Restarting with fish

BlueMeanieBettaFish

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Hello! I am by no means new to keeping fish, however I'm not very good at it either.. all of my fish always seem to get swim bladder disease or, something of some sorts and die. I haven't had fish in awhile, because I always feel horrible for killing them, even if it isnt on purpose. I need to know what to do, I have a 65gl fish tank with a 75gl filter and sand substrate, my only remaining fish is a Silver Dollar and I plan on buying more aquatic life. What do you guys recommend I get? I wanted some crustaceans and live plants to help regulate waste and keep the water clean, yknow, minimalize matinenece as much as possible. Give me the basic run down of what I should and can get, keep in mind I'm limited to what I can find in shops near me. (Obviously after this Quarentine is over)
 

Colin_T

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What are the tank dimensions (length x width x height)?

What is the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness) and pH of your water supply?
This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).

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Do you have an ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH test kit?
If yes, have you tested the tap water & aquarium water, and what are the results?

-------------------
How often do you normally do water changes and how much do you change?
Do you gravel clean the substrate when you do a water change?
Do you use tap water to fill the tank?
Do you dechlorinate the new water before it goes into the tank?

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How often and how do you clean the filter?

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What fish do you normally keep?
What symptoms do they show then they are sick or dying?

-------------------
The following link has information about what to do if your fish get sick. It's long and boring but worth a read when you have some spare time.
 
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BlueMeanieBettaFish

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What are the tank dimensions (length x width x height)?

What is the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness) and pH of your water supply?
This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).

-------------------
Do you have an ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH test kit?
If yes, have you tested the tap water & aquarium water, and what are the results?

-------------------
How often do you normally do water changes and how much do you change?
Do you gravel clean the substrate when you do a water change?
Do you use tap water to fill the tank?
Do you dechlorinate the new water before it goes into the tank?

-------------------
How often and how do you clean the filter?

-------------------
What fish do you normally keep?
What symptoms do they show then they are sick or dying?

-------------------
The following link has information about what to do if your fish get sick. It's long and boring but worth a read when you have some spare time.
I do not know what GH or KH are, unfortunately.. as for the PH of my water supply, my water is not from a system, it is from a well, it isnt treated with chlorine and the such, simply ran through many filters before it reaches us, I'll have to take the water to the pet store to figure these out, thanks for that tip! As for the test kits, I have chemical ones and they usually give back good results, Amonia sometimes is a little bit high, and sometimes the PH is a little low, but overall it's all good, as for water changes, I have yet to change the water in this tank, however I know to change half of the water and do it weekly, however being 65gl this is rough task, and I do clean the substrate if it is particularly in my other tanks when i did have them, however I also know this has good bacteria in it, atleast that's what I have heard, and again for water, Mines is from the tap, I am not on a system, and I do not need to dechlorinate it, my tap water is clean fresh unchlorinated water, I also only change the filter when i notice it has collected gunk and slows water flow, or the normal color of the filter has vanished and it is instead brown, and as for the actual water filter itself, not the cartridges, I usually scrub it down to remove the gunk buildup. Please, I wanna know what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it. I know some fish are supposed to live for years, however the fish I keep, being Cory catfish, Tetras, Molly's, guppys, and even a Parrot fish, they all have trouble swimming and staying upright before death, whenever a fish of mine has this problem swimming they are almost always dead by the end of the day
 

Colin_T

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You need to get the well water tested for everything you can to make sure there is no ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate or any chemical run off in it. Pet shops can test some of these and a specialist lab is required for chemical run off. Find out the GH, KH and pH of the well water too.

---------------
Ammonia and nitrite levels should be 0ppm at all times. A healthy biological filter should do this without any problems.

Nitrate should be as close to 0ppm as possible and kept under 20ppm at all times. You keep nitrates down by doing regular water changes. I recommend doing a 75% water change each week but if the tank only has a few fish you can do a 50% each week or even each fortnight.

--------------
Well water can be stagnant and have no oxygen in. When using well water, you should aerated the water for 30 minutes before adding it to the tank. This will get the dissolved gasses back to normal levels in the water.

You should also check the well water at least once a month to make sure it has 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate and monitor the pH. Keep a diary for this because well water can vary throughout the year depending on rainfall and local conditions (farming, mining, etc).

Make sure you use a clean bucket for the fish and never use a bucket that has had household cleaning products in.

