.

• Introduce the fish to the aquarium once again on reaching your destination.

Phase four

This final stage is about caring for the aquarium. It involves the following:-
• The water in the fish tank should be emptied into a container that is safe for fish. The water should be from the top of the aquarium.

• Decorate the tank as desired. This can be done using beautiful rocks as well as other ornaments.

• Ensure correct and safe packing of the filter media. If travelling for short distances, don’t clean the filters but rather keep them in a sealed and clean container free of any chemicals. In case of long travel, ensure you clean the filter.

• Finally, assemble your aquarium at your destination. The water should be the one you emptied from the old aquarium.

After reading this article you should be better versed on How To Transport Fish.

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how to reseal an aquarium

How to Reseal an Aquarium

How to Reseal an Aquarium

Did you ever come home one day and find your aquarium leaking? Did you find a great deal on a used aquarium because it leaks? Do you have an old tank sitting in storage that leaks? Or just one that you don’t think will hold water? This article will guide you in fixing this problem. I will go through the steps you must follow to reline a tank and show you how to do it. This whole process of relining will take roughly about 3 hours but then again it depends on your speeds. This article will strive to take a look at how easy resealing your aquarium really is (or can be). It may look like a daunting task at first but once you break it down, it’s quite simple really. In this guide, we break it down to you step-by-step on how to reseal an old aquarium tank.

How to Reseal an Aquarium – The Tank

A good sample to use for this guide is a 25 gallon tank resealed in several places with various materials including Mono caulking, and is definitely poorly done to say the least.
The Equipment
Here are the things you will need.
1. Razor knife or utility knife blades,
2. Windex
3. paper towel,
4. plastic scotch rite pad/sponge,
5. and depending on the size of the project either a squeeze tube or a caulking gun and a tube of aquarium safe silicone
6. And a vacuum for removing the debris.

How to reseal an aquarium – The Steps

1. First of all, you will want to clean the glass and remove any dirt etc. from the tank. After that you are ready to start removing the old silicone or whatever it is that was used. Place the edge of the blade against the glass at an angle and slide it under the silicone cutting toward the face that is butted against first. This will take several passes before you will reach the opposing glass.

2. Next, cut into the silicone from the other face; be careful not to cut into the joint between the two panels. When you have cut deep enough the silicone should come out in large lengths or pieces. If you make diagonal cuts in the bottom corners it is easier to clean them out. At this point, you should vacuum out the debris, clean the glass with glass cleaner (not the foaming spray as it leaves a residue), and you are ready to start taping.

3. Starting with the bottom, place pull tabs in each corner. Then place your tape approximately one quarter inch back from the joints all the way around. Note that the pull tabs in the corners should be made of masking tape.

4. Next, tape the sides. Start with the vertical runs first so that when you pull the tape it will lift the bottom run as you go.

5. After this is done trim out your corners. The tank is now ready for re-sealing

6. Now you are ready for the new silicone. Cut the tip of the nozzle at approximately forty five degrees with a quarter inch opening. I apologize that is hard to see in this photo.

7. Press it in and smooth it with your finger – working everything in until it is fairly even and smooth.

Note: It is very important to remove the tape immediately after smoothing. Otherwise you will have silicone taped to your glass and have difficulty removing it.
After you are done with the steps above, your aquarium is set and you must wait at least forty eight hours before filling.
One final note – if you accidently get silicone on the glass, leave it to cure for twenty four hours and it will peel off easily by use of a razor blade.

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aquarium buying guide

Aquarium Buying Guide

Aquarium Buying Guide

Buying an aquarium is a commitment which should be approached with careful thought and consideration. While aquarium keeping is considered to be an enjoyable hobby by many, it is always best to purchase the largest tank you can afford when you first begin. This will help you to avoid the need to upgrade later on; after your fish have already been established. Keep in mind, when purchasing an aquarium that you will also need the correct equipment to go along with the actual tank including a heater, filter and lighting to correspond with the size tank you purchase. A sufficiently large tank is necessary as your fish will be happier and healthier when they have adequate room to exercise.

Aquarium Buying Guide – Size and shape of the aquarium

Today, many different shape and height of tanks are available, so some thought will need to be given to this as well. Ideally, it is best not to purchase a tank that is deeper than your arm length or you could face difficult maintenance issues. Generally speaking, standard rectangle and bow-fronted aquariums are more suitable as these types of tanks provide the largest surface area in relation to their volume. As a result they provide maximum length for your fish to swim and exercise in. While tall column tanks can be visually interesting, they do make maintenance difficult. In addition, due to the small surface area, in the event of a power shortage, your fish can suffocate. Other options include cylindrical and spherical tanks; however, these types of tanks tend to distort the fish for viewing.

