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Everything posted by Pearlscaleperfect

  1. I have seen many people recently warn about the 'dangers' of sand; so I thought this article might be helpful in explaining the mechanism by which goldfish and their close relatives feed and why sand is a very natural and typically harmless element in their environment. So lets really take a look at the goldfish for what it is; a species of carp. It's wild counterpart is the Prussian Carp (Carassius gibelio) which in the wild feeds on organic detritus, filamentous algae, small benthic animals, and pieces and seeds of aquatic weeds. The key word in that last sentence is the word benthic, meaning "Relating to the bottom of a sea or lake or to the organisms that live there."[1] Prussian carp and their relatives (including feral or hybrid goldfish) are found in a wide array of habitats, most of which are lakes and rivers. Lakes are low energy environments, meaning that not much energy is being used in the environmental system to transport sediment, and this results in only small sediments being moved.[2] Therefore lakes have silt, sand, or clay as their substrate, almost exclusively. Goldfish have evolved to feed and live in this kind of environment, and have done so for millennia. They possess gill rakers, which are a structure that occurs on the gill arch and vary greatly in structure between species of fish.[3] Here is a helpful diagram showing two "forms" of gill rakers: The one on the left belongs to a species that is feeding on very small foods and is most likely a herbivore or omnivore. In order to get as much food as possible out of the substrate or water column they must have many gill rakers that are spaced closely together to trap food particles. The gill on the right belongs to a species that is feeding on larger prey; typically (but not always) fully carnivorous fish have gill rakers like this form. Goldfish however possess rakers that looks very similar to the left structure. Here is a picture of a goldfish's gill rakers (it's on a dead fish so if you're squeamish you might not want to click it). Fish move food through the rakers during a processing called winnowing. First the fish ingests a mouthful of sediment, then by moving several structures within the mouth, including the gill covers and hyoid apparatus, moves food back and forth across the rakers. Food bits are chewed and swallowed while debris is pushed out the mouth or gills. "An ability to extract food particles buried within loose sediments is common among unrelated lineages of teleost fishes that grub or root for buried items. For example, substrate grubbers (rooting with the snout within loose sediments to locate and ingest single food items) include the common carp (Cyprinus carpio), callichthyid and doradid catfishes of the Neotropics, and loaches (Cobitidae) of Asia. Digging and sifting (winnowing) behavior is observed among many, if not most of the diverse percomorph fishes" [4] For goldfish the options that allow for the most natural feeding behaviors are particles classified as "sand", which is considered 1-2mm at the largest and 62.5–125 µm at the smallest; smaller grain sizes rainging from silt (3.90625–62.5 µm) to clay(< 3.90625 µm) are also acceptable however are not practical.[5] Large substrates do not allow for them to be winnowed through the gills, which can lead to the substrate getting lodged in the fish's mouth, leading to death. Sand typically passes without issue and will not impact a fish so long as it is not too large. Winnowing is one of the most natural behavior goldfish illustrate in home aquaria, even so far removed from the wild and highly modified from their original wild appearance. Keeping sand under a half inch will ensure that no anaerobic pockets form within it and allow it to be fully turned over by the fish. Sand is also beneficial because it forms an home for meiofauna to inhabit. These are a wide range of planktonic organisms that live in between grains (the pore spaces) in a sediment. These are hardly a meal for a goldfish but contribute to an overall balanced environment. In conclusion sand is no more dangerous than any other aspect of an aquarium.It mimics their wild habitat closely and when set up properly is a great addition to any tank. The goldfish have the proper anatomical structures such as gill rakers to easily winnow through substrate and doing so is a natural and healthy behavior. Without proper evidence blaming a death or illness on one cause is a recipe for disaster because the real issue may get glazed over and go unnoticed. Thorough knowledge of the internal structures and functions of the animals being kept is beneficial to eliminating possible hazards and allows them to survive and thrive. Sources: [1]http://www.thefreedictionary.com/benthic [2]http://www.geo.utexas.edu/courses/303/303_lab/Sedimentary%20Lab303.html [3]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gill_raker [4]http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0089832 [5]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grain_size
  2. It should also be noted that from above matte scales to me at least tend to look more prickly than metallic scales. When viewed from above the light definitely can make things look abnormal. Id keep an eye on it but don't worry too much!
