Aquarium and Pond Care with EcoBio-Block

The Importance of Testing Pond Water

garden pond

The health of your pond is important for keeping your fish healthy and regular testing will help you to maintain a clean environment for your fish.

The health of your pond fish is directly affected by the quality of your pond water. You can install the highest quality filtration system and keep your pond free of leaves and detritus, but unless you test the water regularly you cannot truly know what the conditions in your pond are like. Even a slight accumulation of ammonia or other toxins can be dangerous for your fish and you cannot detect these problems simply by looking at the water.

Benefits of Testing Pond Water

Because outdoor ponds typically have a much higher water volume than indoor tanks, they are better able to handle small changes in water chemistry. Over time, however, even small changes can accumulate and lead to poor conditions in your pond which can stress or even endanger your fish. The best way to find out what is going on in your pond is to test the water using an aquarium and pond water test kit. These tests are easy to come by – simply stop in to your local pet store or aquarium supply shop. Testing your pond water only takes a few minutes but the benefits are many. Some of the benefits of testing your pond water regularly include:

  • Gives you an idea of what is “normal” for your pond
  • Increases your chances of noticing changes in water chemistry before it affects your fish
  • Helps you to cultivate the type of environment your fish need to thrive
  • Only takes a few minutes to complete once a week
  • Helps to keep your fish from becoming stressed due to poor water quality

Tips and Recommendations for Testing

Depending on what type of water testing kit you buy, you may have the option to test a variety of water parameters. The most important parameters to test on a weekly basis are pH level, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. If you are an experienced hobbyist, you may also like to keep an eye on the water hardness or alkalinity in your pond – these parameters may be more important for certain types of fish than for others. To make the most of your testing, perform them on the same day each week and record the results in a journal. After a few tests you will be able to get an idea what is “normal” for your pond so you will be able to notice quickly if something is out of line. When this happens, you can take the necessary steps to remedy the problem before it has a significant impact on your fish.

Maintaining High Water Quality

The key to keeping your pond fish healthy is to ensure that the water quality in your pond is kept high. Though testing your pond water on a regular basis will help you to keep an eye on water quality, it will not actually do anything to impact the quality. One of the simplest things you can do to boost and maintain high water quality in your pond is to install an EcoBio-Block Wave or EcoBio-Block nsM. They are infused with beneficial bacteria and the nutrients they need to thrive. As soon as you place your EcoBio-Block product in the pond, the beneficial bacteria will begin to multiply, establishing and maintaining the nitrogen cycle which is the key to keeping your pond water clear. The cleaner your pond water, the happier and healthier your fish will be!

Testing your pond water on a regular basis is a simple but an important task. If you do not keep an eye on the quality of your pond water, how will you know if something changes? The best way to prevent rapid changes in water quality (and the stress it causes your fish) is to test your pond water often to make sure that it is within the proper parameters.

Share Button
September 11, 2014 at 11:17 AM Comments (0)

Treating Your Saltwater Parasites with Fresh Water

saltwater tankAny experienced freshwater aquarium hobbyist knows the value of using saltwater as a treatment for a variety of freshwater aquarium fish diseases. For example, a salt bath can work wonders in eradicating fungus, bacteria and parasites. But is the opposite true? In some cases, fresh water can be effective as a treatment for certain saltwater ailments including parasites.

How Does it Work?

The way freshwater works as a treatment for parasite infections is very simple – exposing the parasites to a significantly different salinity level causes a fatal reaction. By exposing the parasite to water of differing salinity, you will be changing the osmotic gradient that the parasite is used to. As a result, water begins to diffuse into the parasite’s body, causing it to expand and burst. This treatment doesn’t work on all types of parasites, especially if they have become embedded in the fish’s skin, gills or mucus. This treatment is also ineffective against systemic infections.

