Add life to your living room

Interiors

Feel your dull living room needs sprucing up? How about getting an aquarium? Even as you can’t contain your excitement, remember that fish-keeping is a heavy-maintenance hobby. You need to be prepared to lavish a lot of attention and affection for these creatures to thrive on. Not to speak of the time, energy, money and patience.  Marine aquariums can be of fish only, fish with live rock or reef types.
The tiny organisms inhabiting live rock make it the best natural filter. Invertebrates, corals and anemones are bred in reef tanks. Though all marine aquaria are high-maintenance and expensive, reef tanks are even more so.

Community tanks housing several compatible species are most favoured. Then, there are tanks that shelter a limited number of species that are aggressive towards other fish.

Ideal tank size

Eleven-litre-capacity tanks are the smallest ones. Bigger tanks translate into a more stable environment for your fish. So, maintenance ease is their USP. Narrow and lengthy tanks score high on aesthetics, but broader ones with greater top surface-area allow higher oxygen-entry levels. A top-cover, canopy or hood checks your fish from performing a freestyle bungee-jumping into the outside world.

Now, identify a suitable location for your tank. Proximity to electrical outlets and reasonable distance from doors and windows are twin considerations. Leave enough room to move about behind the tank. Prevent shocks by looping the electrical cords to direct leaking water towards the floor rather than into the electrical outlet. 

 You’ll need a tank stand sturdy enough to bear the aquarium’s weight.  Place it on an even surface. Custom-made ones with cabinets for the equipment are convenient and elegant.

 Choose the substrate: Live sand, crushed-coral etc. Rough gravel hurts the fish present at the base of the aquarium, but very fine sand spawns anaerobic zones.

Pick decorations – real plants or silk, plastic ones and artificial caves, tunnels for the fish to frolic about. Fluorescent light tubes ensure reduced algae growth, enhance fake plants’ durability and stimulate natural plant growth. Marine tanks need brighter tubes. Clean the tubes every month. Automatic feeders and lighting timers are a boon for the forgetful. Pick an aquarium heater and a thermometer to maintain warm and stable temperature.

Check for tank leaks by filling the tank with water and seal them with an aquarium sealant. Ensure the tank is free from disease or toxins of any kind. If you want to enhance the look of your aquarium, you could consider taping your background photograph onto the aquarium’s back glass.  Painting the outside back-wall with blue-black is a hassle-free option.

How to set up the tank

 Now, set up the tank in the display location, connecting all the equipment. Fill it with water and banish chlorine using a water conditioner.  Rinse the substrate and decorations in tap water and add them. Remember, live rock should be cured first. If you choose to use real plants, then, this is the stage at which you should plant them.

Let all devices (except lighting) run from now on. Don’t introduce fish immediately.  
At least four-eight weeks are required for healthy bacteria to breed. Perform tank cycling by adding ammonia.

When ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels dip to zero, you’re ready for fish.

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