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How To Eliminate Green Algae

11 March 2020 11:37:25 GMT

How to eliminate Green algae


After reading our Blog discussing ways to identify different types of algae we are now going to go through the types of algae and ways to combat these and eliminate them from your tank. Let’s firstly discuss the Green algae.


Green algae are a very common occurring algae in any freshwater aquarium. These appear due to several reason and correcting these can help solve the issue.

Green Spot Algae

Green spot algae are small round spots that appear on solid surfaces. The most common place you will see this is your glass, but it can also grow on slow growing plants or even decorations on your aquarium. This kind of algae normally appears due to low phosphate/Co2 levels. With this type of algae there isn’t a aquarium inhabitant that will take this stuff down for you. Some snails like nerite snails can do a bit of cleaning but won’t do it well enough to consume the algae before more grows. These algae isn’t too difficult to remove, just take an algae scraper and scrape it off.


To address the issue of this algae its best to try adding some phosphate to your tank which should help to stop the growth of this. Be careful not to add too much though as this can cause other algae to grow. The recommended amount of phosphate in an aquarium is 0.1 to 1 mg/l of phosphate (PO4). This is a nutrient used by plants so be sure to always keep an eye on it to ensure it stays relatively stable. Most all in one fertilizers have phosphate in it, Like Tropica Premium and Tropica Specialised Aquascaper Complete plant food.

Green Dust Algae

A similar looking algae to the green spot algae, green dust algae is more common in high tech setups. It gets its name due to its green dust-like appearance. This algae usually forms on glass or hardscapes/decorations. Unlike Green spot algae, Dust algae doesn’t go away after scraping it off the surfaces. This is because the algae is actually small individual cells that are capable of movement meaning if you scrape it off, it will move to another spot or return to the same spot and carry on growing.


Its main cause is Low Co2 and Low nutrients within your aquarium. The best way to get rid of these algae is to wait for it to grow out without being disturbed. Once it forms a thick green layer it can be removed with a syphon to suck the algae out of the tank inn larger chunks. To prevent it from returning you will need to address the low nutrient issue. Increasing the amount of fertilizer, you use should assist with this. Slowly increase the amount you put in until these algae stop appearing.

Green Fuzz Algae

Green fuzz algae like most thread algae usually indicate low or fluctuating CO2. This type of algae grows threads of a couple of millimetres on plant leaves. It shows that the plants are suffering due to a nutrient issue. You can get algae eaters like amano shrimp which will keep these algae away.


Like all algae problems, the main issue needs to be addressed to prevent it from growing. You will need to make sure that you are using correct amounts of Co2 and that it is being injected according to the lighting period. We discuss how to set up Co2 in our high-tech planted tank guide. Other supplements are available such as Seachem Excel and Easy-Life EasyCarbo which are a source of carbon for low-tech tanks.

Green Beard Algae

This is another Thread type of algae that again can be caused by low or fluctuating Co2. When it comes to green beard algae, it likes to attach itself to plants and hardscape and can grow a few centimetres creating a green coat on the surface. Algae eaters love this stuff so purchasing the correct algae eaters for the job will help clear it up fast as manual removal of this can be difficult due to how well it attaches itself to surfaces.


Addressing the issue for this algae is important to ensure it doesn’t come back if you do not want it to. Reducing lighting in your tank can help to remove the algae. Adding plants if you do not already have them can help with this also. If you do not want plants in the tank try some floating plants on the surface. In the planted tank it can mean that your Co2 is incorrect or that a nutrient is missing usually nitrates. Try increasing these to address the issue.

Green Hair Algae

This is a strange wool like algae which have long threads usually a couple of centimetres long. These do not stick to surfaces and usually appears on tanks that have low nutrient levels. Co2 and flow can also be a part of the issue so you need to make sure these issues are address to eliminate this algae from the tank. Algae eaters also love this stuff to be sure to stock a good couple of these in your tank to keep it away.


If you see any, be sure to manually remove this, using a syphon is usually the preferred method as it prevents any of it from getting lose when pulling it up from the gravel.

Green water

This is a floating algae which is usually made up of lots of organisms, It can be very difficult to eliminate but implementing the correct steps can help to remove it from your tank. It is normally caused by an imbalance in the tank and is pretty much always caused by a water quality issue. A commonly used method to remove this type of algae is to do a blackout on the tank meaning no light gets in at all for 4 days. Be careful though as the dying algae can cause ammonia to rise. Always make sure that during a blackout the tank gets enough aeration too or you can lose your fish to this. Another way to address the issue is to use a UV steriliser. This helps by killing the algae in the water when it is passed through the UV unit.

