Aquarium Tips

Aquarium Tips, Custom Aquarium Design

Great Small Fish for Planted Custom Aquariums

Botias are a family of fish, many of which eat snails, so they can be very helpful in planted aquariums where snail infestations can become overwhelming and difficult to manage.

This particular species is called Ambastaia sidthimunki (also Botia sidthimunki). It has several common aliases including dwarf loach, pygmy loach, and chain loach. They can be found naturally in Thailand and are very peaceful. A. sidthimunki are great snail eaters and only grow to about 2.5 in. (6 cm.) so they are well suited for aquariums under 75 gallons. When keeping A. sidthimunki, be sure to decorate your aquarium with plenty of rocks or wood to create small hiding places to provide security for these small fish. They are a social fish which do well in groups and it is best to keep them with other species that are small and peaceful.

If you would like to know more about this amazing fish, give Diamond Aquatics a call at (973) 356-4434.

Custom Aquarium Design, Aquarium Tips

Finding Fish for Your New Aquarium

There are tons of different types of fish that one is able to acquire for their custom aquarium today. A budding aquarist can do research on Google and be overwhelmed at all the types of aquatic life to keep as pets in a custom fish tank.

We wanted to share some suggestions for fish to support your aquarium hobby….

Black Tetras -These are schooling fish, and should be kept in a group of 4 or more so that one does not dominate and tire out the others. They easily adapt to a new setup, and have big appetites.

 


White Clouds - These fish are good for smaller tanks. They are very peaceful and make a pretty display against a dark background in your tank.

 

Platies - These fish are fascinating and captivating to watch. They are live-bearers, which means they give birth to live offspring instead of laying eggs. They are easily bred in captivity and they come in an assortment of colors.

 

Clown Fish - Remember Finding Nemo? The characters Nemo and Merlin were modeled after either the “Percula” or the "Ocellaris" clown fish. These two species are nearly indistinguishable to the untrained eye. There are many other species of clown fish that look quite different though. In recent years, captive bred/raised specimens have become widely available to hobbyists and are an environmentally friendly choice for your saltwater aquarium.

 

Of course, this is just a short list of fish to consider for your aquarium.  Call Diamond Aquatics today so that we can help you find the best pets for your tank.

Aquarium Tips, Custom Aquarium Design

Glass or Acrylic for Your Custom Aquarium?

Are you trying to decide between a glass or acrylic custom aquarium? We’d like to share some information about both types.

Glass Aquariums

  • If the tank is under 100 gallons, glass can be less expensive than acrylic. Keep in mind that when you exceed this size, the cost will shoot up. This is due to the thickness of glass and possible freight/handling fees.
  • Because glass is a lot heavier than acrylic (7 times heavier!), installation and subsequent moving can be a lot more difficult.
  • Glass can break. A fallen rock inside the tank or a child banging it with something hard could cause some glass to break.
  • Glass has a slight tint to it (a faint green hue), but this color does not yellow like clear acrylic can after time.

Acrylic Aquariums

  • Acrylic is completely clear and has no color, however it is more easily scratched. Aquarium maintenance must be performed very carefully, especially when scrubbing algae.
  • Acrylic is a lot stronger than glass and more flexible. It also has no seams, and is more easily drilled into.
  • Acrylic retains temperature better as an insulator, which can be good for warm water tropical aquaria. However, it could be a problem for more delicate reef life.

Both glass and acrylic are equally capable materials with which to build your custom aquarium. Still undecided? Call Diamond Aquatics at 973-356-4434 and we will be happy to give you a consultation on the right choice for your fish tank!

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 Tips, Custom Aquarium Design, General Information

Don't Pay More than You Have to for Your Custom Aquarium

Some of the most common expenses custom aquarium hobbyists face can be avoided with some simple research before picking out and purchasing an aquarium and its accessories. Establishing your specific needs or wants and then researching the requirements for your ideal aquarium before you make a purchase will help you avoid unforeseen catastrophes and unneeded expenses. Picking the proper aquarium size and choosing the right filter equipment are integral parts of any new hobbyists decision to start an aquarium. Proper aquarium maintenance is also 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.

