Aquarium and Pond Care with EcoBio-Block

Helping the Fish in Your Pond Revive in the Spring

As the snow melts and the weather warms, you may find yourself joyfully anticipating the return of spring and the coming of summer. Warmer weather means you get to spend more time outdoors and less time shivering in the cold. While spring can be a wonderful time for us, it may not be so easy on your pond – the transition from cold to warm weather can be a difficult one for your pond. In order to help your pond and your fish make the transition smoothly, take the time to learn all you can about what you need to do to prepare your pond for spring.

From Winter to Spring

koi fish

Koi fish

Throughout the winter, there is little for pond owners to do for their fish – pond fish like koi are, after all, meant to live in cold water and they are more than capable of surviving the winter. Just because your fish are able to survive the winter on their own, however, doesn’t mean that it has been easy on them – your fish have spent months hibernating in near-freezing water. This being the case, your fish are likely to be very stressed. When the weather begins to warm and the ice on your pond begins to melt, the temperature of your pond water can change fairly quickly – this too can be stressful for your fish.

Another thing to consider with the coming of spring is the fact that bacteria and other pathogens are going to start coming out of hibernation. When your fish are healthy, they are generally able to fight off infection but, after surviving a tough winter, they may be more prone to contracting disease than they would be in the middle of summer. In addition to pathogenic bacteria coming out of hibernation, you also have to remember that your colony of beneficial bacteria in the pond will basically be starting afresh each year. Cold weather and lack of nutrients is likely to kill a large portion of your bacteria colony over the winter so, come spring time, your pond may re-cycle entirely.

Tips for Helping Your Fish Make the Transition

While you cannot completely prevent your pond fish from experiencing some stress during the transition into spring, there are certain things you can do to mitigate their level of distress. Shading your pond, for example, may help to reduce rapid water temperature increases  which could also help to keep your fish from getting sick. It is also a good idea to start your fish on a high-quality diet to help them recover from any nutritional deficiencies they might have developed over the winter. Look for feed that contains supplements like Glucan which will help to boost the immune systems of your fish.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do for your fish is to maintain high water quality in your pond. Make sure that your filter is working properly and keep an eye on ammonia and nitrite levels in your pond. To help boost your colony of beneficial bacteria in your pond, you might also consider adding an EcoBio-Block Wave. This product is infused with live beneficial bacteria as well as the nutrients they need to thrive and reproduce. Adding this product to your pond will help to alleviate some of the stress of your pond re-cycling and will also help to keep your pond water clean and clear for your fish. A single EcoBio-Block Wave can accommodate a pond with 300 to 1000-gallons of water capacity and it is guaranteed to last at least 2 years.

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April 13, 2014 at 7:21 PM Comments (0)

Aquatic Plants In Your Pond

When it comes to decorating your outdoor pond, the options are endless. Many pond owners choose to line their ponds with natural rocks and an assortment of plants to add intrigue to the landscaping surrounding the pond. Another option you may want to consider is putting plants directly in your pond. If you choose to have fish in your pond you will need to limit the number of plants you use so that you do not interfere with the needs of your fish for space, but a few well-placed plants can transform your pond into an attractive water garden.

Nymphaea-Ruby Star

Nymphaea-Ruby Star

Top Plant of 2014

Earlier this year, the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society named Nymphaea ‘Ruby Star’ the Collector’s Aquatic Plant of the Year for 2014. This species of waterlily is known for its ruby-colored blooms that grow on compact plants all summer long. The Nymphaea ‘Ruby Star’ is one of many waterlily cultivars belonging to the Nymphaea genus of aquatic plants and they are also commonly referred to as lotus flowers.

Surface Cover

Certain plants are known for providing surface cover rather than growing up out of the water. These plants can enhance the appearance of your pond by creating mats of foliage while also providing shade and shelter for pond inhabitants. Some of the most popular surface cover pond plants include:

  • Callitriche verna
  • Nymphaea ‘Pygmaea Helvola’
  • Hydrocharis morsus-ranae (Frogbit)
  • Lemna minor (Common Duckweed)

Flowering Plants

If you want to add a little bit of color to your outdoor pond, consider adding some flowering plants to the landscaping in and around your pond. There are a wide variety of flowering pond plants to choose from that produce a range of different colored flowers from blue and yellow to pink, white and even purple. Below you will find a list of some popular flowering pond plants:

  • Iris laevigata ‘Variegata’ – this plant is a type of small iris that produces blue flowers
  • Anemopsis californica – this plant produces white flowers known for their conical shape and honey-like scent
  • Veronica beccabunga – this plant is a British native that produces small blue flowers
  • Iris pseudacorus – known as the Berlin Tiger, this plant produces yellow flowers with brown markings
  • Myosotis scorpioides – this plant can be planted in water or wet mud and it produces small blue forget-me-not flowers

Tips for Cultivating Aquatic Plants

Before you attempt to add aquatic plants to your pond, you need to make sure that the conditions are right. Not all plants do well when submerged in water, so you need to determine whether the plants you want to use are meant to be planted directly in the water or in the mud around the pond. You also need to determine whether your pond is large enough to accommodate the type of plants you want to grow – some plants have a tendency to spread while others remain fairly small. Perhaps the most important tip for cultivating aquatic plants, however, is to ensure that the water quality in your pond remains high. One easy way to do this is to install an EcoBio-Block Wave in your pond – these blocks are made from natural stone and infused with beneficial bacteria to help establish and maintain the nitrogen cycle in your pond. Once you install the EcoBio-Block Wave, beneficial bacteria will work to break down wastes and to convert harmful toxins into less harmful substances, thus leaving your pond water clean and clear for your fish and aquatic plants.

