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Monday, May 6, 2013

Setting Up A Zero Maintenance Aquarium

Many love the idea of having a beautiful aquarium sitting in a good spot in their home, where everyone can see it most of the time. You are excited about setting it up. You setup all the decorations, plants and find the most colorful fish. So the aquarium setup is complete. You switch on the light and Oh yeah! It's beautiful.

But for how long, will it stay like that? A couple of days is all it takes for a brand new aquarium to get real messy. Things like ammonia, nitrites and nitrates build up and affect the health of the fish, algae blooms, dirt smothers the decorations etc.

This is where maintenance comes in. To maintain an aquarium, one does water changes, cleans the filter, scrubs the algae off the glass. In a busy world, one can appreciate the pleasure of watching a beautiful aquarium, but maintenance is a chore and this is neglected most of the time.

So, there are ways by which you can solve this problem by a few simple DIY tools. Your aquarium will be maintained automatically, will always look beautiful  and you won't  have to waste your energy cleaning it on a regular basis..

I'm referring to an overflow system, which is used by many advanced aquarium hobbyists, but even a beginner can do this.

Lets Start

Now before you go ahead and construct this overflow system, let me give you an idea of how it works. When a vessel is filled with water till the top, it will overflow if you add more water. This plan uses the same principle, but the difference is that you decide where the water should overflow from. We wouldn't want the tank to fill up and overflow from all sides. Hence, you get to decide your tank water level and accordingly drill a hole in the glass.

So, I'm sure that by now, you got the whole picture. Right?

Moving on...

  1. Water Outlet just for your aquarium.
  2. PVC Pipes for drainage.
  3. A small mesh to prevent your fish from being drained out too.
  4. And a tank of course.
  1. Firstly decide where you want to place your aquarium. It should be somewhere, where there is a water source, like a tap. If not, you might need a pipe extending till your aquarium. Now once you have decided on where you are going to place your aquarium, you must adjust it in a way, whereby, one corner end is right under the tap. This is the place where fresh tap water will drop into the tank.
  2. Decide how much water level you want to keep in the aquarium and accordingly drill a pvc pipe sized hole, on the opposite corner end (The farthest from the tap end), which will be draining out the excess water that fills at the other end of the tank. This allows the new water to push out the old water.
  3. Now fit the pvc pipe into the hole and seal it. You get various parts that will help secure and seal the pipe to your tank. The pipe will be directing the drainage water to wherever you want.
  4. Fix the mesh at the outlet, from the inside of the tank to prevent fish from escaping through. If you are dealing with big monster fish, with bodies bigger than the hole, then skip this step.
  5. Turn on the faucet to a few drops a second. You can adjust this depending on the amount of fish you have inside. The more fish you have, the more the water flow needed. Avoid turning it on too fast as this can lead to wastage of water. You could keep a target of the amount of water to be changed on a daily basis by knowing the flow; e.g. if you need to change 10 litres of water daily, turn on the faucet and keep a 1 litre bottle underneath. Observe the time it takes to fill. Then do the math and set the flow accordingly.
So that's all to it. By this system, you do not have to waste your time and energy maintaining your aquarium. With this method, the ammonia and nitrate levels will be low and your fish will be happy.

The Convict Cichlid (Kindle Edition Ebook)