More often than not, when people get into fishkeeping – freshwater fish are usually what they start off with. And to be honest – that’s the correct choice. Saltwater fish are incredible – but you’re probably better off going with freshwater fish as you wade into the world of fishkeeping.
Today, we’re going to share some basic tips with you on how to best care for freshwater fish. They’re a little lower maintenance – and if you stick to these rules – you should find yourself enjoying a healthy, thriving tank. Let’s jump right in!
Get the right size tank
You’ll probably hear a lot of people argue about which is best, but we kinda come down on the whole idea that a little bigger is a little better for beginners. Why? Well the bigger your tank, the higher the water volume. You might think that means ‘more to care for’ but it actually doesn’t.
More water means it’s easier to stabilize the water chemistry in your tank and provides you with more space in your tank for your fish to live in. This not only helps you grapple with one of the more challenging aspects of beginner fishkeeping (water chemistry) but also gives you more leeway in terms of what kinds of fish you can put in the tank. Yeah- water changes will take a little longer and you’ll pay a little more up-front- but it’s worth the extra scratch.
Not all fish are created equal. Not only do different species have different needs in order to thrive – not all species play nice together. Make sure when you’re researching which fish to get – you consider their behavior, size and water requirements. And as always – never bite off more than you think you can chew.
Keeping balance – food and chemistry
Like we said above – keeping water chemistry is a bit of a challenge for users early on. Fish can be very sensitive to a change in water chemistry so keep yours clean and clear. Regular changes, proper filtration and testing will allow you to do this.
Also – keeping a sound, balanced diet can go a long way to not only having healthier fish, but also a cleaner, more balanced tank. Different species have different needs, so make sure you know what to feed and just how much. Also – be careful not to overfeed. This can lead to both health problems and poor water quality.
Don’t forget why you’re doing this. Get some visual aesthetic and enjoyment by decorating the tank! Also – more decorations are great for your fish as well as it provides them with hiding places, homes and territory they can call their own.
Following these tips and tricks can create a healthy, thriving underwater environment for your fish and also get you off to as solid a start as possible. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a shout! Until then – good luck!
Fishkeeping is an awesome hobby but anyone who really gets into it will be the first to tell you – it’s not a cheap hobby! In fact, things can pile up from time to time and let’s be honest – we’re always looking for ways to save a little here and there.
Every few months around here we like to drop a blog like this, so that you can learn how to make your money go a little bit further when it comes to your fishkeeping hobby. So today, we’re going to share some cost-saving tips that can help you put your money to better use elsewhere or somewhere else in your fish tank, itself. Let’s jump right in!
Hardscaping the easy way
There are all sorts of hard scape options out there – from dragon stone to seiryu stone – and truth be told you won’t really go wrong choosing any of them – but if you’re looking to save a few bucks, we 100% recommend looking at some alternatives.
If you go down to your local landscaping store – you’ll likely be able to find landscaping rocks for outdoor spaces in abundance – and instead of paying $60 for hardscape materials – you could be paying more in the 10 cents-20 cents range per pound. Not bad! Just be sure if you decide to go this route that you wash off the rocks thoroughly once you get them home so you can move all the dirt and debris. Once that’s done though – you’re good to go!
Two foods for the price of one
Gel food – learn about it, learn to love it. So when you normally buy fish food – you get some food that floats so top dwellers can eat – and then there’s food that sinks – and that’s for bottom dwellers. Gel food quite literally allows you to switch things up depending on what species you keep. It both floats and descends and often ends up coating plants and the surfaces at the bottom of your tank and makes it easier for bottom dwellers to reach it. It also makes it so that you don’t have to do as many feedings – as the fish can graze on it during the day. It’s also a lot cleaner than other forms of food as well – meaning your water won’t look gross after a week or two.
Stick to easy species
While we all have a flair for the exotic, beginner friendly plants and fish don’t cost and arm and a leg to maintain. And less maintenance means more money in your pocket. Check out a few of our past blogs if you’re looking for a few species of fish that might fit this description.
DIY equipment and accessories
So many of the things we buy to maintain tanks are just us paying extra for the manufacturer, wholesaler and seller so they make a profit – and these are all things we can do ourselves and pay next to nothing for. You can literally cut the bottom of a soda bottle off and attach a hose to it and make a gravel hoover. You can purchase all purpose sponges to help clean algae (just make sure they’re not full of detergent). You can even use old credit cards as glass scrapers. There are literally so many things you pay $20 for that you could make or buy for $2 – that it’s hard to know where to start – so get a little creative. There’s some awesome youtube channels out there with some really basic, yet creative hacks – definitely be on the lookout for it.
