An aquarium is not just a few pieces of glass attached & filled with water and few colorful fish, it’s a lot more than that if we have a deeper look. Today we are going to learn the basics of owning an aquarium and most importantly how the system works and keeps our fish alive.
When we first hear about placing a filter in our aquarium to keep our system and fish healthy and alive we first think of the sea where no filter, bio media, or any kind of pumps are present, then how the Sea holds infinite marine creatures? The answer is the rocks, the sand, and every porous object which lies in the sea colonize a beneficial nitrifying bacteria which uses inorganic chemicals as the source of energy and their by-products are somewhat useful for other sea life. For example, if we talk about Nitrosomonas, Nitrosospira, Nitrosococcus, and Nitrosolobus bacterium which is responsible for converting ammonia (NH3) into Nitrites (NO2) & Nitrobacter, Nitrospina and Nitrococcus which converts Nitrites(NO2) into Nitrates (NO3). What we should know is ammonia is lethal for all fish, invertebrates but when it converts to nitrite it becomes less harmful than ammonia and it does not stop here nitrite is harmful to aquatic plants so it should be converted to nitrates which are tolerable in fish, invertebrates and aquatic plants to some extent. This cycle is known as the nitrifying cycle which continues in the sea and keeps it alive and beautiful.
To mimic this cycle in our aquariums we have to install filters, bio-media, and other equipment. Let’s start from the beginning. We bought a glass aquarium, now what? How we are supposed to set it up?
First of all, we have to set up an aquarium filter, there is a variety to choose from some are canisters, under gravel filters, top tray filtration, power filters, hang on backs, & sump filtration. You can choose from these according to your tank volume and the type of tank you want to set up either a tropical, cold-water, or with Live Aquatic planted aquariums. My preference is canisters and sump filtration as we have more space to utilize & we can install biological and mechanical filtration all at once. After you choose your type of filtration the next step is to put gravel in your fish tank. Gravels are not necessary but give your aquarium a more natural and beautiful look in addition they hide all the debris and fish waste.
Now you can install a light on your tank so your fish get a day-night cycle & fill your fish tank with water and start running your filter. You can add a pair of hardy fish like platies or mollies to start the nitrifying cycle. Don’t crowd your aquarium all it once you will end up with a lot of dead fish. Be patient and gradually stocking your aquarium. The nitrifying cycle takes around 30-40 days to complete naturally and after that, you can add more fish as your tank holds a lot of bacteria and can handle a good amount of fish.
Never forget, an over-fed fish is a dead fish. Do not overfeed your fish instead give a small amount of food twice a day. More feeding means more organic waste which might end in a dirty aquarium as soon as three to four days.
We hope today you have learned the basics of keeping an aquarium. We hope you will now enjoy your Fishtank.