Bio balls are widely considered to be some of the best filtration media you can buy for your tank. Today we’re going to get back to basics and give you the once-over on what bio balls are and why they’re such a useful form of filtration media for your aquarium. Let’s jump right in!
What do they do?
In the simplest possible terms – bio balls give nitrifying bacteria a place to live in your tank. Bio balls are designed to have as much surface area as possible so bacteria has a place to cling to. They’ll help maintain your tank’s PH balance for a lengthy period of time and also help dissolve poisonous ions. All in all – they’re a great way to improve the quality of your tank’s water.
How many bio balls do I need?
It really depends on the size of your tank and the bio balls that you purchase – but the general rule of thumb is about 2.2 gallons of bio balls for every 100 gallons of water. Of course there are other factors to take into consideration as well – including the size of your external filter and sump pump. But what makes them really great is you don’t have to constantly buy new or replacement bio balls. The ones you buy can be used over and over again.
How do I use them?
Bio balls are easy to use. We recommend placing them in the steam of water running through your fish tank’s filter. Remember bio balls are not filters in and of themselves – we don’t want them collecting undue waste and losing surface area – but what we do want them to do is catch ome pieces of algae and any bacteria coming through the stream. We recommend putting them in a mesh bag so you keep organic matter out and help to provide a place where healthy bacteria will grow and thrive.
Is there any significant downside?
To be honest, not really! One thing we will say is that people do mistake their purpose and expect them to perform feats they’re not meant to perform. They don’t exist to remove waste from the water and filter out organic material. They’re there to maintain bacteria and help maintain balance in the tank itself.
When used correctly, bio balls are the best form of biological filtration out on the market. They’re affordable, effective and even easier to use and maintain. If you’re interested in how bio balls can make a difference in your tank, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help. Good luck!
Installing bulkhead fittings into your aquarium isn’t always easy, but for some of our more brave customers, they like to take matters into their own hands. Today, we’re going to teach you some tips on installing bulkheads that can make the process easier. We’re not reinventing the wheel here, but these are some basic tips we’ve got to make things go a little bit more smoothly on your end.
Let’s jump right in!
Install ‘em clean and dry
Don’t get into installing bulkheads with teflon, silicone or thread lubricants. Why? Because they’ll cause the gasket to scoot or not seal properly. If you’ve ever seen an old car windshield removed or some other gasketed glass, you’ll notice that rubber vulcanizes to the glass over time and creates an appropriate seal. Same thing here.
Clean off excess flashing
Before you install a bulkhead fitting, be sure to use a nail file or pocket knife and clean out any excess flashing on the male and female threads so you get a better fit. This is a common source of leaks, so you’ll want to make sure you do this.
Install the gasket on the flange side only
Regardless if it’s inside or outside the tank, always install gaskets on the flange side and not the nut side. Doing the opposite will lead to leaks as water will flow out, around and through the threads around the gasket.
Use the correct supports
Don’t support the pumps or piping from a bulkhead. Use supports so that the weight is not all impacted on the bulkhead itself. This can cause a wide range of stresses on the mating surface and cause leaks.
And above all else
NEVER screw anything to the external threads. Remember these aren’t standard pipe threads and if not applied as instructed, they can lead to some pretty severe leaks. They solely exist to screw the nut on and are not even standard or uniform in diameter, so be sure you don’t do this. It’ll only lead to issues.
Hopefully these tips help bring your project into a little bit clearer focus. If you need tips on bulkhead fittings and installation, feel free to give us a call and we’ll provide you with a free installation. Until then, good luck!
One of the most common leaks in an aquarium is in its plumbing – or more specifically in its bulkhead fittings. They usually show themselves as a slow drip leak when a tank is first set up or will appear at random at some point during the lifespan of the tank.
Fixing the leak comes down to identifying the source. That could mean tightening the bulkhead fitting, poor installation or cleaning the surface area of the bulkhead fitting to ensure it’s on nice and snug. In today’s blog, we’re going to go over some basic information about the causes of leaky bulkhead fittings and how to resolve bulkhead leaks. Let’s jump right in!
