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Everything posted by daryl

  1. Oh man, that is just so wrong..... the only worse thing is when the stupid birds spear every last fish and leave the dead and dying bodies on the pavement around the pond. They do not even EAT the fish!!! As stated in that thread linked here, the best way to defeat the birds is by using their mental handicaps and physical limitations against them. 1. The birds like to fish by standing in the water. They are unlikely to fish from the edge by leaning over - they don't do that. Make the edge a sharp dropoff if you can. If you cannot, put a "shelf" under the water - so that the fish can dart under the shelf for protection. And DO NOT feed them right at the edge of the pond - toss the food to the middle. Fish trained to feed at the edge will come to any shadow that appears - human with food or bird with beak! 2. As noted in the other link - birds bend at their knees - which are halfway up their legs. If there is a string or small fence or barrier of some nature very close to the edge of the pond that is higher than their knees, they cannot/willnot go over it. They will not land in the pond water - they will always land beside it and walk into the water. A low barrier set right around the pond itself will prevent the birds from walking out into the water. Make it tight enough that they cannot land inside of it. Most of my friends have small decorative white picket fences - about 2 feet high surrounding the pond. They can step over them if they desire, but it is a rare bird that does. (The great Blue is one that does - they are 6 feet tall!!! - steep dropoffs prevent these birds from fishing.) If you wish and "entry" - make the entry where there is a steep dropoff - deeper than 1/2 the bird's height. 3. Some people with really valuable fish put netting over the top. That is not very attractive - but it REALLY does the trick. A tight netting will prevent bullfrogs from getting in and fishing, too. A strong, tight net will keep out those dirty raccoons.
  2. daryl


    Walked into the vet's yesterday to pick up the shot for Bif (allergies), and one of the techs handed me a kitten. A PERFECT kitten. Sweet, just the kind I have been looking for. They were cleaning and vaccinating them for a local shelter. Needless to say, we called the shelter and were told: 1. They cannot hold a kitten until Monday (I do not want to adopt a new kitten when I have 30 guests and 10 overnight guests in a chaos weekend). 2. I have to fax them (do not have a fax) my papers (12 pages of references). 3. I have to adopt 3 kittens. He has 2 siblings. They HAVE to go together. That is ridiculous. No wonder they are having problems finding homes. Insane. I am sooooooo angry. What fools. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr......
  3. If using R Hess's Goldfish book for making up a stock solution of PP, be aware that there is a misprint in the numbers......
  4. I am not a fan of Melafix. Some are. I do not think it is worth the money, personally. That is your choice. If you have a very small tank heavily planted, is there a chance that the swimming fish is constantly rubbing on the plants and causing the tail/fin problems mechanically? Salt, along with pristine water will often cure fin rot, all by itself. Since you HAVE the Maracyn and what appears to be a solid cycle, I think I would not hesitate to try using it. It is compatible with salt, but not Melafix. If I were doing this, I would replace 100% of the water in the tank (keep the media, etc. intact). If there is gravel, scoop it out and clean it REALLY well. Check to see that the plants are not causing problems. Raise the salt to 0.3ppm (3tsp per gallon), keep the tank really clean for 1-2 weeks and see if this does not slow and start healing the problem. If the fraying/white is VERY apparent - and appears to be actively progressing, I would add in the Maracyn for a round as prescribed on the box/bottle. It does work VERY well on fin rot. Some plants do not do very well in salt.
  5. A PP bath is one of my favorite "fixes" for fish with parasites and wounds and such. Giving a bath, then putting the fish into 100% new water/tub (tub to tub with a PP bath between) is one of the most effective, cheap ways to do this. Because it is an oxidizer, nothing can become "immune". It will kill cycles, (depending on the strength of the solution)plants, etc. It OXIDIZES - and kills all organic materials. If you wish to decolor and instantly render it harmless, add in hydrogen peroxide. I do so before dumping a PP bath into the septic system. Thos fish are lookin' happy!
