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: First of all, how does an aquarium work?
Olivier Kenaip : The life of fish in an aquarium is dictated by a bacterial cycle which settles in 21 days. Any aquatic environment is balanced by bacteria, which are used to degrade the waste produced by fish. Many aquarium owners experience failure in their early days because they are too impatient to wait for the start of bacterial balance!
: What are the different steps to install an aquarium?
Olivier Kenaip : First thing to remember: you must first install the equipment so that the bacterial cycle has time to balance before releasing the fish in your aquarium. Once the location chosen for your pool, first put the water, then the decoration and finally the water conditioner, which neutralizes the heavy metals and chlorine present in tap water. Wait two hours, then insert a bacteriological strain into the water, sold in powder or liquid form. The latter will seed the aquatic environment with bacteria which will multiply before reaching equilibrium after 3 weeks. Truffaut also offers a water balance test service to verify that the bacterial cycle has settled in your aquarium. If the latter proves successful, you can finally introduce your fish to their new habitat!
: In this case, how to properly clean your aquarium without destroying this fragile bacterial balance?
Olivier Kenaip : There are two main mistakes not to make: change all the water in an aquarium at the same time, and clean the entire filter on the same day. Always keep in mind that an aquarium must keep a minimum of bacteria so as not to "suffocate" the fish they contain. To maintain the bacterial balance, it is therefore necessary to clean the water and the filter alternately. When you take care of the filter (every 2 or 3 weeks), just clean one half. 15 days later, you can empty the other half of its waste. The water must be changed every 3 weeks to a third. It will therefore be necessary to empty about 35% of the contents of the aquarium, little more: this cleaning rotation allows not "too much" to disturb the environment in which your fish live.
: Do you have any other advice to give, especially for windows, stones…?
Olivier Kenaip : The windows are cleaned weekly using a special magnet. Rather than pebbles, I always recommend favoring sand, which is certainly less aesthetic but more suitable as a bacterial support. The latter has the advantage of not trapping the waste, which remains on the surface. It is then enough to "steeple" these with a small special vacuum cleaner every 1 to 2 weeks. This gesture is very appreciable for the aquarium because it relieves the filtration of potential waste. The only drawback is that sand has a limited lifespan of two years maximum.
: What are the maintenance differences between freshwater and seawater?
Olivier Kenaip : Again, everything is at the bacteria level! Fresh water requires a bacterial support with filtration; for seawater, you must favor micro-porous living stone (about 10 to 20kg of stone per 100L of water), which is itself loaded with bacteria: it will quickly become the lung of your aquarium! "