Turtles As Pets

turtles as pets
Creative Commons License photo credit: Strevo

If you’re looking to keep an aquarium pet but you’re bored with the idea of more fish then you might like to consider turtles as pets. There are a number of turtle species that can be easily and cheaply purchased and will make ideal, if someone exotic, pets to keep in the home aquarium.

As a side note, before we go any further it is important to mention that turtles are carnivorous on the whole – that is they eat meat. As a result there are no cases where turtles can be safely kept with aquarium fish. Even if the fish themselves are as big or even bigger than the turtle, turtles are predators and may try to bite of chunks of fin etc. that can lead to a slow and painful death for your fish. In other words never try to keep fish and turtles together in the same aquarium.

That said, what aquarium supplies will you need to successfully keep turtles as pets?

Housing Turtles As Pets

By their very nature turtles are mainly aquatic – though most will come out of the water from time to time if given the chance so that they can dry off and bask in the sun’s rays. Doing so not only helps to aid their metabolism but also helps to reduce the chances of skin problems and/or parasites attacking constantly damp skin. As a result of their mainly aquatic way of life an aquarium is the ideal home for them.

While different species of turtle attain different eventual sizes it goes without saying that the larger the aquarium the better. Typically a tank of at least 4 feet long will be required for an adult pair though youngsters may be kept in smaller aquariums.

Like most pet reptiles turtles as pets require heating and artificial lighting if they are to stay fit and healthy. This means an aquarium heater will be need to keep the water warm. For turtles there are really two kinds of lights that are necessary and so it is important to install both.

The first kind of lighting is a heat lamp which will simulate the warmth of the suns rays when your turtles come out of the water to bask and the second is a bulb that gives out UV light to enable your turtle to properly use vitamin D3. Without this artificial UV light a turtle kept indoors can quickly find itself suffering from bone and joint problems which at their most extreme can lead to turtles being unable to move around their vivarium. These two lamps may use separate bulbs or in some cases bulbs can be purchased that give out both UV light and heat which saves on money and electrical fittings.

Be sure to provide an area for your turtles to leave the water either in the form of an area of dry land or some floating wood (cork bark is ideal) onto which your turtles can haul themselves out.

As stated, most turtles are carnivores and furthermore they tend to eat in the water rather than in their basking area which means the water in their aquarium can quickly become an unpleasant soup of rotting dead meat if care is not taken. In light of this turtles as pets require a very strong filtration
system to keep all the waste in check and regular maintenance by the owner to keep everything smelling clean and fresh.

Feeding Turtles As Pets

As with any other pet, when it comes to the diet of a pet turtle variety is key. By offering a range of foods you maximize the chances of your pet turtles getting all the nutrients they need. Examples of suitable foods for turtles kept as pets include mealworms, crickets, commercial fish flakes and pellets, raw beef, small amounts of tinned pet food and of course not forgetting the pre-made commercial turtle foods available from most exotic pet stores.

Because this food can quickly rot and turn the water sour it is a smart idea to only feed your turtles small amounts at any one time. Ideally you want all the food provided to be consumed within a few minutes. If one provides more food than a turtle needs then this is when the food will sink to the bottom of the aquarium and start to rot. In this way try to only feed your turtles as much as they eat in a few minutes and feed them once or twice a day rather than trying to leave food in the tank at all times.

7 Solutions For An Aquarium That Leaks

tree frog
Creative Commons License photo credit: tibchris

Whether it’s a huge crack in a pane of glass caused by physical damage or a slight gap in the sealant thanks to natural wear and tear many fish keepers discover sooner or later that they are the owner of a leaky aquarium. The obvious question is what exactly can be done with a large and heavy fish tank which stubbornly refuses to do the very job it was designed for. Fortunately we have seven possible solutions for you today…

Replace The Glass

If you have a serious crack in your aquarium it may be possible to remove the damaged pane altogether and replace it with a new piece. The first step is getting hold of replacement glass and many glaziers or home improvement stores will not only sell you a piece of glass but will even cut it to size so careful measurement – of the thickness as well as the length and width – is essential. Then using a sharp craft knife loosen the sealant holding the damaged panel in place, remove it  and in it’s place fit the new piece of glass before carefully resealing the joins.