Posted in Blog By Complete Aquatics

Red Sea Reefer 3XL 900

25 November 2019 11:13:26 GMT

The Beast – Red Sea Reefer 3XL 900 Aquarium


The Red Sea family of aquariums just got a BIG addition in the form of a 2 meter 900 litre aquarium with improved sump configuration. The Reefer XXL 900 is set to make a big impact this December! In addition, with all orders placed before January 31st, 2020 the Reefer 3XL 900 comes with a FREE Red Sea Reefer Skimmer 900.

So, what’s new?


Red Sea have made some big improvements to Red Sea’s already impressive sump layout. The Reefer 3XL 900’s main sump contains filter socks, media cups, a variable height skimmer chamber, large return pump chamber and is completely refugium ready. Additional to this Red Sea have incorporated a split sump design with the extended sump at a capacity of 60 liters perfect to be used as a dedicated frag tank, refugium or capped off and used as an independent RO reservoir.


The aquarium is what we always expect from Red Sea, a stunning rimless beveled glass edged 19mm aquarium with reinforced marine plywood cabinet with aluminum supports.


With duel side-facing return outlets this allows the Red Sea Reefer 3XL 900 to run with 2 return pumps, one for each outlet or one pump simply split between the two. The Reefer 3XL900’s enlarged overflow box ensures un-match surface skimming.


Let’s not forget the existing Red Sea Reefer features which we have all grown to love –

- Silent, regulated down-flow system with emergency overflow

- Pre-glue assemble ready pipework

- Ultra-clear front beveled edged glass

- Refugium ready sump.


So, in conclusion Red Sea have given us a truly impressive aquarium with both standard and deluxe available the deluxe comes complete with 4 Red Sea ReefLED 90 lights. Along side improvements including a split-sump design for unsurpassed flexibility Red Sea have included aluminum cabinet supports and an extended 3+1-year warranty.

For more detailed information and specs on the Reefer

Complete Aquatics are taking backorders NOW, so secure yours today. Don’t forget the FREE Red Sea Reefer 900 Skimmer with all Reefer XXXL 900 orders before 31st January 2020.


Thanks for Reading,

Chris Bell

Posted in Blog By Complete Aquatics

Parasite Identification Part 2

30 October 2019 14:32:48 GMT

Parasite Identification Part 2

So, lets discuss some more parasites, these may be a little less common in your aquarium but are still rife in ponds.


Costia (Ichthyobodo necator)

Costia is a parasite commonly found in pond livestock, this parasite is difficult to spot unless using a high magnification as it is minute however there are some tell-tale signs of costia being present on your fish which includes some of the following symptoms i.e. Sunken eyes, laboured breathing and excess mucus build up to name a few. This parasite attacks both the skin and the gills of its host.

The best way to find costia when taking a mucus scrape from your fish is to add a drop of water to your slide and carefully scan the slide & edges of the mucus this is where this parasite is most obvious. There are a couple of different options you could use when treating costia the most common are linked below;

NT Labs Trearments 

Also available is a new product called Cloverleaf Absolute Potassium Permanganate

In ponds having lots of floating plants and marginals will also help to create escapes from the heat, direct sunlight or potential threats (herons etc.) With this parasite the quickest solution and best treatment in my opinion would be FMG mixture.


Gill Flukes (Dactylogyrus)

Dactylogyrus another very common parasite better known as gill flukes, this parasite is not visible to the naked eye however, it is obvious to spot under the microscope. This fluke is an egg layer and prefer warmer temperatures to reproduce as the cooler temperatures slows them down quite considerably. There are a couple of treatments which can be used for this parasite in both an aquarium and ponds I have listed a few below;

Fluke Solve

or a product more commonly used for ponds is NTlabs Flukasol

Also available is a new product called Cloverleaf Absolute Parasite


These are just a couple of examples of what are available to target and eliminate these parasites. It’s always worth bearing in mind these parasites reproduce at such a rate that a second dose is almost always advisable to eliminate them especially as most treatments available will not treat the eggs. This parasite primarily targets the gills of your livestock however the eggs are released into the water and once the larvae hatches it needs to find a host within 6-8 hours in order to survive, in higher temperatures they hatch in around 4 days.



Trichodina (trich) is a parasite more commonly found in ponds, This parasite can cause severe damage to your livestock and reproduces at a rapid rate, they hook themselves onto your fish and are disc shaped under the microscope and reproduce by division. This parasite moves very quickly in a circular motion and is a great swimmer.

The best treatment for this parasite is listed below although there are others available however a secondary dose would be necessary with this parasite;

Cloverleaf Absolute Potassium Permanaganate or Cloverleaf Absolute Parasite

Or alternatively Kusuri Potassium Permanganate

Temperatures should always be considered when using any treatment and you would need to supply extra aeration whilst using any potassium-based treatments as this treatment is well known for reducing oxygen supply.


