B - Aquarium Dictionary

Updated August 12, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
Social Media: FishLore on Social Media

Aquarium Fish Definition and Glossary

Background :
is the backside of the aquarium. There are several options available to the aquarist when it comes to aquarium backgrounds. Underwater scene prints and 3D backgrounds are affixed to the outside of the back wall of the fish tank, providing a background when viewed from the front of the tank. You can even paint the outside back wall. Popular color choices are various shades of blue, black, dark green, etc.
Tank Backgrounds
Tank Backgrounds on Amazon

Bacteria :
small, microscopic organisms that are present everywhere in the aquarium. Some can be harmful, but most are beneficial and are necessary for the aquarium nitrogen cycle. Use caution when using anti-bacterial medicines in the fish tank since they may be indiscriminate in the bacterias they kill. You can also buy bottled bacteria ready to jump start the cycle process in your aquarium such as Tetra SafeStart:
Tetra SafeStart on Amazon

Ballast :
is an electrical device used to start fluorescent lamps and for regulating the power flow through fluorescent lights.

Barb :
is a type of freshwater fish. Also see Barbs - Cyprinids.

Bare Bottom :
a term used when referring to an aquarium lacking a substrate, often used when referring to saltwater tanks. People have bare bottoms with the hopes of limiting nutrients (that could accumulate in sand beds) for growing corals. Others simply like the clean look of a bare bottom tank.

Beamswork :
an aquarium light manufacturer that is quite popular. Their LED light fixtures come in two modes, day/night. See more:
Beamswork LEDs on Amazon

Bendazole :
Bendazole is also called Fenbendazole. Panacur has the same active ingredient. It is used to treat internal parasites in fish. You can see more details and get it at the following link:
Bendazole on Amazon

BB - Beneficial Bacteria :
beneficial bacteria is the bacteria responsible for making the nitrogen cycle happen. They convert ammonia into nitrites and then nitrites into nitrates. You can purchase bottled bacteria to help jump start a new aquarium. For more info see Tetra SafeStart.

Tetra SafeStart on Amazon

Benthic :
means the bottom of a body of water. Benthic dwelling organisms can live on or in the aquarium substrate.

Betta :
is a type of freshwater fish. Also see the Betta fish profile.

Betta Hammock :
is a leaf that is used by your fish to rest or sleep on. If you don't have broad leaved aquatic plants in your tank, you can get a plastic one that suctions to the inside of the tank. See:
Betta Hammock
Betta Hammock on Amazon

Bettafix :
a supplement made by API for bettas that helps repair damaged fins and promotes fin re-growth. See:
Bettafix on Amazon

Betta Revive :
an aquarium medication made specifically for bettas. It treats protozoan, bacterial and fugal diseases. See:
Betta Revive
Betta Revive on Amazon

Bio-balls :
as the name implies, these are small plastic, porous balls that are usually placed in wet/dry trickle filters that help promote the growth of bacteria that aid in the nitrogen cycle.
Bioballs Kit on Amazon

Biomax :
are porous ceramic rings used in aquarium filters used for the establishment of beneficial bacteria. Claims to have more bacteria capacity than most other biological filter media.
Fluval Biomax on Amazon

Bio-load :
the sum total of the biological burden placed on the biological filter in an aquarium. An overstocked tank will place a heavy bio-load on the filtration system.

Bio-wheel :
this is a part in a bio-wheel filter that provides biological filtration. It is a wheel shaped device that spins using water motion provided by the filter. As the wheel spins it comes in contact with aquarium water and then mixes with air, providing a large surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize. Check out the penguin bio-wheel filter below:
Bio-wheel Filter on Amazon

Bio-Spira :
one of the original bottled supplements for adding beneficial bacteria to a new aquarium to help cycle a tank. See more here: Bio-Spira on Amazon

Biological Filtration :
is the part of the aquarium filter system that promotes or allows the growth of beneficial bacteria that helps filter the aquarium water by breaking down wastes into nitrogen compounds (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, nitrogen gas). There are many filtration devices primarily designed for biolgical filtration such as bio-balls, filter floss, sponge filters, etc. Benefical bacteria colonies can form on nearly every surface in the tank including the filter, the tank walls, and the substrate. For saltwater aquarium keepers, live sand and live rock can be fantastic biological filters.

