Aquarium Preservation

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.

Custom Aquarium Design, Aquarium Tips, Aquarium Preservation

How to Keep Your Custom Aquarium Cool

No matter what part of the country you live in, you’ve probably been feeling those high summer temps lately.  As a human, you are able to hop into the pool, ocean, or lake and then scoot into an air conditioned space to keep cool. But how can your pets cope, especially your aquatic ones?

When hot weather strikes, it can be problematic to keep the water comfortable for the fish in your custom aquarium. A rise in water temperature requires more oxygen for the fish, since their own metabolism also rises. This can directly affect the overall health of your fish.  How can it be remedied?

We recommend installing a chiller on your aquarium; usually a must-have for reef aquariums. A chiller will lower temperature by removing heat from the water, as opposed to creating cold. You set the temperature and can control it with a thermostat.

There are two chiller styles to consider: in-line or drop-in. An in-line chiller uses internal heat exchange, relying on water pumps to transport water to the heat exchange and carry it back to the main system already cooled. A drop-in chiller has an external heat exchange. A probe is put into the sump area of the filter and contacts the aquarium water, with a return pump which ensures temp control.

Which chiller is right for you? Give Diamond Aquatics a call at 973-356-4434 and we’d be happy to help you figure it out. Remember, just because your fish are already swimming around in the water, doesn’t mean that they don’t need to keep cool too!

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, 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 Preservation

"My Fish are Too Big! What Should I Do?"

In many aquarists' lives there comes a time when they have to get rid of an animal that has outgrown its custom aquarium or has become too aggressive for its tank-mates. Most often the animal is a fish, but it is not uncommon to hear of people who need to get rid of a plant or algae as well.

It is important to understand that the plants and animals in your aquarium probably did not come from the ecosystem you live in or near. If released or discarded in your local lakes, rivers or oceans, a foreign plant or animal species can become extremely destructive. Aquarium plants can compete with and overgrow indigenous plants and eliminate the indigenous population, which may have been a staple food source for a local animal. This can also lead to a change in water chemistry, which may affect fish or other animals that live in that body of water. Foreign plants can also completely clog bodies of water and eliminate habitats for animals to live in.

Introducing a non-native fish to a body of water can be devastating as well. If it is a predatory species, it may be large enough to eat an indigenous fish that may have previously been at the top of the food chain in that particular habitat. It also may be too large to be eaten by any other indigenous predators. With no natural predators in its new home, the foreign fish may eat most or all of the native species.

If you need to remove a living organism from your aquarium, please do so responsibly. Try contacting your local fish store. They may be interested in taking in unwanted plants and animals. If they cannot, try posting your plant or animal on public forums, such as aquarium related forums or Craigslist. If you need further advice or assistance with this type of aquarium service, feel free to call Diamond Aquatics.

Aquarium Preservation

The Importance of Proper Aquarium Acclimation

Many aquarium hobbyists are unaware of how their aquatic pets get to their favorite retail stores. Aquatic animals have to endure a tremendous amount of stress before they reach your custom aquarium and, because of this, must be introduced to your aquarium very carefully in order to ensure survival.

It obviously begins when the fish is caught; but there are a few stops the animals must make before they get to your local fish store (LFS). The catching process, although done as professionally as possible, will cause stress on an animal because it is being removed from its natural environment and probably assumes it is going to be eaten. I’m sure this thought would upset even the toughest of animals. It is then bagged and brought to a collection station. A collection station is a facility owned and operated by a company that exports aquatic animals from where they are collected to places all over the world. At this point the animals may be acclimated into a holding system, which will keep them alive until they are sold.

Next, a wholesale operation will purchase the animals from the collection station. Once a wholesaler has placed an order, the collection station will place all of the animals to be shipped in bags with water and oxygen. These bags will then be placed in a styrof.oam box with ice or heat packs (depending on the weather) and brought to the airport for shipping. The cargo flight is usually a long one since the fish are usually moving from one continent to another. This means the animals can be in bags for over 12 hours before they reach their destination.

While in the bags, the water is unfiltered and becomes low in oxygen and high in ammonia. Once the wholesaler has received the animals, they must be acclimated into another holding system. A wholesaler’s job is then to sell the animals to retail stores, such as your favorite LFS. For marine animals, the majority of which enter the U.S. through California, this may involve another 12-hour flight to reach the east coast of the U.S. Finally, the LFS will acclimate the animals into their display takes for sale to the general public.

To summarize the process, an animal is:

1. collected – Stressful!

2. bagged – Stressful!

3. acclimated to a holding system

4. bagged and shipped to a wholesaler (which may take 12 hours or more) – Stressful!

5. acclimated to another holding system

6. bagged (AGAIN) and shipped to a retail sore (which, also, may take over 12 hours) – Stressful!

7. acclimated (AGAIN!!) to the retail sales tanks

8. and, finally bagged one last time to be brought home by a hobbyist – Stressful!

Hopefully, this information will encourage the hobbyists to take the time to properly acclimate the animal slowly and gently into their aquarium. If you have any questions regarding proper aquarium acclimation procedures, please contact Diamond Aquatics at 973-356-4434 or info@diamondaquatics.com. We will be happy to show you how to ensure your animal has the best chance of survival in its new home and can provide an affordable aquarium maintenance package to ensure your tank is always healthy.