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About Peterlock

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  1. Tha nks's so much those who responded, especially Stakos who has showed so much care and concern. Lucy was put to sleep the other day. It was extremely hard but the right thing to do. She went peacefully and is buried in our back yard by a brook that flows through our property. All animal lovers share a common thread and that's that these amazing creatures that we share our life with teach us to live in the moment. They're here for just a little white ~ and then they're gone. On a brighter note I'll be on the Ellen Degenerous show with my side kick 'BIG MOMMA" for the shows opening new season. You can check the confirmed date and time by visiting her web site which is still very rough. We'll plug Kokos! http://www.bigmommaworldsbiggestshowgirl.com
  2. The cutting & pasting isn't working for some reason here's the break down: Ammonia - 0ppm PH - 7,8 Nitrite - 0ppm Nitrate -4.0ppm Tank - 40 Filter - eheim 3e 2076 Tank mate - Two small Shukin Last Water Change - 25% two days ago Temp - 72 Meds - None Conditions - established tank,no sighns of illness in other fish, no frayed fins ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Those of you who remember my butterfly Lucy - she's always had buoyancy problems. They come and go but never have lasted long. Eventually after much feedback from you guys we wrote it off as either water depth or neurosis. She loves to stand on her head. Well, now she is unable to right herself and floats at the top of her tank 24/7. This started a few days ago and I've tried virtually everything from shelled peas to trying to gently release any pressure in her air bladder which I walked through every step of the way by an Aqua Vet. I've been up with her for about 48 hours. The conclusion from those I've spoken all agree that it's time to euphemize her. I have the clove oil and everything all set but found myself unable to do it yesterday. Today she's worse as her back is arched and I fear she's in pain. If anyone has an opinion or advice please respond. .
  3. I've made one exception and purchased a goldfish from an auction site. That aside I will never do so again - on principle. 1) Imports from China are bred for the Pet Trade they are genetically compromised. They're fattened up for sale with hormones and the fish pay a dire price as do the people who shell out a minimum 5,000 percent markup do by getting stuck with fish that under the best of circumstances are doomed to die - and die quickly Importers, wholesalers, resellers be they LFS or Auctions are the Puppy Mills of the Goldfish trade. They're not in it for the love of the fish, they don't invest in what it would take to set up a quality breeding facility. They invest in more warehouse space so they can accommodate more product. Auctions particularly disgust me. On alibaba.com the average cost for mid to mature Fancy Goldfish imported from China on an average MOQ (Minimum order quantity) is about $6 -$8 per fish. Not including Transport fees , taxes and tariffs. In addition, most auction sites list the starting bid with an enormous profit already built in - everything else is gravy. At least eBay has a sophisticated auction algorithm that protects the consumer from shill bidding and bogus bids. Unlike the already outrageous and greed driven agenda of independent on line auctions. Shipping is beyond price gouging an $18.00 overnight package for $75 - really? how low can people go? How far down in the sewer can they wallow - apparently plenty because they have no shortage of customers. 2) I've dealt with Steve from Rain Garden for over six years. A dedicated and renowned Marine Biologist, whose passionate about his fish, he raises them on their family small farm in Hawaii from Fry to the point the ones he chooses are ready for sale. Like any good breeder,if you consider the cost of raising, feeding, weaning, caring, and the time spent both tending to the fish and working closely with clients - the fish are the best bang for your buck you'll ever find - period. Rain Garden shipping begins at $35, packaging is impeccable. The fish are guaranteed. I have no vested involvement with rain garden, but I have been dealing with breeders for over 20 years out a hobby that's continued for 35. I would no more buy one of our dogs from a pet store where they feed the Puppy Mill nightmare than I would get a fish from a reseller whose interest in their bottom line supercedes everything else.
  4. Great post. I've been using these large plastic baby medicine syringes for years. They not only make testing so much easier and quicker, you don't get even a trace of the testing solutions in the tanks water. Funny, so much of what we have to invest in is expensive and a hassle, and then these little things for a few dollars cure big headaches and make things easier.
