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Freshwater Aquarium Basics

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The first advice I want to give everybody who is interested and thinking about getting an aquarium is to get plenty of knowledge first! Up to date knowledge can be obtained from modern aquarium literature, E-mail lists, forums, Internet pages, instruction videos, and above all, directly from other aquarists. One of the best ways of getting knowledge is to join a local aquarium society. From the members of the aquarium society you get help and advice about what you need to get a good start with your aquarium hobby.

The reason why knowledge is so important is that too many beginners go and buy the wrong things, do things the wrong way, and therefore fail completely. The fishes and plants die, the glass walls get coated with ugly algae and the aquarium stinks like a sewer. After that the beginner loses all interest and never wants to take care of an aquarium again.

Some simple advice that could have made the beginner's catastrophy into a success is for example to begin with an aquarium that is large enough. A small aquarium is more difficult to maintain than a larger one. A good size to begin with is an aquarium of about 30 to 40 US gallons (110 to 150 litres). After buying the aquarium and all the neccessary equipment you should let the aquarium "cycle" with water and some hardy plants and maybe some algae eating fishes. The rest of the fishes should not be bought and added to the tank until after a few weeks! It is important to let the aquarium develop a healthy environment before the fishes are added.

It is very important not to overpopulate the aquarium, otherwise it will become an unhealthy environment and the good bacteria can't cope with breaking down waste matter from the fishes. You are not supposed to overfeed either. Another beginners' error is to shut down the aquarium pumps during the night, do NOT do that, the pumps should be running both night and day. It is vital to take things calm and don't be rash if you want the aquarium to work both on a short and a long term basis.



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