We have written the perfect guide to help you make the your decisions. Receive our complimentary guide for choosing the right aquarium setup the first time by emailing info@diamondaquatics.com.

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.

Custom Aquarium Design, Aquarium Tips

Ideas About Custom Aquarium Lighting

Sunlight is a big asset to any home or office environment space, so why not use natural daylight to light your custom aquarium? After all, the sun is good enough to support aquatic life in oceans and reefs, right?  Well, your custom fish tank is a very different environment than in the wild, so consider your lighting carefully. Natural daylight can only work if you have an excellent cooling system, and don’t care to view your display at night (which is no fun)! Because chillers for your tank can get expensive, and looking at a tank all lit up in the dark is pretty darn cool, we recommend you always turn to artificial lighting for your custom aquarium.

There are a few types of lighting that you can consider:

  • Fluorescent Light
  • Metal Halide (MH) and Hydrargyrum Quartz Iodide (HQI) Lighting
  • LED Lights

The most commonly used lighting in aquarium design is fluorescent. They are the most cost-effective and release lower levels of heat. But any of the three options could be the right kind for your tank.  Whatever you choose, set your lights on a timer. You can set these up to come on at night, or even mimic phases of the moon … just make sure to keep it consistent on a daily basis.

Lighting is very important for your custom aquarium. Treat it as an investment.  We can help you choose the right kind. Call Diamond Aquatics today to get started!

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 Tips, Custom Aquarium Design

Live Plants in Your Freshwater Aquarium

Since freshwater fish are generally less expensive than marine fish, you might consider spending some of your budget on live plants. Keeping live plants in your freshwater custom aquarium will require proper preparation.

Your aquarium filter is less important if your aquarium has live plants because the plants will do some of the filtering for you. In order for plants to thrive they need three major elements:

  • light,
  • fertilizer, and
  • carbon dioxide (CO2)

The lighting is important because plants need energy from light to create sugars, which they will use to grow. Aquarium light output is measured in degrees Kelvin (ºK). Most bulbs are between 4,500ºK and 20,000ºK. As the Kelvin rating moves from 4,500 to 20,000, the light output changes from a yellow color to a blue color.  At about 10,000ºK appears very white. The lower Kelvin bulbs are ideal for plant growth. It is common for people to use a mixture of 4,500ºK and 6,500ºK to provide the optimum growth spectrum for the plants, as well as a slightly whiter spectrum for a more appealing look.

Another concern is the wattage of the lighting. The wattage translates to energy and the plants will grow more quickly and colorfully if there is more power available. You should have 2-4 watts of light per gallon of aquarium volume for live plants to thrive. To address this issue you will be faced with a decision about the format of the lighting to be used.

Standard fluorescent is the least expensive but is the weakest format. Next are Power Compact (PC), T/5 and Very High Output (VHO) lighting. In my opinion, these three lighting formats will give you roughly the same result and only differ in heat output and mounting format. PC and T/5 lighting seem to be common due to their availability in prefabricated enclosures and the actual bulb sizes. The last option is Metal Halide lighting, which is extremely powerful but also expensive to purchase and operate. They also produce extreme heat and can easily overheat the aquarium. For this reason, Metal Halide lighting is not a popular choice for aquariums with live plants.

Once you have considered the proper lighting for your plants, you must also consider proper fertilization. Although the leaves of a plant take in light and use it to create sugars for energy, the roots also need to draw in nutrients from the gravel and a good fertilized substrate will provide those nutrients. If this issue is considered in the design stages of your aquarium project, you will save yourself considerable time and energy later. Liquid fertilizers can be added to the aquarium on a routine basis but if you setup the aquarium with a fertilized substrate you can avoid having to use several different liquids.

Plants need to breathe as well as animals, but they do it differently than animals do. First, plants breathe opposite compared to animals. Instead of taking in oxygen (O2) and producing CO2, they take in CO2 and produce O2 during the day and then the process reverses at night when there is no light. Second, plants cannot pull air into their bodies, since they do not have lungs. They can only absorb what is touching the physical structure of the plant. This means it is crucial to make sure there is enough dissolved CO2 in the water for your plants.

