Fish Tank Accessories
A fish tank is a bowl or container, designed as a habitat for pet fish and aquatic plants. Most, if not all, animal-preserving organizations discourage people from keeping fish in tanks because this retains fish away from their natural habitat. But if you want to take care of aquatic organisms at home, make sure to provide them with the best care possible. Caring for fish involves the proper setting of their habitat – the fish tank.
What Do We Need For A Fish Tank?
Of course, you need the tank itself. Fish tanks vary in size, shape, and material, and it is usually made from glass or acrylic. Also, glass tanks like Aqua Culture Aquarium are cheaper, harder to scratch, denser, and heavier than acrylic tanks, but are also easier to break. Curved glass aquarium or bowl has higher light refraction, which means the things inside it might appear smaller or larger than they are.
Here are some of the tips you can note about when choosing the right aquarium for your fish:
Choose A Bigger Size
Bigger aquariums may seem harder to maintain, but in reality, less water makes a small chemical change to cause significant changes in the tank’s concentration.
Prioritize Width Than Height
In choosing a fish tank, consider the width of the tank more than its height. The taller tank does not mean higher fish capacity. Fish usually settle at the bottom and would love a wide surface area to swim through.
It is the furniture on which you place your aquarium. It should be strong and able to carry the whole tank with all the equipment, water, and live animals in it. There are fish tank stands available in the market like the Imagitarium Brooklyn Gallon Metal Stand. Still, you can also use any furniture (e.g., countertop), given that it can carry the tank.
Hood (Lid And Light)
The hood is composed of a lid and a light. The lid is a glass portion that serves as a covering for the tank. It keeps the fish inside the tank, prevents water evaporation, avoids pollutants from getting into the tank, and protects the light bulb from water.
Frequently, the lid is sold with the light. Get this bundle if you prefer a less expensive hood. But if you want to purchase the lid and light individually, you can do so.
If you want to grow plants, consult a specialist to know the right fixture for your light: how much light is needed, what kind of light bulb to use, and the likes. For beginners, it is recommended to use LED or fluorescent lights, especially if you want to spend less on electricity and do not want the water to get hot.
Why Fish Tanks Need Light
Unsuitable and insufficient tank lighting can cause stress to fish and prevents them from growing and be healthy. Light imitates the natural day and night conditions of their original habitat. It also helps fish to be more active, and it brings out their natural colors, too. Fish may need up to 12 hours of daylight each day, but it is up to your preference.
Light is also necessary for plants to live and grow. To avoid excessive growth of algae, you can limit your aquarium light from 7 to 10 hours a day.
A filtration system is a piece of essential equipment in the fish tank. It aids in keeping the quality of water for your fish to stay healthy. There are various filters available in the market, but I advise you to get the best filter that you can with your budget. You may purchase one with a bio-wheel system like MarineLand Penguin Power Filter.
Choose a filter that has a size appropriate with the size of your aquarium. It must flow with a rate that filters the tank water at least four times per hour (e.g., for a 10-gallon tank, the filter flow rate must be at least 40 gallons per hour). You may use canister filters for bigger aquariums.
A heater is used to raise the temperature of the water inside the fish tank. For most fish, especially tropical ones, the temperature should range from 74 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. That is why you need a heater unless your house temperature lies in that range all the time.
Fish tank heaters may be hung on the tank or submerged in water, depending on its model. Some have a numerical setting or an up-and-down one. Submersible heaters with a numerical setting are recommended.
Smaller tanks require a more substantial amount of wattage. If your aquarium is large (or over 40 gallons), it is better to put two smaller heaters at opposite ends of the aquarium than placing a large one at a single side. By this, heat is distributed better throughout the aquarium.
To check if your tank water is at a proper temperature, you will need a thermometer.
A substrate is a material (e.g., gravel, soil, sand) spread at the bottom of the tank, which serves as the base upon which plants and good bacteria can grow. The substrate can provide aesthetic as well. You may have to do some research on the proper substrate required for specific plants.
One popular substrate used is gravel, which does not only serve as a substrate and a decoration, but also a medium of filtration. Most of the gravel sold for fish tanks are coated with plastic, so you do not have to boil them to be sterile.
Test Your Gravel
Some gravel that is not bought at fish stores may affect the chemistry of the tank water. So to be sure it does not, put water and gravel in a bucket and measure the pH level, leave it over a week, then measure again. Stable pH means the gravel is safe for tanks.
