The water in the aquarium has a number of characteristics that directly affect its inhabitants. Conventionally, they can be divided into physical and chemical characteristics.
The first include the temperature and the content of dissolved oxygen, the second – the acidity and hardness. The pledge of health and successful breeding of pets is to maintain these characteristics at a constant level, with the exception of sudden changes in the environment and the selection of animals with similar requirements for water parameters.
Novice aquarists who have taken up the study of thematic literature are often afraid of the abundance of chemical terms, definitions and numbers. In fact, there is nothing complicated: it is enough to master the basics, “set up” the aquarium in accordance with the recommendations, and then only make minor efforts to maintain balance in the system.
An aquarium is an isolated ecosystem that cannot exist for long without external intervention. But it should be remembered that, ideally, the role of the owner should be reduced to two functions: feeding the inhabitants and timely disposal of their waste.
All other parameters should be adjusted at an early stage, the benefit of the current development and availability of special equipment is quite simple.
The basic rule of any ecosystem – the larger its volume, the easier and faster it will establish equilibrium. It is almost impossible to achieve a biobalance in a three-liter jar, whereas in a one-hundred-meter artificial reservoir the system will very soon come into balance itself, provided that there is a competent qualitative and quantitative selection of animals and plants.
Creating an ecological balance in an aquarium has two goals: maintaining comfortable conditions for its inhabitants and minimizing the hassle of caring for them for the owner. If you treat it carelessly, then an artificial reservoir from a source of aesthetic pleasure will turn into a real problem with all the attendant troubles: muddy water, foul odor and massive pet closures.
The basis of the biobalance – water in the aquarium. It is on its characteristics that health, life expectancy and the possibility of reproduction of fish, other animals (turtles, frogs, newts, crayfish and others) and plants that inhabit the water body depend. The state of the water will have to be monitored constantly: monitor the temperature, hardness, acidity, organoleptic properties (odor, turbidity, color).
Aquarists with the experience “by eye” and the behavior of pets determine the changes occurring in the aquatic environment, but experience still needs to be gained. The beginner will have to use a thermometer, test reagents and read the literature, which describes the habits of fish in stressful situations (oxygen starvation, a sharp change in acidity).
The first stage of debugging an ecosystem is to prepare the aquarium to receive “guests”. You can not just bring home an aquarium, fill it with water and soil, stick plants into it and run the fish. This can end well: the fish will survive stress, the plants will take root and then everything will normalize.
Usually the picture is different: half of the animals die, the other is sick for a long time, the plants rot, and the water becomes cloudy. In convulsive attempts to rectify the situation, the inexperienced owner seated the fish in banks, begins to change the water and wash the soil, thereby aggravating the problem.
Before settling an aquarium, you must:
According to the temperature regime, aquariums are divided into tropical and cold water. The latter are very rare, exclusively for the amateur. They contain representatives of northern latitudes, which do not have as bright appearance as fish from the tropics.
In addition, the maintenance of such a reservoir is fraught with great difficulties: it is much more difficult to cool than cool it.
Almost all of the most popular aquarium fish – residents of southern latitudes. With the exception of goldfish and its varieties. But this descendant of an ordinary crucian also feels great in warm water.
For the overwhelming majority of such pets, the optimum temperature will be in the range of 22-26 C. With a lower fish they will be sluggish and the risk of disease increases, with a higher metabolism speeds up, respectively, and they age faster. In addition, the higher the temperature, the less oxygen the water can dissolve, which should also be taken into account.
To control the temperature and maintain it permanently in a comfortable framework, 3 elements are needed:
- aeration device (pump, compressor).
The thermometer will allow you to track changes in temperature and, in the event of serious changes, take emergency measures for heating or cooling. There are mercury, alcohol and electronic.
The first two types are either suction mounted or floating freely to be constantly in the aquarium, the latter are used as needed or permanently (when the thermal sensor is lowered into the water).
Preference is better to give the classics – mercury or alcohol thermometer. In this, the battery will not sit down and there is absolutely nothing to break there. Choose a better mount with a suction cup and place it in a convenient place for inspection.
A floating thermometer can drag the “current” from the pump into the grass thickets, each time you have to look for it, returning it to the “clean” water.
The heater in the aquarium is necessary, given the climate and the off-season, when the temperature in the apartments drops to unpleasant parameters for man, what can we say about heat-loving fish. All of them are equipped with thermostats, where you can set a comfortable temperature for pets. Choose this equipment based on the volume of the aquarium at the rate of 1 W per liter.
