Discus Fish Care Guide – The King of Aquarium Fish

Discus, the Amazon cyclid or the king of the aquarium according to aquarists, has a body in the shape of a disk and that’s the reason for its name. Discus is a strong and resilient type of fish which can grow up to 25 cm and the average life span of this fish is 10 years. However, discus is really complicated for keeping and it requires ideal living conditions.

discus fish 2

 

Environment for Discus fish

Discuses reach their sexual maturity after one year and then form couples ready to spawn. For the egg laying to be successful, it’s necessary to have a special aquarium (50x50x50 in dimension) without the substrate and plants, with 20˚C degrees soft water and low levels of carbonate KH<1, GH 2-3 degrees and pH 5.8 – 6.2 which is accomplished with RO (reverse osmosis) systems.

They can spawn in water with different characteristics but there is less roe that way. Aquarium/spawning place should be placed in a peaceful environment because discuses can’t stand noise or supervision during spawning. It’s also necessary to provide them with a bigger leaf or a ceramic bowl in which they will lay the roe.

We prefer keeping Discus fish in aquarium decorated with our Wooden custom 3D aquarium backgrounds, they are the perfect environment for keeping species such as Central American or South American cichlids and are especially popular with Discus fish keepers. We have 4 different models.

3D Aquarium background, model E in a fish tank

Be careful; it’s not rare that parents eat the eggs and their offspring if the conditions are bad.

Transferring Discus fish

When you transfer the discuses into the spawning place, make sure to increase the amount of food you give them and replace the water every two days because it will incite the couple to spawn. As soon as you notice that their skin color is more intensive or that they are nudging each other, you’ll know they are ready to spawn.

The female lays the eggs and the male goes behind her and fertilizes them. After that, they take care of the roe together and occasionally “air it out” by waving their fins above the eggs. The fertilization process lasts for 72 hours after which eggs get small tails and the parents move them to a different place where they will start swimming in 3 – 4 days.    

Until then, parents will change their colour (darken) and their bodies will form a nutritious slime around it.

discus fish

They are very special because of the way they feed their young; they youngs latch onto the body of the darker parent because there is more nutritious slime on its body and they eat off of him. They are fed like this for ten days after which their diet is supplemented by artemia.

Discus common diseases

The most common diseases that these beautiful fishes have are intestinal parasites and “hole in head” disease.

Intestinal parasites (Hexamite) – the illness causes their stomach to be drawn in and their excrement becomes white and slimy. The fishes hide in the corners of the aquarium and throw up. The parasite first attacks the digestive system and then the kidneys and liver.

Discuses infected with hexamine usually don’t have visible symptoms for a long time but the water quality disbalance can make the fishes weaker and incite the reproduction of the intestinal parasite leading to animal dying in the span of three days. Products that contain metronidazole are used to treat this disease.

Hole in the head – The illness is caused by the lack of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D required for the normal growth and development of the fish and this deficiency is most commonly caused by inadequate and monotonous diet. Holes appear on their head above their eyes. 

To treat this disease, you should turn up the water temperature in the aquarium to 35 ˚C and throw in an orvagil tablet.                                                                                                  

 

10 Largest Aquariums in the World

The volume of these aquarium leaves you speechless but also offers you the chance to learn something new. The exhibits are not only fascinating but also very informative. This is the list of top 10 largest aquariums in the world.

 

1. The largest Aquarium in the world – S.E.A. Aquarium in Singapore 

First place is taken by the S.E.A. Aquarium which is currently thought to be the lagest aquarium in the world. It has more than 10,000 sea animals which live in 45 million liters of water. There are 49 zones in the tank which mimic different real living conditions from the Southeast of Asia.

the largest aquarium - SEA aquarium

2.Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta Georgia

This aquarium was until recently the lagerst aquarium in the world. 120,000 animals can be found in this tank. An interesting piece of information is that this is the only place outside of Asia where you can see whale sharks. This was also a thing of controversy because two whale sharks died in the aquarium.

the largest aquarium - Georgia aquarium

 

3.Shedd Aquarium in Chicago

This aquarium was opened in 1930 and up until 2005, it was the biggest in the world with 11 million liters of water in its main tank. 1500 different animals live inside the tank. There are several permanent exhibits at Shedd: Waters of the World, Caribbean Reef, Amazon Rising, Wild Reef, and the Abbott Oceanarium.

the largest aquarium - Georgia aquarium

4.Dubai Mall Aquarium

In the central part of the world’s biggest shopping mall, Dubai Mall, there is an aquarium with 10 million liters of water and the biggest acrylic plate in the world. The panel measures 8.3 by 32.88 meter (27 by 108 feet) and is 75 centimeters (30 inches) thick, only slightly bigger than Japan’s Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium panel. The tank is a home for over 33,000 sea animals, including around 400 sharks and stingrays combined.

the largest aquarium - dubai mall

5.Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium which was opened in 2002 is in the fifth place. The main tank contains 7,5 million liters of water and when it was opened it had the largest acrylic panel in the world. The name of the aquarium comes from the Okinawan word “chura” which means “beautiful” or “graceful” and “umi” means “ocean” in Japanese. Whale sharks and manta rays, among other fishes, are kept in this tank.

