Water World: Creating an Ecosystem in Aquarium

Aquarium fish is one of the most popular pets which can be easily explained: they are beautiful, and, at a first glance, unpretentious. Indeed, they do not need to walk, they don't chew the shoes and not tear off the wallpaper. But every aquarist needs to understand that in his hands there's an ecosystem in miniature, which need to be taken care of. How to do it right? Read our tips and find out!

Choosing the aquarium

So you've decided to get fish. First of all, it is necessary to purchase not them, but a suitable aquarium. Glass jar is an improper option. After all, our goal is to create conditions, maximally close to natural for living creatures. And to maintain the biological balance is easier in tanks of large volume.

Заднюю стенку аквариума лучше заклеить непрозрачной пленкой

For beginners the best option is from 60 to 170 l. Note: the disadvantage of round aquariums is that curved glass distorts the image, in addition, their walls are more difficult to clean away plaque. It is best to buy ready-made container in a specialized store. It is important that the manufacturer of the tank should not use toxic adhesives. The metal frame can also cause harm to living organisms due to the formation of rust.

Цихлидам нужен просторный аквариум: в тесноте они могут проявить агрессию по отношению к другим рыбкам

Ready to move in

The thing that you need to fill the aquarium by pour tap water which stood some days is known almost to everybody. But if you just promptly put fish or plants in it, everything could end badly. First it is necessary to wait the artificial pond to adjust the same processes as in the natural one. For the normal functioning of ecosystems it is necessary that the ammonia, which enters the water from fish waste, decayed food residues and parts of plants, should be processed by nitrifying bacteria. How to initiate this cycle?

First wash and better boil the ground, and then place it on the bottom of the aquarium with water. Simple sand is not suitable because it is hardly permeates by the oxygen.

Не спешите запускать рыбок в аквариум – дайте системе "устаканиться"

Then start to plant – you can begin with the Elodea. Plastic bushes may look nice, but they will never become an important component of the ecosystem.

An effective method of starting the nitrogen cycle is the use of biofilter, which was at least 6 weeks in another, already populated aquarium. On the sponge-filler you can find all the necessary bacteria. Some also suggest adding a small portion of fish dry food, pounded into a fine dust.

If the water is muddy, it is not necessary to pour it out! This is just a stage on the way to a "maturation". After about a week it will again become transparent.

Sets of tests will help to check the readiness of the aquarium to move in. Thanks to them it is easy to find the content of ammonia in water (should be close to zero) and pH (7.1 to 7.8).

Хорошие наборы для тестов стоят недешево, но экономить не стоит

Besides the filter, to create comfortable conditions in the aquarium, a compressor enriching the water with oxygen is needed. Also don't forget to buy a special thermometer, nets, siphon for cleaning the soil and a scraper for glass.

In the future it will be necessary to perform periodically a partial water change, but in any case do not refresh the contents of your aquarium completely.

Прежде чем отправиться за рыбками, посоветуйтесь со специалистами, почитайте специальную литературу

Buying the fish

Once in the pet store, do not allow the eyes to diverge and the brain to be switched off and don't forget the main rules:

  • In one "home" aggressive and harmless fish cannot get on. While some live in pairs (angelfish, cyrtocara), others make flocks (neon, tetras). Learn their habits in advance and make a list.
  • Some species, growing, significantly increase in size. Are you ready to buy a new huge tank?
  • Fish need space, so do not overpopulate the aquarium. For example, one goldfish should have not less than 5 liters of water.
  • Novice aquarists are better to buy the most tenacious fish – guppies, swordtails, danio rerio. But with arowanas or discus it is better to wait.

Typical mistakes

Changes in temperature. Moving from cool water to warmer is stress for your pets, from which they may die. For this reason, transportation of fish from the store is better to be made in flasks. Do not set the aquarium near heaters or on window sills.

Спиртовой термометр – самый доступный гаджет. Электронный обойдется дороже

Cheap dry food. Fish, like people, need a balanced diet that includes protein, vitamins, minerals. If you are not ready to store in the fridge bloodworms (mosquito larvae) and tubifex, this does not mean that a live food can be completely replaced by the first available powder-food. A suitable alternative is high-quality granulated food, enriched with various substances. Dose feed carefully – half-eaten particles will decompose and spoil the water.

Disabling the filter for the night. Strong noise of the compressor prevents to fall asleep? You should not place the aquarium in the bedroom. Disconnecting the device can cause the existing ecosystem a huge damage.

Sudden lighting off. In nature the sun do not comes over the horizon instantly. And you also need to reduce the intensity of light gradually: first, turn off the lamp above the aquarium, then the light in the room. Turning on a lamp in the dark, you also run the health risk of the fish: they can hit the glass and get injured.


Fish swim near the surface and gasp for air by mouth, and they have red gills? Symptoms of ammonia intoxication. In such case, you can use professional tools that should be added to the water. Feed the fish less frequently. Turn your attention to the filter - perhaps it is not powerful enough.

Algae bred on the walls of the aquarium, the soil and plants? Try to clean them, increase the flow of oxygen and reduce the amount of light. And get the main fighters against the blue-green plague – catfish-stuck, which consume the algae as food.

Ракушки в аквариум лучше не класть: они делают воду слишком жесткой

The sea inside: salt water aquarium

Coral reefs and their inhabitants can be admired forever. If you want to observe this vibrant world, not only during travel or on TV, but in your apartment, please note that the content of marine aquarium will require less cost and time than a freshwater. Besides the aquarium, you will need:

  • Special salt. In any case, you cannot use regular food or bath salts!
  • Device for water preparation. "Sea" solution is recommended to prepare on the basis of distilled or passed through reverse osmosis facility water.
  • Pump to create flow. Many inhabitants of the depths used to exist in conditions of constant water flows.
  • Skimmer. This gadget removes unwanted organic impurities and saturates the water with oxygen.
  • Hydrometer for salinity measuring. At a temperature of 25 degrees, this figure should be 1,022-1,027 g/ml.

In addition, you cannot do without special lamps and thermostat to maintain the desired water temperature. As a freshwater, marine aquarium needs to "mature", so it is unacceptable to run fish in the just poured water. You should start with the laying of washed soil (coral sand, for example) and so-called "live stones", in which pores there are bacteria and larvae of various organisms necessary for proper balance. Then the experts recommend to wait at least for a month, and then to launch.

Забота о морском аквариуме включает в себя периодический долив воды взамен испарившейся и проверку состава воды

If this is your first marine aquarium, you should stop the choice at the clown fishes or chromis. In addition to the soft and hard corals in your ocean, you can settle anemones, cineplex crawfish, shrimps.

To leave such "underwater Kingdom" without supervision at the time of release is extremely dangerous because the cleaning system and heating may fail – e.g. due to a temporary power outage.

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