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How to get nitrates down in an aquarium

Nitrates are the bane of many an established fishkeeper. But there are some quick and easy fixes. What is it?Nitrate is part of the Nitrogen cycle and is formed when ammonia is converted by bacteria. Nitrosomonas bacteria convert ammonia into nitrite, before Nitrospira convert nitrite (NO2) to nitrate (NO3). Nitrite and nitrate sound very similar and are often confused, but nitrite i...

How to clean aquarium sand

Aquariums are great when they’re clean, but they need frequent maintenance to keep them that way. Here’s how to clean the sand.Sand or gravel is often the first decoration you’ll place into your aquarium. Fish occur naturally over sand, gravel, silt, stones and rocks, and many species are adapted to sift sand to find food. It gets dirty quickly though.Sand siftersAdd sand si...

How to lower pH in your aquarium

What is pH?pH is a figure of measurement for acidity and alkalinity. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 0 being very acidic, 7 being neutral, and 14 being very alkaline. Vinegar is a well known acid with a pH of 3, and bleach a well known alkali with a pH of 12. Most tropical fish live in waters with a pH between 6 and 8, although there are some notable exceptions. Chocolate gour...

Why is my fish tank water cloudy?

Cloudy water affects so many aquariums. Here are some of the things that cause it.New gravelThe most common cause of cloudy water in new fish tanks is the gravel. When aquarium gravel and sand is brand new it will contain some dust. All new gravel and sand should be washed vigorously in a bucket, with tap water, until the water runs clear. If gravel isn’t prewashed before being ad...

10 Essential pond tasks to do this winter

1. Lower the water levelIt rains much more in autumn and winter, but with cooler temperatures your pond will evaporate less. You’ll perform fewer filter cleans, and water changes too. The result is that your pond can overfill with all that rainwater, and overflow.If you have a backwash facility on your filter, use that to pump some of the water out of the pond. At this time of year pum...

Why you absolutely have to test your water

An aquarium or pond is a thing of beauty, and fish, plants and corals, a miracle of nature. But without testing the water that our aquatic creatures live in, it can all go horribly wrong…The basicsAll fish produce invisible waste products that they release into water, 24 hours per day. The key one that we test for is ammonia, emitted by fish via their gills, and when they go to the ...

Why two nets are better than one

Catching fish can be really tricky. Here’s a few pointersEvery pond and aquarium owner should have a net, as you never know when you might need to catch your fish. If fish are sick or injured, and need to be moved to a hospital tank, you’ll need a net. If fish are fighting and you need to separate them, you’ll need a net. If you’re moving fish, stripping down a tank, or even ...

Placing your aquarium

Correct placement is critical to getting a tank right from the start. Here’s a few pointers on aquarium placement.The right roomA correctly set-up aquarium is a thing of beauty, and should go pride of place in your living room. Place it away from the television, so that it doesn’t compete or distract you, but in a place where you can sit comfortably in your favourite chair, and ob...

Everything you need to keep tropical fish

Starting from scratch with tropical fish? Here’s our guide to everything you need to get started, and why you need it.TankThe tank itself is of course, essential, but they come in many shapes and sizes, and cater for all tastes.As tempting as it is to go for a whacky shape, a standard rectangle is best for the following reasons:It has a large surface area in relation to it...

Pond surface skimmers explained

Surface skimmers are a very worthwhile addition to any pond filtration system. Whereas a typical pond pump only removes debris that sinks down to the bottom, a surface skimmer will remove any surface debris that won’t sink, aiding water quality, and improving viewing.Surface skimmed water is healthier because any oils or residues are removed, meaning better gaseous exchange. Pollen, petals,...

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