Aquarium Tips

Aquarium Tips

Aquarium Tips

Aquarium Tips – Here are some tips on keeping your aquarium:

  • All plain & custom made aquariums are sold with polystyrene. This must be placed underneath the aquarium otherwise the aquarium can crack or cause stress on the silicone joints.
  • The aquarium must be placed on a completely level surface otherwise stress cracks may occur causing the aquarium to leak.
  • When cleaning the aquarium please make sure you don’t rub along any of the silicone joins with algae pads etc. as this can cause the joins to give way.
  • Try not to place the aquarium in any direct sunlight as this can cause algae blooms within the aquarium.
  • Never spray any fly spray, deodorant etc. around the aquarium as this may poison the fish.
  • Always ensure you have no perfumes, moisturizers etc. on your hands while handling anything to do with the aquarium.
  • Never place the aquarium on top of a fridge, television, stereo etc. as the noise and fluctuation of temperature can harm the fish.
  • Most fish need feeding once a day. If there is any food left after 5 minutes you have fed the fish too much and this food must be removed immediately.
  • If you have a florescent light fitting above the aquarium we recommend the tube be replaced on a yearly basis as the spectrum of the tube will fade over time. The lighting hours we recommend are between 8-12 hours per day.
  • Always make sure your filter is switched on 24 hours a day and is cleaned out on a regular basis of approximately every 2 weeks. We also recommend a 20-30% water change using a gravel cleaner every 2 weeks. Do not clean your filter out at the same time as doing a water change. If you are using carbon in your filter system make sure that this is replaced at least once every 4-6 weeks as it will start releasing impurities that it has absorbed back into your aquarium. Replace any Course sponges every 4 – 5 months, any fine sponges every 4-8 weeks and replace 1/3 of any biological media every 6-12 months. You should never wash biological media in tap water.
  • The pH of the aquarium should be monitored after every water change. Ask one of our staff members what the pH level should be for your fish.
  • Introduce fish slowly to your new aquarium, never add any more than a few fish every 1-2 weeks, please advise a staff member if your aquarium is newly set up and they will recommend an appropriate number of fish for you to start with.

To View our full range of Aquariums click HERE

Bearded Dragon Information

Bearded Dragon Information

Bearded Dragon Information

Bearded Dragon Information. There are two types of Bearded Dragons kept in New Zealand. One is the Inland Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps), and the other is the Eastern Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata). The Inland Bearded Dragon is from inland  west New South Wales and Queensland, hates humidity, and loves a very hot and dry enclosure. If the humidity is to high it can cause respiratory infections and if not treated quickly, death can occur.The Eastern Bearded Dragon is from Eastern Coast of Australia and ranges from the Cooktown area of far north Queensland to south eastern South-Australia and is more tolerant of humidity and cooler temperatures.

Like Turtles, the Bearded Dragon requires correct lighting, diet and specialised housing in order for them to thrive.

Housing Hatchling Bearded Dragons can be done easily in an empty glass fish tank. We have raised two hatchlings in a tank 100 x 40 x 40cm. If I was to raise up to four hatchlings then I would recommend using a tank 120 x 45 x 45cm. A small water dish for drinking from, bark or Reptile Cage Carpet on the floor, plenty of logs to climb and hide under, a flat rock under a heat lamp, and a UVA / UVB Reptile light above was pretty much the tank set up. It is worth mentioning here that the UVA / UVB Reptile light must be no more than 300mm away from the Dragons basking spot as the effectiveness of the light is greatly reduced the further away it is.

ARTIFICIAL LIGHT: When keeping Reptiles in captive environments we need to provide artificial sunlight. Not any old light will do!!! There are specific Reptile lights sold by Pet Shops. Some are different shapes and come in many different sizes. Every keeper needs to be made aware of what light is right for their Reptiles well being. So here we go, and I hope that what you are about to learn is not too confusing.

UVA / UVB.  What does all this mean???  The UV spectrum is broken up into three parts: UVA, UVB and UVC, all of which are present in natural sunlight. UVA and UVB are essential for Reptiles wellbeing. UVA is the visible light range, and is responsible for normal behaviours such as feeding and activity. UVB is a non-visible wavelength, and allows the synthesis of vitamin D3, which helps process calcium and prevent Soft Shell in Turtles and Metabolic Bone Disease in Lizards. (Metabolic Bone Disease is particularly common with Bearded Dragons and Eastern Water Dragons that have incorrect lighting)

INTENSITY OF LIGHT: Glass filters 95% of UVB. Fly mesh filters 30% of UVB. It is best to have no lids on your enclosures, or to mount the light on the inside of your Lizards environment. This will then ensure that your Reptile is going to get the full benefit from the UVB given off. There are two types of Reptile bulbs available, UVA / UVB Fluorescent Tubes and Compact UVA / UVB Low-energy  Bulbs. In order for your Reptile to gain the highest possible UVB% from your bulb, the distance between your Reptiles sunning area and the UV bulb must not exceed 300mm (unless you are using a Lucky Reptile Compact in which case you can have your basking distance of upto 50cm). The further your Reptile is from the light, the UV light levels are greatly reduced. Also note that the Florescent Tubes and Compact Bulbs need to be changed as per the manufacturers recommendations. Usually annually, as the UVA / UVB output is reduced over time. Even though the light still goes, they are of no benefit to your Reptile at all!!