  5. As most of you know I buy my Goldfish from Rain Garden. For those not familiar with Rain Garden - Steve Hopkins of Rain Garden is one of the most respected and knowledgeable people on the planet when it comes to Goldfish. A renowned Marine Biologist Steve uses his background in Marin Biology and passion for Goldfish to breed the healthiest and most beautiful fish I've seen. Incredibly generous when it comes to sharing what he knows - the small fortune I've spent on fish over the years has been worth it for the education alone. Unlike importers of Chinese Goldfish which are in every way the greed based puppy mills of the goldfish trade. Rain Garden fish are bred from their own Japanese stock. With Steve's permission, I'm posting his recent article on Feeding Goldfish and choosing the right foods. WHAT DO YOU FEED YOUR GOLDFISH Steve Hopkins Rain Garden Goldfish August 2012 I’m often asked what I feed my goldfish but seldom have a satisfactory answer. Because of economic constraints, we have to use a blend of industrial feeds purchased in bulk, plus homemade food and aquatic plants. It is not something that can be easily replicated at home. Some of these feeds are too rich for goldfish and others are not rich enough, but the mix produces the desired effect. If I could afford it, I would use the high-end goldfish pellets sold through pet stores and on line. Personally, I don’t like flake food because it leaches a lot of nutrients into the water and its difficult to develop a sense of exactly how much you are feeding. To understand how to feed a goldfish, it is useful to consider the diet of their wild ancestor, a carp. Call them Gibel carp, Prussian carp, crucian carp, funa, or whatever; they are still carp. The ancestral carp are not top-level predators or carnivores. They are usually called plant-oriented omnivores meaning they eat a variety of plant and animal matter, including decaying material, with the bulk of the forage being plant matter. The ancestral carp are not very good at chasing down large live prey. Swimming prey is usually limited to aquatic insects, insect larvae, Daphnia and other zooplankton, and perhaps fish fry. Much of their prey is foraged from bottom sediment and matted plants. An important component of the carp diet is periphyton, the microorganisms growing on bottom sediment and plant matter. The periphyton can include algae, fungi, bacteria, plus the larger but still microscopic nematods, ciliates and a wide variety of other creatures. While the individual periphyton organisms are tiny, they congregate together and can be slurped-up by the fish in mass. The wild carp eat a lot of plant matter, although they are fairly selective. When talking about higher forms of plants (vascular plants), the fish are looking for a soft fleshy consistency, particularly the new growth at the tips. Some aquatic plants contain compounds which make them unpalatable. If it has a pungent distinctive smell or a coarse texture then the fish may not be interested. While coarse material cannot be eaten when the plant is alive, it can become a source of nutrition when the plant dies and begins to decay. The decay process breaks down and softens fibrous material and the decay organisms themselves (bacteria, fungi and microorganisms) have nutritional value. The fish may consume large quantities of decaying plant matter. The decay organisms are easy to digest, but the plant fibers are not. So, much of the fibrous material passes through the digestive tract and is excreted as fecal waste while the decay microorganisms are digested. The other important type of plant life is algae, both filamentous algae and the unicellular algae that turns water green. Filamentous algae can grow attached to a surface or in free-floating mats. It is often called string algae it it is long and carpet algae if it is short. Some species of filamentous algae are not palatable while others are readily eaten. Like higher plants, the filamentous algae may be coated in periphyton. The carp or goldfish cannot consume unicellular algae free-floating in the water because they have no means of concentrating it. However, unicellular algae have a short life span and the cells settle to the bottom as they become senescent. Bacteria attack the senescent algae cells and the gelatinous sheath covering most bacteria tends to stick it all together forming clumps. When the clumps get large enough, they can be slurped up by the fish. Many species of unicellular algae are easy to digest while others have a silica shell that makes them more difficult to digest. Again, the associated organisms of decay may be more nutritious than the algae itself. Dry wafers made of Spirulina algae is very nutritious and has numerous health benefits. However, it has a lot of protein (65%) and may not be the right supplement for diluting the goldfish pellet protein. Wild carp are very opportunistic and take advantage of whatever food stuff they can find at the time. Seasonal and other cyclical forces make abundant rich forage, high in protein and fats, available for brief periods. At other times, the best they can find is fibrous cellulose with little protein or fat. Like most animals, they can store fat during good times to help tide them through the lean times. Compared to most omnivores, goldfish and the ancestral carp have a relatively short intestine which is only about two times the length of the body. They do not have a true stomach although the front end of the intestine is somewhat elastic and can briefly store food. Since there is no true stomach, they do now have the acid phase of digestion which precedes nutrient absorption in the intestine. The fish is able to regurgitate food from the front end of the intestine at will. Since carp do not capture large prey and do not have a true stomach, they are equipped with pharyngeal teeth instead of teeth we would recognize in the mandible. Pharyngeal teeth are located top and bottom at the back of the throat (the pharynx). The pharyngeal teeth look like hardened knobs and they are used to crush and grind food to make it more digestible before it enters the intestine. They work particularly well for grinding plant matter to make it more digestible. Wild carp tend to feed through most of the day and process a lot of material through the gut. The bulk of what they are eating is difficult to digest, passes through the intestine and is excreted as feces. The most easily digested bits are assimilated and the fish receives the nourishment it needs. The lack of dense nutrients in the forage is compensated for by a large volume of ingested forage. This approach may seem less efficient than a bass, salmon or other top-level predator which is able to slowly digest most of what it eats. But, it works for the carp as the