Starting and Maintaining a Marine Aquarium Member Guide
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ ( Publisher's URL )
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00001451/00001
 Material Information
Title: Starting and Maintaining a Marine Aquarium Member Guide
Physical Description: Fact Sheet
Creator: Crenshaw, Neil
Publisher: University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1981
Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status: Published
General Note: "July 1981"
General Note: "4H MEM 10"
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Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00001451:00001


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4-H Members Guide4HMEM10Startin g and Maintainin g A Marine A q uarium


Startin g and Maintainin g A Marine Aquarium Pa g e 2July 1981a q uarium with all of its e q ui p ment, g ravel, andThe Pro j ectThis p ro j ect is intended for those 4-H members who have an interest in a q uariums and would like to start a p ro j ect on salt water a q uariums. To satisfactoril y com p lete this p ro j ect y ou must read the information carefull y do what is su gg ested, kee p accurate data and successfull y maintain y our salt water a q uarium for a p eriod of at least six months. The com p anion p ublication to this one, "Startin g A q uariums come in two st y les: hi g h and low. and Maintainin g a Marine A q uarium 4-H Member'sSelect the lower, lon g er st y le because it p rovides more Pro j ect Record", 4-H 357 contains a p ro j ect surface area ex p osed to air and more bottom area maintenance list which should be ke p t. If y ou intend toim p ortant to the g rowth of beneficial bacteria and enter this p ro j ect in 4-H contests y ou should kee p this g reen al g ae. The a q uarium should be all g lass sealed record ver y carefull y If y ou make y our own a q uarium,with clear silicon sealant. Check for a recessed rid g e take some p ictures to show the various sta g es y ou wentaround the to p This p rovides s p ace for a g lass cover throu g h in constructin g it. Pictures of the a q uarium p reventin g s p lashin g eva p oration and introduction of with the animals in it will be a g reat hel p in y our recordforei g n ob j ects (dirt, p encils, etc.). A 30 g allon book.a q uarium will cost y ou about $32.00 de p endin g on with water. If it leaks return it. Do not tr y to fix it!Somethin g About AquariumsBrin g in g a q uatic creatures into y our house will take some p lannin g and p atience on y our p art. The marine a q uarium is a p erfect "home awa y from home" Makin g an a q uarium can be a little more ex p ensive for some ocean dwellers. All livin g thin g s, on land orthan bu y in g one alread y made. Makin g y our own in the water, have four basic needs: s p ace, ox yg en, a q uarium, thou g h, can be more rewardin g If y ou know li g ht and food. Ocean animals have a s p ecial need: saltof some p lace where y ou can g et g lass fairl y water. inex p ensivel y it mi g ht be best to make it. Man y g lass An a q uarium should not be too small. Would y ouwindows (reclaimed g lass) which the y will sell at a low like to p la y and live in a closet all y our life? Probabl y p rice. Check with a g lass com p an y to see if the y have not. A q uarium animals, also, need s p ace in which toreclaimed g lass. p la y and exercise. Metal is ver y p oisonous to sea creatures in an clear, with g round ed g es. 3/8 inch g lass, at most g lass a q uarium. For this reason y ou don't want to use an com p anies, will cost about $5.00 p er s q uare foot. There a q uarium with an y metal p arts. Fresh water a q uariumsare almost twelve s q uare feet of g lass in a 30 g allon can have metal frames but salt water a q uariums shoulda q uarium. Therefore, a 30 g allon a q uarium will cost be made of g lass, all g lass and nothin g but g lass. y ou about $60.00 to build from g lass at retail p rices. How bi g should the a q uarium be? If y ou are g oin g If y ou are interested in makin g y our own a q uarium to kee p onl y one or two animals in y our a q uarium, it y ou will need the followin g materials for a 30 g allon need not be too lar g e. The more animals y ou have, a q uarium: thou g h, the lar g er it should be. A g ood rule of thumb to g o b y is, two g allons of sea water for ever y inch of fish. 1.3/8 inch thick g lass of the followin g If y ou have five fish and each one is about two inches dimensions: lon g there should be at least 20 g allons of sea water in (a)one p iece (bottom) 36 X 12 inches the a q uarium (5 fish x 2 inches = 10. 10 x 2 g allons = (b)two p ieces (front & back) 36 X 16 inches 20 g allons). Remember that we are talkin g about sea (c)two p ieces (sides) 11 X 16 inches water and not the size of the a q uarium. A 20 g allon 2.Two tubes of silicon sealer. decorations will not hold 20 g allons of water. It is su gg ested that y ou use at least a 30 g allon a q uarium when startin g out. A few y ears a g o it was chea p er to build y our own a q uarium than it was to bu y one. Toda y due to g lass p rices, it is more economical to bu y an a q uarium than it is to make one.Bu y in g an Aquariumwhere y ou bu y it. When y ou g et y our tank home fill itMakin g an Aquariumcom p anies have g lass taken from broken store The g lass should be at least 3/8 of an inch thick,


