How to Start a Successful Aquarium

The Inside Scoop on Your Aquarium from Aqualand Pets Plus

 
Amphibians
Axolotls
Caecilian Worm
Chaco Toad
Mud Puppies

Newts General
Newts Eastern
Newts Golden

Newts Mandarin
Salamanders
Suriname Toad
Tadpoles
Terrarium I
Terrarium II
USA Toads
Water Dogs
Misc. Toads

Frogs
Bull
Clawed
Dumpy
Dwarf
Fire-Belly
Floating
Green Tree
Leopard
Pac Man
Pipa pipa
Pyxie
Red-Eyed Tree
Tomato
Misc Frogs 
Misc Frogs II
Misc Frogs III
Misc Frogs IV

Misc Frogs V

Animals
Bunnies
Bunnies II 

Cat-N-Around Cat Club
Cat-N-Around Cat Club 2007 Annual Show
Hawkeye Cat Club 2004
Hawkeye Cat Club 2005
Chinchillas
Degus
Ferrets
Ferrets by BOB
Gerbils
Ground Squirrels
Guinea Pig
Hamsters I
Hamsters II
Hamsters III
Hamsters IV
Hamsters V
Hedgehogs
Kittens
Kids & Kittens
Mice
Mice Pets II
Parasites
Rats I
Rats II
Rats III
Rats, Hairless
S-T Opossums
Siberian Chipmunks
Sugar Gliders
Sugar Gliders II
Water Bottles

Bugs
Crabby 500
Crab 04 Results
Centipedes
Cray/Lobsters
Crayfish II
Crayfish III
Cray, Yucatan
Fiddler Crabs
Shrimp, Algae
Shrimp, Aqua
Shrimp, Orange Bee
Shrimp, Red
Shrimp, Flower

Shrimp, Ghost
Shrimp, Rudolph
Hermit Crabs
Hermit Crabs II
Madagas Roach
Mantids
Mini-Clams
Mini-Crabs
Patriot Crabs
Giant Millipedes
Red Claw Crabs
Reiman Butterfly
Spider, Black Widow
Snail, Apple
Snail, Colombian
Snail, Land
Snail, Malaysian

Snail, Mystery
Snail, Trapdoor 
Scorpions
Tarantulas
Tarantulas II
Tarantula Night 2006
TarantulaWeen VII
TarantulaWeen 9
Walking Stick
Misc. Bugs
Misc Bugs II  

Birds
Breeding Tips

Button Quail
Canaries

Cockatiels
Dove, Diamond
Dove, Ringneck
Finches
Love Birds
Parakeets
Pelleted Foods
Quaker Parrots

Parrot Pictures
Parrot Pix II

Parrot Pix III
Dave's Parrots


Lizards
Alligators
Anoles
Bearded Dragon

Beardies II
Calotes
Chamel, Jackson
Chamel, Panther
Chamel, Veiled
Crested Geckos
Gecko, Golden

Gecko, House
Gecko, Leopard
Gecko, Tokay
Horned "Toads"
Iguana New
Iguana Dragons
Iguana Q&A I
Iguana Q&A II
Iguana Training
Iguana Update
Cool Iguana Pics
Knight Anoles
Monitors, Nile

Monitors, Savana
Monitors, Water

Salmonella
Skinks
Skinks Blue-Tongue
Tegus
Uromastyx maliensis
Water Dragon
Misc Lizards
Misc Lizards 2
Misc Lizards 3
Misc Lizards 4
Misc Lizards 5

Misc Lizards 6
Misc Lizards 7
Misc Lizards 8
Misc Lizards 9
Misc Lizards 10


Snakes
Anacondas
Boa, Rosy

Boa, Red-Tail
Corn Snake
Garter Snake
Green Snake
Kids/Corn Snakes
Kids/Red-Tail Boas

Kids at Pet Expo 1

Kids at Pet Expo 2

Kids at Pet Expo 3

Kids at Pet Expo 4

Kids at Pet Expo 5
King & Milk
Python, Ball
Python, Burmese

Snakes Alive
Snakesgiving
Snakesgiving II

Misc Snake Pix
Misc Snakes II

Misc Snakes III  

Turtles/Tortoises
Box, Asian
Box, USA
Races
Snapping

Spiny

Sulcata
Water

Western Painted

Live Foods
Blackworms
Blood Worms
Br Shrimp I
Br
Shrimp II
Crayfish 1
Crayfish 2
Crayfish 3 
Crickets
Dandelions
Daphnia
Earthworms
Feeder Goldfish
Fruit Flies
Ghost Shrimp