Using Fresh Water to Treat Parasites

The key to ensuring that your fish make a full recovery from any illness is to quarantine the fish as soon as you notice the symptoms of illness. Not only will this prevent the disease from spreading, but it also places your fish in a clean environment where you can easily administer treatment so your fish can heal. As part of the treatment process for certain types of parasites, you may want to consider a freshwater bath. To perform this treatment, simply place your fish in a bucket of dechlorinated freshwater for between 2 and 8 minutes. Keep a close eye on the fish and if it appears to become stressed before the 8 minutes is up, return it to the hospital tank immediately.

When preparing a freshwater bath for your fish, be sure to use water that is the same temperature and pH level as the water in your tank. Be aware that certain species of fish are more sensitive to changes in salinity than others, so look for signs of stress which may include swimming erratically, laying on its side, or jumping out of the bucket. When it comes time to remove your fish, use a soft net to transfer it back into the tank so you do not pour any of the contaminated water into the hospital tank.

Tips for Preventing Parasites

Like many pathogens, parasites can be opportunistic – they may live in your saltwater aquarium in small numbers but won’t bother your fish until they become stressed. In most cases, poor hygiene in the aquarium is the factor that triggers the explosion of parasites in your tank. The best way to prevent parasites, then, is to keep your tank water clean and clear. In addition to avoiding overfeeding your fish and using a high-quality filtration system, you should also consider installing an EcoBio-Stone in your tank. EcoBio-Stones are made from natural volcanic rock and cement infused with beneficial bacteria and the nutrients they need to thrive. As soon as you place your EcoBio-Stone in the tank the beneficial bacteria will begin to multiply, establishing and maintaining the nitrogen cycle which is the key to keeping your tank water clear. The cleaner your tank water is, the less stressed your fish will be and the less susceptible they are to parasites.

Keeping your tank clean will help to prevent parasites from becoming a problem in your saltwater tank. In the event that a parasite outbreak does occur, however, you may be able to use fresh water as a treatment option.

Share Button
September 6, 2014 at 2:44 PM Comments (0)

How to Properly Clean Your Aquarium Filter

When it comes to keeping your aquarium clean and healthy, maintaining your filter is one of the most important things you can do. Not only does your tank filter help to remove solid debris particles from the water but it also helps to filter out dissolved wastes and toxins. If you do not properly clean your filter once in a while, it may not work as well as it should and your fish could suffer as a result.

How Often to Clean a Filter

variety of aquarium filters

Variety of aquarium filters

The frequency with which you must clean your filter may vary depending on the type of filter you have. Hang-on filters, for example, may need a quick cleaning every few weeks while a canister filter may not need to be cleaned more than 3 times per year. Sponge filters and undergravel filters, however, need more frequent cleaning – about every 2 weeks – to prevent them from becoming clogged and hampering their function. In order to ensure that your filter receives proper cleaning in a timely manner, you should establish some sort of schedule and keep track of the dates on which you clean the filter. For example, you might schedule the cleaning to coincide with your bi-weekly water changes so that you have an easier time remembering to do it.

Proper Filter Cleaning Technique

The proper cleaning technique varies from one filter type to another. Below you will find an overview of how to clean the most popular types of aquarium filter:

Canister Filter – Before you turn off the filter, unplug your inline heater (if you have one attached) so it cools down before the water stops flowing. Next, fill a bucket with tank water that you will use to keep the filter media wet while you clean the filter itself. Carefully remove the impeller from the filter and scrub it to remove algae build-up. Use a small brush to clean the hoses as well as the small nooks and crannies in the filter itself. Once you are finished cleaning, make sure the sealing ring is still in good shape before you refill and reinstall the filter.

Hang-on Filter – If your hang-on filter has a biological filtration component, be sure to keep it wet with tank water during the cleaning process. Otherwise, all you have to do is disassemble the filter and clean the hoses and filter body with a soft brush.

