An aquarium is a container made of glass,or with glass walls.It permits watching the fishes swimming easily and for prolonged periods of time.It is a hobby which appeals to young and old and has opened up a flourishing business in all big cities.

And also,next to birds,fishes are perhaps the most colourful of animals.They are graceful in their shape,body form and movement.

Setting up an aquarium tank

Tank selection: The choice of an aquarium tank,depends largely on where it is to be housed,the extent of one’s enthusiasm and the money one wants to spend.While selecting a tank it is very important to note that it is of good construction.Shallow and wide tanks are preferable as they have more surface area to facilitate oxygenation through atmospheric contact.Further such tanks can accommodate more number of fishes.

Before setting up the tank,a suitable place has to be selected.In order to get a good view of both fishes and plants in an aquarium tank,the light should come obliquely.Hence, instead of the window sill,a place nearer to its side may be selected.To avail maximum sunlight an eastern exposure is preferable.The support or table for positioning the tank must be strong and in level.It is also essential to have a cover with a provision for installing lights and feeding.

If the tanks are purchased they should be checked for leakage.Their sides should be cleaned with 1% potassium permanganate solution, besides repeated washing with tap water.The next step in the setting up of an aquarium is the collection of sand that is necessary to make the bed at the bottom of the tank.The sand for the tank bottom can be collected from the sea shore or a river.This sand has to be washed to remove the dirt.It is advisable to put the sand in a shallow pan or aluminium vessel and heating it.The cleaned sand may be exposed in the bright sun.These processes ensure the killing of all bacteria or germs.The cleaned sand should be spread evenly in the tank bottom.Over the top layer of sand a thin layer of stone chips or very small pebbles may be placed.

Quality of water for Aquarium tank

Rain water free from contaminants or tap water is ideal for aquarium tanks.A tap water of domestic supply is likely to have chlorine which is harmful to fish.This water may be stagnated for about one or two days before use.If the water is hard it must be properly treated.The tank should be filled with the desired water without disturbing the bottom sand.

Planting:The aquarium tank after being filled with water can be planned with selected varieties of aquatic plants.The plants provide shade, shelter and sanctuary for fish.Besides decorating the aquarium tank,they also help in spawning and as food for certain fishes.The plants provide oxygen through photosynthesis.Over crowding of plants has to be avoided to ensure an adequate supply of oxygen to fishes.

Lighting:Light besides beautifying the aquarium helps in the photosynthesis of aquarium plants.Fishes also require light to trace their food.Further the light is known to influence the growth of fish.Strong sunlight destroys bacteria and keeps the tank healthy.For a moderate tank bulbs of 60 watts each may be lit for eight hours a day.It is better to use fluorescent lighting for promotion of plant growth and for even distribution of light.

Introduction of fish in an aquarium tank

The number of fishes suitable for stocking in an aquarium tank depends mainly on the surface area of the tank,it’s dissolved oxygen content and size of the fish.It is reported that 1 cm long fish may lead about 75 cm^2 of the surface area.The fishes are generally introduced two or three days after planting when the water would be clear and well oxygenated by plants.Before introduction into the Aquarium tank,the fish may be treated with 2 percent potassium permanganate solution to avoid parasitic attack.

Feeding: Fishes may be fed once or twice a day according to their preference and satiation.Excess food and detritus may be removed 30 minutes after feeding,by siphoning out using rubber tubing.If the level of the water gets reduced in course of time it should be restored by the addition of some rain water or chlorine free tap water.

A large number of fishes are cultured in aquaria for their beauty and graceful movements.The movement of colour fishes in an aquarium would certainly please the ailing and convalescing people.The aquarium may gladden one’s heart.

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