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Below are answers to many of the questions we are asked frequently. If you have any further questions you can email The WaterZoo at ,a senior member of staff will aim to respond before the end of the next day. You can also message us on Facebook
When did The WaterZoo open?

The WaterZoo opened on March 11th 1986. It was then staffed by Mr. Roy Scott (owner) & Mr. Roy Clarke (manager) who had previously ran his own shop (Coral World), both Roy's retired many years ago. In 2000 The WaterZoo was purchased by Mr. J.A. Scott and in 2014 he became maninging director as the business changed to a limited company.

Can I buy products online?

We are primarily a retail business, but many products are shown on this website to allow customers who cannot visit to buy online, it is also a useful resource for local customers to see stock levels and product info.

Can I buy fish/corals online?

We are not currently selling fish or corals online, we would prefer our customers to collect them and be given advice face to face.

What are your opening hours?

Monday to Saturday 10:00 - 6:00. Sunday 10:00 - 4:00. Bank Holiday's 10:00 - 5:00. We are closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day & Easter Sunday.

Do you set up and maintain aquariums?

Many aquariums that we supply are literally add water & plug in so little expertise is required to install them. Although we can offer an installation service, although there is often a long lead time. 

How often should I change the water?

The frequency & amount of water changed is dependent on many factors these include stocking density, amount / type of food & efficiency of the filtration unit. It is therefore very difficult to generalise. As a very rough guide change between 10 & 25% anywhere from twice a week to once a month. For a more accurate estimation you could test for Nitrate (NO3) if this is increasing then a water change is needed.

How often should I clean my filter?

The frequency a filter will require cleaning will depend on many factors, these include, size, efficiency & type of media used in the filter, as well as size, type of fish and the frequency, quantity & type of food used. When you see a decrease in the flow rate this would be a good time to clean the media. Keeping a note of this will enable you to anticipate when the filtration system will next require maintenance. Don’t forget to clean filter media in waste aquarium water to maintain the colony of bacteria.

How many fish can I keep in my aquarium / pond?

Stocking levels are based on either water volume or surface area. There are many variables including the size of fish & filtration system.

These are generally accepted stocking levels.

Cold water 1” of fish per gallon (2.5cm per 4.5 litres)

Tropical 1” of fish per gallon (2.5cm per 4.5 litres) in the first three months, 2” of fish per gallon (5cm per 4.5 litres) after the aquarium has been established for at least six months.

Pond 10” of fish per 100 gallons (25cm per 45 litres)

Marine fish only 1” of fish per 4 gallons (2.5cm per 18 litres) in the first six months, increasing to a maximum of 1” of fish per 2 gallons (5cm per 9 litres) after six months.

Reef aquarium 1” of fish per 4 gallons (2.5cm per 18 litres)

PLEASE NOTE stocking levels are for guidance only. Larger fish produce far more waste than smaller fish. Therefore, when keeping large fish stocking densities should be far lower.

All stocking levels assume a good filtration system has been operating for at least 3 months. The stocking level in new systems should be much lower.

How often and how much food should I feed my fish?

Feed your fish twice a day. Although they can be fed more often if you wish to achieve a rapid growth rate. Ideally this should be a wide variety including dried & frozen food. All the food should be eaten within 5 minutes. Any left over should be removed ASAP.

I live XXX miles away will my livestock be OK travelling?

Provided livestock is properly packaged and does not get too hot or too cold it will be fine for at least six hours. Nearly all tropical & marine fish come from abroad and are often in transit for 24 hours with virtually a zero mortality rate.  However, the less time in transit the less traumatic it is.

How long should I wait after setting up my aquarium/pond before adding fish?

Whilst some advise waiting a week before adding livestock, we feel 48 hours is sufficient. After this period the aquarium should be up to temperature and all the equipment should be working. Leaving the aquarium/pond longer will not help it establish as it will only start to mature once the filter has some waste to work on. Be sure to read about new tank syndrome before adding livestock and add Seachem Stability.

When is your next delivery of livestock?

Deliveries can arrive on any weekday. We have between one & three deliveries of tropical plants every week.

On average two or three deliveries of coldwater & tropical fish every week. One delivery of pond fish and plants every week from April to September. New stocks of marine fish & invertebrates almost every week.

We have frequently updated stock lists which can be viewed online, so you can check what species we have.

How do I control nitrate.

Click here to read our guide to nitrate.

I'm going on holiday/ moving can you look after my fish?

If you going away for a week or two, you can use and automatic fish feeder or a slow release holiday foods can feed your fish while you are away, although it is still worth getting a fishkeeping friend/relative to check everything is OK in your absence.

Do you take fish back?

We are frequently requested to re-home fish by members of the public, and it is not possible to accommodate all the numerous requests, especially as many species offered are undesirable. Therefore, we only take fish back unwanted fish from regular customers, this service is subject to terms displayed in our livestock area.