CO2 can be introduced into an aquarium in a number of ways. One way is to use a liquid supplement, but the most effective way is to use a CO2 regulator system. This type of system consists of a CO2 gas cylinder, a regulator valve, a diffuser to mix the CO2 with the water, and a pH controller to turn the system on or off depending on the pH level of the aquarium. The aquarium pH will lower as the CO2 level increases so it is wise to use a pH controller to monitor and shut off the CO2 system before the pH level gets too low.

Don’t forget about maintenance when it comes to keeping a freshwater aquarium with live plants. If you feel that upkeep of your tank is a daunting task, we provide scheduled aquarium maintenance services appropriate for your setup. Keeping things clean and fresh is essential to the health of your aquarium and the animals within it.

Aquarium Tips, Aquarium Filtration

Choosing a Custom Aquarium Filter: Wet/Dry Filters

In our last post, we discussed Canister filters.

As mentioned, three custom aquarium filters to select from when choosing your setup are:

  • Hang-on-Back filters (low-end),
  • Canister filters (mid-range), and
  • Wet/Dry filters (high-end).

When used properly, each one can keep the fish in your aquarium setup healthy, and reduce the work for aquarium maintenance.  

We have one type of filter to review, and that is a Wet/Dry filter.

A wet/dry filter is, by far, the best filter you can put on any aquarium that does not have live plants or coral in it. Wet/Dry filters usually consist of an acrylic box that sits beneath the aquarium. Water is drained from the aquarium and directed to the filter via an overflow box. Overflow boxes can be hung on the back of the aquarium or you can purchase an aquarium with an overflow box built into it already. These are called “reef-ready” aquariums.

The hang-on models are great if you have an existing aquarium that you are adding a wet/dry filter to, but they need to be monitored regularly. A hang-on overflow box works by siphoning water from a box inside the aquarium to another box outside the aquarium and then the water drains down to the filter. If power goes out, the siphon can stop working and will not start itself again once the power is restored. This means that, if/when power is restored, the filter pump will start pumping water from the filter to the aquarium but the drain will not work to drain the water back down to the filter. If this happens, your aquarium will spill over onto the floor until you turn the pump off, restart the siphon, or all of the water is pumped out of the filter.  The built-in overflow boxes are the safest because they will eliminate the possibility of flooding due to power outages but reef-ready aquariums are not available in smaller sizes and are more expensive than their basic counterparts.

Once the water reaches the wet/dry filter it is directed over a “drip-plate”. The drip-plate is a flat plate with many small holes in it designed to change the water flow from one large stream into many smaller streams (like a shower head) and displaces them over a larger area. The drip-plate is usually covered with a mechanical filter pad to trap large particles of waste, keeping them from moving into the rest of the filter. This pad should be changed periodically to ensure proper flow through the filter.

Under the drip-plate is a compartment that holds bio-balls. The drip-plate spreads the flow of water out so that it falls over and through all of the bio-balls evenly. This compartment is where a majority of the filtration occurs. As discussed earlier, the bio-balls are capable of holding a very large amount of beneficial bacteria because of the way each ball is constructed. In a wet/dry filter, the bio-balls are suspended above the water in the filter so they are constantly exposed to air. This means the bacteria will have the maximum amount of oxygen available to them and will allow them to thrive and work more efficiently.

Another benefit of suspending the bio-balls above the water is aeration of the aquarium water. Once the water is broken up by the drip-plate, it passes through the bio-balls as small droplets and hits a network of spikes on the balls as it passes through them. Each time a droplet hits another spike it is broken up and then rejoined with other droplets. This process forces oxygen into the water, which is then collected in a reservoir under the bio-balls and pumped back to the aquarium. It is this capability that makes the wet/dry filter the best choice for your freshwater or marine, fish-only aquarium.

