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10 Awesome Aquarium Tips

Create an underwater paradise for your fish with this guide to building the best aquarium money can buy.

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We caught up with Kevin Kaufman, owner of Coast Aquariums, a custom-aquarium design company in Vancouver, to discuss what goes into building a great Aquarium. Here are his tips for creating an aquatic masterpiece:

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Freshwater Tip #1

“Freshwater aquariums are easier to maintain than saltwater ones, as their water needs to be changed less frequently,” says Kaufman. He suggests changing the water every two weeks, siphoning 20 to 30 per cent of tank contents into a bucket and replacing with clean, room-temperature water.

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Freshwater Tip #2

Put some thought into the fish you choose for your tank, and be sure to pick species that can live safely with each other. “Angelfish, cardinal tetras and tiger barbs are hardy and coexist well,” says Kaufman.

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Freshwater Tip #3

Channel the peaceful feel of a freshwater lake with soft lighting and natural acces-sories. Skip the plastic baubles and opt for local wood and rocks that you sanitize yourself. Boil wood for one to two hours; scrub rocks, then soak in hot water for one minute.

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4. Freshwater Tip #4

Be picky with your plants. Kaufman suggests swapping artificial plants for live ones, like Java Fern and Anubias. They help balance pH levels.

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Saltwater Tip #1

“It’s a bit more work, but a saltwater tank gives you the wow factor of vibrant tropical fish,” says Kaufman. Replace one third of the water, adding new salt, weekly.

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Saltwater Tip #2

Pick the perfect tropical fish. Native to the Indo-Pacific, damselfish, clown fish and yellow tangs provide a stream of stunning colour.

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Saltwater Tip #3

Include a live rock (a piece of coral that has broken off during a storm) in your saltwater set-up. Not only does it add beauty, but its pores and bacteria act as a filter.

(Photo by Thinkstock)

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Tips for Both Freshwater and Saltwater Tanks

– Install the energy-efficient Marineland Single Bright LED Lighting System with daytime and nighttime modes for shimmering natu-ral sun and moonlight effects. Available for $70 at

– To prevent an algae invasion, keep your aquarium out of direct sunlight and use a magnetic scraper to clean the glass.

– Avoid fish caught in the wild and opt for tank-raised fish instead.

– Don’t overfeed. Excess food can sink and rot, throwing water chemistry off balance. Be careful to put out only as much food as fish can consume in a minute.

(Photo by Thinkstock)