Fix With Aquarium Sealant

If the crack is very small or it is actually the seal between two panes of glass that is leaking it is often quick and easy to reseal your leaky aquarium and make it water-tight again thanks to the use of some specialist aquarium silicon sealant. Simply apply the sealant to dry glass, smooth over using a finger or the back of a teaspoon then allow it to dry thoroughly.

Use It For Non Aquatic Pets

Just because your aquarium leaks doesn’t mean you have to throw it away. If repairing your aquarium doesn’t appeal or isn’t cost effective another solution is to put it to a slightly different use. A range of small mammals and exotic pets can be perfectly housed in a disused aquarium where the fact that it is no longer watertight won’t make any difference whatsoever.

Use For Semi Aquatic Pets

A wide range of fascinating amphibians like a moist environment but also appreciate dry land areas to be able to get out of the water and forage for food. In this way a leaky aquarium can be reused, placing a cat litter tray or similar item into the base to create a “pond” area and building an attractive artificial rainforest around it to house treefrogs, salamanders or newts for example.

As a side note, amphibians can be talented escape artists so if you’re considering this option ensure that you invest in a suitable lid to keep your new semi-aquatic pets safe and sound.

Sell It

If you don’t want your old leaky aquarium there may be other people who would be happy to take it off your hands for one of the purposes listed above. As a result you could try listing your aquarium for sale in the local newspaper or online in the hope of selling it, thus providing you with some cash to put towards a new water-tight aquarium.

Give It Away

Whilst it’s nice to sell an old aquarium the size and weight of many fish tanks mean that it may be quicker and easier to just give your old tank away rather than waiting for a buyer. In this way you may lose out on some cash but you can quickly clear space for a replacement tank and get on with your hobby sooner rather than later.

Recycle It

Lastly consider recycling your old glass or plastic aquarium rather than simply throwing it into landfill. By doing this you will be helping the environment – and as a result the fish that live in it.

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Best Canister Filters – Fluval 405 Canister Filter Review

fluval 405 canister filterAt the time of writing I have spent the best part of the last month researching which filter to buy for a new aquarium I am setting up. Whilst there are literally hundreds of models available one of the most important factors I was searching for was an external canister filter.

The reason is really quite simple. As the filtration unit is located outside the main body of the fish tank – often being placed into a cupboard or behind the aquarium stand – maintenance is incredibly simple. In contrast to internal filters like undergravel filters you don’t need to rearrange your aquarium – or even get your hands wet – in order to keep your filter running properly and thus keeping your fish as healthy as possible.

Of course ease-of-maintenance aside there are also other benefits to canister filters such as the way they are typically almost silent to run so you avoid the annoying buzz created by some other types of filter and the large size of the canister also makes them very efficient at filtration so you will often see a noticeable difference in water quality between using an external filter and an internal.

After some initial research into the canister filter market to see what is currently the “best of breed” model I finally decided to settle on the Fluval 405 canister filter for a number of reasons.

Easy Installation

Solid Design

Canister filters can get damaged by a variety of different physical activities – from being dropped during maintenance to the constant flow of warm water through them – which in many current models can lead to a degree of warping over time.

This isn’t so much an aesthetic problem as much as it is a practical one because this slight change to the shape of the canister can result in leaks – and I for one certainly don’t want to get home from work one day to find dirty aquarium water pouring onto my carpet!

The Fluval 405 canister filter is designed to be sturdy with glass fibers incorporated to keep both the body of the canister strong and to reinforce the various clamps and fittings that holds the filter together and this degree of insurance really shouldn’t be overstated.

Intake Strainer

As the dirty fish tank water first enters the filter it passes initially through what Fluval call their “intake strainer” – the purpose of which is to act as a coarse filter to immediately remove larger particles from the water.

By removing these large particles before the main filtering process this means your filter is far less likely to become blocked which not only will keep your aquarium water cleaner but should also help to prolong the life of your filter making it a better long-term investment.