largest aquarium in japan

6.L’ Oceanogràic in Valencia 

L’Oceanogràfic is a marine complex where different marine habitats are represented. Around 45,000 animals from different ecosystems live in this aquarium in 7 million liters of water. The aquarium consists of 2 main parts which are interconnected by a 35 meters long tunnel and the tank is filled by sharks and stingrays.

biggest aquariums - loceanografic

 

7.Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan 

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is located in Japan. Its biggest tank has 5,4 million liters of water. 29,000 animals from the Pacific Ocean live in this aquarium. In 2013 a “New Interactive Area” was opened to allow visitors to see the animals up close and maybe even touch them.

osaka aquarium

8.Oceanario de Lisboa in Lisabon

The main tank of this aquarium has 5 million liters of water and around 450 different species from different parts of the world. The main attraction is the ocean sunfish (or mola mola) which can only be seen in a few aquariums in the world.

 oceanario lisboa aquarium

9.Shark Reef Aquarium in Las Vegas 

This aquarium is one of the few which can’t be found near a natural source of water but is placed in the Mohave desert. Its biggest tank contains 4,9 liters of water, which makes it one of the largest aquariums in North America.

shark reef vegas

10. TurkuaZoo in Istanbul 

TurkuaZoo was opened in 2009 and it was the biggest aquarium in Europe at the time. The biggest tank contains 4,5 million liters of water and has 10,000 animals among which are tiger-sharks, gigantic river stingrays and piranhas.

turkuazo istanbul

How to Change the Water in Your Aquarium

Why do we need to change the aquarium water?

Even if the water looks clean, stir it up on the surface and you will be shocked with the amount of dirt. Where does it come from? During the feeding process, small particles of food fall to the bottom of the tank and decompose. In the meantime, eaten food is accumulated in the tank in the shape of urine and feces, which also produces dirt.

Aside from the unwanted waste which is visible to the eye, there is an invisible one in the form of nitrates and phosphates. They are damaging to the fishes and make them more susceptible to illnesses. The rise of nitrate levels will slow down the growth of young fishes and can even result in a decrease of reproductive functions with adult fishes.

3D aquarium background in a wall mounted fish tank

Nitrates also affect the development of algae. Phosphates have a similar effect. Water replacement is the best way to maintain the levels of phosphates and nitrates low. Waste isn’t the only reason you should change the water in the aquarium. Minerals are important for the health of your fishes as well as the stable chemical composition of the water. 

In time they are either used up or filtrated. If you don’t replace them, the pH level will drop. Besides, the lack of minerals will affect the strength and health of fishes negatively. Regular water replacement can be compared to giving kids vitamins which help them maintain their strength and health. 

How often you should change the water in the aquarium?

Water replacement should be a part of the regular maintenance of the tank. How frequently you will do it depends on many factors. Smaller tanks with more equipment will require you to change the water more often than the bigger ones with less equipment.

It is advised to change 10-15% of the water every week. If you have a heavily equipped tank, you should change 20% of water per week. Less equipped tanks can last up to two weeks but that is the limit you shouldn’t go over.

If you are not sure if you are using the right aquarium equipment for the size of your aquarium, we wrote an article about aquarium equipment that should be helpful to you.

Some people think that adding water into the aquarium is the same as changing the water. However, that is not the case. Adding water doesn’t remove the waste so don’t fool yourself thinking that it is clean only because you added fresh water into it. This is a common beginner’s mistake, check out others mistakes people make with new aquariums in case you might be making one of those.

how to change water in aquarium

Tips for changing aquarium water

There are some pieces of advice you should consider when changing the water:

  • Let the water sit – this way dissolved gasses that are dangerous for the fishes will decompose. That will also help the pH level stabilize before the fishes are added to the aquarium.
  • Clean the sand – When you change the old water, vacuum the substrate at the same time. That way you will get rid of the waste.
  • Don’t clean the filter – Cleaning the sand affects the colonies of healthy bacteria. The filter is another location where these bacteria grow. It wouldn’t be wise to clean both locations at the same time. The filter can be cleaned in between water replacement.

Everything You Need to Know about Aquariums and Aquaristics

These are the instructions for beginners who wish to start doing aquaristics and make their living space nicer…

If you like animals and a peaceful, Zen environment you definitely need to buy an aquarium. Fishes are pets which don’t require a lot of attention, but they will keep you company and fill out your living space. Aquaristics is a big and broad area so you need to inform and educate yourself thoroughly before you buy an aquarium.

We decided to explain the most important things which will help you start doing aquaristics in order to create a small ecosystem which should function perfectly in your home.  

     1.The size of the aquarium

There is a misconception that smaller aquariums are easier and better for beginners. The smaller the volume of the aquarium, the harder it is to maintain it. Smaller water volume means that every added supplement can seriously damage the water composition so any living creature in the water will have troubles with adaptation. If you are a beginner, don’t buy an aquarium smaller than 65 liters.

       2. Aquarium as a living environment

Many people think that aquaristics is simple and that the water and fishes are enough, however, that is not the case. You have to look at the aquarium as a living being. You have to make your aquarium habitable. That’s the only way your fishes and plants can survive and live for a longer period of time.

aquarium environment - Aquarium and Aquaristics

When you buy a tank, you have to fill it with water and leave it for at least 30 days without fishes. In that way, you cycle the tank and create beneficial bacteria which later clean NO3 gases coming from fish feces. This process can be sped up by adding chemical substances but our advice is to let nature take its course and create suitable living conditions.