material they are feeding on is usually readily available in large quantities. Whether it came about through evolution or design, this is the carp’s niche; its place in the natural world. It works perfectly for them. Goldfish look very different from their carp ancestor both in body shape and color. But, they are still carp and their feeding habits and digestive processes have changed very little. From the description of carp feeding above, it seems a wonder that goldfish were ever domesticated at all. It is the way genetically encoded traits are expressed and inherited that make goldfish uniquely suited to domestication and, along the way, we have had to learn how to feed them…. sort of. The fact is, many goldfish keepers still struggle to find a suitable feeding regime. Not only has the domestication process not changed nutritional requirements and feeding habits but, in some respects, the goldfish is even less adaptable to changes in diet than the ancestral carp. This is because domestication has shortened the body length while all organs inside remain unchanged. When the organs are compressed into a smaller space, they are more susceptible to damage by fat accumulation. Of particular concern are the swim bladders, liver and kidneys. Fish accumulate fat in the muscle, the body cavity between organs, and within various organs of the body cavity. Fat accumulation within the muscle tissue is normal and is the fish’s way of storing resources for use during periods of food shortage. However, there are limits to the amount of fat that can be stored in muscle and it appears that when this limit is reached fat begins to accumulate in the body cavity. Upon dissection the fat can be readily seen as clear globules interspersed around the internal organs. There is a second type of fat accumulation in the body cavity that appears as a wax-like layer of material attached to the flanks of the body cavity walls. It is suspected that this wax-like fat is the result of both too much fat in the diet, and either an severe imbalance in essential fatty acids or rancid fat in the diet. Finally, fat can accumulate within the organs themselves. Carp are susceptible to fatty liver disease where excess fat accumulations disrupt liver function and poisons accumulate in the blood. Fat accumulation within the kidneys disrupts the ability to excrete water and the fish swells with dropsy (kidney infections can also result in dropsy). Fat does not accumulate within the swim bladder itself. But, when fat accumulates in the interstitial spaces around the swim bladders they are no longer able to expand and contract and buoyancy problems develop (floaters and sinkers). The energy needs of fish are provided by fat, protein and carbohydrates in the food. Protein has a second function in that it is used to replace and generate new tissue (growth) as well as manufacture enzymes, hormones and other essential substances. Terrestrial animals find it more difficult to use protein for energy because of the way they must excrete the nitrogen that protein contains. In an aquatic environment nitrogen is much easier to excrete and is readily used as an energy source for fish. Protein can come from animal or plant sources. The protein from aquatic animal sources will have the most suitable amino acid profile (for more detail see the article http://www.RainGarden.US/bloodworm_legos.htm). Fat can generate twice as much energy per unit weight as protein or carbohydrates. All plant and animal sources of nutrients contain fat to varying degrees. Leafy green vegetables have very little fat, seed grains and legumes have more, and animal products usually have the most fat. Carbohydrates are from plant sources and are the most readily available energy source in natural forage. Carbohydrates are also the least expensive component in formulated feeds. Starch is a type of complex carbohydrate (usually from grain) that binds a formulated pellet together and gives it stability. It would be impossible, or at least impractical, to make a formulated goldfish food which does not have all three; protein, fat and carbohydrates. Goldfish pellets from the better manufacturers are designed to be highly digestible with very little fiber. The high digestibility results in reduced solid waste (fecal matter) in the aquarium. Good quality pellets have a fairly high percentage of protein and fat. Good quality pellets are designed to be a complete ration, meaning they supply all the nutrients the fish needs to sustain them indefinitely. The fat and carbohydrates are designed to meet the energy requirements. The protein is there to build tissue and other essential compounds. The percentages of protein and fat listed on the label do not tell the whole story as the sources of fat and protein are also important. A good quality goldfish food will also have the requisite vitamins and minerals, and the amino acid and fatty acid profiles will be balanced against known nutrient requirement. This often requires inclusion of more expensive ingredients. Good quality goldfish pellets work well… as long as the amount of pellets each fish receives every day is closely controlled. The trouble is, goldfish can get all the nutrition they need with just a few pellets. A common rule-of-thumb is to feed the fish all they can eat in ten minutes; the rational being that there will not be left-over feed to pollute the water. From a nutritional standpoint, they may get all the pellets they need for the day in about thirty seconds. Carp and goldfish instinctively spend much of their time foraging but in a well-kept aquarium there is little to no forage except for the daily ration of pellets. The rest of the day it feels hungry. The fish soon learn to beg for food whenever someone walks by the tank. They act like they are starving, but are really just bored. The compassionate goldfish keeper often obliges with a few more pellets and the goldfish ends up eating more than it needs to meet its nutritional needs. In other words, they are over-fed. When over fed with rich food, they receive more protein than they need for building tissue and begin using the excess protein for energy. Since protein is easily metabolized for energy by fish, the fat can be stored for later use. Storing fat during times of plenty for use during times of food scarcity works well for a wild carp. However, feeding a pet goldfish too much of a rich diet, day after day, inevitably leads to problems. As fat deposits accumulate in the body cavity health problems develop, especially related to the swim bladders, liver and kidneys. There is evidence that feeding a rich goldfish pellet may also have adverse effects on the digestive system. There are reports of constipation and even descriptions of what desirable/healthy and undesirable/unhealthy