There are, however, a few negatives about wet/dry filters. For starters, they are more expensive than most canister filters. Another issue is size. Most are bulky and only fit in cabinets made for larger aquariums. Wet/Dry filters generally do not have a convenient means of using chemical filter medias either. This problem can usually be overcome with some minor customization by the user or with the addition of a small canister filter.

If you have a freshwater aquarium with live plants, a wet/dry filter will over-produce oxygen and push out the CO2 necessary for your plants to thrive. In a reef aquarium, the bio-balls will over-produce nitrates and can cause harm to your corals and other invertebrate animals. Finally, wet/dry filters do not come with a pump to move the water from the filter to the aquarium. This is because most wet/dry filters can be used on a range of aquarium sizes but a pump is more specific and should be selected based on the aquarium size. When purchasing a wet/dry filter, you must keep in mind that the pump will be an additional cost to your filter purchase.

Once the filter type has been determined, you can turn your attention to other accessories you required types of aquaria you may set up.

Have questions? Contact the aquariums experts at Diamond Aquatics and we will be happy to help. 

Aquarium Tips, Aquarium Filtration

Choosing a Custom Aquarium Filter: Canister Filters

There are three commonly used custom aquarium filters to select from when choosing your setup:

  • Hang-on-Back (HOB) filters are the low-end filter,
  • Canister filters are the mid-range filter, and
  • Wet/Dry filters are the high-end filters.

Each has pros and cons, however, when used properly, can keep the fish in your aquarium setup happy and healthy for a lifetime, and reduce the work for aquarium maintenance.  In this post, we are going to explain Canister filters.

Canister filters are the next step up in the world of aquarium filtration. These filters are a bit more expensive than the HOB filters but have much more capacity and flexibility. Canister filters are canisters that sit below the aquarium and have an intake hose and an exhaust hose which carry the water to and from the aquarium. These hoses present a major advantage over HOB filters because they allow you to spread the intake and exhaust ports across the aquarium from each other, providing the maximum amount of water circulation possible. The filters are also compartmentalized to separate each of the three filter components.

Most canister filters are designed to accept all types of filter media, making them totally customizable. In other words, the user has the freedom to put any media into the filter. This can be helpful when battling different water quality issues such as phosphate or nitrate buildup. Canister filters are generally very user friendly and media changes/filter cleanings are rather simple to perform.

The downside to canisters is they are designed as sealed systems. In a sealed system, the media itself cannot aid in the aeration process because the media is completely submerged and no air can get to it. The filter exhaust must be placed above the water surface in order to aerate the aquarium. This makes canister filters a poor choice for marine aquariums unless they are grossly oversized for the application. Having the exhaust above the water surface in a marine aquarium will create a tiny bit of splashing, and this splashing will result in “salt-creep”. Salt-creep is when salt crystals build on areas where salt-water has splashed and then evaporated. This is messy and can be very damaging as salt is extremely destructive to things like wood and metal (typical materials used in aquarium furniture). Marine aquariums also require a tremendous amount of aeration so a wet/dry filter is more appropriate for marine applications.

Have questions? Contact the aquariums experts at Diamond Aquatics and we will be happy to help.  

Aquarium Filtration, Aquarium Tips

Choosing a Custom Aquarium Filter: Hang-on-Back Filters

There are three commonly used custom aquarium filters to select from when choosing your setup:

  • Hang-on-Back (HOB) filters are the low-end,
  • Canister filters are the mid-range filter, and
  • Wet/Dry filters are the high-end filters.

Each has pros and cons, however, when used properly, can keep the fish in your aquarium setup happy and healthy for a lifetime.  In this post, we are going to explain Hang-on-Back (HOB) filters.

HOB filters are compact, inexpensive and, yes, you guessed it, hang on the back of your aquarium. These are intended primarily for freshwater use and should only be used in marine applications by the experienced hobbyist. They usually consist of simple, removable cartridges, which should contain three filter elements. Some still use a single all-in-one cartridge you replace each month. The advantage to the hang-on-back filter is ease of use. All you have to do is change one element every month in order to refresh your carbon filter. The downside, is you will be throwing away a large portion of the aquarium’s good bacteria with each cartridge and your aquarium will go through a short unstable period while the bacteria re-grow.