Startin g and Maintainin g A Marine Aquarium Pa g e 3July 19813.One p acka g e of sin g le ed g ed razor blades. carefull y p lace its ed g e on the g lued ed g e of the 4.Small bottle of rubbin g alcohol. bottom. Press it down firml y not forcefull y .Brace 5.Several ra g s or p a p er towels. the front p iece of g lass with a bucket, heav y box or 6.Piece of p a p er (wra pp in g p a p er, lar g e p a p ersome other sturd y ob j ect while y ou continue y our ba g or news p a p er will do) lar g er than the bottomwork. Don't have someone hold it for y ou because a of the a q uarium. p erson can not hold it stead y enou g h. Run a stri p of 7.Scotch ta p e. sealer alon g the to p ed g e of both ends of the bottom 8.A sturd y table with a smooth to p out of the p iece of g lass and also alon g the inside ed g es of the wa y of traffic. front p iece. Place both sides, one at a time, on to p of 9.Cotton.the g lue at the ends and p ress firml y Two p ieces of 10.S p on g e. ta p e at either end will hold the two sides to the front while y ou continue. Clean the ed g es of all p ieces of g lass with cotton dabbed in alcohol. Allow the g lass to dr y sufficientl y Run a stri p of g lue alon g the to p ed g e of the Place a lar g e rectan g ular p iece of p a p er flat on the bottom and alon g the outer ed g es of the side p ieces. table. The p a p er will p revent the a q uarium from bein g Carefull y p lace the back g lass on to p of the g lue that's g lued to the table to p Carefull y p lace the bottom of the a q uarium on the p a p er. Alon g onl y one of the lon g ed g es of the bottom run a stri p of silicon g lue. When a pp l y in g the g lue it is ver y im p ortant to do it smoothl y and evenl y There is no need to use a whole lot, but it is im p ortant to have g lue alon g the entire ed g e. Watch for small dr y s p aces p roduced b y air bubbles in the tube of silicon sealer. Take the front p iece and alon g the bottom and a g ainst the g lue alon g the side p ieces. Press firml y Put two p ieces of ta p e on each end. Check all ed g es and make sure that the y fit s q uarel y Let the a q uarium sit undisturbed for at least one da y This will g ive it time to dr y p ro p erl y After it dries fill the a q uarium, u p to one inch from the to p with ta p water. If it doesn't leak after sittin g overni g ht y ou have successfull y sealed y our a q uarium. Drain the a q uarium. Do not tr y and move it when it has water in it. If y ou do, y ou will run the risk of breakin g it. Move an aquarium only when it is empty! To drain the water out, sim p l y p ut a hose in the water. Fill the hose with water from a ta p and let it drain out. Since water seeks its own level, water will continue to drain out as lon g as there is water in the hose and the end of the hose that is out of the water, is lower than the end which is in the water. Drain all of the water y ou p ossibl y can out of the a q uarium. S p on g e out excess water. Dr y the a q uarium


