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Welcome to Aquarium Fx where we provide free information to enthusiasts. This information fast tracks the beginner to enable them to create a magnificent easily maintained hassle free aquarium that doesn't become a dirty, green eyesore in a matter of weeks.

Most beginners start making fundamental errors from the moment they purchase the aquarium.

Learn from Experts
If you are new to fish keeping, we suggest you purchase our booklet 'Secrets for Successful Aquariums' and avoid costly mistakes. The booklet reveals traps beginners regularly fall into, and secrets expert aquarists know or have found out the hard way. The booklet will pay for itself many times over.

Secrets for Successful Aquariums e-book

What Are the Secrets for a Successful Aquarium?

Learn how experts avoid costly mistakes and keep their aquariums looking great!

Learn how to control algae.
Learn how to keep your plants alive.
Learn what filters really do.
Learn how to recover from the inevitable disaster and much more.

Click here to find out...


Free information
Below are a series of topics we frequently receive questions about. We hope you find the information useful.


Aquariums

 

You can either make one up from scratch or buy a complete unit with all equipment included. The placement of a glass aquarium is critical if it doesn't come with its own stand. To avoid the tank cracking the bottom on initial fill, or later as it settles, the surface it is being placed on MUST be level and flat and able to take the weight of a full aquarium, considering that 1 litre of water weighs 1 kg. Aquariums should come with a square of polystyrene to place under the aquarium to even out any very slight unevenness in the surface. Poor quality aquariums are far more susceptible to cracking than well built ones but nevertheless, the basic rules still apply. The other important point to consider when positioning aquariums is not to place them anywhere near a strong source of sunlight unless you particularly like the green algae look. Aquariums can be made of acrylic or glass. There are pluses and minuses for each. Acrylic aquariums are lighter, stronger, clearer and more leakproof than glass but a LOT more expensive. Glass aquariums are more scratch resistant, cheaper and more easily repaired.

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Filters

 

Generally speaking, filters are not principally designed to clean water. They are designed to remove toxic waste normally produced by natural life processes, overfeeding and decaying organic material and convert it to harmless waste through biological processes within the filter. You cannot over filter an aquarium but you can certainly under filter one. A well chosen filter is an aquarist's best friend which will reward them with a healthy successful aquarium requiring a lot less maintenance.

Learn more about filters...

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Lighting

 

Aquarium lighting tends to be fluorescent tubes within a specifically designed hood for placing on top of the aquarium. The amount of lighting an aquarium needs depends on what sort of display you want. If you are going for a mainly rocky aquascape with no plants you can do with the minimum of lighting, only enough to light the display and fish to your personal satisfaction. If you want to grow plants that is a completely different story. The correct amount of lighting is crucial if you want the plants to prosper. Presuming there is no ambient sunlight it is quite hard to over illuminate an aquarium full of plants with artificial lighting.


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Heaters

 

Most of us know what an aquarium heater looks like. Most of them do the job they were designed for. However there are three groups they fall into. Ones that have a scale to read off and adjust the temperature, and those that don't, and those that have thermal cutouts and those that don't. If you won't ever forget to turn off the heater before a water change a thermal cutout is not absolutely necessary and the cheaper heater will be perfectly suitable. If you are like me and occasionally forget that exposing an operating heater to air shatters the glass heater tube, a heater with a thermal cutout may be a better bet. Heaters range from 100 watts to 300 watts. Go to our CALCULATOR TABLE link below to work out what wattage heater you need. You can not get a heater that is too large, but you can get one that is too small.

Heater calculation table...

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Air pumps

 

The air pumps (aerators) used in most aquariums and used by us for the past 10 years where they had to work far harder than they ever would in a normal aquarium are the electromagnet diaphram type. Theses are relatively cheap but some can be noisy in operation.
Two important points concerning aerators; generally you should never place an aerator below the water level as there are several ways where water could siphon back down into the pump e.g. a power cut. A solution to this problem is to use a non return valve in the airline. And secondly the quickest way to "kill" an aerator is to clamp the airline to reduce the flow. It is far better to bleed off the surplus air through a valve.


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Ponds

 

My pond water turns green! Of course it does. Have you done anything to discourage it from turning green? Ponds turn green, especially in summer, because the are receiving too much light. Nutrient levels will probably also be too high. Algae only needs high light levels and very low nutrient levels to flourish. If you also have high nutrient levels,(phosphates and nitrates) it is even better for the algae. Therefore, a lot of thought needs to be put into the placement of the pond. It needs to be in a shaded area preferably receiving dappled light. Presuming you have done the opposite, here are some solutions. Try and provide some shade by planting. Ensure the nutrient levels are at their lowest. (test kits for phosphates and nitrates are available). If the pond hasn't been cleaned out for a while, and there is leaf litter and grass clippings etc forming a sludge at the bottom of the pool your nutrient levels will be horrendous! Ponds need regular partial water changes the same as aquariums, and for the same reasons. The easiest way is to put the garden hose in one end, turn it on slowly and leave it to overflow until the water runs clear.(presuming there are no water restrictions of course). Plant some water/bog plants in the pond-lots of them. Don't plant them in pots with soil or potting mix or fertilizers, just plain gravel They will then compete with the algae for the few remaining nutrients - and win. You need to have running water in a pond. Algae does not like to be bashed about through a water pump impeller or down a rocky waterfall. Note that a Pond filter will NOT remove algae to any significant degree, but as in aquariums, it provides a base for beneficial bacteria to live and provides the flowing water.

Another natural remedy to try is using BARLEY STRAW . The amount to use is 29 grams of barley straw to 1 square meter of pond. It is the surface area rather than the water volume that counts. Higher rates have been shown to provide better algae control if the problem is severe. However, too much straw can deoxygenate the water. Be warned! The straw does not kill algae that is already present, rather it prevents the growth of new algal cells, similar to a pre-emergent herbicide. The anti-algal activity is only produced when the straw is rotting in a well oxygenated environment. A pond pump outlet placed to pass water through the loosely held straw is probably a good idea. At 20 Celsius it should only take 1-2 weeks to become effective. A more convenient solution which has recently become available is barley straw extract. It comes either in pellet form in a bag which you place in the water flow, or liquid extract which you pour into the pond. Again you must keep the pump running at all times as the dying algae can greatly reduce the oxygen levels in the pond.

You have now done everything you can organically to reduce algae. Next you may need to get a UV sterilizer. These pass the pond water through a tube which has a strong UV light in it. They work by simply killing the algae, and many other pathogens,by exposing them to a dangerous level (for them) of UV light. You do need a water pump to pump the water through the sterilizer.
The least preferable but sometimes only solution is to use one of the chemical algae cures which kill the algae without hurting the fish or plants.



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Test kits

 

Water may appear perfectly clean yet still be deadly to your fish. If you are making the required regular water changes, you generally don't need water test kits. However, when setting up a new aquarium, you will need to test the water for nitrates, phosphates, ammonia and pH levels regularly to establish your water change frequency.

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For more in depth information on theses topics and more, read about them in our booklet Secrets for Successful Aquariums.


Aquarium scene


Customer feedback

... your aquarium notes are fantastic, seriously it took me years to find out all that information through looking things up and talking to various people. I wished I'd had that information when I first started. That page on algae is worth its weight in gold....Phillipa

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