Creating your own world


Almost everyone has at some point wished they could play god, and make all the decisions for the world. Pick how well a group or community can thrive. Give help to anyone who needs it. Give someone the best possible chance at survival and make them or that community the best that it can be.

While getting to make all the decisions for the world is not exactly possible, this same exciting idea can be achieved on a slightly smaller scale. The setting up and maintenance of an aquarium can allow one to do just this. From maintaining the water to creating the hiding places and choosing fish for the tank, there is a plethora of enjoyment to have by taking care of a fish tank.

When most people think of an aquarium or fish tank, they probably picture the wimpy little fish bowl with a lonely goldfish in it. However to me, it is much more than that. There is something about creating a perfect ecosystem that really gets me excited. There’s almost a therapeutic art to getting everything just right. Everything in the tank has a purpose. The plants, the filter, the rocks, and fish all play a very large role in this world.

The very first thing you put in a tank is the rocks. This is a seemingly mundane item but the choice of rock is vital to the survival of the ecosystem. It all depends on what type of plants you are going to keep. If you are going to plant real living plants you must use an aquarium substrate which is a very fine rock that roots of the plants can easily grow into. If you decide that fake plants are more up your alley then larger rocks are necessary as the fish will try to move the rocks around to uproot the plants. No matter which rock you choose it must be cleaned before you add it to the tank. If the rock or substrate is not well rinsed with water before it is added to the tank there will be problems. One problem that can arise is that the rock itself usually has a lot of dirt and debris mixed in with it. This dirt when added to the water makes the water very cloudy, this then makes your filters clog up very fast and can also leave a film of soot on your decorations and plants, making the tank less appealing. The other thing that can happen is there can be very small snail eggs in the rock. These eggs when introduced to water then turn into snails very quickly and multiply even faster. They will quickly be come a nuisance in your tank and can make it less appealing to the eye.

One thing that every Aquarist strives for is crystal clear water. The best bet for achieving this is an adequate filter with the proper medium. Most people simply look for the filter that says it is big enough for their tank and that is the one they get. The thing to consider when getting a filter is that even though a filter says it is good for the size tank that you have it still may not be fully adequate for you application. Filters that are rated for your aquarium may still be too small for an aquarium can quickly be clogged and thus require a lot of cleaning. For this reason I prefer to ask professionals at and then go two to three times the rated size on the filter. This keeps the water cleaner and reduces the maintenance on the filter. The two most common mediums for use in the filter are activated carbon and zeolite. The activated carbon is used to filter all the “gunk” out of the tank, from fish waste to leftover food the carbon cleans most of the water. Zeolite is used to remove ammonia from the water. Ammonia is a byproduct of the decomposition of plants, food, and fish waste. Ammonia can only be removed by a filter medium. Ammonia, even in very small amounts ,can burn the fish’s gills which leads to high stress levels, and can possibly kill them.

But there is much more to the right filter than that. You must think about the means by which the filter maintains the bacteria. One of the best filters for keeping bacteria is the emperor Bio-wheel filter. This filter uses a spinning wheel that grows the bacteria and it can also accept different types of filter media. This bacteria is used to maintain the nitrite levels in the tank. Nitrites are a form of nitrogen that is produced when plants and fish waste break down. These Nitrites can be very poisonous to fish, even in low amounts. The bacteria feeds on these Nitrites and converts them to Nitrates. Nitrates on the other hand are safe for fish and also feed plants. The plants then grow and the whole cycle starts over again.