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Do It Yourself (DIY) Driftwood For Your Aquarium

Do It Yourself (DIY) driftwood takes time, but it will save you tons of money. Some small pieces cost well over $20. Also, the soak method (minus salt) will work for store bought driftwood. Store bought driftwood is cleaned and has not been soaked. This may lead to tannin's being leaked into your tank

What you'll need:
Driftwood, which can be found anywhere. It doesn't necessarily have to come from the water. You could find it in the woods, as long as it is weathered down and looks unique. Also make sure the wood is not rotting.

BIG soaking container, I use a 15 gal rubber maid container.

Aquarium Salt, I use Doc Wellfish brand. This is used as a natural way of killing bacteria and parasites.

First step, clean off your wood! Make sure all debris and bark are removed from the wood (or it'll fall off in your tank!). Once complete, boil the water in the BIG pot and add aquarium salt. I use about a tablespoon per gallon. Boil the entire piece for about 2-4 hours depending on your size. If you can only fit half the wood in the pot then you will need to boil the other half.

Once the boil is complete you can transfer your wood into the rubber maid container. Add water until the whole piece of wood is under water (you can also add salt if you want). If the wood does not sink place something on top of it until it does. It'll sink after a week or two. You'll notice the water turn into tea-ish color. It is the result of the tannins that are released into the water. If you didn't soak the wood, the water in your tank would be this color. Tannins are natural and some fishes actually like it because it'll make them feel more at home. It'll also affect your PH, I'm not sure about GH or KH. You'll need to do water changes every other day to clean the water. This may take weeks or months.

When the color of the soak water suffices, you will need to soak your wood for another week without any salt. This will make sure that the wood does not hold any salt that may leak into your tank.

Once soaking is complete wash the wood well and transfers the wood into your tank. Do not keep the wood out of water for a long time or it will float.


Aquarium And Fish Care Choices

Members of the family Characidae share many characteristics with other freshwater fish. They are a member of the Ostariophysi super order, which includes around 68% of all freshwater species in the world. This super order is characterized by the Weberian apparatus and some sort of alarm substance that is released when the fish is stressed. Family Characidae were originally discovered in South and Central America, but have also been found in central Africa. There are two main variations of Characidae: carnivorous and omnivorous. The omnivorous kinds will eat both vegetable matter and meat, while the carnivorous only eat meats. While there are also herbivorous Characidae, you should probably avoid keeping them, because they will eat literally every plant in your aquarium.

When choosing to keep carnivorous Characidae, there are some things you will want to keep in mind. First and foremost, be aware that anything smaller than the Characidae will be considered food. And mixing other aggressive carnivores will only lead to one or the other being eaten. You will want to keep herbivorous fish that are much larger with Characidae. They will generally leave anything bigger than themselves alone, and the herbivore will not be interested in attacking unless provoked. In contrast to the piranha, which has similar jaws and eating habits, a Characidae will attack both alone and in schools. Piranhas tend to attack only in schools. But the effect either type can have on your hand is similar, so be careful. These kinds of fish are definitely not recommended for the beginner.

Carnivorous Characidae will eat pretty much any kind of meat. Worms, smaller fish (a lot of dangerous fish keepers will stock the aquarium with several small, cheap fish so the predator has something to hunt), etc. Try to avoid giving them a taste for red meat, and do not put your hands into the tank while feeding them.

Characidae live in the brackish waters of South and Central American rivers. Lots of peat and vegetable matter contribute to hazy waters and a PH leaning towards acidic. When properly kept, Characidae will breed in captivity, leaving eggs that stick to the bottom of the aquarium. They will eat their young however, so if you are going to attempt to breed Characidae be prepared to move either the adults or the young into a separate aquarium right after hatching.