Startin g and Maintainin g A Marine Aquarium Pa g e 4July 1981Filtering seawater through dacron flosswith ra g s or p a p er towels. You can now trim awa y an y marine life is to inhabit the a q uarium, then s y nthetic excess silicon g lue b y usin g sin g le ed g ed razor blades.salts should be considered since these mixtures more Be careful not to let the blade of the razor sli p betweenclosel y resemble sea water, with all of the necessar y two g lued p ieces of g lass. Trimmin g off the excess g luein g redients. Do not attem p t to use table salt. Table salt will make the a q uarium neater and more attractive. Ifwill not ade q uatel y sustain the lives of y our animals y ou trim y our a q uarium, thou g h, y ou must re-test it because it does not have all of the necessar y minerals. a g ain b y fillin g it with fresh water as before. Once y ou have y our a q uarium trimmed and y ou know that it doesn't leak, y ou are read y to fill it with salt water. If y our a q uarium does leak, mark the leakin g areas with a g rease p encil. Drain the a q uarium as described above. Dr y the a q uarium thorou g hl y and reg lue those areas that y ou marked. Fill the a q uarium with fresh water as before and check for leaks a g ain. Once y ou have all of the leaks fixed y ou can drain it, dr y it out, and g et read y to fill it with salt water.Placin g the AquariumSeawater is q uite heav y It wei g hs about 8.5 p ounds p er g allon. A 30 g allon a q uarium with 25 g allons of sea water, crushed coral, decorations and other e q ui p ment will wei g h about 240 p ounds. That is wh y once y ou fill it, the a q uarium should be considered a p ermanent fixture. The settin g in which y ou p lace y our a q uarium is also ver y im p ortant. The health of y our animals de p ends a lot on how much li g ht and heat the a q uarium receives. The tank should be p laced on a level structure awa y from direct drafts and sunli g ht. Drafts p roduce ra p id dro p s or rises in tem p erature. This will cause stress and a lowerin g of resistance to disease amon g y our animals. Ex p osure to direct sunli g ht can often cause an undesirable g rowth of al g ae and a p ossible unwanted tem p erature rise. Fish are cold blooded. Their bod y tem p erature chan g es with that of their environment. Extreme chan g es often lead to stress, diseases and death. The a q uarium should be p laced in a well-traveled area. This will allow y our fish to become accustomed to outside movements and will make them easier to observe.Artificial Sea Water or Natural Sea WaterSea water for the a q uarium ma y be either s y nthetic or natural. Local marine life can survive q uite well in water from the collection area. Althou g h this water ma y be dark colored or contain sus p ended matter, most of this can be removed b y p ro p er filtration. If exoticArtificial Sea WaterArtificial sea water is made b y addin g p re p acka g ed ocean salts to ta p water. Before the p re p acka g ed salts are added to ta p water, thou g h, the chlorine should be taken out of the ta p water. In order to g et rid of chlorine in ta p water allow the water to stand in p lastic buckets for at least two da y s. To mix the salts and water sim p l y follow the instructions on the p acka g e. Once the artificial sea water is in y our a q uarium wait at least two weeks before addin g fish or other animals. This two week p eriod will allow the sea water to stabilize and become more suitable for the animals. Remember, the p ro p er p re p aration and care of the a q uarium means life or death to the fish.Natural Sea WaterIf y ou live near the ocean y ou can collect the water to fill y our a q uarium. Unless y ou collect the sea water far out at sea y ou will be g ettin g contaminants with the water. Sea water near shore is usuall y p olluted with various chemicals and metals that react with the salts in the sea water. These chemicals and metals come from streets, y ards, farm lands and industrial com p lexes, and are washed into the rivers b y rain and carried to the ocean. When collected near shore, sea water will have contaminants to some de g ree. Fish that live in the water


