Archive for the ‘Aquarium Maintenance’ Category

8-Legged Sentience?

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

Most people don’t think about the intelligence of animals, nor of their capacity to learn and grow and interact.
We often think we are the most intelligent creatures, and often take for granted that there are so many animals that are also smart and able to engage.
Octopuses are some of the most intelligent creatures both in or out of the water. There is evidence that they have a memory system that can store both short- and long-term memory, and they can perform complex problem-solving tasks and maze problems. An engineer from MIT was hired by an aquarium to design puzzles for the octopuses to stave off boredom, which can often lead to “naughty” behavior in captive octopuses. They have a tendency to pull apart their “habitats”, steal objects from handlers, and squirt streams of water at people.
Aside from having a highly complex nervous system, only part of which is localized in its brain, two-thirds of an octopus’s neurons are found in the nerve cords of its arms. They can move their arms even without input from the brain. Octopuses have been observed using tools, as well as showing signs of “play” behavior.
Octopuses have an amazing sense of touch as well. Their suction cups are lined with chemoreceptors so the octopus can taste what it is touching.How cool is that?!?! Imagine being able to taste things with your fingers?!
A misunderstood, yet incredibly fascinating creature, the octopus has been the subject of horror stories and legends for years; perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at the chameleons of the sea :)


Climate Change Isn’t the Only Enemy of the Oceans

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Plastic- so convenient, so prevalent, so carelessly discarded.
While we use plastic containers, plastic bottles, disposable diapers, and plastic bags almost every day, should we?

Off the coast of Indonesia, there is an island formed by plastic. An island. Of plastic. It is not only unsightly, it is downright hazardous. The chemicals in plastic can leach out and contaminate the water, which eventually ends up in our bodies.

Plastic bags are mistaken for food by many marine animals, and cause blockage, which can lead to death. The plastic rings holding cans together pose a strangulation risk for many animals as well.
Some studies estimate that by the year 2050, the oceans will have more plastic than fish. This is a heartbreaking statistic.

Think twice before getting a plastic bag while grocery shopping; there are so many reusable bags that are both convenient and long-lasting, and can reduce the amount of plastic bags that end up in landfills and bodies of water. Your sea turtle friends will thank you in the long run!



RIP, Great Barrier Reef?

Friday, October 14th, 2016

It has been widely shared, but is it a forgone conclusion?

This past week, an obituary for the Great Barrier Reef went viral, with many people mourning the so-called “loss” of the largest living thing on Earth.

Some scientists disagree that the Reef is completely dead, but they do agree that it is in dire need of intervention.

It has been gravely affected by El Nino and climate change, and nearly 93% of the reef has been affected by a huge bleaching event. Coral bleaching occurs when coral is stressed, causing them to expel algae and turn white. If they are not given time to recover, they will inevitably die.

All hope is not lost; if Australia implements the changes needed to reduce sediment levels, as well as carbon emissions, the Reef might just have a chance to recover.


Why Are Decorations Important?

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Have you ever wondered why we use rocks, plants, and coral in tanks?

Driftwood, rock, and synthetic plants and corals offer you a lovely aquascape. These things are more than just aesthetics, though- they offer your fishy friends an important benefit – shelter. In the natural environment, fish have places that offer them protection. Baby fish can hide from predators, and smaller fish can hide from their more aggressive tank mates when they are provided with ample spaces to hide. Keeping stress levels to a minimum can help your swimming buddies live a long, healthy life.

Tank decorations can also be used to hide unsightly tank plumbing; we use tall plants, corals, and rocks to disguise plumbing pipes, in-tank filtration, and heaters. This gives your tank a more natural, pleasing design.

With our years of experience, as well our constant desire to remain educated in all things aquarium-related, we can provide thoughtful, innovative ideas for your aquariums. From large synthetic coral, to rock walls; from natural-looking plants to out-of-the-ordinary decorations, we can help you have the tank of your dreams.




Do you have the right filtration?

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

When setting up a fish tank, many people don’t know where to begin when it comes to filtration. Some choose the least expensive option. Some choose a filter based on recommendations on the filter packaging. Others go with what is suggested by the salesperson at the local pet supply store. We have many clients who buy an improper, or incompatible, filter when beginning their aquarium adventures; they then have to upgrade or replace their existing ones at added cost/time/frustration. Some have even lost fish because their filters were not adequate for their tanks and animals.

So what guidelines SHOULD you follow? We recommend:

  • Choosing CANISTER filters big enough to handle the amount of waste your tank produces. Bigger tank+many fish= more waste.
  • Choosing a filter that provides enough water flow to maintain adequate oxygen levels. Taller/larger tanks may need additional filters for added flow.
  • Picking a filter that is both quiet, reliable, and long-lasting.
  • Learning what type of filter is compatible with your tank. Salt tanks need biological filtration as well as mechanical filtration; freshwater tanks need filters large enough to accommodate chemical filtration.

We have many years of experience with filtration, and are constantly researching new products and cutting-edge aquarium technologies.