goldfish feces look like. I have to admit that I have never been able to evaluate a diet based on the appearance of feces, but do not question that it works for other people. Some people think they want their goldfish to be fat because they like the plump look. What they really want are goldfish that are stout, not fat. A stout goldfish will look plump because of good husbandry when it was young, muscle tone, and genetic conformation. Fat accumulations do not improve a goldfish’s appearance. Most keepers want their goldfish to grow large. Overfeeding does not make goldfish grow faster or larger, it makes them sick. If you want a goldfish to grow larger quickly, then give it more space, not more food. So, we face a conundrum. If we feed our goldfish too much rich food they will get sick. If we provide just enough goldfish pellets to meet their nutritional needs, they will be hungry all the time. Our goldfish pet will not bring much enjoyment if we feel as though we are torturing the poor thing. The solution is to not rely solely on commercial goldfish feed and try to mimic the natural diet to the extent possible. Provide an appropriate amount of goldfish pellets, but supplement the pellets with food stuffs which are high in fiber, but very low in protein and fats. The pellets will insure the fish gets the nutrients and micronutrients it needs. The other stuff will give the fish something to forage on throughout the day and keep material moving through the intestine. The choice of “other stuff” is not an easy one and there are no perfect solutions. One of the best options is to provide aquatic plants for the goldfish to pick on. Anacharis (Elodea) sold in many pet stores works well, as does duck weed, water hyacinth (they pick at the roots) and many others. You may have to work with what is available to you. There are several problems with providing your goldfish with aquatic plants to pick at. In an indoor aquarium, if the plants are doing their job then the goldfish will probably ruin them. All the leaves will be plucked off the Anacharis, all the roots will be plucked off the water hyacinth, the duck weed will completely disappear, etc. It may not be possible to provide enough space and enough light to keep the plants growing faster than the goldfish can consume them. So, the plants may have to be replaced on a regular basis. Introducing and replacing the plants has its own set of problems. If they are from a pet store or a natural water body you should be concerned about introducing unwanted pests with the plants. This includes everything from snails to fluke eggs. Pests may be killed with a bath or dip in a chlorine bleach solution but this can kill the plants as well. Several parts per million of potassium permanganate does less damage to the plants but is unlikely to kill snails and some arthropods like Gammaris (little grey shrimp-like creatures). The snails and arthropods may serve as treats for the fish, but sometimes they get out of control. Another option is to feed the fish leafy green vegetables from the refrigerator, freezer or pantry. Lettuce, turnip greens and spinach work well. You can also use dry alfalfa pellets or even grass clippings if there is no risk of pesticides. Sometimes, we use banana leaves. Do not expect goldfish to gobble up leafy green vegetables as soon as it is placed in the tank. These items are more coarse than the fish would prefer and do not taste as good as pellets. Microwaving the vegetabes for a few seconds will wilt and somewhat soften it. Often the goldfish will show no interest until the leafy vegetable matter begins to decay. The obvious problem is that having rotting vegetables on the bottom of your goldfish tank is not very attractive. These are, after all, supposed to be ornamental fish in an attractive display. There are no perfect solutions here and everyone must find their own way. Peas, squash and other fruiting parts of plants are often fed to goldfish. Peas have quite a bit of protein and, personally, I would prefer that the goldfish get their protein from fish meal or other aquatic sources. Squash have little protein or fat, but the fiber content is lower than leafy green vegetables. Oranges have low protein and fat, are high in fiber, but are also very acidic. If some of these work for you then go with it. It is important that the pellets are withheld to the extent that the fish is obliged to eat their salad too. If they are not eating their veggies then do not give them any more pellets until they do. Of course, in an outdoor goldfish pond much of the above does not apply. When there is sunlight and each fish has a lot of surface area to work with a natural forage base develops. There will be carpet algae and probably “oxygenator” plants or other vegetation to graze on. There will also be periphyton, insect larvae and other good things to eat. Nutritional problems are much less likely under these conditions. We should probably mention homemade food here. Many recipes for homemade goldfish food can be found on line. Most blend a variety of ingredients and bind it all together with gelatin. Homemade food is only as good as the ingredients. Those who go to the trouble to make their own food do so because they know what’s in it. But, it is not a chore that should be taken lightly. Look up the moisture, protein, fat and fiber content of each ingredient and make sure the end product will have acceptable levels. A spread sheet helps a lot when doing the calculations. Make sure there is enough of the required vitamins and minerals. Do not neglect the amino acid profile because these are the building blocks for fish tissue growth. Some say that when you buy a good quality commercial feed, you are also buying the expertise of a professional fish nutritionist. It’s a judgment call and we should be thoughtful about it. On our little farm, homemade food as a way to make use of garden trimmings and some pests like snails and crawfish. We also use wheat flour as a binder and turn it all into a dry shelf-stable pellet. The ingredients are free but it requires a lot of labor so the overall cost is about the same as commercial feed. There is a lot of confusing and conflicting information about goldfish keeping and very few unequivocal truths. But, it is pretty safe to say that most problems are caused by overfeeding and starving a pet goldfish to death is almost inconceivable. http://www.raingarden.us
  6. Alex, They're just fabulous, so chubby and such wonderful faces - you made out like a bandit. I wouldn't worry about the ich - if the Anchor worm shows itself again I would urge you to add a little program to the QT.It works as well as Dimilin, harmless to fish at any dose and gets rid of them fast. Best of luck with those two cutie pies - they're sensational.!
