Things You Want to Get Your Fish Tank Running Smoothly
(The First Tank Guide)
There is a lot of aquarium equipment and hardware available in the pet trade. While this means there are a lot of things to help you take care of your home fish tank, it can also lead to confusion for first time aquarium owners. In fact, some of the pieces of equipment are not well understood by more advanced or experienced fish tank keepers, leading to some popular misconceptions which can get spread by pet shops and internet users. I hope the information below on aquarium equipment helps you to better understand what is available, what it is used for, and what may or may not be necessary for your new fish tank.
The primary purpose of the top on the aquarium is to keep your animals from jumping out. The top also supports lighting, and can hold some air pumps or fans. Another important function of an aquarium top is to reduce evaporation. Excessive evaporation can cause increased levels of dangerous chemicals and can also make cleaning more difficult.
Tops are available that are made of glass, plastic, wood, acrylic, or metal in a variety of styles to fit different tanks or decor.
The substrate in a tank can be very important depending on how you decorate. Live plants need a warm, soft, particulate substrate. Most fish, on the other hand don't care what is on the bottom. If you are using an under gravel filter, you will need to have a layer of gravel that is 1.5-2 inches thick over the plates. This gravel has to be coarse enough that it will not sift through the slots in the filter plate and plug the filter. The gravel should be sloped so that any decaying matter will drift down toward the front of the tank and be easily siphoned off when the tank is cleaned. Some burrowing fish, like Peacock Eels and Banjo Catfish need a softer or finer substrate so that they won't hurt themselves trying to move through it.
- Fish Food
This White Cloud is a relatively easy to keep community fish.
The stand is something for you to put your tank on. You will probably want something tall enough that you can easily see the tank from a comfortable position. Remember when you are selecting a stand that
- water weighs about ten pounds per gallon. This means that you have to get something sturdy for your stand. I have seen friends lose tanks because their stands weren't strong enough.
- Putting something heavy at the top of something narrow or off balance is asking for trouble. Your stand should be sturdy and stable, and so should the floor beneath it. Remember that if you put your tank on the top of a tilting stand, it is easy to knock it over.
- The stand needs to be flat on the top (unless you purchased an abnormal shape of tank). Glass can crack easily under very slight stress when it is already under pressure, and acrylic seams can split if a twist is applied to the tank.
A mixture of live and artificial plants makes a nice environment for this community tank.
- Water Pump:
Similar to an air pump, a water pump moves water, possibly under pressure. You will need one for some types of filters, such as canister filters and trickle filters. Most filters will come with a water pump if they require one.
Timers are fairly simple devices available at most hardware stores for purposes of turning household lights on and off at specific times. You can often get better timers with special functions at a pet shop, but these are not necessary for most purposes. I use timers on all of my tanks to give the fish and plants 12 hour photoperiods. By regulating the amount of time the lights are on, you can improve your fish's psychological health, improve the growth of any live plants you may have, and actually reduce algae growth.