  6. daryl


    My purple betta, Sage, has ben making huge bubble nests for weeks. This past week he stopped. He seems lethargic, but I can find no reason. Sigh. Poor little guy. He is bright colored and eating and will flare, but no bubblenest. I have decided that I defintely have a large neon sign on my roof that says "SUCKER". People have left everything from cats/dogs/birds/guinea pigs/rabbits on my doorstep. I have had goldfish left in bags on the porch and one in the mailbox in a leaking baggie. On Tuesday, someone left a really pretty blue crowntail betta in what looks like an old cookie jar on my step. He had a HUGE fish louse on him. It was easy to remove. This morning, he seems alert and actually ate for the first time. What a pretty fish. What a sucker I am!
  7. That looks fantastic! I am very happy for you. It is sometimes an extremely hard, long pull to get to this point - but WOW it is worth it. Congratulations!
  8. I LOVE your dragon!!! Such a happy tank.
  9. Depending on the volume you are looking to have, you can use many things. A plactic tub that is sold as a "30 gallon tub" however, does NOT hold 30 gallons of water - unless it was filled up to the very brim. So, think "BIG". I have even used kiddie pools - they are usually cheap at the end of the summer - 2-3bucks! As far as a filter, if you are intending on keeping the container warm, you will need full filtration that is normally needed on a tank/tbu. FOr best results and easiest maintainence, this means at least 10 times turnover per hour. An easy, cheap filter to make for a large tub (I use it on 1000 gallon indoor ponds and small kiddie wading pools) is to make one from a bucket and a water pump. Suspend a bucket over the pond. Poke loads of holes in the bottom of the bucket. Fill the bucket with hard media, then floss, etc. Run the water pump power head from the pond up to the bucket and set the flow going. The water is pumped from the pond into the bucket media where it flows through the media, out the bottom holes and back into the pond. It is filtered. I kind of like the "indoor waterfall" sound and effect in the dead of winter, anyway. Edit: I forgot to say. If you use a Rubbermaid tub or the ilk, supporting the sides is important. The easiest way I have found it to run bungee cords around the outside of the tub, and fasten one across the top of the tub, connecting the two longer sides. This prevents sag.
  10. Depends on how your cycle is created and where it is housed. If your filter media is where you have your cycle - the home for the beneficial bacteria, it matters little what is in your gravel. Since you turn over the gravel each time you vacumn it, you will not have much cycle there, anyway. The beneficial bacteria that make up a cycle MUST have ready access to the ammonia/nitrite laden water. They cannot process the waste if they do not have it "by" them. Thus - the bacteria can only reside in the top most layer of the gravel. If you turn over the gravel each water change day, you are turning under the gravel that has the bacteria - and essentially killing it. Not too much is useful in the gravel. And - truth be told - in most tanks, the gravel holds a host of waste that never quite gets properly cleaned. Deep gravel is nearly impossible to clean throughly. Getting rid of this waste source is worth FAR more than the potential use of a bit of beneficial bacteria that may happen to survive on the surface of the gravel. Gravel is also the main source of many problems in a tank - from parasites to bad bacteria. Having no more than a very light, thin layer for decoration, if you wish, can be a great labor saver - as well as a way to clean up a "sickly" tank. Go for it. If you DO have much of your cycle built in the gravel, take your fish out... into a bucket. Then scoop out the gravel and put it into baggies - old nylon stocking or net bags made for fish tanks. Rinse it REALLy well in a bucket of used water. When you take it out, you will release loads of waste - the water will be horrid. That is why you take the fish out! Clean the tank up really well and add the baggies of gravel and fish back in. Then, simply pull out a baggie of gravel each week - stepping the tank down from any dependance the cycle may have on the gravel.