AMOUNT OF LIGHT: 10 hours of artificial light is the minimum per day. An easier way to make sure that your Reptile is getting enough UVB is to turn the lights on when you get up in the morning and off when you go to bed

Dragons require a basking spot in their terrarium which will provide a temperature of 35oC – 40oC. This is to be setup down one end of you enclosure. This way your Dragon can thermo-regulate. Thermo-regulation is what all Reptiles do. As they are cold blooded they must heat themselves up (outside this is achieved in the warmth of the sun) so they can be active enough to feed, digest food and go about their daily activities. Once up to temperature they can move about their enclosure. As they cool down they must return to their basking spot to heat up again. If their entire enclosure was 400C they would have nowhere to cool down and would over heat and eventually die.

There are a few different ways of Heating enclosures or part of an enclosure to raise the temperature of your Reptile artificially. I have listed only two methods as this is what I have had experience with and both are very easy to set up and use.

Ceramic Heat Lamps:  These are a ceramic heat element designed not to give off light but plenty of heat, and also come in a range of wattages. It is essential that these be used with a probe thermostat to avoid over heating of your terrarium and Dragon. These bulbs must be mounted inside a mesh protection cage to prevent burns to active Dragons and burns to the keeper by accidentally coming in contact with a hot bulb. The surface temperature of these heat emitters is in excess of 200oC so will do serious damage to skin of any type upon contact. As these bulbs give off a lot of heat they must be used in conjunction with ceramic fittings. These bulbs are expensive to purchase but will burn for approximately 10,000 hours. I have the temperature at 35oC for Bearded Dragons and 30oC for Water Dragons.

Infrared Heat Bulbs: These are a specific red colored Infrared Reptile bulb that reflects a lot of heat and come in a variety of wattages.They are best used without a shade (this will prolong the life of the bulb) and must be used with a probe thermostat to avoid over heating of your terrarium and Dragon. These bulbs must be mounted inside a mesh protection cage to prevent burns to active Dragons and burns to the keeper by accidentally coming in contact with a hot bulb. As these bulbs give off a lot of heat they must be used with ceramic fittings.

Heat Rocks, Heat Pads, and Under Substrate Heating Cables: I have read conflicting issues regarding Heating Rocks, Heat Pads and Heating Cables, and have avoided using these as I also believe that Reptiles are designed to absorb the heat directly on their backs, not their bellies. I have never seen a Reptile of any description lying on its back, feet in the air, soaking up the rays!!! I have also heard of Reptiles being cooked from the inside out by these forms of heating when thermostats malfunction.


Washing Aquarium Substrates

Washing Aquarium Substrates

Washing Aquarium Substrates

Washing Aquarium Substrates. A common complaint of many substrates is that they tend to cloud up water when first setting up a tank. This clouding can be mitigated by filling the tank slowly or adding water over a dish so it does not stir the gravel., If it is important that clouding be completely elliminated, you might want to try one of these methods…

  1. Probably the best way to remove residual dust is to screen it. this can be accomplished in a few different ways but the principle is the same. You can take a common screen from a window and spread your gravel out over it. Then take a hose and pour water over it until the water comes out from under the screen clean. Another suggestion is take a cover from a reptile tank. These have a fine screen and a plastic border to keep material from washing away. Yet another way to do this is to simply build your own rinsing apparatus using wood and screen. Make sure the screen is fine enough so that only dust washes trhough it.
  2. Another method is by filling up a bucket halfway with your gravel, then filling the bucket with water . Stir up the gravel and pour out the water. you can also just let the bucket continue to fill with water and let it overflow. This can be done outside or in a sink.
  3. If you have a large sieve, you can also use it. Fill it with your gravel and then just let water run through it. One good idea we have heard, if you are rinsing any of our substrates for the planted aquarium and have a garden or flower bed, is to rinse out the substrate over your garden. All the dust that settles in the soil will benefit outdoor plants as well.

To view our full range of Substrate Click HERE




REEVES TURTLE CHINEMYS REEVESI. The Reeve’s Turtle comes from mainland China and Japan, where it is poached for food to near extinction and is now classed as threatened. Hot House Turtles is proud to support Save The Asian Turtle Species, where it is hoped that one day Reeve’s Turtles will be released into safe sanctuaries in their country of origin, free of poachers.

Turtles reared on Hot House Turtles frozen Turtle Food will thrive as the fish based diet contains necessary calcium and other minerals and vitamins to ensure turtle shell quality and general well being. You can also feed you turtles on Live Food such as Mealworms & Waxmoth larvae.


