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  1. Trinket


    Gravel How can gravel be both good and bad? Deciding whether you want gravel or not :Some things to consider: Anaerobic bacteria living deep under gravel breathe/respirate gases like nitrates, sulfate, and carbon dioxide in an electron transport chain process, and these gases build up over time. These gases collect under all (deeper than 2cm) gravel. Anaerobic bacteria lack the enzyme to convert oxygen into a viable form so they hate the higher level, oxygenated places. When we disturb the gravel these gases that they are using are released back into the aquarium. This is one possibility for gravel disturbance followed by sudden floaty fish. Anaerobic bacteria that live under gravel hate oxygen, they literally live in fear of it because it causes their death. By churning the gravel vigorously we expose many of these bacteria to oxygen and they die. They release gases as they die too. These are the twin processes of sulfate reduction and bacterial fermentation. While alive these bacteria can however play a small role in absorbing nitrates and nitric compounds. The surface of gravel also houses aerobic beneficial bacteria who attach to the surface stones and assist with the nitrogen cycle by converting ammonia and nitrites to nitrates. About Anaerobic bacteria: 1. Hundreds of thousands of bacteria live in a space the size of the period at the end of this sentence . 2. Bacteria have an average life span of only 20 minutes. This means that during this time every single bacterium must replicate/reproduce every minute. In that gravel there are probably trillions of millions of billions. Each one reproducing by cell transfer and binary fission- trillions and millions more every second. 3. When they reproduce, each one reproduces the amount of bacteria the size of a sugar lump. Some of them are motile, they move up through the water. Most like the dark recesses of deep gravel. Its ideal for breeding. Dark, wet and undisturbed. Beneficial aerobic bacteria live in the very top 2cms of the gravel bed.. the maximum amount of gravel that can hold beneficial bacteria is 1/4 of an inch. As said above, these gravel surface bacteria assist with the nitrogen cycle by converting harmful ammonia and nitrite to nitrate. The bacteria deeper down then utilize the end product nitrates. EVERY bacterium and larval parasitic form beneath that top layer is potentially a bad one. Bacteria that cause ulcer disease for example and parasites like flukes that sink in under stones and can stay encysted for some time completely untouched by meds under gravel. What happens when they run out of their supply of respiratory gases? It sometimes happens that the anaerobic bacteria's supply of gases is used up. The fish have not been fed for some time. Or perhaps there is an algae crash etc. At this time you will smell a rotten egg smell in the tank which is the sulfate reduction process- a sort of decomposition or fermentation of the bacteria. There can even be a sprinkling of black dust visible at this point. Brown rust or "algae"...is zinc oxide a derivative of iron in the water. It isn't dangerous- just unsightly.As the water settles some of the trace elements are leached out of the water - they are then processed and can be re-assimilated by any plant or algae life. When you have gravel for the first few months you may see these deposits coloring your gravel. White gravel may look soiled. These oxides compete for oxygen with green algae and so must be removed to promote green algae (which takes about 4-6months under average lighting). Iron, manganese and some other of the trace elements are only water soluble for a short time. They oxidise in the presence of oxygen, then precipitate and are assimilated via plant matter. A perfectly balanced water will also hold the elements longer and you will rarely see zinc oxide in a well established tank that has a perfect water balance. You should find that as your water stabilises the zinc oxide will decrease. Some will be re-assimilated. Light (turning the gravel regularly) and oxygen will help your gravel stay white. To summarize: In the end, choosing to have gravel or not should be a personal aesthetic and informed choice. On the one hand while anaerobic bacteria can be an endless source of worry and disease in some tanks where aeration is low and gravel deep, for people whose source water has a low kH/gH, gravel it can be useful. It can be mixed for example with coral which releases minerals into the water that stabilize pH. The top surface area of gravel can also house quite a number of good cycling bacteria. And fish do get some exercise and fun from turning and sniffing at gravel perhaps. It also looks pretty when kept well.