This is only a very brief description of each parasite to give you a glimpse, they each have life cycles which should be taken into account when using any form of treatments, Before using any treatment please always check the bottles for best results and ideal temperatures to treat your pond effectively. Keep your eyes peeled for more parasite ID soon…

Thanks for reading


Posted in Blog By Complete Aquatics

Parasite Identification Part 1

18 October 2019 14:58:41 BST

Parasite Identification Part 1


Let’s dive into the world of parasites which exist and can become the pest of your aquarium or pond, we will discuss identifying the parasites and the best treatments to combat these little devils.

White spot (ICH)

Ichthyophthirius multifiliis more commonly known as ICH or white spot is probably one of the most common parasites we see because this is visible without a microscope. So, any livestock which may have white spot looks almost as though they have been sprinkled with fine sand/salt, did you know this isn’t the actual parasite this is just the egg (cyst) however, under the microscope looks a little more discreet as pictured.

What causes white spot is a regular question asked, white spot is brought on by stress so having a heavily planted aquarium reduces stress levels as there are plenty of hiding places for your livestock to escape the cause of their stress. There are natural remedies such as increasing the temperatures of the environment and/or aquariums salts, my personal choice of treatment for white spot would be Esha Exit this is a very effective treatments however there is a broad range of treatments available I have inserted the links below;


In ponds having lots of floating plants and marginals will also help to create escapes from the heat, direct sunlight or potential threats (herons etc.) With pond fish the quickest solution and best treatment in my opinion would be NT Labs FMG mixture however there are again a vast variety below I have listed a couple;


Skin Flukes (Gyrodactylus salaris)

Gyrodactylus salaris another very common parasite better known as skin flukes, this parasite is not visible to the naked eye. This parasite anchors itself to the host, skin flukes are livebearers and are hermaphrodites meaning the reproduction rate is rapid, they are always carrying young which can also reproduce. What are the best treatments available to rid these pests, for aquariums we recommend Waterlife Sterazin, other treatments we reccomend can be found below;

In ponds there are treatments listed below which have been extremely effective;


Also available is a new product called Cloverleaf Absolute Parasite

These are just a couple of examples of what are available to target and eliminate these parasites. It’s always worth bearing in mind these parasites reproduce at such a rate that a second dose is almost always advisable to eliminate them. These parasites feed on the mucus and blood of their host and cause irritation to the host this can cause wounds on the body of the livestock.


Oodinium (velvet)

Oodinium is a parasite more commonly found in marine aquariums, this is something which is visible as what looks like a velvet coating over the hosts body. However once attached it branches its roots deep into the fish and feeds directly. Obvious signs to watch for with this parasite would be laboured breathing, flared gills and irritation (flashing) on rocks or other objects.


As with white spot Oodinium can be caused by stress however unlike white spot this parasite takes a hold on the fish and can get into the lungs and feeds directly from the livestock. There are various types of treatment for this parasite I will name a few below;


This is only a very brief description of each parasite to give you a glimpse, they each have life cycles which should be taken into account when using any form of treatments, Keep your eyes peeled for more parasite ID soon…



Posted in Blog By Complete Aquatics

Identifying Types Of Algae

11 October 2019 15:40:40 BST

Identifying types of algae


Algae is the one the most unappealing things for us to see in our aquariums and although most algae don’t cause issues with our fish’s health, we don’t normally want to keep it there, spoiling the view. There are many ways to getting rid of the algae’s that appear in our tanks, but the first major step is to figure out just what algae is in our tanks. In the next blog we will discuss how to eliminate these from your tank.


Green Algae

There are many types of green algae out there and it is probably the most common. Green algae can come in all shapes and sizes from the stringy green hair algae to the tough to remove spot algae. These algae are bound to appear at some point in an aquarium. There are many ways to combat these using manual removal techniques, chemical treatments or adding some livestock to chow down on it for you.


This kind of algae is not always a bad thing and if done correctly, can look nice and natural in the tank. For example, you can have some green algae on rocks making the tank look more mature and natural to a habitat. Not everyone likes to see algae though. In fact, many fish tank owners want to remove algae right away and find a way to prevent it. Thankfully most green algae are quite easy to remove with regular tank maintenance, watching how much you feed, using algae eating fish and or aquarium additives. Don’t let it get out of hand though as these algae can take over a tank fast.

