Instant Ocean® Marine salt mix

The most important thing in keeping Marine life is the water or more importantly the salt you use to make up your marine water. There are many mixes out there and new ones coming on the market all the time making all sorts of claims.

Instant Ocean is one of the oldest and the market leader if sales are anything to go by.

Instant Ocean salt has been around for decades and is a tried and tested artificial marine salt mix.

In 1964 William Kelley formulated an artificial marine salt replicated as closely as possible to natural seawater. Using a formula based on the one used at Frankfurt Zoo he managed to reach his goal, and created a synthetic sea salt that would maintain invertebrates indefinitely. He called it Instant Ocean®.

During the late 1960s and early ’70s they continued to tweak the formula making it the market leader that bit is today.

Now we can all regardless of where we live can make up with confidence a marine solution that will support a healthy and vibrant marine system.

Instant Ocean® remains the standard for scientific research in marine environments.  It has been used by NASA and, with proven results, in numerous public aquariums and parks, including SeaWorld, Orlando; Shedd Aquarium, Chicago; Wonders of Wildlife Museum, Springfield, Ill.; Columbus (Ohio) Zoo & Aquarium; the (Atlanta) Georgia Aquarium; The Dallas World Aquarium; Underwater Adventure in the Mall of America, Minnesota; Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas; the Denver Zoo; and many others.

 At ValueAquatics we offer Instant Ocean® in four handy easy to use sizes.

Instant Ocean Sea Salt 60ltr – 2kg

Instant Ocean Sea Salt 120ltr – 4kg

Instant Ocean Sea Salt 240ltr – 8kg

Instant Ocean Sea Salt 750ltr – 25kg bucket


Pacue saved from an early death

A one metre long Pacu, (Colossoma macropomum) has been saved from an early death thanks to the intervention of Bristol’s Blue Reef Aquarium.

‘Percy’ the Pacu, a similar fish to the one pictured above, has spent the last 23 years at The Palms Tropical Oasis at Stapeley Water Gardens near Nantwich, Cheshire. As part of the now closed attraction’s ‘Big Fish Campaign’, he was used to help educate visitors to the potential pitfalls of ‘tankbuster’ species sold in the hobby which can soon outgrow most domestic aquaria.

With closure imminent and seemingly no one prepared to take on the 30kg fish, it seemed a bath of MS-222, (a fish anaesthetic and sedative) would be his final destination, but a last ditch Europe-wide plea from the curator of the collection came to the attention of Blue Reef.

Percy has now taken his place in their Amazon themed display where he is housed with another smaller specimen of a Pacu along with other South American species.

The Pacu, also known as ‘Tambaqui’ by Brazilian Indians is a characin, related to tetras and fish such as the piranha – with which it is sometimes confused, especially by UK newspapers! But is much larger and predominantly vegetarian, eating mainly fallen fruit and nuts which it crushes with its large, distinctive horse-like teeth. It is a prized food species within its native range where it is also farmed.


A common problem with keeping the fancy Goldfish is bloat or swim bladder disorders often confused with dropsy. The problem is caused by incorrect diet and feeding. The feeding problem is that most people feed their fancy goldfish on flake food which floats, so that when the fish feeds it gulps in large quantities of air. This can collect in the gut and swim bladder causing the fish to balloon and swim on its side or even lay at the surface upside down unable to swim properly.

Prevention is far better than cure which is hit and miss for this problem and not easy to correct.

Fancy Goldfish like Lion heads and Moors have been bred for their shape not practicality and now bare no resemblance to the Carp they once were.

Carp are basically bottom feeders so the answer is simple give them a sinking food so they can feed from the bottom and then do not gulp air into their system. Feeding Tetrafin Gold Japan is an excellent food that is composed of all the correct food items along with minerals and vitamins to promote healthy growth.

  • High quality vegetable ingredients
  • Sinking sticks that make it easier for fancy goldfish to feed
  • Rich in high quality essential fatty acids and hydrolysed proteins, for healthy growth and condition
  • Rich in carotenoids to promote excellent natural colouration
  • Contains Active Formula for increased resistance to disease

 ValueAquatics offer Tetrafin Gold Japan in two sizes 55g and 145g


New Fluval Internal Filters

At Valueaquatics we are now offering the new Fluval U series of underwater filters.