  11. My betta are in 1.5 and 2.5 gallon containers, respectively, without filters. I change 100% once a week - and have never had an ammonia reading. That said, your individual setup would have to dictate your changing habits. One of my bettas really seemed to dislike the little airbubbler filter I had in his tank. When I took it out, he was much happier - stopped chewing his tail and started swimming happily. If you wish a filter, I would suggest that you aim the outlet at the wall - or so, so he has the opportunity to escape the flow of water. As far as your original question, though .... You can establish a cycle in a cup of water, if you wish. It is all about having beneficial bacteria living in a volume of water where they have access to "waste" - ammonia and nitrite so they will process it. The only thing you need to cycle is some sort of stable platform for the bacteria to colonate (gravel, glass sides that are never cleaned (yeah right!), sponge, etc.), some sort of flow created such that the ammonia/nitrite laden water is passed by the bacteria's platform (they cannot process waste if they do not have access to it!) and some source of waste (The easiest thing - a fish!) It does not take any more time than any other cycle - regardless of water volume, except that in most cases it does seem to - mostly because it is somewhat difficult to create a stable bacterial platform and a reasonable water flow past it. Set up a platform, give the bacteria access to waste laden water and you will have a cycle. Bingo. The only thing I would question just a bit is that, since you are dealing with such a small volume of water, it may not be worth the trouble. You STILL have to change out a portion of the water on a regular basis - for nitrates, growth hormones, etc. STILL are part of the ecosystem. Personally, since it takes me less than 8 minutes to completely empty, clean and refill my 2.5 gallon bowl, I just do that. Your choice, completely. Glad to have you back.
  12. He surely is pretty!!!!! I love that red with blue trim!
  13. Fish are happier when they have swimming room - and do not have to always be slogging through loads of plants and such. Fish are happier when the tank is cleaner - and a heavy layer of gravel makes cleaning 100 times harder. That said, fish should not have a problem with carefully selected decorations. IF you like the look - keep a thin layer of gravel on the bottom of the tank. A layer or two of smaller gravel (make sure they do not swallow it) is still easy enough to clean well. Plants are easy to hold down - plastic/silk plants can have decorative rocks easily glued to their bases with aquarium sealant. They stay down and look attractive. A few soft leaved plants at the back of the tank should not give a problem. The fish hiding in them is more or less normal. Some fish like to sleep by anchoring themselves in the leaves/branches of a plant. That is normal. I would definately forgo the caves and all deco that a fish may wish to cram into - that is not a good thing for goldies. I would give up any sharp or rough stones or stone/ceramic deco that is not smooth and easy to clean. The fish are hiding in the deco? Is that right? Cut it back. Make it minimalist. When the fish get used to the activity around their tank more, you may be able to add more in. I have a pair of Shubies that are simply NOT suited for tank life. They want a POND. They were spawned in a pond - and are not comfortable with side viewing tanks. That seems to be the way they are hardwired to behave. I give them plants to "hide" in - they will come out for food and attention, but will race back to hide in the grass again when done. That is just the way those fish ARE.
  14. Though the bacteria that make up your biological cycle DO function better in 25-28C, they are very hardy. A brand new cycle may be a bit more touchy - and you should strive to keep them in the regular temps that the fish are kept (18-24ish) for maximum growth, a robust, older cycle has little problems with temperatures. In an outdoor pond that freezes in the winter, the beneficial bacteria do just fine, under the ice, waiting for spring. They start working at about 8C and become more efficiant as the temps rise. The fish become more active, too, and the two work in unison to keep the tank/pond balanced. I would not worry about the heaters. If your tanks are at least 18C, your fish should be active and the cycle equal to their waste.
  15. Solar power is not all that hard to create - you simply need a solar panel. These days, you can buy setups that have the power and converter and everything in one package. You cannot run the filter "directly" from the solar panel - but you can create electricity which will charge a battery. Most batteries are plenty big enough to store many hours of energy for a filter - and will recharge every day. You do not even need direct sunlight - just light. Check out your local hardware store - many have simple setups that are all done for you. All you do it mount them and let it go. We put in a single middlesized panel on our new barn (3X5ish I think)- it charges one marine battery. This allows us to run 8 light panels with 4 flourecent tubes in each for over 6 hours. The battery will recharge in 6 hours. Since a filter is FAR FAR FAR less power, you should never run short of power even with a smaller setup. (We also have added plugs and such - for running tools. Next year we intend to add more panels as we can afford them.)