Like we said – with a little creativity – you can save yourself a pretty penny – which in this hobby is always helpful. And as always – if you’re looking for filtration media and bulkhead fittings, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. Until then – good luck!
“If you can dream it, they can build it” – or at least that’s what they say.
Many tank owners – particularly those with bigger budgets and a little more ambition embrace the concept of customized aquariums – tanks that are built for specific spaces and often come with a wide range of bells and whistles. And while this is not for everybody, you’d be surprised to learn that this 100% is not just something that’s exclusive to rich guys and TV shows.
Yes, you can make your own custom aquarium. And yes, it’s certainly a viable option for anyone at any level of tank-ability. Today, we’ll talk about some of the benefits of going the custom route -as maybe they provide you with the solution you’re looking for. Let’s jump right in!
Yes, they can meet your budget
Look, not every fish tank is designed to be the main entrance of the park plaza hotel or the backstop at the Tampa Bay Rays new stadium. You can build a custom aquarium for any space. You just need to give more serious thought to what you want and what you’re willing to live without – as you would with any project, really. Our big word to the wise though- don’t choose the contractor with the cheapest rate. In that specific area, you’ll 100% get what you’re paying for.
Allows for some real creativity
No more squares. No more boring boxes and circles. With customized tanks you can do a little of everything. You can even be specific down to the filtration media like your bulkhead fittings and the like. You can design something that truly fits your space and looks like it’s naturally supposed to be there, not something boxy and artificial like you’d buy in the store.
They can be tailored to specific wants and needs
Everyone’s living space is different. Everyone’s preferences are different. Imagine having a solution where you could choose exactly what it is you specifically need. From building a tank around a specific space and interior to building an ecosystem around a particular breed and type of fish that you’d like to own – you can call the shots. Especially for novice aquarist’s who aren’t particularly good at managing habitats – it can be great to have one that is mostly pre-set for you so you can manage it correctly.
As you can see, there’s a lot of benefits to going the custom-route and if you’re interested, we’re happy to help point you in the right direction. Like we said – they’re not nearly as out of reach as some people think and in many cases and for a certain type of tank enthusiast- can be the best possible route. Until then, best of luck and good luck!
Hot take time!
If you’re a beginner when it comes to owning a fish tank – maybe you should consider a bigger tank. Yes, you heard that right.
When most people get into this stuff, they want to nibble. They want to dip their toes in. They want to do the bare minimum in hopes it’s something that we like. But this isn’t putting together model ships or collecting baseball cards. These are living organisms that require care, time and commitment.
Smaller tanks, while more affordable can create a lot of issues for beginners than they help solve. In fact the only thing they do better is make us feel a little better about the amount of money we spent. But let’s say you have the means to take the plunge? Should you. We think you might want to consider it and here’s why:
Big tanks don’t change quickly
One of the hardest things for beginners to grapple with is water concentration and tank maintenance. When you have a smaller tank, water changes from things like ammonia from waste can change your tank’s environment quickly. In addition, they also have greater stability when it comes to things like the water temperature and pH. Just think about it this way – you can heat up a cup of water more quickly than a large pot of water, right? So if there’s a heater problem, a drastic water chemistry change or a loss of power – you have a much bigger window to both recognize and appropriately address the issue.
They’re easier on you rookies
Look, we all are well-intentioned and everyone wants to take good care of their fish. However, just like with anything else in life, beginners make mistakes – and sometimes big ones. In bigger tanks for example, food will settle and can cause fluctuations in pH and increased ammonia. Or say you test the water after you’ve added a fish and come to the sudden realization that ‘oops, maybe I didn’t cycle this thing correctly’ – all the madness that comes from that won’t result in you deep-sixing your entire aquarium. Again – more leeway for problems allows you more leeway to fix them.
Hey, it looks pretty good!
Taking all the over the top science, chemistry and everything else and setting it aside for a minute – why are we even doing this to begin with? Because we are interested in fish, want something cool to look at, etc! Bigger tanks mean more space for better plants and decor. Bigger tanks mean you can add more species of fish. And bigger tanks can take a boring room and make it a centerpiece of your home!
Look, let’s just cut to the cheddar, here – if you’re more invested in something financially, you’re more apt to take care of it, engage in the right behaviors and habits and make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment. Smaller tanks are cheaper and sure – the entry fee to get into owning an aquarium is certainly more wallet friendly; but being invested in something will make sure you stay invested.
