Freshwater Aquarium Set Up:
A Beginner's Guide

by: Jacob Taylor
5. Maintenance

I. Food
Food is the most obvious and essential part of maintaining your aquarium. Your fish need to eat every day and feedings should be short and numerous throughout the day. If this is not possible then automatic feeders are available. Less frequent heavier feedings are also acceptable. When feeding your fish you should feed them only as much food as they can eat in one or two minutes. The excess food that doesn't get eaten adds to the ammonia built up and could overstress your biological filter.

II. Water Changes
It is inevitable that waste will accumulate in your tank even if you do not over feed your fish. Nitrates(NO3) are also toxic in very high amounts and will eventually kill your fish but not before your tank is covered in algae. To avoid excess NO3 and other waste you should vacuumed your fish aquarium with a gravel siphon every month. The siphon can be purchased at any fish store. This allows you to remove debris and NO3 which will be replaced with clean deglutinated water. When changing your aquarium's water only 30 to 40% of the water should be removed at a time. If too much water is removed then the nitrogen cycle will be destroyed.

III. Algae
Heavy algae growth should not happen in your aquarium, especially if it is kept away from sunlight and you do regular water changes. If you do get algae and you want to treat it, the first thing you need to do is identify what type of algae it is. There are three common types of algae. Below is an explanation and a solution for each.

i. Brown Algae
Brown Algae is common in new tanks. It is a result of too much waste being present in the water. Sometimes this alga will disappear on its own after the new tank balances itself. If it remains then a phosphate/nitrate neutralizing agent should be purchased from an aquarium store and then added to the tank.

ii. Green Algae
Green algae comes from an over abundance of light, most of the time this cant be fixed but green algae is easily removed by scraping the sides of the tank or by adding an algae eater to your fish tank. All algae eaters will eat green algae, even if they leave the other algae alone.

iii. Red Algae
Red algae actually appears black and is very hard to remove. It is a result of high pH and high levels of nitrates and phosphates. Absorption resins or neutralizing agents should be purchase from a fish store. It has bee said that the only fish which will eat this algae is the Siamese Algae Eater but these fish are not common in pet stores. I kept a few of these fish to get rid of my red algae but the fish never ate any of it so this may not be true after all

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