Serrasalmus Rhombeus, also know as white piranha or spotted piranha, are another favorite of people who like to keep dangerous fish. Like Characidae, piranhas are from South America, in the Amazon Basin. They can grow up to 10 inches long in the wild, but most aquarium-raised piranha only grows to around 6 inches. As with Characidae, piranhas are not for the beginner. As one of the most aggressive fishes, they cannot be kept with other fish. Their most prominent feature is the over-sized jaw, with rows of needle-sharp teeth. Piranhas have been known to tear apart aquariums with those teeth. When netting a piranha, you must use extreme caution to keep your hands away from the fish at all times. They will attack and shred your hand without hesitation if you let them. In the wild, a school of piranha can reduce an entire cow to bones in a matter of seconds, so your hand is just a little snack for them.

Piranhas eat meat, of course. They will attack and eat any other fish they are kept with. Some of the nicer things about keeping piranha include their relative indifference to water conditions, and that they will not breed in a tank. This prevents schools of piranha from appearing in your tanks. They will eat each other in captivity, especially if there are no other fish to attack. Piranhas are extremely aggressive and dangerous, and should only be kept by experienced keepers.


Caring for a Goldfish Aquarium

Keeping Goldfish can be a fun and rewarding hobby. As with any new hobby, especially one that involves living creatures, always consider the maintenance that will be involved. If you care for your aquarium properly, you will be sure to have happy and healthy Goldfish for many years. Goldfish have a life expectancy of five to ten years. If you do a good job maintaining their fish tank, you should have fun, beautiful fish for a long time. Make sure to feed them correctly and keep their water fresh and clear.

When starting any new aquarium, you should get everything in place before buying the fish. If you are going to put gravel on the bottom, you may want to put only a thin layer. This will make it easier to keep clean, as Goldfish tend to be messy. Make sure that you rinse the gravel thoroughly before placing it in the bottom of the tank. If you have some decorations, you should add them now. Make sure that you rinse them well before putting them into the tank. Also be sure that the goldfish have plenty of room to swim, as they as active fish. Give them a place or two to hide, and that should do nicely.

Now that you have everything in place, you can add in the water. You will need to use a dechlorinator, as the chlorine in tap water is poisonous to fish. Once the fish tank is filled up, you can turn on the filter. Change it as often as recommended to keep your fish healthy. Goldfish live at room temperature, so you will not need a heater. They are quite comfortable in temperatures from 68 to 80 degrees. However, they should not be exposed to rapid temperature changes. You might want to let the filter run in the new goldfish tank for a day or so to filter out any chemicals or dyes that might have been left on the gravel and decorations that you just added. Waiting to buy new fish can be one of the hardest things about fish keeping!

You need to add fish gradually. Fish excrete ammonia. If you add too many fish at once to a new fish tank, the water will not be seasoned enough to dissipate it. As the water in your Goldfish tank ages, it builds up beneficial bacteria that turn harmful chemicals excreted by the fish into harmless ones. However, this will take some time. Start out with only one fish. The nitrogen cycle will not begin until you add the fish, so running an empty tank for several days will not help. Since your fish tank is brand new, you might want to consider making partial water changes of about 25 per cent of the total water volume every few days for the first week or so.

You can find Goldfish food at almost any pet shop. Make sure to purchase some when you buy your first fish. Feed only a small amount. Especially at first. Any uneaten food will sink to the bottom and rot. Keep this to a minimum. Watch your fish the first few times that you feed them. Feed only as much as they will eat in two to three minutes twice a day, or as recommended on the Goldfish food label. Be especially careful not to overfeed when the Goldfish tank is new. This will cause excess build up of toxic chemicals and can kill your fish quickly.

As the water in your fish tank cycles through the nitrogen cycle, you may notice that is becomes very cloudy. This is a normal process and should clear up in a few days. Do not add any new fish until the water is crystal clear again. Clear water will signify that the nitrogen cycle is working and that the toxic chemicals are being converted to good ones. Remember that Goldfish will grow large and they need a big space. Don't overcrowd the tank if you want to keep healthy fish. If you follow this little guideline, you will be sure to have a healthy goldfish aquarium.


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