The #1 reason a bulkhead fitting leaks is because it wasn’t installed properly to begin with. That means putting the gasket in the right location, making sure it’s the right size and applying the correct amount of tension. In other cases, things like gaskets get forgotten or casually omitted from the installation, which while you might not see leaking up front early – you likely will at some point.
Not installed on the correct surface
Bulkheads need to be installed on a clean, flush surface. When installed poorly, things like rocks and other debris can get between the bulkhead and the tank, causing leaks. This can also cause leaks anytime that a fish tank gets accidentally bumped. When sediment is built up between the two surfaces, it can loosen the connection and more easily cause leaks.
When gasket seals fail
More often than not, when it’s not improper installation, it’s just a matter of the bulkhead gasket failing. And look, that happens! These pieces of thin rubber are there to prevent leaks but like anything – they can fail – sometimes for a good reason and sometimes for no real reason at all! These gaskets are always exposed to pressure and salt water – so they do take a beating. They should last a long time, but that’s not always the case.
Should you encounter any of these issues, our professionals at JT Enterprises can help. To learn more about bulkhead fittings and what kinds you should be using in your tank – give us a call today and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Until then, good luck!
Having an aquarium comes with some significant health benefits. Aquariums can reduce stress and lower blood pressure, just to name a few. One of the reasons for that is just how soothing the fish themselves can be. Now there’s a fish-freak debate out there where some think that saltwater fish are the prettier, flashier fish and well, we’re not sure we agree. There’s plenty of freshwater fish out there who are gorgeous.
In addition, freshwater tanks are a little bit easier to maintain and the fish who inhabit them are more forgiving when we make mistakes. And make no mistake about it -there are plenty of freshwater fish who look fantastic and can really make your tank ‘pop.’ Today, we’re going to talk about some of the more popular adds for freshwater tanks and why they might be a great fit for your space. Let’s jump right in!
Neon’s might be some of the most popular fish on this list. They’re small, thin and very easy to care for – making them a great fit for new owners. They only grow to about 2.2cm in length and they’re generally a peaceful species of fish. They do best when you keep them in groups and tend to enjoy rocks, plants and other places to hide.
Guppies are an ideal pet for beginners as just like Neons, they’re easy to care for. The one thing you do want to be wary of is that they tend to breed with each other fast if you don’t separate the sexes so just be aware of that. They come in a variety of colors with the males tending to be a bit more on the flamboyant side than their female counterparts. They also have lively personalities – making them a popular, fun addition to your tank.
Mollies are as easy-going a fish species as you can find. They grow to about 3-4 inches long and like to snack on plants and other animals – but don’t fret – they won’t attack other fish. They come with a similar caveat to Guppies in that they’ll breed quickly – so if you don’t want too much traffic in your tank, be sure to just keep one gender.
We tend to lump all freshwater species under the ‘goldfish’ umbrella, but the truth is these guys are their own unique species. Some wild goldfish have been seen to live as long as 25 years old and they can grow up to 14 inches in length. The one thing you’ll want to do is avoid putting these fish in smaller tanks. You’ll want a tank that’s at least 20 gallons. They also need a lot of maintenance as they don’t tend to be the cleanest fish on planet earth. Weekly water and filter changes WILL be a thing.
So the next time someone says freshwater fish are boring; don’t listen! Freshwater fish are tough, resilient and yes – beautiful creatures who deserve just as much love and attention. Be sure to regularly care for your fish and get to know their personalities. In time, you’ll fall in love with your aquarium. Good luck!
If our goal is to keep our fish happy and healthy, then you’ll need to be sure that you keep their home nice, neat and clean. Creating an optimal environment for your fish is vital to their long term health – and your enjoyment of them. Today, we’re going to discuss the things that you’ll need to do when it comes to cleaning your fish tank. Let’s jump right in.