Sponge Filter – A sponge filter is an important source of biological filtration for your tank, so you do not want to boil the sponge or use untreated tap water to clean it or you may kill off too much beneficial bacteria at once. To clean the sponge, simply fill a bucket with tank water and squeeze it into the bucket a few times to remove built-up debris. Never let the sponge dry out during cleaning.

Undergravel Filter – The key to keeping your undergravel filter running properly is to perform weekly cleanings of the tank gravel using an aquarium vacuum. As long as you keep debris from building up in the substrate of your tank, your undergravel filter should work well. In regard to maintenance, all you should have to do is scrub the hose and impeller (if your filter has one) once every few weeks.

Other Tips for Keeping Your Tank Clean

In addition to having and maintaining a high-quality filtration system, there are a few other simple things you can do to keep your tank clean and your tank water clear. Installing an EcoBio-Stone in your fish tank, for example, is something that takes you one minute to accomplish but will save you a great deal of time. EcoBio-Stones are infused with beneficial bacteria as well as the nutrients they need to reproduce and thrive in your tank. Once these bacteria are established, they will work to maintain the nitrogen cycle in your tank, ensuring that wastes are properly broken down and that your tank water stays clear and healthy.

Share Button
August 23, 2014 at 2:24 PM Comments (0)

Water Plants to Oxygenate Your Pond

Maintaining an outdoor pond can be tricky because there are a lot of elements to control. One of the most important aspects of maintaining an outdoor pond is ensuring that the water is oxygenated enough to support your fish. Certain species of fish like goldfish and koi have very high needs for oxygen, so adding oxygenating plants to your pond will help to make your pond fish-friendly. Below you will find a list of some of the top oxygenating plants for use in outdoor ponds.

Recommended Species for Outdoor Ponds

The plant species on this list are particularly recommended for outdoor ponds due to their capacity to oxygenate pond water.

Hornwort – This group of plants are typically used as floating plants in ponds to help disperse sunlight. Hornwort has a feathered, spiny texture and produces tiny flowers. This plant tends to do well with very little maintenance and, though it will die back in winter, it will grow back from the fruit once the weather starts to warm.

Canadian Pondweed (Elodea canadensis) – This plant species tends to tolerate cold well but doesn’t do well when the temperature varies little between seasons. Canadian pondweed requires bright sunlight but it can be grown either in pots or left to float on the surface of the water. This species grows quickly in the spring and summer, achieving lengths up to 4 feet. If not properly controlled, this plant can become invasive.

South African Curly Pondweed (Lagarosiphon major) – Though this species doesn’t grow as quickly as Canadian pondweed, it has similar requirements for care. This plant can be grown in pots within the pond or allowed to float on the surface.

water milfoil

Water milfoil

Water Milfoils – This group of plants requires good light and prefers to be rooted in pots. Water milfoils produce feathery leaves and whorls of little white flowers that rise above the surface of the water. These plants are very hardy, being tolerant of both hot summers and cold winters. Popular species of water milfoil include alternate-flower milfoils (Myriophyllum alterniflorum) and whorled water milfoil (Myriophyllum verticillatum).

Fanwort (Cabomba carolina) – Also sometimes simply referred to as Cabomba, fanwort is a feathery green plant with reddish-purple leaves. This plant typically doesn’t survive freezing winters and silty water will interfere with its growth. These plants prefer soft, slightly acidic water without too much flow.

fontinalis antipyretica

Fontinalis antipyretica

Willow Mosses (Fontinalis spp.) – These plants are a type of aquatic moss that tend to thrive when provided plenty of rockwork to grow on. Willow mosses grow slowly, so they are most recommended for small ponds where there is less ground to cover. One of the most popular species of willow moss is Fontinalis antipyretica).

Curly Pondweed (Potamogeton crispus) – This species of pondweed is less common than either the Canadian or South African varieties, but it is a good option for smaller ponds. Curly pondweed produces pink stems with large leaves that grow 3 to 4 inches long. This plant does best when rooted and can grow in large canopies that float just under the surface of the water.