  3. I think this is mostly just members having problems and blaming it on something (in this case sand). Tanks look fine with or without it but I think it's essential to evaluate issues correctly rather than just using whatever scapegoat seems most convenient. You could end up glazing over a real issue that has come to fruition yet. Sorry the sand didn't work out! It's a shame because goldies love it so much.
  4. How large is your tank? Nerites tend to go for diatoms first, so it's odd that yours isn't. Most other snail species aren't amazing at algae removal, at least not for diatoms. He's in a 10 gallon tank right now, and he was in a 15 gallon a few days ago. Also, I've seen him eat the algea off the live plants, and even eat the plants themselves.. but when it comes to the glass? Won't touch it, or if he does it barely puts a dent in. Try introducing them to it! If there is a place I want my snails to be I put them on it. They'll get the picture
  5. How large is your tank? Nerites tend to go for diatoms first, so it's odd that yours isn't. Most other snail species aren't amazing at algae removal, at least not for diatoms.
  6. I've had shy bettas that prefer to hide in or under things as well as betta whos fins are too cumbersome for constant physical activity. My current rescue has swim bladder issues and large fins so swimming can be a very strenuous activity for the little guy. He is not a huge fan of people either unless you have food! Each betta is an individual and some are bound to be more shy or want to hide or rest more, however there is a line between a behavior that is innate and one that is due to an illness. Can't wait to see pics of your new boy!
  7. My plans are to add a few more Ranchu (1svr and 2-3tvr) and build more small ponds this spring. Maybe I'll get some fry! If not it's no big deal. This is purely a hobby so there's no issue if they never spawn.
  8. If they take the train into NYC they're much more north than Atlantic city. Perhaps Monmouth or up that way.
  9. I just follow the QT I normally would. Salt, prazi, monitor, clean water. This time I added MM but it was most likely a hasty decision rather than a completely needed route.
  10. I actually decided to start her on a course of MM just in case. :/ I didn't want to take any chances after losing Ushi. Theyre all but gone though after only two days of MM so I'm unsure if it was just the clean water and salt or the MM.
  11. Super cute!! If anyone has dibs on a baby it's me, because I'm technically local . I was surprised at how quickly my girl warmed up to me as well!!
  12. So my DO fish that I nabbed in last weeks auction arrived on Friday! She was a little banged up in transit, but just minor irritations from rubbing against the bag. She's doing fantastic in QT and is very friendly as well! I'm open to name suggestions
  13. I despise the beach with a burning passion walk along the boardwalk, sure it was really ruined for me by my dad. And thinking of him makes me want to punch him I can't wait to know if you are going to be hosting a goldfish show!! Oh I'm definitely hosting a show this summer! The date is still undecided but it will probably be later in the summer. If everyone likes pools we can do pool day? I have a aboveground but hey a pool's a pool.
  14. I would like to add this makes me more excited when for summer (when I'll have much more free time) any NJ kokonuts down for a beach day?
  15. For people looking to get into saltwater larger systems are easier to maintain than nanos. For new SW people I recommend nothing smaller than 40G just because parameters can swing too quickly in anything smaller if you don't know what you're doing. Reef tanks are by day the hardest as well if you want corals you need a shallow tank with very high lighting. When I worked at the petstore the light for our coral trough was worth over $500. With corals you also have to watch the different nutrients and minerals in the water that the corals need. Along with feeding them as most need supplemental feeding and/or marine snow. With a reef setup it's all about the corals so I would set up and cycle the tank (lots of live rock and such) then add the cleanup crew (snails, shrimp, etc) then corals and lastly the fish. If you're focused on particular fish that isn't reef safe I would advise probably just doing live rock and maybe some macro algae. Lots true if you may not be doing as big of a waterchange on an established set up as you would with a goldfish tank but these are ecosystems you're building and need very constant monitoring and attentions.
  16. Bummed I couldn't make it!! Looks like you guys has fun though.
  17. Do you have anyone on the mainland who they could ship to? You could always use that person as a transshipper of sorts and have it sent there, then reboxed and sent to you.