Multiple Filters Bays

Once the initial straining of the water has occured it is then free to make it’s way into the main body of the canister which is split into four distinct compartments. Whilst an internal filter may only offer mechical filtering via a sponge a canister filter offers you far more options.

As standard within the box you will find two foam pads for physical filtering, a pouch of carbon for chemical filtering and four glass Biomax rings which are designed to support significant cultures of helpful bacteria.

This means as your fish tank water passes through the canister it is essentially getting cleaned three times – not just having the detritus such as excess fish food and faeces removed by a physical process but just as importantly it is also having the chemical balance of your water restored for a healthier aquarium.

Even better, you can change around the various filter compartments to suit your own needs unlike many filters. So, for example, if you test your water chemistry and find this is perfectly fine though the filtered water still has some fine particulate material in it, you could swap the carbon pouch for another foam pad to better remove those elements.

In short, your water will be assured of the best cleaning possible thanks to the flexibility of the system that Fluval employ and full guidelines can be found in the instruction manual included with the pump.

Instant Prime

For a canister filter to work properly it need to be full of water before you turn it on and this in the past created additional work. You needed to siphon water into the tubes and the canister before starting it up and this is one manjor drawback of many other canister filters on the market.

However in the 405 canister filter Fluval have come up with an innovative solution which they call “Instant Prime”. Quite simply this system means you can just turn on the filter as soon as it is set up without having to prime it with water and it will work effortlessly from the moment you flick the switch.

Aquastop Valves

When it comes to changing the filter media for regular cleaning one potential problem with canister filters is having to undo all the tubing which can be fiddly and potentially messy as these will be filled with water which may end up all over you or your floor.

To deal with this issue the Fluval 405 canister filter has what is known as “aquastop” valves which will immediately close off the water flow in and out of the filter before you open it and allow you to unclip the tubing without running the risk of spillage.

You are then free to clean your filter, clip the tubing back on, fire up the “instant prime” feature and you’re back to business.

By the way some users claim they have to clean their 405 only half as much as other canister filters so this means less work for you!

What Size Aquarium Is The Fluval 405 Canister Filter Meant For?

It is difficult to “overfilter” water so whilst the Fluval 405 is designed for aquariums up to 100 gallons (400 liters) it can still be used safely and successfully in smaller tanks without any risk to your fish.

How Much You Should Expect To Pay

It seems for such a popular filter that there are a massive range of prices out there. The current list price is $298.94 and while some retailers try to undercut this list price by a degree some will even add a little additional profit ontop and attempt to charge over $300 for the Fluval 405. So far the best deal I have found is at Amazon where it is currently for sale for less than $150.

What Others Are Saying

This is currently one of the highest-rated filters on Amazon scoring an impressive four out of five stars after a large number of user reviews.

A few comments I found there included:

– “It does it’s job better than any filter I’ve seen”

– “Very easy to set up – powerful but quiet”

– “Easy to clean and simple to use right out of the box”

– “I would recommend it to anyone”

Any Complaints?

The only real complaint mentioned from time to time is that it can be a struggle to get the lid off the canister and a few users have had to resort to using a screwdriver or similar implement to get inside. However as just as many people have also noted they would rather it was a very tight fit like this to significantly reduce the chance of any water managing to leak out through loose seals.

Where Can You Buy A Fluval 405 Canister Filter?

Whilst the Fluval 405 is a popular, and hence commonly-sold, filter probably the best place to buy it at present is from Amazon. They have the cheapest price I have seen and also offer free shipping which is a bonus. Click here to visit Amazon now.

Where Can You Read More Reviews Of The Fluval 405 Filter?

The best place to read reviews from people who actually use this filter is on Amazon. Click here to read more reviews.

Marineland Eclipse 12 Aquarium Review – Marineland Aquariums

Marineland Eclipse 12 AquariumThe Marineland Eclipse 12 aquarium is designed to make keeping fish as easy as possible by providing a complete “out of the box” setup. As well as the main fish tank you will find an aquarium hood, lighting unit and tube plus a patented filtration unit. The Marineland Eclipse 12 even comes with water conditioning solution, food and an introductory book on keeping fish.