Better to take with a margin, the thermostat still will not allow overheating.
In addition to oxygenation, aeration equipment is necessary for thermoregulation. Water tends to be heated in layers, the pump or compressor mix it and distribute the temperature evenly throughout the volume.
It should be remembered that the range of temperature fluctuations that the fish endures without consequences: 2-4 C, therefore, your sharp drops and below these limits should be excluded. For the same reason, in order to avoid shock, when a pet brought from a pet store enters the reservoir, it is necessary to first equalize the temperature in it and the shipping container.
In case of emergency (during long-term power outages), water can be heated by adding warm boiled water (but not more than 20% of the total!). If a heater breaks down, it can be temporarily replaced with a lamp with an incandescent lamp located at the side wall (without touching the glass!). You can cool the water with ice cubes.
This is done when the temperature exceeds 30-32 C (at 36 C, the fish begin to die).
To begin with, it is important to understand what acidity or “pH level” is and why no self-respecting aquarist can do without knowing this term and the ability to regulate the acidity of water.
Acidity or “pH” indicates the concentration of a positive hydrogen ion (H +) or, in other words, the concentration of carbon dioxide in water. Carbon dioxide is formed in aquarium water for various reasons, the main thing is that both fish and algae release it in the process of their vital activity.
Also, various chemical reactions constantly occur in water, which also leads to a deviation of pH from the ideal value … The neutral medium has a pH = 7, below – the medium will be acidic, higher – alkaline.
Most fish feel comfortable at a pH of 6.5 to 8. During the day, this figure may change by one in any direction, it is not scary. A sharp change in level, such as fish transplantation, has a negative effect.
This can be avoided by gradually adding water from the aquarium to the transport tank, the pH level being controlled by special test strips or reagents.
Acidity is very important because with its help you can control the behavior of fish, for example, many tropical fish start reproduction only when the pH is lowered, this is due to the fact that in nature the period of laying eggs they fall during the rainy period, which reduces acidity and makes the water softer. By creating these conditions at the right time, you can usefully use the fish instincts.
This indicator characterizes the amount of minerals dissolved in water. The stiffness is measured in German degrees dGH and is distributed as follows:
- 0-4 dGH – very soft;
- 5 -10 dGH – soft;
- 10-20 dGH – medium hardness;
- 20-30 dGH – hard;
- 30 or more dGH – very tough.
The need for the content of minerals for the species of each animal is determined individually, so this parameter should be taken into account when selecting pets. Most fish feel comfortable in a wide range of hardness, from 2 to 20 dGH, but there are exceptions. For example, neons breed only in soft water, no more than 6 dGH, although they live well in a more rigid one.
Snails for nrmalnogo development requires hard water: from it they draw construction materials for their shells. To determine this parameter, there are special test strips and electronic meters.
You can remove excessive hardness by adding distilled or boiled water, add – by adding baking soda or calcium carbonate.
A common mistake for newbies is to completely replace the water in the aquarium. This action destroys the ecological balance and in addition to unjustified labor costs harms all its inhabitants.
Full replacement is done in exceptional cases: in case of an epidemic with the need to sterilize the tank and the ground or to populate the reservoir with parasitic animals. In a well-established system, water is replaced every 2-3 months when cleaning the soil and walls and a volume of 20-30%, not more.
The rest of the time, you can add boiled or distilled water instead of evaporated to the mark formed by salt deposits on the walls.
Water is removed to a prepared bucket using a hose of the required length, using the same technique that drivers use to drain fuel. If at the end of it you attach the neck of a plastic bottle and stick it into the ground when it is drained, shake a little, then the organic waste accumulated at the bottom will rise, be dragged by the flow of water and be removed.
Replacement water must be prepared. To do this, it is defended for at least a day – this will remove chlorine from it and equalize the temperature. Water is poured in gently, in a thin stream in order to avoid soil erosion and injury to animals.
You can use the same hose as the drain, if it is possible to raise the tank above the level of the aquarium. For topping up in place of evaporated distilled or boiled water of the same temperature is used.
It is not recommended to use thawed or rain water: it may contain harmful substances emitted into the atmosphere by enterprises, plus a fair amount of dust.
For large volumes of aquarium (from 250 liters) to 10% of water, you can add a thin (half of the little finger) trickle directly from the faucet, using a long hose. With such a volume, an abrupt temperature change will not occur, and chlorine will have time to disappear, not reaching a concentration that is dangerous for fish.