--------------
New filters should not be cleaned for the first 6-8 weeks because you can upset the beneficial filter bacteria and mess up the cycle. However, established filters should be cleaned at least once a month and every 2 weeks is great.

Wash the filter media/ materials in a bucket of tank water and re-use the media. Tip the bucket of dirty water on the garden/ lawn.

If you have filter pads/ cartridges, they can be squeezed out in a bucket of tank water too and then re-used. Only replace filter media if it starts to fall apart.

If you do have cartridges, you can usually add sponges to the filter with the cartridge. After a few months the sponge will have good bacteria on and you can then throw out the filter cartridge when it starts to fall apart.

Sponges are available for lots of different brands of filter. I use AquaClear sponges but there are heaps of other brands. Find a filter sponge and use a pair of scissors to cut it to size and put it in the filter with the other media. Sponges get washed in a bucket of tank water and re-used, and they will last 10+ years.

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Tetras and Corydoras normally come from water with a GH below 150ppm and a pH below 7.0.
Guppies come from water with a GH above 200ppm and a pH above 7.0.
Mollies come from water with a GH above 250ppm and a pH above 7.0.

If your well water is hard and has lots of minerals in, and has a high pH (above 7.5), the tetras and Corydoras won't do as well, but the guppies and mollies should be fine.

Vice versa too. If the well water is very soft and has a low pH (below 7.0), the guppies and mollies won't do very well.

---------------
Poor water quality (ammonia, nitrite or high nitrate) is the biggest killer of fish. Having a healthy biological filter and doing big regular water changes usually help to keep fish happy and healthy. However, newly purchased fish can bring diseases into the aquarium. To prevent this you should quarantine all new fish, plants and shrimp for at least 2 (preferably 4) weeks before adding them to an established tank.

A quarantine tank can be a small aquarium or plastic storage container that houses the new fish until they have been cleared of carrying any diseases. They usually have a thin layer of sand or gravel on the bottom, a small filter, heater, some plastic plants and a cover.

You don't have to quarantine new fish but there is a good chance diseases will get introduced into the main tank if you don't quarantine them. Then you have to treat the main tank.
 
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BlueMeanieBettaFish

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You need to get the well water tested for everything you can to make sure there is no ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate or any chemical run off in it. Pet shops can test some of these and a specialist lab is required for chemical run off. Find out the GH, KH and pH of the well water too.

---------------
Ammonia and nitrite levels should be 0ppm at all times. A healthy biological filter should do this without any problems.

Nitrate should be as close to 0ppm as possible and kept under 20ppm at all times. You keep nitrates down by doing regular water changes. I recommend doing a 75% water change each week but if the tank only has a few fish you can do a 50% each week or even each fortnight.

--------------
Well water can be stagnant and have no oxygen in. When using well water, you should aerated the water for 30 minutes before adding it to the tank. This will get the dissolved gasses back to normal levels in the water.

You should also check the well water at least once a month to make sure it has 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate and monitor the pH. Keep a diary for this because well water can vary throughout the year depending on rainfall and local conditions (farming, mining, etc).

Make sure you use a clean bucket for the fish and never use a bucket that has had household cleaning products in.

--------------
New filters should not be cleaned for the first 6-8 weeks because you can upset the beneficial filter bacteria and mess up the cycle. However, established filters should be cleaned at least once a month and every 2 weeks is great.

Wash the filter media/ materials in a bucket of tank water and re-use the media. Tip the bucket of dirty water on the garden/ lawn.

If you have filter pads/ cartridges, they can be squeezed out in a bucket of tank water too and then re-used. Only replace filter media if it starts to fall apart.

If you do have cartridges, you can usually add sponges to the filter with the cartridge. After a few months the sponge will have good bacteria on and you can then throw out the filter cartridge when it starts to fall apart.

Sponges are available for lots of different brands of filter. I use AquaClear sponges but there are heaps of other brands. Find a filter sponge and use a pair of scissors to cut it to size and put it in the filter with the other media. Sponges get washed in a bucket of tank water and re-used, and they will last 10+ years.

---------------
Tetras and Corydoras normally come from water with a GH below 150ppm and a pH below 7.0.
Guppies come from water with a GH above 200ppm and a pH above 7.0.
Mollies come from water with a GH above 250ppm and a pH above 7.0.

If your well water is hard and has lots of minerals in, and has a high pH (above 7.5), the tetras and Corydoras won't do as well, but the guppies and mollies should be fine.

