727-644-5113

Why live plants are so good for your aquarium


If you talk to most aquarium aficionados about some of the most beneficial things to add to your tank – you’ll quickly find that many of them will point you in the direction of live plants. And there are a ton of reasons for that outside of their sheer aesthetic appeal. 

Today, we’re going to talk about a few of the benefits that live aquarium plants can have for your fish tank and how you can use them to build a thriving environment for your fish. Let’s jump right in!

Natural filtration

Much like trees do above water, underwater plants act as a natural filtration system for their environment. They’ll help to remove potentially toxic waste like nitrates and waste. They’ll also help keep your tank looking cleaner than usual, not just by boasting their vibrant, green colors, but by reducing the amount of algae in your tank. 

Oxygenating your water

Photosynthesis is an incredible process and live plants will release oxygen into the water while also consuming the carbon dioxide that fish produce. Properly oxygenated water brings a variety of health benefits to your community of fish and is yet another benefit of live plants in your tank. 

A better habitat for your fish

Tanks with live plants look more natural. Your fish will also ACT more naturally as well. These plants help fish feel safer and more secure, which certainly leads to a happier aquarium. They provide hiding places and homes which can also lead to some interesting design ideas on your part as well. Don’t be afraid to research the kinds of plants that your fish thrive in in their natural environment as well. Lots of owners are able to create some pretty impressive biotopes that help create a stable ecosystem and make your tank more aesthetically pleasing. 

Natural root systems

The root systems of live aquarium plants are another significant benefit to your aquarium’s well-being. Live plants form strong, full root systems that help prevent things like the buildup of potentially toxic gasses that can put your tank at risk. 

If you’re looking for a gorgeous, healthy looking tank that will allow your fish to thrive, then you should absolutely consider adding live plants to the mix. If you have questions about where to start or what would be some good plants for your situation, feel free to reach out to your local aquarium pro with questions at the ready. Until then, good luck!

Saltwater aquariums: what to consider


Saltwater tanks are gorgeous. There’s simply no denying it. That being said, maintaining them can get expensive and if you don’t do the right kind of planning up front – it can get really, really expensive.

Today, we’re going to share some tricks you can use to save some money and not get caught out too far over your skis when it comes to a saltwater aquarium. Let’s jump right in. 

What goes into the cost

How expensive a saltwater tank will get is going to depend on a variety of factors, of which are not limited to the size of your tank, the creatures inside, equipment and the like. The bigger the tank, the more expensive it’s going to get. 

Also the other thing to remember is that saltwater tanks require certain equipment that freshwater tanks do not. Things like heaters, a special lighting and filtration system and the like. Yes, you can purchase low-cost equipment but keep in mind – it likely won’t last as long. These are all things you’re going to have to factor in before deciding to take the plunge. 

Choosing the right tank

Now that you know the factors that’ll influence the cost of your aquarium, you’ll need to learn about how to make your tank more affordable. Now this part involves a little push-pull. While larger tank sizes might be more expensive, they’re also far easier to maintain, which might sound crazy at first. It’s really a lifestyle decision. Do you want something cheaper that takes up more of your time, or something that’s more expensive and allows for more time for enjoyment? It’s really up to you. 

20 and 30-gallon tanks are fairly affordable, but as you hit 50 gallon sand up, the price can creep higher and higher. If you want to purchase a larger tank we definitely recommend purchasing an all-in-one tank kit that’ll give you everything you are going to need. It’ll cost a little bit more up front, but might end up saving you some money from having to purchase everything separately. 

Whatever you decide, don’t just settle for the price in front of you. Shop around to find yourself the best possible deal. 

What goes into the tank

Just like we said above – shop around and find good deals. We do however, recommend that you start with commercially bred fish. Anything that comes directly from the wild will cost significantly more. The size of your tank will also dictate which kinds of fish you’ll be able to purchase so be sure that any species you’ve got interest in – that you’re doing your research as to whether they can live in the environment you’ve created. 

Also, the one wild card with saltwater tanks is that you’ll have the option of potentially adding corals to your tank. Live rock is more expensive and will require more maintenance. They require high-intensity lighting and might have specific demands in terms of the overall water chemistry you have – chemistry that might limit which kinds of fish you can have with the corals. Again – we’re talking more push-pull, here – but something to keep in mind. 

Look, at the end of the day, owning a saltwater aquarium is a real achievement. The end product is certainly well worth the time and effort. But with some better planning, you won’t have to worry about obliterating your budget. Good luck!

A few aquarium maintenance hacks


Owning and cultivating a new aquarium is an incredibly rewarding experience, but sometimes the day-to-day can be a little taxing. Things like maintenance, cleaning the tank – all of it – it takes time; time that many of us would like to spend doing other things. And much like all aspects of our lives – we need to get creative in terms of how we carve that time out and spend less time on those grindey activities.