Can you order me a particular species of fish?

We deal with some of the largest ornamental fish suppliers in Europe, they send us an availability list every week of the species they have in stock. We can only order in species that appear on one of the availability lists, we will happily take details of the species you are looking for and inform you when/if they come into stock.

Why do I need to test my water?

Many compounds that accumulate in the aquarium cannot be detected by any of our senses, but are harmful to fish and invertebrates. Testing the water enables us to detect these compounds and take remedial measures, before it causes a problem. If the water is of good quality then fish are unlikely to become ill, you cannot tell how good or bad the water quality is by looking at it, clear water does not necessarily mean the water is OK.

I’ve started my aquarium recently, why is the water cloudy?

The most likely reason for cloudy water is that the filter is not yet mature. It takes several weeks from when the first fish are added for your filter to be colonized by sufficient bacteria to breakdown the waste they produce. If your fish are lethargic or hanging at the water surface, chances are there is a high ammonia & or nitrite level. This is poisonous to your fish. Although the only way to be sure is checking it with a readily available test kit. The cloudiness can be reduced by adding Seachem Clarity, although this will not improve the water quality for your fish.

Read about new tank syndrome.

My aquarium is suffering from an algae problem, what is the solution?

Click here for more on problem algae in freshwater aquariums.

Why can’t I keep plants?

What many people do not realise is that aquatic plants need light & carbon dioxide to grow. You can use fertilisers, enriched substrate, etc, etc.  If you do not provide the carbon dioxide & light your plants are unable to grow. It easier to achieve conditions conducive to growth than you may think. Firstly, your lighting should be on 10-14 hours per day, ideally controlled by a timer. You should have at least one high spec light & reflector, ideally two or more. Some fish keepers grossly overestimate the amount of oxygen fish require. It is not recommended to have any aeration in your aquarium. This is one of the best ways of stopping your plants growing. The oxygen fish require will enter through the surface of the water. Remove any air stones or turn down to the absolute minimum, ensure all water returning to the aquarium from filters does not agitate the surface. This will increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the aquarium. The addition of carbon dioxide is highly recommended for those serious about growing plants.


What are ideal water conditions for marine livestock?

These are generally accepted ideal conditions for most marine invertebrates & fish.

Ammonia 0

Nitrite       0

Nitrate   <10

pH         8.2-8.3

KH         8-12

Phosphate 0

Calcium 420 ppm

Magnesium 1300ppm

Salinity 1.022 -1.026


Is it difficult to keep marines?

No. Provided you buy good equipment (the best you can afford), do not cut corners, do not overstock, and carry out frequent maintenance, they are actually quite easy & much longer lived than tropical fresh water fish.

Find out more about keeping marines.

How much does it cost to set up a marine aquarium?

Use the link above, this also has example costings.

What size aquarium do I need to keep marines?

Generally, we would suggest a minimum size of 10 gallons (45 litres), smaller than this can be difficult to maintain a stable environment. Even the highest stocking level for a marine aquarium is 1" of fish per 2 gallons. Nano aquariums can be used for keeping small crabs, shrimps, snails, and corals if there is plenty of light. They are not recommended for keeping fish.

What is a protein skimmer and do I need one?

Protein skimmers come in many different forms, but they all consist of a chamber that water is pumped through that is heavily aerated, organic pollutants stick to the surface of these bubbles. The pollutants form foam that then climbs up a neck and into the collection cup where it collapses into a dark coloured liquid. While it is possible to maintain a marine aquarium without a skimmer. When you see the smelly dark liquid they collect, you will most likely agree with us that is an important bit of equipment for marine aquariums.

Do I need to feed my corals?

Many Corals obtain much of there energy requirements from Zooxanthellae algae that live within their tissues and produce food when exposed to sufficient light. However, nearly, all corals will benefit from being lightly fed with one of the many coral foods available.

How much light do I need to keep corals?

The amount of illumination required will depend on the depth of the aquarium and the species being kept. Hardy soft corals like Toadstools will do well under two fluorescent tubes fitted with reflectors in a 24" deep aquarium. Where as more difficult species like Acropora will require at intense lighting provided by numerous T5 tubes LED's or suspended metal halides.

Do Clownfish need Anemones?

Most of the Clownfish we have are captive bred and have never seen an Anemone, therefore they are unlikely to go into one even if one is present in the same aquarium. Even wild Clowns will not always go into an Anemone.

What is live rock?

Live rock is calcareous porous rock taken from tropical oceans it contains many microscopic organisms and is encrusted with algae and small sessile invertebrates. Live rock establishes new aquariums faster, and aids the filtration process as well as reducing nitrate levels. The use of a large proportion of cured live rock is strongly recommended for a reef aquarium.