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.
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...
Below are a series of topics we frequently receive questions about. We hope you find the information useful.
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.
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.
more about filters...
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
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
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.
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
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.
preferable but sometimes only solution is to use one of the chemical
algae cures which kill the algae without hurting the fish or plants.
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.
... 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