Filthy Fish

For an animal that lives in the water… fish sure are dirty! I might not have even realized this if not for my job at the cats only boarding facility. We have an aquarium and three fish for the kitties to watch during the day. It’s probably a fifteen or twenty gallon tank, I’d guess. Over the weekend, I decided to roll up my sleeves and clean the fish tank. That’s when I learned the dirty truth about our little fishy friends. Safety first! Always unplug all electrical equipment before doing anything to or in your aquarium. Ours has three … Continue reading

Cloudy Aquarium Water

If the water in your aquarium doesn’t look quite right, you may have something wrong! Your tank water isn’t supposed to be cloudy, white, green, or yellow. White or gray cloudy aquarium water could be caused by dust from gravel or sand. Always rinse your substrate thoroughly before adding it to your aquarium. With sand, this can be tricky! Give your tank a day or two for dust particles to settle. White or gray cloudy aquarium water could be caused by a bacterial bloom or by adding too many fish too soon (before the nitrogen cycle has finished). Give the … Continue reading

Quarantine Tank Setup

Setting up a quarantine tank doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal. A relatively simple aquarium will suffice for your hospital tank. Here’s what you will need: A tank between ten and twenty gallons — larger if you have larger fish. A filter — use a filter without activated carbon, because carbon can remove medication from the water. A heater — your fish need appropriate temperatures just as much when they are sick. An aquarium test kit — to make sure the pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels are all safe and appropriate. An airstone — to increase surface agitation. … Continue reading

Quarantine Tanks

What is a quarantine tank? Also known as a hospital tank, a quarantine tank is used to isolate sick fish to (hopefully) prevent the spread of disease to other fish. A quarantine tank doesn’t have to be a complicated setup — for most aquarium owners, a tank between ten and twenty gallons is enough. If you keep freshwater fish, you may not need a quarantine tank as much as you would if you had a saltwater tank. Why? Because freshwater fish are generally better suited to life in captivity. Many freshwater fish are born and raised in tanks, and aren’t … Continue reading

The Nitrogen Cycle: Starting Fishless

The safest way to cycle your tank is without any fish in the water! It can be hard to wait several weeks without fish in your aquarium, but if your fish die in the process, you’re wasting your money. So how do you start the nitrogen cycle in your tank without fish? Here are some options: Use fish food. As uneaten fish food decomposes, it releases ammonia and/or ammonium into the water. If you’re using fish food, you’ll need to keep “feeding” flakes into the tank to keep the decomposition process going. Use your water test kit to monitor your … Continue reading

The Nitrogen Cycle: Stages

There are three stages in the nitrogen cycle. The process takes time — anywhere from two weeks to two months or more — so you have to be patient. Stage one of the nitrogen cycle is the introduction of ammonia. Ammonia can come from uneaten fish food, tropical fish waste, and other sources. Waste and food can break down into ionized ammonium (NH4) or un-ionized ammonia (NH3). Ammonia is what can be harmful or deadly to your fish. The water’s pH level will determine what the food and waste break down into — ammonium or ammonia. If your pH is … Continue reading

The Nitrogen Cycle: Basics

There are many names for the nitrogen cycle: the biological cycle, the nitrification process, the start up cycle, or new tank syndrome. In essence, the nitrogen cycle is the process of converting ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrates and the establishment of good bacteria in the aquarium and filter. Both of these processes are essential to a healthy tank environment. It can take two months or more to complete the nitrogen cycle! The process doesn’t always take that long, and there are some tricks you can use to speed things up, but it can be a very long and … Continue reading

What Is In Your Tank Water?

The water in your tropical aquarium is more than just hydrogen and oxygen — there is a lot of other stuff going on in your tank. Understanding some basics will help you provide a safe and healthy environment for your fish. There are two types of bacteria that may live in your tank: aerobic and anaerobic. The aerobic kind of bacteria needs oxygen to live. The anaerobic kind of bacteria can live without (or just does not need) oxygen. You will want to invest in an aquarium testing kit (or separate kits to test for separate things) that checks for … Continue reading

Aquarium Electrical Safety

Water… and electricity. Sounds like a bad combination, right? But in your aquarium — if you have a filtration system or a heater or lights or other nifty gadgets — you probably have electricity and water living in close quarters. Here’s a scary fact: the amount of current needed to give a person an electric shock is low. Only ten milliamps can give you a painful shock. Fifty milliamps and above can be fatal. And your filters and heaters and lighting may be using something like eight hundred milliamps. That’s more than enough to be dangerous. RULE ONE: Turn off … Continue reading

When A Fish Goes Missing

Have you ever looked into your tank and not been able to find a fish? It happens more often than you might imagine. Oh where, oh where has my little fish gone? Check inside the filter. Smaller fish can easily get into a filter’s intake tube. Unfortunately, most fish who get into the filter tube do not survive the experience. You can prevent this by placing a sponge filter on the outside of the tube to block the opening. You could even cover the intake tube end with a piece of old pantyhose! Look behind and underneath ornaments and plants. … Continue reading