They work on a three stage filtering system using BIOMAX to keep the water quality in excellent condition.

The Fluval U series filters have been designed for ease of use and are very easy to change the filter cartridges through the use of the flip up top. This gives easy access to the inside of the filter for replacing the cartridges, maintenance and general cleaning. They also have a new three way flow control giving individual flow from the top, middle and bottom of the filter.

These internal filters are ideal for Freshwater Tropical Fish and Turtle aquaria.

Available in Four Sizes.

Fluval U1 250lph for 55L Aquariums

Fluval U2 400lph for 45-110L Aquariums

Fluval U3 800lph for 90-150L Aquariums

Fluval U4 1000lph for 130-240L Aquariums

  • Ideal supplemental or stand-alone filter, or for installations where external filtration is not possible
  • Filters debris and provides optimal biological filtration
  • Silent and efficient
  • Simple to install and maintain
  • Engineered and manufactured in Italy
  • For aquariums, terrariums and turtle tanks



New Aquarium Start up.

VALUEaQUATICS    New Aquarium Start up. 

When setting an aquarium up for the first time you need to get the Good bacteria built up and working in the Aquarium. This is because the build up of the fish waste basically ammonia does not get broken down as there is very little to none of the good bacteria in the system.

So there are two ways of doing this.

The old method is to use some fish that are more tolerant to the high ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels until the bacteria can get going. This takes up to 4 weeks in a tropical aquarium and up to 6 weeks in cold water set up.

Neon tetras are usually used as starter fish, even so expect to lose a few in the process,

The other method is to simply add the bacteria from a bottle which kick starts everything from the start.  There are a lot of different products out there that mostly do the same thing. I’ll mention two that are slightly different.

Stress Zyme by API is a biological filter additive and contains 100 million live bacteria in every 5ml. This helps to keep a naturally balanced aquarium by eliminating the sludge building up which prevents the ammonia and nitrite levels from escalating during the start up or the nitrogen cycle. In so doing reduces the time before you can add more fish to the system. You still need the starter fish as without the fish waste the bacteria that you have added to the system dies off as there is no food for it. It will still take a week or two before I would add any more fish and keep testing the water for Ammonia, Nitrate and Nitrite every three days until you get a 0 reading on all of them.

Stress Zyme is available from ValueAquatics in 30ml, 60 ml, 120ml 480ml and 3.785lt.

The other of the new methods is something of a break through and I was very sceptical of it until ValueAquatics customers started to sing its praises and I tried it myself.

It is a Tetra product SafeStart all you do is set up the aquarium and switch everything on and leave it to run for 24 hours. This is to make sure everything is working correctly and the correct temperature is being maintained.

Then add 5ml of SafeStart per 6 litres of aquarium water and at the same time add your fish as normal and it is done.

Available from ValueAquatics in 50ml and 100ml sizes.

Although I would not recommend fully stocking the aquarium straight away but with moderation, as we all know things can go wrong, and I would still recommend testing the water every 3 days for the first few weeks as a precaution.

One customer did not head our advice and fully stocked his aquarium with a lot of tropical fish and it worked. Personally I would err on the side of caution.


Feeding Tropical Fish part 2

The most forgotten about fish are the bottom dwellers the catfish, loaches these often only get the crumbs that are left over by the other fish and people say we can’t keep catfish they tend to die after a while. They simply starve to death.

The answer is to feed a sinking food with the other fish food so that when the main fish are feeding the bottom fish get the sinking food.

These foods come as pellets, granules or tablets/wafers. If you feed the pellets or granules it is easy to just feed enough for the number of bottom dwellers that you have basically a pinch or so. With the wafers or tablets you can either break them in half or even quarters and feed of just feed a whole one and net out any uneaten food after 3 minutes.