Aquarium Buying Guide – Types of aquariums

There are three basic types of aquariums available;-
i) basic glass tanks
ii) complete set-up tanks
iii) Systemized aquariums.

Each has advantages and disadvantages.

i. A basic glass tank is an all-glass tank that is in a word-basic. When purchasing this type of tank you must keep in mind that you will need to purchase everything else needed to complete a fully functioning aquarium separate. This means purchasing the filtration, lighting, thermometer, hood, stand, test kits, heater and more separate. Purchasing these items separately can be more expensive than purchasing a complete set-up; however, it does allow you to purchase exactly what you want.

ii. With a complete set up aquarium, the tank comes with a hood and some equipment and accessories. When purchased this way, you usually get a break on the individual prices. This can be a good option if you are unsure about what you will need when you first start out. Perhaps the only disadvantage is that because the items come together you will not be able to purchase exactly what you want, regardless of manufacturer. In addition, do not allow the term ‘complete set-up’ fool you. You may still need other items such as cleaning equipment, background paper and test kits; which must be purchased separately.

iii. A systemized aquarium has the lighting and filtration already fitted into the tank by the manufacturer. This can take the hassle out of selecting and fitting the equipment; however, if you want to use different equipment or even if you want to upgrade in the future, the process is not that simple. Therefore, you should make sure that the system you choose is appropriate for the type of fish you want to keep when you purchase it. For example, some systemized aquariums are better suited for planted tanks and tropical fish.

Tank position
Regardless of which type of aquarium you choose to purchase, it is important to position your tank where it will be easy to view as well as maintain. It should also be positioned in a location that is near an electric outlet. Try to avoid locations near natural sunlight as this can increase the water temperature as well as doors, which may be loud and distress your fish. Finally, avoid placing your tank near areas close to radiators and fireplaces as this can result in excess heat as well.

Aquarium Buying Guide – Conclusion
By giving proper thought and consideration to the type of tank that will best suit your needs and the needs of your fish for some time to come you can be sure you and your fish will enjoy your new aquarium for a long time.

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aquarium maintenance

Aquarium Maintenance

Aquarium Maintenance

Good aquarium maintenance practices will lead to a healthy aquatic environment and thriving fish. Expensive and time-consuming problems can be prevented by spending thirty minutes on maintenance every other week. The biggest factor for maintenance is tank stability. As long as everything is running properly and your fish are healthy, there is no need for any major change, even if the pH or hardness seems to be slightly out of range; only increases or decreases of the major aquarium water parameters will need your careful but immediate attention.

Water Changes
A key part of aquarium maintenance is the water change, which should be performed about every two weeks. In most cases, 10-15% of the tank volume is sufficient. A good method is to replace the water extracted while vacuuming the gravel, which will eliminate uneaten foods and other residues that settle on the substrate. It is highly recommended to check the water parameters of both the tank and replacement water. Most tap water (city water) contains either chlorine or chloramine. Chlorine will air out rather quickly (kept in an aerated bucked for twenty-four hours); chloramine (chloramine = chlorine + ammonia) will not. Using a water conditioner will neutralize the chlorine in both cases, but ammonia will still be present in the latter. It has to be broken down by the nitrifying bacteria present in the aquarium. This may take longer than your fish can tolerate.

Other elements of municipal water may be phosphates, iron, and other heavy metals. To find out about your tap water chemistry, call your local water company.

Filtered water should also be checked on a regular basis and should be considered part of your aquarium maintenance routine. The filter membranes could be damaged or may require replacement prior to the expiration date.

Testing the Aquarium Water
Water chemistry is not visible; therefore, it is vital to check it on a regular basis. The best way to make this a routine is to check on the tank chemistry while changing the water. The vital parameters are pH, nitrates, nitrites, and carbonate hardness (salinity for marine tanks).

Stability is the main factor with pH. pH in the range of 6.5 – 7.5 is suitable for most species, but they can adjust if slightly out of range.

KH (carbonate hardness) is the indicator of pH stability. It should be kept under close observation if it comes close to 4.5 dH (degree hardness) or 80 ppm.

Nitrites should be undetectable at all times (except during cycling). If you detect nitrites make sure you check on ammonia as well.

Nitrates should be kept below 10 ppm in freshwater and 5 ppm in marine and reef (preferably 0 ppm).

Filtration of the Aquarium
The proper function of the filter is essential. Filter inserts should be changed at least every four weeks. A high fish load may require shorter periods. Trapped particles will decompose in the filter as they would in the tank. The filter should also be cleaned once a month (do not touch the bio-wheels, if present) by using the water extracted from the tank during the water change.

