Tanks for Relaxation and Stress Relief
there too much stress in your life? Do you want to relax, but you feel like you're
too busy to take up a hobby? If this sounds like your life, then you might want
to consider a freshwater tropical fish tank for your home.
a kid, I used to have a couple ten-gallon tanks that had a variety of fish, each
aquarium's payload always changing. I actually tried to breed bettas when I was
in fifth grade. Like I do with certain things I pick up, I became obsessed...
now that I have graduated from college, I am taking up the hobby again.
you're looking for something to take your mind off work or your busy schedule,
look no further than an easy 10-gallon aquarium. You can purchase a ten gallon
kit that includes the tank, light (go for fluorescent over incandescent--regular
household lights use too much energy and heat up the tank), hood, filter, and
oftentimes a net to catch your fish at most Wal-marts and pet stores. I bought
mine for $49.95 at a Superpets, so you can probably find one cheaper at a Wal-mart.
As a starter's tank, it doesn't have to be top of the line; in fact, it should
be cheap as you learn how to cycle the water and care for the fish.
you set up your tank, let it run for at least two days so the filter can kick
out any chlorine your dechlorinating agent didn't get or any other harmful substance
in the water. When you go out to buy fish, only buy four small ones (Zebra Danios
and livebearers are best to start with because they are hardier--stay away from
Tetras and catfish at first). Do not go to Wal-Mart or a large pet store, but
instead buy your fish at a store that only sells fish. Their tanks should be crystal
clear and the fish should all be active and healthy-looking. If you have a bad
feeling about the fish or the place, find another shop.
the fish in the bag for twenty minutes, then every ten minutes add 1/4 cup of
tank water to the open bag so the fish can get used to the chemical composition
of your tank. After 45 minutes to an hour, sink the bag and let the fish swim
out on his own accord. (If you do not trust the water from the fish store, however,
you should net the fish out of the bag and then slowly lower him into the tank
after the acclimatization period.)
they are small hardy fish, do not feed them until the next day as they likely
already ate, and the food would just dirty the water because they are stressed
from their journey from the store to your tank.
about a week then get a cory catfish to clean the bottom, then start to fill up
your tank with more fish. Ask your fish store clerk for help; they will tell you
what kinds of fish go well together.
will immediately find your stress level dropping as you engage in this hobby and
watch your fish swim after a hard day's work.
tank is now fully stocked and everything seems to be going well. I have purchased
a pH test kit and an ammonia test kit to monitor the acidity of the water as well
as the buildup of fish waste Many species of tropical fish require varying degrees
of pH so it is hard to say where your level should be. Anything around 7.4 - 6.8
should be ok. I would advise against using pH Up and Down products as they only
temporarily change the water and the sudden rise or lowering of pH could stress
fish. Instead learn the pH of your water and try to buy fish in that range.
change out 20-25% of my water once a week with fresh dechlorinated water, adding
a few drops of Stresscoat to retain the fishes natural slime coating. Change your
filter cartridge once a month or as needed, and vacuum your gravel when the substrate
starts to get nasty.
are the fish I have right now:
2 ghost shrimp
1 female betta
whitecloud (enjoys schooling with the tetras)
1 black tetra
1 clown loach
you can see, it's a crowded tank for a ten gallon aquarium. As a general rule
of thumb, you want to stock your tank with 1 inch of fish per gallon. My clown
loach is almost two inches, so he makes up for two fish, and my ghost shrimp are
half a fish. Overcrowding causes the tank to dirty faster and can stress some
fish, especially schoolers.
each fish before you purchase one, learning about its pH, temperature, and compatibility.
Everyone has a different opinion about fish and tank size, feeding, plants, etc.
As long as you come to educated conclusions about your fish, feel free to stock
your tank as you desire, and don't let the so-called fish experts get you down!
These "ichthyphiles" love throwing out ridiculous, snobbish claims,
such as: you should only keep four or five fish in a ten gallon tank, or it's
"cruel" to keep a 5-8 inch clown loach in a 29 gallon tank. Bottom line,
it's your tank. As long as you don't do anything stupid like putting an oscar
in a 10 gallon tank or mixing neon tetras and betas with cichlids, feel free to
experiment and explore.
been a little over four months since my last update, and boy, have I expanded
my fish operations. I now maintain 2 ten gallon aquariums, 1 fifty-five gallon
tank in the living room, a couple betta jars, 1 five gallon round tank for frogs,
and a three gallon guppy tank in the bathroom.
has proven that the sound of water is relaxing; the negative ions in running water
are believed to reduce harmful airborne bacteria and generally be conducive to
a feeling of well-being. In my bedroom, I utilize two Penguin "biowheel"
filters which each feature a foamy waterwheel that turns the water as it pours
out of the filter and back into the tank. The photo to your right shows the two
little ecosystems I have in my bedroom. Can't you just hear the flowing water?
moved my clown loach over to the 55 gallon and added three companions for the
fish, as clown loaches like to school. The loach joins 2 bala or silver sharks,
1 black ghost knife, a royal pleco, and 2 Discus, the most colorful and majestic
of freshwater fish.