Startin g and Maintainin g A Marine Aquarium Pa g e 5July 1981While flushing the bottom material, stir it with a stick and allow the dirt to flow over the side of the bucket with the water.of the surroundin g area will usuall y survive and do Sim p l y divide the number 2 (number of inches thick) q uite well in that collected water. You will be g in into the hei g ht of y our a q uarium (inches). Take the havin g p roblems, thou g h, when y ou start introducin g answer and divide it into the size ( g allons) of the exotic s p ecies that do not live in the water which y oua q uarium. For exam p le, if y ou have a 30 g allon collected. It is su gg ested that y ou use artificial sea a q uarium which is 16 inches hi g h, divide 2 into 16. 16 water if y ou ever intend to kee p exotic tro p ical fish individed b y 2 = 8. Then divide the answer (8 in this y our a q uarium. case) into the g allons (30). 30 divided b y 8 3.75. You If y ou are g oin g to collect natural sea water do sobe on the safe side, collect or bu y more than y ou need while the tide is floodin g (comin g in). Collectin g because some will be lost in the cleanin g p rocess. durin g this time will lessen the chance of g ettin g contaminants in the water. Collect the water in containers made of g lass, p lastic, or some other non-corrosive material. When y ou g et the sea water home, filter it throu g h a funnel containin g dacron floss. Store the filtered water in a container with the cover on. Allow the water to sta y undisturbed, for at least two weeks. The water should not receive an y li g ht or air durin g the two week stora g e p eriod. This stora g e p eriod will kill most of the microor g anisms and al g ae in the sea water. You want the sea water as p ure as p ossible before p uttin g it in y our a q uarium. Durin g this p eriod of stora g e y ou can be p re p arin g the bottom materials which will g o into the a q uarium.Bottom MaterialA g ood material to use in the bottom of a marine a q uarium would be co q uina shells (Donax "Perwinkles"), calcified al g ae, dolomite or crushed coral. Do not use colored rocks or sand in a marine a q uarium because the y ma y contain p reservatives that could be toxic to y our marine animals. Small shells and other p ieces of limestone material hel p to kee p the p H of the sea water toward the alkaline side (non acidic). If y ou collect y our own material from the beach remember, don't use an y container, sifter, shovel, etc. that is made out of metal. Use onl y non-corrosive containers and e q ui p ment. Collect or bu y enou g h bottom material so that it will make a la y er that is at least two inches thick in the bottom of the a q uarium. The number of g allons of bottom material that y ou will need is eas y to calculate. will need at least 3.75 g allons of bottom material. ToCleanin g It is best to clean the bottom material outside, in the y ard, so y ou don't make a mess in the house. Pour p art of the collected material into a p lastic bucket so that it fills the bucket no more than 1/3 full. Clean the material b y flushin g the bucket of material with fresh water from a g arden hose. As the water fills the bucket, stir it with a stick. Don't stir it with y our hands because there ma y be shar p ob j ects (sea urchin s p ines, p ieces of broken g lass, etc.) that could p oke or cut y our skin. As y our stir the flushed bottom material, dirt and or g anic debris will float to the to p and flow over the ed g e of the bucket with the water. This is p art of the cleanin g p rocess. When the water is clear, drain the water out of the bucket and scatter the bottom material out over a flat surface such as a table to p p atio or the g round covered with a p lastic sheet. Wash the remainin g bottom material in this manner. Allow the bottom


Startin g and Maintainin g A Marine Aquarium Pa g e 6July 1981material to remain out in the sun for at least one week. Bottom material should be scattered where nothin g will disturb it. While the bottom material is dr y in g y ou can be g in to set u p the a q uarium.Settin g up the AquariumFiltersThere are two different kinds of filters with which y ou will need to su pp l y y our a q uarium. One kind of filter is the subsand or underg ravel filter. The other t yp e is the outside p ower filter.Subsand FilterThe subsand filter slowl y moves the water in the a q uarium throu g h the bottom material (shells, co q uina, etc.) and back into the a q uarium. This is a ver y im p ortant filter to have because it removes or g anic waste matter. Bacteria which lives in the bottom material will take waste matter that has been p roduced b y the animals, and convert it into harmless matter. If y ou have the t yp e of subsand filter that uses an air p um p as shown on p a g e 6, the air p um p should be p laced hi g her than the water level in the tank. If the p um p is below water level, salt water ma y travel down the p lastic tubin g to the p um p If the electricit y g oes off, water will back u p into the p um p A q uariums have also been known to si p hon themselves onto the floor after the p lastic tubin g had worked loose from the vibratin g p um p Oh what a mess that is! Keep the pump above water level! Some subsand filters work b y usin g a water p um p with im p ellar blades rather than an air p um p to move the water. With this t yp e of p um p there is no dan g er of the a q uarium si p honin g itself.Power FilterThe outside p ower filter removes sus p ended matter, toxic g ases and water discoloration. It also p rovides ver y g ood circulation of water which is beneficial in marine a q uariums. This t yp e of filter is p laced on he outside of the tank and is driven b y a motor. The water in the a q uarium is si p honed, via si p hon tubes, into the filter box and moves down throu g h a la y er of carbon and filter floss. The carbon absorbs waste matter such as ammonia, urea and carbon dioxide. Make sure y ou use carbon and not charcoal. Carbon lasts much lon g er and is a better filterin g material. The bottom la y er of filter floss will p ick u p p articles missed b y the u pp er la y er of carbon. In order for the si p hon tube to work it is necessar y to kee p the water level in the a q uarium at least 1 inches from the to p After the water moves throu g h the carbon and filter floss it is then p um p ed into the a q uarium via the exhaust tube. Kee p the exhaust tube above the level of the water so that it will hel p aerate the water.