Most HOB manufacturers have thought of this, and now include a second cartridge just for the bacteria to grow on. This cartridge gets left alone or only rinsed every month while the other cartridge still gets replaced. Some have gone one step further and include three separate cartridges for mechanical filtration, chemical filtration, and biological filtration. The benefit is the ability to properly maintain a bacteria culture in the filter. The down side is there are now three filter-elements to be maintained. They are still very simple to use as they are intended for beginner aquarists. HOB filters, due to their compact construction, only circulate the small portion of the aquarium water directly in front of the filter. For smaller aquariums ,this is a negligible problem but for larger, longer aquariums an alternative, or multiple HOBs, should be used.

Have questions? Contact the aquariums experts at Diamond Aquatics and we will be happy to help.

Custom Aquarium Design, Aquarium Tips

Small Space Aquariums

In our last post, we talked about some of the things to consider when choosing a large aquarium. If you are working with limited space and must choose a smaller custom aquarium, then you should only purchase fish that will stay small enough to live in the aquarium for their entire life. When purchasing fish, do not assume they will stay the same size as you see them in the store. A majority of what you will find in retail stores are juvenile fish, and are only a fraction of their adult size.

A great example is a very common freshwater fish called the “iridescent shark”. First of all, the iridescent shark is not a shark at all. It is a type of catfish. Second, the name does not refer to just one species of fish. It refers to a number of species in the Pangasius genus that look very similar as juveniles. Most of the iridescent shark species grow to be over 3 feet long. One even reaches 10 feet in the wild! As you can see, the cute, “3-inch-miniature-shark-looking” fish that you thought would be really cool to have in your 10-gallon aquarium may possibly grow to a “not-so-cute-anymore-what-the-heck-am-I-going-to-do-with-this” fish.

As mentioned always, it is always best to educate yourself BEFORE you purchase equipment and/or animals. Research the animals you like and find out how big they can grow, how much space they require, how aggressive they are and what foods they eat. This will ensure a proper selection of animals for your tank and will help you avoid problems down the line.

Aquarium Tips, Custom Aquarium Design

Large Aquarium Considerations

You hear the phrase "Go Big or Go Home" a lot lately.  If you are thinking about a large-scale custom aquarium at your home or business, make sure to consider all the steps involved for setup and aquarium maintenance. Taking additional time to plan -- prior to buying and setting up your large tanks -- is worth it and will save you both money and frustration later.

If you do choose a large aquarium (over 90 gallons), make sure the floor area you are placing it on is properly supported. Remember, freshwater weighs approximately 8 lbs/gallon and salt water weighs approximately 8.5 lbs/gallon. In most new construction buildings (post-1960), this issue does not arise. In older buildings, placing the aquarium along a structurally supported wall usually ensures proper aquarium support. If you are unsure of the structural capacity of the flooring, do not assume it will work. Consult an engineer for a professional opinion.

There are many more things to take into consideration, such as tank or stand construction, power access, heating & cooling, overflows & leveling, and safety.  The professional aquarium experts at Diamond Aquatics can help recommend the best solution for you, as well as calculate the costs associated with it. Contact us today at 973-356-4434 or info@diamondaquatics.com.

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.

Aquarium Tips

Do Not Buy Your Aquarium Accessories Twice

Some of the most common expenses custom aquarium hobbyists face can be avoided with some simple research before picking out and purchasing an aquarium and its accessories. Establishing your specific needs or wants and then researching the requirements for your ideal aquarium BEFORE you make a purchase will help you avoid unforeseen catastrophes and unneeded expenses.

Picking the proper aquarium size and choosing the right filter equipment are integral parts of any new hobbyist’s decision to start an aquarium.

Proper aquarium maintenance is also 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.

Contact Diamond Aquatics at info@diamondaquatics.com for free copy of our full report containing money-saving tips for setting up your first aquarium.