Increase Oxygen

Here I've listed 5 simple ways to help increase oxygen levels in an aquarium.

#1 Lower Water Level. Try not to fill your aquarium all the way to the brim with water, as water drops down into the aquarium (waterfall effect) from the filter it forces water down into the aquarium and helps push oxygen into the water thus helping to increase oxygen levels (be sure the current is not too strong for the aquariums inhabitants).

#2 Water Changes. Too many water chemicals and/or waste, etc can cause a loss of oxygen in the water, it's very important to do regular water changes (clean tap water contains adequate amounts of oxygen).

#3 Lower Temperature. Cooler temperatures can hold more oxygen than warmer temperatures but, be sure the aquarium is the proper temperature for the aquariums inhabitants.

#4 Air Diffusers, Bubblers, etc. With these devices attached to an air pump it helps to increase oxygen and water movement in an aquarium.
Air Diffuser

* Bubbles should be tiny (almost pin hole size) looking for the most part, and probably vary in size. The tank should not just have large (about a cm) and/or slow moving bubbles as this may mean your water has become thickened by dirty water. Also be sure your air pump is strong enough to operate the equipment properly, and clean or replace old diffusers, tubing, and check valves as needed.

#5 Filtration. The right amount of filtration is key to keeping a healthy and clean aquarium, you want to make sure the tank is not overstocked with fish either as the fish will be competing for oxygen. Keep filter cartridges clean, and active carbon can help remove unwanted chemicals and aid in oxygen levels.


Ranchu Weigh-In

I bought an Ozeri kitchen scale ($18.85 on eBay) recently to weigh my ranchu's and track their dietary progress. Bumblez (sakura ranchu) weighed 31 grams and after 2 weeks he now weighs 31.5 grams (0.5 gram gain); Oakki (black metallic ranchu) weighed 28.5 grams and after 2 weeks he now weighs 33.5 grams (5 gram gain). I'm hoping Bumblez isn't sick or anything, he seems to eat but perhaps is just a slow and picky eater (compared to Oakki whom gobbles down everything).
Scale showing 2 different weights during this weigh-in.
Oakki has grown so much that my dad actually thought I had bought a new fish! Perhaps Oakki is just having some type of growth spurt, I have heard that fish with more hormones tend to grow more rapidly.


Combating Ammonia

If you have ammonia (NH3) in your aquarium it may be due to a new aquarium setup that has not yet completed the "tank cycling process" AKA "new tank syndrome", which means that your aquarium has not yet developed enough beneficial bacteria to sustain the new aquariums environment. It could also be poor water quality (dirty, lots of debris, dead fish, fecal matter, etc). No matter the true reason for the ammonia levels I find the best remedy for combating ammonia issues is to do 25-50% water changes 1-2 times a week or as needed  (there are also aquarium products on the market which claim to remove ammonia, but I have yet to find one that gave me instant success), and try to at least keep the ammonia levels in a safe range during this period. Once your aquarium becomes established (which can sometimes take months) the ammonia level should reach 0, and this is the ideal level to be at.

Below are some questions I've been asked about ammonia, and if you have anymore questions you'd like to ask feel free to write me in the comment section below.
Question: Does 'Seachem Prime' show traces of ammonia when using ammonia test-strips in water?

Answer: I tried this using the 'API Ammonia test-strips' on my aquarium tap water as well as bottled water with the appropriate amount of 'SeaChem Prime' in them over the course of several days, and the results were negative.
Question: Does 'Aquarium Salt' remove ammonia?

Answer: I tried using 'Aquarium Salt' to remove ammonia that was in an unestablished aquarium and this did not work over 24hrs later, if anything my ammonia readings seemed to get higher... which may not be all too surprising since 'Aquarium Salt' can be used to clean an aquarium (hence, possibly killing some beneficial bacteria??).

So it may actually be possible that if your aquarium was established and now has ammonia in it from being overly dirty than 'Aquarium Salt' may actually help the ammonia levels, but I have not tested that out yet.


