Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Goldfish Surgery to Improve Buoyancy Problem

I came across an NPR story today while searching for goldfish information. It explains a surgical procedure done on a 4-year-old goldfish who had buoyancy issues.  He was a chronic "sinker", meaning he had a hard time lifting himself off the bottom of the aquarium.  I have had a fish like this in the past, and her issue eventually got so bad that her quality of life had deteriorated considerably, and I had to euthanize her.

Many people have tried various different ways to make slings for sinker goldfish to help keep them more buoyant in the water, but all types of slings eventually cause irritation and chaffing and thus are not good for long-term use.  In this case though, rather than using a sling, a plastic tag was inserted under the fish's skin and a cork was attached to this tag.  This held the goldfish up off the floor of the aquarium so it could once again swim normally (or close to normally at least). 

Apparently a while after the procedure, the plastic tag they used came out of the fish. So they performed the procedure again, but this time using a tag that biologists use to tag wild fish with. I have not heard anything about whether the second try was successful long-term or not.  If it was successful long-term, I think this may possibly be a good alternative to slings which can be irritating.

Here's a link to the story, to listen click the little icon next to the word "listen".
NPR "Fish Medicine"

Here is the goldfish during the procedure.  The tag is being inserted on the dorsum of the fish; next to the dorsal fin.




















This image shows the fish after the procedure.  You can see the cork floating above him, helping him remain upright in the water and stay off the bottom.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Adding Nerites To My Tank

After a happily uneventful 2 week quarantine, I added my nerite snails to the tank!  The goldfish were really curious about them at first, but they leave the snails alone now.  They've already eaten a lot of diatoms and algae off the glass and no escape attempts have been made even though I don't have a cover on my tank.


Here's how my tank looked after letting the algae and diatoms grow freely for 3 weeks!
















Goldfish 101

(Click to see the image larger)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fish Bowls Are FOES!

Fish bowls are foes and here's why!



This video explains exactly why fish bowls make a bad home for a goldfish.  Remember, fish bowls are FOES because...

F - filtration
In a bowl there is no room for filtration, and goldfish require powerful filtration.

O - oxygen
The round shape of bowls means that they have very little surface area compared to their volume.  This causes a lack of oxygen, and goldfish require a lot of oxygen in the water.

E - ethics
Would you keep a dog in a room the size of a small bathroom its entire life?  No?  Then why keep a goldfish in a tiny bowl where it is unable to do any of its natural behaviors?

S - space
Goldfish are not small fish!  They may start out small, but they grow very big very fast!  Such a big fish requires a lot of space.

If this video prevents even just one person from keeping their pet goldfish in a bowl, I will be happy.  Please feel free to share this video anywhere you like to help me promote good goldfish-keeping practices!

The bowl used in this video is a standard 1 gallon fish bowl.  My goldfish make it look tiny!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Goldfish Feeding Regimen

I've been using Repashy Soilent Green gel food as my staple goldfish food ever since first hearing about it a few months ago.  In addition, I have started mixing in frozen bloodworms 2-3 times per week for additional protein.  I also feed Saki-Hikari sinking goldfish pellets 2-3 times per week.  I feed this because it's something I already had and wanted to use up, and also because it's a good high quality food and it never hurts to provide some variety in a goldfish's diet!  













Now you know what I feed, so now what about how much I feed...

I feed Clover, my relatively young and growing ryukin, several times a day.  I'm aiming for about 3% of his body weight, which for him means about 3 grams of food each day.  I'd say he eats about 7-8 cubes of Repashy Soilent Green each day.  I try to only give him 1 or 2 cubes at a time, and space the feedings out as evenly as possible throughout the day.  The cubes are about 1 cm cubed.  In addition, he also occasionally gets the frozen bloodworms and Saki-Hikari pellets mentioned above, but I don't count these towards the goal of 3%.

Callisto, my broadtail ryukin, is a couple years older than Clover and she also has swim-bladder problems.  So I try to feed her a minimum of food to avoid aggravating her swim-bladder function even more.  For her I'm aiming for 1% of her body weight in food each day, which means about 1 gram of food.  She eats only 3-4 cubes of Repashy Soilent Green each day, and she also gets bloodworms and Saki-Hikari a few times a week. 