Glass Worms

Grindal Worms
Infusoria
Mealworms
Microworms
Rosy Reds

Super Worms

Wax Worms
White Clouds

 

Decorating
Bubbles
Driftwood
Gravel
Plastic Plants
Rocks
Slow Growing Plants

Miscellaneous
Bob's Acclimation

How to Start
How to Add New Fish
How to Keep Healthy
Which Fish Get Along?
10 Questions to Ask
What is Ich?
Under Gravel Filters

Sponge Filters
Cloudy Water

Cool Water Tanks
Gravel Vacuums
Preventing Disease
Feeding to the Max
Frozen Foods
Green Water
Nasty Chemicals
Overfeeding
Power Filters
Rift Lake Salts
Quarantine Tank
Mini-Tank
2nd Av Bait

Pet World Visit
Dandelions

Aquatic Plants
Amazon Swords
More Swords
Sword Plants III

Anubias
Anacharis
Aponogetons
A. boivinianus
A. fenestralis
A. ulvaceous
Aquarium/Bog
Banana Plant
Bolbitis
Bunch
Bunch Plants II
Cryptocorynes
Crystalwort
Dwarf Lily
Grassy
Grassy II
Hornwort
Hygrophila
Lace
Java Fern I
Java Fern II
Java Fern III
Java Fern IV
Java Moss
Moss Balls
Onion
Vermiculite

Watersprite

Different Watersprite

LA Pic
Here's a 10-gallon tank because most people start with a 10.


Pick the Largest Possible Tank  The larger your tank, the easier.  Larger tanks use larger filters.  Their larger volume of water also dilutes the bad effects of some of the most common mistakes of beginners:  

     Overfeeding;
     Overcrowding;
     Overdoctoring. 

Beware Sudden Changes.  Sudden changes in population, temperature, pH, ammonia, and nitrite can cause BIG problems FAST in small tanks.  The larger your tank, the less you need to worry about how closely you “follow the rules” -- ours, yours, or anyone elses.

LA Pic
Tanks on their own stand last longer.

Test for Leaks.  Never put your tank on top of a TV or stereo system.  Even non-leaky tanks splash and bubble – particularly when you clean them.  And always test for leaks before you decorate your tank.  You can’t put fish in it today, so use part of your waiting period to test for leaks – before adding any chemicals or decorations to your aquarium setup.

Put it in the Right Place.  Once you put water in your tank, you don’t  want to move it.  Even a 10-gallon tank weighs 100 pounds.  Keep it away from sunny windows, drafts, high-traffic areas, unsupervised play areas, air conditioning and heating vents.  Always put your tank on a level surface.

You Need Electrical Outlets.  Pick a place with an electrical outlet unused by other sources.  For your:  

     Air pump;
     
Heater;
     Light:
     and/or a power filter.

You need at least three outlets.  Your hardware store sells a multi-outlet surge protector or you can use a heavy-duty grounded extension cord.

Use an Under Gravel Filter.  With a UG filter, your air pump pulls water through your gravel and up your air lift tubes.  As water flows through the gravel it aerates billions of bacteria that it drifts past.  Bacteria help convert liquid fish wastes and dissolve solid fish wastes.

UG Filters Biologically.  Two tribes of helpful bacteria -- the Nitrosomonas (sorry no photo on file) and the Nitrobacters (ditto) -- convert harmful ammonia to nitrites and then to nitrates.  These helpful bacteria are the biggest reasons for using an under gravel filter.

LA Pic
Sorting thru the wide selection of filters can be confusing.  (They ALL work.)

Power Filter Note:  Some people prefer power filters over under gravel filters.  Of the two types of filters, we strongly recommend the under gravel filter.  They never wear out -- unless Eric pushes a gravel vacuum cleaner thru your filter plate.  They’re easy to maintain, economical, and efficient.  Best of all, they convert poisonous fish wastes to harmless substances.  However, when you add a power filter, you get the best of both worlds.  The two working together make a great combo.

LA Pic
Choose from many more colors than the rainbow.  We prefer the naturals.

Use Aquarium Gravel.  Avoid sand and large, lumpy gravel.  Sand sifts through the slots in your filter.  It also “packs.”  Big lumpy rocks don’t allow your bottom filter to work right.  Regular aquarium gravel always works best -- natural or colored.  Use 1 ½  pounds of gravel per gallon of water as a rough estimate.  If you want to raise live plants or build interesting terraces, you probably need more gravel.

LA Pic
Right size heater for a 5.5-gallon tank.  You'll need a thermometer, too.