Hikari do a catfish sinking wafer that has been specially formulated for catfish and loaches. They come in 25g and 125g packets Corydoras and loaches love these.

King British also does an excellent Catfish pellet food in a 200g tub which is also an excellent buy.

The so called algae eaters, Plecs, Hong Kong Plecs, Chinese algae eater, Flying Fox  etc., are not total vegetarians as most people think, it is just that plants including algae is the biggest part of their diet but also includes things like small shrimps, worms, snails etc. So again a more balanced diet is required than just leaving them to survive on whatever algae happens to grow in the aquarium.

King British does a 100g tub of Algae wafers which has all the different foods that these fish require. They also do a food specifically for the Plecostomus that come is a 60g tub Plec food tablets.

Tetra do Plecowafers specially formulated for Plecostomus in 42g and 85grams. They also do Plecomin in tablets form as a 120 tablet tub.

All of these are suitable for the so called algae eaters and should be fed as part of the feeding regime for your Aquarium.

It is a good idea to give the bottom feeders some live food like Blood worms (mosquito larvae) or Tubifex if you cannot get live then frozen is a good alternative. To get the food down to the bottom feeders use a length of 1” plastic tube or the large tube off the gravel cleaner. Simply lower the tube into the aquarium so that one end is on the bottom and the other end either at the surface or just above then drop in the appropriate amount of live food in until it drops to the bottom. Now feed the rest of your fish as normal and slowly take the tube out.

The catfish etc. will be getting some livefood and the rest of the fish some flake etc.

If you use frozen then thaw some out first before feeding it via the tube.

How much and how often to feed your fish. Always remember a hungry fish is a healthy fish. DO NOT OVERFEED.

The instructions on the fish food usually say feed twice or three times a day, basically that is to get you to use more food.

A standard 30” Aquarium of community fish will require enough food that it is all eaten in one minute (enough to cover the head of a drawing pin) if there is any left simply reduce it, and I suggest feeding once a day at about the same time. If you want to feed twice a day use the same quantity of food only feeding half the amount twice a day. Only feed the fish 6 days a week and allow them to go hungry for one day a week this gives their digestive systems time to detoxify and rest.



Feeding Tropical Fish part 1

Feeding the fish is usually a case of I got this from the Aquatic shop when I first got my fish so I have used it ever since attitude. How would you like to be fed the same meal every day for the rest of your life?

The problem is some foods are better than others, some have more protein in them and others more fibre or vegetable matter, so you really need to know what your fish’s requirements are, and it is no good feeding a Piranha on a lettuce leaf and a guppy on a steak.

Most people have a mixed community aquarium that is tropical fish from different parts of the world of a similar size and hopefully temperament and then hope they get on and all eat the same food.

It is not that easy, most community fish will eat most commercially prepared food but variety is what is needed and the different dried foods available is mind boggling and they all make similar claims. I usually have at least three or four foods feeding and rotate them giving the fish a varied diet and once a week they get live Daphnia or Bloodworm. If that is not available then I feed frozen once or twice a week.

Only feed once a day around the same time if possible and remember those that live on the bottom of the aquarium. So called scavengers are usually only thought of as vacuum cleaners of the aquarium, wrong they have food requirements the same as the rest of the fish so don’t forget them.

What to feed is the question my advice is do not stick to any one make totally change the food so that next time you have to buy some try a different brand. People say my fish won’t eat that they like so and so it’s only that they have got so used to one food anything different is alien to them. But just let them go hungry and after a day or two they will eat it with relish. A few days without food will not hurt them in fact it will do them some good by getting rid of gut toxins. I only feed mine 6 days a week and not on Sunday.

So what foods? ValueAquatics can offer you quiet a large and varied range of foods for Guppies and Cichlids to Catfish and Algae Eaters.

Just a few that I would recommend for a standard community of fish would be a firm favourite Tetramin Flake food this is an old well tried and tested food that has been around as long as I can remember and is the worlds top selling tropical fish flake food, so they must be doing something right. I use this as a staple and work round it. It comes in various sizes from 20gram to a 2020g Bucket for anyone with a fish house or even if a club or few friends get together.