Green hair algae
Reference link to image:



Now here’s an algae that no one wants. This stuff can be bad and can cause harm to fish as it is toxic for them to eat. Not only that, this stuff can smell when disturbed. Many describe the odour as swampy or fishy. Now getting rid of this stuff should be a priority. First things first, we want to let you know this stuff isn’t actually an algae, as the name states it’s a bacteria.


There are limited ways of getting rid of this stuff which are not too hard but require a lot of time and patience to get it done correctly. It’s better to catch this stuff early. You will more than likely notice it on, in or under your substrate but it can cover anything in your tank to keep an eye out for this.



Blue-green algae
Reference link to image:



Another unsightly “algae” is Diatoms I used “ because once again this isn’t actually an algae. People call this, brown algae but it’s made up of single celled organisms called diatoms. This stuff appears in immature aquariums. It clears up fast but a lot of fish, including my ever so favourite Ottocinclus catfish, love to eat this stuff.


Now here’s an algae that no one wants. This stuff can be bad and can cause harm to fish as it is toxic for them to eat. Not only that, this stuff can smell when disturbed. Many describe the odour as swampy or fishy. Now getting rid of this stuff should be a priority. First things first, we want to let you know this stuff isn’t actually an algae, as the name states it’s a bacteria.

Brown Algae. Reference link toImages:



Red Algae

Red Algae, The least liked algae in the tank! This stuff can be difficult to get rid of. Although it causes no harm to your fish this can destroy our plants by taking over their leaves and blocking light, so the plants die off. There are many different reason and ways that have been suggested to cause this kind of algae. In all honesty and in my personal experience there are a lot of factors that can cause this its never just one simple fix.


This stuff can grow fast and not only take over plants but whole tanks! it can come into your tanks from being carried by fish, other plants or even filters. It is a big hitchhiker. There are preventative measures that can be taken to try and prevent it but it can still creep into you tank and all of a sudden start to take over. There is nothing easy to solve this. The best advise is to keep tweaking your tanks parameters bit by bit until you eventually see it die. Some red algae have been known to be caused by high iron content so it might be a good place to start.

Black beard algae. Reference to image:


Posted in Blog By Complete Aquatics

Preparing Your Pond For Winter

3 October 2019 10:24:10 BST

Winter is on its way!!

How to be prepared to ensure the best quality of life for your koi during the winter



First steps we need to make are introducing wheatgerm pond food into your usual fish diet, personally I find the Hikari wheatgerm  a good quality food which is a low protein and great for those lower temperatures and can be fed to temperatures as low a 6 degrees. As your fish will struggle to digest higher protein foods come colder temperatures. Other wheatgerm food includes Tetra Wheatgerm which is also suitable for feeding over winter.

Secondly maintaining those filtration and pump systems, you should ensure you have cleaned all the necessary media in a bucket of existing pond water to ensure you are keeping as much biological bacteria alive. It is also worth taking those pumps out of the pond and stripping them back to ensure there is no debris lodged in the impellor so as to  maintain the life of the pump during those colder months, no one wants to be fishing in the pond to get the pump working again in the freezing water Brrrr!!

Also, if you have the space insert a pond heater the Interpet affinity ice vent pond heater  is great for those natural ponds to keep them ice free to allow the gas exchange.

ALWAYS make sure you do not turn off any of your pumps or filters this will keep all the water moving to create an ice-free spot for all those nasty gas exchanges and stop your biological bacteria decreasing too drastically over the colder months. Please note the UV on your system would not be needed during autumn/winter so this can be switched off and the bulbs replaced in the coming spring to ensure the best algae control.

Lastly I have listed a few dos and don’ts to ensure you are getting the best results throughout the winter


  • Ensure all filtration is maintained before the temperatures drop

  • Strip the pump back to clean the impellor to extend the life of the pump

  • Introduce wheatgerm into your fishes existing diet (mixed with higher protein food)

  • Turn off ultraviolet

  • Insert a pond heater to keep patches free from ice


  • Do not turn off the pump

  • Do not turn off the filter

  • Do not feed any high protein food below 13 degrees

  • Do not feed below 6 degrees unless they are sturgeon

Posted in Blog By Complete Aquatics

Water Changes and Routine Maintenance

25 September 2019 08:59:03 BST

Water Changes and Routine Maintenance

The most important thing to remember when keeping any sort of aquarium is routine maintenance. Each type of aquarium requires specific levels of care, and this can be further increased or reduced dependent on your tank’s inhabitants. For all aquarists, however, routine maintenance means regular water changes, cleaning or replacing sponges and wiping the glass or acrylic down. Completing these three chores biweekly will ensure your aquarium is the aesthetic focalpoint you intended.


