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Welcome to our page. I have been keeping marine and fresh water aquariums for over 20 years off and on. We try to provide lots of up to date articles on maintaining an aquarium. We also have many awesome links on the right side bar to all things both Fresh Water and Salt Water Aquarium related. Things like Medicines, diagnosis charts, Fish Identification Databases, DIY Projects, Just to name a few. Quick Links to our tank Journals there as well.

Around here we like Salt Water Aquariums just as much as Fresh water aquariums. We don't mind although they must be "OddBall", "Predatory", or "Monster" Fish and when they are all three we are most happy!! So stay a while, poke around a bit and look through our collection of Angler Fish, Bala Sharks, Snoflake Eel, Plecostomos, Spotted Gar, Volitans Lion Fish, Polypterus, Damsels, and many assorted others...

We will be posting comments and pics here all related to keeping our fish. We hope you enjoy your visit.

Any posts I copy from another site will include the URL I got it from and the person who posted it. I don't just post links because often sites disappear and leave you with dead links. If you find one of your posts on these pages and wish to amend it or have it removed completely please just comment on the post and include your contact information and I will be glad to assist you in your wishes.

Enjoy our tanks!!!

Links to tank Journals (CLICK LINKS BELOW):

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Stocking large fish and Non Custom tank sizes

Stocking Large fish and Non Custom tank sizes 

I see a lot of people with different fish in different size tanks. Its a common question for newcomers to ask how to decide what tank can hold what size fish.  I don't feel it is my place to tell people what fish they keep in what tank. In reality if you were to ask me what size cage I would prefer to spend my entire life in, I would obviously say none at  That's not entirely true either because for now at least we are all confined to the planet earth.  Even in their natural environment the domain of any species of  fish is finite.  Our modest accommodations for our pet fish are tolerable at best. Before we condemn others for what they choose to keep their fish in we must also realize even a 10,000 gallon aquarium is as a mere "shot glass" compared to the body of water most fish naturally come from.

That having been said, from a humanitarian perspective when asked how large a tank one should have for any fish my thought is as large as you can afford and accommodate.  That isn't always practical so there are some minimum sizes that a fish can tolerate without exhibiting negative behavior or health issues.  My purpose of this article is to provide the hobbyist with the framework to make the best decision that suits their situation.

I often see veteran hobbyists quoting the adult size of a fish for their recommendations on tank size.  I agree as a final quarters for a fish it is important , I also strongly believe one should consider the final adult size of a fish before they buy it or try to get a tank for it.  My feelings on this topic differ from the common views in only one way.  Although a fish may become a foot or even longer as an adult many of the fish that reach such sizes are slower growing as they get older. Most fish older then juveniles come from trade-in's or auctions, or private hobbyists.  A very small percentage of non juvenile Fresh Water fish come from wild caught.  This means that if a hobbyist wants an adult or medium sized fish they must raise it from juvenile or buy one from a trade-in or private hobbyist.  Those fish would not exist in the market if it were not for people who buy them and raise them till they reach the limits of their tank and then sell or trade them.  For these reasons when I see someone who wants to get a fish that gets larger than the tank they currently own I'm ok with this concept as long as they are aware of the final size of the fish and know they will have to eventually either sell the fish or get a larger tank.  So it is in this spirit that I offer information on:
"Stocking large fish and Non Custom tank sizes".
The general "Golden Rule" of tank selection is basically that "longer and wider is better than taller".   This has mostly to do with the fact that air enters the water through the surface area (the place where the air meets the water) of the tank.  It is a common myth that the bubbles rising in a tank from an air stone actually add air to the tank water.  The truth is they only add air because they stir the surface which effectively exposes more water molecules to the surface which is the only place they can dissolve oxygen.  In the short time it takes a air bubble to reach the top of the water there is really very little of it (so minute that it really doesn't effect anything) gets dissolved into the aquarium.  We can achieve the same or even better levels of "D.O." (dissolved oxygen) in our aquarium by simply agitating the surface of the tank with the return from our filtration.  Many advanced hobbyist (knowing this fact) don't even own air stones or air pumps.  So this is why it is better to have a tank that is as long and wide as possible.  Since this allows the water to continually acquire as much oxygen as possible naturally without agitation of the surface.  Additional considerations include: Swimming room for the fish you intend to keep, the different strata (areas) of the tank that fish inhabit.

When it comes to recommending tank sizes for large fish, we often find even the advanced hobbyists advising people to get a minimum of 200 gallon tanks etc.  This is really not completely accurate.  As you read on you will notice that there are very specific tank sizes that yield progressive improvements in width and length of aquariums and for the most part most increases in tank volume is just a matter of the manufacturer making the tank taller.  Taller tanks are of little value in giving a fish more room to swim.

