When starting a new aquarium it is important to understand the nitrogen cycle. Many new aquarium owners jump into the hobby of fish keeping prematurely. Before purchasing fish, the aquarium has to be cycled. This could take anywhere from around a day to a month. Within an established aquarium there are specific bacteria that help the breakdown of ammonia to nitrates, but they are not found in a fresh tank because they're produced from existing fish. If there are no existing fish, then there are no good bacteria.
The basic principle with the nitrogen cycle is this. Fish eat food and yield waste materials. That waste along with excess food and plant debris become ammonia in the aquarium. Ammonia is toxic to fish and must be broken down. That's why the nitrifying bacteria is essential. This bacteria, transforms the ammonia into nitrites which are much more tolerable to fish as compared to ammonia. Next, different nitrifying bacteria will turn the nitrites into nitrates, that are even less toxic for the fish and other aquarium life. The nitrates are collected and minimized by filters; nonetheless they will eventually accumulate within the tank. Regular water changes are required to remove the nitrates in the water.
It is important to setup and run a fish tank before any fish are introduced into the environment. Wash the tank and any substrate and decorations thoroughly with water. Don't use any soap. Fill the tank with de-chlorinated water and attach filters and lighting. Allow the tank to cycle until water is not cloudy and adequate P.H and water temperatures have been established.If you don't want the trouble of dealing with fish diseases and aquarium problems but still wish to enjoy looking at fish check out these moving screensavers for free for your computer!
Now it is time to buy the fish! Buy hardy fish such as danios, barb, gouramis, and live bearers. They should be able to withstand the high nitrite levels and ammonia within the new aquarium. Only introduce about four fish at the same time. Float the fish in the bag in the aquarium for about fifteen minutes prior to adding them to the aquarium. This will help the fish become acclimated to the temperature of water within their new home. When adding the fish, take care not to allow the water from the bag into the fish tank. It might be contaminated, or will at minimum, mess up the temperature and P.H. Allow the fish about two hours to get acclimated prior to feeding.
Only feed an amount which can be eaten in the first two to 5 minutes. Overfeeding is a very common problem within an aquarium tank. It is necessary to not overfeed, because excess food can become debris adding to the ammonia levels. This is particularly essential in new aquariums that lack nitrifying bacteria. Test water P.H. daily while in the first month. Watch the tank for cloudiness; if ever the aquarium tank becomes cloudy, it might be required to add a clarifier. Monitor the fish for signs of stress or illness. A healthy fish will be swimming regularly. Lethargic fish in most cases hover near the surface of the aquarium. After about a week change approximately ten percent of the water and start regular maintenance.
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