  16. I agree. I am a beginner when it comes to Bettas, but I do know enough to say that different fish behave differently. One of my fish simply HATED the tiny little bubbling filter in the bowl. He is doing much much better without it. They both are doing well - in 1.5 and 2.5 gallons respectively. The water is changed 100% at least once a week. They swim happily and are gorgeous to watch! That said - do you not think a betta would be happier kept in a place of honor by someone who loved and enjoyed him, someone who was willing to change his water regularly, feed him well, etc. , than in a 10 gallon tank with little care or love or attention? I will go for the bright fish in the center of activity, that is appreciated, watched, loved and attended to, any day. Little, flat heaters that will warm a very small volume of water are not that expensive. Look for them on BigAlsOnline. A betta can be very happy in a small, heated volume of water, if he is well attended, appreciated and loved. One of the luckiest bettas I know resides in a small bowl in the middle of the table at a friend's house. He is greeted every morning by the family, changed out nearly daily, is bright - in full finnage, swims happily, eats wonderfully and blows himself a bubble nest. He even responds to the kids when they greet him after school during homework. (They call it "Overseeing their homework - for the work is done on the table with the Betta in attendance). Different strokes for different folks. It all can be made to work. Keeping a flexible attitude about life is essential for happiness.......
  17. We have all been there... every one of us. It is never easy. I am so sorry......
  18. YOu guys make me laugh!!! The Python is supposed to make your job EASIER!!!! Truly - what is so difficult about putting the filter in a bucket. Open it. Take out the media you wish to preserve and scoop glasses or cups of water from the tank and clean the media. Set the media aside. Stick it in the glass or even drop it into the tank for the moment. Then take the main body of the filter to the sink and wash it really well. Do not use soap - but otherwise - good old tap water will not hurt. Your BB are in the media, right???? I am sorry - I am not trying to make fun at with - just laugh with you. This reminds me of my Sister-in-law, who, when faced with a Thanksgiving turkey and a poweroutage, announced that she had no clue how to cut the bird.... her electric knife did not work!!!!!!
  19. Wsa he IN the filter or ON the filter intake grid? If he was actually sucked INTO the filter, he could have internal injuries - that would account for the misshappen body. If he was sucked up against the filter intake grid - it is most likely because he has been sick before this occurance. It may be bacause, as mentioned above, your tank is not completely cycled. Some little fish take ammonia really hard - particularly if they have had water problems (among other things) to deal with before. A little guy coming from a less-than-well-run fish shop is swimming uphill from time of hatching, practically. I am so sorry.
  20. Raingarden is a 5 star operation. *****
  21. daryl


    Goldfish do well with fresh green food in their diet. In nature, they munch on various water plants and algae that they find. In your tank, if you do not have real plants or algae, you can still give them fresh greens. One of the easiest ones to prepare and feed is fresh green peas. You can use frozen peas or fresh. Most people use frozen. A small bag will keep for months in the freezer. Just pop out how many you wish to feed. I usually put them in a tiny cup with just a touch of water and nuke 'em in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. This heats them up and partically cooks them - they are soft. Pinch each pea between your nails and pop the skin off. The pea will naturally fall in half - the seed is two sides and will separate easily. Just drop these in the tank. The fish will snatch them up and gobble them. An average sized fish - 4-6 inches - will eat about 3 peas for a meal. Adult goldies - 6-10 inches - generally will eat 6 peas or more. Feeding greens will help your fish's digestive tract. They are not really a laxative, but the roughage and green will help move things along. They are a great addtion to the diet at least once a week. A fish cannot live on peas, alone, though. Try lightly blanching spinach leaves (dip in boiling water for about 3 seconds), or cucumber or dandelion greens. Fish love these. They are as good as peas. Broccoli, cooked a bit more so it is softer, is a nice snack. HAve fun! The fish will.