you're looking to relax and relieve stress, once again, I recommend looking into
a freshwater aquarium. They are relatively easy to maintain with weekly hourly
maintenance, and the sounds of the water and the slow movings of the fish will
relax you almost as much as Cat's
many hobbies that drain money and time for self-indulgence which oftentimes does
nothing for your health or mental well-being, keeping an aquarium will keep you
sane when you find the stress building and invading your homelife. I've had many
friends and visitors come to my home and remark how "relaxing" my 55
gallon Discus tank is, and how they could just sit back and watch the tank for
is a guide to starting a beginner aquarium, with a budget and everything else
first object you will need in starting up your miniature aquatic ecosystem is,
of course, a tank. The most popular beginner aquarium is the ten gallon. Anything
lower will severely limit your options for fish keeping, and anything higher will
double in size. Your most common ten gallon is 20" by 10". It will fit
most any space.
you purchase your tank, be sure you have adequate electrical outlets. You will
need at least 3 free outlets for the filter, heater, and light--though a fourth
free outlet is recommended in case you want to add a pump for aesthetic bubbles,
whose curtain of bubbles is highly, highly relaxing. A power strip with surge
protection is recommended, although a simple extension cord with three outlets
also want to be sure your floor is level. Keep a ruler or measurement tape in
handy while you fill your tank with water. If you live in an old house like I
do, your aquarium may need to be shimmed. For a 10 gallon tank, a marginal difference
of 1/8 to 3/16 inch will be acceptable, although unsightly to the trained eye.
Anything more you may want to look into evening out the aquarium with a chunk
of wood on the heavy end, with some polystyrene between the tank and stand to
prevent bowing of the glass. (Both wood cut to your measurements and polystyrene
will be under 5$.)
you are not using a stand specifically designed to hold your aquarium stand, be
sure your surface can hold the weight of your tank. Water adds approximately 9
pounds of weight to the gallon, and gravel and decorations also add more bulk.
glass ten gallon aquarium is a cheap product. You will never find a ten gallon
tank priced at over twenty dollars, and you can find ten gallon kits with filters,
lights, and hoods sold at pet store franchises for under fifty dollars.
say you've purchased a kit from Wal-mart, complete with stand, hood, light, and
will run you anywhere from fifty to seventy dollars.
You will also need a heater if you plan on having fish other than goldfish and
other cold water species. A 100 watt heater will sufficiently heat a 10 gallon
you will need to add substrate, which is the liner that covers the clear bottom
of your tank. (Substrate is not necessary, however, and it dirties your water
by collecting detritus. However, it is visually pleasing, and it is a good medium
for positive bacteria growth, which will be discussed later.)
best beginner substrate is gravel. Go for a natural looking gravel rather than
the neon or brightly covered kind. Also, the finer the better, for your catfish
or bottom feeders.
is also a good substrate for freshwater, although it requires more work. Playsand
bought at any large hardware or home improvement franchise is very, very cheap,
and it is perfect for aquaria. But you must wash it out thoroughly, cleansing
it while placed in a bucket with a hose until the water runs clear. Otherwise,
your tank will be cloudy, and anaerobic bacteria may form and cause you some severe
problems down the road. (Have you ever smelled a mudflat during low tide? It's
nasty, and it can be dangerous to your health, and extremely deadly to fish.)
the substrate is cleaned and added to the tank, fill it halfway with tap water.
Be sure to use a dechlorinator (sold in most kits and all pet stores) to remove
the chlorine and chloramine.
add your rocks, plastic plants, or other decorations. Plastic plants can be found
at any pet store, and rocks and decorations can be found about anywhere, just
be sure they are designed for aquarium usage.
the aquarium with water and then wait a few days to purchase some hardy fish,
like danios, which are mentioned above.
tank will take anywhere from three weeks to a month and a half to fully "cycle"
and fill with beneficial nitrobacters, the positive bacteria that eats away the
harmful ammonia and nitrite of uneaten food and fish waste. There are products
like Biospora that will do this for you without having to cycle your tank, but
they can be expensive and are not 100% proven to work.
your tank is fully cycled--you'll know when brown algae begins to grow, or you've
purchased test kits for ammonia and nitrite and they read zero--you can add your
fish and begin your ecosystem. The danios can be given back to the fish store
and you can finally begin your real tank.
are a few options for a ten gallon aquarium:
neon tetras, 1 female betta, 2 black neon tetras, 1 bottom feeder such as a ghost
shrimp or an oto "algae-eater" catfish
male and 1 female kribensis cichlids
male and female convict cichlids
or three shell dweller African cichlids
peaceful school of assorted tetras and corydoras catfish
male and 3 female fancy-tail guppies and some corydoras or otos (livebearers,
especially guppies, breed faster than almost any fish; soon your tank will be
swarming with guppies)
dwarf pufferfish (aggressive, like the cichlids listed above, they need a species-only
a day's work, there is nothing more relaxing than coming home to a fish tank full
of lively and colorful fish. To complement the fish, I often employ Cat's
Purr, the most relaxing cd this side of the Internet. The visual calm of the
fish and the soothing, relaxful sounds of Cat's
Purr is enough to relax a Wall Street brokerage exec.
you get your tank up and running and fully stocked, you will find your stress
level dropping. And you will have discovered a fun, lifelong hobby.
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