Aquarium Maintenance

Aquarium Maintenance

Aquarium Maintenance in NY, and NJ

Diamond Aquatics serves many happy custom aquarium clients in New York, and New Jersey. We encourage proper aquarium maintenance to ensure that you can enjoy your tank and the animals within, for the long-term.

When major problems occur in an aquarium, it can take months of recovery before the underwater ecosystem is back to normal. We provide regular aquarium maintenance that is essential to the health of your aquarium and the animals. 

Our scheduled aquarium maintenance service includes:

• a 20-30% water change

• substrate “hydro-cleaning”

• filter maintenance

• basic water testing

All of these procedures help reduce nitrate and phosphate build-up which have been proven to foster excessive growth of problematic algae inside the tank.

Aquarium Maintenance, Aquarium Preservation, Custom Aquarium Design

Preserving the Species

Environmentalists often think that keeping a decorative aquarium is destructive to aquatic ecosystems. Dedicated aquarium hobbyists will strongly argue that it is their goal to help preserve the species they keep, in the interest of preserving the ecosystem and the species that exist in it.

Collectors (people who catch the animals) are held responsible for a large part of preservation; they catch the animals in their natural environments and export them to stores for sale to the public. Collectors must follow rules set forth by the governments of the countries where the animals are collected by obtaining certain permits issued for most marine animals. These permits limit the amount of each species to be collected from each region. If used properly, the permits regulate species so that they can rebuild their population before the next round of permits are issued.

Aquaculture, the captive breeding of ornamental aquarium animals, is the ideal solution to species preservation. If more species were bred in captivity, less would need to be removed from their natural habitats. Therefor, the environmental impact would be far less. The aquarium hobby industry has made great strides toward this goal in the last fifteen years. Most freshwater fish and plant species are already being bred in captivity along with an increasing number of marine fish and invertebrates.

Let's not forget that the hobbyist must be responsible as well. Animals do not come from an infinite source. If one dies in an aquarium and is replaced, it may represent another animal removed from its natural environment. However, if hobbyists educate themselves about each animal they own, and engage in a proper aquarium maintenance routine, they can do a better job of keeping those animals healthy and alive. This will reduce the need to replace the animals in the home or office aquarium and, in turn, reduce the amount of animals removed from their natural habitats. Hobbyists should also look to purchase captive bred animals, instead of wild caught animals, for their aquariums. This will also reduce the demand for animals removed from natural environments and increase the demand for captive bred animals. As demand for captive bred animals increases, so will captive breeding. As breeding facilities get larger, the prices for captive bred animals will decrease and, eventually, the price for captive bred animals should be less than that of wild caught animals.

Building the proper aquarium is crucial in keeping aquatic animals alive. The animals come from such diverse environments that it would be impossible to set up one aquarium that would be suitable for all fish. The system must be tailored to the needs of the species to be kept within. Consistent maintenance is also imperative. Aquariums are not perfect systems. Without routine maintenance, toxins build up to intolerable levels and cause stress to your aquatic pets. This stress can cause illness and even death. If you need help designing the right custom aquarium or maintaining an existing one, send a message to us at info@diamondaquatics.com.

Aquarium Maintenance

Aquarium Maintenance: Before and After

The maintenance staff at Diamond Aquatics pride themselves on the quality of their work. Here are some before and after pictures that showcase the difference a knowledgeable aquarist can make on your tank.

Before Aquarium Maintenance with Diamond Aquatics

 

After Aquarium Maintenance with Diamond Aquatics

 

For help maintaining your home or office aquarium, contact us today at 973-356-4434 or info@diamondaquatics.com.

Aquarium Maintenance, Custom Aquarium Design, General Information

Seahorses in Your Custom Aquarium

Seahorses are beautiful and intriguing creatures. Can you imagine keeping them in your custom aquarium?