 3.Aquarium Plants

Many people forget that you can put plants into the tank. Of course, this is a matter of choice but we advise you to put in a few living plants into your tank. They give a sense of a real natural environment and make your aquarium look more beautiful. Also, plants will create additional oxygen and make the water better for the fishes. They will feel more natural and safer now that there are plants which they can use to hide.  Here you can read a guide for choosing the best aquarium plants for your tank.

aquarium plants

Plant maintenance is not complicated. There are demanding and less demanding plants and we advise you to start with the latter. They need light and nourishing substrate which is placed at the bottom of the tank. After you plant them, they will start developing and growing really fast. Later you can use scissors to prune them and shape them as you wish. If you want to learn more about aquarium lightning we wrote an article that can help you.

4.Filtration and additional equipment

An aquarium can’t survive long without a filter. The filter must be suitable for the amount of water you have in your tank and contain good filtration materials like activated charcoal and volcanic rocks. This way, the water is cleansed and all dirt is removed from the water. First, seek advice from people in the tank shop who will recommend the best filter for your tank. Later you will learn how it functions on your own. We wrote a useful guide on how to choose the right aquarium filter, it should help you to make the right decision.

Apart from the filter, you need to have a heater which will keep the water temperature constant. The temperature depends on the fishes you have in the tank but if it’s a mix of tropical fishes, the water temperature should be around 26 degrees.

Air spray is also very important because it oxidizes the water and makes it easier for the fishes to breathe in it. 

 

5.Lighting

Although we already mentioned the additional equipment, the lighting should be in a separate advice category. As you know, light is very important because it’s the source of life. There are two types of lighting, one for the plants and one for the fishes. The lighting has to be placed right so that illuminates the entire surface of the aquarium. You need to make sure the lighting turns on and off to simulate the cycle of day and night. So, we advise you to keep the light turned off for 14 hours and on for 10 hours, if you want to learn more about aquarium lightning we have an article for you.

aquarium lightning

You can buy cheap timers which will do the job for you.

6.Fishes

When you provide all the right conditions and put in all of the equipment into the tank, you can then start adding the fishes. Try not to add too many fishes at once because every time you add them you change the chemical composition. Before you release them into the water, put the fishes, along with the plastic bag you bought them in, into the aquarium water. That way they will adapt to the aquarium temperature. 

aquarium fish

Before adding them, you should decide which fish you want to keep. You can have a few big ones or smaller ones. You don’t usually mix big and small fishes. Also, you need to see if they are herbivores or not. If you have plant-eating fishes, like goldfishes, then you can’t have plants in the tank.

The most important thing is to add fishes which aren’t aggressive and which get along with others. You always need to check this and ask the shop assistant if the fishes you want to buy can cohabitate with the ones you already have.  

If you didn’t choose your aquarium fish yet, here is the list of most popular aquarium fish for beginners.

7.Cleaning

Many people think that the tank water is changed at certain intervals but that is partially true. The water should never be changed entirely, but you need to change 1/3 every 7-10 days. The tank mustn’t be exposed to sunlight directly or be near the window, as well as cold and drafty places.

You can clean the glass with a razor or with special magnetic cleaners which will remove all the dirt.

Remember that aquaristics isn’t hard but you need to be persistent and try to provide the best possible living space. That way, the fishes will be healthier and live longer and you will have a wonderful part of nature in your apartment or house. 

The most expensive aquarium fish in the world


At the end of a muddy path lined by rubber trees, Herman proudly presents his family fish farm. Around 70 Asian arowanas, decorative fishes highly valued among aquarists, swim in three rectangle shaped fishponds. His parents are clerks in the village of Selimbau in the West Kalimantan, a province of Indonesian island Borneo, but the sale of arowanas brings in a better profit.

Young fish in wholesale reaches the price of 4 million rupees (268 dollars), which is more than the average monthly salary in Indonesia. Bigger specimens cost even more. Wire nets and CDs tied with a rope above the fishpond protect the fish from eagles, and walls of wavy tinplate, watchtowers, barbwire and padlocks from thieves.

Dragon Fish –  The most expensive aquarium fish

Asian arowana or the “dragon fish” is the most expensive aquarium fish in the world. It exists in multiple colors and is breed across Southeast Asia. In Singapore the average price of young arowanas is 300 dollars. Rare species, like the ones in West Kalimantan, recognizable by its color, reach the price of 1,500 dollars. Adult albino specimens are sold for the astronomical price of 70,000 dollars.

the most expansive fish in the world

 

Before they became famous as the mythical “dragon fish”, arowanas which are today a status symbol, were food for poor in the countries of Southeast Asia, where they live in their natural habitat. Emily Voigt in her book “The Dragon Behind the Glass” writes that their prestige suddenly grew after efforts to preserve the species in the 70s. It became interesting as a rarity because it was put on endangered species list and the trade was prohibited.

Rich Singaporeans spend a fortune on cosmetic treatments for their pets. Esthetic eye surgery became a standard procedure of Eugene Ng, one of the most famous cosmetic surgeons for Asian arowanas in Singapore. With the help of forceps, he removes the tissue behind the eye and suppresses the eyeball deeper into the fisheye socket.

the most expansive fish in the world

I know that some people think this is cruel, but really, I am doing the fish a favor. Now it looks more beautiful and the owner will love it more, says doctor Ng.