Tank Size::
There are basically 5 important aspects of an aquarium.  They are listed in the order of importance:

The above link is a very good representation of the standard (Non Custom) tank sizes available in the industry.
Lets look at how aquarium specifications are commonly displayed.  Take for example a 55 gallon tank.
The Specifications are 48" x 12½" x 21" Tall 55 Gallon Glass Aquarium:  The first number is the length of the tank, The second number is the Width also called the depth, the last number is the height.  The word "Tall" in this example is used to make the customer aware that the last number is the height of the tank.   
*NOTE* Aquariums are commonly measured and referred to(Named) by their outside dimensions, we should not be confused by this "Name" to think it is the actual holding Capacity of the tank.  Due to glass thickness and the physics of measuring somthing from the outside versuses the inside the capacity of the tank is always less than what the tank is "Named", In our example above the tank is called a 55 gallon however if we measure the inside dimensions 47 in L x 12 in W x 20 in H we find our 55 gallon tank only holds 48.83117 US gallons of water - This calculation can also be useful when determining the proper dosages of medication or additives to use in an aquarium.
When looking for a home for a large fish the actual dimensions are more important than the total gallons a tank holds.  In fact the first two numbers are very important indeed.

Lets first think about what our goal is. It is to make our fish as comfortable as it is affordable for us to do so within reason. Ok so what is the minimum required to accomplish this goal?  As an  example lets look at housing an Oscar (Astronotus ocellatus)  or perhaps a pair.  they can get up to 15" or more although the most common size of an adult is about 12".  Lets say we have an adult that is 15 " long. that means if we really want to afford this fish the minimum mobility neccessary we should think of the fish as a ball that is 15" in diameter.   Imagine moving that ball around in a fish tank.  This imaginary ball represents our fishes ability to assume any position and not have to bend its body or have parts of its body patruding from the water.

If you notice the dimensions of tanks. When one speaks of large tanks you  will notice there are basically four lengths worth consideration:. 48', 60, 72', and 98". A 48" tank is basically the length of three adult Oscars. That is not really a lot of swimming room.  Basically the minimum acceptable length for a 15" fish  is 72" (even that's only 4 adult Oscars long).

Width AKA: Depth
Now the width a large tank which is typically called the depth varies from 12.5" to 48". An ideal Minimum width for a tank containing a 15" fish  would be 18", this allows the fish room to turn around without having to bend its body.

On our reference chart above The heights of large tanks varies from 17" to 31" .  We should concider the habits of the fish we plan to stock when we look at height.  Here we ask ourselves the following:
What strata of the tank will the different fish we plan on keeping inhabit?  What is the swimming habits of the fish I plan to keep?  In our example of an 15" Oscar we need to make sure out tank is at least 15" in height so that our fish can point straight up and straight down yet still remain in the water.Looking at the available dimensions we would consider 17" the minimum height.

The cheapest choice is Glass.  It is also the heaviest and most resistant to scratches.  The alternative is Plexiglas  which is far lighter more flexible but more susceptible to scratches and considerably more expensive.  an additional advantage is Plexiglas has a refraction index which is much closer to water. this means, there's less distortion when you look through Plexiglas as water than when you look through glass.  You will find it very common for people to say you can easily repair scratches in "Plexi" while this is entirely true it should also be noted that each time you repair a scratch in "Plexi" you will make the area around the scratch appear slightly more "Clear" thus over time you end up with a non uniform view of your fish.

How many fish can go into a tank?

A home aquarium is a balancing act of many factors. Just to name the main few.:
The number, size, and metabolism of the fish you keep,
Surface area of the tank,
Available space in the strata of the tank that the types of fish you keep, inhabit (Bottom, Middle, Top),
Enviornmental stress,
Temperment of fish.
Interrelationships between different species
All of the above plays a huge role in the health and longevity of your fish in a "Home Aquarium."
When you ask people or search online about the capacity of a given tank size. The formulas used to calculate the proper capacity are basically templates to build in a certain level of safety to allow for mishaps and mis- calculations and things that there simply isn't enough time to explain properly to someone who possibly isn't familiar with this balancing act called the home aquarium. As with any "Cookie cutter" formula you can bend the rules. However before you can do so with any hope of success, you need to completely understand the relationships between each of the factors I listed above. You just might find that by the time you do fully understand the above principals you will no longer even want to overstock... - Which is the meaning behind the opening statement, and the reason many people have several tanks. 

As mentioned above the stocking capacity is decided by several factors however two of these factors stand very high on the list.  They are:
D.O. - Disolved Oxygen (Aeration of the water)
Common sense

There are two basic rules for tank capacity. These rules like most rules are designed to be simple and avoid lengthy explanation (and possibly boring new fish keepers like I am of the underlining principles. Giving a new user a simple Semi-fool proof guide to which to go out and succeed.

1) Volume Calculation rule - This is most popular one used due in part to its simplicity in explanation. (1 inch of fish per gallon of water.)

2) Surface Area Calculation rule - You seldom hear of this because it is more complex. (The surface area is calculated by multiplying the width times the length of the tank, the tank can be stocked with one inch of fish for each twelve square inches of surface area.)

Both of these rules assume that the fish are slender common variety and must be adjusted for bulkier/more active fish.

Adjustments to Basic rules:
1) Heavier Fish require 1.5 to 2 gallons of water for every one inch of fish
2) Heavier fish require twenty inches of surface area for every one inch of fish.

Since oxygen for the fish in a fish tank is basically supported by the surface area of the tank. In a fresh water tank both of these rules will cover you provided you have ideal conditions plus or minus a few notches in any one parameter (room temp, water temp and barometric pressure.).