The Importance of Water Changes

Water changes are the most effective way to remove unwanted and potentially harmful substances from your tank. Purchase a test kit, such as API’s 5 in 1 Test Strips to regularly check the water for substances which would be harmful to your pets. The most common of these substances is Ammonia, which is a direct result of fish waste and uneaten food. Small and regular water changes are best when high ammonia occurs (5% per day for 1 week) to slowly reduce the amount present. This chemical is highly toxic to animals and plants (can cause burns) but also imperative to the nitrogen cycle. It must be removed but not too quickly. The second most common is Nitrate - the final product of the nitrogen cycle. High levels of this indicate that the cycle is complete and a water change is needed. Nitrate is not harmful to fish but plants and especially corals are sensitive to it. In a tropical or cold water tank 10% of the aquarium water should be replaced with fresh dechlorinated water every two weeks. In a marine set up 10% of the water should be replaced with fresh saltwater every two weeks.


Aside from removing excess levels of unwanted chemicals, water changes are important for refreshing quantities of trace elements creatures absorb through osmosis.


Topping Up

The water level in your tank will drop over time as some evaporates. In a tropical or cold water set up this should be replaced with dechlorinated water. In a marine set up this should be replaced with Reverse Osmosis (RO) water. RO water contains no trace elements at all so, preventing it from making unwanted changes to existing levels of trace elements. This is imperative for keeping corals. You do not want to top up saltwater as the salt does not evaporate and your tank will get exponentially saltier - to measure the salt content you will need a Refractometer. I use the D-D Refractometer as it is easy to use and accurate.

Drawing a small indicator line in a corner at the top of the water level (when the tank is full), and a second one a couple of centimeters lower will help you to gauge how much water has evaporated.


Cleaning Sponges and other Paraphernalia

Over time fish waste in your aquarium will build up. Every two weeks, whilst doing a water change, you should take out the sponges from the filter and wash them in the water removed from the tank. Be gentle when squeezing them out as large populations of ‘good bacteria’ (nitrosomonas and nitrobacter) can be lost during this process. Loss of these bacteria can cause deadly ammonia spikes in the water as the bacteria are no longer present to convert the ammonia to nitrite, then to nitrate. Replacing sponges can cause the same issue, so replace them one at a time and seed the new one by temporarily having both in the tank if you can.

The substrate in tropical and cold water tanks will need to be washed once a month. Gravel has gaps between the stones where decaying waste can lay unnoticed and unfiltered, if accidentally disturbed an ammonia spike can happen. Using a mechanical gravel cleaner such as the Python No Spill Clean and Fill Gravel Cleaner which drains as well as fills aquariums, and will not disturb fish or decor during routine maintenance”1. While I believe Python make the most practical gravel cleaner, there are others available from recognisable brands such as, Aquaone’s Vac-A-Tank  and Tetra’s GC30 Gravel Cleaner There are also electronic versions on the market such as Fluval’s ProVac which is suitable for fresh and saltwater aquariums.

Also once a month you should dismantle any filters, skimmers and wavemakers to wash away any detritus. Washing the impeller and surrounding area will keep it spinning freely - avoiding strain on the motor .


Cleaning the Glass or Acrylic

Something as simple as a fresh kitchen sponge can be used in a glass freshwater aquarium. A regular wipe down should prevent patches of algae that are hard to remove. However, stubborn algae can be removed with ease using an algae scraper, such as the TetraTec GS45 Glass Scraper Cleaner which has a hinged blade and a long handle allowing it to glide smoothly along the glass, and side protectors to stop it damaging the silicone. For deeper tanks, a ‘sponge on a stick’ is a must. The most effective, hassle free way to clean any glass tank, however, is a floating magnetic algae scraper like the Mag-Float Floating Magnet range of sizes to suit any size tank, is non-abrasive and floats for easy collection when finished.


If you have an acrylic tank then you will need a softer sponge or you will scratch the tank. There are many available. API’s Algae Pad is durable, inexpensive and works well. A plastic blade can be used to remove stubborn algae, and most algae magnets come with a plastic alternative.


Sticking to a rota will help you keep on top of routine maintenance and water changes (you will also need to incorporate your filter into this) You may have other equipment such as wave makers, protein skimmers, UV bulbs or other extra equipment, these may need specific maintenance to keep them working at their peak so be sure to read the manual. Below you will find the links to all the products I have mentioned above.


Thank you for reading



Posted in Blog By Complete Aquatics

Making a Successful High-Tech Planted Tank

10 September 2019 14:13:33 BST

What is a “high-tech” planted tank

A high-tech planted tank is commonly known as a planted tank that uses Co2 injection. Plants need several things to ensure good, healthy growth, one being Co2. Plants are 45% Carbon meaning to grow healthy plants really prefer Co2. Pair the Co2 with a good light and good fertilizer and you have a good quality high-tech build such as the one below.


