When setting up a decorative aquarium, an amateur aquarist has two tasks: to provide comfortable conditions for its inhabitants and to diversify the interior. Indeed, the aquarium, lighted by a bright lamp, decorated with fancy snags and picturesque plants, serves not only as a “glass palace” for playful, variegated fish, but is also a real decoration of the room or office.
How to choose the right aquarium?
It should be remembered that any artificial ecosystem needs incessant care. There are common properties of the aquarium, which always need to pay attention.
The size depends on how much space you are ready to allocate in your room and how many fish you are going to hold. It should also be borne in mind that fish of large breeds and plants with large leaves feel good only in large volumes. In addition, it will be easier for a novice aquarist to establish ecological balance in a large aquarium as in a more stable system: it is not subject to sudden temperature changes, and because of the large surface of gas exchange, water is better saturated with oxygen and cleaned from carbon dioxide. Small aquariums (up to 30 liters), as a rule, are sold together with all the necessary equipment. a lid, a lamp, a filter, a compressor and a heater, and are suitable for keeping small-sized fish and plants with medium-sized leaves.
The form not only determined by the location of the aquarium, but also by the characteristics of its inhabitants. There are such popular forms as:
- angled with bevelled edges;
- hemisphere with curved front glass;
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Before filling the aquarium with water, under it you need to put a mat of porous material for cushioning to reduce the load on the seams and thereby prevent leakage.
The choice of the shape of the aquarium is an individual question, but some nuances should be taken into account. For example, a too low aquarium is poorly suited for fish that are accustomed to stay in high layers of water, too high for the inhabitants of the bottom, and the round shape distorts the proportions of animals, and, moreover, such an aquarium is more green with scurf.
The lid must exactly match the shape of the aquarium and be tightly fitted to reduce water evaporation and prevent fish from jumping out.
Material for aquariums there are two types: glass and acrylic. Glass aquariums are cheaper and harder to scratch, but acrylics are considered more reliable and they can be given a different “bent” shape.
Lighting also plays an important role: when there is a lack of light, the plants start to ache, and the fish look inconspicuous. In the lid of a modern aquarium, as a rule, neon lamps are mounted, which illuminate it. It is undesirable to use side illumination, since lamps located on one side illuminate the aquarium unevenly, and the leaves of the plants always face the light source.
Additional devices, without which the aquarist cannot do, this is a filter, a compressor and a heater.
The filter pumps water through itself, cleansing it of organic debris: undernourished food, small particles of decaying plants, fish and snail excrement, microscopic algae, and other suspended matter that pollutes water.
Because of the high load, the filter is often clogged, so it needs to be regularly disassembled and cleaned.
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The compressor provides aeration of water, pumping air through it, and the smaller the air bubbles, the better the water is saturated with oxygen. It is desirable that the compressor worked permanently, so that no harmful carbon dioxide accumulated in the water, because of which the fish could die.
If the aquarium has a lot of plants and few fish, then at night the compressor can be turned off, because plants at night produce oxygen themselves.
The heater is necessary for fish accustomed to warm water (above 24 degrees), as well as in winter. The required temperature is set using a relay, and to control it, a thermometer must be placed in the water.
Fish are very sensitive to temperature changes, so the aquarium should be kept in a room where such drops are minimal.
How to prepare an aquarium for tenants?
After an aquarium is chosen, the most interesting begins, namely the selection of soil, shelters, composition of water, as well as its inhabitants. plants, snails, and of course, fish.
Soil should be chosen based on both the needs of fish and aesthetic considerations: dark fish look advantageous in an aquarium with a light soil, and bright. with a dark one. Also, the soil affects the hardness of the water: peat softens it, and granite and marble chips, on the contrary, enriches with mineral salts. Fish who love to dig into the substrate, need a thick layer of sand without solid stones.
Any soil can contain eggs of various parasites, so before getting into the aquarium, it must be boiled for 1. 1.5 hours.
Shelter for fish, and at the same time and decoration of the aquarium can serve as snags, large stones and artificial grottoes.
To snag not covered with fouling and do not pollute the water, they must first boil in salt water for 2 hours.
