Aquarium Lab. Setting up and maintaining a healthy aquarium

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1 Aquarium Lab Setting up and maintaining a healthy aquarium

2 Electrical Safety Do not handle power cords with wet hands. Create drip loops on cords to prevent water from travelling to plug. Use outlets with GFCI s that will trip to prevent electrocution. Do not overload outlets.

3 General Aquarium Safety Spilt water is a slipping hazard. Always supervise children around tanks and equipment to prevent accidents and injury. Never lift / carry aquariums by the rim or sides. Wash your hands after contact with your tank.

4 Cleaning Do not use chemicals (soap, Windex) to clean the inside or outside of a tank. Residues can remain in scratches. Dedicate cleaning supplies (bucket, sponges, etc.) for aquarium use only. Rinse anything added to the tank (gravel, decorations).

5 Maintaining Cleanliness Don t overfeed your fish! (Food should be consumed and not sinking to the gravel.) Make a 25% water change once a month. Vacuum gravel periodically.

6 Tank Set-up Situate tank where it will stay before adding anything! Make sure the stand can support the enormous weight of the water. Add in gravel, water, decor, then fish. Add water to within 1 of the top. ALWAYS add water conditioner to remove chlorine & chloramine from tap water.

7 Tank Set-up Always use gravel / décor designed for aquarium use! Rocks or wood from outside can be contaminated with pesticides, chemicals or microorganisms. Decorations not specifically for aquarium use can have paints / chemicals toxic to fish.

8 Light Natural lighting is best for fish. Florescent/UV/LED lights are also acceptable. Black lights can be harmful. Lights should not be left on 24 hours; it will encourage algae growth.

9 Hood/Cover Aquariums must be covered so that fish don t leap out water doesn t evaporate as quickly objects/other pets don t fall in! A hood can also house the lighting. Be careful not to get the light in the water or water in the light electrocution!!!

10 Air Aquatic organisms breathe dissolved oxygen. Air must be pumped in with a compressor or can be put in with a powered filter. Air stones increase surface area of bubbles & O 2 content.

11 Temperature Most fish can live at a range of F (22-27 C). An aquarium heater can be placed in tanks that need higher temperatures (tropicals).

12 Biological Filtration Created by bacteria in gravel, on fish & on bio wheel/bio scrubber Beneficial bacteria breaks down waste products in the nitrogen cycle Fish food (protein N) Ammonia from fish waste (NH 3 ) Nitrite (NO 2 ) Nitrate (NO 3 ) H 2 0 change Use an under gravel filter to facilitate bacterial growth

13 Mechanical Filtration Removes accumulated solids from aquarium Usually accomplished with mesh in an power filter Can also be manually removed with a gravel vacuum

14 Chemical Filtration Purifies water using activated carbon-dissolved impurities are absorbed by holes in carbon Activated carbon must be replaced Minimize use of chemical/medicines to rid tank of problems

15 Water tests - ph ph Measures acidity or alkalinity of water Range Freshwater Saltwater A buffer can be added in to maintain ph or make a 25% water change If ph is too high (basic) lower ph using Peat moss ph decreasing chemical If ph is too low (acidic) increase ph Baking soda

16 Water tests - Ammonia Ammonia Released from gills of fish and decaying wastes Toxic; should be 0 ppm! Change 25% of water or replace carbon to lower level Ammonia is converted to nitrite then nitrate by bacteria. Excess nitrate is removed by 25% water change

17 Conditioning period A conditioning (waiting) period of 1 week should be allowed for new tank to run until a natural bacteria population is established. If possible, seed the tank with gravel from an established aquarium. Add new fish slowly and monitor ammonia levels!