All you need to do is to add gravel, fish and, if you so choose, some plants and you’re all set up with a beautiful, simple-to-run aquarium that will show your fish off a treat.

Acrylic Aquarium

The main aquarium itself comes in a range of sizes including a 3 gallon model, a hexagonal 5 gallon model and a 5 gallon corner model though this review looks more specifically at the Eclipse 12 – so-named because it has a 12 gallon capacity and is hence the largest fish tank in the Marineland Eclipse range.

To help you visualize the tank it has dimensions of 21 x 11.5 x 17.5 inches so it a reasonable size for many smaller community fish and is easy to accommodate even for those with little space. On the other hand these small dimensions do mean that a number of larger species of fish cannot really be kept in a tank like this.

The aquarium itself is made from acrylic rather than glass which has two main benefits. Firstly it is far lighter meaning it is easier to work with, set up and maintain. And secondly acrylic tanks like this are far stronger than glass meaning that your tank should have a long lifetime without the risks of cracks and chips.

Lastly the acrylic tank has a slightly curved front to enable better viewing of your fish at all angles.

Integrated Hood

The black hood of the Marineland Eclipse 12 houses both the lighting unit and the filtration unit yet flips up easily to allow routine maintenance of your aquarium.

The benefit of having the electrics in the hood are that not only are they easy to access but they are also hidden well out of view creating a more attractive display for your fish. No more trying to hide an unsightly filter behind some rocks and plants!

Lastly having the filter in the hood means more space for your fish to swim around in rather than having a percentage of the space in the water taken up with a mechical device.

Filtration Unit

The filtration unit itself is a patented design with is guaranteed not to break down for life. This means more peace of mind for you as you can feel confident that your aquarium water will stay clean and safe for your pets and will eliminate any nasty surprises that many fish keepers experience when their filter finally gives out.

The filter is also designed to require little or no maintenance unlike many other popular filters available today so further reducing your workload and allowing you to spend more time enjoying your fish.

Lighting Unit

The lighting unit is one aspect that gets a lot of coverage because quite simply not only is it incredibly simple to set up but just as importantly the light that it gives out is excellent. The light not only helps to show up the true colors of your fish – making your aquarium the center of attention in any room – but it also gives out the necessary wavelengths to allow you to grow live plants in your fish tank if you so desire.

How Much You Should Expect To Pay

The current list price for the Marineland Eclipse 12 is $199.99 though it seems a price of between $100 and $150 seems about average for most suppliers. So far the best deal I have found is at Amazon where it is currently for sale for less than $90 offering a considerable saving over most other suppliers.

What Others Are Saying

The Marineland Eclipse aquariums are understandably incredibly popular (and well-respected) aquariums and this fish tank currently has an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Here are a few of the actual user comments I found:

– “If there was one word to describe this it would be: Effortless.”

– “I think this is an excellent small to midrange aquarium set. I’ve been using this aquarium for 3 years now and am very pleased with it.”

– “It looks great, it works great, and the light makes the fish and plants look vibrant”

– “Almost perfect”

Where Can You Buy A Marineland Eclipse 12?

Marineland Eclipse aquariums can be bought from most aquatic retailers both online and off however probably the best place to buy it at present is from Amazon. They have the cheapest price I have seen and you can click here to visit Amazon now.

Where Can You Read More Reviews Of The Marineland Eclipse Aquariums?

The best place to read reviews from people who actually use this fish tank is on Amazon. Click here to read more reviews.

Keeping Tropical Fish With Amphibians

Creative Commons License photo credit: Furryscaly

A growing number of different aquatic and semi-aquatic amphibians are becoming available in the pet trade. From African clawed frogs to fire-bellied toads and many more in between it is becoming ever more common to see these hardy, easy-to-care for creatures for sale in exotic pet shops and aquarium stores.

For the passionate fish keeper these amphibians represent quite an exciting opportunity. It is a chance to try your hand at keeping something a little bit “unusual” while being able to keep costs down by using most of the existing fish tank supplies you already own.

One of the questions I have been receiving quite a bit recently is whether amphibians can be kept with tropical fish or whether they should preferably be kept alone.

