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Includes articles on new aquarium product spotlights, guides, or detailed reports on product effectiveness in aquariums.

Setting-up an Aquarium for Central American Cichlids

Hello, cichlid fans!I’ve been blogging on how to create suitable habitats for various types of cichlids in my previous entries, and this time I want to talk about the set-up that has worked best for me when I keep Central American species. I have kept and bred different species in tanks ranging from 30 gallons to 75 gallons. Most of my recent spawns have taken place in 40 breeders with a base dimension of 36 inches x 18 inches. 40 Breeders are nice, especially since I live in a smaller apartment and I don’t have the space for larger tanks. I have had plenty of success breeding Dovii, Firemouths, and Grammodes in my tank (at different times) and am now working with Cuban Cichlids. Read More »

Natural Nitrate and Phosphate Control in Marine Aquariums – Part 1 – Carbon Dosing Basics

Reef BioFuelIn the never ending fight against excess nutrients in the home aquarium, many products have come along in recent years to help aquarist win the battle.  Chief among the nutrients with which all aquarium owners struggle (especially the reef aquarium owner), are nitrates and phosphates.  These nutrients fuel algae growth, and in the case of nitrate, can jeopardize animal health as well.   In the reef aquarium, nitrates and phosphates are a serious problem, and controlling these nutrient levels are vital to the health of the living coral and invertebrates in these systems.

Phosphate absorption media, macroalgae refugiums, deep sand beds, and frequent water changes have been the methods used by most to maintain low nutrient levels in aquariums over the years.  More recently, aggressive biological methods for combating nitrates and phosphates have become increasingly popular, and several Carbon dosing methods to remove nitrates and phosphates have been developed. Read More »

Setting Up a Tanganyikan Mbuna (Rock Dweller) Cichlid Aquarium

N. brichardiThis time we will talk about setting up an aquarium for Tanganyikan Mbuna, or rock dwelling cichlids. The smallest tank I’ve ever attempted for these fish was a 20 high that housed a trio of brichardis I was breeding. Let’s say for the sake of keeping a community you should start with at least a 30 gallon tank.  A 30 gallon has a footprint of 36 inches by 12 inches, so it doesn’t take up too much space, but still gives the fish some room to play.

I keep my rift lake aquariums pretty much the same, whether its Malawi, Tanganyika or Victoria. With this particular type of set-up you may need to do some minor tweaks to the pH, and live plants might have a better chance than in other cichlid set-ups. Let’s start from the bottom up. Read More »

The “New” Office Aquarium – Reclaiming and Repurposing Old Aquarium Parts and Supplies

Repurposed  nano tankI don’t think there is an aquarium hobbyist out there that doesn’t have spare parts laying around in a closet, basement, garage, or all of the above. I know I have plenty, from lights to filters and everything in between. If I needed to, I think I have enough equipment to set up a small coral farm in my basement.

Last week, Eileen and I decided to set up an aquarium in the fishroom office using parts we found laying around the store. Our goal was to prepare a home for a single blue-ring octopus that will hopefully arrive to us in the next couple of weeks. With a touch of creativity and a little ingenuity, we managed to piece together 12 gallon nano tank. The tank and stand had been lying around for years, stowed a way after the livestock it used to house was moved into a larger and more current display.  Read More »

Setting a Tank Up for Mbuna – Rock-Dwelling Cichlids of Lake Malawi

PolitHey out there! This time around I’d like to talk about setting up a tank for Mbuna, or “rock dwellers”. You can find these colorful fish in the any of the three rift lakes of Africa, but for this blog we will talk about the preferences of species from Lake Malawi.

First, the tank. Larger is better for a couple reasons. A 55 gallon is nice, but a 75 is better for these fish, with its 18 inch width. narrow tanks can be a pain since you’ll want a lot of rock for these fish. The second reason would be that the more room you give them the easier it will be to control aggression. I was once told that if you crowd these fish, they wouldn’t be as aggressive, not being able to single out others to target and bully.  I have seen Mbuna tanks with 12 to 20 fish dwindle down to 4 to 5 fish due to dominant fish. I think it depends on the species and particular fish that you’re trying to house together more, and I don’t think crowding is ever good advice. Last but not least, the larger the tank the more choices you have when it comes time to choose livestock. Read More »