Click on a
topic below to see our archived questions:
High PH Level
Gulping & Temperature
Bubble Eyed Goldfish Popped
Bala Shark Aggression
Sunset Gourami Stiff
Saltwater Set-Up Problems - Cloudy water
Bala Shark vs Algae Eater
Your veterinarian should be your first source of care and
information. As with all medical cases, check with your veterinarian
changing any medical treatments. This information is meant as a resource,
not as a treatment, diagnosis or replacement of veterinary advice.
Bala Shark vs Algae Eater -
One of our visitors wanted
to know why their algae eaters keep dying and if the other tank mates, bala
sharks, could have anything to do with their demise. First, water quality
and overstocking is usually the culprit. Your local fish store can do water
testing to see if you have any water quality issues. Next, keeping bala
sharks requires a tank over 100 gallons because they get very large. Balas
are also algae and plant eaters...both balas and algae eaters are probably
competing for the same food and there may not be enough to go around. No,
the bala sharks are not eating them...balas are a community fish meaning
they get along with others.
If you have siamese or
chinese algae eaters...try switching to plecostomus (plecos) which are
mostly bottom algae feeders. The siamese, chinese algae eaters eat the hair
algae on plants which is also what balas like to feed on.
Saltwater Set-Up - I
had a little saltwater problem for you. I dont know where else to look. I set up
a 29 gallon saltwater tank about a month ago. There are no fish in it yet,
because I have a strange white cloud in the water. The salinity is ok the filter
is working well and everything that is in the tank was store bought and rinsed
offf throughly before being put into the aquarium. I dont know what else it
could be. Should I drain the tank off and start again? Could it be the salt
that I used?please reply asap!!
anything in the tank for a month you have not established the necessary
healthy bacteria which help to keep the water clean. You basically have a
sterile environment which needs to be brought to life. The first thing we
recommend is doing a 1/2 water change, then add several inexpensive damsels
to the tank to help establish the nitrogen cycle. The cloudiness can be
cleared up by adding carbon to your filter and water clarifier.
Below is information on
the nitrogen cycle:
The Nitrogen Cycle
– When you first set-up your aquarium, you will basically have a sterile
environment. Fish waste and excess
food that sinks to the bottom create ammonia that is very toxic to fish.
Bacteria (nitrosomas) begin to build-up and converts ammonia into nitrite.
This process takes about 2 weeks.
Nitrite is also toxic to fish, but a second bacteria (nitrobacteria)
comes to the rescue and converts the nitrite to nitrate.
This process again takes about 2 weeks.
After 2 weeks, you should have no ammonia and no nitrites left in your
tank. The nitrate is less toxic to
your fish. This is where you come
in… You must change the water to
remove the excess nitrate that is toxic if it is allowed to build-up in the
water. The nitrosomas bacteria are
necessary to reduce toxic waste build-up in your aquarium.
When you completely clean your tank, the bacteria are destroyed.
Therefore, you should do partial water changes every 3-4 weeks or as
the test kit reveals a build-up of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
Only do a complete overhaul on your tank about every year or year and a
Cloudy Water - I have
a problem with my tank 55 gallon. The water keeps turning cloudy.
The people at the pet store told DC water is to hard and we have a lot of
metal in or water that's why it cloudy. I had ten of my cichlids die on my IM
down to only two. A friend told me to buy bottled water a fill my tank up. What
would you do.P.S. I tested the water on 8/9/01 my nitrite was 0.0 and
ammonia was 2.0 and the wide range pH was 8.2 now 8/31/01 nitrite level was way
above 4.0 that is as high as my chart goes ammonia 4.0 and pH was 7.0 ?
Response - Metals in the
water have nothing to do with the water quality or cloudiness. Over
feeding is generally the number one cause of cloudy water. Since you
have cichlids the pH should be above 7.0 (alkaline see description below) to
around 8.2. Cichlids actually do best in hard water or alkaline water
(which it sounds like DC has). Cichlids are dirty fish meaning that they
produce a large amount of waste product. I am assuming this is a fairly
tank....When you started on 8/9, the waste product had not yet had a chance
to go through the nitrogen cycle....then by 8/31 the waste had run its
course and polluted the water, killing your fish. Ten cichlids in the tank
may have been too many to start out with (also depending on their size).
How to cure the problem: We recommend you change the water at least 1/2 or
more and vaccum the gravel. Next, feed once per day only as much as they
will eat in one minute.
The Nitrogen Cycle - When you first set-up your aquarium, you will basically
have a sterile environment. Fish waste and excess food that sinks to the
bottom create ammonia that is very toxic to fish. Bacteria (nitrosomas)
begin to build-up and converts ammonia into nitrite. This process takes
about 2 weeks. Nitrite is also toxic to fish, but a second bacteria
(nitrobacteria) comes to the rescue and converts the nitrite to nitrate.
This process again takes about 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, you should have no
ammonia and no nitrites left in your tank. The nitrate is less toxic to
your fish. This is where you come in. You must change the water to
the excess nitrate that is toxic if it is allowed to build-up in the water.
