Stop! No matter how commendable is the desire to join the fascinating world of aquarism, this process should not be forced, otherwise the first experience may be so deplorable that one does not want to continue. Let’s tolerate a little more and see what should happen to a glass jar full of water in order for it to become an aquarium.
Aquarium is a balanced biological system in which many living organisms coexist. These are not only fish and plants planted by the host, but also self-inhabited small invertebrates, protozoa, algae, bacteria. And in order for the aquarium to be beautiful and comfortable for life, the whole system must be in balance. Substances entering it from the outside should be processed without deteriorating the vital indicators of water and not causing death or, on the contrary, uncontrolled outbreak of the number of any inhabitants, and then removed from the system during water changes and cleaning the aquarium.
What you need to do before launch?
Even before the launch procedure, it is necessary to solve a number of critical issues and take some necessary steps:
- Decide what kind of fish or aquatic animals you want to have. Find out what conditions they need. Be sure to find out if they are compatible with each other!
- Depending on the decisions on the first item, choose the volume and model of the aquarium, as well as a list of necessary equipment and design items. Based on the species and number of future inhabitants, decide whether you need a heater with a thermostat, for example, how powerful the filter should be, whether an additional water pump is needed, how to arrange an aquarium: with stones or driftwood, which plants to plant, and so on.
- Choose a place for the aquarium – not in the draft and not in the sun. It is also important that access to the aquarium was convenient, and there were a sufficient number of outlets nearby.
- Buy and install an aquarium (necessarily on a flat surface, so that its edges do not hang from the shelf or pedestal even per centimeter). Pre-aquarium washed without the use of chemical detergents.
- Place the equipment in the aquarium: filter, water pump, heater and thermometer, lighting. Fill the soil with a layer of 3-4 cm. Depending on the type of soil and its source of origin, it may be necessary to pre-heat it, boil it or rinse it. The same applies to stones and snags.
Now the aquarium is ready to fill up with water and start running. But before we give a step-by-step start-up instruction, we will try to figure out what this notorious launch is for and what is the difference between running aquarium and not running.
Quite a bit of theory
As we already wrote above, the aquarium is an open-loop system, where various substances come outside. This is mainly fish food, which the fish eat, while releasing waste. In chemical terms, ammonia is the most significant and toxic part of this waste; even in low concentrations, it can cause poisoning and subsequent death of fish and other aquatic animals. However, in nature there are bacteria (they are called nitrifying) that consume ammonia, oxidizing it to nitrite. Nitrite for fish is not much better than ammonia, but there are other types of nitrifying bacteria, which in turn bind them, turning them into relatively harmless nitrates.
This whole system of bacterial colonies, which makes water with nitrates from poisonous ammonia water, quite suitable for fish, is called a biofilter. Since the efficiency of the biofilter directly depends on the number of its constituent bacteria in the aquarium (it is clear that two or three microscopic nitrosomonas cannot convert ammonia, selected by a dozen large goldfish, into safe compounds), these bacteria must be allowed to multiply to the desired number. For this they need three things:
- nutrition (ammonia and nitrite);
- substrate (surface to which they can attach);
- and for some time, as bacteria multiply rapidly, but still not lightning.
Run (instructions for beginners)
So, we will analyze the points, how to run the aquarium correctly:
- Starting begins with the laying of the soil and with the subsequent pouring of water. Use tap water, you do not need to defend it beforehand. After pouring water turn on the filter with aeration. If the filter does not have an aerator, then the water pump should additionally work, since the nitrifying bacteria need a lot of oxygen and the heater (set at 24-25 °). In this form, with the lights off, the aquarium is left for 5-7 days. All these days they spend only monitoring the operation of the equipment: check whether oxygen is supplied, measure the temperature of the water.
- After 5-7 days, unpretentious fast-growing plants are planted, after which they turn on the lighting for 4-5 hours a day.
- After 1-2 days you can start the first aquarium animals. These may be small unpretentious small fishes (viviparous or, for example, danios), but it is better to use ampularia snails that are more resistant to water quality or hymeno-viral frogs. There should be few animals. Feed them once a day in very small portions. It is necessary to constantly monitor their behavior and appetite. Ampulyaria, for example, are excellent indicators of water quality: in clean, good water, they rush around the aquarium at cruising speed, straightening antennae and looking for food. At this stage, the light is turned on for the whole day (8-12 hours), you can add special bacterial cultures to the aquarium to start (they are from different companies, for example Sera Nitrivek).
- After a week, the remaining plants are planted and begin in parts (at intervals of 1-2 days) to launch the main fish population. For each released party you need to carefully monitor, feed moderately.
That is, in fact, all science. True, nothing complicated?
Of course, the equilibrium in the aquarium is still unstable, and some time after the launch such unpleasant phenomena can occur, such as outbreaks of diatoms. But if the launch was carried out correctly, these problems are usually not catastrophic, do not lead to a massive freezing of fish and are solved in working order. To combat these diatomies, for example, a small charming catfish otozinclus is successfully used.
How to facilitate the process of starting the aquarium?
Above, we wrote that for the reproduction of beneficial bacteria need nutrition and substrate. And, of course, the initial number of the bacterial colony matters. Thus, in order to accelerate the maturation of the biofilter and, accordingly, the launch of the aquarium, you can immediately add a significant amount of bacteria to the artificial reservoir and prepare a large area substrate for them (there is enough nutrition for the bacteria in the starting aquarium).
Bacteria are introduced with the help of industrial starter culture (we also mentioned about them above) or with water, soil, filter filler from the existing, safe aquarium. To ensure a sufficient area of the substrate for bacteria, it is recommended to use filters with fillers made of porous ceramics or filters of considerable volume with other fillers, plant plants with narrow, feathery leaves, and use fine gravel of even size as the soil. All these surfaces will inhabit nitrifying bacteria.
As you can see, the correct launch of the aquarium takes not so much time – it is quite possible to suffer two or three weeks. It does not require a colossal amount of strength and special academic knowledge. But it helps to avoid many problems in the future, preserves the life and health of the fish, and therefore, the nerves and good mood to their owner.
Blurred aquarium water
After the launch, it is often possible to observe the turbidity of the water, signaling that it is too early to inhabit the inhabitants. It is necessary to find out the reason why water has lost its transparency:
- If turbidity has a whitish hue, then most likely a bacterial boom has occurred, after launch it is a normal phenomenon. Ammonia and nitrifying bacteria began to multiply due to the abundance of food. As a rule, the outbreak lasts a couple of days, after which it gradually declines because of ciliates that multiply in turn, for which bacteria are natural food. Adding water from a prosperous aquarium can accelerate the process, and you need to take it from the bottom or next to the filter, since it is in these places that the most infusoria live.
Sometimes the water may become cloudy in long-running aquariums from too large substitutions.
- Green turbidity is caused by overproduction of microscopic algae. This is mainly due to the overly bright consecration and the long daylight hours. In this case, you need to reduce the brightness of the light in the aquarium and make sure that it does not get direct sunlight.
- Sometimes yellowish cloudiness may appear from insufficiently washed soil. As a rule, it settles in a few hours.
- The brownish water becomes from the coagulum and the filter with peat. Humic substances are harmless to fish, and even useful for some species, but they strongly affect the acidity of water, which, in turn, may adversely affect species that prefer alkaline water. In this case, it is necessary to drain the water, and soak the wooden decorations themselves for several days in running water.
- Water can be painted from bright colored soil or artificial decorations. It is better not to use such decorations at all, since they often have a negative impact on the health of the inhabitants due to dyes.