Add Your Heater.  Tropical fishes need 75 to 80oThe new submersible heaters work so great, we can’t over-recommend them.  They cost three times as much as the printed circuit ones, and they’re worth it.  By the way, there’s an easier way to set your printed circuit heater than it says on the box.

     Attach your heater. 

     Plug in your heater.

     Let it set for five minutes.

     Add enough hot water to warm your tank to 75o

     Then crank up your heater till your “pilot light” turns on.

You’re all set.  The submersible heaters are easier yet.  You just dial the temperature you want.  You’re done. Well, you have to plug it in.

Use Right Size-Heater.  Plain and not so plain goldfish survive without a heater just fine.  But if you prefer the exotics (goldfish as well as tropicals), you need a heater.  A constant temperature helps prevent diseases – especially parasites such as ich.  You need about five watts per gallon.  In a cool basement, you’ll need a much larger heater than normal.

Schedule Regular Maintenance.  It takes only 20 to 60 minutes per week to maintain an aquarium -- including feeding time.

     Feed small amounts twice a day.

     Change your filter cartridges every 4 to 8 weeks.

     Use your gravel cleaner weekly.

     Change 25% of your water per week.

     Add water conditioner (and salt to taste).

     Wipe your inside front glass weekly.  Yes, you may get your hannies wet.

     Wipe your outside front glass weekly.

Age Your Water.  Avoid putting your fishes in fresh water straight out of the faucet.  Des Moines water contains all sorts of secret ingredients that kill bacteria and fishes.  Other cities use their own recipes to kill bacteria and fishes.  Cities that use chlorine and ammonia together are the most poisonous.  

Remove Chlorine. 
Our DSM Water Works say they never have and  never would add chloramine to our drinking water.  However, they also say that if ammonia pops up in the water, it will combine with chlorine to make the fish-killing chloramine.  And farmers in our state use ammonium nitrate for more than making bombs.  Just be sure to use a chlorine remover.  You may also want to remove ammonia.

LA Pic
You can find over a dozen water conditioners.  We use NovAqua by the gallon.

Add a Water Conditioner.  Always age water at least 24 hours -- more if possible and add a water conditioner.  This rule also applies to any  water changes greater than 20%.  Oscars and other large fishes will survive water changes up to 50%, because they’re much tougher than little fishes.

Use a Fluorescent Light  The fish don’t need a light – you do.  You want the light so you can see your fascinating new pets.  Fluorescent lights work best because:

     They stay cool.
     They last longer.
     They cost less to run.
     They enhance fish colors.

Incandescent fixtures cost about 10 bucks less at first, but cost more in the first two years just from replacing the bulbs.  We strongly recommend fluorescent lights.

LA Pic
Today's resin ornaments look so much better than yesterday's ceramics.

Decorate Your Tank  Many fish need nooks and crannies for security.  In the wild, their ability to hide keeps them out of predators’ bellies.   In your tank, they need the same feeling of security.  Once they adjust to their new quarters, they’ll come right out and show off.

LA Pic
Whatever your preference, you can find an artificial plant to meet or exceed it

Other Decor.  Wood, rocks, and plants make a natural aquascape. But fish (actually fish keepers) also like sunken ships, ceramic skulls, resin rocks, and other ornaments.  Just avoid bare tanks -- except for breeding or quarantine tanks.  Fish are easy to keep, educational, fascinating, beautiful, and funLA

© 1980, © 2003, © 2004, © 2005  LA Productions

3600 Sixth Avenue

Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues

Des Moines, IA 50313

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Other Stuff

Anabantids
Betta Leaf 
Betta Breed 1
Betta Breed II
Betta Info
Betta  Housing
Betta Pla Kat
Choc Gourami
Climbing Perch
Gourami Pix
Kiss. Gourami
Osphronemus
Pearl Gourami
More Pearls
Paradise Fish  
Snakehead
Spawn Gourami
T. trichopterus

Catfish  
Banjo
Bullheads
Bull Sharks
Channel  
Corydoras
Cory Pics
Electric
Glass
Hoplos
Otocinclus
Pangassius
Pictus
Plecostomus
Pleco Bristle
Pleco Costly I
Pleco Costly II
Pleco Costly III
Pleco Costly IV
Pleco Costly V
Pleco Costly VI

Raphael
Red-Tail
Shovelnose
Sun
Synodontis
Synodontis petricola
Turushuki Catfish
Upside-down
Misc Catfish
Misc Catfish II
Misc Catfish III

