Think back to your childhood. Your bedroom was a small area for you to let your imagination run free. And unsurprisingly you felt like re-decorating and rearranging it at least every three weeks. That’s the way it was for me anyway. Suddenly I fancied the bed in another corner; I wanted the toys "parked" elsewhere.
I know of some aquarium owners who are like that with their aquariums. But is this a good thing? Of course, you’ll want to add a new root or rock from time to time and this will just count as one of those disturbances that happen in the course of an aquarium’s lifetime.
Rearranging, removing and adding objects causes a lot of stress for the fish. Existing territories, hiding places and movement patterns will disappear and need to be rediscovered. It can well come to territorial fights, or even diseases. Larger changes, such as replacing the substrate, often also cause a massive disturbance of the bacterial balance and lead to increased ammonia and nitrite levels. This can lead to the death of the fish. That’s why you should always think twice before carrying out changes and if you do, they need to be very well planned. And afterwards you need to monitor the water parameters and behavior of the fish very closely over the next 72 hours.
There are also situations where small modifications are inevitable, e.g. when you add new fish. You can turn such opportunities to your advantage. Remember: adding territory-forming fish into an aquarium, where there are already clearly divided areas, can simply lead to the newcomer being killed. This is a good time to make minor changes to defuse or even avert the conflict. Another positive feature of the change you are making is that you can take the chance to locate and eliminate previously undetected “rotting areas“. Maybe the flow is uneven, or a lot of sludge has accumulated in a corner you hadn’t previously been able to access. This is your chance to solve issues before they lead to the formation of hydrogen sulfide and really become a problem.
In addition, to the observer’s eye, the appearance of the aquarium has completely changed. The mature plants need to re-grow to restore its natural look.
You see that the conversion of an aquarium can be quite useful, but you really shouldn’t do it too often or too excessively. If, after a few years, you find you don’t really like your aquarium any more or it starts running erratically, you might think about a complete new set-up. Do this by unhastily relocating the fish to another aquarium and letting the new aquarium run in again.
What is your opinion on this subject? What experience have you had with the transformation of your aquarium and are there any questions that you are keenly interested in? Use the comment function for your answer - we are looking forward to hearing from you.