As such, today’s post is going to be all about some fish tank hacks – cool ways you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle when maintaining an aquarium. Let’s jump right in!

Clamps

One of the best possible investments you can make is a couple of bucks into a class-safe clamp for your tank. You can use the clamp to hold hose or tubing security and it can help with a variety of things – whether that’s running tubing into a filtration system or changing out the water. This will free both your hands up to help coordinate whatever else needs to be happening. 

The infamous credit card scraper

There’s lots of ways you can scrape algae from your tank. Some folks use razor blades, magnetic scrapers and even scrub brushes. Did you know you can use old gift cards or credit cards? Not only will they do a great job of removing algae, but they’re particularly useful when it comes to finding the corners and crevices of your tank and getting to that hard-to-reach algae. 

Bio media

While hang-on-back filters are a popular choice among tank users, they don’t usually include any kind of specific biomedia. One of the things you can do, here – is to remove the traditional filter materials from the back and just replace it with ceramic rinks, lava rocks or even miniature bioballs. Not only will this improve your filtration, it’ll also create a far more healthy environment for your fish as well. 

Plastic syringes for water testing

Especially when you own a saltwater aquarium, water testing can become a way of life. Unfortunately – many of the testing kits come with test tubes that are easy to lose and in some cases – are extremely breakable. Just head over to Amazon and buy some plastic syringes. They’re clear and won’t discolor when you test water. They’re neater and cleaner. And even better? They’ll help extract enough water to do the tests you need them to. Yes, you’ll have to clean them thoroughly after the fact, but they are a super neat, full-proof way to test your fish tank’s water quality. 

Hopefully you found today’s blog helpful! Perhaps one of the hacks here will make your tank ownership a little bit easier. If you need help or advice on how to keep your tank healthy and clean, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help. Until then – good luck!

Four plants every aquarium owner should consider


Buying live plants for your tank can be a pretty overwhelming process. There’s so many options out there and each one comes with its own care requirements and difficulty of care requirements. 

So this month, we decided to boil it down to a few plants you should consider for your tank that are reasonable to care for, won’t break the bank and will make your tank look incredible. Hopefully, you can use this blog to break up some of that choice paralysis you’ve got going on right now. Let’s jump right in!

Dwarf sagittaria

Dwarf sagittaria is a grass-like aquarium plant that can grow between 3 and 18 inches long depending on the lighting. Even if you buy only one plant, it reproduces quickly and will really only need a nutrient-rich planted tank substrate to grow and thrive. They grow slowly and will give you a radiant green color while also providing some cover for your fish. 

Dwarf aquarium lily

Dwarf aquarium lilies are high up the list of ‘super easy to care for’ while simultaneously looking gorgeous. They grow out of bulbs and they grow spectacular red leaves and lily pads. They’re a dynamic plant, too – meaning they thrive in a variety of conditions and can serve as either the centerpiece of your tank – or be used as background filler to cover up the back of your tank. 

Cryptocoryne wendtii

This plant goes by ‘crypt’ for short – but aside from the cool name, it’s a hot seller and with good reason. For starters it doesn’t need much light to grow – and second – when it does grow, it grows slowly and requires very little pruning. It’s crinkly, contained exterior makes it a versatile plant as it blossoms in a variety of colors – from reddish brown and green to even pink. If you’re looking for a jack-of-all-trades plant that you won’t have to worry about – Crypt is for you.

Octopus plants

Octopus plants get their names from the long, wiggling leaves that grow from its stem. While they usually present in a spring-green color, they often can produce a stunning purple hue when they’re in areas with higher levels of lighting. They do tend to grow quickly – meaning you’ll have to prune them a good amount, however because they grow so tall so quick – they can make an ideal background plant to have in your tank.

Hopefully today’s blog gave you a little inspiration as to some plants you can contribute to your aquarium. There’s lot of decisions to make with regards to your aquarium – from what fish you want to the bulkhead fittings you can use – but this one shouldn’t be as difficult a choice. If you need any help with your tank, feel free to give us a call – good luck!

New Year’s Resolutions for your aquarium


New years mean new opportunities and a chance at a new beginning. Maybe you’re looking to lose weight, perhaps you’re looking to get a promotion, manage your money better, who knows! 

For our fish-o-philes out there, we’ve put together a nice, neat list of new year’s resolutions you can put to work in your own tank to make this coming year the most rewarding one yet as an aquarium owner. Let’s jump right in!

Get more involved

Its easy to make New Year’s Resolutions, but it’s another thing to follow through with them. To avoid that, make it a general rule to become more involved with your aquarium. The more you invest in your personal hobbies, the more it will pay off in your personal life as well. 