  7. For decades I've used a Diatom filter for water polishing. In a past review I did a bit of complaining regarding how temperamental they can be - as well as difficult to set up and break down. That said, I realized the Diatom - which hasn't changed since 1970 is really a piece of aquatic care history and there's no other supplementary filter on the planet that can deliver the results a Diatom can. They're still made my hand, in the USA - which in itself is unheard of these days. I've since bought the large XL system and the smaller D-1 - This review is about the D-1 Diatom Filter by Vortex. For those not familiar with the Diatom it uses diatomaceous earth as a filter media. Diatomaceous earth or DE are tiny fossilized organisms called diatoms which are crushed to an extremely fine powder. DE has the ability to filter out particulate matter, pathogens and parasites as small as one micron - it's the only material of it's kind and the Vortex Diatom filter is the only filter on the planet that can rid a tank of parasites like ich. That said, they deliver unrivaled results when it comes to crystal clear water, but they are cumbersome to use. For the larger XL model set up alone is a bit of a challenge, it's time consuming and finicky. You need to be able to open the motor casing, replace bearings, oil certain parts, put silicone on gaskets and fittings and so on. it's not rocket science, I think anyone can do it but this is one filter that does need a little extra TLC. The D1 is much easier to deal with and handle and a great choice for up to a 55 gallon aquarium. You can go larger say, 75 Gallons by letting the filter run longer but chances are you'll need to replace the charge of DE. The XL for instance takes 3 cups of DE - the D1 only one cup and remember, the more it clears the water the more the DE coating on the filter bag will clog and that means lower performance. So you might have to clean the filter and recharge with new DE for a larger tank. But any effort invested with Vortex Diatom pays you back in spades. It's a one of a kind specialty filter that does something many products today don't - it does exactly what it promises to do. And that's to leave you water so pristine and clear it'll knock you out. Turn off your aeration and you'll think your fish are floating in air - the results are that good and that dazzling. As a primary filter for your aquarium I can't recommend it. It's limited to mechanical filtration only. You can use activated charcoal Vortex Super - Char is quite good. But in opinion I think charcoal should be used sparingly and only to remove mediations and tank treatments. Activated charcoal can become toxic quite quickly and should never be used in aquarium water on an on going basis. Many of the problems hobbyists encounter, lethargic fish, fish loss, slow growing plants, dying plants in many cases can all be traced back to using activated charcoal. Quick Specs * Certified Flow Rate of 250 GPH * No water bypass * Good for tanks up to 55 gallons * Only filter that can remove anything down to one micron in size - including ich * 2 year manufacturer's warranty For any one who wants that icy clear water that's so pristine it's almost surreal - is going to love this filter. Once you get the knack of using it - it becomes second nature. They're a little quirky but they are built like iron and should last you a lifetime. You'll end up tweaking it from time, mostly adding a drop or two of oil into the two oil ports from time to mine. Like a good friend - treat it well and the benefits far outweigh any minor inconvenience. Own a piece of aquarium history and get yourself a Diatom - you're guaranteed to love the results. 5 FINS UP!
  8. Gorgeous aquarium, I love how simple and elegant it is. It's these types of designs that remind me over and over that less is more, well done!
  9. For years I've used a Diatom filter for water polishing. For those not familiar with the diatom it uses diatomaceous earth as a filter media - diatomaceous earth or DE are tiny fossilized organisms called diatoms which are crushed to an extremely fine powder. DE has the ability to filter out pathogens as small as one micron - it's the only material of it's kind that can filter out parasites like ich. That said, they are incredibly cumbersome to use. Set up alone even for the experienced is difficult and time consuming. You need to be able to open the motor casing, replace bearings, oil certain parts, replace gaskets, apply silicone, clean out the motor and more. It's a fine product that does exactly what it promises to do but again, very difficult to set up, break down and maintain. A long time fan of many Marineland products - the Magnum 350 caught my interest because it can double as a water polishing system. Instead of the DE it uses long hollow cartridges of a tightly woven pleated material similar to Hepa filters for cleaning the air. Having a few questions I placed a call to Marineland and found out the polishing cartridge will remove particles as small as 10 microns (about half the size of the dot over a lower case i) I would think most people this is more than adequate. When I asked about using DE the Marineland tech told me that using it was fine and can't obstruct the impeller, void your warrantee or cause any problems. So you can easily get the filtration down to one micron - free of the hassles involved with a Diatom filter. The Magnum 350 is the only filter of it's kind that can convert from a mechanical filtration canister - to a water polishing system. Set up is a breeze as is break down - and the results are fast and spectacular. I tried it out on a 55 and within two hours the water was unbelievably clear, pristine and gorgeous. As I write this review it's currently polishing another tank. Included in the box is more than enough hose then you'll ever need, the motor, canister, gaskets, O-rings, a pre filter sleeve, in take strainer and out flow with diffuser. Also included are two handy quick disconnect vales - one for in take and one for out take. These let you