Aqueon QuietFlow 30 Power Filter - Review

There wasn't a free thermometer BTW.
Having recently purchased the Fluval AquaClear 50 power filter after reading all the rave reviews online, I found that after I observed the unit for myself that it wasn't going to be good for cleaning my aquarium. So, I exchanged the AquaClear for the Aqueon QuietFlow 30 because I do really like the Aqueon QuietFlow 20 and the 30 is around $10 less than the AquaClear and does the same GPH (Gallons Per Hour) although it doesn't have all the media things that the AquaClear has (the design of the AquaClear doesn't force water through all the media anyway, thus rendering all that media practically useless and even more costly with long term use in mind). If I had to recommend a Fluval power filter to try out I'd go with the Fluval C3 (although it only does 153 GPH and seems to be slightly pricier than its AquaClear cousin) because water is forced through all the media unlike with the AquaClear power filters, which makes the C-series seem more similar to QuietFlow's in that aspect(although the Fluval C-series appears more annoyingly complex in my opinion).
Aqueon QuietFlow 30 Power Filter and 'Large' carbon media cartridge
As for size difference with the Aqueon QuietFlow30 compared to the 20, the intake tube appears to be exactly the same in size, the box is around 1in longer and maybe 2mm wider, and the motor is also longer by about an inch. The 20 and bigger sized power filters all take the "Large" size cartridge's although the 90 takes 2 of the cartridges so, it's really only the GPH that changes between the 20 and 30. The 50 is slightly bigger than the 30 (as expected), but the intake tube changes to a wider tube with a longer vent area. A downfall I recently noticed is that the fan inside the motor (which is directly above the intake tube) can't be easily removed for cleaning so, if you have fish with a big bio-load (like goldfish) than you may find the buildup to block the fan from functioning (thus this filter will be rendered useless until fixed/cleaned).

As you can see from the above photos the media cartridge does not contain that much carbon (probably its biggest downfall if you're a carbon addict). The media box of the 30 does change compared to the 20 as it has some slats where the water first comes into the box from the intake tube (not sure the true reason for that), and thus far I do find the unit nosier than the 20 but also much more powerful (so it only makes sense I suppose that it would be nosier). There is also some room in the box if you wanted to add in some additional media.
The QuietFlow 30 with a Fluval pre-filter attached
As for extra's I put onto my Aqueon QuietFlow 30 I added on the Fluval Edge pre-filter sponge (fairly inexpensive and I like the soft texture of these ones) which fits perfects on the 20 and 30 (this pre-filter would be too small for the 50 and up, and I think the 10 also has the same size intake tube as the 20 and 30). The intake tubes are also adjustable by sliding the adjoining tubes up or down, the picture above shows it at its shortest length (I don't really care for the tubes longest possible length as it gets too wobbly for my preference).

Overall, I do recommend the Aqueon QuietFlow power filters, they work great compared to other LPS (Local Pet Store) HOB power filters I've tried in the past as they're pretty decent at cleaning. I reuse the cartridges for months at a time as they're pretty durable with weekly cleanings (thus saving money on cartridges in the long run). These aren't overly noisy although sometimes the filter cover on top tends to vibrate a bit (but with a little adjusting on occasion it stops). I also like how the cord tucks into the side of the unit and also how the motor is in the water and not outside the box (no having to worry about leaks or priming it with water to start up). The blue waterfall piece can be removed easily and cleaned, it allows water to drip down onto the waterfall bridge and it's pretty helpful at catching bigger debris (which I think is nice for those with planted tanks). One draw back I think may be an issue is the width of the unit in the tank, it seems to be too wide for a lot of aquarium hoods/tops (but since I only have a glass top I just pull it forward a bit to accommodate the unit, doesn't really bother me). I'd suggest the 30 for tanks bigger than 10-gal (as it made my 10-gal pretty darn turbulent) as it's probably better suited for a minimum of 20-gal, and it claims to also work for saltwater aquariums as well (if you do have a saltwater aquarium I'd recommend getting at least the 30 or higher models), and the 20 works fine for a 10-gal.