Determining how much water needs to be changed
It’s probably best to change at least 25 to 50% of the water in your aquarium every other week. Before you make that decision though, be sure you get an idea of what the bioload of the tank is. What do we mean by that? What we mean is that the water’s phosphate and nitrate levels need to be where they’re supposed to be. The more they’re not at the levels they should be at, the more water you’ll need to change in the tank. You can pick up affordable testing kits at your local pet shop that will not only tell you how to do this, but give you an idea of precisely the kinds of levels you should be looking for.
Prepping your water
Tap water can contain a lot of unwanted substances like metals, chlorine and other toxins that can be harmful to your fish. In addition, the water temperature might not be where it needs to be. To avoid this, we recommend actually drawing your water the night before, add some water conditioner (you can get this at any pet store) and let it sit for a night. By the next day, it should be ready to use in your aquarium.
Scrubbing the tank
Use an algae pad to clean both the sides of the fish tank and the decorations. Be sure that you put gloves on while you do this as doing so will protect you from any allergic reaction you may have to the substance. Never use scrubbers or sponges that you’d also use in the kitchen. Also never use bleach or boiling water to clean your tank. Many bacteria in your tank are actually beneficial to your fish’s health, so you want to make sure you’re not killing off everything in the tank. Just the bad stuff.
Siphoning the water out
Siphon your dirty aquarium water out into a dedicated bucket for your aquarium. Try to remove as much waste as you can from the gravel at the bottom. If you are using sand at the bottom of your tank, simply hold the siphon slightly above the surface enough to get suction, but not so close as to disturb the surface.
Change your filtration media
You don’t have to change your filtration every time, but doing so every other month – or at least at a point where it’s performance begins to dip – is what’s advisable. It’s largely going to depend on what kind of media you’re using; but that’s the general rule of thumb. The best way to clean your filter is to give it a rinse using the tank water in your bucket. Don’t’ ever use tap water as you’ll run the risk of getting rid of all the good bacteria inside your filter.
Once all this is done, it’ll be time to refill your tank with water. And presto! Your tank will be clean yet again and your fish will appreciate it. If you’ve got any questions on how you can do a better job maintaining your tank, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to give you a free consultation. Until then, good luck!
One of the most common questions we get is ‘how many fish can I put in my tank?’ And as you can guess, that depends on a few things – from the combination of fish to the size of your aquarium.
To answer this question and to keep things simple, we’re going to break it down into three important things for you to keep in mind. Now be aware, this isn’t a perfect methodology as there are a lot of intricacies involved from species to species of fish – but it’ll help bring your answer into a little bit clearer focus. Let’s jump right in!
When fish eat, they produce waste. When you own an aquarium, you’ll have plants and filtration agents inside of it that will help break that waste down. As the waste builds up and outpaces the ability to break it down, the water quality goes down and it can lead to your fish getting sick or even dying. And obviously the more fish you have, the more waste will quickly accumulate. Because of that, it’s important to not overload your aquarium with fish. We call this ‘waste load’ – or essentially the threshold where the fish in it will produce too much waste to keep a tank clean.
So how do you minimize waste load? The answer is your filtration system. Beneficial bacteria that lives in things like bioballs will help break down the toxic compounds. Make sure you follow your aquarium cycling instructions to put yourself in the best position to have a thriving, healthy environment for your fish to live in. Even consider some nitrifying bacteria to help jump start the process.
Lastly, be aware of the kind of food you’re feeding to your fish. Low quality food breaks apart easily and can create more waste. Not to gross you out, but fish aren’t unlike humans in that regard. Healthier food means their bodies use more of it and produce less waste. Bad food is just the fish version of junk food. It’ll keep them going, but it produces a lot more waste. Talk to your local pet store or vendor about some ‘clean’ fish food for your fish. Not only will it produce less waste, but it’ll be healthier too.
The conventional wisdom is that you keep 1 inch of fish for every gallon of water. And then of course, you apply the theory across the board. So if you have a 10 gallon fish tank – then you have 10 inches worth of fish length to put in there. Get a bigger fish that’s 2-3 inches long and well, that counts against your 10 inch rule.