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April 11, 2014 at 10:34 AM Comments (0)

Wall-mounted Aquariums Can Be a Beautiful Addition to Your Home

wall-mounted aquariumIf you have ever seen an aquarium in a doctor’s office or in the lobby of a fancy hotel, you have probably noticed that aquariums can be as much for decoration as they can for the amusement of the hobbyist. Lately, home aquariums have increased in popularity as elements of décor in homes, restaurants and other establishments – one of the newest trends in novelty aquariums is the wall-mounted tank. A wall-mounted aquarium is very similar to a wall-mounted television in that it puts the aquarium at eye-level for optimal viewing. This type of tank is unique and beautiful in its own way, but it does come with its own set of unique challenges. If you are interested in keeping a wall-mounted aquarium, do yourself a favor by learning everything you can about them before you buy one.

Advantages of Wall-Mounted Tanks

One of the main advantages of a wall-mounted tank is, of course, its uniqueness. If you are interested in cultivating a tank that will serve as both a hobby and an entertainment piece, the wall-mounted aquarium is certainly something to consider. Another advantage of a wall-mounted tank is that it puts your fish at eye-level where you can easily view them and display them to your guests. A wall-mounted tank is a great option if you have limited floor space and do not want to take up any of that space with a cumbersome aquarium cabinet or stand. Furthermore, a wall-mounted aquarium can become part of the design of your home rather than simply an accessory.

Disadvantages of Wall-Mounted Tanks

Though wall-mounted aquariums are beautiful, they do come with certain challenges. One thing to consider is the task of actually mounting the aquarium to the wall. Most wall-mounted aquariums measure no more than 6 to 8 inches deep – if they were too much deeper, the wall might not be able to support them. Though they may not be as large as many traditional tanks (wall-mounted tanks are generally only 16 to 18 inches high and less than 24 inches long), they are still very heavy when filled with water, gravel and fish. This being the case, they must be attached directly to the wall studs for support. If you do not have sturdy, load-bearing studs available or limited wall space, a wall-mounted tank may not work for you.

You also have to think about the limited size of a wall-mounted tank. While a smaller tank may look just as attractive as a larger tank, you have to consider the well-being of your fish. Because these tanks have limited depth, you should not stock them with fish that grow to be any more than 4 inches long. The fact that the tank is mounted to the wall also limits your options in regard to equipment – you may need to invest in smaller filters and heaters to accommodate the smaller tank. Correlated to this subject is the fact that you may also need to buy custom lighting which might not be strong enough to support plant growth in the tank.

Tips for Maintenance

If you are looking for a new and exciting challenge in the aquarium hobby, a wall-mounted tank may be right for you. After reading this article, however, you may be nervous about some of the challenges that come with the territory. Keep in mind that any fish tank has its associated advantages and disadvantages – those for a wall-mounted tank are simply different. If you have decided that a wall-mounted tank is the right choice for you, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your tank stays properly maintained. Always replace your filter media in a timely fashion and keep up to date with weekly water tests. You will need to continue to perform weekly water changes to keep the water in your tank clean.

Another thing you might consider is using an EcoBio-Stone in your tank. EcoBio-Stones are made from porous volcanic stone and they are infused with beneficial bacteria. Beneficial bacteria are the key to establishing and maintaining the nitrogen cycle which serves to convert harmful toxins like ammonia into less harmful substances that won’t affect your fish.

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March 28, 2014 at 2:16 PM Comments (0)

Decorating Your Aquarium with Rocks

When it comes to decorating your home aquarium, you can be as creative as you like. Many aquarium hobbyists choose to cultivate a fantasy or novelty theme in their tanks, using decorations like sunken pirate ships and castles. Others like to go with a more natural theme, utilizing live plants, rocks and driftwood for decoration. If you prefer a natural appearance in your tank, you might to consider using rocks – rocks of different shape, size and color can be combined in very artistic and creative ways to give your tank a unique yet natural appearance. Read more to learn how to use rocks in decorating your aquarium.

aquascapeTypes of Rocks to Use

The art of decorating an aquarium is called aquascaping – in many ways, it is similar to landscaping because you are creating a design using different décor elements. Rocks are an excellent element for décor because they are easy to come by and they provide a natural appearance to your tank. When it comes to selecting rocks for your tank, you have many different options to choose from – lava rock, natural slate, quartz, river rocks and even small pebbles. If you live near a river or stream, you may be able to find all the rocks you need to decorate your tank without even spending a penny.