Recommended Aquarium Maintenance Routine

Daily
• Make sure the equipment is running properly.
• Watch your fish during feeding. Behavioral changes are a good indicator of a potential problem.

Weekly
• Count your fish. In case of fish death, smaller species can decompose quickly, resulting in ammonia and nitrite spikes, and eventually high nitrate levels.

Every Other Week
• Test your water for the vital parameters: pH, carbonate hardness, nitrite and nitrate.
• Change 10-15% of the water.
• Vacuum the gravel.
• Clean the aquarium walls. Filter floss is fairly cheap and very efficient. Start from the bottom upward and rinse out often.
• Rinse filter inserts (cartridges) with the extracted water.

Monthly
• Replace filter inserts.
• Inspect tubing, connections, airstones, skimmers and other parts for proper operation.
• Clean aquarium top to assure your lighting is not affected.
• Check the expiration dates printed on the boxes and bottles of the aquarium supplies you use. Do not use after the imprinted date.

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fish fungus

Fish Fungus

Fish Fungus

Fungus consists of fine white threads known as hyphae that pass through organic material. These hyphae form distinctive patches on fish that resemble cotton wool.

Pathology

The fungi involved include species of Achyla and Saprolegia, often referred to collectively as water molds. These are likely present in most aquaria, breaking down organic material, such as feces, leaf litter and uneaten fish food.

Triggering Factors
Fungus spores are opportunistic and given the chance will invade most types of organic material, including living tissue. Fungus do not harm healthy aquarium fish because the mucus layer on the skin of a fish prevents the spores from infecting its living tissues. However, if the fish’s mucus layer is damaged, fungus can quickly develop, particularly if the fish is living in dirty/unhealthy conditions. Rough handling is a common cause of fungus, but other common causes include fin nipping and fighting among fish. Any diseases that produce open wounds, such as ich, ulcers and hole-in-the-head disease, can lead to fungus.
Fungus is also associated with environmental stress, presumably because fish exhibit a weaker immune response when they are not properly taken care of. Chilling, poor water quality and inappropriate water chemistry are all common reasons why aquarium fish develop fungus. Keeping brackish water fish in freshwater conditions can also lead to fungal infections.

Fish Fungus Treatments:

i. Organic Dyes
Fungus needs to be treated promptly because it spreads rapidly, making the fish more vulnerable to secondary infections, such as fin rot. Even by itself, fungus will kill a fish if not remedied.

There are various proprietary medications available for treating fungus, usually based on organic dyes, such as malachite green. These medications are safe when used to treat most community fish, but they cannot be used in tanks containing certain delicate species, such as mormyrids and stingrays, and they are also toxic to snails, shrimps and other invertebrates.
Because fungus is not contagious, infected fish can be moved to a quarantine tank for treatment away from other livestock. This is the recommended approach for systems where some of the livestock are intolerant of antifungal medications.

ii. Tea-Tree Oil and Salt
Tea-tree oil is sometimes promoted as a less toxic antifungal medication. While it can work up to a point, tea-tree oil medication is inconsistent in effectiveness and may not be strong enough to treat severe fungal infections. Tea-tree oil is best considered as a preventative or precautionary measure -something to be used in situations where the fish are not yet sick, but they could be physically damaged because of fin nipping, fighting or handling.
Salt is not a reliable antifungal medication at the doses suitable for use with most community fish, though raising the salinity will help keep fungal infections at bay in tanks with livebearers and brackish fish. Even so, this therapeutic effect should be viewed within the context of providing these fish with better environmental conditions, in particular their needs for a basic pH, moderate to high levels of hardness and a level of salinity appropriate to the species in question.

iii. Treating Fish Fungus, Fin Rot and Mouth Fungus Simultaneously
Fungus, fin rot and mouth fungus are all opportunistic infections that can occur when fish are stressed or injured. In some situations, fish may contract more than one of these diseases, and distinguishing between them is often difficult.
Fortunately, there are numerous medications available that will treat all three maladies equally well. Combinations of formalin and malachite green will treat a range of fungal and bacterial pathogens, but as stated earlier, such medications can be harmful to certain types of livestock, so they should always be used with care.

Fish Fungus on Fish Eggs

Besides fish, fungus will readily infect fish eggs, as well. Unfertilized eggs are usually infected first, with the hyphae gradually spreading onto healthy eggs, eventually killing the developing embryo. You should keep the aquarium as clean as possible so that fungus cannot become established.
Prevention
• Avoid injuries to your fish by minimizing handling
• Maintain cleanliness.

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