A high-tech planted tank


As you can see, all the plants are growing healthy and vibrant. Having healthy plants is great not only for your view but also for the fish. Healthy plants help to oxygenate the water. Not only that but the plants also provide a great hiding place for fish to go and relax to avoid stress.

How does it work?

In-Tank DiffuserHigh-tech tanks work by injecting Co2 into the aquarium water, that could be done through an in-tank diffuser, in-line diffuser or reactor. This then makes the carbon diffuse into the water column which helps plants absorb the Co2. The plants spend their time when the light is on absorbing the Co2 and in turn giving out oxygen. Just giving the plants Co2 won’t be enough for them to grow so we need to ensure we provide extra nutrients when needed. These are sourced from nutrient rich substrates, fertilizers and naturally from your fish.


What do you need to make a High-tech tank?

First, you’re going to want to pick a tank. There are a few kits on our site which can be easy to set up. The best one in my opinion would be Evolution aqua’ s Aquascaper tanks. They are a great, rimless tank with opti-white glass which allows you to really admire the aquascape you produce using your plants, wood and rock. For this example I’m going to use the Evolution aqua Aquascaper 900.


Next, you’re going to want to pick a filter. I usually look at using a canister filter which has around a 10X turnover. For this example, I will use a Fluval FX4 which has more than enough turnover. 2650LPH. When we add filter media this will be slightly reduced as with all filters which is why I have gone higher than needed. Other filters suitable for this are listed below -

Next, you’re going to want to look for a Co2 kit. For this I’m going to use a pieced together kit from our website. I will use the Ista premium regulator pack which includes most of the required parts and I’m going to attach that to the Ista 2L aluminium cylinder. This will be enough Co2 to last for a while depending on how much we are using. You will also want to pick up a timer plug for the solenoid, so it turns off when the lights go off and one for the light to auto switch them on and off.


The kit above pieced together by myself is a large kit, however, there also other Ista kits together which are more than suitable. Please see the links for these below –

Now we’re going to want to pick a light. For this, I am going to choose the AI Prime Freshwater lights. Other lights you can use are Fluval 3.0 or the Radion Freshwater. When looking for lights, I always keep my eye on the spectrum offered by the lights. From my experience, I have found this to be the best way to pick a lighting unit. This is what the lighting spectrum table looks like for the AI prime.



As you can see, the has a colour spectrum perfect to support healthy plant growth and development. There are other qualities of lights to look out for such as the PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) which is how much light is usable by the plants.


Now let’s look at some substrates for the tank. We are going to want a good substrate that can help the plants root well while still providing good nutrition to the plants and their root systems. A couple of great options are Fluval Stratum and Caribsea Eco Complete. These are great options for complete substrates, meaning they don’t need a top layer. These substrates provide a slow nutrient relase to the plants which helps with the growth. The grain size is also a good size for root spreading. You can buy multiple sizes of these best suited to your aquarium size. You want the substrate to be between 2 to 3 inches in depth.

Next, let’s investigate the fertilizers. You can get many different types of fertilizers these days. Some which you dose daily, some weekly, all dosing at different amounts with different contents. The best way to find the right fertilizer for you is to try them out. A great fertilizer I started with and still use now is the Evolution Complete liquid plant food. This is the daily dosing kind which has added elements for heavy planted tanks. Easy Life profit is another great option. This one is a weekly dosing one but again. I have used this and had great results from it.


Finally, you need to pick out some hardscape and plants. You can get some wood and rock from our website.

How to set up the equipment

Now we have everything together we can begin the setup. You’ll need to set up your aquarium and place it in a spot where it won’t get direct sunlight. Next, add your substrate, slop it so that the back is deeper than the front. Now add your lighting. Then Add your rocks and wood to the tank in a way that you like it, I use inspiration on the internet before I begin placing. Now attach your filter so that the water has a good flow to get to all parts of the tank. We want to try and avoid dead spots in the flow. Next, add the plants, pay close attention to the way the plants grow. Learning how tall and bushy they get helps you to imagine what the long-term results will be.


