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Aquariums and Plants for Tropical Fish

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/23/2006 | Hobbies
The home for your tropical fish should be as large as you can afford. Fish do better if they have plenty of space, besides, there are so many beautiful varieties that youll be sure to want to add more once you start. But remember that the bigger the tank, the heavier it will be when full of water. Most aquariums come with a warranty against cracking and leaking, but that usually only holds good if they are on the recommended stand. Since a stand of some sort is necessary to support the aquarium, so you must decide if you want it to be on a cupboard or table, or on a purpose built stand.

If the table or other furniture used to hold the aquarium is not completely flat, it will stress the glass which may then crack and leak, causing a great deal of damage to carpets and flooring, not to mention the fish. Make sure the floor is structurally strong enough to support the weight of the aquarium too. The neighbors wont appreciate a fishy shower pouring through their ceiling. For optimum safety, be sure to read all the manufacturers instructions when setting up your aquarium.

Aquariums come in several different shapes. They can be hexagonal, square and many other shapes besides. You will need a filter, thermostat, heater, pump and lights for your aquarium. Lights are not strictly necessary, but greatly enhance the visual effect and also keep the plants happy. Be sure to thoroughly wash everything thats to go in the aquarium first. But dont use soapy water! Gravel needs to be washed under running water, then pour boiling water over it to kill any bacteria that may be lingering there. While thinking on aquarium hygiene, remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your fishy things, just as you would after handling other animals and reptiles.

Plants will enhance your tropical fish setting and some provide food for the fish as well. One of the most popular aquarium plants is called Amazon Sword (Echinodorus Bleheri). It grows from 20 to 50 cm, has fast growth and low light requirements and likes the water to be 20-30 degrees centigrade.

Anubias Augustifolia has long narrow leaves that herbivorous fish dont seem to eat, which is handy. At least it wont disappear overnight. It grows slowly, but is easy to grow. If you want to see underwater flowers, pick Anubias Coffeefolica, which is also easy to grow and has attractive new leaves of reddish-brown.

Moneywort or Bacopa Monnieri thrives in most conditions and you can propagate more simply by cutting a piece off and planting it. It needs moderate to high light, so wont grow with those that prefer less.

An easy and fast-growing plant that absorbs nutrients from the water and helps to contain algae is Wisteria. Not the climber from the garden, but Hygrophila Difformis, a fast and easy grower. If the leaves turn pale add some more fertilizer.

Java moss is great because it attaches itself to rocks, roots or driftwood. You cant go wrong with this easy to grow plant. It will grow in any kind of water at any temperature. There are many more varieties of plants available from fish nurseries and there are even online stores such as www.AquariumFish.net. that have great advice about aquariums, fish and plant species.