Vice versa too. If the well water is very soft and has a low pH (below 7.0), the guppies and mollies won't do very well.

---------------
Poor water quality (ammonia, nitrite or high nitrate) is the biggest killer of fish. Having a healthy biological filter and doing big regular water changes usually help to keep fish happy and healthy. However, newly purchased fish can bring diseases into the aquarium. To prevent this you should quarantine all new fish, plants and shrimp for at least 2 (preferably 4) weeks before adding them to an established tank.

A quarantine tank can be a small aquarium or plastic storage container that houses the new fish until they have been cleared of carrying any diseases. They usually have a thin layer of sand or gravel on the bottom, a small filter, heater, some plastic plants and a cover.

You don't have to quarantine new fish but there is a good chance diseases will get introduced into the main tank if you don't quarantine them. Then you have to treat the main tank.
I've heard of Drip acclimating fish, is this good to do? I know it's bad practice to add fish directly to the tank, also, I do change my filters once a month, however I did not know about the sponges, I'll have to get on that when I get it set up again, also, emptying 75% of a 65gl fish tank a week? How would one go about that? Not to mention filling it back up...That's the one thing I was a big victim of with this tank, its size. I love it, I took care of it but I never changed the water, I didnt know how to go about it really, also, food, is it really okay to feed them frozen brine shrimp and just fish flakes? I know bottom swimmers need algae wafers and such aswell, and, as for the water I'll get it checked asap, it's good to know I can't exactly put these fish together if the water isnt right, I always just assumed "Its water, its okay theyll all be fine" guess I'll have to do in store research on which fish I can get... it cant really be this complicated can it?
 

Colin_T

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When you add new fish to an aquarium, float the bag for about 30 minutes. While the bag is floating, add 1/2 cup of tank water to the bag every 5 minutes. After 30 minutes, pour the bag of fish into the tank.

If you think there might be a difference in water chemistry between the shop tanks and your tank, ask the shop to check their pH and GH before you buy any fish. Compare their GH and pH to your tank water and if there is a noticeable difference, then either avoid getting those fish, or put them into a spare tank with some water from the shop, and slowly add tank water to the container and double the volume of water over a couple of weeks. When the pH and GH are the same as yours, then move the fish into the main tank.

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The easiest way to gravel clean big tanks is with a home made gravel cleaner.
Get a 1, 1.5 or 2 litre plastic drink bottle.
Cut the bottom off the bottle and throw the bottom bit away.
Remove the cap and plastic ring form the top and throw those 2 bits away.
Put one end of a garden hose in the top of the bottle and run hose out onto the lawn.

To use the gravel cleaner, put the plastic bottle in the aquarium and start syphoning water out the garden hose. Push the bottle into the substrate and lift it up. The gravel will circulate in the bottle and drop back down but the gunk will be drawn out with some of the tank.

Move the bottle across a few inches and push it into the gravel and lift it up. Repeat the process until you have cleaned the substrate and drained out 50-75% of the tank water.

If you only manage to gravel clean half of the substrate, that is fine. Just do the other half the following week.

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To fill up a big tank after a gravel clean, use a couple of big plastic storage containers, a small water pump, some plastic hose, and a U made out of pvc or black irrigation pipe.

Get a large clean plastic storage container or wheelie bin and put it near the aquarium. Fill it with tap water. You can use a garden hose to fill the container with tap water, just turn the tap on and run water through the hose for a couple of minutes before filling the container. I normally water the garden to flush out the hose and then fill the water containers.

When the container is full of tap water put an airstone in it and let it bubble away while you do the gravel cleaning.

Get an aquarium water pump like an AquaClear 802 powerhead, or something similar and put a length of clear plastic hose on the outlet of the pump. Have enough hose so the pump can remain at the bottom of the container and the other end of the hose easily reaches the top of the aquarium. If in doubt, have extra hose, you can shorten it later if necessary.

Make a U shape from pvc pipe or black irrigation pipe. Use 2 x 90 degree corners and 3 pieces of straight tube/ pipe.

Put the end of the plastic hose on one end of the pvc U and hang the U over the edge of the tank.

Have the pump in the water container and turn it on. The water gets pumped out of the storage container, up the plastic hose and into the tank.

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Fish should get a variety of different foods ranging from dry flake or pellets, to frozen (but defrosted) and even live foods. Flake with a bit of live or frozen brineshrimp is ok but more variety helps.
 

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