  • Tank Size – Hatchlings should be reared in a tank of approximately 60x30x30cm and for a pair this will probably only be adequate for about 6 – 18 months. A pair of 15-25cm turtles need a minimum 120x60x60cm tank.
  • Water Depth – There is no maximum water depth but the minimum is twice the turtle shell length, however, do not have the water level or floating island too close to the top of the tank as turtles are good climbers and your pet could climb out. A drop of 50cm or more on to a hard surface could kill your turtle.
  • Water temperature – I recommended keeping the water temperature of your tanks at 26C to avoid your Turtle refusing to eat. Once water temperatures drop below 15C Turtles will stop eating and can stave to death as these temperatures are too high for successful hibernating, and too low for digesting food successfully. Water temperature can be maintained by using a standard aquarium heater (inserted inside a heater guard., these prevent your Turtle from possibly breaking the heater). We can advise what size heater you’ll require for the volume of water your Turtle lives in.
  • Water Quality – Regular water changes will assist in maintaining the water quality. Your turtle tank should be thoroughly cleaned every week. Poor water quality leads to disease. Be aware that every gram of solid food results in 4 to 5 grams of urine being excreted.
  • Water Filtration – Frequent water changes can be avoided with the use of a quality power filter but regular cleaning will still need to be maintained. The biggest cause of death with pet Turtles is ammonia poisoning. Your tank water can look clean but the ammonia levels due to their urine can be off the scale and Turtles once poisoned can die within hours.

When keeping Reptiles in captive environments we need to provide artificial sunlight. Not any old light will do!!! There are specific Reptile lights some are different shapes and come in many different sizes. Every keeper needs to be made aware of what light is right for their Reptiles well being. So here we go, and I hope that what you are about to learn is not too confusing.

  • UVA / UVB. – What does all this mean??? The UV spectrum is broken up into three parts: UVA, UVB and UVC, all of which are present in natural sunlight. UVA and UVB are essential for Reptiles wellbeing. UVA is the visible light range, and is responsible for normal behaviours such as feeding and activity. UVB is a non-visible wavelength, and allows the synthesis of vitamin D3, which helps process calcium and prevent Soft Shell in Turtles and Metabolic Bone Disease in Lizards. (Metabolic Bone Disease is particularly common with Bearded Dragons and Eastern Water Dragons that have incorrect lighting)
  • WHICH IS THE RIGHT LIGHT FOR MY REPTILE –  “Sun-worshippers”. Some Reptiles are described as “Sun-worshippers”, including Bearded Dragons, Eastern Water Dragons and many species of Turtles especially Red-eared Turtles. In the wild these Reptiles spend many hours a day exposed to the sun and high UVB levels. They require high levels of UVB!! If you keep any Reptile in captivity in New Zealand, you are bound to have a “Sun-worshipper”, therefore it is imperative that you purchase a Reptile specific light with the highest possible UVB output. The Florescent Tubes that you will find for sale in New Zealand currently range from 2.0, 5.0, 8.0, and 10.0. These numbers represent the percentage of UVB wavelengths that they give. The higher the number the higher the percentage of UVB, the better that light is for the wellbeing of your Reptile. We recommend either an 5.0 or 10.0 for turtles
  • INTENSITY OF LIGHT – Glass filters 95% of UVB. Fly mesh filters 30% of UVB. It is best to have no lids on your Turtle tanks, and to mount the light on the inside of your Lizards environment. This will then ensure that your Reptile is going to get the full benefit from the UVB given off. There are two types of Reptile bulbs available, UVA / UVB Fluorescent Tubes and Compact UVA / UVB Low-energy Bulbs. In order for your Reptile to gain the highest possible UVB% from your bulb, the distance between your Reptiles sunning area and the UV bulb must not exceed 300mm The further your Reptile is from the light, the UV light levels are greatly reduced. Also note that the Florescent Tubes and Compact Bulbs need to be changed as per the manufacturers recommendations. Usually annually, as the UVA / UVB output is reduced over time. Even though the light still goes, they are of no benefit to your Reptile at all!!
  • AMOUNT OF LIGHT – 10 hours of artificial light is the minimum per day. An easier way to make sure that your Reptile is getting enough UVB is to turn the lights on when you get up in the morning and off when you go to bed.


Hollywood Fish Farm Turtle Care Sheet

Hollywood Fish Farm Turtle Care Sheet

Hollywood Fish Farm Turtle Care Sheet

Hollywood Fish Farm Turtle Care Sheet. Red Eared Turtles make a fun and interesting pet – Here is some info on keeping Red Eared Turtles:

Aquarium Size:
We recommend that you get the largest aquarium you can either afford or accommodate as turtles can grow quite large and at a fast pace. The minimum size that we would recommend is our 24 x 15 x 15 Turtle tank. This would last one turtle hatchling approximately 1-2 years, two turtle hatchlings would last approximately 6-12 months.

It is best to feed a variety of foods to your turtle. One of the types of food we recommend you feed is a specific frozen food for turtles as this contains essential vitamins and minerals including calcium which is needed for the development of a turtle’s shell. You should also include some form of vegetation in their diet like oxygen weed or aquarium plants as well as feeding a dried pellet or shrimp. These foods should be fed on a daily basis at approximately the same time.

Water Conditions:
Temperature – Turtles live in heated water around 23°C – 25°C, they generally slow down or stop eating at approximately 15°C; however they do not fully hibernate until around 10°C. Hibernation can be a very difficult procedure and can be very detrimental to the turtle if not done correctly therefore we advise that turtles be kept at the recommended temperature all year round.

Turtles are very messy creatures and a filter is essential if you want to keep the water clean and reasonably odor free.

Depending on the type of filtration unit you decide to get most filters need to be cleaned at least once a week. We also recommend that you change 50% – 100% of the water once a week.