Startin g and Maintainin g A Marine Aquarium Pa g e 7July 1981Fre q uent cleanin g of the p ower filter is not recommended unless the filter is so clo gg ed that circulation is slowed down. Cleanin g will interru p t the im p ortant denitrif y in g action that takes p lace in the carbon and floss. This t yp e of filter should rarel y re q uire cleanin g more than once a month. (Hallett) Remember to kee p the filters on the ends of the si p hon tubes clean. Also make sure that these filters are secure and won't fall off. Small animals can become tra pp ed in the si p hon tubes or sucked into the p ower filter if the si p hon filters are not on. Read the directions to the p ower filter carefully Pro p er construction and maintenance (oilin g chan g in g floss, carbon, etc.) is ver y im p ortant to its functionin g p ro p erl y .DecorationsIf y ou use rocks to decorate the inside of y our a q uarium, choose rocks that are not p orous. Porous rocks have small holes that will collect or g anic matter and allow small animals to hide. The small animals that hide in the s p aces will eventuall y die and p ollute the a q uarium. Make sure that the rocks y ou use either have no small holes or that the holes are lar g e enou g h so that small animals cannot hide and can be removed easil y if the y die. Coral is p robabl y the most fre q uentl y used decoration for marine a q uariums. It is ver y natural and its chemical q ualit y is conducive to g ood sea water conditions. Cured sea fans and sea shells ma y also be


Startin g and Maintainin g A Marine Aquarium Pa g e 8July 1981used. When usin g sea shells make sure that the y have amuch as p ossible. In order to kee p the tem p erature hole p unched in the end so that water will circulate even throu g hout the a q uarium, p lace the heatin g throu g h them. Also, when usin g sea shells, watch forelement under the water bein g ex p elled from the p ower p ieces of food that ma y become tra pp ed inside, filter. This will hel p distribute the heat evenl y p roducin g p olluted water. throu g hout the a q uarium. Do not use metal ob j ects as decor since metal is usuall y toxic. Wood and s p on g es, while the y look g ood, will eventuall y rot and break u p in sea water. You can bu y artificial p lants at most a q uarium sho p s toda y These p lastic p lants have their p lace in an a q uarium if p laced tastefull y When usin g coral and rocks, soak them in a solution of bleach for 2 da y s and then in fresh water for at least one week. After soakin g in fresh water, smell the material. It should be free of an y trace of bleach before addin g to the a q uarium. Soak sea shells in a bleach solution for onl y an hour to kee p from ruinin g the nice outside luster of the shell. It is ille g al to collect an y t yp e of coral in Florida. If y ou would like to use coral as a decor, check with an a q uarium sho p or one of the man y shell sho p s throu g hout southern Florida.Li g htin g It is necessar y to cover the a q uarium if y ou use a li g ht. Fluorescent bulbs are the best for marine a q uariums. Fluorescent li g ht shows the animal's colors to the maximum and hel p s to p romote g reen al g ae g rowth which is hi g hl y desirable. A combination of a Gro-lux or Sea-lux fluorescent bulb with a cool-white fluorescent bulb seems to work best. The li g hts should be left on for at least twelve hours each da y This hel p s to p romote luxuriant g reen al g ae g rowth which is necessar y for a well balanced a q uarium. Althou g h some p eo p le leave the li g hts on all the time it seems as thou g h al g ae can utilize the li g ht waves onl y durin g the da y li g ht hours. Also, turnin g the li g hts off at ni g ht will be a pp reciated b y those animals which like to slee p durin g the ni g ht. (Hallet)Heatin g Most marine animals can live q uite well in a tem p erature ran g e of 70-75 F (21-24 C). If y ou have exotic tro p icals, it would be best to check with y our local a q uarium dealer about tem p erature re q uirements for that p articular s p ecies. The tem p erature of the water in a marine a q uarium should also be ke p t constant asFillin g the AquariumAfter y ou have y our a q uarium with its heater and filters in p lace, bottom material in p lace and decor p ro p erl y arran g ed y ou are read y to fill it with sea water. Fill it slowl y Either fill the a q uarium b y si p honin g or b y usin g a p lastic bucket. If y ou si p hon the water, p lace the lar g e buckets containin g the sea water above the level of the a q uarium. Kee p the end of the hose that is in the bucket about four inches from the bottom. B y doin g this y ou will not si p hon u p an y debris that has accumulated in the bottom of the bucket. Si p hon all the water from the bucket into the a q uarium exce p t for the last four inches. If y ou use a bucket to fill the a q uarium it should be made of p lastic and small enou g h to handle easil y A one g allon bucket is about the ri g ht size. Slowl y submer g e the p lastic bucket in to the lar g e container of sea water, makin g sure not to disturb the bottom sediment. Pour the water into the a q uarium b y lettin g it run slowl y down the inside of the g lass. Continue to fill the a q uarium in this manner until y ou have all the water, exce p t for the bottom four inches out of the container. Fill the a q uarium to a pp roximatel y 1 inches from the to p This will enable the p ower filter's si p hon tubes to work p ro p erl y Place a p iece of ta p e or mark at the water level. This will serve as the eva p oration indicator. Turn on the air p um p that su pp lies the subsand filter. Check the air tubin g for leaks. If y ou are usin g an air forced subsand filter, small air bubbles should be comin g from the filter's p lastic tubes. Start the si p hon to the p ower filter and allow it to fill the filter box with water. Once the filter box is filled, turn on the filter's motor. Water should flow from the filter's exhaust tube into the a q uarium. If the water level in the filter box g oes down, an additional si p hon tube is needed. Turn the li g hts on and leave them on until y ou are read y to introduce the animals. After about one week y ou should be g in to see al g ae g rowth on the inside of the g lass and on the decor. Clean the al g ae off the front