Now with the Co2, you want to first attach the regulator to the Co2 cylinder. With the Ista Regulator, it can be done without any tools. Then attach the bubble counter to the regulator (different types of bubble counter are installed differently) and the Co2 tubing to the other side of the bubble counter, make sure to fill the bubble counter with either water or another usable liquid to help count the bubbles. Make a cut in the line at tank height to add the check valve. This will stop the water flowing backwards into your Co2 equipment. Finally, add the remaining tubing and attach the diffuser to this, make sure to position the diffuser low to the substrate in the tank. This helps the Co2 bubbles diffuse by giving more time for them to have contact with the water. Finally, add the Co2 indicator with the solution in it, place this on the other side of the tank from the diffuser near the top of the water


Plug both the light and Co2 into timers. You want the Co2 to come on 1-3 hours before lighting coming on. Give the plants between 6-10 hours of lighting. More lighting can cause algae so, be careful not to add too much, alter is as needed for your preferred result. You also want the Co2 to turn off about 1 hour before the lights go out. While paying close attention to the bubble counter. Alter the needle valve to do 1BPS (Bubble per second) per 50L. To get the correct Co2 you will want to check your tank 2 hours later. Alter the amount of Co2, checking every two hours after changing it, to get the indicator fluid to turn green.


Finally, you can now sit back and enjoy your aquarium. Of course, the usual weekly water changes are required as well as plant trimming and cleaning any algae growth that happens to keep your tank clean. Follow the fertilizer dosing instructions to ensure healthy growth.


The do’s and don’ts of a high-tech tank


- Do check Co2 cylinder levels regularly

- Do check your indicator regularly

- Do keep on top of maintenance

- Do dose as the label instructs



- Don’t overdose fertilisers

- Don’t leave Co2 on while lights off

- Don’t use too much lighting

- Don’t ignore algae, make sure it is cleaned off


Thanks for reading


Posted in Blog By Complete Aquatics

Creating a Successful Low-Tech Planted Tank

28 August 2019 15:46:14 BST


Image result for low tech planted tank

So, you’ve decided to want a low maintenance, budget friendly tank that has a huge impact in any room. Low-tech is a great option to go for if you don’t have a lot of spare time to do a lot of maintenance on a tank

Image result for low tech planted tank

What is a low-tech tank?

A low-tech tank is an aquarium which is very simple to keep. It consists of “easy” category plants, a good plant substrate and low lighting output. It’s a very budget-friendly tank in terms of both starting and continuing to run. All that is required to keep this tank in check is weekly water changes and every once in a while, a plant trimming. 

How does it work?

A low tech tank works by creating a somewhat natural cycle in your tank. This means that you feed your fish, your fish produce waste and the plants soak up that waste and use it to grow. This helps to balance an aquarium very nicely for your fish by helping reduce harmful chemicals like ammonia, nitrite and nitrate which can harm your fish. It’s also great for your fish to have places to hide and relax reducing stress on your fish which will expand the lifespan of them.


What do you need to make a low-tech tank?

A low-tech tank really doesn’t need much more than your average aquarium or aquarium set. Firstly you will want to pick out a tank. Easy to set up kits are listed below, which I personally feel will help any planted tank beginner get into the hobby:

AquaOne AquaNano (55 Litre)

FluvalFlex (34 Litre)

Ciano Aqua LED (58 Litre)

You’ll also want to pick up a good planted tank substrate which will help by providing nutrients to heavy rooting plants which we will go through later in the blog. This also helps to stabilise your water quality. I personally like to use Caribsea Eco Complete. This substrate is great because not only does it help the plants to grow is also has Beneficial bacteria in it which helps to kick start your aquarium which means less waiting time for the initial cycling stage and a more stable environment in the long run for your fish.

You might also want to buy some wood or stone which can use to create even more of a natural feel to your tank. By placing these is you not only make the tank look even more natural but again it's great for the fish. The best wood to start with is usually fingerwood as this doesn’t leach tannins so your tank water won't go yellow. For rocks, I would usually start with lava rock which has great texture and is inert meaning it will not affect your water parameters.

You can also pick up some liquid fertilizer such as Easy-Life ProFito which I think is a great product for easy dosing. Just following the dosing instructions on the back and all should be great. Seachem Flourish is also a great choice if you have a lot of fish in the tank as it doesn’t dose extra nitrogen which is already produced by the fish. 

What plants are easy to start with?

Most “easy” category plants are great to start off with. Most species of Cryptocoryne are a great beginner plant which can grow in a lot of different conditions in terms of water quality and light intensity. These are classed as heavy root feeders which means they have very long, complex root systems which mean they make use of that substrate you have put in your tank. 

epiphyte plant plants such as java fern, bucephalandra and anubias are also great for these tanks because they love lower light conditions, these plants are attached to rocks and wood using glue, string or just putting it in little gaps on or between rocks and wood. 