Through the years my goldfish feeding regimen has continually changed; I think (and hope!) for the better.  I certainly know more about good goldfish nutrition than I did a few years ago, and I'm still learning more each day!  So I'm sure that given enough time, my feeding practices will continue to evolve.  For now this regimen is working great for my fish. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Nerite Snails! (In Quarantine)

I have wanted to get some nerite snails for a long time, and today I finally made it over to the local fish store (LFS) to get a couple!  I originally just wanted to get one snail, but when I got there I couldn't decide between the zebra and the red spot... so I ended up bringing home one of each!  I'm going to quarantine them for 1-2 weeks with daily 100% water changes to flush out any water they're holding in their shells that might contain parasites from the store tanks (eek!).  Then I'll put them in my 75 gallon goldfish tank.


Nerite snails are great for algae control and they won't eat live plants. You need to be careful not to get too many nerites in one tank though because they can run out of algae to eat pretty fast! I chose the larger zebra and red spot snails (as opposed to the smaller horned nerites) because my goldfish are pretty large, and they could easily choke on a horned nerite snail if they tried to eat it.  Nerite snails are also nice because they cannot reproduce in freshwater, so you won't end up with an out-of-control population of snails. They do sometimes produce egg clutches in a freshwater aquarium, but the eggs will not hatch.

Here's a photo of them in their QT bucket.  Aren't they cute?!  I'll post an update once their QT is over and they're in the tank!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Subscriber Giveaway! Seachem, Repashy, and Python Products!

*Edit*  The giveaway has started!  Click on this link for the video:  Subscriber Giveaway!

Tomorrow, Friday October 5th, I'm going to be starting a subscriber giveaway!  I recently reached 500 subscribers, so I want to do this giveaway as a way to thank all of you!  I'll begin the giveaway with a video on my YouTube channel on Friday at 8 pm (central time).  To enter the giveaway, all you'll need to do is be subscribed to my YouTube channel, "like" the video, and leave a comment on the video.  This giveaway will feature some of my favorite goldfish keeping essentials.  These are products that I've been using for years, and that I'd gladly recommend to anyone!  I'm featuring these products in my giveaway because I think they're the best of their kind! The prizes are...
  • a 500ml bottle of Seachem Prime
  • a 4oz. package of Repashy Soilent Green
  • and a 25' Python No Spill Clean and Fill
There will be three randomly selected winners.  The giveaway will end the following Friday (October 12th) also at 8 pm (central time).  Here's a link to my YouTube channel, be sure to stay tuned so you don't miss it!  The video tomorrow will go into more detail about the rules and how to enter.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle




The nitrogen cycle is a common biological process that occurs in nature, and it also occurs in our aquariums.  In aquariums it’s an essential process because it removes toxic waste products and coverts them to a much less toxic form.  The process is performed by bacteria, which we call beneficial bacteria (or BB).  These beneficial bacteria colonize any surface they can in the aquarium and in the filters.  Special types of filter media, called biological media, are designed with as much surface area as possible to provide good places for these bacteria to colonize. 

Ammonia is produced by fish waste, fish respiration, and uneaten fish food.  It’s very toxic to fish, and becomes even more toxic at a higher pH.  Ammonia toxicity causes symptoms like prominent red veins in fins, red splotches on the body, and gasping at the surface.  It’s converted into nitrite by beneficial bacteria called nitrosomonas, so in a cycled aquarium, ammonia should always be zero.

These nitrosomonas produce nitrite.  Nitrite is also very toxic to fish, causing symptoms like gasping at the surface, lethargy, hanging near the surface, and tan or brown gills.  It impedes the ability of the fish’s blood to carry oxygen.  Nitrite is converted into nitrate by beneficial bacteria called nitrobacter, so nitrite should always be zero in a cycled aquarium.

Bacteria called nitrobacter produce nitrate.  Nitrate is much less toxic to fish, but is still harmful in great quantities.  Nitrate toxicity can cause loss of proper swim bladder function and lethargy.  In a cycled aquarium, nitrate will continue to accumulate.  Live plants consume some nitrate, but mostly it is removed by regular water changes.  You should typically not allow the nitrates to go above 20 ppm, but different species of fish have different ranges of nitrate tolerance.