  22. The nitrite processing bacteria tend to be REALLY obnoxiously sluggish and slow. OBNOXIOUSLY SO!!!!!!! I have had tanks get to the point where they are processing SOME nitrites - getting nitrates - but not ALL of them for weeks...... 3 or more at times. IT will work. You have the bacteria in there - just not enough of them, yet, to do the job. Patience. Patience and time. One morning you will wake up and test it and the nitrite will be dropping. The next day it will be nearly gone. Within 3-5 days it will magically turn to zero!!!! IT does work. Honest.
  23. You folks do not need a mod! You are doing just fine. That said - I strongly suspect that you are correct. It IS your water. But water can quickly take a fish down a bad road - leading to many other, increasingly more severe, problems. I suggest you test your tap water. Does it have any nitrAtes in it? If it does, that may be the source for your nitrates, not a cycle. It is generally strongly recommended that you do not allow the ammonia level in your tank to rise above 0.50ppm. I prefer 0.25ppm. When the tank hits that reading, it is time for a LARGE water change. Change out enough water that the ammonia does not get above 0.25ppm before the NEXT water change. That may mean 25%, it may mean 50% or it may mean 75-100%. That is a lot of work, but will preserve your fish's health. An unhealthy fish that has been given life-long health difficuties from ammonia/nitrite poisoning is not particularly cheap to keep - so saving a bit now can cost later. I think that you have wisely put your finger on the problem.... but it is not a really BAD one - just one that needs attention and time to repair. The number of fish you have in your tank make all the difference in how your tank behaves. In a standard conformation 55 gallon tank, it is generally recommended that you have no more than 5 living creatures. I generally will put no more than 4, but that is my personal preference. The more fish means the more waste, means the more water you have to change out each week (or more often) to keep the nitrates at 5-10ppm. I can only change out so much water each week - so I keep the fish at a low enough level that I can easily manage the waste. I do not have the time or energy to do more. It is your choice. SEcondly - filters. Goldfish put out more waste than any other fish (or as much as the worst of 'em). To address this, the beneficial bacteria in your filters need to have a large population to process all the waste. This requires a fair sized platform in a filter to support the bacterial population -but more importantly, it requires the ammonia/nitrite laden water to be passed BY the beneficial bacteria often and well to allow them to work on it. The only way to do this is to have many many gallons of water pumped through the filter each hour - giving the beneficial bacteria access to the waste. A tropical fish tank, with far less waste, does not require nearly as much water per hour pumped through the filter. Unfortunately, most filters are "rated" for tropical tank use. When you have a filter that is rated for a 40-50 gallon tank, it is referring to a tropical fish tank, not a goldie. To address this discrepancy, we tend to refer to gallons-per-hour instead of tank volume when rating a filter. For a 55 gallon tank, you need AT LEAST 550 gph pumped through filters. There are few, cheaper, filters that do this volume of water, so it is common to have multiple filters on such a tank. The standard 55 conformation is rather long and low - and having two filters - one at each end - is an ideal setup. Pumping ALL the water from the tank through the filters at lest 10 times an hour is what is needed. YOu will not get the water you need with less than. I usually aim for more like 12-15 times an hour. I am glad that you have come back to goldies. I think you will find them very enjoyable - once you get past the initial setup-cycling-balance of the tank. It can take time, patience and a bit of frustration at the beginning, but is well worth it in the long run.
  24. I think that is a great goal. I find it amusing that I am at the opposite end of that mission.... When I first started, it was "Golly, that is a beautiful fish! I want one of those, and those. OOOOH and those. Those are soooo pretty I need a few of them, oh, and several of those....." I have had practically every breed of goldfish at one time or another - and many that did not really fit into any category, specifically. I was told by many more "experienced fish people" that I should focus on only that which I really loved - or I would become overwhelmed. Well, I found out that they were right. But, I am still glad that I did it my way. Now I KNOW what I really like and can do without. And I am focusing more and more and more. I hope that you find your way to your true love in the fish world - but have one heck of a fun time along the journey!!! I did.... still do.
  25. I am sorry, but that second photo just made me laugh out loud!!! That fish looks like a cartoon where someone has drawn in the black "Shocked" eyes - he is going "OH" in shock!!!!!
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