The nitrosomas bacteria are necessary to reduce toxic waste build-up in your
aquarium. When you completely clean your tank, the bacteria are destroyed.
Therefore, you should do partial water changes every 3-4 weeks or as the
test kit reveals a build-up of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Only do a
complete overhaul on your tank about every year or year and a half.
pH is the measure of acidity of water. A pH reading of 7.0 is neutral. A pH
higher than 7.0 is alkaline, and a pH lower than 7.0 is acidic. To keep
marine fish, invertebrates and African cichlids healthy and colorful, it is
necessary to maintain a stable pH in the proper range. Marine fish,
invertebrates, and African cichlids require a pH of 8.2.
Follow-up - No, I had my
tank and cichlids for four years. This problem started up on
8/2/01 the water was clear then each day after that it started to get
cloud I found six snails at the bottom of the tank so I clean the tank out and
filled it back up and let it run for a week with nothing in it the water was
clear. I put my fish back in three days later it started getting cloudy again. I
had four groups of baby fish in this tank along with the fourteen other fish
it was like every time I gave away half of the babes new ones would pop up.
the adult fish rang from 3" to 4" and the water never got cloudy. I told the
people at the pet store I clean my tank every month they told me I was
cleaning it too much I should clean it no more than every six month
because I was running a power head and a 150 filter. IM going to do what you
and get another test kit and start over. I thank you for you help.
Response - I sent your
email to our fish expert and this was her response:
Sounds to me like he had the tank set up for 4 years and after finding the
snails, cleaned it completely out and let it run empty for a week....
correct? Basically this is like starting over. By cleaning it throughly
killed of whatever beneficial bacteria was living in the tank, thus starting
the biological cycle over from scratch. That is why he was having the
ammonia spike. As far as the cloudiness, it could be from a number of
things... it should take care of itself in time as long as it dosen't seem
toxic. But in this case that he started over, (biologically), he does have
too many fish in an essencially new tank. Tell him to use a bacteria culture
like "Biozyme" in the tank. This will help the cycle get started again. Have
him keep feeding to an absolute minimum and keep testing his water
regularly. Please tell him that he was NOT changing his water too often! Once a
or so is good! The store that told him to do it every 6 months is crazy,
especially with cichlids because they are so dirty. The best way to tell
when the water needs changing, is by reading the test kits. When then
Nitrates, Ammonia or Nitrites are high, change it! Weather its every two
weeks or two months.
Sunset Gourami Stiff -
Hi, I have a 30 Gallon tank that contains four Angels, two Cordata
Catfish, two Chinese Algae Eaters, and two Sunset Gouramies. One of my
has changed to a dark gray/brown color on his underside and from the mouth to
just above the eyes. The Gourami is also not eating and moves as though
he is "stiff". I have called several local pet stores and no one seems to
know what is wrong. Have you seen this symptom before or do you know what
is. The other fish in the tank, including the other Gourami, are eating and
moving just fine. Help!
Response - Our suggestions would be that your Gourami is either suffering from
fish tuberculosis or you have a water problem. Tuberculosis in fish has
of bending, stiffening, not eating, etc. Your other fish in the tank have
been exposed to this problem and should be treated too. There is a product
called Isonex which can treat Tuberculosis. A full-spectrum antibiotic
should also work well. Check for it at your local pet store.
Most pet stores offer free water sample testing. Any water problems can
cause stress in fish which makes them more susceptible to disease. Please
bring in a water sample to your local pet store and see if they can
determine an inbalance in water.
Bala Sharks Aggression -
I have purchased two sharks from the same tank. They have been in my tank
for approximately 2 weeks. However, they are fighting. There fins
been chewed...do you know why? And what I can do to make them happy?
Response - I am surprised
to hear that your bala sharks are fighting...they are
normally not aggressive especially towards their own. How big is their
tank? Bala sharks grow quite large (10 to 12 inches) and require at least
30 gallon tank minimum. If you have a smaller tank, it may be too small.
Do they have other tank mates that may be the culprits? If not, provide
more hiding places such as plants and rocks.
Bubble Eyed Goldfish Popped
- My bubble eye goldfish appears to have burst one of the fluid filled bubbles
under one eye. This is now partially deflated and black (bruised?). Can I do
anything to help? Regards, J.Sage
Goldfish Response -
There is not much to be done
and it will heal by itself. However, it probably will never bubble up
again. It is a good idea to add a little salt to the water to help your
goldfish keep a protective coating over the affected area. Generally salt
is added at a teaspoon per 5 gallons. Keep an eye on the affected area to
be sure no fungus or bacteria is developing. Since your goldfish is under
stress due to the injury, it may be more susceptible to disease.
If you have not already done
so, remove any sharp objects and and other fish (separate the goldfish) that
may cause more injury.
Fish Gills -
Does the fish breath from it's
gills or mouth? I
am getting different answers. I think it's the mouth and I'm not sure.