There are a number of factors to be aware of when making a decision like this. Firstly almost all amphibians are carnivorous and in the wild may feed on such items as live insects or small aquatic animals like beetle larvae or baby fish.

Some amphibians can also grow to a considerable size when compared to the babies for sale in many pet stores though there are those species which will grow to a far more manageable and reasonable size.

Whilst many amphibians will spend much time in the water most will also require an area of dry land where they can haul themselves out if they are to live a long and healthy life so it may be necessary to make some changes to an existing fish tank in order to successfully accommodate them.

In general therefore while some fish keepers *do* have success keeping the smaller species of amphibian in with their tropical fish while keeping them well-fed on special diets you should be aware that there is always a risk that an amphibian may attack or even kill some of your fish.

If you’re willing to risk a few guppies or tetras then you may want to take a gamble but if your fish are your major priority I would suggest keeping amphibians in a separate tank where they will pose no risk to your beloved aquarium fish.

Using Invertebrates To Keep Your Aquarium Clean

Getting redder by the day :D.
Creative Commons License photo credit: threefingeredlord

Whether you’re keeping a coldwater aquarium, tropical tank or marine fish there are a host of invertebrates which are available in the trade at a reasonable price. Not only do invertebrates add an extra level of interest to an aquarium but they can also offer practical benefits.

Quiet simply many invertebrates are grazers and will work their way around your fish tank finding leftover food and cleaning it up thus you not only have a very interesting aquarium tank but your tank also stays cleaner which means a more attractive aquarium and less manual cleaning required by you.

An example of an invertebrate worth considering are the various snails available who typically graze on algae. They will slowly work their way around your fish tank getting rid of any green algae on the glass of your aquarium, on your aquarium tank decorations and so on. Just be certain you have a tight-fitting lid on the top of your tank if you don’t want them to escape.

Depending on the species of fish you keep (please check suitability with your local provider of aquarium pet supplies before making an investment) there are also a range of other invertebrates you can consider. From shrimps to crayfish to crabs. All of these small crustaceans will slowly work their way across the bottom of your aquarium picking up any interesting food particles either ignored by your fish or too small for your fish to bother with.

There are a huge range of different sizes, colors and shapes of these crustaceans and so some research is well worthwhile before introducing one or more to your tank. If you have used invertebrates to help you keep your tank clean please leave me a comment and let me know what you did.

The Importance Of Patience When Setting Up A New Aquarium

Beautiful lionfish
Creative Commons License photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar

There are certain things in life that should never be rushed. A good bottle of wine is just one example. And another, rather more appropriate to this website, is setting up a new aquarium.

The simple fact of the matter is that setting up an aquarium properly takes time and those people who are in a hurry and want to cut corners are typically the kind of people who have problems when it comes to keeping their aquarium fish fit and healthy.

Let’s look at a few examples together…

When it comes to decking out your aquarium with various plants and aquarium decorations it is worth taking the time to consider what you are doing. Spend a few days coming back to your aquarium before you consider adding any fish to check that your design really does look as attractive as you initially thought. Also consider how the plants are going to grow up and try to imagine your aquarium in a few months time as it gets established to see whether any changes will be needed.

Various aquarium decorations themselves may require patience. No matter how well you wash everything before adding water to your aquarium you some decorations may still dirty the water to a degree. Dust from gravel, tannins from wood and minerals from some rocks may still cause your aquarium water to go cloudy when you fish fill it up and so again having the patience to wait a few days for all the particles to separate out can be a very smart idea indeed.

The water that you place into your aquarium is likely to be high in chemicals such as chlorine which has been added to the water to keep us safe but may cause harm to your fish. Whilst dechlorinating solutions are now available if you opt not to use them you really need to leave your aquarium water to stand few a couple of days so these chemicals can dissipate before adding it to your tank.

And then of course there is the sensitive issue of fish tank chemistry. We know more now than ever about the complex bacterial cultures that build up over time in our tank substrate and in our filter media and how these cultures help to break down harmful chemicals that our fish secrete.