Turtles must have a fluorescent light above the aquarium. It is advised to be a specific reptile tube as these are specially formulated to provide the correct levels of light turtles require to produce vitamin D³, these need to be replaced every 12 months. The light needs to be on for 12 hours a day, no longer, no less. We also recommend that there is no glass lid or plastic light cover stopping the light from directly hitting the turtles shell.

Common Health Problems:

  • Soft Shell – This can occur by a lack of Vitamin D and/or inadequate lighting. The shell starts to feel soft and the turtle can generally look unhealthy. This can be corrected by increasing the lighting levels and by adding more calcium in their diet. Turtle calcium blocks are available and can be added to the aquarium.
  • Pneumonia – Turtles can easily catch a chill which will quickly lead to pneumonia. Most chills arise from the following: taking your turtle outside on a cold day or if your turtles’ aquarium is not heated adequately.

Other information:

  • Turtles live in captivity for approximately 17 to 25 years
  • An adult turtle can produce up to 1litre of urine a day
  • Females can grow up to 20-28cm
  • Males can grow up to 13-18cm
  • The easiest way of sexing turtles is with the claws – the male has much longer claws than the females.

Providing the above instructions are followed it is very unlikely that you will experience any health problems with your turtle and you should both have a happy and long life together!!

To see our full range of Reptile Food Click HERE


Aquarium Relocation

Aquarium Relocation

Aquarium Relocation

Aquarium Relocation. What is the best way to make a house move as easy and as safe for your fish as possible? Moving house can be a very stressful experience not only for us but for our fish as well. The following is a brief description which highlights the key areas to concentrate on when moving your aquarium and its inhabitants to their new home, in your new house. By following these recommendations you should be able to successfully establish a healthy aquarium including a fully functional mature filter in a relatively short period of time, safe in the knowledge that your fish will have undergone very little stress during this process.

  1. Positioning of the aquarium in the new home
    The first area to concentrate on is the correct positioning of the aquarium within the new home; this should be in a position that is esthetically pleasing to the eye but also fit in with its surrounding fixtures, an area within the house which receives moderate sunlight, and is consistent on temperature would be suitable. Incorrect positioning could result in excess algae growth which may lead to poor water quality; direct sunlight would not be suitable. The aquarium should either be the first or last piece of furniture to be moved. Whether you choose to do this at the start or end of the move is of course down to you. The most important thing is to complete the move of the aquarium as swiftly as possible without interruptions and delays for the welfare of both the fish and the filter bacteria
  2. Safe moving and handling of fish
    When you want to remove your fish from the aquarium, we would advise you use poly bins/chilly bins for a large amount of fish or plastic fish bags for smaller numbers of fish. The Poly boxes are essential if you are moving any distance or the fish you are moving have been kept in a warm water environment, I.e. Tropical or Marine. These bins will help to maintain the temperature of the water for the fish. The bins also supply the fish with a more secure and stress free environment during the move. Once the fish are secure, don’t panic too much, yes time is of the essence, however you have around 6-12 hours before the water quality and oxygen deplete enough  to begin causing problems for the fish.
  3. Remove all aquarium rocks and ornaments
    Just keep these seperate from the fish incase the fish get damaged by them in the move – feel free to add any live plants to the poly boxes if you have any
  4. Water
    It is extremely important to keep as much existing mature water from the aquarium as possible. Water barrels  will be perfect for this job.
  5. Filter Maintenance and its media
    Now it is time to prepare the filter for the move. The filters, in whatever capacity, are the heart of the aquarium. Without these fundamental systems it would be almost impossible, to keep fish in the capacity so many of us do today. Filters in their make up are an  extremely complex living system consisting of many different types of bacteria which in turn are responsible for their part to play in gaining good water quality thus providing a safe environment for us to keep fish. These bacteria which colonise the filter media break down the organic and inorganic material which can occur within the aquarium. Fish waste both solid and liquid will be broken down by these bacteria. Therefore, it is extremely important to keep as many of these bacteria alive for as long as possible during the move. Depending upon the type of filter we advise removing the filter media {sponges, ceramic noodles carbon etc} from the filter and placing it in a bucket of tank water, if it is possible oxygenate this water when you can, perhaps using a battery powered air pump. This will keep many of the aerobic bacteria alive
  6. Midway Check List
    So, you now have the fish, water, and filter media taken care off along with all the electrical equipment which was used on the aquarium. All you should be left with is an empty aquarium with only substrate left present. Its is now that the tank and cabinet can by moved to your new home, take care when moving the larger components of your system, securing the aquarium and cabinet correctly in the desired vehicle for the move can prevent any costly mistakes. Try not to let the gravel/substrate in the aquarium dry out as this might kill off the bacteria – also don’t rinse the gravel in tap water once you have drained the tank as we want to keep as much bacteria alive as possible

  7. Setting the Aquarium back up
    Once the aquarium and cabinet are in position, in the new home, it is time to start adding the water back into the aquarium. Depending on how much water was saved prior to the move will determine how quickly you can add your fish back into the aquarium. Let assume we saved 50% of the tank water. Once filled with the existing water, the aquarium should now be half full, at this stage we advise adding all electrical equipment, ornaments, plants and air stones back into their desired positions. Immediately after this it is extremely important that we get the filter back working and fully operational. It is inevitable that some of the important bacteria mentioned above will have died during the move, this is unavoidable. Fortunately these bacteria even at small levels are extremely productive and will multiply very quickly, by keeping the filter media in water and if possible oxygenated during the move, we will have insured that a large amount of these bacteria have been kept perfectly healthy.  This along with keeping the already mature aquarium water will certainly go a long to speeding the process up and gaining a fully mature filter system in a relatively short space of time. It is now time to begin filling the aquarium to its full capacity, whilst doing this I would advise adding a dechlorinating agent & bacteria supplement to the water. It is also advisable to double check the pH level as depending on how much water you have changed this might need to be corrected. Once again you should now have a fully operational aquarium; all that’s left is to do is re-establish the fish…………