As long as you have the proper saltwater aquarium setup, it is possible…but, very difficult. Aquarium maintenance for seahorses requires a lot more attention than other fish and marine life. These creatures are a favorite of Diamond Aquatics owner, Nick Diamond, so we’re sharing some fun facts with you. Read on…

 

 

  1. Seahorses are actually fish! They are predatory however they are poor swimmers. They are the slowest moving marine fish. Some only move 5 feet per hour.
  2. Even though seahorses are slow swimmers, these predators have one of the fastest strikes in the ocean.
  3. Did you know male seahorses are the ones who get pregnant? It’s true; a female seahorse deposits her eggs into the male’s pouch for fertilization by his sperm.
  4. Less than 1% of a seahorse’s eggs will survive to develop into maturity, that’s why a male seahorse could give birth to as many as 2,000 babies at a time.
  5. Seahorses can change color when they are stressed out; their skin changes color since they do not have scales.
  6. Seahorses can only curl their tails frontwards, not backwards. Sometimes they wrap it around things when they are sleeping so that they do not float away.

Keeping seahorses is a lot of work, however, we can help you find the best solution for your custom aquarium! Contact us today for more information.

Aquarium Maintenance, Aquarium Preservation, Aquarium Tips

Thinking About Moving An Aquarium or Fish Tank?

Moving for any individual can be stressful.  Whether it is a move to a new apartment, or a move to a new home, proper planning and preparation will ensure that it goes smoothly.  The same goes for custom fish tank or aquarium moving: your aquatics residents will be stressed as well!

The size of your tank and distance of the move will determine the difficulty, and how it will affect your fish.  There are many things to think about before attempting this yourself. The experts at Diamond Aquatics can provide you with professional, affordable aquarium moving services in NY, NJ, and CT if you are looking for help.

Before you start planning, consider the following:

  1. Moving needs to happen as quickly as possible. The habitat in which your fish live must be duplicated as much as it can in a temporary enclosure.  Using water from the custom fish tank will help. The quicker the aquarium moving occurs, the faster the balance in the new setup adjusts for the fish to move right back in.
  2. It’s difficult to physically move a fish tank! They are fragile and heavy at the same time. If the tank is large, it needs to be securely carried and handled, and kept as level as possible so that the panels stay together.
  3. Aquarium moving can be messy. Most, if not all of the water needs to be drained, and then put back in once moved. Water is fluid, so all the movement of it can cause spills and splashes everywhere, if not done properly.

Even when it is simply from one room to another, moving an aquarium can be a daunting task. With time being a factor in the health of the aquarium inhabitants, experience is critical in making sure everything is done as quickly as possible. Whether you are temporarily shifting furniture or moving to a new residence or office in the New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut areas, contact Diamond Aquatics to help move your aquarium to it’s new location safely.

Aquarium Maintenance, Aquarium Preservation, Aquarium Tips

Aquarium Tips: Feeding Your Fish

Let’s take a few minutes to review a few key things to remember about the diets and feeding of your custom aquarium fish.

  1. What if you had to eat one certain kind of food every single day? It’s important to remember that our animal friends enjoy variety as well. Feeding flake food only, will not prolong the life of your aquarium fish. Try giving them a treat once in a while of freeze dried, frozen, or fresh food.  Do some research on your fish and the type of food that they will do best with in your custom aquarium. You can use this list for reference.
  2. Be careful when feeding your fish. Fish, in fact, could go several days without food. And, more aquarium fish often die from overfeeding, rather than underfeeding. The rule is: make sure they eat everything you feed them. Watch to see if they can eat all their food in about 30 seconds. If this can happen, it is alright to feed them again at some point later in the day.
  3. You may have returned from visiting family or vacation, but if you will be traveling away from your home or business which contains a custom fish tank again, make sure that the feeding of your animals is taken care of. There are several options for this. The first is hiring a pet sitter. Make sure that they know not to overfeed the fish. One idea is to portion out your pet’s meals into baggies, and have them come to feed every 2-3 days. Another option is to use a mechanical feeding device. This is a battery or electric powered device which will release food into your tank on a scheduled basis with a timer. A third option is to use a feeding block. It releases food slowly for continual feeding.

Need help with fish and aquarium maintenance? Call Diamond Aquatics.  We will be happy to help.