These bacterial colonies take time to build up and therefore for our filtration system to become fully functional. “Seeding” our aquariums with fish flakes and/or a small number of very hardy fish will allow the bacteria to grow slowly before we start adding other, more sensitive fish and even then fish should ideally only be added a few at a time to allow our filter to deal with all the extra work that will be required of it.

The worst possible fish-keeping situation is one where you try to set up an aquarium in an afternoon and fill it with fish the next day. In contrast the best situations are those where the aquarium keeper is fully aware of the patience required of him or her and takes the time – often weeks – to slowly introduce all the elements necessary for a healthy fish tank.

If you’re just setting up your first aquarium and are chomping at the bit to create a completely planted and stocked aquarium just try to remember how important your patience is and appreciate that this small initial investment of your time will be rewarded for years to come.

The Daily Rythmn Of Your Aquarium

Creative Commons License photo credit: robstephaustralia

One of the common themes which keeps cropping up here from visitors is all about the daily cycles of an aquarium such as how long lights should be left on for, how long filters should be left on for, when fish should be fed and so on.

So in this article I thought we’d attempt to cover as many of those bases as possible to give you a better idea of how to run your aquarium on a daily basis and keep your fish happy and healthy.


In the wild many fish will browse throughout the day rather like a gazelle as opposed to a lion feeding every few days and spending the rest of the time asleep. In addition to this any uneaten fish food has the potential to pollute the water in your fish tank, affect levels of nitrates and nitrites and either cause harm to your fish or require more regular cleaning.

Therefore it is generally advisable if you have the time to feed your fish smaller amounts on a more regular basis. Feeding before and after work, for example, tends to work well and by following this pattern it is reasonably easy to get into the habit.


If you use artificial lighting in your aquarium like most fish keepers then it is wise to turn these lights off during the night. Leaving lights on 24 hours a day can stress your fish out, tire out plants and encourage algal growth so lights should ideally be turned on for 12-16 hours per day and for ease I generally use a timer so I don’t need to think about this aspect of aquarium care.


Most fish don’t “sleep” as we humans do and so may still be active at night though typically less so than during the day. Because of this they may still defecate in the water and of course some excess food etc. may also still be present in the water so it is recommended that you leave your aquarium filtration system on at all times unless you are removing it to clean it during routine tank maintenance.

Hiding Your Aquarium Filter

Creative Commons License photo credit: majcher

One of the questions which I seem to have been getting quite a bit recently focuses on how to hide your aquarium filter from view. It seems that quite a few of our regular visitors are trying to create attractive, naturalistic aquarium setups and that having a plastic box buzzing away takes away from the overall effect.

If you are in the same camp of wanting to hide your aquarium filter then there are several possible steps you can consider but before we get onto these I’d like to issue a gentle warning.

The purpose of a filter is really to draw in dirty water, filter out chemical and physical debris and then eject the cleaned water back into the fish tank. By doing this your fish will stay much fitter and healthier and no established fish keeper would ever claim that filters are a luxury; filters really are an essential aquarium pet supplies if you really care about the health of your aquarium.

To a degree aquarium filters also have a second function in that the water being ejected from the filter causes ripples, bubbles or drops on the surface of your aquarium water, helping to aerate it so that your fish can breathe easily in their underwater world.

This means that whilst there are steps that can be taken to hide your aquarium filter it is just as important to consider that your filter is able to do it’s job successfully. The filter should be able to easily suck water in and spit it back out again. I have seen some aquariums over the years where a filter is tucked away behind dozens of plants but it is likely this filter isn’t doing as good a job as it could if it weren’t for the plants.

In other words, by all means hide the filter, but ensure it is able to do it’s job properly when you have finished making the changes to your fish tank.

So, with that said, how do you hide an aquarium filter?

Firstly of course you can consider placing your filter behind some plants or rocks so long as it will function properly in this way. However you can also take the next step and rather than using an internal power filter, you could consider using an external filter.

These external filters suck water out of the fish tank, into a separate filter compartment which is housed outside the aquarium, then the water is returned to the tank through another pipe.

In this way the main canister can be hidden away behind the fish tank or in a cupboard and the aquarist only has to worry about disguising a few clear plastic pipes rather than a large plastic box. In this way an external filter can be far more attractive to look at than an internal filter.