- A fish breathes through gills located on either side of the head. The gills
are made up of tiny threadlike filaments. When the fish opens its mouth,
water rushes in and the oxygen is pulled out through the blood vessels in
these filaments. Technically, a fish breathes with its gills but
mouth to send the water rushing over the gills to extract the oxygen. That
is why you see fish opening and closing their mouths. This action is like
siphon to send the water over the gills. The gills do not pump the water
but merely act as a filter for oxygen.
I hope this clears up your questions. Good luck on your report.
Gulping and Temperature -
i AM doing a science project and
I have a ? IT is does the temperature of
the water affect the rate of the fishes gulping? well don't give me the
answer but can u give me a little information on it thanks I am in 6th grade
Thanks for your
question. Here are some helpful links that provide the
information you are looking for. There can be several reasons a fish gulps
air. Most fish can be seen gulping air when their water quality is very
poor and does not provide enough oxygen. Some fish have an organ called a
labyrinth (such as the Gouramis and Bettas) which can be used in addition to
their gills when there is a lack of oxygen and it is used to process the air
similar to a lung. A fish with a labyrinth can be seen gulping air.
fish gulp air to fill their air bladders used for buoyancy. The
of the water also plays a role in the overall water quality.
(fish health and water
Hope these links help you find the info you need, Debra
August 5, 2000 -
- I bought 2 small
goldfish a few days ago and i noticed that they were
gulping at the top of the water because of the ammonia.i keep them in a bowl and
can find no info anywhere that tells you how to keep them up.well i got
some medicine to take out the chloramine,ammonia and chlorine because i use
distilled water bought at stores.can you give me tips on how to keep them
happy? they may need oxygen and i dont know how to give them it so if you
know of something could you please give me tips.please send as soon as
possible!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i feel so bad for them!!!!!!!!!!
August 5, 2000 -
Goldfish Response -
I am assuming you are refering to feeder goldfish...they are gulping for air
because they need some oxygen. If you are planning on keeping them in a
goldfish bowl, at the very least you should buy a pump. A simple air stone
with a pump will be sufficient to supply oxygen. You started in the right
direction with your chlorine remover. Fish will die without a chlorine
remover. However, to remove the build-up of ammonia and nitrates, all that
is required are frequent water changes (when water gets cloudy and dirty,
usually about 2x per week). Goldfish bowls rarely require undergravel
filters. Usually tanks 10 gallons or above require undergravel filters or
some other type of filtration system to keep them healthy. To keep water
quality longer, feed your goldfish only what they can eat in 5 minutes. To
much food makes that water quality poor.
Below are links to our basic tank care and advanced tips for further
Let us know if you have any further questions,
July 10, 2000 - Aquarium High PH - My girlfriend has an aquarium and the PH is constantly
on the rise. I was wondering if you had any hints as to why? Thank you,
July 10, 2000 -
Aquarium High PH Response -
This is a common questions for fish enthusiasts, you are not alone. It is
a struggle to find the right combination to keep our fish healthy. You do
not say whether you have a saltwater or freshwater aquarium. I will
assume you have a freshwater aquarium because a saltwater aquarium usually
requires a higher PH in the range of 8.0+ as opposed to freshwater which should
be around 7.0. PH is a test for the acidity or alkalinity of the water.
Acidic is low PH and Alkaline is high PH. The culprit for high PH
can usually be attributed to hard water or some type of decoration in the tank
such as rocks and gravel. There are two very easy tests to determine which
is the culprit.
local pet store can supply you with a test for checking for hard water. If
this test is positive, you will need to add a water softener to your tank.
Hard water essentially means you have lots of minerals in the water which causes
the water to have high PH.
2. If hard water
is not the problem, then take your rocks and/or some gravel out of the tank.
Let them dry and pour vinegar on them. If they start to bubble, then your rocks
and/or gravel are the culprit. This bubbling action indicates that the
rocks and/or gravel breakdown in the water releasing minerals and causing the
high PH. Generally, porous rocks can cause a high PH. If your rocks
and/or gravel are the problem, ask your local pet store to recommend a good
replacement that is less porous. Be sure to completely rinse your rocks and
gravel free of vinegar before replacing them in the tank.
It is also
important to know what type of PH your fish prefer. If you continue to
have a problem with the PH level, keep in mind that live bearers such as
guppies, mollies and platys prefer a higher PH. Also consider African
Cichlids and brackish water fish.
Let us know if
the information we have provided has been helpful. We love to hear
June 24, 2000 - Aquarium Building -
Do you have any info on building my own salt water
Aquarium I was thinking of doing 2 110 gal. and connecting them with glass tubes
but I need some books or tips or something that will help. Thank you,
June 24, 2000 -
Aquarium Building Response -
What a great idea! Your design sounds fascinating but keep in mind that it
may be hard to keep clean and well circulated. Investigate the best ways
to pump and filter such a system. Below are some resources you may find
(has specific building
If you live near
a Rain Forest Cafe Restaurant (South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, CA and many
others), check out their aquariums and find out who takes care of them.
They would probably love to answer your questions. Try your local aquarium
for additional resources.
Please send us a
picture of the tank when you are completed. We would love to see what it