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aquarium maintenance tips

Healthy Aquarium Water

The joy of seeing live creatures swimming around inside your house is incomparable to none other. Owning an aquarium is one of the easiest ways to own a pet, but one should have adequate information and knowledge regarding fishes and their living conditions in order to nurture them well.Check out these daily and weekly maintenance tips to keeping a good aquarium.

Your aquarium’s environment

An aquarium is a delicately balanced ecosystem that relies on “good” bacteria to keep fish healthy. When everything is working right, helpful bacteria grow in the aquarium’s gravel and filter. There, they help break down the ammonia and nitrite found in fish waste—which, if left unchecked, would be toxic to your fish.

When you first set up your aquarium, you’ll need to encourage the growth of these beneficial bacteria. The process, called cycling, can take 4 to 6 weeks. Using bacteria starters can reduce the cycling time to 1 to 3 weeks. Here’s how to start:

1. Set up and fill the aquarium with water. Do not add fish. Run the aquarium filter for at least 24 hours.
2. Introduce a small number of danios, gouramis or livebearers—hardy fish that aren’t as sensitive to ammonia or nitrites. (The number of fish will depend on the size of the aquarium; ask a PetSmart associate for advice.)
3. Use a cycling-aid product to seed the aquarium with healthy bacteria.
4. Feed your starter fish carefully, according to package directions.
5. After a few days, use a testing kit to determine the levels of ammonia, nitrites and pH in the aquarium water (PetSmart offers free water testing. Just bring in a sample and we’ll test it for you in minutes.) If levels of any of these chemicals are out of balance, remove some of the water from the aquarium and replace it with clean water.
6. Over time, the beneficial bacteria should kick in and balance the chemistry in the aquarium. Once the water is ready, you can slowly introduce new fish.

Read more: http://www.petsmart.com/learning-center/fish-care/healthy-aquarium-water/A0083.html