Aquarium Tips #4-6

Aquarium Tip 4 - Substrate... Sub-What?

Welcome to part 4 of your 10-part mini-course, My Freshwater Aquarium Secrets. Today, I'm going to talk about the substrate in your tank.

Aquarium gravel and other substrates form the bed at the bottom of freshwater aquariums. In addition, it supports the decorations and furnishings that will you're your aquarium's habitat. It also supports aquatic plant life providing an anchor for their roots.

The aesthetic quality of the substrate is not the only consideration when choosing aquarium substrate. There are some very important things that you should keep in mind when making your choice.

First, you're going to want to learn about the type of fish you're interested in taking care of before you decide what substrate you want to use in your tank. Consider this a general guide until you really decide what breeds you're going to be sharing your home with.

This is because some breeds like to put substrate in their mouth, and some types of sand can irritate them and cause them stress. Larger rocks are also bad for breeds that like to nest and burrow.

Figuring out what species of fish you want in your home should lead you to a proper substrate. You don't have to purchase substrate, either - just boil river rocks or gravel for an hour before placing them in the tank, and they'll be fine!

It is also important to understand that the substrate bed plays a major role in your aquarium's nitrogen cycle. The nitrogen cycle is very important for the survival of your fish.

Bacteria that that grow in the aquarium gravel or sand eradicate unwanted ammonia and nitrates from the aquarium. If the ammonia and nitrate levels are too high your fish will become sick and may die.

Ideally, the aquarium gravel bed should be at least five centimeters in deep for plant placement and for borrowing fish to play around in.

Natural beds work best for freshwater aquariums. There are different aquarium substrate types that you can use for this purpose, each with certain characteristics that affect the whole aquarium. Gravel and coarse sand (e.g quartz sand) are the best because they allow for better water circulation and filtration.

Loire sand is finer than coarse sand that contains nutrients that may be utilized by aquatic plants. Originally, Loire sand was gathered from the Loire River of France.

Finally, fine sand is appealing, but it does not do well if you have a current in your aquarium.

It is best and easiest to purchase aquarium gravel sold specifically for aquariums rather than trying to collect and clean it yourself.

Aquarium Tip 5 - The Biggest Mistake

Welcome to part 5 of your 10-part mini-course, My Freshwater Aquarium Secrets. This marks the halfway point of the course and we have discovered a lot about the basics of owning an aquarium.

Today, I'm going to talk about the biggest mistake that most people make once they've decided that they're ready to own a freshwater aquarium.

This mistake is deceivingly simple, so simple in fact that avoiding it seems like common sense.

Here is the mistake:

"Lack of research causes tank incompatibility and ultimately, the death of your fish."

Before you choose any species of fish, you need to do your research. You can't simply dump several fish into a tank and hope they get along.

Each fish has unique needs. Not just with food, but also water levels, temperatures, tempers, and more.

Simple research on the many different types of fish can potentially save you a TON of money.

Here are some great questions to consider:

  • Does this fish like open areas, or plenty of plants?
  • Does this fish prefer acidic or alkaline water (Lower pH verses higher pH)?
  • Does this fish get along well with others?
  • What are the feeding requirements for this fish? Does he eat at the top of the tank, or the bottom?
  • How much space does this fish need?
  • What temperature does this fish thrive in?

If you can't find these things in your local library, you should be able to talk to a knowledgeable staff member at your local fish store for most of these answers.

If in doubt, do more research. Over-research is always better than not enough research, and you're going to lose money if you don't.

Figuring out what species is for you isn't as hard as some people think, either.

Head to a fish store and browse. Heck, go to several fish stores in your area! Take a note pad and write down the species of fish that you like, and talk to the resident expert about their needs.

See which species match the best, and then cross-reference the information the staff gave you to information on that species

Aquarium tip 6 - Community Tanks or Not?

Welcome to part 6 of your 10-part mini-course, My Freshwater Aquarium Secrets. Today, I'm going to introduce a problem that many owners face.

Do they want to have a community tank or a species tank? And how to choose which one is the best fit for their lifestyle and personality?

Not sure what the difference is? Basically, a community tank houses several different species of fish, from top feeders to bottom dwellers, and anything in between. So far, we've presumed this is what you're going to choose, but you certainly don't have to.

A species tank is a tank that only holds one species, instead of several different types of complimenting species.

Many people who purchase an aquarium for relaxation and enjoyment prefer a community tank because there is always something going on; however, breeders almost always solely use a species tank.

The choice is yours, but there are pros and cons to each.

The biggest thing to consider is that choosing what fish to have is a lot easier if you only have to choose one. Also, caring for your tank is easier with one species because you simply don't have to worry about the different requirements of each species.

However, a single species tank is usually not as visually appealing. Make the decision based on your experience with freshwater tanks, your ability to care for your fish, and the main goal of your fish tank.

Ultimately, it depends on your skill, training, and knowledge of fish; as well as, the time you want to spend with them.

A community aquarium will have a steeper learning curve, but it will be more rewarding if you want to watch different species interact with each other.

More Aquarium Tips to Come...




If you haven't had a chance to check out The Ultimate Freshwater Aquarium Guide, I urge you to do so now. It contains my step-by-step system to getting a healthy and thriving freshwater aquarium up and running.

Check out The Ultimate Freshwater Aquarium Guide Today!