Misc Catfish IV
Misc Catfish V

Cichlids
African I
African II
African III
African IV

Amer. Small
Amer.  Med 
Amer. Large
Angelfish I
Angelfish II
Angelfish III
Angelfish IV
More Angels
Buttikoferi

Chocolate
Chocolate Spawning
Cichlid Decor
Cichlid Food
Convicts
Convicts 2
Convicts 3
Convicts 4
Dempseys
More Dempseys
Jack Dempsey Spawn
Discus
Dither Fish
Flower Horn
Green Terror
Jaguar
More Jaguars
Jaguar Spawning

Jaguar Spawning II
Jewel Fish
Keo's Flowerhorns
Keo's Flowerhorns II
Kribensis

Oscars 1
Oscars 2
Oscars 3
Oscars 4
Oscars 5
More Oscar
More Oscar II
More Oscars III
More Oscars 2007
Peacock Bass
Red Devils
More Red Devil
 
Red Parrots

Red Parrots Spawn
Pikes
Pink Tilapia
Rams
Red Bay Snooks
Roger Stephen's Cichlids
Severums
More Severums
Severums III

Tanganyikans
Texas Cichlid
Texas Spawning

Texas Spawn II
Uarus
Misc Cichlids I
Misc Cichlids II
Misc Cichlids III
Misc Cichlids IV
Misc Cichlids V
Misc Cichlids VI
Misc Cichlids VII
Misc Cichlids VIII

Livebearer  
Guppies
Half-Beak
Mollies
Moons/Platys
Swordtails

Minnows/Tetra 
Barbs
Barbs, Black
Barbs, Gold

Barbs, Rosy
Barbs, Tiger
Barbs, Tinfoil

Danios

Distochodus
Fathead Minnows
Headstanders
Killies, Econ.
Killies, Golden
Killies, Peat
Killies, Plant
Misc Mini-Fish
Pacús 

Piranha, Black
Piranha, Red
Rainbowfish

Rainbowfish, Dwarf Neon
Rainbowfish, Irian

Silver Dollar
Tetras, Larger
Tetras, Smaller
Tetras, Spawn
Tetra, Vampire
White Clouds

Pond Fish
Carp
Channel Cat
Gold. Comets
Gold. Fantails
More Fantails
Gold. Oriental  
Gold Oriental II 
Gold. Spawn
Kloubec Koi Farm
Koi
Koi II

Koi III
Plecostomus
Shubunkins

Oddballs  
Af. Butterfly
Af. Lungfish
Af. Mudskippr
American Eel
Archer Fish

Arowana
Bichirs
Borneo Suckers
Brackish I
Brackish II
Brackish III
Brackish IV
Brackish V
Michael Troung's Pix
Butterfly/Wasp
Chameleon Fish
Chromides

Chin Alg Eater
Crazy Fish
Crocodile Fish

Datnioides

Dojo
Electric Cat
Electric Eels

Elephant Nose
Exodon paradoxus
Flounder
Gars
 
Glassfish
Goby Bumble
Goby Butterfly
Goby Dragon
Goby Misc.
Half-Beak
Knife African
Knife Clown
Knife Ghost
Loach Botias
Loach Clown
Loach Kuhli
Loach Weather
Moray Eel  
Peacock Gudgeons
Polypterids
Puffers

Ropefish
Scats
Siam Algae Eater
 
Spiny Eels 
Snakehead
Stingray
Stonefish
Wasp Fish
Wolffish
Wrest Half-Beak
Misc Mini-Fishes
Misc Odd
Misc Odd II
Misc Odd III
Misc Odd  IV

Misc Odd V

Sharks  
Bala
Black
Bull
Chinese Hi-Fin Banded
Iridescent
Red-Tail
Siam Algae Eater

Pond Info 
Blank Park Zoo
Bob Humphrey's Ponds
Cattails
Maffett Reservoir
DMACC's Pond
D.M. Botanical Center
D.M. Water Works
Dr. Ervanian's Garden
Duckweed

Dwarf Lily
Ewing Park "Pond"
Jan & Chris's Water Garden
John McDonald's Pond
Hall's Four Acres
Klines' Water Garden
Landscaper Effects
Mini-Pond Pics
Pioneer Corn's Pond
Pond Fish Predators
Pond on 38th Street 
Pond Pics
Pond Plants
More Pond Plants
Pond Plants III
Reiman Ponds
River Scenes
Riverview Island
Selin's Water Gardens
Selin's Japanese Garden
Tom's Used Cars Pond
Urbandale Duck Pond
Water Hyacinth
Water Lettuce
Wild Ponds