Keep in mind that some rocks are better for aquarium decoration than others. You want to choose rocks that are proportionate to the size of your tank and try to find rocks of varying size so they aren’t all the same. Look for rocks that are naturally colored – black, greys and browns are best because they will offset the greens of live plants. Always scrub the rocks well to remove dirt and debris before using them in your tank. You may also want to perform a simple safety test by pouring some vinegar on the rock – if the vinegar bubbles, the rock may contain some element that is not safe to use in your tank.

Arranging Rocks for Decoration

The key to using rocks for decoration in your tank is to get creative – you can start with an idea in mind but give yourself the freedom to experiment. One option is to create a sort of pile or mountain out of different types of rock. If you go with this option, try to put the pile near the back of the tank or in one corner so as not to take up too much swimming space in the center of the tank. Another option is to use rocks to build a cave where your fish can hide. You can also use individual rocks as focal points in the tank – this works best with large or uniquely shaped rocks. For the most effective and natural appearance, combine your rocks with live plants like java fern, anubias and amazon swords.

Other Tips and Considerations

As has already been mentioned, you can do virtually anything you want when decorating your home aquarium. Feel free to use a combination of rocks, plants and driftwood in your tank to create your very own underwater ecosystem. Just be careful not to overcrowd the tank with decorations and do not use anything that might alter the water chemistry in your tank. Another thing you might consider is adding an EcoBio-Stone to your filter or directly into your tank. These stones are all-natural and will enhance the appearance of your tank while also improving the water quality. EcoBio-Stones are infused with beneficial bacteria that will help to establish and maintain the nitrogen cycle in your tank, keeping the water clean and clear for your fish while ensuring that your tank always looks its best.

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March 12, 2014 at 11:48 AM Comments (0)

Keeping Goldfish in Fish Bowls

Goldfish in a bowlGoldfish are one of the most popular types of aquarium fish to keep as pets, but a great deal of controversy surrounds their keeping. The main argument is whether or not they can safely be kept in fish bowls. If you have ever been to a county fair, you may have seen games where goldfish are given out as prizes. In many cases, the fish are kept in very small bowls which leads those who win the fish to believe that this is the ideal environment to keep the fish in at home. If you do a little research, however, you will find that this is not necessarily the case. That is not to say that there aren’t hobbyists who believe goldfish can be kept in bowls – the former argument just seems to be more prevalent. Before you make up your own mind on the issue, take the time to learn the arguments for both sides.

Downsides of Fish Bowls

The most obvious disadvantage associated with a fish bowl is, of course, its limited size. Most fish bowls are designed with a rounded shape, wider in the middle than at the top and base. Though this shape does provide some extra space for swimming in the middle of the bowl, the entire container is still much smaller than the average fish tank. The size of the container is very important in the health and well-being of your fish. Not only does your fish need plenty of space to room and grow (space which may not be provided by a fish bowl), but the water volume of the container is also important.

As your goldfish eats and excretes waste, harmful toxins and debris will accumulate in the water. In larger aquariums, a higher water volume serves to dilute these toxins so they do not have an immediate effect on the fish. In a fish bowl, however, these toxins remain highly concentrated unless you perform frequent water changes. The smaller water volume in a fish bowl also equates to a smaller surface area which influences the rate of oxygen exchange. Goldfish tend to have very high needs for oxygen, so a fish bowl may not be able to provide for the oxygen needs of these fish.

Safely Keeping Fish in Bowls

For as many critics of fish bowls as there are, you can find nearly as many hobbyists who suggest that a fish bowl can be a safe place to keep fish – if it is used properly. The most important thing proponents of fish bowls advocate for is proper maintenance. As it has been mentioned, the reduced water volume in a fish bowl compared to an aquarium means that frequent water changes are absolutely essential. To help maintain high water quality in your fish bowl, you might also consider installing a small filter or, at the very least, an air stone to facilitate aeration and gas exchange.

Another thing to consider is that goldfish are not the only fish that can be kept in bowls. In fact, proponents of fish bowls suggest that other types of fish are much more conducive to such an environment – fish that remain small and that do not create so much waste. Some of the fish that may do well in fish bowls include guppies, white clouds, swordtails and mollies. One thing to be wary of when keeping these fish in bowls, however, is the fact that these species are tropical fish so you will need to incorporate some method of heating the water in your goldfish bowl.

Other Things to Consider

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether you think a fish bowl is a good place to keep fish. After all, even a large aquarium can become a dangerous, unclean place for fish to live if you do not care for it properly. If you are concerned with keeping your fish bowl clean for your goldfish, consider doing something simple like using EcoBio-Stones in your fish bowl. They are made from porous volcanic rock and  contain beneficial bacteria as well as the nutrients they need to survive. Once introduced into your fish bowl, these bacteria will work to establish and maintain the nitrogen cycle, helping to break down wastes and keep your fish bowl water clean and clear.

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March 10, 2014 at 9:52 AM Comments (0)