  18. I was speaking not against caloric restriction but rather when you see very very old goldfish they are often improperly housed, underfed severely, etc. The two oldest goldfish currently are 34 I believe and are given "a pinch of food" every day. Which sounds like underfeeding severely. They are also physically in a small volume of water. I think you should aim for a long lifespan but not at detriment to the animal, it would be great if every goldfish lived into it's teens but I can't see it realistically happening. But I'm fairly certain my boy Izoku is going to outlive all of us because he survived a very bumpy and sloshy 45minute drive home as a fertilized egg so he has to be immortal
  19. But then the next topic that raises is that longevity and a good quality of life are not always synonymous! Should we really be shooting for that 40yr lifespan or would if be best to just go with the genetic hand the fish has been given. In my fisheries class it was often debated that both fast growing and slow growing individuals are needed to maintain a sustainable stock, but seeing as that's not how domestic aquaria works most people aren't breeding for traits like that (though perhaps we should? lol)
  20. I'm interested in looking at the longevity of home bred fish vs. fish bought from LFS or imports. I know imports tend to not live as long and can't help but wonder if it is because they are typically raised and groomed in warmer water where they would have a higher base metabolism? Besides other factors that can affect lifespan such as shipping stress, previous infection, genetics, etc. I know lifespan can be a hard thing to pin down in poikilotherms, especially in certain species so this is really an interesting topic for me. This is easy...imports and those wanting to sell "show quality" fish make much much more money as adults ($50-$500+), so there is a lot of incentive to push them to grow really fast. I think the adult fish that you find on online are probably 1-2 years old, and now compare them to your 1-2 year old fish. Pushing them to grow that fast brings on dire consequences, not just in goldfish. Wouldn't breeders also be selecting the largest of the batch as well in many cases? I have a fish that is 2 that is 125g, a 4yr old that never broke 100g, and most of my 1yr olds are probably easily under 100g. But that being said most of my fish are LFS bought with the exception of my ranchu and were most likely not genetically fast growers to begin with. (and have spent a few months being fed less than normal due to the cold) If a fish is at a given weight and is 1-2 years old (the time period when goldfish do the majority of their growing) would slowing growth or rather not pushing for growth increase lifespan despite the rapid growth during the fish's adolescence? And what impact would seasonal fluctuations play into this; they should theoretically further increase lifespan because a few months during the year the metabolism slows a decent amount. So if you were to take an import that was already above the ideal weight for it's age these things could help even the playing field and give the fish more time on a metabolic playing field. The fish may still suffer from the effects of factors like obesity and the issues that come along with it, but weight can be managed as well. I'm just interested in how size and growth rates effect lifespan and then how environmental aspects come into play when the fish is moved outdoors. My pond even in the summer does not get warmer than my indoor tank. I'm just writing down how long each fish I have lives, what its eventually cause of death is and it's source, in about 30 years I'll average everything and let you know (I'm aware that this is hardly an experiment)
  21. Have you ever asked to see if they can order different dimensional shapes? I know they manufacture 30 breeders. Reefers love them and they make great tanks for goldies as well since they're incredibly shallow.
  22. I'm interested in looking at the longevity of home bred fish vs. fish bought from LFS or imports. I know imports tend to not live as long and can't help but wonder if it is because they are typically raised and groomed in warmer water where they would have a higher base metabolism? Besides other factors that can affect lifespan such as shipping stress, previous infection, genetics, etc. I know lifespan can be a hard thing to pin down in poikilotherms, especially in certain species so this is really an interesting topic for me.
  23. Magikarp! My most favorite fish on the whole forum lol!! I'm envious of how quickly your fish become monsters.
  24. My nerites do a great job most of the time. But I have a decent amount in my 55 because I broke down my tropical system and didn't have the heart to part with them. Mine typically live 1-3 years. I buy the cheapest olive or zebra types.
  25. I also have canisters and I'll never go back to HOBs on larger tanks. I actually find maintenance easier because sometimes HOBs need a good scrub to remove hard water stains and the like and trying to get them to the nearest tub without getting water everywhere is impossible. Meanwhile I've got the method for cleaning and moving a canister filter down pat. Although I used to work in a petstore so I'm used to cleaning all kinds of systems by now. I don't own an Fluval FX5 but I've had the 'pleasure' of maintaining and cleaning one for a long time and it is a really great large canister for a big system. I prefer to run two smaller canisters, one filled with biomedia that has a slowed flow rate to increase biological filtration, and one with lots of fine filter padding and such that runs at full flow to remove particles and physical waste. I then alternate cleaning one per month, so I don't ever experience cycle crashes or bumps.
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