Stem plants like rotala rotundafolia, hygrophila siamensis 53B and bacopa compact are great plants to place in the background which can grow tall and are great at creating a natural background in your tank. These just need to be planted in the substrate where they will begin to root and grow tall. Image result for rotala rotundifolia

How to put together the tank

So, this is the really fun bit. You now want either try and find inspiration or just throw it together, whichever works best for you. I personally go online and look up “low-tech aquascapes”. I then browse through different websites, images and even YouTube which helps give you plenty of tips on how to layout your tank. Then you go and create your very own planted tank scape and enjoy the beautiful view!

The do’s and don’ts of the low-tech tank

  • Do trim plants when needed. This helps to stimulate growth which helps keep algae down
  • Do run lights for 6-8 hours a day. Picking up a light timer would help with this
  • Do clean any algae that get the chance to grow
  • Do weekly water changes
  • Do filter maintenance monthly

  • Don’t overdose fertilizers as this can be harmful to fish or produce algae
  • Don’t overfeed fish as this can cause algae issues
  • Don’t keep moving plants as they will need to keep adjusting
  • Don’t Rinse the substrate
  • Don’t stir up the substrate

Thanks for reading 


Posted in Blog By Complete Aquatics

Red Sea ReefLED 90

28 May 2019 09:41:07 BST

The New Red Sea ReefLED 90 is Now In Stock!!

The first look at the NEW Red Sea ReefLED 90 has been somewhat overwhelming for the Complete Aquatics team, From the stock landing to orders leaving it’s been a bit of a whirlwind!


Now the dust has mostly settled we can get down and geeky to see what the Red Sea ReefLED can really do and what makes this light stand out among the competitors.


Red Sea ReefLED 90

Firstly, I really wanted to know what Reef-Safe truly ment as this isn’t something we have seen mentioned before when discussing or reading about LED Lighting.


This is where the years of research comes in to play and why Red Sea have not released an LED light until now, this research has explored what corals truly need when it comes to spectrum and how best to achieve accelerated growth and colouration.


As a result of these years of research the ReefLED’s central array is made up from 3 channels, REEF-SEPC Blue with a 23,000 Kelvin rating, White with an 8,000K rating and finally a dedicated 3-watt moonlight guaranteeing a Reef-Safe REEF-SPEC LED output.


Red Sea have incorporated notifications via the ReefBeat app which include updates regarding power outage, loss of internet and changes in a setting which may be outside the Reef-Safe guidelines.

Something else myself and the Complete Team wanted to explore is the promise of a simple two click process to set up the light, once your Red Sea ReefLED LED has been connected.


We all have experience with the sometimes clumsy and lengthy process to set up a new LED whilst being unclear on what the percentage each channel should be. Red Sea have made this incredibly simple with only two choices and two clicks in order to get started. Step one is to choose a pre-set from a list of 3 kelvin ratings (15,000K, 20,000K and 23,000k), step two you simple choose your sunrise time and the Red Sea ReefBeat App sets up a full sunrise, daytime and sunset light cycle according to Red Sea’s REEF-SPEC standards. Other more in-depth setting can be made at this point to further customise the ReefLED to however you want. These settings include Lunar Cycle, Staggered Sunrise, Acclimation and Cloud Cover.

Additional videos, including an in-depth app tour can be found on the individual product page on the website - Red Sea ReefLED 90 LED


All of us here at Complete Aquatics feel some other manufactures produce a fantastic LED. However, the mounting options can be disappointing. First impressions of the mounting options available for the Red Sea ReefLED are nothing less than fantastic. Firstly, we have had the chance to look at the Mounting Arms in detail and from what we can see they are extremely well made, sleek with compact design. One great feature is the option to rotate the Red Sea mounting arm into an upright, vertical position for ease of maintenance and reefscaping. The ReefLED mounting arms are available in 3 sizes ranging for tank widths of 46-70cm and suitable for glass thickness 8-19mm.


For more information on the ReefLED Mounting Arms click on the sizes below:






Other mounting options include Red Sea’s ReefLED Pendants which are available with black and white trim to suspend the ReefLED 90’s above the aquarium. Although we have not had the pleasure of getting our hands on these pendants just yet, we have every faith that they are fantastic quality. The ReefLED Pendants are available in 4 models suitable for all aquariums ranging from 75-180cm in lengths.


We wanted to conclude this blog with our honest opinion of the Red Sea ReefLED 90 and quite frankly there really aren’t any bad points to mention in our opinion. Firstly, from a price point it’s in line with all other leading brand LED’s currently on the market. The controllability, connectivity and performance are exactly what was promised and the first look at Red Sea’s ReefBeat app is a promising sight for all other future Red Sea Smart Device’s due to be released this year.


More information on all Red Sea ReefLED lights and accessories can be found here – Red Sea LED Lighting


Thanks for reading.

Chris Bell

Posted in Blog By Complete Aquatics

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