Animal Stories - Freshwater Aquarium Setup and Maintenance

Animal-World Information about: Freshwater Aquarium Setup and Maintenance

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Stephanie - 2012-12-24
I am setting up a brand new five gallon aquarium. I have been cycling it for about three weeks now, but I still get ammonia readings (as tested with the API master test kit) of about 4ppm, zero nitrites, zero nitrates. It is as though the bacteria I need aren't there. What am I doing wrong? I have been using surfactant-, perfume- and dye-free ammonia, have the heater running at a constant temperature and the filter running 24/7. The water looks fine, and there are no fish in it yet. I want to give my son his fish in three more weeks, but right now it looks like the bacteria isn't coming in. Any tips?

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-12-24
    Cycling without fish in the tank the levels will get to about 4 then will eventually drop.  Slowly adding fish will speed this up.  Mollies are good for this.
  • Stephanie - 2013-01-09
    Thanks Jeremy! I ended up buying live bacteria online. That finally seemed to do the trick! Now, one and a half weeks after introducing the bacteria, they are eating ammonia like there is no tomorrow, and the nitrite levels, after spiking initially for a few days, stay low to zero now.
  • Jeremy Roche - 2013-01-09
    You are very welcome!!
J\'annine matthews - 2012-09-11
Hi I need a bit of help. I have two Blackkmoor Fish that are just over a week old. One tends to spend its time lying upside down by the filter and the other one tends to hide in the ornament. They do not appear to have any diseases on them and feed quite well. The do swim around for a while but always tend to go back to their habits. We did have two orandas originally with live plants and they shredded the plants to death so it kept blocking up the filter, but I think we overfed them and they met their end. We reset the tank up with no live plants for over 3 days and then put the Blackmoors in. i do not want to lose these as it is a bit distressing for my 6 year old to go through it again. I have not done a water change yet.

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-09-11
    It could just be over fed.  Maybe constipated?  Try a frozen pea.  Check water conditions.
  • Anonymous - 2012-09-16
    no, fresh pea
The New Fish Lady - 2011-07-17
It has been my experience that cold and large water changes wash the color off the fish as this puts some fish in more stress than others. Since fish keeping is all about the quality of the water. I do several water changes, 3 or 4 per week. I put back the water volume I took out, but I make sure the temperature is as close if not right on as the temperature as what is in the tank. Also, I do my water changes as fast as possible, to reduce the stress put on the fish. Hope this helps.

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  • Kathy - 2011-10-06
    That is alot of water changes! How do you manage the temp so it is close to the tanks temp?
  • SUSIE - 2011-12-18
  • Kayl - 2012-01-31
    Crystal clear and clean are not the same thing. The water can be crystal clear and toxic with ammonia , nitrites, and nitrates. While 3 or 4 times a week may be more than strictly necessary, once a month is often not enough depending on stocking levels. Replacing trace elements is not the only reason for water changes--removing nitrate build up is the much bigger concern. Higher bio loads will give you a faster nitrate build up, necessitating more frequent water changes.
  • Kevin - 2012-02-04
    I am very interested in knowing why you need so many water changes per week. This is most likley more stressfull on your fish than the recommended water change times. Just curious.....never have I heard of so many water changes so often. Have a great day.
  • satish - 2012-03-31
    Dear kevin,
    Water changes are good for fishes and plants.
    I know an aquarium owner who has a degree in fisheries, who carries out 100% water change every day. Only thing you need to worry is that the water is free of chlorine and the temperature is the same.
    This guy follows flow thru principle and still i never saw a single dead fish in his shop.
  • Chloe - 2012-06-01
    I do a 15% water change once a week and my fish is fine and loving life!!! We check the water after every change, and it's always perfect! Happy fish keeping!!!

  • scott - 2012-07-27
    i just cleaned my 30 gal tank and in 2 day it clouds up what's with that? I HAVE HAD A FISH TANK FOR A LONG TIME AND IT HAS NEVER DONE THIS.
Bill - 2012-06-08
I have a question we recently had to restart our tank due to bringing home a sick fish and it getting the rest of our fish sick. Petco recommends starting with one fish and adding one a week, does this sound right or a little to aggressive or quick? Also we started with a pearlscale goldfish which are slower moving fish, I read online it's not a good idea to add common goldfish or shubinkins because they are much faster and at eating time they get most of the food and the slower fish do not get enough to eat. I notice on here there are some that have slower and faster fish combined, do those who do have any problems with the slower fish getting enough to eat?

hova163 - 2011-12-28
one of my my fish just died. I think it was the floss my brother use to tie the plastic plants. Is it possible ?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-12-29
    Anything is possible but I wouln't have thought floss would do it. Some flosses are coated and I don't even think the fish would have tried to eat it but again anything is possible.
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-05-10
    What kind of fish? Did it eat the floss?
serita - 2012-02-17
i have a gold fish and my tank only stays clean for two weeks. How can I get to where I don't clean the tank has often help?

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  • Tanya Altice - 2012-02-20
    Try adding a bottom feeder or alge eater such as the placacus. It will eat all the excessive waste a gold fish produces. (gold fish can be a very 'nasty tank fish'... My Family has kept fish tanks for years and currently we have a goldfish tank. It's about 40 gal with a side tank filter system with 3 7-9in placacus and up to 12 6-9in goldfish. it has been a fairly stable tank for about 6 years now.
shree - 2012-04-24
I have 2 swardtail male fishes in 3 gallon bowl...they always sit at bottom of the bowl..until I disurb them....I'm Very scared. Wht do they do that? When I brought them home they were very happy and played with each other all the time, now just sits at the bottom. I really love them and don't want to loose them. Please help.

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-04-25
    This is normally a sign of poor water conditions. 3 gallon tank with substrate and decor is a bit small for these fish. May need an ungraded filter, bigger tank. and water change.
Kevin - 2012-02-04
I have a Fresh water Aquarium maintenence business....Keep your aquarium healthy. Give Armstrong Aquarium Maintenance Service a call for a quote on your aquarium. Serving the Metroplex. Phone 214-587-0649.

copper question - 2011-10-30
Can we use copper fittings (vs PVC) to run to our canister filter?

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  • Anonymous - 2011-11-02
    Good question. I would think copper fittings would not pose a problem. PVC is preferable because there is no chance of copper build up in the aquarium. Many of the water fittings used for humans and animals is copper. We use these to fill our aquariums so there would be no immediate danger although there could be a build up of copper over time. Frequent water changes would probably solve that problem. By the way, copper is sometimes used in ich medications and snail killers so a small amount would not harm fish, but would pose problems for invertebrates.
C.B.Ranasinghe - 2011-05-25
I have an aquarium with number of Koi carf fish (10-15 cm in size). After the fillnig of new water I observed that some are have white colour small dots in their fins and head. Is this parasite problem or some disease condition?
Please kindly give me a advice

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-05-26
    Sounds like ich which is treatable. Looks like small salty spots on fins and tail. I have attached Fish Diseases and Symptoms for you. Just scroll down to Symptoms and if that sounds like what you have, the corresponding recommended treatement is listed.
  • Jeremy Fetchko - 2011-10-30
    Ich is the only one that affects both fins and body. just the body and small white dots is velvet disease. both are parasites and very treatable if caught early. good luck.