The aquarium equipment used in a tropical fish tank is vital to the health of the fish and other organisms entrusted to your care. The aquarist is ultimately responsible for anything that is placed into the container. Whatever is placed there will remain – in one form or another – until it is removed.
The most important part is the purification of the water, common sense suggests this is solely the responsibility of the filter, and the unit selected will make a big difference in whether there is success or not. Although important, the filter is not the only factor in the filtration area. The amount of nutrients put into the aquarium is also important to the long-term success and health of the fish. I believe that more fish are killed by overfeeding than almost anything else. An overfed tank pushes the ability of the filter to purify the water the fish must live in. Simply put – too much food kills, both from the toxins generated by the fish and the results of the decay of the excess food put in the habitat.
Although there are fish that do not require heat, mainly the various species of goldfish that are kept in home aquaria. Otherwise, the vast number of ornamental fish are kept in heated water. These are the various freshwater tropical fish. We will discuss marine fish occasionally when they are of current interest in the blog section, but my expertise and the focus of the Tropical Fish Aquarist is on the various freshwater species that are kept in heated water. There are a number of heater styles available. Sometimes it is confusing which would be the best to have in your aquarium.
The lighting in the aquarium is often overlooked for many aquariums. This is not so much of a problem for fish only aquariums, ones that incorporate a lot of fish and these are the focal point of the eco-system. When one considers live aquatic plants, though, the situation changes dramatically. Plants require proper light to enable them to photosynthesize. Without the appropriate spectrum, they cannot grow or thrive. There are a lot of different lighting technologies out there. The most popular include standard fluorescent lamps, HO (High Output) Fluorescent systems and LED lights. In addition there are a lot of specialized styles that can be used, but usually for extremely specific purposes.
Besides these main categories of aquarium equipment, there are other accessories that may need to be added. The most important are the decoration and ornaments you need to selct for the fish to live among. These usually are chosen to make for a pleasing view to the eye of the beholder. But most fish rarely care what they look like, they don’t seem to care what colour or textures are there. As far as the fish are concerned, they need places to hide and sleep. The ornaments in the aquarium will become a place of conflict as the various fish try to claim an area. Generally this is more pronounced when they are ready to spawn. When the decorations include live aquatic plants for the fish, it is sometime necessary to include added equipment like a carbon dioxide infuser to bring up the level of CO2 in the aquarium for the plants. Depending on the plants, this may be overkill, but heavily planted aquariums often need to supplement the carbolic acid by using a bubbler device infusing CO2 when the lights are on.