An aquarium is a sensible addition to a modern Australian home. It enhances the beauty of the room it occupies and brings enjoyment and viewing pleasure to kids and adults alike. As Australia readies itself to celebrate the Asian century, the ever increasing Asian population added another dimension to this age old hobby. Fengsui and Vastu are the two new additions to Australian vocabulary and deal with bringing good energy and fortune to our homes. In Vastu Sastra keeping an aquarium is considered as a remedy to correct vastu defects. It is believed that an aquarium with eight gold fishes and one black fish placed in the main hall in east or north direction will bring luck and good fortune.
There are many types of aquarium fish available today and depending upon their type requires different type of care and aquarium environment. Fish are ectothermic which means that they have a body temperature that varies with the temperature of its environment. So it is important to maintain the water temperature and salt levels as per the variety of fish you accommodate in your aquarium They generally requires three different types of water and they are
Cold water Aquarium Fish – The preferred temperature range is under 20 degrees .
E.g.: Goldfish, Shubunkin , Comet , Black Telescope eye , Oranda , Ryukin ,Ranchu , Pearscale , Wakin , Bubble eye , Celestial , Borneo Sucker , Weather Loach , White Cloud Mountain Minnow ,
Tropical Fresh water Aquarium Fish – The general temperature range 22 – 26 degrees
E.g.: Siamese fighting fish , Honey Gourami , Dwarf Gourami , Brochis Cat fish , Glowlight Tetra , Marbled hatchet fish , Angel fish , Discuss , Silver shark , Rosy barb , Pearl Danio, Ruby Shark , Harlequin , Zebra Plec
Tropical Marine Aquarium Fish – Tropical marine aquarium requires saltwater
Yellow Tang , Neon Gobi , Coral beauty , Flame angel fish , Emperor angel fish , Common Clown fish , Green Chromis , Domino Damsel , Blue Damsel , Royal Gamma , Orchid Dottyback , Copperband Butterflyfish , Porcupine puffer . Firefish , Picasso Trigger fish , Mandarin , Flame Hawkfish
Cold and tropical water fish comes from fresh water environments and marine fish comes from salty sea water. In all these categories, one will find both hardy and sensitive varieties. Sensitive varies requires more care and their survival is more or less depend on maintaining an environment they are used to in the natural setting. Same way there is community and non-community fish in all these categories. Predator fishes are known as non-community fishes.
Cold water fish has the least number of varieties to choose from. Both tropical and marine fish category has plenty of varieties to choose from.
Setting up an aquarium
Setting up an aquarium may be easy but maintaining an aquarium could turn out to be a time consuming one, depending on the size of the aquarium and the type of fish living in it.
Generally an aquarium is fitted with these accessories. They are Tank (aquarium) , hood, substrate , test kit , water conditioner , Thermometer , Heater , Polystyrene tiles and filter . The tank cost will vary depending on the size, quality and the accessories it comes with. A few aquarists may prefer buying the tank and the accessories separate. Buying the whole set from a specific company will relieve you from the head ache of choosing the right accessory for the tank you have purchased. One should also consider the electricity cost of maintaining an aquarium which includes the energy needs of the heater, lighting, filter and the water pumps.
Other expenses for running an aquarium are
The filter forms needs to be replaced every six months
Condensation tray needs to be replaced every year.
Glass tanks or acrylic tanks for your aquarium?
The choice may vary from person to person depending on the requirements.
Glass tanks do scratch, but they are difficult to scratch compared to an acrylic tank. Even a brand new acrylic tank you just received through courier may sport some scratches as a result of the packing and transport. But these scratches can be easily removed with an acrylic polishing Kit. You have to handle the acrylic tank with care while scrubbing or cleaning and should use the right tools to do the work.
A glass tank will weight 4 -10 times more than its acrylic counterpart. You will find moving an acrylic tank much easier.
A sharp impact will easily shatter a glass tank. But glass tanks are made strong enough to absorb impacts from normal handling.
With glass tanks, the shapes available are limited. But acrylic can be formed to much larger extend of shapes and that explains the wide range of shapes available .
Glass tanks can cause distortion of light and may cause distortion of images.
Glass tanks maintain its clarity over time but acrylic tanks can become yellowish as time passes.
Positioning the aquarium
Never place an aquarium near a fire place, or heaters as these heating equipments can affect the temperature of the water. In a similar way direct exposure to sun light can affect the water temperature and can cause algal blooms. Keep it away from your high performance audio equipments. Vibrations from them can make the fish nervous and stressed.
Filtration for the aquarium
Aquarium filters remove physical and soluble chemical waste products from aquarium, simplifying maintenance. Furthermore, aquarium filters are necessary to support life as aquariums are relatively small, closed volumes of water compared to the natural environment of most fish.
There are mechanical, Biological and Chemical filtration. Mechanical filtration is done by passing the water through a media that traps and removes the particles .It could be sponge or fine wool.
Every aquarium should have a biological filtration. Excreta and other decomposing organic matter produce ammonia which is highly toxic to fish. Bacterial processes oxidize this ammonia into the slightly less toxic nitrites, and these are in turn oxidized to form the much less toxic nitrates. In the natural environment these nitrates are subsequently taken up by plants as fertilizer and this does indeed happen to some extent in an aquarium planted with real plants.
Chemical filtration removes chemical pollutants from water by using absorbent resins and granules.
A combination of all three filtration is recommended to ensure that all aspects of the water purification will be effectively carried out .
Generally both internal and external filters are widely used. Internal filters are easy to operate and since they are contained in the aquarium, there is no risk of flooding. The most used type of internal filters are form filters, under gravel filters and box filters.
External filters are more expensive than internal filters. But they are the best off the shelf form of filtration available as they combine large solids- handling capability with high turnover, large media capacity and several forms of filtration. The high turnover of external filters can be a little too powerful for plants.
Aeration comes first when you think about setting an aquarium. In an aquarium, fish is kept at a much congested environment than lakes or the sea. This will result in low oxygen levels. Oxygen can be provided to the water by providing an air pump or ventury device connected to the filter . . Add air stones to aid in circulation and create beautiful displays of shimmering bubbles.
Some fish species like Siamese fighting fish and gouramis have developed an organ called labyrinth organ which enables them to use oxygen from the atmosphere and to survive oxygen poor waters.
Heating and temperature control for the aquarium
There are four basic types of aquarium heaters; immiscible heaters, submersible heaters, substrate heaters, and filter heaters. The details about each of type of aquarium heater, how they work, and what each type is best used for are out of scope forthis article and is left out.
The heater should be placed at the back of the aquarium in an area where it will receive flow from the filter and thus disperse heat more evenly around the tank.
Your local aquarium salesman will be able to guide you better on this regard.
Plants can utilise toxic ammonia from the fish’s waste products, which is a huge benefit for the aquarium. To obtain good plant growth ensures good lighting, right substrate and fertilization. Some species of fishes are notorious for eating plants. Gold fish is a well-known plant eater. If this causes problem for your aquarium use artificial plants.
Water safety for your aquarium
The chlorine content in tap water may be harmful for the fish. It is advisable to use dechlorinating solutions. Water purifiers using Reverse osmosis is also available in the market. Water testing kits are available in the market for testing the purity of water. Water testing kits can test the presence of ammonia, nitrite and phosphate and also can test the pH and hardness of aquarium water. The pH scale ranges from extreme acidic pH1 through to neutral pH7, which is neither acidic or alkaline to extremely alkaline pH14 . Fish is adapted to inhabit waters with a pH of 4 -9 .
The best way to lower pH is to change water. Water softening resins are also available in the market.