Fish Tank Mike
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6 Aquarium Hacks For The Average Fishkeeper!
Making things easy and convenient in the aquarium hobby is an extremely important thing. If it's easier and less of a hassle to change your water, test your parameters, etc. you are going to do them more often and have a better experience while your journey progresses.
Today we will cover 6 hacks and tips to help make your life easier and save you some money in the long run. Let's begin!
Hack #1: Clamps For Water Changes
It might seem obvious, but having some type of a glass safe clamp to hold your hose or tubing securely to the aquarium while re filling
A handy little clap with a lot of holding power! I use this for holding my hose in place when doing small water changes directly from the tap.
Hack #2: Credit Card Algae Scraper
You can scrape algae from your aquariums glass with a number of different tools; magnetic scrapers, razor blades and even simple credit or gift cards! We all have old debit cards, gift cards you name it laying around and they work great on common green spot algae! Need help reaching the back of your tank? Here's a suggestion-
This handy tool will help extend your reach when it comes to scrapping algae! A few different sizes available and includes a double sided card that can be replaced with any normal sized credit or gift card.
Hack #3: Test Tubes/Syringes For Water Testing
API liquid test kits are the most accurate and reliable tool for quantifying your aquariums parameters (NH3, NO2-, NO3-, PO4, etc.). Unfortunately, these kits come with small glass tubes that are easy to miss place and even break! Don't worry, I have a solution! Grab the following 3 items from Amazon and your water testing will be easier, more convenient and overall a much more pleasant experience!
These 15ml screw capped test tubes are ultra clear and will not discolor/alter your interpretation of the test. They are polycarbonate so you can drop them on the floor all you want :) Instead of having to dip your hand in and out of your tank trying to get the API glass test tubes to the right fill point, grab your self some 20ml syringes. This way you can extract enough water to do 4 tests (5ml each) and easily fill your graduated test tubes with the correct volume. It's important to clean out your test tubes when your done. To prevent and small droplets from hanging around, consider the drying rack below. Your basically a scientist at this point ;)
Test Tubes w/Caps
These 15ml durable test tubes are a good replacement for the weak glass test tubes that are included with API test kits. They have a screw cap and come with a rack that's great for general storage and also serves as a resting spot while your waiting for your tests to finish.
Test Tube Drying Rack
leaving even a tiny drop of water in your test tube can skew future test results. I like to keep my recently used and cleaned test tube on this drying rack to prevent this.
20 ml Syringes
These 20ml syringes allow you to pull out enough water to do 4 tests all at once. No more filling individual test tubes by dunking them in your tank.
Hack #4: Mesh Bags With Rock
Almost all aquarium substrate whether its specialty stuff or DIY can be expensive. A lot of aquascapers like to make use of dramatic hills or propped up rocks and wood. To achieve these heights without having to buy an extra bag or two of substrate, consider this little trick- Grab yourself some cheap lava lock OR any type of cheap aquarium safe gravel. Next, fill up these reuseable produce bags with a decent amount and place then in areas where you need the extra height. Fill in the surrounding areas with your expensive substrate and get the effect you need at a fraction of the cost.
Here is a cheap variety pack of mesh produce bags that I use often in my scapes. The smaller bags are great for nano tanks, while the medium and larger once are perfect for tanks of all sizes.
Here is a link to some great small sized lava rocks that work perfectly for this hack. They are also small enough to use as biomedia if you end up having some extra!
Hack #5: Bio Media In HOB
Hang on back filters are one of my favorite methods for filtering small nano aquariums. Problem is, they often don't include specific biomedia. This is often a non-issue although I always like to add some extra juice whenever possible! For this simple hack, all you gotta do is remove the traditional filter material from the back, replace it with ceramic rings or small lava rocks and place a filter sponge over the input of the filter. You have not just supped up your HOB filter, pretty much the equivalent of adding a supercharger ;)
Here is a nice ball shaped media that is small enough for even the smallest of HOB's It's dust free so you don't even have to wash it off first.
Good ol' ceramic rings are also a great choice for the back of HOB filters. Sometimes the rings can be too large, but I found a listing that has the perfect size. The media also ships in a nice little mesh bag that you can place directly into larger HOB's or empty out into smaller ones.
Hack #6: Lead Weights Glued To Rhizome Plants
I learned about this super simple, genius level hack from a recent post on Buceplants Instagram. It's a simple way to weigh down individual pieces or small bunches of rhizome plants like Anubias and Bucephalandra. Sometimes you want to place these small plants near the bottom of the tank but often times don't have any nearby hardscape to attach them to. Since they will otherwise float, this method is great for getting the perfect plant placement.
Get Gorilla gel-type super glue, a clump of Anubias or Buce and acquire some lead weights.
Put a dab of super glue onto the weight and press a portion of the roots onto the weight and let dry.
Put it in your tank and enjoy!
Lead Aquarium Weights
Lot's of aquarium safe plant weights are available, but here is the exact pack that I recently purchased on Amazon for this project. Hope this helps!
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Leave a comment below with your favorite aquarium hack! Thanks for reading :)
-Fish Tank Mike