Startin g and Maintainin g A Marine Aquarium Pa g e 9July 1981 g lass b y usin g a n y lon cleanin g p ad and teflon s p on g e. 5.Fish should not be "breathin g ra p idl y These will remove the al g ae and not scratch the g lass. Once al g ae starts to form, y ou can be g in introducin g 6.Fish should be swimmin g around leisurel y the animals.not erraticall y 7.Look closel y at the area j ust above the Bu y in g AnimalsIf y ou are g oin g to bu y y our animals y ou will save a lot of headaches, time and mone y if y ou observe the followin g : 1.Ins p ect the a q uarium in the store. Do the y have ade q uate aeration and filtration? 2.Are the animals eatin g normall y ? 3.Is each fish's color bri g ht and clear? 4.Avoid fish with white s p ots, torn fins or other blemishes. backbone; if com p ressed or p inched, the fish is starvin g Not much can save it. Don't bu y it! 8.Find out how lon g the animals have been in the store. If the y are health y and have been in the a q uarium for more than one week, it's a g ood p urchase. Be war y of newl y introduced animals. 9. After y ou have made y our p urchase. the animal should be p laced in a p lastic ba g of sea water, aerated with ox yg en and the ba g sealed.


Startin g and Maintainin g A Marine Aquarium Pa g e 10July 1981Drawin g made from Caribbean Reef Fishes b y John E. Randall


Startin g and Maintainin g A Marine Aquarium Pa g e 11July 1981


Startin g and Maintainin g A Marine Aquarium Pa g e 12July 1981Collectin g AnimalsSome of the best methods used in collectin g marine animals is throu g h the use of seines, cast nets and hand nets. These methods usuall y do not harm the animals. Divin g for marine creatures has become another p o p ular method in collectin g Skin divers and scuba divers either use a hand-held net or slur p g un. The hand-held net has p roven to be more effective than the slur p g un. A slur p g un often dama g es or even kills the animal bein g sucked u p into the tube of the g un. When usin g the hand-held net, the animal is sim p l y coaxed into the net and is not harmed. After y ou have collected y our animals, the y should be p laced into p lastic ba g s containin g seawater from that area. Don't p ut more than one animal in a p lastic ba g Man y animals, when confined, will be a gg ressive and kill one another. Small p lastic ba g s, which hold about one q uart, are excellent for trans p ortin g small marine animals. Tie the to p of the ba g securel y with a rubber band and trans p ort them home immediatel y .Introducin g the AnimalsOnce y ou g et the animals home, be p atient. Time and the method used in introducin g the animals to their new home are the most im p ortant factors in successful a q uarium kee p in g Follow the su gg ested p rocedures below and y ou should have 100 p ercent success: 1.Turn off the a q uarium li g hts and dim the room li g hts. 2.Take the water tem p erature of the water, both in the a q uarium and in the ba g s. 3.Float the ba g (containin g the animal) in the a q uarium and p lace an air stone connected b y tubin g to an air p um p in the ba g 4.Pour about one half cu p of the a q uarium water into the p lastic ba g Do this ever y fifteen minutes until the tem p erature of the a q uarium water and the water in the ba g are e q ual. 5.Once the two tem p eratures are e q ual allow the animal to remain in the p lastic ba g for another half hour. Don't get impatient! 6.Do not ti p the ba g and let the animal swim out into the a q uarium. This will cause the animal's waste p roducts (ammonia, urea, nitrates, etc.) which have accumulated in the ba g to g o into the tank. 7.Pour the water from the ba g with the animal, throu g h an a q uarium di p -net over a sink. Immediatel y but carefull y p lace the di p -net with the animal into the a q uarium and allow the animal to swim freel y out of the net.


