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Tropical Fish Equipment- David Rope

Filter
The filter is a very important part of fish keeping as it alone holds the bulk of bacteria essential to keeping a healthy aquarium. The size of the filter depends upon 3 key factors, the size of the tank, the fish stocking level and weather it will be planted or not. A rough guide would be a turn over rate of 4-5times per hour for a non-planted tank i.e. the whole water in the tank will have passed through the filter 4-5 times in 1 hour. For a planted tank 2-3 times an hour will be sufficient. Most, if not all filters, will state the size aquaria they accommodate for on the packaging, in my opinion it is always better to be slightly over filtered then under filtered. There are quite a few different filters on the market, you can get internal (which goes inside the tank), external (which goes on the outside of the tank), under gravel filter (which of course goes under the gravel), box filters (which are powered by air, mainly used on smaller tanks) Which one you go for is really up to you.



Heater
The heater is probably the most important part of a tropical tank. For the majority of tropical fish, 24-26C (75-79F) is a good average range, although of course every fish has a preferred temperature so you should find out this before hand on the forum. As a very rough guide, I would say 3-4 watts per gallon is sufficient, but again each heater will state the size aquaria it accommodate for. For the larger aquaria, it is often best to have two smaller heaters for a couple of reasons, one because should one break, u still have one to keep your tank going until u can replace it, and two should you have 1 big heater, and the thermostat got stuck on, it would raise the temp of the tank far more and in less time than a smaller one would. All heaters now have a built in thermostat which turns the heater on and off when needed to keep the tank at a stable temperature, the heater should never be un-plugged.

Lighting
The lighting in a aquarium serves two purposes, one for aquatic plants to photosynthesise and two for aesthetic reasons, of course u want to see and admire your fishes. The amount of lighting for a planted aquarium would be anything from 2 watts per gallon up to 4 or 5 depending on the type of plants u have. If you do not have plants then it is just personal preference to the amount of lighting you have in the tank.

Hood
The hood or lid of the tank is mainly just to hold the lighting unit, but it also stops dust and other nasties from settling on the water surface. The hood also stops water evaporation in a tropical tank, but it is recommended you use a condensation try underneath the hood to keep any water vapour away from the light.

Gravel
The gravel is mainly for aesthetic purposes, but it also is vital if you are keeping live plants as they need a substrate of some sort to anchor them selves down with. If you have a planted tank, then 2-3inches of gravel is advised, but if u have an unplanted tank, then u may use - 2inches of gravel. The gravel also holds some of the bacteria in the tank, and if the tank has an under gravel filter, then the gravel will contain nearly all of the bacteria in the tank.

Gravel Vac
This is a very useful contraption, it is basically just a pipe with a wider opening at one end. It siphons off the water from the tank and also sucks all of the fish waste from the gravel, it is a must have for all fish keepers and a valuable part of maintaining a clean tank.

Algae Magnet
This is a very useful piece of equipment, it is basically just a magnet with a scrubbing pad attached, one side (with the scrubbing pad) goes inside the tank, and the other goes on the outside, it clamps together via the magnetism and then you just move the half on the out side and the half on the inside follows it which scrapes any algae that has formed on the glass.

Co2 Diffusers
These are only used on a planted tank. The Co2 produced is a vital ingredient which all plants need to grow well. These kits can be very expensive, but there are a few cheaper versions on the market which people have given good reviews on once again check the forum this time in the planted tank section: Planted Tank Section.





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