By CARLA MADER
Fish aquariums are seen in many settings today, other than in the home or schools. You can find them anywhere from doctor’s offices to restaurants and even in hospital emergency rooms.
Many people report feelings of serenity and relaxation, while observing fish in an aquarium. Stephanie Enedy, owner of Oddball Pets and Aquariums says, “We’ve had cancer patients come in to purchase an aquarium, at their doctor’s recommendation to reduce stress and aid in healing”.
Aquariums also provide an educational experience as well, by creating and maintaining a living ecosystem, for the aquarium enthusiast. It is fascinating and enjoyable to set up a home for your fish or plants. Deciding on species, substrate, decorations and ornaments is exciting if you are the creative type!
There are many things to consider when thinking about setting up an aquarium for your home or office. In researching the perfect aquarium set up, it is important to realize that you may lose fish in the learning process. Changes in your local water supply can be lethal to your fish. While municipalities may add additional amounts of Chlorine and Chloramines to our water to protect us they are also endangering our fishy friends. Power outages, faulty heaters and filters can also cause problems. You need to be mindful of the potential for failure. Inspection of your tank is crucial. It’s easiest to do in the morning and evening when turning lights on and off and at feeding times. Checking water flow from filters, temperature and occasionally checking water chemistry are all keys to success.
Cost, space, time and maintenance are more of the considerations. Once you’ve established a budget, then you can decide on where to place your aquarium and have adequate space to clean and store items. The most popular set-ups are freshwater tropical community tanks and tropical salt water tanks.
Planted aquariums displays are another great option as well, where the potential to create amazing aquascapes is unlimited. The Pittsburgh Planted Aquarium Society (PAPAS) meets monthly at Oddball Pets and Aquariums to discuss and share in the hobby. Enthusiasts benefit from their hobby by the tremendous reward of the achievement of keeping a living planted aquarium.
Learning about your fish’s native environment can be fun and educational. A biotope tank is a slice of an ecosystem from an actual geographical location. For example, a Discus Fish biotope has the species-specific fish from the Rio Negro River in Brazil. The water conditions from that area are duplicated as well as the other flora and fauna.
This is a biotope Discus Fish display aquarium. Maintenance on a biotope like this consists of water changes every two weeks, along with a thorough cleaning of substrate, ornaments, glass surfaces and filters. These Discus are members of the Cichlid family and were captive-bred and therefore, can tolerate normal PH of 7.0, even though their native waters PH can vary in acidity from 5.0-6.0.
Freshwater community aquariums can be very diverse with compatible species. The community aquarium is great because you can have smaller set ups and still be able to accommodate many fish. There are many small species such as, Tetra, Rasbora, Danio as well as many Live-Bearers. It is a small step up from owning a single Beta fish in a bowl, which usually does not require a filter or air pump. A small community Aquarium is ideal for a child’s room or office, with little maintenance required.
Saltwater and reef aquariums are another adventure. Salinity, filtration, controlling bacteria are among a few of the considerations. Fish are generally more expensive and maintenance is somewhat more involved. Special filtration systems, such as a under tank sump filter or refugium, can greatly assist in keeping the water clean. Also, specialized UV sterilizers and skimmers can help keep the water clean and safe for livestock.
Live rock and corals require the correct balance of minerals and nutrients. They add color, diversity and contribute to the ecosystem by providing shelter and food for your fish. Once your aquarium is set up with proper equipment, it can be maintained fairly easily. The beauty and diversity of the coral shown here make for a spectacular display.
Viewing, feeding and maintaining your aquatic pets is very rewarding, calming and beneficial to us, their caregivers. Despite all of the careful considerations, the enjoyment of viewing your aquarium after all the hard work is better than HD or 3D TV any day!
The fish experts at Oddball Pets & Aquariums can help you find the perfect aquarium set-up within your budget.