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Category Archives: Aquarium Equipment

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

Dipping Plants to Eliminate Snails

Aquarium SnailOutbreaks of nuisance snails are one of the most common problems encountered in planted aquariums. Though much maligned, snails are perfectly normal in tanks with live plants and can even help with algae control. The problems occur when the snails reproduce and become out of control. Throughout our blog posts, we’ve gone over a number of methods of controlling snails through predators and removal methods, but as with any problems, the problem can be avoided with preventative measures.

A common way of cutting down snail populations is to dip new plants, killing snails and snail eggs before they enter your aquarium. We have here a few different “recipes” for these dips. Keep in mind that while these have been used successfully by many aquarists, sensitive plants may still be damaged. You can try your chosen method on one plant before using it on all of your new plants. These are also all solutions that are to be utilized in a separate bucket, tub or sink – NOT in the aquarium! Read More »

Electrolysis and “Salt Creep” in Aquariums

Salt crystals“Salt Creep” is a very common issue in any aquarium, although it is seen most in saltwater systems. As water evaporates, it leaves behind any minerals and particles suspended in it. Most of the time, we see this as a salty crust on the top of a saltwater aquarium, but freshwater tanks with a high mineral content (high hardness) can have some “creep” as well. Some creep is completely normal in any system, especially higher temperatures, but if you are noticing that the crust builds up quickly or seems out of control? This could be a symptom of Electrolysis – the separation of ions using an electrical current. Read More »

Hiding Spots for Aquarium Fish – A Word of Caution

Pleco StuckThe other day I was doing one of my daily walk-throughs and looking for a particular fish, but simply couldn’t find it. Mind you, this was not some tiny little goby or tetra that could almost literally disappear, this was a rather large, Spotted Royal Pleco, Panaque cf. nigrolineatus (L330). This particular Royal Pleco is something around 8 inches long. How in the world do you lose an 8 inch pleco? Check out the pic to the right and you’ll see. Read More »

The Importance of Water Changes In Aquarium Maintenance

BucketRoutine water changes are the most basic, most necessary, and most overlooked acts of tank maintenance. Most aquarists know they should do water changes, but not everyone does or even knows how to do it the right way. How much and how often are highly debated topics among aquarists no matter what kind of tanks they keep.

Why should we do water changes?

Removing water from the aquarium and replacing it with new, “clean” water removes waste and organics that are dissolved in the water. It also helps to remove any chemical treatments or medications when the treatment is complete. Dissolved organics contribute to Nitrate and Phosphate build-up that aquarists try so hard to control. These compounds can affect the health of your livestock directly and can promote algae and cyanobacteria growth, making your tank unsightly. Changing the water also helps to replenish minerals and other trace elements. This can be especially important in tanks with corals and crustaceans (crabs and shrimp, both freshwater and saltwater) that use these minerals to form their skeleton or exoskeleton. Corals and other saltwater invertebrates can use up minerals fairly quickly in a closed environment, and replacing old, depleted water with fresh saltwater adds these minerals back into the tank. Read More »

Understanding the Role of Magnesium in a Reef Aquarium

MagnesionOften overlooked, Magnesium plays a critical role in the chemical and biological processes in the Marine aquarium. Magnesium is a major element (as opposed to a trace element) and is the third most common element in seawater behind only Sodium and Chloride. Magnesium is an essential element to all organisms for biological functions, and is especially important to organisms that are skeleton building, as Magnesium is a key component of aragonite. Far too often, we find aquarists who are struggling to figure out what is causing issues in their reef aquarium, and Magnesium deficiencies end up being at fault. It is impossible to maintain ideal Calcium and Carbonate levels in salt water without maintaining Magnesium levels as well.  Many folks struggle with keeping their Alkalinity and Calcium to appropriate levels in their marine aquariums, yet never test their Magnesium levels. At levels below natural sea water concentrations of Magnesium (1280-1350 ppm), Calcium and Carbonates will precipitate out with each other in inorganic forms, and dosing either will not achieve the proper results in a low Magnesium environment. Read More »