  8. Introducing the fish
    The fish are likely to have been in the bins now for some time now. Carefully lift the lid on the poly bin allowing a little light into the bin.  Exposing them to too much light too soon will stress the fish. A gradual increase in light over a period of ten minets will be fine; this will allow them to adjust to the natural light surroundings. Begin by floating the fish in their bags in the aquarium or mix some water from the aquarium into the bins. At this stage once all the fish are floating in their bags, do a check on the tank temperature using a glass thermometer or similar instrument. The fish will need floating for around ten minutes in their bags. This will allow the water in the bag to adjust gradually to the surrounding water in the aquarium, of course with the fish in the bags they too will acclimatise at a steady rate which is safe to them. If they are not given correct time to acclimatise they will suffer from temperature shock which can have very severe effects on the fish’s health and well being. Once the fish have been floated for the ten minute period, begin opening the bags, whilst doing this I would advise rolling down the sides of the bags and gently allowing some water from the aquarium to enter the bag, this will not only finish of the acclimatisation procedure but, just as importantly it will allow the fish to adjust to the very slightly different water parameters, which will have been brought about by the influx of 50% new aquarium water. Repeat this process another time, keep a close eye on all your fish during this period, it is also extremely important that all aquarium lights are kept off at all times during this acclimatisation period. Once the fish have adjusted to the water quality and temperature, it is now time to release them into their new home.
  9. Once the fish are in their new home
    You may notice at this stage that some of the fish will swim straight to the bottom or hide behind some rocks or plants, do not panic this is only natural, in time they will adjust to their surroundings. We advise monitoring the fish carefully for the next 12 hours, and begin feeding around 48 hours after the move. After the fish have been reintroduced, leave the aquarium lights off for around 5-6 hours. Other small checks that are useful are to check that the filter is running correctly, return the heater to its correct temperature, and test your water quality on a weekly basis, monitor fish’s behaviour, and make sure they are all feeding correctly.
  10. Water Quality
    Testing your water quality will enable you to see that all water parameters are safe for the fish and that the filter has successfully matured to its previous state. If you are concerned by any of the results shown in the water test, consult one of our staff members for more detailed advice HERE

  11. Conclusion
    Provided you take care to follow the procedures mentioned above, we are confident that in a very short space of time you will once again be able to appreciate your beautiful aquarium.

    Happy fish keeping

Fire Bellied Newt Care Sheet

Fire Bellied Newt Care Sheet

Fire Bellied Newt Care Sheet

Fire Bellied Newt Care Sheet. Fire Bellied Newts are the next best thing to a lizard or turtle – but easier to keep!! Read on for more info…..

Common names: There are two kinds of Fire-Bellied Newt that are readily available in the pet trade:

Japanese Fire-Bellied Newt: Cynops pyrrhogaster

Chinese Fire-Bellied Newt: Cynops Orientalis

The Chinese Fire-bellied Newt may sometimes also be referred to as the Oriental Fire-Bellied Newt or the Dwarf Fire-Bellied Newt.

Description: They are usually dark brown to black with red or orange undersides, hence the name Fire-Bellied. The Japanese Fire-Bellied Newt is larger than the Chinese Fire-Bellied Newt and they tend to have red speckled bellies. They have rough skin, while the Chinese Fire-bellied Newts have smooth skin and a speckled orange underside.

Size: Japanese Fire-Bellied Newts average at about 9-12 CM (3.5-5 inches), while Chinese Fire-Bellied Newts will only grow to 6-10 CM (3-4 inches).

Life span: Fire-Bellied Newts can live up to 30 years with appropriate care, but average at about 10-15 years generally.

Origin: Japanese Fire-Bellied Newts are native to Japan on the Islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. The Chinese Fire-Bellied Newt is native to China.

Temperament: Fire-Bellied Newts are a very active species of newt, so they make great pets. They are great first amphibians, because they are relatively easy to care for. They may be quite shy when they are first introduced to a new set up, but usually become more active when they become accustomed to their surroundings.

Alone or Together: Fire-Bellied Newts can be housed together with other Fire-Bellied Newts, but be careful if you choose to co-habit them with other species. Fire-Bellied Newts secrete a toxin from their skin that can harm other inhabitants with prolonged exposure.

Housing: An Aquarium or glass terrarium will be needed to house your Fire-Bellied Newts.

Fire-Bellied Newts are semi-aquatic and need a 70/30 split within their tank, with 30% being land based, while the other being a water area. Alternatively, you could have a fully aquatic set-up, with floating islands of cork bark or large rocks pertruding out of the water to give your newts a place to rest and bask.

They are good at escaping, so care should be taken to ensure your tank has a tight fitting lid.