Stories about sacrificing themselves by jumping out of the tank to warn the owners of bad investments and dangers, only contribute to their popularity.

The Chinese believe that aquarium fish brings happiness and wealth and Asian arowanas especially, says Kenny Yap, director of one of the best breeding grounds of this fish in Asia.

The most common mistakes with new aquariums


Starting with a too-small tank

First, and the most common mistake with aquariums is starting with a small tank. People started opting for smaller tanks since they appeared on the market. However, a smaller tank is a total failure for beginners. Why? Because if the volume of water is smaller, main water characteristics change quickly so you can’t make a single mistake. Even experienced aquarists see a small tank as a challenge. Beginners in this hobby should avoid aquariums under 20 gallons until they gain experience. Remember that the bigger the aquarium, the less impact your mistake will have on the fish.

Adding fish into the tank too soon

Beginners are impatient to add the fish, often the same day when they set up the tank. Some are lucky but most soon lose some or all of the fish. What goes wrong? The water in the new tank isn’t stabilized yet. Gases, as well as minerals, hard metals and chemicals have dissolved in the water. Without going further into the subject of water chemical composition, it’s safe to say that dissolved constituents can harm the fish. Tank water should be treated and neutralized from harmful ingredients and should sit for a day or more so that the dissolved gases and pH value are stabilized. After that it’s safe to put the fish into the aquarium.

mistakes with new aquarium

Adding too much fish at once

Aquarium owners are impatient to fill the tank with fish. Adding too much fish at once is sadly one of the most common mistakes with aquarium that beginners make. Until bacteria colonies don’t form completely, the tank can’t support too much fish. In the beginning add only two small endurable fishes. Before you add more, wait until the values of ammonia and nitrogen go up and then reach zero.

problem with aquarium

Overcrowding

Even after they first set up the tank, it is very usual that beginners overcrowd it. Although an experienced person can successfully grow a school of twenty small fishes in a 10-gallon tank, it would be disastrous for beginners. We recommend 80 percent per net gallon of water as the maximum number of inches of fish to keep in the tank. The net gallon of water is the amount of water in the tank after the gravel and decorations are placed. For example, the tank has 16 gallons of water after decorations and gravel are added. If you multiply 16 and 80% you get a result of 12.9 or about 13 inches (33cm) of fish as the maximum number.

Incompatible fish

Aquarium owners who are beginners often choose fish that look attractive and they are not familiar with their needs when it comes to their environment. Some fishes fight each other or maybe need completely different conditions in the water. In both cases, you shouldn’t keep them together. Always research every species before you choose them to keep the company in your aquarium. Choose peaceful fish that advance in similar water conditions.

Overfeeding

Pet fish owners’ mistake number one is overfeeding. Fish are opportunistic and they will always ask for food. Only because they look hungry doesn’t mean that you need to feed them all the time. Feed them only the amount they can eat in five minutes. During the setup of the tank, feed the fish not more than once a day, and in critical moments when the values of ammonia and nitrogen are high, postpone the feeding for one day or two to lower the waste accumulation. Fishes can easily endure seven days with no food without suffering any consequences. If you are interested in making your own fish food, you should read our blog on topic how to make your own fish food.

Lack of filtration

Aquarium filters should filtrate all of the water in the tank at least three times an hour. If they don’t, it means it’s too small. If you have doubts about the size of the filter, you should buy the bigger one. You can’t filtrate the water too much but you can filtrate less than necessary and that can be harmful for the fish. Learn how to chose the right aquarium filter and how to use it in a proper way.

If you don’t test the water

Beginner aquarium owners don’t magically find out about the nitrogen cycle as well as the need to control the chemical composition of water. Because of that the owners aren’t often aware that they need to test the water and don’t manage to handle the deadly toxins. When the nitrogen cycle is established in the beginning, it should be left to function for a day or two. Before adding the fish, the pH value, hardness, values of ammonia and nitrogen should be tested. While establishing the nitrogen cycle, it’s very important to test the ammonia and nitrogen. After that, test the water once a month to be aware of any unnoticeable problems that can occur. If a fish suddenly dies, test the water to see if anything changed.

If you don’t change the water

One more thing new owners aren’t aware of is tank maintenance which includes changing a part of the water regularly. Waste accumulates in the tank and can only be removed by vacuuming the gravel or replacing a part of the water with fresh one. Although the fish maybe won’t die, if you don’t maintain the aquarium and don’t replace the water regularly, they will be under stress because of the lack of quality of the water. That’s why they will be susceptible to diseases and often have a shorter life span than they should.

Fish tank – Tips for beginners

One of the best ways of always having a part of nature in your home is a fish tank. A variety of colorful, cheerful inhabitants moving fervently in front of you will relax and cheer you up and at the same time help you forget your everyday problems. Every aquaristics lover can confirm this, moreover all family members, especially children will have the opportunity to learn about fish life. You can agree that a little fish tank is more than beneficial.

Many parents start with buying an aquarium for their children rather than a dog or a cat. Before you get to know the cheerful water inhabitants it’s necessary to find out which sort of life is required for the type of fish you choose.  If you didn’t choose your fish yet, read our blog about the type of aquarium fish and which one you should get for the beginning. It’s all pretty simple because you won’t have a lot of responsibilities nor expenses except for the initial preparation. It’s implied that you won’t start with the most expensive or the most demanding fish.

