Plan Your Own Aquarium

To most people on the brink of purchasing their first fish tank, anything larger than an aquarium seems like something on which they could install a full size diving board, leap in, and do the backstroke. When optical illusions are listed, an empty aquarium should go some where near the top of the list as appearing overwhelmingly larger than it actually is.

However, with no sleight of hand or juggling involved it also seems to shrink as you find more and more to put in later on. Therefore the cardinal rule on your first sally into learning a fishy life should be – BY AT LEAST A TEN GALLON TANK. Buy the largest aquarium you can afford it will pay off with extra dividends of happiness for you, your children and the fish. Buy all of your equipments at one time. You will certainly need Air Pump, Air-stone Valve, plastic tubing pump, gravel and plants. Plants are must because plant utilizes the carbon dioxide and given off oxygen in a process called photosynthesis, but this is possible only when a source of good light is available. It is true that natural lifts can be used for this purpose but if it is strong cannot be controlled. Since it does not come with a handy little switch for snapping it on and off.

Too much of natural light (direct sunlight) will bring too much of algae develop on the side of your tank temporarily, it can be removed with a blade or small piece of newspaper or cloth without emptying the tank. Make sure that this cloth is completely free of soap, detergent dye or dirt. Aeration (air pump) of your Aquarium can be accomplished by the use of an Aerator or air-stone. Contrary to popular belief, this device does not put oxygen into the tank, but it does effectively remove the unwanted carbon dioxide. Fill the ground with gravel that is neither too fine nor too coarse. If it is too fine the roots of plant will have difficulty probing through it as it becomes packed. If it’s too coarse, minute food particles will get down in the crevices out of reach of even the busiest little scavengers. Most of the gravel available in pet shops is pre-washed but it does no harm to wash it once again. This can best be done placing it in a large container, such as a bucket and running a strong stream of water down through it, agitating the gravel with your hand until the water run clear. A container selected for use with your fish should never be used for any other purpose.

Setting up the tank

First of all, your tank must be placed on a firm, unyielding surface. Pour the gravel or sand into place. Slope the gravel gently from the back of the tank down to two or three inches at the front. It is now time to call upon your artistic talents and place your rocks where you wish. When everything meets with your approval, place a piece of newspaper, wrapping paper, or plastic over the top of your arrangement. Carefully pour water on this surface. This will keep the gravel from washing out of place. Fill the tank with water to approximately three inches from the top. This will allow you to put your hands inside the tank to arrange your plants without spilling any water over the sides. When the planting has been completed to your satisfaction, the tank can be filled the rest of the way ideally the water should be allowed to age over. This allows the dust particles to settle and if any chlorine which is added to the tap water will be released from the water. The next day you can put the fish into the tank.

A fishy community

The ideal members which grows together.

Any of the many colour varieties of guppies, platies, swordtails and mollies make fine community fish as a rule. The remainder of tropical fish falls into the general category of egg layers. A random selection of fish that the “ideal community tank citizen” label are dwarf gouramis, kissing gouramis, tetras, neon tetras, serapes, bleeding heart tetras, black tetras, cardinal tetras.

There are many tropical fish from which to make a selection, but a few taken from this cross section will do well. At least two of each kind with exception of the better, should be purchased because of natural tendency in tropical fish to “School” they feel more secure with at least on other of their kind in the tank.

At the bottom of this list, only because they are found on the bottom of most tanks, are the little catfish. At least two of the little corydoras species should be included. Corydoras are the most common catfish and least expensive. These are the little clean up crews. Another scavenger, the snail, also can be included but he often presents a mixed blessing. Snails sometimes get confused and eat the plants right along with the discarded food and algae.


The most common disease jaw-snapping in name of ichtyopthirius. This disease can be seen by naked eye – some white crystals types of parasite “ICK”. A number of preparations are on the market to eradicate it. Like yellow solution, green solution etc. If ick is allowed to grow untreated your fish will develop a fungus which looks like puffs of cotton attached to it. It is due to a microscopic plant. Both are parasitic in nature. Often fungus will come from an injury when the natural slimy protective coating of your fish is disturbed, if for example, it leaps out of the tank, it is important to pick up your fish with wet hand or a wet net.

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