Feeding: Fire-Bellied Newts should be fed 2-3 times a week with a varied diet of appropriately sized prey items, such as bloodworms, earthworms, maggots, insect larvae and Whiteworms.

Aquarium Filtration Importance

Aquarium Filtration Importance

Aquarium Filtration Importance

Why Filtration for Aquariums?
Aquarium Filtration Importance. Aquariums are really artificial homes for our fish, these confined spaces without freely running water and proportionality a extremely high numbers of fish per litre of water require the support of technology to maintain conditions in which fish can survive and flourish. All fish produce a range of waste products that, if they are allowed to accumulate within the aquarium, will lead to a decline in water quality and fish health. Whilst stringent feeding practices and regular water changes may help, most aquarists will rely upon some form of filter to remove and break down these potentially toxic waste products.

The Filtration Process
Aquarium Filtration Importance. Aquarium filtration may be considered as a mechanism by which waste laden water is circulated through a chamber that contains a large surface area on which solid wastes may become trapped together with a surface on which an entire population of waste consuming micro-organisms are encouraged to grow. The portion of the filter that is associated with trapping solid debris is often referred to as the mechanical filter whilst the surface on which the waste consuming micro-organisms are encouraged to grow is referred to as the biological filter.

The mechanical portion of the filter often consists of a disc of foam or filter floss that allows clean water to pass through but traps any solid debris that enters it. Eventually, as the foam or floss becomes clogged with solid debris, the amount of water that can pass through the filter becomes restricted and both water quality and water clarity may begin to deteriorate. The process of trapping solid waste materials is referred to as mechanical filtration.

Although many species of fish produce a great deal of solid waste matter, an effective aquarium filter will also be required to encourage the growth of an entire population of waste consuming micro-organisms. These micro-organisms grow on the surface of the biological filter media where they feed on those toxic soluble waste products that are produced by fish. Although over 400 species of micro-organism have been identified as feeding on these soluble waste products, most can be divided into two main groups; those that consume ammonia and those that consume nitrite.

Even the smallest accumulation in soluble waste products is likely to have a detrimental impact on the health of fish and, therefore, should be avoided. The symptoms of a build up of this form of waste includes a depressed feeding response, excess mucous production and gill damage. Long term impacts of waste accumulation are much more subtle and include poor growth rates, reduced breeding response and suppression of the immune response.

The most important, and toxic, soluble waste product is ammonia. Although ammonia is excreted by the fish as a response to using high protein feeds, it is also produced when solid waste products are left to decay within the aquarium or mechanical filter. The other form of waste product that is associated with fish keeping is nitrite, which is excreted as waste product by those organisms that feed on ammonia. These nitrite consuming organisms also excrete the waste product nitrate. Although nitrate can be toxic to aquatic organisms, it is required to build up to significantly higher concentrations than both ammonia and nitrite before it will have an impact on fish health. Using high quality feeds and regularly siphoning or removing any solid debris remain as some of the most important but overlooked methods of maintaining water quality and enhancing the performance of the filtration system.

The process of biological filtration not only requires a steady supply of ammonia to encourage the growth of a stable population of waste consuming organisms, but it also requires a supply of dissolved oxygen, a stable water temperature and water chemistry. Any disruption to the quality or quantity of water entering the filter may disrupt or destroy this population and lead to a potentially lethal decline in water quality. Maintaining a stable water quality, ensuring that the water entering the filter is well aerated and preventing any blockage or disruption to the flow of water through the filter remain as the most effective methods of ensuring that the biological filter functions effectively and maintaining fish health.

Importance of Checking Water Chemistry
Aquarium Filtration Importance. The process of encouraging a colony or population of waste consuming organisms within the biological filter can represent one of the most important tasks within fishkeeping. Water quality will quickly deteriorate if fish are added to the aquarium before this population has grown and established at a level at which they are able to consume all of the associated waste products. This period of time is often referred to as the maturation period.

At the early stages of the maturation period, the population of waste consuming organisms will be virtually zero and waste products are likely to accumulate quickly. The fishkeeper should be prepared to add only small numbers of hardy fish that are able to tolerate any deterioration in water chemistry, feed very sparingly and test the water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate during this initial stage. Detecting even the slightest presence will require the fishkeeper to undertake water changes, add suitable chemical media, reduce feeding or remove any accumulating solid debris to enable them to return these toxic waste products to a safe level before they consider adding any further fish to their aquarium.

Choosing a filter
Aquarium Filtration Importance. Although there are many types of filter available to the fishkeeper, the most commonly used filters are the internal power filters, external canister filters and hang on filters. Each design of filter has a number of advantages and disadvantages that may influence the fishkeeper in making their choice.