un hook one or both hoses without water gushing out everyplace and either move the filter to another tank for polishing or simply empty it and put it away. They even toss in a couple of quality Flexi Brushes for cleaning out hosing and filter parts. As a primary filter for an aquarium I would never recommend it - It's limited to mechanical filtration only. The chamber they give you for activated charcoal is far too small to hold enough biological media and you would never colonize enough nitrifying bacteria. This bacteria is essential to both neutralizing ammonia and maintaining healthy water. Although should a filter fail on you, this would make an excellent temporary filter or perform equally well as a supplementary filtration - if you tolerate the noise level. It comes with a jar of activated charcoal - which I never use. With the rare exception of removing medication from my tanks. Which is another plus for the Magnum 305. The filter is fairly well made - definitely not the build quality you would find with eheim. Some of the smaller parts are flimsy at best, but this is knit picking. Quick Specs * Certified Flow Rate of 350 GPH * No water bypass * Good for tanks up to 100 gallons * Only filter that can convert easily from continuous filtration to water polishing * 2 year manufacturer's warranty * Polishing cartridges can be cleaned and re-charged with bleach solution At the list price around $329.99 I wouldn't give it a second glance. But if you can find a good deal on it, I would say grab one. I bought mine on Amazon for $94 an absolute steal. The polishing cartridges sell for $17.99 just about everyplace you look. However you can find them on eBay or Amazon for $8 - $9 and I've ordered a bunch of them. As far as the Magnum 350 it's short comings are insignificant compared to how much this filter can do for you - as long as you use it for the right application. Marineland stands behind their products. Anyone how used their Stealth heaters - which I really loved was made aware of a potential short in the wiring. I called gave the name and wattage of the heaters and shipped out replacements of a higher end heater immediately. When I was doing the initial set up, the impeller was problematic, called Marineland did some trouble shooting and the person I spoke with took my shipping info and told me they were shipping out a new impeller assembly - good tech support is worth it's weight in gold. My read on the Magnum 350 is it's a great filter to have, and nothing else will keep your water at this level of clarity. Even algae blooms vanish in a few hours, same with hazy new tank syndrome water - if you're using the DE. If you think you can use it for what it does best - and find it a very...very good deal. I would highly recommend it. You get all the benefits of the Diatom filter by Vortex - without the brain boiling headaches.
  10. One of the problems of multiple tanks at least for me, is that every time I want to re-do them something comes up - and something always comes up. I've replaced one 55 with glass as a substrate which you guys have seen pictures of, but my tanks still had that "fish tank" look. I've had the same Sea view backgrounds for years - it was defiantly time for an upgrade. Here's what I know about interior design, you start with the floor, and then the walls. That's the limit of what I know - and that's not much. But like the old saying goes about Art - if you like it, it's good. The easiest and least expensive upgrade I could think of was the background. So I had read some terrific reviews about Oceanvisions and ordered a few feet of the Crystal Black. If anyone has used Sea view Backgrounds and the Sea View mounting gel the application is similar - to a point. Oceanvisons is more like a giant "sticker" it's a 3 ml thick reflective Vinyl with a clear protective film on one side. The adhesive is crazy sticky, so be very careful when applying it - it's a major advantage to have someone help you. The application isn't brain surgery - well, except for me. (I had measuring tapes out, rulers, a compass, a protractor, drafting table, CAD codes loaded on the computer, Tech support on one phone line and Mensa on the other) There were supposed to be instructions included with what I ordered but there wasn't. It was easy enough to go to the Manufacturers site and get them. * Fit the background against the front of your tank and use a razor blade and ruler for a good even cut. * Clean the back of your tank as best you can, get all grit, grime and any other glue or tape residue off. * Wipe the back down with soapy water (this is the odd part) then you do the same to the sticky side of the background (They recommended using a small amount of Dawn dishwashing liquid) The soapy water only buys you time - it allows the background to be moved and positioned before the adhesive sets, so work fast. Once you've got it in place use a credit card to push out all the air bubbles and any wrinkles or folds. Just like with Sea View the only thing that really does a good job of this is a Credit or similar type card, Of course you want to scrape downwards so soapy water doesn't get into your aquarium. The backgrounds aren't permanent and can be removed whenever you like. The residue left on the tanks glass can be removed with a little soapy water, or safe tank glass cleaners. It's a great product and adds a dramatic, elegant effect to your aquarium - without taking the emphasis away from your goldfish. In fact it gives them brighter visibility, and makes your tank look larger and deeper. Oceanvision backgrounds come in Crystal Black, Light or Dark blue, green, mirror and Silver. I also picked up stealth black airline tubing which disappears against the background - it's great stuff as well. Here are some before and after pictures of the same tank: Before - Yuck! What was I thinking? After - a little better. It's a great product if you like this kind of solid background, I'll be ordering more. Oceanvision backgrounds sell for $4.99 per foot - The black stealth tubing $4.49 for 25 feet.