It is used for catching fish if ever you would want to transfer it to another container. It is also useful in getting debris floating on the water. You may need at least one fishnet, but having two is recommended. Make sure the net has holes just enough to catch fish. Nets with very fine holes have higher resistance with the water and do not help you catch fish.
You should make sure that the water you will use for your fish tank is free from ammonia, chlorine, heavy metals, and other toxins that may build up in your tank water. You need a water conditioner like Api Pond Ammo-Lock to take care of them. Water conditioner helps to vaccinate your tank with the bacteria necessary to break down and digest ammonia eliminated by your fish, hence, water would remain safe for fish.
Water conditioner should be applied in tap water when filling the tank, and every time you change the water.
A powerhead generates current underwater so that the water keeps moving around the tank. Heat needs to be evenly distributed in water, powerhead aids in ensuring this. The current created can also give your fish a “river atmosphere” or a gentler one depending on your preference.
You Do Not Need A Powerhead
It is true IF your tank’s internal filter already provides good flow for your water. To ensure your water flows sufficiency inside the tank, measure temperature at two to three areas of your tank. One near the heater, one on the opposite end, and the other in the middle. The temperature for all areas should be close to one another.
Water flow aids in gas exchange between the air and the water. Air pumps ensure that oxygen concentration in your tank is maintained at an adequate level. If a box or canister filters are used, the water movement usually is sufficient, and the air pump is not required. Air pumps also produce bubbles, and it is not only for aesthetic purposes. Bubbles help lift the water tubes and through the filter.
Using an air pump, you can keep the water oxygenated, and the fish can breathe easily. Like a powerhead, the air pump also aids in making sure the water is evenly heated.
It contains tools that are used to measure ammonia, nitrite, and pH levels. If you can afford to buy one, it would be better.
Dirt can also accumulate in between and under the gravel. To clean them, a siphon is needed. It vacuums the gravel when water needs to be changed.
Algae help maintain the ammonia and oxygen to a certain level needed for fish life. They are also beneficial to an extent, but excessive algae disrupt the environment of the fish. It is also not pleasant to have a fish tank covered with algae. For this, you need algae scrubs. Algae magnets are also available in the market for a more convenient way of getting rid of algae.
It is a container used for transferring or filling up the tank with water. Of course, you may have pails at home, but be sure to have one intended for aquarium use only.
Plants And Decorations
Fish can also get bored. They love to play around and hide, so having rocks, caves, and other structures can make them feel more “at home.” You can add ornaments like rocks, wood, and artificial plants, but be sure they everything you put inside are safe for the fish.
Feeding your fish is exciting, but make sure that you feed your pets with the right food and the right amount as well. Fish foods contain nutrients, vitamins, and trace elements needed to keep the fish healthy.
There are fish foods intended for particular purposes, such as brightening fish colors and making the fish plumper. It is advised to consult a specialist regarding what food to give to a certain kind of fish.
- Always handle the tank with care.
- Clean your tank inside and out before setting up.
- In cleaning, never use soap, detergents, and other cleaning agents. Use nothing but water.
- If you want to sterilize plastic equipment, rinse them thoroughly with clean water and dechlorinator.
- Wash gravel thoroughly by rinsing it repeatedly until the water remains clear. Non-plastic gravel can be boiled.
- Dark gravel highlights fish color better while light gravel tends to wash it out.
- Always dechlorinate water prior to adding it to your tank. Untreated tap water may kill your fish.
- It would be ideal for putting larger plants at the rear or wall of the tank and smaller ones toward the front, so your fish can have ample swimming area.
- Keep the tank in a quiet area. Fish communicate with one another through low-frequency sounds, so do not place radios or any loudspeakers near your tank. They can interfere with the communication between fish.
- Do not add fish right away. Allow your system to operate for at least 24 hours first before adding the inhabitants.
- Ask your dealer about suitable fishes in your aquarium, their compatibility with one another, and the number of fish that would be applicable to live in your tank.
- When changing water, replace it with about the same temperature to avoid shocking your fish.
- Always unplug your equipment before performance any fish tank maintenance.
The fish tank parts listed above will somehow cost you a price, but remember to not settle for less. You are taking care of live animals, and each of these fish tank accessories plays a vital role in sustaining your tank’s wellness. As well as the life of the aquatic organisms in it. Your aquarium may be ineffective if you fail to complete the necessary parts of a fish tank.
The most crucial part of keeping your fish healthy is maintaining an excellent quality of water. Do not compromise the fish journey with the money you need to spend on their habitat. If you want your fish tank to succeed, provide your inhabitants with their necessities – and an excellent place to live in.