In our mind, aquarium test kits are the most important thing to own within your aquarium kit, which is why we strongly recommend that all hobbyists have one. Tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH are used on a very regular basis and often these tests alone can help diagnose problems in your aquarium in less time it takes to make a cuppa. There are many companies who make tests its and each have their ups and downs, but unless you are sending mega bucks on a single test, essentially all of the test kits we get are all hobbyist grade, so they give a good indication on what is going on, without getting to deep. We prefer to use either the Sera range of tests or the API brand tests.
For most of us we are at the mercy of or local council when it comes to our water supply. Most parts of New Zealand these days have chlorine put in the water to make it drinkable for human consumption, unfortunately for our wet pets this can cause great damage to them. This is why we at The Fish Room feel that water conditioners are an essential piece of kit for any fish keeper new or experienced. Not all water conditioners are the same however, some manage to bond other nasties in the water like heavy metals and ammonia. Another thing to look at while purchasing a water conditioner is how strong the does is. Some bottles read 5 mls will treat 200L of aquarium water, while others say 5ml will treat 40ml of aquarium water.
Vacuum siphon device can possibly one of the most used bits of equipment in your fish kit. These will be used most times when you do a water change. These work by removing the built-up poo that has dropped into the substrate of your aquarium. These are very simple tools you use and they can do a fantastic job. Some have auto pump starters and others do not. Although they are relatively inexpensive to buy, you can also DIY and make your own with a bit of hose and a cut plastic bottle. Vacuums not only work to help remove water, but you can also use them to put the water back into your aquarium in a slower way, so as to not disturb your substrate and aquascape.
For a demonstration on how to use a gravel vacuum, jump onto our YouTube channel and watch our demonstration videos.
Glass cleaners are brilliant at getting on algae from the inside of your aquarium. These come in many different forms, from magnetic to scrubbers on sticks. Some come with metal stripes at the end for the most suborn green spot and coralline algae others do not.
When purchasing a magnetic cleaner match the glass cleaner to the thickness of your aquarium glass. The thicker your glass, the stronger the magnet you will need. Like a lot of things in this wonderful hobby, we can improvise and make our own. We have found tearing off some filter wool to work very well on the inside of our aquarium. You can watch our video on using filter wool here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0kIU3lecXI&t=78s
Biological bacteria liquids come in all shapes and forms. However, it is our belief that they are not the be all and end all. They serve a purpose and they can be beneficial. We feel they are best used when setting up a new aquarium, when added new wet pets to your aquarium or whenever you are doing maintenance on your filter system.
Setting up a new aquarium: Bottled bacteria is a good way of speeding up a cycle for a new aquarium (please see cycling section) using these products can shorten a cycle down from upwards of 6 weeks to as little as 3-7 days. If using a bottled bacteria to cycle a fresh aquarium, please note although your aquarium is cycled and ready for wet pets, it is still a very immature system, so slowly adding fish is still the best option.
Adding new fish: When we add new fish into our aquarium the bio load increases. Because of this we advise adding some bottled bacteria for the first couple of days when introducing your new pets to their forever home as it will help your filter add beneficial bacteria as your bio load increase
Part 5 still to come.....