Call us for a free consultation- we’d be more than happy to help you make the right decisions!



Wild Sea Otter Gives Birth at California Aquarium

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

Talk about a custom aquarium!  A wild female sea otter had been using the protected basin of the Aquarium’s Tide Pool to rest from the winter storms…turns out she was looking for a place to give birth!


Read more here



Fish Tank Feeding Frenzy – Aquarium Maintenance Tips

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

Look what happened as we were going about our aquarium maintenance services for a client in Framingham last week.

After we had cleaned the fish tank we began to feed the fish and all of a sudden the crazy carnivorous cichlids pounced on the food as if it were their last meal. It was fun to watch but then just as quickly as it started it all stopped and everything returned to normal as everyone had eaten their fill.  Calm was restored to the tank.

One of the best ways of cleaning a fish tank is to prevent it getting too dirty between cleanings. If you give them too much food, a lot won’t get eaten which means the tank floor gets dirtier faster. So do not over feed your fish, as their stomach’s are about the size of their eyeball. Drop the food in slowly and spread it out so more fish can reach it.

This is a 75 gallon saltwater aquarium which we have been maintaining for 2 years.  This tank has a wide variety of fish such as x, y, z all chosen to be compatible with each other.  The biggest issue we have had is long/short hair algae but we put in some algae eating fish that made a meal out of it and the tank is nice and clear.

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”


How to Change the Water in a Fish Tank

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”

Water changes are one of the biggest challenges fish tank owners face when it comes to aquarium maintenance.  We do it for a living so we had to find the best way.

The easiest way to do water changes is by using a hose.  We use hoses with our clients as it reduces spillage and clean up.

Siphon out the water and add water from the tap.  However as almost all tap water contains both chlorine and chloramine you must add a de-chlorinator to remove them.  Alternatively if you use buckets and do not have a de-chlorinator, let the tap water sit for at least 48 hours before using.

Change about 25% of the water once in a month and make sure the water you are adding has the same temperature and pH.

Always buy the next size filter up from whatever the tank size indicates. So if you get a 20 gallon tank buy a filter for a 30 – 40 gallon tank.  It is really the only way to ensure the tank will stay clean and we recommend this to all our customers.

We keep fish tanks clean and healthy without you doing any of the work.

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”


Why are Invertebrates Hard to Keep in an Aquarium? Aquarium Maintenance Tips

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”

If you have your own fish tank and have tried with invertebrates you’ll know they are hard to keep in an aquarium.

The key reason for the difficulty with invertebrates tends to be due to tap water, because they’re extremely sensitive to copper. Sometimes in a new house or a new kitchen or bathroom construction all new copper piping is put in. If you don’t run the water long enough, some of that copper will get into the tap water, which the invertebrates cannot tolerate.

Also, some food manufacturers have put copper into their foods, because certain fish do need it in their diet, but unfortunately the uneaten food goes to the bottom, where the invertebrates most of which are scavengers, eat it and the copper then builds up in their bodies and kills them.

Many food companies say that it’s needed and necessary and it’s not enough to hurt the invertebrates.  However I actually dealt with a major frozen food manufacturer, who pulled together a team of scientists after I told the owner I’d stop buying their food, because of the copper it contained. They ran hundreds of tests and they found the copper was getting too high for the invertebrates and it was killing them. They changed their formula. Success!

So bear that in mind…if your pipes are copper and new that may be part of the problem and the food itself may be a challenge.

We keep aquariums clean and healthy and relieve tank owners of all the work.Call us if you have an interest in our service.

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”


How to clean a fish tank of algae

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”

In our work as aquarium maintenance experts we are often asked about common problems such as …how do you get rid of long or short flowing algae in a fish tank?

The long flowing algae looks like hair, so most people call it hair algae. This can be a bigger problem in reef tanks because it can cause problems with the corals. In other tanks, it’s just more of a nuisance and it’s just not pretty to look at. This is caused by too many phosphates. We try to stay on top of that by testing for it regularly and then filtering the water when water changes are made.

In fresh water, there is actually one particular fish that eats them, which is wonderful and it even looks reasonably attractive :). Some places like in Brookline Mass, where there’s a lot of phosphate, we put them in the fresh water tanks, so that it doesn’t get out of control.

In salt water tanks, we constantly put in phosphate remover, plus certain crabs and snails that eat the hair algae.

Want us to keep your aquarium looking its best and save you all the work?  Let us know.

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”


Aquarium Fish Maintenance: What about fish compatibility in the fish tank?

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”

Aquarium fish compatibility is an important topic if you want a happy fish tank stocked with fish.

The bottom line is that many fish can’t be kept together.  You should select fish that are compatible, have comparable water chemistry & temperature requirements and exhibit like behavior.  There are broadly 5 groups:

  1. African Cichlids: Colorful, active and easy to care for but aggressive and need good rock structures to have their own territories.
  2. South American Cichlids: Personable, active and easy to care for. They’re less aggressive than their African cousins.
  3. Goldfish: Many varieties with beautiful, flowing fins. However they are good only with other goldfish due to their diet & temperature requirements which vary greatly from other types of fish.
  4. Tropical Fish: Very colorful and active. This group gives you the widest variety of fish to pick from and some do best in pairs, some in three’s and others in larger groups.
  5. Semi-Aggressive Tropical fish: Very colorful and active but tend to bully smaller tank mates, so make sure they are all similar in size.

