Sister has NEVER changed her water!!!

HeyB

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So I’m new here I created my account so I could post this.

I’ve been in the hobby for about 3 years now and am currently cycling a new tank for some cherry shrimp. I was talking to my sister about getting a bigger tank for her goldfish (carnival goldfish in a 7gal by himself) and then I find out she has NEVER changed his water. She only tops it off when it gets low and puts a new filter in her HOB every few weeks. Also she only used a dechlorinator once when she first filled the tank and this was 3 YEARS ago! HOW is this fish still alive. I feel so bad for him. I’m going to get her a 15gal maybe a 20 if I can talk her into it and bring her an api test kit and a bottle of prime and stability. I hope she will take it more seriously after explaining everything to her. But how are his gills still functioning?! He seems happy every time I see him I don’t understand.
 

FishFinatic77

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Oh my god, I can't believe that fish is still alive! Like you said, get her a bigger tank, a test kit, prime and stability, also get her a gravel vacuum. Maybe you could find her a book on how to take care of fish and walk her through all the important points. Teach her how to perform a water change and how to properly change out a filter cartridge. Maybe you could even buy some filter sponge and poly fiber to replace the cartridge. It's really great that you are helping your sister's fish, and maybe, once your sister learns more about aquarium maintenance, she will enjoy the hobby more. Good luck!
 

Colin_T

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Hi and welcome to the forum :)

The fish is a tough one.

Before you change the fish tank over, you should do small partial water changes to dilute the nutrients in the water and to reduce the shock that will occur if you move the fish into new water.

Do a 10% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a week. Then do 20% each day for a week. Then do a 30% water change each day for a week. Then move the fish into a new tank. Gravel clean the gravel each time you do a water change.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

If you take the fish from dirty water and put it in clean water, you can cause the fish to go into shock and suffer from acidosis or alkalosis and the fish can die. The small daily water changes will slowly dilute the nutrients in the water and allow the fish to get use to clean water over a period of time.

Gravel cleaning part of the substrate each day will remove rotting organic matter in the gravel and reduce the chance of anything bad being released from the gravel. It will also make it cleaner when it comes to moving the fish into the new tank.
 

Fishmanic

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One great thing you can do to help her properly take care of her tank is to get her to join our forum. We’ll straighten her out ;)
 

Jan Cavalieri

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The last time I was at a PetSmart and Petco there was a guy that seemed to be on the same quest - we each ended up at each store at about the same time. Both times he just took over the only sales associate there and I couldn't get any help at either store.

Anyway at each store he confessed to having a "large" aquarium and had never changed the water since he set it up a number of years ago. He swears he's never had any deaths (how would he know?) He wasn't sure how many fish he had because the water was so dark. Shock on the part of each sales person who did their best to provide explanation on the proper care of fish and their tanks. He just said "nah I'm too busy". At PetSmart he actually bought two very inexpensive fish (poor things) - by that time I was running out of time on my oxygen tank and needed to get home. (this is why I shop online LOL)

If he really is telling the truth and his fish have survived this type of torture it is amazing. The will to survive I guess.

Sometimes I do think we scare off people on this forum with insistence on "75% water changes weekly" - which to me is no big deal if I had a single tank but takes 4 afternoons out of my week with 4 tanks, not to mention the daily maintenance of unclogging filter, water testing, caring for a sick fish etc. I try to follow the advice on this forum nearly 100% and do achieve that 75% of weekly water changes - even when I was ill and I test on any day I'm not changing water.

Anyway - it just makes me wonder how much all this cleaning and water changing really contributes to the health of my fish considering that no matter what I do I continue to have relative high ammonia/ammonium readings (.25-8.00) - I keep adding more and more bottles of supposed bacteria, and organic and chemical items that are supposed to improve your water and lower ammonia - and while that has helped, besides being very expensive, it hasn't really been that successful. Sometimes I feel the bacteria just hate me.

There are fish keepers on this forum that, by their own admission, don't do the intensive maintenance on their tanks that I do yet have perfect water conditions - where am I going wrong? Can there be too much obsession?
 

Colin_T

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Jan, have you changed fish food yet or are you still using the same food?

Do you have any live plants in the tank?
If not, add some floating plants like water sprite and duck weed.

What sort of filters are on the tanks and how often do you clean them?
And how do you clean them?

Have you tried fasting the fish for a few days to see if the ammonia level comes down when there is no food going into the tank?
 
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