  • Internal power filters – sited within the aquarium, the internal power filter can combine both mechanical and chemical filtration to provide an effective means of preventing waste accumulation within the smaller aquarium. Waste laden water enters through the base of the filter and is pulled up through the filter media before it enters a small impellor chamber from where it is pumped back into the aquarium. Although they are comparatively cheap and easy to install, the small size of most canister filters does usually restrict their use to lightly stocked aquariums. With the inlet located at the base of the filter, the aquarist may also find that much of the solid waste material that is generated within the aquarium may remain within the aquarium.
  • External canister filter – often located out of site below the aquarium, the external canister filter is probably the most effective form of filtration for the aquarist. Waste laden water usually siphons through a single inlet and a length of pipe before it enters the cansister. The water rises through a series of mechanical, biological and chemical filter media before it enters an impellor chamber from where it is pumped up through a length of pipe before it is directed into the aquarium, usually through a spray bar. Canister filters can be used with inline ultra violet sterilizers which will help to reduce the incidence of pathogens (disease causing organisms) & algae spores within the aquarium. Maintenance usually involves turning off the flow of water, opening the canister and removing the individual cages that contain the filter media. Consequently, any disturbance to the aquarium décor or the overall performance of the filter is minimised. Although they are comparatively more expensive than other forms of filtration, the external cannsister can circulate a larger volume of water and is capable of supporting a larger number of fish.
  • Hang on filter –  the hang on filter sits on the outside edge of the aquarium and provides the aquarist with an easily accessible and effective means of filtering their aquarium. Water is siphoned from the aquarium into the filter chamber and then into a powerhead from where it cascades over a lip and back into the aquarium. The unusual design enables the aquarist with a means of filtering those aquariums that have a complex aquascape / décor or a means of adding any  additional filtration materials.
  • Wet and Dry Trickle Filters – by encouraging a high concentration of dissolved oxygen within the filter, the wet and dry trickle filter is acknowledged to provide the conditions that encourage the optimal growth of the specialist micro-organisms that are responsible for biological filtration. Waste laden water is pumped up into the filter unit located within the hood or underneath in the cabinetof the aquarium and is then allowed to trickle down through the filter media. One portion of the filter, the ‘dry section’, is designed to encourage this waste laden water to trickle across the surface of the media, ensuring that the waste consuming micro-organisms come into a close degree of contact with any waste products. The close degree of contact between the water and the air that pervades the filter also helps to ensure that these waste consuming organisms are provided with the high concentration of dissolved oxygen that they require to function effectively. The dry section of the filter also boosts the concentration of oxygen that enters the submerged or ‘wet’ section of the filter and helps to ensure that any waste products are consumed by the rich, thriving population of micro-organisms that inhabit this section of the filter.

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The Correct Size of Filter
Aquarium Filtration Importance. Most filters are graded in accordance with the volume of water that they are able to circulate around the aquarium. As a broad rule of thumb, a tropical freshwater aquarium will require a filter that is capable of circulating the entire volume of the aquarium between two and four times per hour whilst a tropical marine aquarium will require a filter that is capable of circulating the volume of aquarium between at least four and six times per hour.

When to Add More Fish
Aquarium Filtration Importance. Adding a small number of hardy fish and feeding them sparingly is one of the most effective methods of encouraging the growth of a population of waste consuming organisms on which the filtration system is based. However, as water quality may fluctuate whilst this population of waste consuming micro-organisms establishes, the aquarist must check that water quality is acceptable with test kits before adding any new fish to their aquarium.

Filter Maintenance
Aquarium Filtration Importance. The population of waste consuming micro-organisms that inhabit the biological filter require a constant supply of oxygen and waste rich water. Depriving the filter of a flow of water for an extended period of time will deny these organisms of this supply of oxygen and waste, causing them to die and water quality to deteriorate. Consequently, the aquarist should always be prepared to minimise the period of time in which they maintain their filter. As a broad rule of thumb, depriving the filter of a supply of water for less than 20 minutes is not likely to have a long term impact on filter performance.

The amount of waste products that a filter has to cope with depends upon the amount of waste produced by the fish which, in turn, depends upon the amount of food that they consume. By feeding a constant amount of food on a regular basis, the aquarist can maximise the size and activity of this population of waste consuming micro-organisms, which in turn will ensure that water quality does not deteriorate. We recommend the filter gets cleaned approximately once every two weeks – every alternate week to doing a partial water change.

Aquarium Filtration Importance



Discus Freshwater Aquarium Kings

Discus Freshwater Aquarium Kings

Discus Freshwater Aquarium Kings

Discus Freshwater Aquarium Kings. Discus have long been know as the “King of the Aquarium” The discus is native to the Amazon and its tributaries. The discus is currently recognized as having two species and five subspecies:

• Symphysodon discus discus-Heckel Discus
• Symphysodon discus willischwartzi-Blue Faced Heckel Discus
• Symphysodon aequifasciata aequifasciata-Green Discus
• Symphysodon aequifasciata haraldi-Blue Discus
• Symphysodon aequifasciata axelrodi-Brown Discus

Although there are 5 subspecies of discus, many discus experts believe that there is only one species with many color variations. Resent studies being done on the DNA of discus seem to support the one species theory. Today most of the discus found in aquarium trade are domesticated, man developed color strains. It has almost become a rarity to find wild caught discus for sale. Discus are easy to keep as long as you provide the right water conditions. People that have problems with keeping discus are often providing the wrong water conditions, and diet. If you follow our directions, you should have no problem with keeping discus.

