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Old 04-27-2014, 06:40 PM   #1
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Little tricks & tools for aquarium maintenance?

What little tricks has everyone found to make the mundane aquarium tasks easier? What about "non-aquarium" tools that make your life easier?

I'm really new here but I like to ease up anything I can ... here are a few I've found so far:

- Use a cheap instant read digital meat thermometer to get the temp right for water changes.

- GH and KH tests are a pain in a test tube, but super fast in a shot glass. Shot glass on white paper, stir with a skewer while dripping - done in 10 seconds.

- "Set it and forget it" partial water changes, when you don't need to gravel vac. I use a 25' piece of aquarium tubing (silicone works better), my bucket, and some airline suction cups. I put one end of the tubing in my aquarium, attached to the glass, with its end where I'd want the water to stop emptying. The other end goes into the bathtub or into my plants outside (saving me another water-lugging experience). I start the siphon, and walk away. About an hour later I prep a bucket of "new" water, set it higher than the aquarium, and reverse the siphon. If the water was still running from the aquarium (typical) I don't even have to restart the siphon, it just automatically starts going in the other direction.

- Retired cloth diapers!!!! The thin"flats" dry hands and arms in a flash, the thick "prefolds" are quick for mopping up a spill, or for setting down stuff that's super wet. With both, a few DROPS of water on a dry rag are ideal for sparkling clean aquarium glass. Gerber brand is pointless and new ones are linty and don't absorb as well, but diaper services often sell retired top quality diapers by the pound. Craigslist and baby consignment stores are great too.

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Old 04-27-2014, 06:43 PM   #2
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I just started using my wife's discarded nylon stockings and pantyhose as filter socks for my sump.
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Old 04-27-2014, 06:46 PM   #3
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Turkey basters are really useful for a multitude of things. Paintbrushes are very useful for shaping and tidying up substrate while aquascaping.
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Old 04-27-2014, 11:17 PM   #4
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I use bamboo skewers to hold down vegetables, like cucumber slices. Also for general poking and prodding. Theyre pretty handy to have around and super cheap too.
I think I got this idea from OldScales... so credit where credit is due.
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Old 04-28-2014, 07:31 AM   #5
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Cover a canister filter with a stocking to stop the fry from being sucked into it.
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Old 04-28-2014, 07:53 AM   #6
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I dont change my water hardly ever because I use plants as a filter and have a dirt substrate (in 2 of my tanks). Baby food jars make good pots for aquatic plants.

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Old 04-30-2014, 10:03 PM   #7
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I use vinegar to clean the outside of my aquarium glass and the glass tops clean (5 parts water to 1 part vinegar). The vinegar doesn't affect the water parameters or fish.

I use a dish scrub brush to clean fake plants, rocks, and decor. (I marked it clearly as aquarium only so no one else mistakingly uses it on dishes.)
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:18 PM   #8
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I got a small plastic garage dolly so I now roll my filled five gallon water buckets through the house.
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:14 PM   #9
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A wife and a kids are excellent tools when used properly.
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:20 PM   #10
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The python water changer is awesome for my 55G. I do ~50% WC a week and lugging buckets was getting old. My friend does the siphon and reverse siphon but that still requires the filling of the buckets. Note that it is a gravel vac though and I have a hard time getting debris off of my sand. I have a standard gravel vac with a smaller tube for the sand debris.
$.99 droppers work much better for filling test tubes than trying to pour out water to the line.
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Old 05-02-2014, 01:55 PM   #11
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Bulk Reef Supply sells clear plastic mesh in 1/4 and 1/2 inch sizes. Installed in a window screen it will keep your carpet surfers in without reducing light.

Keep your canister filter in a 5 gallon bucket to catch small leaks and drips when disconnecting.
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