18 Aquarium Salt Freshwater- add 1 tsp / 5 gallons for health Saltwater can be obtained from the ocean or from a salt mix Concentration: 32 ppt Specific gravity = ½ cup marine salt / gallon

19 Saltwater vs. Freshwater Freshwater Saltwater Cost $ $$$ (saltwater tanks need special lights & fish are more expensive) Work (during water changes, saltwater must be mixed before adding) Color (Saltwater has a wider array of colorful fish/corals) Equipment (Saltwater requires more equipment to maintain)

20 Aquatic Organisms

21 How to buy Find a reputable fish dealer Never buy from a tank with dead or sick-looking fish Be sure to ask questions- these guys are experts!

22 How many? General rule- 1 inch of fish/gallon Ex: a 30 gal tank can have: 10-3 inch fish 15-2 inch fish 20-1½ inch fish Remember! Fish may grow!

23 What to get? Do I need friends? (schooling) community Do I prefer warmer temperatures? Do I play well with others or am I aggressive? How big will I get?

24 What to get? (Freshwater) Select fish that live in different parts of the tank. Bottom feeders (scavengers) Cory cat Loach Mid-water to upper level swimmers Platties Mollies Barbs Schooling Danios Guppies Neon tetras

25 What not to get Semi-aggressive should not be mixed with community fish Cichlids, Gouramis and Angelfish (often because of size) Plecostamus (pleco, sucker fish) will get huge regardless of tank size! Don t believe it? Bettas are best solitary (alone)!

26 What to get? (Saltwater) Damsels Tangs Wrasse Puffers (brackish-low salt) Snow Flake Eels Crab Shrimp Helpful Websites

27 How do you add new fish? Dumping fish directly in your tank from a bag can shock them. Float the bag for minutes to gradually adjust the temperature. Then, pour out half of the water in the bag and add in water from your tank. After more minutes the fish should be acclimated to your tank. Also, feed the resident organisms in the tank as you are releasing new fish from a bag, to keep them preoccupied. This allows the new fish to enter gently, without being harassed by current resident bullies.

28 How much to feed? Feed fish only what they will consume in 5 minutes, twice a day (once for us)- cover food! Remove excess food, so as not to pollute the tank One day of fasting is recommended (feed 6 out of 7 days)

29 Signs Clamped fins, fins held close to the body Frayed fins Bloating Enlargement of the eyes Erratic swimming and shimmying Drifting close to the bottom or gasping for air at surface Loss of appetite White spots on fins or body Parasites on body Sickness Cottonlike patches on fins or body Fish that are normally active remaining still If an organism appears sick, it should be removed from the tank so as not to contaminate the rest of the organisms A separate hospital tank can be set up to help or medicate a fish

30 Plants Just like land plants, aquatic plant need natural light to survive, as well as minerals from a substrate Aquatic plants are often hard to maintain without adequate lighting and can deteriorate in your tank My advice. Go plastic!

31 Substrates Fill tank ¼ inch Coral gravel Crushed coral; porous Easy to clean Inexpensive Bacteria growth Flourite Enhanced with nutrients to sustain plants Sand

32 Set Up Day 1 *Safety!!!!* Pull out all décor clean/rinse, and put on table Wash and rinse out the empty aquarium. Do not allow any gravel to go down the drain! Wipe off the lid. Plug it in and make sure the light works. Wash the filter. Remove as much algae as possible. Wash any gravel you want to use thoroughly before you put it in your aquarium. Do not allow any gravel to go down the drain! Put the gravel in the aquarium. Fill the aquarium with water. Attach the filter to the side of the aquarium. Prime it (put water in it). Plug it in to see if it works. Wash and rinse any and all toys you plan on putting in your aquarium. Place them in the aquarium. Remember, fish like structure so that they can hide and play! Get an air compressor, hose and air stone from me. Use only hose to allow you to put the air stone on the bottom where you want it. Plug in the air compressor. Put the lid on your aquarium and allow to set up. If you have a marine aquarium, add 2 boxes of salt and check the level daily. Use a hydrometer to measure the salt levels. The recommended specific gravity is to

33 Day 2 Drain 50% Refill Add water conditioner

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