When you decide to buy an aquarium, you can choose from a plethora of exotic species of fish, not only different for their living conditions (appropriate temperature, acidity i.e. ph. value, aeration and the brightness of their living space) but for their lifestyle and behavior.

Don’t forget it’s necessary to provide them with the best possible conditions so that they are always healthy and cheerful. Try to think about the tank size, how big it needs to be, where you are going to place it, what kind of plants you will use for decoration… Keep in mind that a 3-4 cm fish requires 3-5 liters of water.

realistic fish tank background decorated with our 3D background

 

Fish tank preparation

Before you fill the tank with water it’s necessary to place it in the right place. You mustn’t put it in a sunny place or in the vicinity of windows and electric appliances.

The best place for the fish tank is the darkest corner of the room and you need to make sure that the stand is strong enough and the artificial lighting is adequate. It’s better not to improvise regarding the electrical power source (220V) which will supply the lighting. The safest way is to buy a lamp made for the tank which will have the right support/carrier as well as the appropriate isolation of cables and switches.

First you put the right substrate into the aquarium and then the equipment – water filter, heater, air pump and plants, as well as clay hiding spots. There are different types of filter depending on the size of the aquarium (and price i.e. quality). The best option is the multilayered external filter with the same depth and height as the tank. At first, even an internal filter with 3-4 layers of purifier will be enough. It’s important to change the charcoal at estimated time intervals.  You can read more about aquarium filters and their advantages on one of our previous blog posts.

When you arrange everything, slowly pour the water which sat for 3-5 days and lost the smell of substances used for the filtering and possible dirt residue that fell to the bottom. It is recommended to filter the water for 24 hours and heat it to the adequate temperature prior to putting the fish in. The water will probably darken (lose its transparency) in the first two weeks only to get its original color and transparency back after a few days. Don’t worry about it or change anything because every tank (mini ecosystem) has to survive this maturing faze. After that you can buy the fish.

 

For beginners they recommend goldfish (Japanese), guppy, molly, platy, tiger or barbel fish.

Choose the type of fish you know at least something about and keep them nourished, lively and cheerful. Talk with the vendor who will most often gladly tell you the fish origin, age, type of food and character (you can’t combine all species because of their temperament). Every fish that you buy should go through a quarantine and live in a separate bowl for at least 14 days. That way, you will see if the fish is sick in time and save the rest of the inhabitants of your fish tank. The same goes for the plants you bought. You should firstly disinfect them with a mild potassium permanganate solution (hypomanganate) and then rinse it with clean water and leave it for 3-4 days in a separate water bowl.

 

 

Japanese goldfish

Don’t be in a hurry to feed the fish as soon as you bring them home. Starving for 3-4 days will do them less damage than giving them the wrong food. The fish are feed once a day and they shouldn’t be starved or overfed. Give them a pinch of food several times – the amount they can eat in 10 minutes without leftovers – because the most common beginner problem is giving them a larger amount of food than they need. It’s not a bad idea to make a feeder or buy one, a plastic hose with 4-5mm diameter and connected ends, so that the water doesn’t get into it and it can float on the surface. Doing this will stop the food from spreading through the water and prevent parts from falling to the bottom and start to decompose without fish noticing them. With feeders you can efficiently control that the fish ate all the food you gave them.

fish tank - beginners tips for fish

The temperature in the fish tank should always be the same and you shouldn’t allow variations bigger than 2-3 degrees than it’s recommended. Bear in mind that different species require different conditions so some combinations can’t be kept in the same aquarium.

Plants don’t have only an aesthetic purpose in the tank. It’s very important that the fish have somewhere to hide from each other.

 

Do you transfer the fish from one tank to the other by hand?

Avoid it or be careful… Your warm and dry skin can scald the fish body, slime that protects their body can stuck to the hand and in some parts, there could be wounds. Also, human skin contains bacteria which aren’t dangerous for people but can be deadly for the fish. If the fish does jump out of the tank, put it carefully with a wet hand or a piece of paper into the net and then back into the fish tank or even better with a glass pipe (it sounds strange but “additional equipment” of an aquarist includes different things). Be very careful when transferring the fish because every wound on their body can be a attacked by an infection or a parasite. When you feed your pets or check the temperature avoid touching the water. The thermometer is used to check the temperature. There are different models, classic ones similar to the thermometer used on people, in the shape of a tape that is glued to the glass and so on. More precise ones are those that are immersed into water.

Regular doses of vitamin and mineral products are as important as the basic food you give them. When these small creatures lack vitamins, illnesses appear very fast and often can be fatal. Vitamin deficiency – the lack of vitamin develops when the fish diet is always the same and the food quality or amount is not adequate. One of the simplest ways of avoiding that is to always get a different kind of food from the specialized shops.

Even a very small amount of alcohol, lime, insecticide and other chemical substances in general can be fatal to the small inhabitants of the tank. When you paint your apartment or color your furniture be very careful. Cover the tank with glass or cotton linen and often check the amount of fumes in the air.

 

Dilemmas

  • Do fish sleep?