Water conditions
Discus Freshwater Aquarium Kings. Discus come from water that is very soft, very acidic, and very warm. To maintain discus in your home aquarium you should provide water that has a pH of 6.5 to 6.8, with a hardness of 20 to 60ppm, and a temperature of 82 to 86°F.
It is very important that you keep discus in very warm water, because they can become sick if kept at temperatures below 80°F for an extended period of time. Discus require frequent water changes for proper growth. We recommend that you make 30% water changes at least once every 2 weeks for a lightly stocked aquarium, but to maximize growth 30% once a week would be even better. The water changes dilute the accumulation of nitrate (NO3) which is believed to be a growth inhibitor. Discus prefer water that is calm, so it is important that you do not buy a filter that creates a fast current. For discus there are many acceptable methods of providing filtration.
We would recommend a hang on filter, an outside canister filter or an internal power filter with a wide mouth out take and the ability to control the flow rate.

Discus should not be fed on red meat alone as this can lead to a disease called “hole in the head”. A good beef heart mixture that includes vitamins & vegetation is an excellent food for discus we recommend frozen “Discus tucker”. Discus also need to be fed on other foods including dried foods like spirulina flake, high protein pellets, freeze dried tubifex worms and also live foods like white worms.The more variety of foods you can give your discus the better. For optimum growth, young discus should be fed 3 times a day and adults can be fed once or twice a day.

Tank Mates
When creating a discus community aquarium you should make sure that the discus are the dominant fish. No specie of fish should be added to the aquarium that can out compete the discus for food. This can limit the number suitable tank mates for discus. Angelfish should always be avoided, because they can carry internal parasites that can be passed on to discus they are also another species of cichlid therefore they can fight and compete with the discus for food.

Here is a short list of just a few species of fish we would recommend you keep with discus:
Cardinal Tetra, Rummy nose Tetra, Black neon Tetra, Neon Tetra, Corydoras, Harlequins, Ottocinclius, Rosy Tetra, Bleeding Heart Tetra, Lemon Tetra, Black Phantom Tetra, Glass Catfish + lots more

Ask one of our staff members for some more recommendations by clicking HERE or call us Albany 094154157/Mt Roskill 096205249

Seachem Cupramine Medication

Seachem Cupramine Medication

Seachem Cupramine Medication

Seachem Cupramine Medication. An indepth article on Seachem Cupramine Medication, a copper treatment for Oodinium, Cryptocaryon, Amyloodinium, Ichthyophthirius, and other external parasites in fish

COPPER IS THE PREFERRED AGENT FOR THE ERADICATION OFOodinium, Cryptocaryon, Amyloodinium, Ichthyophthirius, and other external parasites in fish.

Soluble copper salts dissociate in water; copper then precipitates as copper carbonate and copper hydroxide. The consequently necessary repeated dosing is an inconvenience that results in a dangerous accumulation of copper in the filter bed. This copper is potentially lethal to fish, makes invertebrate culture difficult or impossible, and interferes with the biological filter’s full potential Chelated copper is sequestered, uncharged, and inactive.

Although this keeps it in solution, it is so ineffective that it must be used at ten times greater concentration than ionic copper. The high chloride content of marine water contributes to the formation of chloride based complexes of copper; it is these complexes that actually account for the effectiveness (albeit limited) of copper chelates and the eventual deposition of copper in the filter bed. Since chelated copper is uncharged and neutral, it is readily absorbed by fish. Although relatively nontoxic, if enough chelated copper accumulates in fish tissue it can cause long term problems. The reliable measurement of chelated copper is a problem with many copper kits and even known concentrations of chelated copper are less meaningful than those of unchelated copper. Chelated copper is very difficult to remove, except by massive water changes or with CupriSorb™. Citrate copper is very weakly chelated, and the high calcium and magnesium content of marine water rapidly displaces copper from the chelate, making citrate copper only a marginal improvement over ionic copper.

Cupramine™ contains an organic complex which leaves the cupric charge (Cu2+) fully active. This organic component prevents the deposition of copper, inhibits its absorbtion by fish, but does not interfere with action against parasites. Cupramine™ is buffered and is non-shocking. It is less toxic to fish than any other copper preparation, but more toxic to parasites. It is readily measured by any copper kit and easily removed with activated carbon or other adsorbents.

Cupramine™ is a truly better copper formulation that safely eradicates ectoparasites of both freshwater and marine fish. It is buffered and amine-complexed and has all the advantages of both copper sulfate and chelated copper, but none of the disadvantages. Just like copper sulfate, it is fully charged (ionic) and effective at low concentrations. Just like chelates, it is nontoxic and is not precipitated in the filter bed. However, unlike both, there is more than a four-fold concentration gap between the therapeutic dose and the toxic dose. Unlike chelates, it is easily removed by carbon. Unlike copper salts, it does not precipitate in the filter bed. Unlike other copper products it is both highly effective and safe in freshwater as well as marine water. It does not damage the filter bed. Cupramine™ is gaining wide acceptance both by aquarists and public aquaria as the copper agent of choice.

SPECIFICATIONS: Cupramine™ contains 10,000 mg/L of copper. This copper is organically complexed and buffered. Unlimited shelf life.

ACTION: Cupramine™ eradicates Oodinium and Ich at 0.1 – 0.2 mg/L, Cryptocaryon at 0.25 – 0.35 mg/L, Trematodes and other parasites at 0.4 – 0.5 mg/L. With a 10 – 14 day exposure at 0.4 mg/L most infestations will be eradicated and secondary bacterial and fungal infections will be controlled. TOXICITY: Used as directed, Cupramine™ is not toxic to fish.

While some invertebrates have shown tolerance for Cupramine™, it should be considered toxic to all invertebrates.