  11. With no shortage of Biological water treatments available - I've never really relied on them. The reason being is there's really no true shortcut to a fully cycled aquarium - you have to wait and let nature take it's course. In the past I've tried products like Cycle by Nutrafin and Easy start by Tetra but in most cases these products were used in setting up fast quarantine and hospital tanks. Most of these products -want you to use them continuously which doesn't make sense to me. If you have a fully cycled tank why would keep adding new strains of bacteria to already established water? Well, I think because some manufacturers want you too keep coming back for more and the price of admission isn't cheap. Cycle at around $22 for 16 ounces encourages you to dose your tank with 5 ml for every ten gallons once a week - and 10 ml for every ten gallons during water changes. Nonsense. This brings me to "Stability" by Seachem (one of my favorite companies) But being partial to them and their product line doesn't mean I don't question or research as best I can when trying something new. That said, I'm nursing a new 55, a 40 and 125. I had a bottle of Stability which I had bought on a what the heck basis - the 55 has fish in it, I seeded the filter but still had serious ammonia spikes. Seachem claims that the bacteria used in competitive products are inherently unstable. And for the bacteria to survive it must live in the exact temperature, PH and other water parameters in which it was raised and colonized. This makes perfect sense. When you add this bacteria to your aquarium, it survives for a brief while - but then crashes and dies. Stability on the other hand, has bacteria that can survive in almost any kind of water - fresh and salt and virtually any type of water conditions. Seachem states the strain took a decade to develop. What sets it further apart from the competition is that it contains nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria which isn't the case for any other product of it's kind. Seachem also states - other bacterial supplements form toxic hydrogen sulfide - something that can never happen with Stability. With this said, I've dosed the 55 and 40 according to the directions which are 5 ml per 10 gallons on the first dose and a follow up of 5 ml per 20 gallons for 7 days. What I've noticed - and noticed quickly, is that my water is clearly more stabilized. Currently I show no ammonia on the API test or Seachem Ammonia Alert meter - it's been five days since the last dose and all of my readings are in the safe zone. I don't use it for water changes - but having experienced the problems of adding fish to a non or partially cycled tank, I have not so fond memories of daily 50% -80% water changes for weeks..ugh. Where Stability shines is in helping you protect your fish and stabilize the water, especially in helping to keep the primary fish killer - ammonia in check. So for specific applications Stability is an excellent product. It's harmless to fish and appears to deliver on it's promise. But as a weekly or even monthly addition to established tank maintenance I wouldn't suggest it. To their Credit, Seachem says you can use it as an on going additive - but unlike other products they don't make it sound like you have to. http://www.seachem.c.../Stability.html
  12. Just about every major manufacture and boutique specialty company has a water conditioning and treatment product. I can't say I've tried them all, but close too it. Some products have at the least, minimal effectiveness while others can be potentially dangerous. An example would be Stress Coat which has binding sugar strands in the Aloe. This isn't a problem unless one of your fish has a small scratch or wound. The sugar feeds the bacteria which can lead to major infection and dire consequences. I've been using Amquel for years and it's a fine conditioner, excellent at removing chlorine, and Chloramines, but like all of these products - they come with limitations. Well, with one exception and that's Prime by Seachem .A few months ago, I decided to give it a try, and haven't looked back since. Prime doesn't just remove the chlorine and Chloramine it does much more: * Detoxifies any and all heavy metals in your tap water (you can contact your water company directly for a list of them and PPM) * Neutralizes Ammonia * Neutralizes Nitrite * Neutralizes high Nitrate to non toxic levels * Removes toxic gases * Will not foam or change PH * Helps regenerate natural slime coat Since using Prime, I've seen improvement in all of my fish. In 2010 one of my tanks was hit with the dreaded and rare Toxic Tank Syndrome (see horror stories) within 48 hours I had lost nine gorgeous fish - except for one survivor, a single Broad Tail Nymph. Since that ordeal, "Roxy" became a bottom dweller spending most of her time laying in a corner. Treatments were conservative, but nothing worked. After my first 50% water change using Prime her behavior began to improve. Now she swims among her tank mates, her color is a gorgeous deep velvet black ( they have such tiny scales they look like velvet) her appetite is ferocious - she's the picture of health (knock on drift wood) In fact I see improvements in all my fish and in every tank . There simply isn't anything like it, Prime is hands down one of the best things you can do for your fish . In addition to the outstanding, patent pending formula of Prime - it couldn't be more economical to use.A single 500 ml bottle treats up to a whopping 5,000 gallons of water. A tiny bit goes a long, long way. It should also be noted that in times of emergency the dose can be increased five times, Prime is harmless to fish. It's the only product of it's kind, and towers above any other water treatment on the market - period. I would urge anyone to add a bottle of Prime to your arsenal of fish care products - Your finned friends will thank you for it. Did I mention it makes a great Martini?