Another is Aquarian Tropical Fish Food which I find excellent they come in 25g to 200g sizes.

I like to feed a colour food once a week this does help keep the fish’s colours bright again Tetra have Tetra Ruby in 100ml size and  the Nishi people better known for their Koi and Goldfish foods have an excellent colour food for Tropical fish called Nishi-Aquaria Colour Booster 150gram.

As a treat once a week I give my fish some freeze dried food tubifex, bloodworm or brine shrimp. These come lose in small square blocks or as a tablet. I like the Block or tablet ones as a personal preference as you can take a tablet or block and press it onto the glass and have fun watching the fish eating it. They really do seem to enjoy this type of feeding.

Interpet does Brine shrimp 7gram and tubifex 5gram in pots of small blocks. You simply take off a small amount and press it against the glass halfway down so that everyone gets a bit.



API Freshwater Testing Kit

What is the most important thing in the aquarium and the least understood? The water, most people look at their fish in the aquarium and hardly give the water a second thought as long as it looks clear then it must be okay. Wrong just because it looks okay you should never take it for granted. I check my tropical Aquariums water every fortnight for pH and Nitrate and in the Malawi Cichlid tank water hardness, none of these will show up as a visual look it the water.

What causes High readings of pH, nitrite and nitrate in the water?

The pH can be affected by many factors but mostly excess waste in the aquarium from over feeding (the most common) too many fish in the tank producing excess waste products or new tank syndrome when the Aquarium is going through The Nitrogen Cycle.

Another cause is the tap water the ph will vary depending on where you live and can be anywhere from pH 6 – 10 and the majority of community fish are happy in the pH 6.5 – 7.5 range.

Nitrite will become high as the aquarium goes through the Nitrogen Cycle (New Tank Syndrome)

Nitrate as the Nitrite but other causes are overfeeding and overcrowding. The bacteria cannot cope with the excess waste and rotting food. 

So ValueAquatics have the answer the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. It comes with everything you need to test for pH, Ammonia, Nitrite and nitrate. You should get over 800 tests with this kit making it very economical and cheaper than buying individual tests.

What you get in the Kit is High range pH, Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate testing solutions, Computer-calibrated laminated colour cards, 4 glass tubes, a holding tray for the test tubes,. There is an easy to follow none technical instruction booklet with added information on how to correct unsafe water conditions.

The API Freshwater Testing Kit comes in a durable, unique transparent dome allowing a clear view of the contents. 

Highly accurate and economical

Over 800 tests


Easy to use

None technical and informative booklet


ValueAquatics Aquarium Cabinets

These Aquarium Cabinets are made exclusively for ValueAquatics. They are very sturdy and robust and have a central strengthening bar for added strength and stability and designed to take the weight of a full aquarium. The cabinets are made from high density fiber board.

They come flat packed and are extremely easy to put together only 8 screws and 8 cams. There are no shelves so there is plenty of room to put your external filter and air pump, giving easy access to them.

They come in BLACK only and in two sizes for 24” and 30” aquariums. 

Always stand the Aquarium on an aquarium mat or some polystyrene tiles as a cushion before filling the Aquarium; otherwise the base of the Aquarium can crack if there is the smallest grain of sand under it.

SIZE mm (L x W x H) SIZE inches (L x W x H)
611 x 306 x 457 24 x 12 x 18
765 x 306 x 457 30 x 12 x 18



API Melafix

Melafix is a natural antibacterial remedy made from Tea Tree oil. It can quickly repair damage from bacterial infections like fin rot, mouth fungus very effectively. Melafix also works on open wounds and increases the fish’s resistance to infections. I find that it woks best when used together with Stress Coat.

It can be used as a preventative and used whenever you introduce new fish to your aquarium. It does not harm your filter and will not discolour the water or harm plants.

Marines: Although it does say it is safe for marines and reef systems I would use it with caution as ~I have found that it causes a lot of foam initially in salt water system especially in skimmers so add slowly.

ValueAquatics have both 120ml and 237ml sizes for sale.