Birdsnest Coral :
see Birdsnest Coral

Black Water Extract :
is a water conditioner that contains peat and it helps provide soft, acidic water conditions for aquariums. Hobbyists keeping fish from the Amazon river locations may be interested in using black water extract to more closely resemble these Amazon river water conditions.
Black Water
Black Water on Amazon

Bloodworm :
a fish food, these are midge larvae that are naturally occuring in the bottom of streams and rivers that make a part of the diet in some fishes. They can be high in protein and can be given as a treat to your fish or to help condition them for spawning. They commonly come in frozen and freeze-dried form. Omega One Bloodworms are a popular brand.
Omega One
Omega One on Amazon

Blue Shrimp :
Blue Rili Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) is a hardy and beautiful shrimp that is very popular with freshwater hobbyists. They are a scavenger and are used as part of the clean up crew in planted tanks. They eat algae and dead plant matter and is usually out in the open looking for food. You need to supplement their diet if there isn't enough food for them in the tank. See more here:
blue shrimp
Blue Shrimp on Amazon

Bolbitis Difformis :
an aquarium plant that can be tied to rocks or driftwood or grown in the soil. It tolerates a wide range of lighting conditions.
Bolbitis Difformis on Amazon

Blackworm :
a fish food used by hobbyists to get their fish ready for breeding and for enhancing colors.
Blackworms on Amazon

Blasting Sand :
is a type of black sand that is used in aquariums because it is less pricey than some other name brand black sands labeled for aquarium use. Black Diamond Blasting Sand is oneo of the more popular types. You can usually find it online relatively easily, like below:
Black Diamond Sand
Black Diamond Sand on Amazon

Blastomussa Coral :
see Blastomussa Coral.

Bottom Feeder :
is a fish that spends most of it's time scavenging the substrate for food. Many catfish species, such as corydoras are bottom feeders.

Brackish Tank :
In between a freshwater tank and saltwater tank is the brackish fish tank. These tanks have water with smaller amounts of dissolved salts and they may try and replicate locations where freshwater rivers meet oceans. See Brackish Fish species profiles for more information.

Breather Bag :
a bag used for transporting aquarium fish, plants, corals and invertebrates that allows carbon dioxide to escape and for oxygen to enter which means that you don't need to fill the bag with extra oxygen before shipping. More below:
Breather Bag
Breather Bags on Amazon

Breeding Tank :
this is a specialized aquarium set up for the breeding of fish. They are often scaled down tanks and breeders run them without substrates and sometimes sponge filters to minimize damage to fry. Having no substrate makes it easier to keep the water conditions optimal and the tanks easier to clean during the frequent water changes that rearing tanks require.

Breed Box or Breeder Net :
is a small box or net that hangs on the inside of tank and is a place to put pregnant fish that makes it easier to collect the eggs/babies or can be used to isolate a new fish while it adapts to a new aquarium. Obviously depends on the size of the fish because these breeder boxes/nets are not all that big. Examples:
Fish Breeder Box
Breeder Box on Amazon
Fish Breeder Net
Breeder Net on Amazon

Brine Shrimp :
a fish food, brine shrimp is another good treat for your fish that is easy to cultivate and nutritious. Baby brine shrimp is often fed to fish to condition them for spawning or breeding. For ideas on how to raise your own brine shrimp, please read the brine shrimp hatchery article. Also see:
Brine Shrimp
Brine Shrimp on Amazon

Brood Stock :
a fish or a fish pair that is used for breeding. Some fish species pairs (Discus fish) can fetch high prices.

Bubble Nest :
is a nest of air bubbles constructed by the anabantoid fish species for protecting the eggs. Males usually build the bubble nest and guard the eggs.

Bubble Wand :
a device that hooks up to an airline and airpump that produces bubbles in the tank. They are good to use because they increase surface agitation and increases the amount of dissolved oxygen in the aquarium. See:
Bubble Wand
Bubble Wands on Amazon

Buffer :
is a powder or chemical used to change the alkalinity of aquarium water so that it can resist changes in the aquarium pH. Saltwater aquariums often need buffer agents added because they are skimmed off or used up. These buffering agents usually consist of carbonate and bicarbonate. Baking soda can also be used as a buffering agent. Also see:
Acid Buffer on Amazon

Alkaline Buffer
Alkaline Buffer on Amazon

Bysus Gland :
an organ in clams that secretes bysus threads which allows them to attach themselves to the substrate or other surface.