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  1. I have found that live brine are a great addition to any fish's diet! However, keeping a whole tank can be kinda costly. They need special food, and brine (eg very salty) water to live. Honestly, what I did when I was feeding live brine was buy a bag of adults, keep em in the fridge and feed them about once a day. They live for a week in the fridge, no feeding necessary. And you can continue to feed your goldfish anything else that you normally do, as brine shrimp aren't the most nutritious food..... But if you are just worried about variety, you can buy frozen brine shrimp...much simpler!
  2. Great idea guys! Can we add one thing to this post, though? Please include the DATES of both when it was bought and when the bag was opened. Remember we only have about 6-9mos before the food spoils on unopened bags, and about 3mos on opened ones.
  3. Yes, they will survive as long as you keep the ammonia levels up. Test it everyday and make sure it's got at least 0.5ppm in the water at all times. I make a much smaller batch -- about 1/2 c bleach, 5 c water -- and then splash it all over the inside of the tank. You don't have to fill the tank all the way up to sterilize it. I splash the bleach water into my tanks, and rub every surface with a soaked paper towel. Getting 4gal of bleach, and then draining it, just seems wasteful. Answers: 1) Yes, you need to sterilize any hardware. That includes filter boxes, syphon tubes, airstones, heaters, filter intake tubes, algae scrapers, gravel, driftwood, syringes, lids, water change buckets. EVERYTHING! The easiest way to do it is fill your water change bucket with warm water, and about 1-2 cups of bleach. Then dip or soak everything in this water. That way your bucket is getting bleached and everything else is too! It's double-duty bleaching! 2) There is a high likelyhood that your biomax has fluke eggs. But isolating it for a week should kill them off. You can also add Prazi (along with the ammonia) to the bucket it's going to be running on. Make sure that your filter media is ON TOP of the airstone, so that both oxygen and water gets pushed through it. I would have to disagree with you, Alex. Bleaching isn't really drastic. I do it to all my tanks at least 4 times a year. But I do agree on using Prazi on your fish. Otherwise the flukes will just keep reproducing.
  4. How are the fish doing now? Are they still rubbing? I'm thinking this is probably related to the ammonia. Ammonia is highly acidic and so it is literally burning your fishes' skin. That would make anybody itch! Clean water and daily (or even twice daily) water changes should fix them up. If they are still flashing after you get your cycle back under control, we should talk about another possibility. Just to be clear, they did start doing this AFTER you lost your cycle, right?
  5. They are super simple to take care of. Just need lots of hiding places. Don't put them in with slow or small fish as they will eat anything they can catch. But they are naturally found in rivers so high flow (lots of filtration) is a plus for them, though they do fine in slow flow tanks. Food should be a mix of sinking pellets/flakes, frozen, and vegetable matter. I don't recommend live food unless you raise it yourself, and then it will need to be killed before your crayfish will eat it. They are pretty territorial so keep one in a tank, unless it's large. They are escape artists, and need a COVERED tank. If you don't use a high flow filter and/or an airstone, they will climb up and out of the water as they need lots of oxygen. Hope this helps. If you think of any other specific questions, let me know!
  6. Phosban is completely safe for invertebrates. I would look into other sources for the irritation. Have you checked your copper levels?
  7. From the point of view of someone who works with people who think that 50% water changes will kill your fish (and gets the evil eye when she mentions 100% water changes...) My theory is that since most aquarium hobbiests use filter cartridges (and change the cartridges every other week ), they don't have a cycle in anything but their gravel. And if they are the good little sheep that we all know they are, they are gonna do a gravel vac when they change water (because..well...how else would they do a water change besides using one of those plastic things the salesman gave them?) If they gravel vac 50% of their tank...they are gonna lose their cycle and, yes, probably kill their fish, and definitely stress them. I get people all the time at work who tell me about their problems in their tanks and water change schedules...when I suggest large water changes it never fails that I have to explain filters, media, syphoning, substrate, at the same time. And I invariably tell them that I do 100% water changes at least 6 times a year, if not more. And that's just from moving my fish to school and back and into the pond! That doesn't take into account the 100% water changes I do if I see something amiss...or if I'm bored. And invariably I get shocked responses. It all comes down to one thing: sheep. Baa..... Now for marine tanks it's a different story....
  8. Potassium Permanganate (PP) with not kill ichthyophthirius (ich) in any stage. Bleach will though. 20:1 water to bleach for about 20secs with kill not only ich, but snails/eggs, bacteria, and any other parasite. I don't QT my plants ever. I just bleach 'em, rinse 'em, and plant 'em.