Startin g and Maintainin g A Marine Aquarium Pa g e 13July 1981The aquarium water should have a clean smell and be crystal clear. If the water is not clear and you can smell an odor, the water is bad.8.Kee p the li g hts dimmed for the rest of the da y Do not feed for 24 hours. After 24 hours feed onl y li g htl y .Feedin g How often and what y ou feed y our a q uarium animals is extremel y im p ortant. Fish should be fed twice a da y but in small amounts. Food that is not eaten should be taken out before it be g ins to deca y The more y ou can var y the diet, the healthier y our animals will be. You would even become tired of sirloin steak ever y da y After a while y ou should be g in to learn what kind and how much food y our marine animals will eat. Some a q uarium animals will p refer certain foods and re q uire different amounts than some of the other animals. The animals that move around a lot will p robabl y re q uire feedin g as much as twice a da y while those that p refer to remain q uiet will be able to g o for several da y s between meals. Some excellent foods, which are available freeze-dried are: brine shrim p mos q uito larvae, tubifex worms and ocean p lankton. Live brine shrim p are excellent to feed to most active fish as well as to molluscs (scallo p s, clams, etc.) and livin g corals. Include al g ae in the feedin g p ro g ram at least three times a week. Al g ae hel p s to maintain the bri g ht colors of the an g elfish, tan g s, and p arrot fishes. Dried flake food should not be used to start y our a q uarium. Flake food should onl y be fed to the animals once the y have g otten used to their new environment. Use flake food s p arin g l y Once or twice a week is enou g h. Learn what kinds of foods y our animals eat in the wild and feed them those kinds. Remember, don't over-feed y our animals!Water MaintenanceOnce the a q uarium is set u p with water, e q ui p ment and animals it is necessar y to maintain it in g ood condition. Animals p roduce toxic wastes and the wastes will continue to increase as time g oes b y An a q uarium is a closed s y stem. There is no natural chan g in g of sea water. Even with filtration, toxic levels can build u p unless the necessar y measures are taken. One of the most im p ortant thin g s is to re p lace about one fourth of the water in the a q uarium with fresh seawater. How do y ou know when the water needs to be chan g ed? Look at its color. Is it the same color as it was the first da y ? Smell the water. Does it have an odor? It should not have an un p leasant odor. If the water is not clean and has a smell, it should be chan g ed. Sim p l y si p hon one fourth of the water out of the a q uarium and discard it. Slowl y add new seawater. Alwa y s kee p an extra su pp l y of seawater hand y in p lastic buckets. Even with a to p on the a q uarium, water will eva p orate from the a q uarium. It is im p ortant to remember that salts will not eva p orate with the water.


