I have just finished setting up a freshwater aquarium tank in my home, and I was wondering; I have read a lot about what should go into the tank, but not so much talk about what I should keep out my freshwater aquarium tank. Are there any particular hazards that I should watch out for?
That’s a great question for you to be asking, and you’re right; much is written about what should go into your freshwater aquarium tank, but very little about what you should keep out. There are certain things which if they get into your tank will harm your fish. They can be objects, animals or plants, but they will unbalance the environment so that your fish are left struggling.
Objects are many and varied and can cause all kinds of damage, but fortunately, most fish tanks will come with a cover tokeep them out. Make sure that you keep the lid on – assuming you have a lid. If you don’t have one, go to a pet store with your tank measurements and get one. Try and get one made of acrylic – they last longer and are light enough for your fish tank to take without strain.
The other thing to think about is kids and other pets. Fish are pretty and they move around a lot in the freshwater aquarium tank, and a pet like a cat or a small child might be tempted to reach for them. The solution is again a cover. If your tank is high up, get a very stable support for it because kids might knock it over.
On to the plants and animals. The first thing you want to keep out of your freshwater aquarium tank is algae. It murky’s up your water and at somelevels will start to interfere with the tank environment. There are several things that cause algae. The first, and hard to detect is phosphates. Phosphates naturally regulate if you clean often enough, but they can sometimes accumulate and cause algae that will give you a hard time clearing off. You’ll hear many aquarium keepers saying that they do not know what to do about algae any more – they have tried everything. It’s usually high phosphate levels. Get a phosphate testing kit and test often. If you see unreasonable levels, it’s time for you to give your tank a cleaning and change the water.
The other thing that will cause an increase in algae is direct sunshine. Keep your tank away from direct sun, and let the live plants in it utilize the lighting in the tank for growth.
Avoid also some kinds of house plants that will be packaged as aquarium plants. They will not adapt well to aquarium life, and can die and poison your water. They usually die because of the elevated temperatures in the tank.
When it comes to animals, watch out for snails. They do not do any particular kind of damage, but if the tank conditions are good, they will soon multiply into a pest problem. They will be feeding on your freshwater aquarium tank plants so you want to be careful about introducing them. Some other little insects are ok, but remember that they might feed on the small crustaceans that are a part of your freshwater aquarium tank environment.
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