If you’re looking for guidance on how you can better manage your aquarium, we’re here to help you out! Give us a call today and we’ll make sure you’re pointed in the right direction! Until then – good luck!
Aquariums have been popular in homes for decades and with good reason. Actually, for many reasons. Reasons we’re going to discuss today. Whether you’re looking for entry level pets or just want something that’ll bring a little more atmosphere to your home, aquariums can provide both and more.
Today, we’re going to unpack why people get aquariums for their home and what they can add to yours. Let’s jump right in!
Less costly than other pets
Now we dive in here pumping the brakes SLIGHTLY because if you want to go absolutely nuts and build something insane when it comes to your aquarium – not only are we not going to stop you, but you absolutely can. Some coy ponds, tank setups and the like can be worth more than small homes.
But by in large and for the most part – owning an aquarium will cost you significantly less than other pets. The up-front costs will be there – filters, bio balls, the tank itself, fish, etc; but over time they’re exceedingly easier to maintain and it comes without the vet visit and subsequent $400 bill. That alone makes them appealing to many.
They’re great for your health
Believe it or not – there’s a lot of scientific research behind people and water and how it can have a substantial impact on your mental and physical health. Like there really is something to people wanting to vacation on the beach as much as they do. But there’s also a reason you’ll see fish tanks at doctor’s offices and the like – they’re soothing. They’re relaxing.
This can do wonders for your blood pressure and stress levels; but for kids – watching aquariums can be mentally very stimulating. They’re also a great talking point when it comes to teaching responsibility, pet ownership, environments, ecosystems and the like.
For those with challenges, it takes the edge off
Just up above we mentioned how you’ll see tanks at hospitals, doctors offices and the like. Fish tanks are great for people struggling with more specific health challenges – from ADHD, high blood pressure and high anxiety – to even Alzheimer’s. Especially in today’s world where it just seems like there’s so many stressors coming from so many directions, an aquarium can certainly help ease that burden.
As you can see – aquariums can add a lot to your home. If you’d like to learn more about where to start or how to get the most out of your aquarium, feel free to give us a call. Until then – good luck!
For beginners, it can often be overwhelming in terms of understanding what it is you need to do in order to maintain a healthy fish tank. Today, we’re going to help take a little bit of the edge off and discuss some of the primary things every new fish owner should be thinking about when putting their tank together.
Properly condition your water
Much of your fish’s overall health will be impacted by the condition of the water in your tank. It’s not as simple as turning on a faucet and filling up the tank and splashing your fish inside. Tap water contains a variety of properties and minerals that need to be balanced out. If not, it won’t be healthy enough for your fish. Before you take the plunge, make sure you have a strong talk with your pet store about exactly what kind of water composition you’ll need to have for the fish you wish to purchase.
Selecting your fish
Putting together your first aquarium works two ways: Either you build a tank around the kinds of fish you wish to purchase or you choose the fish who are the best fit for the tank you wish to purchase. Having compatible species is essential. Some fish prefer cold weather, others prefer warm. Some fish need a lot of space to operate, others do not. Some are freshwater fish, some are saltwater. Some are territorial and aggressive and others are good citizens with just about anyone.
Do your research up front. If you’ve got a decent budget – you might want to choose your first option (choosing fish first, tank second). But if you’re working within budget constraints, you may need to consider a specific type of fish for your tank. Either way – do your homework. We 100% recommend that beginners be VERY careful to not bite off more than they can chew!
Owning fish isn’t as easy as just watching ‘em swim around. They require food and feedings. The tanks require regular and routine maintenance. And depending on which fish and what kind of a tank you own – it may impact how much time you’ll have to spend maintaining the entire structure.
The great thing about owning fish is that there are types of fish for everyone’s energy level. Some are extremely low maintenance and you won’t have to spend eternity constantly changing their water. Some are a little higher maintenance, may produce more waste, etc. Just like when you’re selecting your fish – make sure you do your homework as who is living in the tank will have the greatest impact on how much time you’ll spend maintaining it.
Also – DO NOT overfeed fish! This is a common mistake and a cardinal rule of owning an aquarium. Fish do NOT need a colossal amount of food in order to thrive. Overfeeding creates algae growth and depletes both the quality of the water and the oxygen in the tank. Maintain a consistent feeding schedule and provide the right amount of food.
We get it! Being a beginner fish tank owner can be tough and trust us – you’ll 100% make mistakes. But if you stick to these tips and make sure you take your time when picking and choosing what you want to own – that things will go far, far smoother. And as always – if you ever have any questions – give us a call and we’ll be sure to help you out! Until then – good luck!