  2. Metronidazole is a (5-)nitroimidazole drug. This means anti-protozoal with anti-bacterial benefits. A combination drug. It is very effective against some obligate anaerobic bacteria. It has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling and when swelling is caused by parasites it is often chosen as the appropriate medication but it is primarily anti parasitic. In fact metronidazole is a very rare example of a drug developed against a parasite which is now used as often as an antibacterial med. The antibacterial activity of metronidazole was only however discovered by accident in 1962 when metronidazole cured a patient of both trichomonad vaginitis and bacterial gingivitis It is used to treat intestinal worms and ameba in people and animals. It has been used for decades on protozoan parasites like Entamoeba histolytica. It was first used and is still used to cure dysentry in people caused by intestinal parasites. It is the medication usually used to treat amebic abscesses as well. It is used to treat Entamoeba histolytica, which is one of the most serious of all parasitic infections of humans. It is also used to treat trichomonas -another parasite that that is an STD. Metro is trichomonacidal and amebicidal in action. This means it is readily taken up by anaerobic organisms and cells. Its selectivity of anaerobic (only) bacteria is because anaerobic bacteria have the ability to absorb it like they do nitrogen, and in doing so they reduce metronidazole to its active form intracellularly. It does not work on aerobic bacteria which utilize oxygen and reject it.The electron transport proteins necessary for the chemical reaction that mutates the DNA and therefore kills the organism are found only in anaerobic bacteria and protozoan parasites. Reduced metronidazole disrupts DNA's helical structure, thereby inhibiting bacterial nucleic acid synthesis. Because of this distinctive method it has immuno-suppressive and anti-inflammatory properties. It is used to treat some obligate anaerobic bacteria that cause for example Crohn's disease. It is often referred to as an antibiotic but this name excludes it's original anti-protozoal properties for which it has been used widely and is still used for and it is therefore not an ideal definition.
  3. STRESS IN FISH Something often overlooked and definitely under researched is the effect of stress on goldfish. We often hear that a disease may have been triggered by stress but how is that and why is that? And how can we create a stress free environment for our fish pets? I have tried to find as many answers and gather as much information as possible about stress in goldfish and will set it out here as simply as I can in 3 question and answer parts. 1.What is stress and why does it affect the fish negatively? Stress is the reaction of a part of the brain called the hypothalamus to a stress-or. The hypothalamus re-acts to the stress-or by beginning a chain of chemical activity that results in the production of hormones from the adrenal glands. In people these are located around the kidneys and in goldfish due to their small compact bodies the glands are merely adrenal tissue inside the kidneys. When the fish encounters a stressor (more on stressors below), the adrenal tissue produces 2 hormones. The first is epinephrine. This is the hormone that prepares the fish for adversity. It sends blood flowing faster to the brain allowing for the uptake of more oxygen, it speeds up the heart, it utilizes nutrition to provide extra energy to combat immediate threat. This is all good. But only short term. If the hormone continues to circulate (in conditions of enduring stress) it weakens and exhausts the fish dramatically. The second hormone that is produced is cortisol. This is a powerful hormone that increases metabolism. It is also dangerous to the immune system of a fish when prolonged. It disturbs and damages the protective immunity process called phagocytosis. 2.What is phagocytosis? This is the name given to the complex process of cell invasion and neutralization. When a bad bacteria settles on the fish, the good phagocytic cells surround the bad bacteria and begin to ingest and destroy it by releasing sodium hypochlorite which is actually the main ingredient in household bleach. The dead bacteria is then released into the bloodstream and passed out through the kidneys in urine. Now what happens when there is a prolonged production of the second hormone cortisol is this: The cortisol represses the digestive enzymes of the phagocytic cells and literally destroys their ability to ingest and anihilate the bad bacteria- leaving the fish vulnerable to attack from all kinds of resident bacteria and parasites. 3. What are common stressors in the aquarium? Here is a list: Presence of ammonia Presence of nitrites Presence of high nitrates Fluctuating pH Changing water temperatures Handling Over crowding of the aquarium space (too many fish) Bullying or breeding behavior Lack of correct or adequate nutrition Overfeeding (food left uneaten) Too strong light/lights on at night Too little light Lack of dissolved oxygen Ornaments that injure or interfere with swimming space Too strong a current (some fish, not all!) Over medication and Wrongly diagnosed medication. Conclusion In conclusion. Our fish are designed to survive. They have strong immunity given the right conditions, especially the correct water environment, space and food. If we aim to avoid all the above stressors we have the chance of being able to raise fish with powerful immunities- their best preventative defense against parasites and bacteria getting a hold in the first place.