Yes. When you notice that they swim in one place with barely visible lateral fin movements – they sleep. During sleep breathing is slow and often a change of color is noticeable.

  • Do they recognize their owner?

They can see up to a 10 m distance and many aquarists claim that their pets recognize them.

  • What do the fish do in the absence of their owners?

All healthy and adult specimens can last more than 2 weeks without food. That forced starving even does them good because after that you will see them being faster and more vital. Plants from the tank will serve as an excellent “vegetarian diet” for some species.

 

First aquarium – equipment choice

One is certain: THE RIGHT START WILL SAVE YOU FROM MANY PROBLEMS LATER.

The right choice of equipment, tank dimensions, lighting position, filters and substrate plays a very important role. In smaller tanks, the fish feel crowded and a bigger one solves some beginner problems when gaining experience in keeping the microbiological balance of the water and the substrate. It’s also better to opt for the internal filter because it will surprise you with the unforeseen problems less often. Their only flaw is that they take up space in the fish tank. If you don’t want the fish to spawn and you live in an apartment with a steam heating system, you don’t need a heater (must be with a thermostat) in the beginning, especially if you opt for the lighting with regular light bulbs.

aquarium lightning

 

Microbiological balance

When you’ve done all of the above you can start “forming” the aquarium. It’s essential to fill the aquarium with “good” water. Get about twenty liters of “old” aquarium water from an experienced aquarist. The rest of the fish tank you can fill with tap water which was left to sit. The majority of fish and plants gladly welcomes the refreshment from the pipeline. Later when you decide to spawn certain fish, you need to take special care about the water chemism (water hardness, acidity and age), for others this can be stimulative. You shouldn’t be afraid of refreshing the tank with that kind of water (well water or rainwater) because in that way you control the hardness and neutral reaction.

Settling in

Another important problem is the choice of fish and plants. A smaller problem is to avoid a combative inhabitant or a moody plant. It’s more important to choose healthy and vital fish and plants. So pay better attention to the person you get the fish from than their color and shape. See how they act in the tank and what kind of attention do they get from their owner. Sick fish or fish infected with algae often cause problems, which discouraged many beginners after only a few months. Fish diseases and certain types of algae are hard to remove once they settle the aquarium. If you did everything carefully in the beginning, further maintenance of the tank will be a pleasure.

 

Don’t forget:

It’s better to dedicate 10 minutes to the tank every day and see potential changes than spend hours once a week or month trying to remedy something that is already in full swing.

After a few months, a highly developed aquarist eye will easily notice if something isn’t right with fish behavior or look of the plants judging by the clarity of the water.

 

How to arrange the tank?

Biological conditions required by water plants and animals which we wish to keep in the tank must be taken into consideration during arranging of the tank. Because of that we must know which type of fish and plant we will have in the tank in order to adjust the substrate, sand or gravel and biotope scenario the species come from. Tank arranging begins with placing the substrate and scenario to the bottom of the tank and then filling it with water.

When placing the substrate, we must be careful to keep it 5 cm high in the back and 1.5 cm high in the front. Depending on the size of the tank, we won’t place the substrate 5-10 cm behind the front glass because nothing is planted there. That space is intended for mud removal and feeding and the fish linger there the most. If you grew plants right next to the glass, then they would hide the tank view. The substrate must be 1 cm away from the edge of the tank because harmful algae would form there because of the lighting.

We put the well-washed gravel (sand) on the substrate. Gravel is rinsed in a larger container with a powerful water jet. Water needs to be replaced during rinsing for at least 20 up to 30 times (until it becomes clear, even after mixing the gravel/sand). If you take the gravel (sand) from the water in which the fish lived, you need to boil it for at least one hour. Gravel/sand needs to be dark and mustn’t contain a lot of soluble potassium.

The substrate is covered by the 2-3 cm wide gravel sand. Stones which you used for scenario need to be darker and without sharp edges. Dry roots are an ideal décor for every decorative tank. Tank arranging should go according to this order:

  1. substrate
  2. gravel (sand)
  3. scenario
  4. pouring water up to the middle
  5. placing the heater and the thermometer
  6. filling the tank to the rim
  7. planting

Why choose African cichlids for pets?

You want to change your home or office space and you decided to get an aquarium. However, you are not sure what type of fish to buy. In this blog I will try to explain why you should opt for African cichlids. In recent years, cichlids became extremely popular with aquarists. Not only because of their bright colors but because of their qualities and characteristic. There are more than 1000 species of cichlids in the world but the ones from the African lakes are the most beautiful. They are very low maintenance for keeping in aquarium conditions. They are resilient, have their own temperament and they are easy to keep. Cichlids live long. The size of most species is from 8 to 15 centimeters. They live alone i.e. solitary in their own flock. They don’t need plants nor any other type of fish. That is why the 3D backgrounds that are manufactured by Aquadecor complete the tank interior completely, making it aesthetically perfect. The perfect aquarium background for your African cichlids is one of our 3D classic rock aquarium backgrounds (A models) is just what you need, they come in 21 different model and every one of them is special in their own way.  Furthermore, they are pleasurable for the cichlids because the fish swims through cracks and hides in those nooks and crannies. classic rock aquarium background with African cichlids