Other Tips for Pond Maintenance

In addition to adding oxygenating plants to your pond, you may also want to consider installing an EcoBio-Block Wave. EcoBio products are infused with beneficial bacteria as well as the nutrients they require to thrive and reproduce. Once installed in your pond, the beneficial bacteria in the EcoBio-Block Wave will establish and maintain the nitrogen cycle to ensure that your pond water stays clean and clear. This, in combination with your oxygenating plants, will make your pond a safe and healthy environment for your fish.

Share Button
August 13, 2014 at 12:08 PM Comments (0)

Tips for Growing Your Own Live Food

The key to keeping your aquarium fish happy and healthy is to provide them with a high-quality diet of various foods. Just as you would get tired of eating the same thing every day, so do your fish. In this article you will learn how to cultivate several different types of live food to ensure that your fish have plenty of dietary variety.

daphania

Dalphania

Daphnia

Also known as water fleas, daphnia are the ideal food for newly hatched fry because they are very small. You can find daphnia in most ponds, typically gathered near the coastline in swarms of tiny specks. To cultivate daphnia at home, gather a sample from a nearby pond in a 1-quart container. Next, set up a 15-gallon tub of pond water or aquarium water in an area that gets direct sunlight and add the daphnia. Add a half teaspoon of yeast and pieces of lettuce to feed the daphnia and perform 25% water changes once a week. Harvest the daphnia using a turkey baster and add them directly to your aquarium. To ensure a healthy daphnia culture, consider adding a bag of EcoBio-Pebbles to the tub. EcoBio-Pebbles are infused with beneficial bacteria that will help to keep the water clean so your daphnia can thrive and multiply quickly, leaving you with an endless supply of live food for your fish.

Microworms

These worms are very small, about 1/10 of an inch in length, which makes them ideal for young fry that have outgrown daphnia or infusoria. To cultivate microworms, combine ¼ cup wheat germ and 1/8 teaspoon baker’s yeast with enough water to form a thick paste. Place the paste in a glass bowl then add your microworm culture along with 3 bioballs positioned in a triangle shape, topped with a 4th bioball. Cover the bowl tightly and within a week, the top bioball should be packed with microworms – you can then just place the ball in your tank to feed your fish.

brine shrimp

brine shrimp

Brine Shrimp

These creatures make a healthy meal for fish of any age and size – they are also very easy to cultivate. To create your own brine shrimp hatchery, you will need to fill a 2-liter plastic bottle with saltwater and hook up an airstone to provide aeration and water movement. Use an aquarium heater or a lamp to provide heat to keep the water warm. Add the brine shrimp eggs to the water and maintain a water temperature around 85°F to ensure hatching. Once the brine shrimp hatch, you can simply scoop them out of the hatchery and add them directly to your tank.

Mosquito larva

Mosquito larva

Mosquito Larvae (Bloodworms)

Cultivating this type of food is incredibly easy because all you need to do is create a stagnant water source and mosquitos will find it. Set a 1-quart rectangular container of water out in a shaded area and wait for it to become dirty and stagnant – it shouldn’t take long before mosquitos find it and begin laying eggs. Wait for the eggs to hatch then harvest the tiny worm-like larvae from the surface of the water. Make sure you wash the larvae before feeding them to your fish.

Pond Snails

Because pond snails reproduce so readily, they are a very easy form of live food to cultivate. Pond snails are ideal for carnivorous species of fish, especially if you crush them before offering them to your fish. To cultivate pond snails, simply collect some pond snails from a nearby pond (or ask your local pet store for a few) and add them to a container of water. Feed the snails lettuce and other forms of vegetation and wait for them to reproduce. Be careful when adding pond snails to your tank as food because they can quickly reproduce and leave your tank overrun with these pests.

Share Button
August 11, 2014 at 2:53 PM Comments (0)