  4. I kept a journal of the first 2 weeks and would like to share it with anyone who wants to know in more detail about the progress from eggs to fry or maybe useful if you just found eggs. Sunday 15th April 2007 Found black moor Flapper's eggs in the 55 gallon tank when I had to get up extra early..5am. Rescued some of the eggs (maybe 20?)on the plecos log and moved the log to a 10 gallon tank half filled with warm tank water. Added heater with thermostat and raised the temp to 26 degrees. Also added a handful of rinsed coral gravel stones that had been sitting out in the sun- for pH stability. No filter or airstone yet. Monday 16th April. early morning Perfect timing. Trinket spawned early morning in the 30 gallon tank. Salvaged a few eggs that were still floating and scraped some of the sides of tank. Found one small clutch of about 6 good eggs on the heater which I removed and gently shook into the 10 gallon set up.Less eggs but to me more precious because Trinket is an albino siamese doll and I would love to have some of her offspring! Tuesday 17th Quite a lot of eggs! Maybe 25 or 30. Will they all hatch? Heater thermostat stick somehow fell out and the heat rocketed up to 28 degrees C. Big panic! Set back down to 26. Water looking slightly cloudy but I know I cannot change it. Worried no eggs will hatch. Wednesday 18th Bad news this morning. Fungus on quite a lot of the eggs. Using a small spoit removed all the fungus eggs one by one.At least 20. Feeling that none will hatch and a bit depressed. Some eggs are clear like glass with a small dot inside. Other eggs are a greeny orange color and others are cloudy (I know the cloudy ones will not hatch). Noticed some tiny weeny white dots dancing in the water and see I have some baby fairy shrimp (swimming white dots with antenna)come in on those stones. Thursday 19th( The 5th day)DAY 1 (of hatching). Using a magnifying glass I can see tiny movement inside some of the eggs. Up close a tiny grey tail looks to be attached and curled around a black dot, in a few eggs I can see 2 dots (eyes). So excited. In the afternoon one or two eggs have a tail popped out and the fry is struggling to get out. In the late evening, one fry emerges and several others look to be following. Later still a few more fry hatch out. Friday 20th DAY 2 Quite a few fry out and stuck to the sides of the tank. They are making their way to the air at the top to fill their air sacs. The water is 5 inches deep. Temp 26. Saturday 21st DAY 3 One fry is swimming in short bursts with lots of rests. The others are still climbing to the top. Some of the colored eggs have hatched (I think those are Trinkets) I remove a few more fuzzy eggs and spoit/syringe some dust from the bottom. Ammonia check=0. When doing water changes on my big tanks I find one single swimming fry in Trinkets tank! Intrepid survivor! Managed to catch him and put him in the 10. Evening:All but a few fry are now swimming. A few are still struggling to reach the top.Some won't make it. Perhaps even lower water would have been better. Now most fry have filled their air sacs it is time to set up the sponge filter. A homemade thing wrapped in nylon stocking and housing 1 sponge media cut off from the sponge/mechanical filtration in the 55 and one piece from the 30. Carefully removed the coral gravel from the tank (that was a mistake too- less in the tank the better) and put it inside the filter compartment too. Added the weak spray bar and adjusted so the spray is very,very gentle just ruffling the water surface. A few hours later and clearer water.Looking much better. Ammonia check=0. Fed baby brine shrimp twice today and cleaned bottom 2 hours after each feeding. Also checking ammonia levels after each feed.Still 0. Hope the kickstart cycle (used all media from Flapper and Trink's tanks) will be adequate. Sunday 22nd DAY 4All fry are swimming strongly round the tank. There seem to be 13 fry (hard to count) plus 2 deformed shaped ones struggling on the bottom. Fed 4 times today as I was at home. Cleaned up leftovers 2 hours after each feed. 2 xbrine shrimp. 2 x hikari first bites. Small water change- 10%- in evening. Today one fry was exploring the filter and got whipped into the waterfall current.His tail looks bent. Have re-arranged filter position so this cannot happen again. Monday 23rd DAY 5 Left curtain open all night so fry could see by moonlight. Will do this every night so they don't get stuck anywhere strange in tank. Fed brine shrimp at 6am and after 2 hours cleaned bottom with a tiny sponge and turkey baster. Another small 20% w/c using a small plastic baby cup -and pouring the fresh, warm, treated water under water level very slowly. Ammonia =0 &nitrites= 0. Fry looking bigger. see poop, full tummies and a change in the eyes from black dots to two tone- white with black dot in center, Tuesday 24th DAY 6 Getting through a lot of ammonia test strips. Checked full range again today. 