Aquarium Maintenance, Aquarium Preservation, Aquarium Tips

Custom Aquarium Gravel: For Beauty and Balance

Gravel is primarily used to make your custom aquarium more beautiful, but can also change the pH balance of the water by introducing chemicals, minerals or particles into the environment that your fish live in. A more technical term for gravel, or the substance at the bottom of your custom fish tank, is called a substrate. This substance can both benefit or harm fish and other aquatic dwellers in the tank, so it must be chosen carefully because it creates a natural environment for fish and other tank mates.

Proper aquarium maintenance is crucial, and this can include cleaning the gravel in your tank. Remember this tip: removing old gravel from an aquarium and replacing it with new gravel can be catastrophic if done too quickly. When you remove the old gravel you are also removing a tremendous amount of good bacteria, which can upset the biological filter balance in your aquarium. If you choose to change your gravel, remove the old gravel slowly, over the course of a few days or even weeks.

Think this may be too difficult? We are here to help, and can provide you with effective and affordable aquarium maintenance services. Give Diamond Aquatics a call today with your questions, or to set up a free in-home aquarium maintenance consultation in any New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania areas.

Aquarium Maintenance

Marine Aquarium Maintenance

Maintaining a marine custom aquarium is a science and having the right equipment is essential to the task of aquarium maintenance. This is the reason for a majority of the failures that occur for hobbyists attempting their first marine setup. Marine fish are generally more sensitive to change than freshwater fish and can be quite expensive. The proper equipment may be more expensive as well but you can consider the expense a means of protecting your investment in the animals. Marine aquariums can be set up in two ways: with live corals or without them. An aquarium with live corals is referred to as a reef aquarium and without is called a marine “fish-only” setup.

We’ll go into more detail over the next few posts about fish-only marine aquarium setups and reef aquarium setups, so stay tuned.  In the mean time, if you have any questions about your aquarium or how to best maintain it, contact us at 973-356-4434. Diamond Aquatics is here to help you design and construct the perfect aquarium for your needs.

Aquarium Maintenance, Aquarium Preservation, Custom Aquarium Design

The Responsible Aquarium Hobbyist

The aquarium design industry occasionally comes under fire from environmentalists who think that the aquarium hobby is destructive to aquatic ecosystems. Aquarium hobbyists will strongly argue that it is their goal to help preserve the species they keep, in the interest of preserving the ecosystem and the species that exist in it. However, a large portion of responsibility falls on the people who catch the animals (know as collectors) in their natural environments and export them to retail stores for sale to the general public. A collector must follow rules set forth by the governments of the countries where the animals are collected. CITES (pronounced ‘sightees’) permits are issued for most ornamental marine animals. These permits limit the amount of each species to be collected from each region. If collectors use these permits properly, then the regulated species should have time to rebuild its population before the next round of permits are issued.

Aquarium hobbyists need to be responsible as well. It is important to realize that animals don’t come from an infinite source. If one dies in an aquarium and is replaced, it represents another animal removed from its natural environment. If hobbyists educate themselves about each animal they own, and engage in a proper aquarium maintenance routine, they can do a better job of keeping those animals healthy and alive. This will reduce the need to replace the animals in the home or office aquarium and, in turn, reduce the amount of animals removed from their natural habitats.

Building the proper aquarium, and consistent aquarium service is crucial in keeping aquatic animals alive. The animals come from such diverse environments that it would be impossible to set up one aquarium that would be suitable for all fish. The system must be tailored to the needs of the species to be kept within.

We are here to help. Contact Diamond Aquatics today at 973-356-4434 or info@diamondaquatics.com for more information or to schedule a consultation.

Aquarium Filtration, Aquarium Maintenance, Aquarium Preservation

Aquarium Maintenance: Biological Filtration

As you know, the health of the animals that live in your custom aquarium or fish tank relies on proper and consistent aquarium maintenance. So far we’ve reviewed mechanical filtration, and we’ve reviewed chemical filtration. Now it’s time to take a look at the third crucial piece of the puzzle: biological filtration.