Clean up your tank

We’re not just talking bio balls and filtration media, here – we’re talking about the space in and around your tank. How much of a mess is your aquarium? Do you have entire bird nests of wires behind it? Now’s the time to get a little bit more organized. Velcro cable wraps are cheap and easy to use and can save you lots of frustration when it’s time to do some maintenance on your aquarium.

Move into the 21st century

We’re in a digital world these days and the fish and aquarium business is no exception to that rule. Modern aquarium controllers offer a whole range of amazing features for a pretty reasonable price. You can manage feeding, maintenance, pumps, usage, temperature and pH – a whole swath of things. You can even manage your aquarium from your phone. If you haven’t invested in an aquarium controller – we highly recommend you do!

Take your vitamins

Aquariums are what we call ‘closed systems.’ That means that there’s nothing in there that you don’t put in there. With that in mind, it’s on you to make sure you’re providing your fish friends with everything they need to survive and thrive. It takes literal seconds to add an extra supplement. And that miniscule time investment can add up to major health benefits for your aquarium down the line. 

Get smarter

Blogs like this are great – as is the internet as a whole, but while there’s lots of great information on this world wide web thing, there’s also a lot of disinformation and junk. One of the best commitments you can make to your hobby is to educate yourself by reading more – and specifically reading books. You might not always get the new cutting edge scoop, but you will build a solid knowledge base that will help you be able to better synthesize what you find online. Learning from the experts is a good thing and will equip you to differentiate between pros and posers in forums. 

Hopefully you found some of these resolutions helpful. If you have any questions about your aquarium or bulkhead fittings, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help. Until then Happy New Year and good luck!

Practical advice when starting up your first aquarium


Owning an aquarium is a fun and rewarding hobby, but for many – it’s hard for them to know where to start. Owning fish is not a ‘set it and forget it’ proposition – just like any other pet, they’re going to need plenty of care. As such, today we’re going to get back to the basics, so to speak and talk a little bit with you beginner/blossoming soon-to-be aquarium buffs out there – who are just seeking a little practical advice on how to take care of your tank. 

Here are a few beginner’s tips to help give your fish the best possible living conditions without any real, meaningful heavy lifting. Let’s jump right in!

Feeding your fish

In nature, fish spend the majority of their day either eating something or trying to avoid being eaten by something else. And like humans – their diets can really run the full spectrum. Some eat meat, some eat just plants and others will eat just about anything. Predatory fish are usually less frequent eaters while plant eaters casually graze throughout the day. 

Most aquarium fish eat once or twice daily – but you shouldn’t give them more than what can be consumed in about 2 minutes or so. Fish normally find food whether it’s on the surface, mid-water or at the bottom but presenting in a way that’s helpful is always, well… a help. And be mindful of just how much you’re throwing in there. Lots of food also means lots of waste – which depending on the fish, population size and overall size of your tank – can make for a dirty tank pretty quickly. 

Whichever your option is – make sure you’re doing your due diligence when it comes to figuring out what to feed your fish.

Water changes

We recommend changing 25% of your water every 2-4 weeks – at least in terms of owning an average size tank with an average size population. For solo ‘artists’ – you can go longer between changes. For heavy traffic/population tanks – significantly more. It all depends. 

Tap water is usually high in pH or alkalinity and on its own – is unsuitable for aquarium use. So be sure you’re buying the proper chemicals to help balance out the water before placing your fish in it. You can almost always pick this stuff up at a local pet store – just ask a worker at the store. 

Transporting your fish 

Moving fish from one place to another – for the fish – can be a pretty traumatic experience, especially if you more or less mess up the process. Make sure your water is balanced and you head home directly after purchasing your fish. Allow them to gradually acclimatize to the conditions in the tank by giving them a solid few hours or so in the bag in the tank. Don’t just dump them in there. Also – be sure to remove the fish from the bag before you place them in the water. Give it a little while, let them get used to their surroundings then perhaps the next day – you can turn on the aquarium light.

Just like you would react to a new setting, walk your fish into it. Don’t go banana boats right off the bat. 

Hopefully these tips give you a nice place to start once you get your fish home. Feeding them, cleaning them and acclimatizing them are more or less the 3 pillars to getting started, so this should put you in a good place. If you have questions or would like advice on how to get off to the best possible start with your aquarium – don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Good luck!

Tips for installing bulkhead fittings on your aquarium


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!

Why bulkhead fittings leak


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!

Incorrect installation

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!

The best freshwater fish for your tank


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 Tetras

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

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

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. 

Goldfish

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!

How to clean your fish tank


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!




Have any questions about Bulkhead Fittings or BioBalls?

Please use the contact form below.


CONTACT US

    Enter the Answer − 3 = 5