  9. I knew you would say that. I have read that 2lbs per gallon would give the best results and that would mean 130lbs of substrate. I am not sure about the soil, do you have any recommendations ? I also looked at Tetraplant Complete Substrate which consists of a high-quality mixture of sand with a naturally high iron and micro-nutrient content as well as natural black peat with useful humic substances but this one is very expensive. It's £22 for 14lb What about if i put 60lb of planted substrate then 40lb of normal substrate on top of that one all the plants are bedded in ? Haha, the Emerald Isle is my least favorite! I always like to buck the trend. I love Tropical Island. On plantedtank.net, when people use dirt, they use Miracle Grow Organic. There's a dirt fanclub there, so maybe you should check it out. What I'm curious about is why some people have problems with their goldfish eating plants and some don't. Mine don't eat the plants unless I give them a yummy treat of duckweed. I like the first one as well. It truly looks low-maintenance....all those "grasses" are high light plants....I've had bad experiences with grasses... With regards to your question about substrates...I have started using Flourish Stratum. I put about 1/2in of Stratum underneath about 1/2in of white sand...my plants LOVE it. I have seen so much grow in just three weeks it's outstanding. Like Hidr said, some planted substrates pack too tightly and the roots can't get in and around. The Stratum is spherical so it doesn't compact. Brand suggestions aside, you can totally do a layer of planted substrate underneath a layer of regular to save money. As long as the roots can get to the planted stuff they will reap the benefits. Plus putting something on top give you another safe guard against algae taking over your substrate. I really like the look of sand, and usually recommend it for planted tanks as it's easy for the plants to push through...so for plants like valisneria, or onions, or swords, or anything that sends out shooters....it's a great choice.
  10. Alistair is right. As long as it's evenly distributed, your floor should hold the weight of the unit. (Though all this talk of kg and stones is confusing this poor American! ) What I would suggest it one of two things: first, you can check with your municipality for the building plans for your building. They are required to have those records available for you, and you can check how much weight your floors are rated to hold. OR (if you are all for less leg work...like me!), you can find your floor joists (use a stud finder, or simply knock on your floor and listen for hollow sounds) and situate your unit ACROSS these joists. EDIT: just did the math, 250kg as Alistair suggests is about 550lbs. You should be fine with that weight...water beds can weight up to 1500lbs and they are usually safe on second floors!
  11. Like others have said, the vodka isn't needed to make the clove oil work. It's simply used by many people (myself included) to completely mix the clove oil with water. Since oil and water don't mix naturally, the vodka binds to the oil, and disperses it into the water evenly so you can use less. When I use clove oil, this is how I do it: Add about 5drops of clove oil to 5drops of vodka (or tank water if you don't have/don't want to use vodka) in a seal-able container. Shake vigorously until the mixture turns white. Put fish in just enough water to cover it's body and slowly pour the clove oil directly onto it's head (this ensures it breathes as much in as possible). Don't be alarmed if the fish jerks when the clove oil first hits him. It doesn't smell good, and I suppose it doesn't taste good either. He's not in pain, just startled. Leave the container with the fish alone for at least 20 minutes to ensure the oil has done it's job. I have never had to use more than a 10 drops of clove oil to put a fish down. Even large fish should go quietly with 10 drops.
  12. If you notice chipping paint it's best to do one of three things: 1) remove the ornament and toss it 2) remove the ornament and chip the rest of the paint off before returning it to the tank 3) reseal the ornament Since it's a soft silicone ornament I would say that #3 is not really practical. But if you really love the ornament, chipping the paint off and leaving just the orange silicone "arms" is a safe alternative.
  13. Everyone has given you the exact answer! In the breeding world we call those "tripod tails" like Alex said...usually a cull unless they have a superb body or other redeeming qualities.
  14. Alex is right. "Lucky Bamboo" isn't actually aquatic, nor is it bamboo (actually dracaena sanderiana...a native of Africa). It does grow quite well in water though, as long as the leaves (at least) are out of the water. For this reason, I recommend putting it in your filter box if you really want it in your tank. Good tall plants would be large swords (ozelot, Amazon, ruffled, etc), jungle val (red, green, or purple), and onion plants (though harder to find, very cool!)..... ...The jury is still out on whether anything is "goldfish safe" though.
  15. What are your lights like? How long have you had them? It could be time for a bulb change...
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