0,0 and 2.5 for nitrates-whoot. pH steady at 7.5. Fry look smaller and paler in the mornings (empty bellies). There are 2 or 3 bigger fry. Some very small still. All are swimming and eating well so far. The larger fry are showing a more solid thicker body from side view now. Inside of the fish still visible in most. The central empty bubble has split into 2 and is white. Its cute to watch them eat with a magnifying lens- they are catching the brine shrimp and occasionally other life forms midair! Mouths like miniature trapdoors. Fed 3 x and in the evening 10% water change using babycup to scoop water very slowly from top after first cleaning tank bottom.In this way I can catch floating debris as it rises. Wednesday 25th DAY 7 YAY! One week old fry. I can count 14.Two still on bottom- haven't made it to the top yet but still alive. More fry than I first thought. Am glad I put tank by window. Its easy to see the muck on the bottom, also the fry's sideview growth with window behind. Hopefully the sun will help colors develop faster. Today I can see a touch of color on the top of a few fry. Gold one and black one. The others look clear/transparant still. Able to get home from work at lunchtime and so fed 4 times today. Evening- did the daily 25% water change. Thursday 26th DAY 8 The 2 on the bottom have disappeared. Presumed eaten I'm afraid. The other 14 look good . Silver bodies visible now on all of them and filling out rapidly. 2 much larger than the others. I left brine shrimp in late at night and didn't have time to clean up after 2hours (the time it takes for all the fry to fill their bellies). So this morning I cleaned the bottom and rinsed the filter off gently. That water was brown!!!(Also the dirty water is thick with dust even though the tank is covered at all times- it must be leftover brine shrimp). Checked params again. This is costing a lot in ammonia kits. I have used up one test kit in a week and am on the second.Cleaned tank sides and bottom very slowly and gently with a squeezed out and rinsed piece of sponge filter media from the main parents' tank. Afterwards did a 25% w/c and then fed again. Fry are now stronger and can swim under the spray bar without damaging themselves. One less worry! Friday DAY 9 From the side and back view the 2 largest fry now look like plump little authentic fish. Top view still looks fry-like. It is very important to kep cleaning/wiping the floor of the tank because their tiny mouths are getting occasionally filled with small pieces of dust and hair mistakenly sucked in with food, even though there is a cover on the tank..Today I have used a syringe to suck fluff off from the mouth area of 2 fry. Delicate operation! The log covered with moss is providing the fry with plenty of entertainment as they nibble on algae and swim in and out and explore it. Glad that is in there. Sat DAY 10 Noticed tiny black dots on the bottom for the first time! Poop can now be seen without a maginfying lens! Fry growing well. 3 or 4 are fat and thick bodied now. Some are still teeny with no dorsal showing. They are eating more and there is less to clean up after feeding. I am needing to clean the hose on the filter every day and do a small water change every day now. Bought a tank hood light today and fixed it up for better fry color development will add 3 hours evening light as well as the window sunlight in the day. Sun DAY 11 Settled into feeding regime. Fry seem to know when I clean the bottom, food follows. They swarm around my hand and the turkey baster! Just like their parents!Feeding baby brine shrimp 3 times a day plus a light feeding of Hikari first bites once a day. Checking ammonia once a day and changing out 25% water daily matching temp. I do this with a tiny babies cup and have abucket of warm water on the table and an empty bucket to put the old tank water in. Care is needed not to make any fast or large movements that will create a swirl or wave of water as the fry are still fragile and last time I lost fry like that. I cleaned the sides of the tank inside again today with a small piece of sponge.Today for the first time I notice top view of some fry looking more fish like, plump bodies-less stick with eye like! Mon DAY 12 Today all the fry seem to have color on their backs (using a magnifying lens as always). I can see pelvic fins on many. Dorsals look larger and higher on many too. I notice the filter hose cover is getting dirtier and a daily rinse of the outside of the filter is necessary. Very soon I will have to empty the filter and rinse the inside mechanical filtration media. In another 2 or 3 days I expect. DAYS 13-17 In the last few days the fry have grown a lot. Three of them are looking like mini real fish with sleek golden bodies, full fin sets and distinctive faces. I have rinsed the inside sponge of the filter and replaced the hose with a new one because it tore. I have raised the water level and continue with 3 feedings a day and twice daily 20% water changes and rinsing of hose. When I cleaned the filter I squeezed a piece of rinsed sponge media from the main tank into the fry tank to add a little beneficial bac as I feared a cycle bump. Checked params 0,0 and 3. All has gone smoothly so far and all fry are still alive although sizes and growth rate vary tremendously.