Taking up a new hobby is always an exciting thing and fishkeeping is no different. It’s hard to describe, but the innate appeal of fishkeeping is intangible and hard to explain to others.
That being said, like anything else – once you get into it, you learn just how much you have to learn and sometimes those learning experiences come about from mistakes and or misconceptions you may have had about something heading in. And all of that is OK! It’s good, in fact – that’s how most of us learn.
But today, we’re going to talk about some things we all wish we knew before getting into fishkeeping or we suppose more precisely – some things you’ll realize relatively quickly.
There are so. Many. Fish.
At first – just figuring out which kinds of fish you want to have is overwhelming. There are large fish, small fish, high maintenance fish, fish that play well with others, fish that don’t play well with others, salt water, fresh water – you name it – there’s a fish.
But make no mistake about it – your choices will be important. Like when you choose a dog – a dog comes from the same general gene pool. They have differences among breeds, but they almost all come from essentially the same place. Fish do not. Some fish are completely different from other fish and their genetics have never crossed, not even once.
How certain breeds interact, socialize, eat, swim – it’s all over the place. And you really DO need to put the thought into what you’re willing to handle. Many breeds aren’t a simple feeding every day – they’re extremely involved, high maintenance creatures. So take your time. There’s no rush and make sure you take advantage of all the resources that are out there.
There’s more expense than you think
Fishkeeping can either be the most cost-effective pets you can have and then turn into the most expensive BY FAR pretty quickly. There’s the up-front startup costs like your tank, fish, plants, substrate, hardscape, filter, lights, heaters, pump, etc. They’re pricey, but they’re one time expenses.
The hidden cost comes with the maintenance. Food, potential vet bills, utility bills, water bills – believe it or not; your fish will impact all of that. Remember they have certain appliances that run 24/7 in order to keep their communities humming along and those expenses will end up on the ole utility bill. So remember – just be mindful of not biting off more than you can chew.
Maintenance is more than you expect
Fish tanks are beautiful, but they don’t clean themselves. They can help take the edge off, but you’ll have to pitch in and the quality of the tank will be a direct product of your ability to maintain them. Long story short – you get out of them what you put into them – and even the bare minimum can be a little time consuming.
Even a small tank will need to have water changes every few weeks, have the glass scrubbed, filters changed, rocks washed, etc. It can be a solid half hour to do this and even for those with a lighter schedule – it can be tough to work up the motivation on the weekend to take care of it.
Fish tanks are awesome and fishkeeping is wildly rewarding – but it’s not effortless. You must put in your fair share and be willing to keep up with maintenance and the like. You have a lot to learn – so we recommend you keep learning until you’ve got as comprehensive a view of things as possible before taking the plunge. Until then – good luck and if you need help, feel free to give us a call!
Keeping and maintaining a fish tank is one of the more rewarding hobbies a person can have but let’s not kid anyone, here. It can get pricey in a hurry – especially when you’re starting from nothing.
And while we’re all very conscientious about not wanting to cut corners, there’s nothing wrong with being creative and finding some ways to save some money. A little here and a little there can make a big difference, not just in your own wallet – but also with your tank as well as resources can be redirected to other areas you might want to improve.
So today, we’re going to discuss a few money saving tips you can use to help save money on your fish tank. Let’s jump right in!
Getting more out of test strips
Making sure your aquarium is staying balanced chemically is a big part of the overall body of work you put into maintaining your tank. As such, using test strips to get various readings is essential. One trick you can use is to get a very sharp pair of scissors and cut the test strips down the middle so that both halves have all the necessary reagent pads. But cutting them in two – you still get accurate results. Do this with all your test strips and you can actually double the number of tests in a given bottle.
Not only can this last you longer, but you could also use ti to test more frequently so that you can catch something if it’s off faster.
The good, ole algae scraper
Believe it or not, while algae scrapers do the best job of doing what they say they do; do you know what else does? An old credit card or gift card! In fact, they’re more than a perfect algae scraper. They’re gentle enough to use on both glass and acrylic tanks and when one side wears down, you can flip it around and use the other edge. The one thing you DO want to be careful of – is that the cards do delaminate after a little while, so don’t use a driver’s license or something like that. But instead of blowing money on algae scrapes, just use those old gift cards.
