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Dries | Tropical Fish Tanks

Should I have a mirror, paint, or “decal” back to my aquarium?

April 14, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Fish Tank Decorating

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tropical aquarium Should I have a mirror, paint, or decal back to my aquarium?Most tropical fishes are quite thin, and their colors are so delicate that they appear at their prettiest against a background that permits light to enter only from the front and top of the tank. Even when the aquarium is against a wall, light reflection will bounce in. Either a mirror or an aquarium “decal” will provide a decorative background and prevent light from entering the rear. Crystal paint may also be used.

Crystal paint is so called because it tends to crystallize and form patterns as it dries; it is the least expensive background. For best results, the aquarium should be painted while it is empty so that the surface to be covered can be placed horizontally flat. Pour the paint on the back and spread it out with a small brush, pad of absorbent cotton, or even a piece of cardboard used as a sweep. Do not stroke it thin. Only one coat can be applied. The material is fast-drying and usually becomes tacky in an hour or two. However, do not try to rush drying by putting it in the sun or near a fan. Too rapid drying prevents crystallization and the formation of a pattern.

If you want to remove the paint, soak several pieces of newspaper with water and stick them to the paint. After soaking five to ten minutes, the paint can easily be scraped off. Crystal paint is available in a variety of colors. A medium shade of green is by far the most popular. New spray cans of crystal paint enable you to apply this beautiful design to a tank already set up.

“Decals” or transfers are available in a diversity of patterns, many of them quite attractive. Mirrors, cut to size and taped against the back of the tank, are very attractive. They give an illusion of greater size. It is impractical to have an aquarium made with a mirror back, also there is no particular visual advantage in this, and it is more expensive. Moreover, when the mirror tarnishes (it inevitably will), there is no way of replacing it.

For a tank located in a sunny window, a light background is best. A tank with a light background will remain 10° to 15° cooler than one with a dark background. A sunshade placed a few inches behind the aquarium is more effective in deflecting the heat than one that is right up against the tank.

Aquarium Algae

April 14, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Fish Tank Cleaning

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tropical aquarium Aquarium AlgaeSome algae are small single cells and form scum on rocks; others, such as various seaweeds, are very large.

The spores of many of them are extremely hardy, can resist drying and freezing, and may be air-borne. A completely sterile aquarium, unless it is sealed shut, can develop the algal growth from spores deposited in it through the air. A pond that dries up every year develops algae when the rains refill it and the sun warms and lights it.

The most common form found in the aquarium is the fuzzy algae that forms on the glass under the reflector, or wherever light strikes the tank. More objectionable are the slime algae that form slick sheets on the glass, rocks, and plants. Most dangerous are the bright blue-green algae that may be poisonous.

Not so serious, but quite annoying, are the thread algae which blanket the bottom and rocks. Then there is “green water,” which is simply an uncontrolled growth of free- floating algae. In extreme cases this can become so thick that aquarium inhabitants only an inch away from the glass are invisible.

Many aquarists cultivate aquaria of “green water,” believing that it has great therapeutic value. Many cures are attributed to the simple art of placing a fish in a tank of “green water” for several weeks. Nevertheless, “green water” of all Algae is potentially the most dangerous to fishes.

During the warmer months the oxygen content of the aquarium is at its lowest. Should the algae causing the “green water” be deprived of light, even for only a few hours, they start a chain reaction in which the algae use up all the available oxygen in respiration. Deprived of oxygen, the algae start to die. Normally, the lower areas are first affected, as they are farthest from the surface where oxygen enters. Being dead, the tiny plants decompose rapidly in the warm water. Decomposition also uses up oxygen and gives off carbon dioxide. This hastens the process, and a tank of “green water” can thus become an odorous mass of rotting algae within a few hours.