In addition, before you buy a fish, make sure to research tier minimum tank requirements. Just because they’re a certain size doesn’t mean they don’t need more room. It might seem silly, but think of fish like dog breeds. Sure, dogs are all dogs – but the kind of care, space and activity a bulldog needs as opposed to a golden retriever is like night and day. Fish aren’t any different. Some are very active and need a lot of swimming space. Others are fairly sedentary and as long as they have a small patch to hang out in, they’re good to go.
So before you purchase a fish, do your homework!
It’s a jungle out there and the final factor you’ll want to consider is how aggressive your fish are. Fish behave differently and this goes along with what we talked about above. Sometimes size and space doesn’t matter – because some fish just wanna fight. Be sure that if you’re looking to add population to your tank, that you figure out what your new neighbors behavior patterns are first.
Fish interact with each other differently. Some species don’t like others and some species really compliment each other well. Just like above – make sure you ask questions and do some research into which fish will thrive in the ecosystem you’ve created inside your tank.
And now that we think of it, that’s an important thing to emphasize. The biggest thing is to remember that your tank is an ecosystem – but one that can change over time. Start small and build it up. Don’t buy a bunch of fish all at once. You may decide over time that you want something different from what you already have. Take your time, learn on your own and just like with any other hobby you have – do your homework! Good luck!
Plants are some of the most essential components to your aquarium setup. They help transform what looks like a clear box into a vibrant, underwater environment that can turn any aquarium into the focal point of the room it resides in.
The trouble with these plants however, is that they’re not a ‘set it and forget it’ proposition. These are living plants, after all. And just like the fish who live in your tank, these plants will also need some love and care. And that’s something people struggle with because unlike fish, maintaining a balance inside your tank’s chemical composition can be a challenge and different plants will all react differently depending on the setup. What we’re saying is – there’s a lot of mixing and matching to do and what you think looks sharp – might not fit with your tank and the composition it needs in order for the fish that you have living inside it to thrive.
If you’re having trouble with your aquarium plans, then today’s blog is for you. Here is a handy list of some of the common problems that tank owners will encounter and what you can do about them so that your plants look as radiant as your fish do. Let’s jump right in!
Most plants are green in color and when they turn yellow, well – that’s not good. That means there’s usually a problem. One possible cause is that there isn’t enough light. Make sure that if you decide to grow live plants in your aquarium that you use 3 to 5 watts of light per gallon of water. Light is the remedy, here. That being said, if only the outer edges of the plant are yellowing, then it’s likely a potassium deficiency. Fertilization is the best way to remedy the issue; so make sure you have some fish tank fertilizer on hand as part of your tank supplies.
Black and brown leaves
Like we said above – aquarium plants need the right nutritional composition in your tank in order to thrive. When they don’t have those nutrients, they begin to show the signs and the blackening and browning of these leaves is just how that shows itself. The best thing you can do is to make sure that you’re changing your water regularly and rebalancing the chemicals in your water. This will prevent things like excess phosphate levels in your tank or excessive algae buildup. Too many tank owners think they can leave water in a tank forever and that’s simply not the case. Water needs to be changed – not only to keep your fish healthy, but the plants that live alongside them as well.
If you’re noticing that your plants are not growing, it’s probably because the water temperature in your fish tank is too low. The only way to fix this is to replace your heater or to add one if you don’t already have enough heat in your tank. That being said – be careful here as it should be your fish who come first with temperature priority. If it’s warmer water you need, then only plant warmer weather plants. Your tank should always maintain a consistently warm temperature in order for the plants inside it to be healthy.
Holes in leaves are almost always due to cryptocoryne rot. No one knows what precisely causes this disease, but excess nitrates are frequently a factor. And when certain chemicals spike and others dip, it’s usually due to poor water quality. So just like black and brown leaves – the best way to combat holes in aquarium plants is to consistently and frequently change your water. Also be sure to vacuum your gravel or sand as fish waste can also be a contributor to this issue.
