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MAINTAINING YOUR AQUARIUM - A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO KEEPING FISH - PART 3

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Daily
It is worthwhile to spend time watching and appreciating your fish. This will not only benefit you by encouraging you to relax, it will also benefit the fish. Over a period of time you will learn through observation the natural behaviour of the various species of fish in your aquarium. This will enable you in the future to detect any potential problems by noticing abnormal behaviour. Regular observations will also detect diseases at an early stage and you will be able to treat it more efficiently and suffer less casualties.

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Your fish will need to be fed daily. Small amounts of food at regular intervals are better than one large meal. It is recommended to vary the type of food given to your fish. Many types of fish foods can be purchased from your local aquarium and pet shops. Some of these are: dry flake, freeze dried, pellets (floating and sinking), sticks, wafers, tablet, frozen, and live. Some fish require a specialized diet and these should be avoided until you become experienced. If your fish are healthy and your aquarium has been correctly maintained, it will do your fish no harm for you to go away on holidays (for a period of time not exceeding two weeks) and not feed your fish. If healthy, your fish will survive this length of time with no side affects. Do not overfeed your fish prior to leaving for holidays, as any uneaten food will quickly decompose and pollute your aquarium and kill all of your fish. You will come home to a very unpleasant odour. Also be careful if you are going to have someone feed your fish while you are away. Make sure this person is reliable and actually show them how to and how much to feed your fish.


Fortnightly
Every two weeks, your aquarium will need to be serviced. The following procedure is simple to follow, will not take long to do, and will give you good results:
  1. Turn off and disconnect the heater (if fitted). Allow the heater to cool down for 15 minutes before removing any water.
  2. Remove the aquarium light and place in a safe location so it won't get broken.
  3. Remove the glass covers and clean them. Dirty covers will limit the light entering the aquarium. Once they are cleaned and dry, store them in a safe location so they do not get broken.
  4. If there are particles or a scrum floating on the water's surface, use a plastic container to remove as much of this as possible.
  5. Clean algae from the glass inside the aquarium. If you have a plastic background attached to the back of the aquarium, you will need to clean the rear glass so you can appreciate the design. Otherwise you may be quite happy to leave the algae growing on the rear glass. Some fish enjoy eating algae.
  6. An Aquarium Gravel Cleaner (a vacuum syphon - consists of a clear plastic rigid tube and a length of clear flexible hose) can be purchased from most Aquarium and Pet shops in a size to suit your aquarium's depth. Using this useful tool, syphon the dirt and waste from the gravel in your aquarium. It is very important to do this, because the gravel traps this organic matter and it will decompose and can pollute your aquarium. If you have an undergravel filter, it is recommended you only clean half of your gravel bed at each service, alternating each side with every service. This will ensure that half of the beneficial bacteria which are colonising the gravel bed are not disturbed and can continue to perform the biological filtration duties in your aquarium. Depending on the size of your aquarium and the size of your Gravel Cleaner, you may have already removed approximately 25% (1&Mac218;4) of the water from the aquarium. If you haven't continue to syphon more water out until you have. The waste water from your freshwater aquarium can be disposed of on your garden and / or lawn with good results.
  7. If you have any other type of filter, now is the time to service them. Turn off the power supply and disconnect. If your filter has a foam porous sponge, please do not wash it in chlorinated water (town water) as this will destroy any beneficial bacteria living in it. Instead, scoop water from your aquarium, and gently rinse this sponge until all the dirt particles are removed. If the filter contains activated carbon and filter wool, dispose of this, and replace with new supplies. The casing of the filter can be washed using chlorinated water and if it is electrically driven, the impellor and surroundings will also need to be cleaned. Refer to the instruction manual to see what is required.
    You may find a toothbrush and/or a baby bottle brush are ideal tools to clean filters. Keep your eyes open while you are shopping, and you may find other everyday items to make your fishkeeping duties easier. Ensure the items used for your fish, are not mistakenly used in your household - it would be a very unhealthy practice to share. You could wrap a piece of insulation tape around the handle of the brush to prevent mistaken identity.
  8. Now fill the aquarium with water. This can be done by scooping water from the bucket into the aquarium. If the water has been treated with chlorine, then add chlorine neutraliser, to the water in the bucket, following the manufacturer's directions. If you have a fitting (called a shower rose) for your garden hose which sprays the water in gentle fine streams, you will be able to fill up your aquarium with this. By spraying the water on to the aquarium's water surface, a large amount of the chlorine will be dispelled from the new water. As you are only replacing 25% of the water and you are spraying in the new water, you will not need to add chlorine neutraliser.
  9. Replace the glass covers and position the light. Turn on the heater and make sure everything is working correctly. Sit back and admire your aquarium.




PM & JK Bovey
Cental Queensland Aquarium Society

Last Update: 06/03/07 17:50 Views: 10489

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