Cichlids are more resistant to diseases than many other types of fish

African cichlids originate from Lake Malawi. That is one of the oldest lakes in the world and very distinguishable for more than one reason. A large number of endemic cichlids lives in the lake. There are two groups of Malawi cichlids. One is Mbuna and the other one is Nonmbuna. Mbune means stone fish in the native language. They settle the habitats closer to the shore where there are a lot of cliffs and passages. Nonmbune is the fish that lives in flocks in the open part of the lake. mbuna fish The first African Malawi cichlids didn’t come to Serbia until 1990. They officially appeared in shops in Belgrade and Novi Sad. They were rare in Europe before 1980. Then the first yellow specimens arrived with their unreal coloring, which only some sea fish had till then. It is a common misconception that this fish is aggressive and complicated to keep. Every overgeneralization is harmful for aquaristics. Not only because it is a product of a lack of knowledge but also because it is the reason for giving up or generating the same beginner mistakes. If you decide to keep cichlids as pets, you will have much fewer problems with illnesses that come with other aquarium fish and also less problems with ambient maintenance. For keeping cichlids, you need a strong powerhead filter and good aeriation. It is important that nitrates in the tank are cycled before settling. If you want to know more about aquarium filters read more in our blog.

African cichlids are low maintenance for aquarium keeping

In the beginning, a longer 26-gallon aquarium is enough. There is no need for excessively large aquariums because these species can adjust. They are small, the young grow slowly and never overgrow the space they are in. There are species that stick to a school of 20 fishes in a 13-gallon tank and spawn there without any problems. It is recommended to keep one fish in 1 gallon of water. The number of males and females is not crucial because there are no major problems when they settle the tank while they are young. When buying cichlids, you should pay attention to their size so that in the beginning all males are equal when they choose their territory. Also, choose younger fish that can get used to other fish over time. Although it is hard to determine the sex of other fish species, this is very easy with cichlids. Sometimes the difference is so big that you might think it is another species in question. Some species of males and females are different. The young always look like females. Males change the colors from yellow to orange to blue and the other way around. Incredible inversive color changes, similar to a negative and an original, happen in a short biological period. Some females change their color in old age. Some species are small and plain, and males are later really beautiful. Some females stay unsightly their whole life and some are more beautiful than the males… Also, there are species where both the males and females are beautiful, almost identical. Given that their coloring is what makes people decide to buy them, it often affects their price. That should also be taken into consideration. The price of cichlids is affected by spawning difficulties, as well as, market offerings or the number of young fish… However, there are always those which are nice, cheap and resilient to beginner mistakes in terms of feeding, water quality and getting on with other species.

Cichlids are easier to keep than cats and dogs

Mbuna cichlids are active like to swim and if they are feeling good they rarely hide and almost never rest. Most of the African cichlids are herbivores. In nature, this type of fish eats algae and shrubbery. If you want to put a plant in the tank, it is not recommended to use real plants but artificial ones because the real plants are usually targeted by cichlids. Cichlids like hard water with a pH level from 7,5 to 8,5. This fish is almost ideal for keeping in our climate. They are adjusted to life in hard and basic water, similar to our tap water. It is extremely important that the water is always relatively fresh. One intervention that can be bothersome but necessary is the replacement of water once a month. It is optimal to change one half with fresh water. That is less work than taking the dog for a walk two times a day. Cichlids belong to a group of caring parents. The young are looked after by their mother, which carries them in its mouth 2-3 weeks. After that it let’s them eat on their own but if it senses any danger it picks them up and carries them again. Baring all of the above in mind, the conclusion is that the cichlids are very easy to keep for beginners and aquarists with a long seniority. It is not a rare case that the cichlid is the first aquarium in most homes.

What is the best way to decorate your aquarium?


While decorating the aquarium we should keep in mind that the tank is a small piece of nature brought into our living space. That piece of nature is a living world, the reason why we chose the tank and that is obviously the aquarium fish. That is why the tank should be decorated to depict the same nature, in other words, natural habitat of the species and fish family we choose to keep. That can be accomplished by adding 3D aquarium backgrounds.

3D aquarium backgrounds were not so accessible before like they are today. They appeared in the world market dozens of years ago and started a revolution in aquarium decorating, usually cichlid ones.

There are two kinds of 3D backgrounds. The ones that are made of a specially adjusted kind of expanded polystyrene, designed for the use in a wet environment (let’s call it “massive 3D backgrounds”) and slim 3D backgrounds that are made from different plastic and rubber materials which can be used in water and not have a negative effect on the living world inside the tank.

Polystyrene or massive 3D aquarium backgrounds

The base of these 3D aquarium backgrounds is polystyrene that is molded using different kinds of hand techniques. Using this technique, you get an imitation of the shape of a stone which is later covered with different kinds of materials. Aquadecor uses materials that are rubber based i.e. elastic plastic or maybe something firmer if it is a wallpaper for really large fish (more than 30 cm) or terrariums.

massive-rocks-aqarium-backgrounds-aquadecor-008
Our backgrounds are so firm, they can be washed with the sharpest brush without damaging them.

Polystyrene or massive 3D backgrounds are “the usual target” of passionate hobbyists with large aquariums where they keep cichlids. They usually choose this type of backgrounds because there is an abundance of cracks, caves, places to hide. The 3D landscape is more pronounced which has an impact on the visual 3D effect of the whole tank.