  13. I've written a few reviews on eheim filters so I'll hold back on the gushing compliments and simply review the 2215 which arrived yesterday and is set up and running like a charm. Every part from the motor to the intake tubes, spray bar right down to the suction cups are of unsurpassed quality. The filter is running a 40 gallon close to my bed, and it's absolutely dead silent. You can't go wrong with the 2215 (Model Classic 350) this time proven, efficient system holds a ton of filer media, which is included, two media separation grill plates, more than enough 1/2 inch tubing - and everything you need for easy set up right out of the box. Some fast specs: * Holds one gallon of filter media (included) * 163 GPH * 15 Watts * Fine and coarse filter pads (included) The design hasn't changed in 30 years - no reason to fix what isn't broken. However, there are a few nice improvements: * Safety check valves for both in put and out put - great for leak proof disconnects. * Improved silicon head gasket - should out last the old rubber ones by decades. * Rubber feet on the bottom = zero vibration even on hardwood floors. The instructions are pretty vague, it's best to just follow the diagram. Those experienced with canister filters should have no problems whatsoever. A few things to remember: 1) It's not pointed out in the manual, but you'll need to cut two 3-4" inches of tubing to attach the safety valves at both in take and out put. 2) There are some very good set up videos on Youtube -or you can always call eheim toll free - their support is terrific. The 2215 can handle up to 92 gallons, but I like to at least double up, so this was the perfect choice for my 40 gallon. Like all eheim filters, the media fits so well and tight and the water travels from bottom to top - so there's virtually no water bypass. This means optimum filtration and excellent water quality on the return. If this is your first eheim purchase or if you're like me and have a few eheim filters - the 2215 is a time proven best bet. It's a filter that just won't meet your expectations but exceed them. The only con with the classic line of filters is that they don't have a flow control. However if you feel the current is too strong just put a filter foam sleeve around the intake. It's on sale at Amazon for $99, no tax and free shipping - at this price it's an absolute steal.
  14. Out of my own library of books, research papers and other collected data spanning three decades I can attest no book, no resource has proven time and time again to be as invaluable a reference. The book is as the title suggests, a complete "Guide" to the myriad of complex, often overwhelming and occasionally maddening complexities of keeping these ancient, living works of art alive and flourishing. Perhaps not meant to be read from beginning too end, although I have, many times. The book serves as a reference point for you to turn to regarding specific problems and issues you face at the time. The book shines brightest with it's in depth, sweeping knowledge of disease. Written by some of the most experienced minds who all share a common a thread - an obsession with Fancy Goldfish. The book is geared towards intermediate and advanced hobbyists. However, a novice who is fascinated by these gorgeous creatures and captivated by their behavior should find this book a fascinating read. One you can turn too time and time again. The book is packed with brilliant photographs of Virtually every species/ sub species is covered with excellent commentary and wonderful photographs. You'll also find an incredibly depth coverage of parasites, bacterial and fungal infection along with magnified clear images taken from high powered microscopes. Clear instructions on treatments, medications and cures are abundant and a critically important part of this tremendous effort - written to keep your prized Goldfish, healthy and happy. More than a book " Fancy Goldfish: Complete Guide To Care and Collecting" is an invaluable resource. I would urge anyone who has yet to own a copy not to hesitate. Purchase this book with full confidence and without hesitation.
  15. So I have a little obsession with gadgets and probably need help, but is it really that big of a crime? Anyone whose priced digital probe meters knows they're expensive but so many like those by Hanna, Vital Sine and American Marine have excellent reputations for pin point accuracy. I especially like Hanna because they manufacture every component themselves, they don't source out a single component. This probably is why their reputation is unsurpassed as they remain in complete control of the manufacturing process from start too finish. Personally I don't own any of their high end digital products, with the exception of their digital thermometer which I've had for about 5 years - and it's a great device. The probe is stainless steel and very sharp so you could use it to check the internal temperature of oranges and grapefruit if you were so inclined. I find the best use for it to be checking water temperature during the fun and always welcome ordeal of water changes. There's a plastic cover that snaps on over the probe which you'll want to make sure is attached when you submerge the probe - which you need do only about an inch or so to get the reading. The unit meets the compliance with USA food regulations, so no worries about the material being unsafe for your fish. The meter has self check function which with a simple press of a button the device will check itself and make sure it's properly calibrated. Checktemp has a range of -58.0 to 302.0 degrees - and I have found it to be continuously spot on accurate. The meter also operates on one single 1.5V AAA battery, which should provide a whopping three thousand hours of continuous use. It's small enough to fit in your pocket so if you have tanks in different rooms or use different taps to fill buckets as is the case for me, it's a really handy gadget to have. Easy to operate, you just slide a little switch over and the meter does a quick calibration and then it's ready to go. The only con I have about it is that it's not an instant read - it can take up too 20 seconds to get your final reading, which shows up nice and clear on the LED screen. 20 seconds doesn't sound like much, but when you're hunched over a bathtub or sink it sure does. Especially when waiting for those infernal and dangerous mercury thermometers to level off. You'll get a final reading faster at times but not by much. It comes with the following * Stainless Steel Probe * Protective Sleeve * One 1.5 V AAA Battery * Instruction Manual Priced around $25 it's an excellent value - provides accurate readings and makes water changes easier by eliminating guess work. Without hesitation I would recommend the Hanna Checktemp to most anyone.
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