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Planted Pefection

Don Matakis

Love the look, but think planted aquariums are more than you can manage? Converting to live plants may not be as difficult as you think.

Freshwater Aquariums Spotlight10

Rocks For Aquariums

Tuesday April 15, 2014
Now that winter is finally on its way out, many of us are spending more time outside. If you are like me, you may have noticed some interesting looking rocks that you would love to put in your aquarium. Not only are they as attractive as those in the store, but the price is right. Why pay a premium price for something you can get by the side of the road for free?

While you can often use rocks from the great outdoors, it's important to be aware that anything you put in your aquarium can impact the water chemistry. Unless the rocks come with a tag that says they are aquarium safe, you'd better test them before tossing them in your tank. How do you test rocks? Here are my tips for how to sort out the good rocks from the bad ones.

Have you used rocks from the great outdoors? Share your rock story with the us.

Related Topics
Substrate For Planted Tanks
Replacing Aquarium Gravel
How To Wash Gravel
Is Gravel Necessary?

Photo Shirlie L Sharpe

Hardy Danios

Monday April 14, 2014


Whenever I'm asked which fish are particularly hardy, a number of fish come to mind. Quite a few of them are Danio species, and with good reason. Danios usually don't mind cool water, so they are great for unheated tanks. They play well with most other species, will eat virtually anything they are given, and tolerate a wide range of habitats. Some are small enough to be kept in mini tanks, but as a rule, Danios are best kept in schools. In a large tank, a school of Danios can be a stunning display. For those just starting a new aquarium, most Danios make an excellent first fish.

Related Reading
Good First Fish
Common Aquarium Mistakes
Schooling Fish

Photo Jubs

Do Phosphates Matter?

Sunday April 13, 2014
Phosphate Filter Pad
Every aquarium has some phosphate (PO4) in the water, even though you can't see it. Should you be concerned about the amount of phosphate in your aquarium water? And where does it come from in the first place? Will it change over time? Those are all good questions.

Depending on the water source, it's possible to have a fair amount of phosphate from the get go. Once the tank is running, those levels can rise. Everything from uneaten fish food to fish waste to water additives can increase the phosphate levels in your aquarium water. Over time phosphate levels can rise enough to contribute to algae growth. Here is how to avoid phosphates, and reduce them if they get too high.

Related Reading
Aquarium Algae
Phosphate Control Additives
Phosphate Control Media
Phosphate Testing

Photo Courtesy of Pricegrabber

Winning the Ick Battle

Saturday April 12, 2014
Far too many first time aquarium owners lose fish at the beginning, then give up. Some lose their fish due to ammonia or nitrite spikes, but others make it through the stabilization of the nitrogen cycle, only to have their fish suddenly break out in tiny white spots. Soon they discover that those innocuous looking spots were actually a parasite known as Ick, and it can kill their fish in no time at all.

Often, that's the point at which the discouraged fish owner gives up for good. Before that happens to you, educate yourself. Knowing how to recognize and treat disease will allow you to conquer it before it kills your fish. Better yet, knowing how to prevent Ick will keep you from ever having to do battle with it in the first place.

More About Fish Health
Ammonia Poisoning
Neon Tetra Disease
Parasite Discussion
Using Salt
Velvet / Gold Dust / Rust

Photo Shirlie L Sharpe

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