Using the tips above, you should be able to get a good handle on what’s going on with your fish tank’s plants. In most cases, a thorough water change can do a lot of good, but in other cases you might need to play around with things like fertilizer and the like. The best thing you can do, however – is your homework. Figure out what your actual options are before you experiment and find the best possible fit. Problems with plants arise when people aren’t prepared and are simply going for the aesthetic sizzle of the actual steak. As with anything in life – be prepared!
Cultivating a tank of thriving pants can be a challenge – but it’s most definitely worth it. Good luck!
When everyone thinks of typical pets, dogs and cats are almost always top of mind. But according to the National Pet Owners survey – aquarium fish are pets in over 13 million American homes. That makes them the third most popular pets in America.
While keeping an aquarium is a big responsibility, owning fish comes with a lot of benefits. One of those benefits, surprisingly – is that it can be great for your health. While we’re positive that owning a fish tank isn’t at the top of the things you’re investing in to lose weight and drop your blood pressure, believe it or not – fish tanks can be a great supplement to a healthier lifestyle. And in today’s blog, we’re going to explore some of the ways that aquariums help do that. Here are some of the health benefits that come along with owning an aquarium in your home. Let’s jump right in!
According to studies, even the sight of water has a relaxing effect on the human psyche. It’s part of the reason why beach vacations are so popular. It’s also part of the reason that some people find themselves to be more productive when it rains out. There’s something about water – from the sounds, movement and sight of it – that puts us at ease.
In fact, this is why you’ll notice fish tanks in so many high stress environments like offices and hospitals. Simply put – fish tanks help reduce stress. And as you know, stress has a massive impact on your overall health. Spending time around your tank can help keep you calm and while it’s not going to solve all of your problems, it most certainly will help take some of the edge off our day-to-day.
Lowered blood pressure
When you feel less stress and you get more sleep, your body will begin to function better. As you can see, there’s a little ripple effect beginning to happen. Looking at fish tanks can lower your heart rate and in turn, lower your blood pressure. One study from UCLA suggested that looking at a fish tank can reduce your heart rate by as much as 7%.
So if you’re someone who struggles with heart-related issues or high blood pressure, owning a fish tank may provide you with a significant health benefit.
Improved focus and creativity
While fish tanks can calm the body and mind, they can also help boost your creativity and productivity, too. The visual stimulation that goes along with looking at a fish tank or the white noise that it can provide in the background helps people focus more on tasks at hand. Like we mentioned above, there’s a reason that large scale office spaces have fish tanks – and it’s for more than just something pretty to look at.
It’s even great for customers, clients and patients, too. According to studies, having an aquarium in a waiting room decreased the pain felt during dental procedures as well as the amount of pain medication needed afterward. Not only do fish tanks help you feel better, they help you get more done.
As you can see, the health benefits of owning an aquarium extend far past having some nice looking pets. They can help improve your mental and physical wellbeing. So if you’re finding yourself on edge or wondering about something simple you can do to help improve your health, then investing in a fish tank may be for you. Good luck!
In our world, we usually deal with pretty substantial aquariums. We’re not always into the world of smaller, more beginner/pet-friendly tanks. That being said, we always like to keep a foot in that door because, well – every fish lover has a place where they started and began loving fish. And it’s usually in the world of 5 and 10 gallon tanks.
So today, we’re going to stray off the beaten path a little bit and talk about some of the best fish you can have for your office desk or college dorm – fish of the 5 gallon variety. Sometimes, it can be hard to find creatures small enough to live in it, but today, we’ve put a small list of fish together that we’re sure will do the trick. Let’s jump right in!
Dwarf pea puffers
Pea puffers are actual, real puffer fish – just smaller versions. They’re characterized by a small yellow body, dark spots and their endlessly rotating eyes. They love to eat frozen foods and if you’re not careful – they will go after other animals in your aquarium like snails or dwarf shrimp, so be sure you only have one of these guys hanging out in your space at a time.
But as an individual pet? They’re about as good as it gets. In addition, they’re a great fish to decorate with as you can supply them with an endless number of plants and background decoration and we promise you – they WILL stick out when set out upon that backdrop.