The causeless (at first glance) change in the color of water often causes panic in newbies, which leads to ill-conceived actions. There are four main reasons:
- bacterial contamination;
- microscopic contamination of algae;
- tanning pollution;
- the rise of organic particles from the ground.
Turbid water in an aquarium is always bad and the problem should be solved without delay. In some cases, this can lead to fish freezing due to oxygen starvation, for example, in bacterial muti.
The most common cause of its occurrence is excessive feeding of food: the fish are physically unable to eat everything and rapid reproduction of microorganisms begins on its remains. Overcrowding may be the cause: the filter does not cope with the load, the decomposition of organic suspension from excrement begins. This is fraught with a lack of oxygen: bacteria consume it in large quantities and the aeration system can not cope.
In the end, muddy aquarium water stinks, which can ruin the attitude of family members to your hobby.
In the case of overfeeding can help a strict diet. Fish completely do without food for a week, but bacteria, deprived of food supply, will not survive hunger strikes.
If in 2-3 days after the hunger strike the water begins to lighten, then everything turned out. When overpopulation should reduce the population of inhabitants, distributing part of the fish familiar.
Making a certain amount of water from a “healthy” aquarium will have a beneficial effect. This will help restore the microflora balance.
In extreme cases, you will have to look for a UV (ultraviolet) sterilizer.
In this case, the fault lies with microscopic algae. The reason is usually in the over-illumination of the aquarium in direct sunlight, which causes accelerated reproduction and growth of algae, which leads to the greening of the water.
Therefore, it is impossible to place a container in front of the window – this leads to the appearance of a green patina on the walls, and sometimes to turbidity. The most common way to fight: blackout of the reservoir.
True, this does not always help. If the aquarium is attacked by a simple organism (Euglena viridis), then this step will be useless.
With a lack of light, the cunning flagellate passes from photosynthesis to the direct absorption of organic matter. Euglena becomes colorless, but does not die. The water seems clear again, but if you “give light”, everything will start anew.
In this case, ultraviolet irradiation for 2-3 days will help.
“Excellent” will cope with the problem released into the aquarium live daphnia. This crustacean is well known to aquarists as a fodder crop.
During the procedure, fish should be planted, otherwise the sweepers will be quickly exterminated and will not have time to complete the task. Important note: daphnids must be from a reservoir where there is no guarantee and there has never been a fish. From a large puddle or city fountain, for example.
You can buy live crustaceans from breeders who breed it for food. Otherwise, you can bring the infection and problems will be more.
In both cases, some experts recommend the use of “chemistry” – antibiotics or pesticides. Yes, it can quickly solve the problem, but it will have a negative impact on the biobalance. This way is better reserved for the most extreme case.
Do not replace water – it will give fresh strength to microorganisms and will accelerate reproduction.
If there was such an attack, and in the pond there are natural decorative elements: snags or coconut shells, then it is all about them. This is the result of insufficient processing.
The process of preparing natural jewelry is very time consuming: many hours of digestion in a strong salt solution with frequent replacement. This is followed by soaking for several days, preferably in running water. Not everyone is able to fully comply with the process, as a result of lying for some time, the snag begins to secrete tannins.
The way to fight is simple: throw out the decoration and in several steps (20% once a week) change the water.
If the water in the aquarium dims and the suspended particles are clearly visible to the naked eye, then the problem lies in the insufficient filter capacity and the “subversive” activity of some inhabitants of the reservoir. Goldfish, catfish and some species of cichlids dig the ground in search of food almost around the clock, raising clouds of silt with excrement. For breeders of goldfish, experts immediately recommend a filter with increased throughput.
It will also have to be cleaned often, preferably it is also necessary to wash the soil, as described above. In this situation, there is no particular threat to the life and health of pets, but it is unpleasant to watch pets through clouds of dirt.
In this case, you have to fork out for a new filter.
Complicate the life of “diggers” and reduce emissions of pollution and turbidity, you can lay out the bottom of a large nude. It will be difficult for the fish to roll it, but if the pets have impressive dimensions, it will help it weakly.
Whatever the reason for the appearance of turbidity in the aquarium, do not panic. Yes, unpleasant, but completely fixable.
Even in the hardest case, you can resort to at least – “restarting” the aquarium, but you should not abuse it: this is a big stress for pets, and restoring the ecological balance in a new way requires time and effort.