                                  Example of bio-balls

                                  Example of bio-balls

Biological filtration is the most important function of an aquarium filter. Biological filtration is facilitated in a filter with a coarse medium, usually a ceramic noodle or plastic, spiked ball called a “bio-ball”. The object of this medium is to grow bacteria. That’s right, some bacteria are actually good! The bacteria actually grow on all surfaces in the aquarium. The biological filter media simply creates a larger amount of surface area for the bacteria to grow on. Your gravel bed is also a great biological filter. These bacteria eat organic waste (fish urine, feces and leftover food) in your aquarium.

The Nitrogen Cycle

More specifically, bacteria in your fish tank facilitates the nitrogen cycle. The nitrogen cycle is the process by which organic matter is converted to gas and released from the water. In the first stage of the nitrogen cycle the bacteria begin to eat the organic waste and convert it into ammonia (NH3). Ammonia lowers the pH of your aquarium and also burns the fishes’ skin and gills making it difficult for them to breathe.  It is also introduced directly into the aquarium in the form of urine by your fish.

Next, the bacteria begin to convert the ammonia into nitrite (NO2-). Nitrite is also highly toxic to fish, and both ammonia and nitrate levels should be monitored on a routine basis in order to ensure proper filter functionality. Both compounds are measured in ppm (parts per million) and both should always read  zero (0) ppm in a properly maintained aquarium.

The third stage of the nitrogen cycle consists of the bacteria converting the nitrite into nitrate (NO3-). This compound is relatively non-toxic to fish as long as it does not reach excessive levels. Also measured in ppm, nitrates should be kept under 100-150 ppm in a freshwater or marine “fish-only” (no corals or live plants) aquarium and under 10 ppm in a marine reef aquarium. This is not the final stage of the nitrogen cycle but, in an aquarium, it is where nature stops (or slows drastically) and the hobbyist must pick up the slack.

Too much weird science for you? Give Diamond Aquatics a call and we’d be happy to help you maintain your aquarium, or answer any questions you may have.

Aquarium Filtration, Aquarium Maintenance, Aquarium Preservation

Aquarium Maintenance: Chemical Filtration

A couple of posts back we talked about aquarium filtration, and how important it is for the health of the animals that live in your custom aquarium or fish tank. As a reminder, proper aquarium maintenance will not only prolong the life of your favorite aquatic pets, but also help save you money in the long run (by reducing the number of animals you will have to purchase).

A good filtration system is an important part of aquarium service. As we mentioned already, there are three main functions to most common filters:

  • Mechanical filtration
  • Chemical filtration
  • Biological filtration

Our last post covered mechanical filtration. This time we dive into chemical filtration.

Chemical filtration comes in many forms to remove many different dissolved elements from the water, but they all work in a similar fashion. Each one absorbs a harmful/unwanted element from the water, like a sponge absorbing a liquid. For example, activated carbon or charcoal, possibly the most common chemical filter medium, absorbs dissolved organic material from the water like a sponge. Dissolved organics are what lead to foul odors and cloudy water when left unchecked. You want to reduce the proliferation of them within your tank, or they can lead to larger issues including excessive algae growth and ammonia build-up.

Just as a sponge can only hold a certain amount of liquid, carbon can only hold a certain amount of dissolved organics. This medium should be replaced frequently. In most cases once per month is adequate. Some aquariums may produce excessive dissolved organics requiring more frequent carbon replacement. There are products on the market that have been manufactured to last longer than one month. These are usually carbon resins mixed with other chemical filter media and are generally more expensive than plain activated carbon.

Feel like this is a daunting task? For those who would rather not take it on, but would still love an aquarium, Diamond Aquatics provides maintenance services to fit your needs. We can answer your questions and guide you towards the right aquarium maintenance solution. Contact us at 973-356-4434 or info@diamondaquatics.com today!

Aquarium Filtration, Aquarium Maintenance, Custom Aquarium Design

Aquarium Maintenance: Mechanical Filtration

It’s important to remember that proper aquarium maintenance is a crucial part of your aquatic pets’ health, and will help save you money over time by reducing the number of animals you will purchase.