Dragon stone, seiryu stone and other aquarium rocks can be a lot more expensive than people expect. It gets way worse if you have a big tank to fill. With this in mind, it’s not a bad idea to take a trip down to the local landscaping shop and ask them what they’ve got. Do some research online to see which kinds of stones are compatible with a fish tank and go shopping. They’re only around 10 cents a pound, so you might find yourself paying a ⅓ of what you would be otherwise.
Thinking a little bit outside the box can certainly help save you time, but also help save you some money. We hope you found these tips helpful. If you need help finding the right filtration media for your tank – or have aquarium keeping questions in general, feel free to give us a all today. Until then – good luck!
Maintaining a fish tank can be a lot of work – especially if you’re new to it. Today, we’re going to share some tips – or more precisely – some hacks that you can use to make maintaining your tank a little bit easier. These will help make it so you spend less time stewing over cleaning your tank and more time enjoying it.
Let’s jump right in!
Clamps for water changes
Glass safe clamps are a godsend when you’re going water changes. Instead of standing there and aimlessly holding the hose and letting the tank fill, if you purchase a handi-clamp – the clamp can help hold the hose in place so that you can tend to other things.
The infamous credit card algae scraper
Algae scrapers are pretty much standard issue insofar as maintenance tools go for an aquarium owner. However – some areas are tough to get at, or you need a little bit more of an edge to get the gunk off. Now some people use razor blades and magnetic scrapers – but instead of dealing with sharp objects that might scratch your glass- just use an old debit card/gift card/credit card.
This has become such a popular way of doing things, that they sell things like the Flipper Scraper – which are designed to fit onto cards so you can get to hard to reach areas. Don’t go nuts – just use what you have at your disposal.
Test tubes and syringes for water testing
Keeping the appropriate chemical balance in an aquarium is essential to the overall health and vitality of your tank. There are plenty of test kits you can buy out there that make running these tests really easy – but the problem is that many of the test tubes they give you are really small, cheap and oftentimes made out of glass. They’re small, easy to misplace and even break with relative ease.
We recommend just buying a basic set of syringes and 15ml test tubes. You’ll be able to use them over and over again – and the extra roominess will make it so that you’re not making as big of a mess.
Bio media like bio balls are great for helping to maintain the cleanliness and overall health of your aquarium. They’re easy to use, easy to recycle and don’t cost an arm and a leg. There are many types you can use and what you choose will depend largely on the makeup of your aquarium. If you want a well-balanced, clean and healthy tank – purchase some bio media.
We hope this helps to take a little bit of the edge off of owning an aquarium. If you have any questions about what the best setup is for you, feel free to give us a call today. Until then – good luck!
The last few months we’ve dabbled in discussing saltwater aquariums a little more than usual – and that’s because – as most of you know – they are a little bit more involved. While telling people what to do is always helpful, there are times where telling them what NOT to do is actually the best route.
And today – that’s just what we’re going to unpack. Here are some common mistakes new saltwater aquarium owners make and what you should avoid. Let’s jump right in!
Research these days is always tough because it’s hard to know who’s reputable, who’s not, and then, well – there’s just so much noise to tune out all at once. Our advice on research is pretty straight forward: First, don’t just trust one person or community. Try to get a lot of different views – everyone’s experience is different, so you never know what you might learn and/or pick up.
Second, be careful reading product reviews. Read many of them but also do so understanding that most reviewers usually have a negative experience and many of their experiences are more the exception to the rule rather than the rule itself.
Third, be on the lookout for owners with a real resume. Not that time spent in the hobby is necessarily a difference maker; but we’re willing to be a guy who’s had an aquarium for 10 years and has a 400 gallon tank probably knows what he’s doing at this point.
Don’t underestimate the up-front costs of owning a fish tank. It can cost more than you think. It’s not exactly going to drive you to bankruptcy or anything, but most of what you’ll buy, you’ll buy up-front.
The other thing to understand is that when it comes to aquariums – the most expensive option isn’t always the best. The best product is the product that helps you actually meet your goals as an owner. We don’t recommend that you cheap out, exactly – that’s bad, too; but we think you should consider ‘fit’ more than simple function.
Regardless of what kind of aquarium you have – we’d wager that the biggest mistake owners make is impulse buys. They see a pretty fish or coral and they can’t help themselves. Really, really make sure you do your research on every kind of fish you buy. Saltwater species all interact differently to each other and one bad apple can spoil the cart. We recommend starting small – and gradually adding in more over time.
Owning saltwater tanks can be a real blast, but as you can see – there can be pitfalls all around us, so being cognisant of what NOT to do, can sometimes be helpful. If you need more guidance or would like some more direction on what to do, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Until then – good luck!