Considering we are talking about custom 3D fish tank backgrounds, you can choose where the equipment is hidden in the tank and even the entirety of wallpaper landscape. Check out our 3D massive rock aquarium backgrounds.

The backside of these backgrounds is ideally flat. They don’t weigh down the back wall of the tank and look absolutely identical to the real stone. A special advantage of massive 3D backgrounds is that there can be no stagnant water behind them. These backgrounds are easily applied to the tank glass using aquarium silicone.

Slim 3D aquarium backgrounds

Another kind of background is a slim background. They can be made for already formed tanks but not necessarily. They are very popular because those who have aquariums can just put them in the water and have a background. They don’t have to be applied to the back glass like 3D polystyrene ones.

3D fish tank background in an aquarium
They are very thin. Behind them you can hide a filter, a heater, airline tubing and other visually intrusive tank equipment.

These backgrounds can be used to make an additional biological filter in the aquarium. When the slim background is placed into the tank, you can add a bio sponge or bio balls, which are good for beneficial bacteria, inside the space between the back glass and the background. We wrote a useful article about aquarium filters and how to chose them, check it out if you want to learn more about filters. Motor pump (powerhead) is placed on one side and it sucks in the water from the other side. That water passes through the filter mass and returns refined to the tank.

Most importantly, while decorating an aquarium you should have in mind the natural look of your pet habitat. Therefore, it is your job to create tank conditions that are similar to natural conditions.

This is what you should know about aquarium lighting

One of the integral parts of every aquarium is the lighting. People who want to keep fish as pets have to know that it is important for them, as it is for humans to have day and night. And that is achieved with aquarium lighting.

Unlike before, nowadays aquaristics lovers have a wide range of aquarium lighting.

Neon lighting was used before but lately led lighting is more popular. There are tank owners who opt for neon lighting but that is a lot less common than 10-20 years ago. The data show that the use of neon lighting in aquarisics has dropped by 60 percent. Led lighting is more economical, flexible and diverse than the neon lighting

Led light bulbs consume less energy and have stronger lighting. Apart from that, led lighting can be regulated with a remote control and can be used for different lighting effects like sun rays. Furthermore, it is more practical than the neon tubes. First of all, it is flexible. When you install the neon tube, it can’t be moved. It has its own diameter and requires a bigger space. Led lighting, especially the neon strip, is extremely thin – only 4-5 millimeters. It doesn’t require a big hood. Led lighting looks nicer and you can move it. So, the aquarium owners can choose to light up only the front, the back or the middle of the tank.

aquarium lightning

It is really important to know what kind of lighting to use for every type of tank. Solid color lighting is mostly used for freshwater tanks. Warm or cold white is the most common.

On the other hand, sea aquaristics requires lamps with a wide range of colors. That is because of the organisms found in the water and certain types of live algae which settle and grow on the rocks. Due to the fact that there is a large selection of led lighting on the market, the light can have even three of four colors. They manufacture a combination of red, green, blue and white color. In fact, this is the so-called RGB lighting which uses a remote control to turn the light on and off and change the colors. Aquarists more often pick this type of lighting because it is really easy to point the remote at the aquarium and turn the light on, choose the color and the intensity of the lighting, or turn it off.

LED spot aquarium lighting

Recently, a powerful type of LED lighting appeared on the market in the shape of a plate. The plate has a diode that casts the light directly to one spot. It is called LED spot lighting. It is usually used for deeper aquariums because the light penetrates the water and it can illuminate even the bottom of the tank. In that way, the ground cover plants get more light to carry out photosynthesis.

When choosing the lighting, it is important to keep in mind what plants are in the tank and whether it contains plants at all. Ground cover plants require a stronger lighting so the light could penetrate to the bottom of the tank. For higher plants, the lighting doesn’t have to be very strong. If there is a combination of the two, it is important to put the ground cover plants to the front and then the higher ones go behind them. If you don’t have plants in the aquarium you should consider adding them. Read more about aquarium plants and why you should have them in your tank. The price of neon and LED lighting is similar and it is not the main reason people choose one or the other.

aquarium lightning

The aquarist should opt for certain fish families

As we said in the beginning, it is important for fish to have day and night. The best way to do this is to simulate the same length of day and night found in the place the fish originate from. For example, if in Africa it starts dawning at seven o’clock and gets dark at eight or nine o’clock, then the fish from Africa should have 10-11 or maximum 12 hours of daylight. Not more. More could lead to algae formation and algae is the enemy of the aquarium. This means that the aquarists should choose only certain fish families. However, that is not the case because many like to have a variety of fish in the tank. When they go to a shop, they buy fish from Lake Malawi in Africa, Amazon, even Columbia… All from extremely different time zones.

Many aquarium owners make a mistake to turn the lighting on when they get up and turn it off at 22 or 23 o’clock when they go to bed. But this is not a big mistake like not turning off the lighting at all. That is even more catastrophic. If the light isn’t turned off for 3 or 4 days, the fish can’t rest or sleep and they are awake all the time. Also, the plants don’t have night, just day. All this disrupts the balance and biotope in the tank.

The good thing is there are timers for the lighting. They can be digital or mechanical. The advantage of digital timers is that they have a battery memory which saves everything that was programmed about lighting. However, mechanical ones work automatically when they are plugged into an electrical socket. If there isn’t any power the timer settings will be reset.