Startin g and Maintainin g A Marine Aquarium Pa g e 14July 1981Re p lace an y water that has been lost due to eva p orationit is su gg ested that y ou select one or more of the books with either distilled water or a g ed ta p water. Do not and p am p hlets on the reference list. take water directl y from a faucet to fill the a q uarium. Fresh ta p water contains chlorine and this mi g ht kill the animals. Ta p water should be a g ed in a p lastic bucket for at least a week in order to g et rid of the chlorine. To kee p track of eva p orated water p lace a p iece of ta p e or a mark at the be g innin g water level. As water eva p orates the level will g o down. Re p lace the water slowl y so that the newl y added water will not shock the animals. Before addin g the water check its tem p erature. The water to be added should have the same tem p erature as that in the a q uarium.Potential ProblemsThe p roblems listed below are two of the most common p roblems associated with kee p in g a salt water a q uarium: 1.White s p ots on the fins and bod y of fishes. The white s p ots are tin y p arasites known as "oodinium". The infected fish will usuall y "breathe" ra p idl y and scratch themselves on rocks and other ob j ects. The infected fish should be p laced in a se p arate "hos p ital" or treatment tank containin g one teas p oon of 1 p ercent co pp er sulfate solution to one g allon of seawater. Leave the fish in this tank for about one week. Do not attem p t to treat the fish in y our main a q uarium. Make sure that the treatment tank has g ood water, p lent y of aeration and filtration. 2.Ver y small, white, bu g -like critters that a pp ear on the g lass of the a q uarium. These co p e p ods are about as lon g as the wire of a p a p er cli p is wide. The y are not harmful to marine fish but usuall y a pp ear j ust before the water in the a q uarium becomes p olluted. lf y ou feed y our marine animals too much, some of the food p articles that are not eaten will be g in to decom p ose. These decom p osin g food p articles will be g in to foul the a q uarium. When this ha pp ens, the little white co p e p ods a pp ear. When y ou see these co p e p ods, y ou should chan g e the water immediatel y Chan g e at least the water volume with either artificial sea water or natural sea water that has been p ro p erl y filtered. There are other p roblems which ma y occur. For descri p tions of other fish diseases and their treatment,REFERENCESBooksAquarium Fishes in Color J. M. Madsen, Macmillan Pub., Co., Inc., New York, 1975. Fish and Invertebrate Culture Ste p hen H. S p otte, Wile y -Interscience, a division of John Wile y & Sons, New York, 1970. A Guide to Marine Aquarium Keeping T. F. H. Publications Inc., 245 Cornelison Avenue, Jerse y Cit y N. J. The Marine Aquarium for the Home Aquarist R. F. O'Connell, Great Outdoors Pub. Co., St. Petersbur g Florida, 1969. Marine Aquarium Guide Frank de Graaf, Pet Librar y LTD., Harrison, N. J., 1973. The Marine Collectors Guide Robert P. L. Strau g han, A. S. Barnes & Co., Inc., Cranbur y N.J. Marine Tropicals William P, Braker and Ed L. Fisher, T. F.H. Publications, Inc., 245 Cornelison Avenue, Jerse y Cit y N.J., 1966. Principal Diseases of Marine Fish Carl J. Sindermann, Academic Press, New York. Salt Water Aquarium Magazine Box 1000, Belleview, Florida 32620. The Salt Water Aquarium in the Home Robert P. L. Strau g han, A. S. Barnes and Co., Cranbur y N.J. Tropical Marine Aquaria, Graham F. Cox, Grosset & Dunla p Pub., New York, 1972.PamphletsThe Marine Primer Ro g er Klocek, Marine Hobb y ist News, Normal, Illinois, 1975. Marine or Saltwater Aquaria, Mar y S p arrow, Vir g inia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, Vir g inia 23062. The Natural Balanced Aquarium Barbara Ja y ne Palko, Southeast Fisheries Center, Miami, FL 33149. So You Want to Keep a Marine Aquarium? Jeff Hallet, Marine Science Education Center, Ma yp ort, FL 32067.


COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES, Christine Ta y lor Waddill, Director, in cooperation with the United States Department of A g riculture, publishes this information to further the purpose of the Ma y 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of Con g ress; and is authorized to provide research, educational information and other services onl y to individuals and institutions that function without re g ard to race, color, a g e, sex, handicap or national ori g in. The information in this publication is available in alternate formats. Sin g le copies of extension publications (excludin g 4-H and y outh publications) are available free to Florida residents from count y extension offices. Information on copies for out-of-state purchase is available from Publications Distribution Center, Universit y of Florida, PO Box 110011, Gainesville, FL 32611-0011. Information about alternate formats is available from Educational Media and Services, Universit y of Florida, PO Box 110810, Gainesville, FL 32611-0810. This information was published Jul y 1981 as 4H-356, Florida Cooperative Extension Service. 1.This document is 4HMEM10, one of a series of the 4-H Youth Develo p ment Pro g ram, Florida Coo p erative Extension Service, Institute of Food and A g ricultural Sciences, Universit y of Florida. Please visit the EDIS website at http:/edis.ifas.ufl.edu 2.Neil Crenshaw, Florida 4-H Marine Education S p ecialist, Coo p erative Extension Service, Institute of Food and A g ricultural Sciences, Universit y of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Barbara Jayne Palko, Fisheries Biologist, National Marine Fisheries Service, B. J. Allen, Extension 4-H Youth Specialist, and Tom Leahy, Editor, Florida Sea Grant Program, for reviewing this publication.Illustrations b y David B. Laidlaw