Rosy Loaches are scavengers, but surprisingly – they’re also intensely social fish. Even cooler, they’re what we call sexually dimorphic, almost like pheasants – where the males come in one look and the females come in another. They’re very active fish and especially if you purchase small school, don’t be surprised to see them buzzing around your tank all the time. They’re also curious fish as well – and are all too interested in things you might be doing. So if you’re looking for a good wingman for your desk, the rosy loach can be your fish.
Green neon tetra
So these guys look like regular neon tetras but believe it or not – they’re a completely different species altogether. You get a lot of the benefits of a neon – things like the beautiful blue-green horizontal stripe from head to tail that you can see even when the lights are off; but they also stay significantly smaller than a regular neon tetra and rarely get bigger than one inch in length. Like loaches, they’re a social species, but a little more inwardly so. If you’re going to buy one, you should buy a few so they have friends. They like to stick together. They’re not aggressive fish either so if you want a busier, more active tank – a small school of these guys paired with rosy loaches can be a really fun mix.
White cloud mountain minnows
If you’re a stone-cold beginner and you’re looking for a fish that’s super easy to care for and also provides some variety, take a stab at the white cloud mountain minnow. They come in some variations – long fin, golden and regular and they’re particularly eye catching thanks to their blue eyes, red fins and peach-colored body. They’re also adaptable creatures, capable of living in a variety of water conditions and eating almost any kind of fish food. They’re not picky! So whether you’re just starting out or you’re an advanced tank owner looking to add a little color – these guys are a great compliment to any aquarium.
Many of these fish can be found at a local fish store, but if you’re having difficulty finding them – feel free to check out some online vendors. If you’re looking for filtration media, bio balls or any other advice on how to keep these guys clean and healthy, then feel free to give us a call and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Until then, good luck!
We know we’re not alone in expressing how relieved we are that 2020 is finally coming to an end. It’s been a bear of a year from a wild pandemic, to the economic hardships caused by it, a wild Presidential election and well, you know. You lived it.
But as this year comes to a close, 2021 is on its way and with it comes the opportunity for renewal and a fresh start in a whole swath of aspects in our lives. For some – it’ll be things like weight loss and personal goals. For others, it’ll be tasks and skills. And if you’re an aquarium keeper, we’ll bet that you’re probably thinking of ways you can be a better this coming year.
Here are some New Year’s Resolutions for you to consider for 2021 if you’re looking to take your fish tanking to the next level. Let’s jump right in!
Learn how to test your water and do it more frequently
Water chemistry is key to having a thriving, healthy environment for your fish. Learning how to test your water and maintain it is crucial if you want to have a tank where your fish can flourish. This year, learn how to test your water and maintain logs to track its quality. There are dozens of different kinds of test kits you can purchase at any pet store that are straight-forward and easy to learn. Learn what makes your tank healthy and track it.
Get better about water changes
If there’s anything newer tank owners are really bad at – it’s changing tank water on an ongoing, regular basis. And we get it – everyone’s on the go and busier than ever these days. It’s always the last thing on the old to do list. But it’s part of the responsibility of owning a fish tank and crucial to your fish’s happiness and health.
Most of the avoidance comes from the ‘bigness’ of the chore. It’s a lot to lift the tank, clean/replace the gravel, get the new filter, etc, etc. But you can actually do more by doing less, believe it or not. Maybe change out 10% of the water per week or 25% every other week. That way it takes way less effort to do and can actually help increase the life of your tank’s filter to boot. Whatever you decide to do – it’s on you to make sure you get into a more reliable routine.
Fish love to eat so of course, it’s important to not overfeed them. Just like humans, overeating can cause a whole range of physical issues. Try and be more mindful of how much you’re feeding your fish and become more familiar with their nutrition. Also, don’t be afraid to add a little variety to their life. Try to identify some extra treats and some new forms of food appropriate for the type of fish you have. Variety, as they say – is the spice of life.
Hopefully, these tips will help give you a little added inspiration as you try to figure out what to do with your aquarium this coming year. Here’s to a happy, healthy and safe, 2021, all. Good luck!