Aquarium advice is available for the fish fanatic

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 22, 2014

SALISBURY — Do your summer vacation plans include a trip to one of North Carolina’s public aquariums? The aquariums at Roanoke Island, Pine Knoll Shores and Fort Fisher offer a wonderful opportunity to experience North Carolina’s aquatic environments. Aquariums provide such a refreshing respite from the unrelenting heat of summer. Watching sea creatures glide silently through the clear water is so relaxing you might find yourself wishing for your own aquarium at home.
Scientific advances have made aquarium keeping more convenient than ever. If you think you might be interested in starting a home aquarium but want to learn more before you take the plunge, plan a visit to Rowan Public Library for a selection of books to guide you.
For a basic beginner’s guide, try Gina Sandford’s “Aquarium Owner’s Manual.” She discusses the various kinds of equipment needed, how to set it up and how to choose and care for fish and plants. Also provided are sample setups for a variety of different environments, including tropical freshwater, softwater and rift lake, as well as brackish water, marine and reef. Each setup includes specifics concerning equipment, décor, plants and stock, as well as alternate fish selections.
If you like a methodical approach, “Setting Up a Tropical Aquarium Week-by-Week,” by Stuart Thraves, is the book for you. Thraves walks you through the process step-by-step, beginning with building the system, and leads you through adding plants and fish at the proper time. I especially like the photographic sequences that follow each stage of set-up in real time over a period of 12 weeks. The detailed “Routine Maintenance” section will help you keep your aquarium in top form.
Of course, you want your aquarium to be a pleasant environment for your fish as well as an attractive feature in your home. To create an aquarium with the appearance of the natural habitat in which the fish live, take a look at “Aquarium Designs inspired by Nature,” by Peter Hiscock. He provides a world tour of aquatic environments with full details of how to create them in a home aquarium.
Draw inspiration from the large photographs depicting the swirling currents of mountain streams and rushing rivers. Or perhaps you prefer the still waters of peaceful lakes, swamps and pools. Detailed descriptions of the habitats and the native fish and plant life can help you create your own inspired design.
The beautiful fish are the main attraction in an aquarium, and the variety of fish available to the aquarist is larger than ever before. If you don’t know a gold zebra loach from a goldfish, consult “Focus on Freshwater Aquarium Fish,” by Geoff Rogers and Nick Fletcher. You will find more than 800 beautiful color photographs of more than 150 popular freshwater fish, divided by family grouping, with details on the size and characteristics of each.
RPL also has a selection of books for the saltwater aquarium enthusiast, as well as books on aquarium plants and fish health. Take advantage of the resources available at Rowan Public Library to ensure success with your new aquarium.
Summer reading for adults: Literary Elements. Rowan Public Library invites adults to join the library for a summer of programs and great reads with “Literary Elements.” Registration is online for adults ages 18+. Reading hours may be tracked now-Aug. 11. Prize drawings will be held with a grand prize awarded at the end of summer celebration.
Kitchen chemistry — Monday, 6:30 p.m., headquarters, Stanback Auditorium; Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., South branch, China Grove. Tired of using harsh cleaners that leave your head dizzy and your wallet empty? Learn how to make environmentally friendly alternatives at a fraction of the cost. Part of the “Literary Elements” Summer Reading Program for Adults. This program will be led by Toi N. Degree, family and consumer education agent with Rowan Cooperative Extension. There is no charge to participate, and each attendee will be entered for a chance to win a door prize. Visit or call 704-216-8229 for more information.
Summer movie series — June 24, 6:30 p.m. “City of Bones” (PG13). The library will offer a movie night every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at RPL headquarters in Salisbury throughout the summer. Movies are free and all ages are welcome. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Free popcorn and lemonade.
Summer reading — The library invites children to celebrate science and reading with Fizz, Boom, Read. Reading hours may be tracked now. Prizes for every 5, 10, 15 and 20 hours read with door prizes given at the school-aged programs.
Weekly programs have begun and run until July 31. RPL staff will be on hand to entertain the youngest participants and professional performers will help captivate the school-age children. Family programs will again be offered at Cleveland Town Hall and reading hours can be tracked there at the time of the program.
This week’s program is Mad Science: Up, Up and Away. For a complete schedule of programs, click here, or go to the library website or call your closest location: Headquarters, 704-216-8234; South, 704-216-7728; East, 704-216-7842.
The library will also have a literacy workshop for parents of children up to age 5 on Monday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m. The workshop is free but registration is required and space is limited. You can register by calling 704-216-8234.

Teen summer reading: Teens may participate in Spark a Reaction where they will explore science through programs and reading. Through July 31, all rising sixth-graders to 12th-graders are invited to participate.
Programs will be held 3:30-5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Headquarters; Wednesdays, East Branch in Rockwell; Thursdays, South Rowan Regional in China Grove. This week’s program is It’s a Chemical Reaction: Cool Chemistry Experiments. Every teen who registers receives a booklet for keeping track of the library dollars they earn. Those dollars will be used to enter raffles for prizes provided by the Friends of RPL and other local sponsors.
Winners will be announced at the end of the summer Blow Out Blast at South Rowan Regional on July 31, 3:30–5 p.m.

Displays for June: headquarters, doll society; South, fiber items by Rowan Fiber Guild; East, “Winnie the Pooh,” by Kim Davis.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.