  5. Ive been having difficulty taking pics of my one and two week old fry. I don't have a state of the art camera and I don't know much about taking pictures well. The fry are so tiny...it is a tough job. Then I had an idea of holding a magnifying lens above the fry (the water is only 4 inches deep so it is a good distance for a regular hand held 3.5 x lens. Then with the other hand I take a photo of the fry It is simple and cheap. You need a cheap hand held lens like this one Tiny fry magnified using lens with cheap camera Now I can share my fry instead of sharing my blurry dots .
  6. I needed to bypass my overhead filter because I am medicating the tank. I turned off the filter and blocked the exit pipe by raising the filter box. I wedged a plastic aquarium gravel shovel under the box so that the water cannot drain out. Then I filled the filter box with tank water which it is sitting in now and so all the filter media is submerged. It should keep the beneficial bacteria alive until the meds are removed n a few days time.
  7. For many goldfish owners, summer has arrived and the water in tanks and ponds is heating up. While fish often seem to do well in warmer weather, watch out for signs of oxygen deficiency. Fish that are near the surface frequently - (after ruling out a pH crash, water problems or disease) - may be needing a better supply of dissolved oxygen in their space. As temperature rises, the ability of water to carry dissolved oxygen decreases. At the same time, as the water heats up, the goldfish's metabolism speeds up and more oxygen is required. This creates the following conundrum: The warmer the water - the less oxygen ; the warmer the water - the more oxygen goldfish need. The following are some suggested remedies for circulating dissolved oxygen better in your tank(s). A water change preferably poured creating bubbles will provide instant oxygen, if temporary. Shading the pond or tank from sunlight will help reduce heat and therefore raise oxygen levels. Plants - while beneficial in the daytime - will absorb oxygen at night so planted tank and tub/barrel/pond owners would also do well to consider adding extra aeration. Surface movement is extremely effective in creating gas exchange - this can be done with air-stones/walls/wands, consider adding extra in the hot weather. Smaller bubbles are more easily dissolved and provide slightly more oxygen. If your filter out tube is below the water surface it will not be providing a significant supply of oxygen- a power head can be attached to point the water at the back wall of the tank and create a fountain effect providing effective aeration. Further measures: In extreme heat, water should be cooled. there are various ways to go about this and everyone has a different favorite but care should be taken not to plunge temperatures too suddenly (2 or 3 degrees change maximum in an hour)and not to add anything to the tank that will freezer burn a fish. One idea is to keep 2 small bottles - I use 500cc size in a 30 gallon tank - of frozen water in the freezer - and alternate them. Put one plastic bottle in to float and leave the other frozen. When the first frozen bottle has defrosted, you can take it out and add the 2nd frozen, putting the first frozen back in to freeze- and so on. You should be very careful to check the lowering temperature constantly. Other methods of reducing the water temperature by several degrees are to use a fan, to turn off overhead fluorescent light strips and to remove the tank hood if there is one. Clip on aquarium fans or standing electrical fans are quite effective if pointed directly at the surface of the water. The oxygen demands of goldfish can double in the first hour after feeding. For this reason if there is insufficient oxygen available then fish should be fed sparingly even though they seem hungrier in the warm weather. Of course if oxygen is plenty available then goldfish will be happy to be fed a little more as their metabolism rises in the warm weather, therefore keeping tanks well aerated means we can do this safely. Finally, a remedy I have read about but not dared try - is to add in a sprayer only - a 3 % USP solution of hydrogen peroxide - one squirt (1.5 milliliters) per gallon of water. Do not spray on fish and spray below the water surface. this method takes about 30 minutes to take effect. Since over spraying is very risky and can burn fish, this is not a method I would recommend, except for the very experienced but it is said to be effective in raising dissolved oxygen levels. So please take a moment to consider your aeration as the hot weather progresses. Your fish will be much more active and thank you for it with that loveable happy dance!
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