About Me

Potomac, Maryland, United States
I am somewhat new to the aquarium keeping community, but I would like to think I am very knowledgeable about the freshwater side of the subject.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

So, why did all of my fish die? Well, for one, the first community of fish that is put into a new aquarium almost always die. This is due do to a process called the nitrogen cycle. Your fish create waste in your tank. They also help you create beneficial bacteria that can help create a biologically stable environment for them. In a new tank, there isn't any good bacteria yet. The waste that your fish will excrete, creates ammonia. Ammonia is deadly to your fish. The good news is, is that bacteria will break down the ammonia for you, so you don't have to do it yourself. The ammonia becomes nitrite which is pretty much just as deadly, maybe a little bit less deadly. Bacteria will then break it down even further into nitrate. Nitrate will only hurt your fish when it is in extremely high levels. So our goal is to get and keep as much of this bacteria as possible in order to create a biologically stable environment for our fish. You can purchase for your tank a biological filter. You should ask your dealer to point out a good biological filter for you. Good biological filters include sponge filters, under gravel filters, fluidized bed filter (very expensive) and power filters. The gravel at the bottom of your tank also houses good bacteria as well as the fish waste and uneaten food. Periodic vacuuming is necessary or your gravel will soon look like a mudslide has hit it. Having a well cycled aquarium before you introduce fish will insure a healthy and stable environment for them to live in as well as promote a healthy slime coat on your fish.

My First Real Aquarium

Well, here goes a shot at creating my first blog ever. This web log (Blog) is about my experiences with freshwater aquariums. I will tell you all of the joys and headaches that I have come to know as routine. I am sure I will go off on tangents about certain aspects of fish keeping that I am passionate about, in the hope of sharing some knowledge with my readers.
About a week back i purchased my first real freshwater aquarium set-up. I say real, because I don't believe that the feeder fish that I won at my elementary school fair counts. I purchased a 10 gallon half moon tank that came with a light, heater, and filter for a hundred bucks. What's a hundred bucks right? After I had picked out my tank, the employee notified me that everything else I purchased would be 20% off for the day. What a great marketing technique. I quickly find myself looking at hundreds of dollars worth of equipment to supplement my existing set-up. Apparently, the aquarium set-up comes with everything I need to get started... except for a gravel cleaner, better fish food, another heater because the one I just bought isn't very good, substrate (gravel or sand to put on the bottom of the aquarium), an ornament so the fish have a place to hide, well you get the point. I will make a list of things that you do and don't need later. Anyway i let the guy talk me into a little bit of the extra stuff I needed, and a lot of the extra stuff that I didn't need. Do not buy fish the same day you buy your tank like I did! I took the tank home put gravel and water in the tank, then ran it for a while to see how it looked. I had rainbow colored gravel/substrate, a castle that I thought the fish would be able to hide in and swim through, a heater, filter, and light. I put all of the chemicals into the water as directed by the fish shop. Then i slowly acclimated my new tetras to the water temperature. I was told not to put the water from the bag into my aquarium's water. It was when I got out my net and tried scooping out one of the fish when I realize they make different size nets for a reason. The one i had bought works great in the tank, but not for introducing new fish to their new ecosystem. I ended up having to cut open the sides of the bag to squeeze my net in. When all the fish were in their new home, I fed them, watched them for a while, then went to bed. The next morning I woke up and went out to the living room for breakfast. I checked in on my fish and they were all dead! Ahhh! I had a lot of "why's" racing in my head. I had to figure out why my first attempt was a total disaster. It is 5:36 AM right now and im about to pass out from exhaustion, but my next post will be about all of the reasons why I failed and how to avoid making the same mistakes I did. I may even talk briefly about some of the simple science involved. Anyway, Gnite!