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Setting A Home Aquarium

A home aquarium can be the container in which aquatic animals and plants are kept or it can he enlarged to include all its contents, that is, the entire underwater community of fish, plants, rocks, water et al. To the relief of amateurs especially, modern fish tanks are not just containers, but an entire system complete with its own built-in filtration that treats the water mechanically and biologically to keep it clean, and optimal lighting essential for both fish and plants to flourish. This results in a self-contained system that allows you to spend more time enjoying underwater beauty than maintaining it.

Size Of Fish Tank And Types Of Aquarium

To determine the size and the type of aquarium to buy, decide what size fish you plan to keep, how big a community you intend to house in there, the amount of space in your room and of course your budget too. Also bear in mind that aquariums are heavy. For example, a tank of 60cm (L) x 45cm (W) x 45cm (H) has the capacity of some 120 litres. When fully setup and filled with water, such a tank can exceed 150kg. So be sure to choose a base or stand that is strong enough to hold this weight.

Price Of Fish Matters

Price is also an important consideration when buying your first batch of fish. Ironically, a brand new sparkling clean tank is rougher on fish than an established dirty aquarium. This means your first batch is at the most risk, so choose hardier species and save the more delicate and pricier fish for a later stage. Generally it is advisable to follow a 2-stage plan.

Algae Eaters

It is a good idea to introduce the algae eaters as soon as the planting is done so as to ensure dominant growth of water plants over algae. They help to keep the glass clean and the algae off the plants. rocks and decorations. They will also scavenge for uneaten foods. Good examples of algae caters include the otocinclus and plecostomus.

The second stage requires you to introduce varieties of community fish that are compatible with your water plants. Common favorites include barbs. cory cats. Cichlids, angelfish, danios, gouramies, guppies. loaches, rainbowfish, rasboras, tetras, and of course the quintessential goldfish.

Breeding Requirements

Many fish require specific conditions to breed successfully. You thus need to obtain the necessary information for the species you intend to breed. Most fish require a combination of factors to initiate spawning:

A Conducive Environment

Most fish will not breed if any ammonia or nitrite is present; water with large amounts of nitrate is toxic to baby fish. Some fish, like tetras, must be bred in a breeding tank that is bare and sterile so that their eggs will not be attacked by fungus. Fish that breed on substrates need proper platforms such as peat, rocks, shells and plants, for their eggs to attach to.

For example, java moss can be added to the aquarium for egg scatterers, or small clay flower pots or PVC pipes for egg depositors. Some fish are shy and require sheltered areas where they can take refuge in dark nooks arid corners. Some fish also require a particular water chemistry. Examples are discus, which need soft, acidic water to breed, and African cichlids which require hard, alkaline water.

A Nutritious Diet

Fish that are producing eggs and sperm should be fed a more nutritious diet. This mimics the abundance of live foods in spring and also gives the fish the extra nutrients required to produce vast amounts of eggs and sperm. Breeders call the process of special feeding for parents "conditioning". Conditioning foods include live, frozen and spirulina-based foods.

A Selection Of Potential Mates

It is not easy to determine the gender of individuals belonging to some species. In such cases, it is best to start out with at least six young fish, to increase the likelihood of having males and females in the group. The fish will also have more options when it comes to picking a compatible breeding partner - sometimes when a single male and female are introduced to each other, they will not breed. For fish like killifish and polygamous cichlids, the group should comprise more females than males, so that females will not be harassed by amorous males.

External Cues

Many tropical fish breed during the rainy season. When it rains, streams flood and the water hardness drops. Adventurous breeders with "rainy season fish" could try making large water changes using distilled water and watering cans to simulate rain and strong currents. Besides cleaner water and water hardness, breeding triggers include changes in temperature and the light/dark cycle.

Generally, the increase in light during springtime stimulates spawning. In this case, it would be best to regulate the amount and duration of light according to seasonal changes to encourage aquarium fish to spawn. The closer to nature the environmental conditions are, the better the fish breeding results you will have.


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