|New Tank Information|
Putting a fish in a new tank environment immediately is similar to dropping you straight in Antarctica off a helicopter in your normal clothes – you'd go into shock pretty much immediately and be likely to catch a cold even if you were only there for 2 minutes. Transferring a fish correctly will ensure it enjoys a happy life in your tank, so here are a few things to know about fish transfer and general keeping.
Keep the fish out of the sun on the way home – especially if you aren't going home first. When you get home, float the bag in your tank, open the top by removing the rubber band and add a cup of water from your tank to the bag and hang the top of the bag over the front edge of your tank. Allow at least 15 minutes, repeat the cup of water addition, wait another 15 minutes or so and then invert the bag in your aquarium, allowing the fish to swim into your aquarium.
If you don't want to transfer the water, instead of inverting the bag in your tank, pour the bag out through a net, catching the fish and discarding the water. Place the net in your tank and let the fish swim away. Check the bag before discarding it to ensure that a fish hasn’t become trapped in the bag when you tipped them in. Its all about minimising stress on the fish.
Changing water – we recommend 15-20% of tank water to be changed monthly as a minimum. A weekly water change of 10% can be used too - but most hobbyists find a regime themselves that suits their lifestyle and the quantity of fish in their tank - for medium size tanks, a couple of buckets is about right. A gravel siphon and a bucket ensures that you remove the waste products from the aquarium gravel with the water, keeping your tanks nutrient levels down – a good thing! Get them if you don't have them, as these two make maintenance easy and quick – ensuring fish keeping success and enjoyment. We have a tank cleaning kit with everything you need for this available.
Ensure that you've done a few recent water changes before purchasing new fish, as levels of nitrate, phosphate and organic components may have built up over a long time – your fish have grown used to these levels, but new ones from our tanks haven't and this leads to death shortly after introduction, with consequent opinions on our tanks; it's not usually our fault!
Do not clean your tank or bowl out completely after it has been established – unless you are converting its use or have had a tank infection. Never wash out your bowl or tank and the gravel etc “to clean it” – it simply kills your aquarium bacterial system, causing “new tank syndrome” again and again - cloudiness from bacterial growth explosions and fish death when nitrogen waste levels peak due to lack of bacteria to process them. We find this to be the leading preventable cause of goldfish death. Regular partial water changes are the requirement.
Wash your filter media out in water from your aquarium (obviously when you're changing tank water!) – not in water from the tap as the abrupt osmotic and temperature change kills all the bacteria colonies that live in your filter and causes a spike in nitrogen wastes in your tank – which will sometimes take out a fish or two (especially smooth skinned fish like loaches, knife fish etc). The bacterial colonies look like dirt on your media, so don't worry about it being perfectly clean – the bacteria process your fishes' waste, ensuring their continued survival. If starting a tank from scratch, only put 10 neons or two goldfish (or equivalent) in your tank for the first 4 weeks and add slowly from there...this allows your bacterial system to grow to process your fishes waste products. We don't recommend adding catfish or smooth skinned fishes to your tank until at least 8 weeks as they are sensitive to nitrite - it's surprising how many people lose a clown loach after "giving their tank the once-over".
Real plants help….grow some plant in your aquarium, it helps use up the wastes the fish produce and oxygenates the water, and uses up minerals etc that come out of the fish food. They look fantastic too…
A bacterial supplement and a stress product do help in reducing the stress of tank change and tank startup. The bacterial supplement takes up the slack from the new fish introduction and the stress product enhances the fishes skin mucus layer, making it more resistant to infection. Fish die of stresses within their tank and disease is usually secondary to a stress ; most white spot comes after a heater failure or other environmental stress, the fish loses its immunity and then disease takes hold.
Check your pH once a month; as tanks mature, their pH will usually start to drop (more acid). Try to keep your pH between 6.4 and 7.6 as pH change is very hard for fish to adapt to and usually more than 1.0 pH change impacts severely upon fish introduction - another leading cause of fish death. Our tanks run at 6.8-7.3 (excluding certain species like discus and africans etc).
If an oily film is on the surface of your water, it impacts severely on oxygen exchange into the water and should be removed – It's caused by contaminants in air, fats and oils in fish food etc. Get a sheet of newspaper and lay it down evenly on the surface so it floats, then remove. Two or three times should ensure a clean surface for optimal gas exchange. Printer paper works but not nearly as well.
Lighting - Put the tank out of direct sunlight in your room - Very white walls and reflection can cause problems too. try to keep your tank in the darkest corner of your lounge. Lighting - fluorescent bulbs last 12-18 months MAX, they might still work, but their intensity and spectrum are shot. Always replace the starter/choke when replacing a bulb - we sell these too. And buy a timer for your lights - they’re cheap, ensure your fish and plants receive a photoperiod (a day) - start at 8 hours of light per day (2pm to 10pm is a good starting time period) and move from there to control algae and plant growth.
Overfeeding is one of the major causes of fish tank crashes and general problems. Feed as much as your fish will eat in 5 minutes (so there's none left uneaten) per day. Your fish can survive for several days without eating too, so a weekend away or an occasional missed feeding isn't a problem. Maintenance and water changes are proportional to amount of feeding so if you are heavy handed, you'll be changing lots of water!
If all else fails - call or email!!