Water hardness is an important condition for keeping fish and aquatic plants. Some types of fish prefer softer water, some. more rigid, therefore, when selecting pets of different breeds, this factor should be taken into account.
To prevent the water in the aquarium from stagnating, it should be refreshed from time to time, replacing 1/5 of water with fresh water once a week.
Chlorinated water, which is drawn from the tap, is not suitable for use on the same day, so it must first stand in an open container for at least a day for the chlorine to evaporate.
Aquatic plants are sometimes no less fastidious inhabitants of the aquarium than the fish. only experienced aquarists can cope with some species. However, there are many beautiful and unpretentious plants that do not require special care. Such as Elodieus, Vallisneria, cryptocoryne, Hornpole, Riccia, Salvinia will create a picturesque background and serve as a shelter for fish and fry.
Snails not only purify water from unnecessary organic matter, but also add decoration to the aquarium by themselves. Large and beautiful ampoules. no less interesting inhabitants of the aquarium than the fish.
Snails are prone to uncontrolled reproduction, so you need to ensure that their population does not increase.
To make the aquarium suitable for running fish, it must be allowed to "stand" for a week. Water is poured into it, ground is poured, plants are planted, decorated with stones and driftwood, and snails are launched. The first few days the aquarium does not look very attractive, because the water in it is initially muddy, but over time it is purified by itself.
What fish will live in an aquarium?
Aquarium fish are so beautiful and diverse that a novice aquarist is tempted to start “all at once”. large and small, fast and slow, carnivorous and herbivorous. Of course, it is impossible to do this: there are clashes between improperly picked fish, large ones strive to eat small, large cichlids and goldfish eat plants, and catfish undermine their roots. Consider some rules to avoid unnecessary dramas in the aquarium.
- Overcrowding should not be allowed: each fish should have about 1.5 liters of water.
- It is necessary to balance the size of the fish with the volume of the aquarium, so that large individuals will not become cramped when they grow up.
- It is desirable that the fish, growing, not much different in size and character. For this you need to collect information about the features of each type: what it eats, how aggressive it is, what size it reaches. Sometimes large calm fish such as angelfish or gourami can be kept together with a bunch of nimble neon or danios.
Consider the features of some fish, popular among aquarists.
Viviparous guppies, mollies, platies, and swordtails are unpretentious and easily reproduce. Sword-bearers can be aggressive. they turn up calmer fish, for example, bite the tails of guppies, but such fish as gourami, labo, barbs, catfish, etc. can not do serious harm.
Carp danios, tetras, rasbor, barbs are unpretentious, very decorative and keep a flock. Barbs also love to grab the tails of other fish, so you should not keep them, for example, with veil tails.
Goldfish non-aggressive and cute, but reach quite impressive size, and in addition, dig plants from the ground. They are usually protected from aggressive barbs and cichlids.
Cichlids. predators that can ruin the lives of many peaceful fish. They can live, for example, with catfish, which, firstly, spend most of their time at the bottom, and secondly, they have a dense cover. The exceptions are the slow-moving scalar and discus, not inclined to start a fight. Another feature of cichlids is that each pair protects their section of the aquarium, and clashes occur over the territory between different pairs.
Labyrinth fish. gourami, lyalius, macropods and Betta Fish belong to the same family, but behave in completely different ways. Thus, the macropods aggressively chase all those who are smaller than them, and Betta Fish, in spite of their small size, generally attack everyone. Gourami, as a rule, behave calmly, and lalyausy are completely harmless.
Labyrinth fish breathe atmospheric air, so the aquarium is suitable for them without artificial aeration.
The behavior of labyrinth fish is such that sometimes it is desirable to keep them in separate aquariums of a small size, for example, in 30-liter ones. First, they form pairs that build nests from air bubbles and leaves of Riccia and drive away other fish. Secondly, Betta Fish and Macropods are intolerant towards males of their own species, so it’s worthwhile to have only one pair of these fish in an aquarium. Sometimes, in order for Betta Fish not to be bored, the aquarium is blocked off with a transparent wall and a pair is placed in each compartment, then the males spend most of their time taking threatening poses to each other.
Experienced aquarists who are engaged not only in the maintenance, but also in the breeding of exotic fish, use special tables, which provide data on their compatibility and requirements for the habitat.