Aquarium First Aid

In the calm and cool atmosphere of your living room you relax lazily watching the beautiful fish swim around gracefully in the aquarium. Aquariums help you relax, reduce mental stress and elevate your spirits.

But the pleasant mood may be spoiled when an emergency situation occurs, reducing the health of your fish and the serene beauty of the fish tank. It could be anything from power failure, electrical short circuit, spilled soap or oil to excessive algae, rise in chemical levels, and disease out breaks.

Regular maintenance is important to avoid disasters as far as possible but you should be well informed and prepared to meet the emergencies and have a first aid kit ready.

Study well to foresee all the situations that are likely to arise. Organize the first aid kit based on the study. Just as in the case of medical field, the three important points in aquarium problems are identification, diagnosis and treatment.

Warning signs.
Watch out for the warning signals. If the crystal clear water in the tank turns cloudy or the beautiful shining fish turns unnaturally pale or dark then it is time to takeout the rescue kit.

Let us list out the most common symptoms. The changes in behavior of the fish can be easily detected.

If you observe Loss of Livestock, unusually rapid breathing, Irregular movements, loss of color, Unusual marks or growths the inference is' elementary, my dear Watson, you have a problem of some kind of infection.

Changes in environment are also to be noticed. Insufficient growth or death of plants, Cloudy and / or foul smelling water etc are telltale symptoms calling for quick action. Use a good quality test kit to determine the levels of ammonia, nitrite, pH, nitrates, and phosphates.

Correcting the problem
Now let us take a look at equipments for correcting these problems. Changing the water is one important process. It will be best done if you have things like Siphon hose, Buckets or garbage cans large enough to hold at least 25% of the aquarium's water capacity, Power head or air pump for aerating the make-up water, Heater and thermometer and Dechlorinator, if tap water is used.

It is advisable to keep a stock of chemicals like Ammonia neutralizing medias, Activated carbon or organic removal resin, Phosphate and nitrate adsorbing media, Toxic metal or copper remover and appropriate pH buffer. These are useful in emergencies as well as in routine maintenance.

Have a smaller than the main one in standby as hospital aquarium. It can be used to medicate ill fish, and to quarantining new fish before acclimating them to the main display thereby avoiding the risk of infection to the other healthy fish. Furanase, Erythromycin, and Copper are the substances used for medication normally.

Remember not to panic when something unforeseen is observed in the fish tank. Use the first aid kit systematically and follow the instructions. And soon you can again sit back in the relaxing chair and watch the "living work of art" gliding around like angels in your aquarium.