One of the biggest lessons that I had to learn the hard way was to take my time when picking out a new marine fish at the local pet store. It can be very easy to get caught up in the excitement of finally finding the fish that you have been looking for, but you should really look before you leap. You want to carefully observe the fish to make sure it is not showing any potential signs of sickness. At times, this can be hard to do if the fish is stressed, but some of the signs to look for are:
I will typically observe the fish in the store for about 30 minutes. Sometimes I will repeat this process over two or more different days until I am satisfied there are no visible symptoms and the fish appears healthy. In case you own many pets, you can learn here more information on how to use CBD products to keep hem healthy and happy.
Once you have had a chance to observe the fish and have not noticed anything odd, I would also suggest that you request the store to feed the fish so you can see it eat . I would never purchase a fish that was not eating as that can sometime be a indication of internal problems.
And, as always, I strongly recommend placing you new fish in a properly set-up quarantine tank for careful observation. There are so many other disease your new fish could be infected with that will take a very long time before there are any noticeable external symptoms.
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Testing your water
Many of the fish and corals that we keep in our aquariums can be more sensitive to water conditions when compared with most fresh water fish. This is even more critical in smaller set-ups as problems with water quality can get very bad very fast. You need to be testing the basic parameters in the beginning while your tank matures. Once you get a lot of coralline developing and you have started adding more fish and/or corals which consuming many elements from the water, you will need to slightly expand this to include other elements.
Without testing your water quality at least weekly, you will not be able to determine how well your set-up is maturing or much much elements the system is consuming from the water.
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I’m the type of hobbyist that likes to keep things as simple as possible while maintaining the best possible water quality that I can. One of the more important parts of this is completing weekly water changes. I have found that completing a weekly water change of about 10% to 20% works well for maintaining trace element that will be consumed by corals and coralline algae while helping to prevent a buildup of nitrates and/or phosphates in the water. Depending on the amount and type of corals combined with the bioload of your fish, you can adjust the amount of your water change to have the same effect. I have found the less supplements you have to dose, the more stable your water will be. Weekly water changes allow me to achieve that without having to put a lot of effort and expense into dosing and testing trace elements.
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Some people have asked me which substrate is best for their set-up. Below are some random thought on the subject that always come up in these conversations
1 – Why do you even need substrate ? You can go “bare bottom” saving yourself some money and a little extra work. Pros: less work, less expense. Cons: waiting for coralline to grow on the bottom, doesn’t look as natural as you can have with substrate
2- What are you planning to stock? If you are planning jaw fish or some of the sand sifting fish, then you need to have a substrate that meets the specific needs of those fish.
3 – What about Live Sand. In my experience, it is not worth the extra expense. As this product is placed in a sealed bag and potentially exposed to temperature extremes, you will get a very large die-off of the beneficial bacteria’s that will be there.
4 – What type of flow are you planning for your set-up. If you are planning a high flow set-up, then stay away from finer particle sand. The flow within the tank can move the substrate around if you are not careful
5 – Stay away from crushed coral or excessively large particle substrates. It is very easy to have debris collect in the cracks and crevasses in these types of substrate were your cleanup crew cannot get to it. Without a lot of extra substrate cleaning, this will lead to higher than normal nutrient levels over time.
6 – Do not use substrates meant for fresh water aquariums. These fresh water substrates (especially sand) will contain higher amounts of silicates than what is normally found in marine substrates. This will put higher levels of silicates in your water which in most cases will lead to a lot more diatoms and other algaes in your tank.
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