Just like cats and dogs need to be bathed and kept after, all aquariums require regular maintenance. This fact eludes most people who have never had an aquarium before. It’s called maintenance, and not simply cleaning, because you are not just making it look nice, you are actually removing potential harmful compounds! For some hobbyists, this aquarium maintenance process is an enjoyable, stress-relieving aspect of the hobby. For those who would rather not take on the chore, yet still want to have an aquarium, Diamond Aquatics provides maintenance services to fit the needs of your custom aquarium.

A good filtration system is an important part of aquarium service. Many people purchase inadequate filters for their first aquarium and eventually have to purchase a more advanced filter later. Avoid this expense by researching before you buy. Understanding how aquarium filters actually work will help you make the right purchase the first time and also help you fully appreciate the need to properly maintain an aquarium. There are three main functions to most common filters:

  • Mechanical filtration
  • Chemical filtration
  • Biological filtration

This article explains the mechanical filtration function.

Mechanical filtration usually appears in the form of a piece of foam or polyester floss. The sole function of this medium is to physically “catch” large particles of waste that are pulled into the filter. Rinse or replace the foam or polyester floss regularly, as this will remove a substantial amount of solid waste from the aquarium. Rinsing should generally be done every 2 to 4 weeks but, in some aquariums, may require more frequent attention.

In our next blog post, we’ll discuss chemical filtration.  For more tips and advice, Diamond Aquatics can answer your questions or guide you towards the right aquarium maintenance solution. 

Custom Aquarium Design, Aquarium Maintenance, Aquarium Tips

Aquarium Lighting

Lighting is a very important part of any custom aquarium system. However, each type of aquarium setup has specific lighting requirements. There are 3 common groups of setups to be considered: fish only (freshwater or marine), live-plants (freshwater only), and reef (marine only).

Regardless of the type of setup you have, it is important aquarium maintenance to replace ALL of your light bulbs every 9-12 months. As a bulb is used over long periods of time, its output spectrum deteriorates. After approximately 9-12 months, the remaining spectrum will promote unwanted and excessive algae growth.

Another important lighting fact is the need to have them on an appropriate time cycle. Every aquarium needs to have a “day” and a “night” cycle. Fish do not have eyelids so, in order to rest, they require a period of darkness in the aquarium. This cycle can be manipulated to suit your schedule but it needs to be relatively consistent.

Plants and some corals use light for energy but, make no mistake, corals are NOT plants. Corals are invertebrate animals, some of which have algae living in their outer tissue. This is called a commensal relationship. The coral protects the algae by allowing it to live inside its skin and the algae uses light to produce sugars through photosynthesis. The coral then uses those sugars for energy. Plants and alga perform different functions in light than they do in darkness, and these functions are important to their health.  Therefore it is important to provide plants and corals with an appropriate light cycle.

Most reef and live-plant hobbyists know the inhabitants of their aquariums require light as a source of energy. Most of these hobbyists are also aware that they are recommended to use 2-4 watts per gallon for a live-plant setup and 3-5 watts per gallon for a reef setup. What some of these hobbyists do NOT know is what type of lighting to use or what spectrum will be most beneficial for their specific setup.

In a reef aquarium, a high-intensity bulb, such as a metal halide bulb, will give the best coral growth rates and deepest light penetration to the lower parts of the aquarium (water filters out light intensity very quickly). The downside to these high-intensity bulbs is cost. They are expensive to purchase and draw a tremendous amount of electricity so they are expensive to operate as well. They will also generate excessive amounts of heat and may necessitate the use of a chiller to keep the aquarium at the right temperature. Chillers are also expensive to purchase and operate.

Some alternatives to metal-halide bulbs include a range of florescent bulbs:

  • Very-High-Output (VHO)
  • T5-VHO
  • Power-Compact (PC)

Yet another alternative is the use of LED bulbs although these are expensive to purchase. Most hobbyists choose the fluorescent bulbs since they are the least expensive to purchase and operate yet still yield acceptable results.

For more information on aquarium lighting, contact Diamond Aquatics and we will be happy to answer any questions you have.