Your best plan is to check with your local expert – like us. Fish Works provides aquarium fish recommendations to our aquarium maintenance clients based on a number of factors including compatibility.

We can help you chose the best aquarium fish for your tank.  We can also keep it cklean and healthy relieving you of all that hard work.

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”


How to change the water in a fish tank: Fish Tank Maintenance Tips

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”

We have been in the aquarium maintenance and custom fish tank business since 1990.  We have done thousands of fish tank water changes. Let us reveal the best way to change the water in an aquarium.

Managing a water change can be very messy as most people change out the water using buckets. This can lead to a lot of water being spilled on floors and carpets. Our solution is simple and time tested. We do all our water changes by siphon hose and we recommend you do the same. When we change water for our clients we’re not carrying buckets, so you don’t have to worry about having water splashed around your home.

We have hundreds of feet of hose, so it’s not an issue even if the sink or drain isn’t close to the tank. You can do the same thing and get a hose to reach the sink or toilet. If it’s a salt water tank, we set up a mixing barrel and fill it using hoses, so we can pre-make the water with the correct amount of salts and filter out any contaminants from the tap water. The mixing barrel itself doesn’t have to be anywhere near the tank. Many people have us put it in a closet or in their basement.

We can help keep your aquarium healthy and looking its best.  Give us a call if you want to chat about your tank.

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”



What an Aquarium Maintenance Visit Looks Like.

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”

People can be a little surprised how much we do when we come to your house (or business) for an aquarium maintenance call.

During a visit, we do everything to keep the tank clean and healthy for another month.  We do water changes, we vacuum the gravel, we change and clean the filters. We wipe down everything inside and outside of the tank. We perform all necessary water tests and we evaluate the system to see if anything else is needed.

It’s a complete fish tank cleaning that lasts 4 weeks. Clients often have us come more often to keep it looking its absolute best, but that’s totally up to you.

Once we’re maintaining a tank regularly and we know the tank is healthy, we  will also supply fish. What makes us unique is that Fish Works offers a 2 week guarantee on the fish we supply– everyone else offers just one day!

We’ll give you advice on the best fish for your tank and what fish will get along with your current fish so that everybody is kept happy in your tank.

In business since 1990 we know how to maintain an aquarium so they are healthy and looking their best.   We do all the work so the tank owner  can relax.

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”


Aquarium Maintenance Tips: How to Get Started with an Aquarium or Fish Tank

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”

We are aquarium maintenance and custom fish tank experts and we are often asked what is the best way to get started with a  fish tank.   Our best advice is to start slowly.

The temptation is to run out and get everything immediately for your fish tank but slower is better. The tank needs time to get established, for the proper bacteria to grow. Do not buy a million chemicals and pieces of equipment. It is better to let the tank cycle through naturally. A reliable filter with good carbon and a plan for regular monthly maintenance and cleaning is how you should start out.

It may also be easier to start with a larger tank. Larger tanks are more stable in terms of temperature and water chemistry and also give your fish more room so there is no overcrowding … however they can be a challenge to clean, so make sure you have the proper cleaning equipment to make the task easier and easy access to the tank.
A bigger tank means more hiding places and that generally means the more your fish will come out. Sounds totally backwards but if each fish has its own spot to call “home” they become more comfortable and will stay out in the open more and be much less stressed. Less stress means healthier fish…and a happier owner :)

Our job is to keep aquariums looking great and the tank owner can sit back and let us do all the work to properly clean and maintain the aquarium.

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Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”


How to clean a fish tank of red and black slime

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

A short video to talk about the very common issue of red / black slime in fish tanks

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”

We are aquarium maintenance and custom fish tank experts serving Framingham, Ashland and most towns in E Massachusetts.  We have been doing this for over 25 years and we are often asked what problems do we see most often when maintaining aquariums for our clients.

One of the most common problems we see is red or black slime.

In our water just like in our oceans, we have what’s called cyanobacteria which look like algae. It’s very common and becoming more common, both in our oceans and fish tanks. A big source of that comes from your tap water, because the tap water now contains a lot of phosphates.
It used to be that you’d see only see phosphates in a few towns at the end of the summer when water tables were lower and more organics got into the water, but now it has expanded to many, many towns. It doesn’t harm the fish, or the invertebrates, but it doesn’t look very appealing and can harm coral by growing over them. So if you have a reef tank, you have to filter the tap water a lot better. We test the water for phosphates, and if they are present, we prep the water to prevent it from getting into the tank in the first place.

We keep aquariums and fish tanks clean and healthy.  we take all the work off the tank owners back…phew!

Do us a favour and comment, like and share this video to help more people find this information.

Visit this page to read “How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy – Our Top 10 Pro Tips”