Both of these rules allow for electrical failure under semi-ideal environmental conditions as mentioned above. This is the foundation for avoiding overstocking in which case the surface area of the overstocked tank would not be able to support the oxygen needs of the fish.

Now as hobbyists we like to tip the odds into our favor and agitate the water and stock plants. These things further increase the aeration of the tank.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Understanding the Diagnosis & Treatment of Infectious Disease in Aquatic Animals Part 1

This essay is under construction 

Understanding the Diagnosis & Treatment of Infectious Disease in Aquatic Animals P1

What is a disease? What is an Infectious Disease?   In a fish or a human these terms have the same meaning for all animals.. According to The medical section of "TheFreeDictionary"

Disease /dis·ease/ (dĭ-zēz´) any deviation from or interruption of the normal structure or function of any body part, organ, or system that is manifested by a characteristic set of symptoms and signs and whose etiology, pathology, and prognosis may be known or unknown.

According to the same on-line dictionary:

Infectious disease
An infectious disease is a clinically evident disease resulting from the presence of pathogenic microbial agents, including pathogenic viruses, pathogenic bacteria, fungi, protozoa, multicellular parasites, and aberrant proteins known as prions. These pathogens are able to cause disease in animals and/or plants.
Infectious pathologies are usually qualified as contagious diseases (also called communicable diseases) due to their potentiality of transmission from one person or species to another.[1] Transmission of an infectious disease may occur through one or more of diverse pathways including physical contact with infected individuals. These infecting agents may also be transmitted through liquids, food, body fluids, contaminated objects, airborne inhalation, or through vector-borne spread.[2]
The term infectivity describes the ability of an organism to enter, survive and multiply in the host, while the infectiousness of a disease indicates the comparative ease with which the disease is transmitted to other hosts.[3] An infection however, is not synonymous with an infectious disease, as an infection may not cause important clinical symptoms or impair host function.[2]

Etymology: Gk, symptoma, that which happens
a subjective indication of a disease or a change in condition as perceived by the patient. For example, the halo symptom of glaucoma is seen by the patient as colored rings around a single light source. Many symptoms are accompanied by objective signs, such as pruritus, which is often reported with erythema and a maculopapular eruption on the skin. Some symptoms may be objectively confirmed, such as numbness of a body part, which may be confirmed by absence of response to a pin prick. Primary symptoms are symptoms that are intrinsically associated with a disease. Secondary symptoms are a consequence of illness and disease.

path·o·gen (pth-jn)
An agent that causes disease, especially a living microorganism such as a bacterium, virus, or fungus.

According to

Stressor (stresər)
any stimulus producing mental or physical stress in an organism
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio.
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

I know there is a lot of medical stuff in those definitions but if we just concentrate on the parts we can easily recognize then a layman's definition becomes evident. In cases of  Infectious disease: When animals get sick or act or appear abnormal, these are considered symptoms. Especially when there is an underlying illness suspected as the cause. If these abnormalities can be grouped together into a general set of symptoms associated with an Infectious disease then one is often considered as having that disease.
With fish there is often no laboratory testing to acquire a confirmed diagnoses. Very often the response and/or dissipation of the symptoms to the prescribed treatment is considered confirmation of the presence of the disease.  To put it bluntly we often treat symptoms not the disease itself or the pathogen causing the disease.  Even worse we often don't alleviate or avoid the stressors that brought on the illness in the first place.  So you may ask what does this mean for the health of my fish?

In an aquarium it is our goal to provide an ideal environment for the beneficial bacteria that Process nitrogen compounds so that they do not build up to toxic levels and make our fish sick.  This environment is a double edged sword because there are many other organisms that are banine or harmful that also require the same environment we provide for the beneficial bacteria.

ThijmenJP December 08, 2007 — Aquarium Filter under the Microscope...

Fish like humans are surrounded by pathogens every day.   It is only our immune system (that is the first line of defense) that can ward off these constant attacks to our health.  The immune system of a fish is a delicately balanced system.  It is made up of many components and it is only as strong as the failure or weakening of any one of those components.  It is not the subject of this essay to go into detail on the components of the immune system.  It is however my intent to make you aware of how important its general strength is in the ability of fish to avoid and recover from disease. 

I don't believe like medications I think they should be employed as a last resort.
However many times by the time we notice the symptoms in our fish it is already very late in the game. So I recommend using a phrase that I call "ESOM".
What is ESOM?

ESOM stands for:

Sound Maintainance Practices
Observation and

Lets explore these in more detail.
Environment - As you can see in the movie above there is a lot more in our aquarium water than we often believe there is.  There are many different bacteria (Some useful and some harmful).  There are organisms, proteins, dissolved solids, harmonies, and many many other things the list literally goes on and on.  Then there are things like the size of the tank, comparability with tank mates, Temperature, PH, Nitrogen compounds, aeration.  Believe it or not all of these things play a major role in the strength of the immune system in your fish.  As mentioned earlier a weakened immune system is a likely an open door to Infectious disease.  How do we relieve or avoid these stressors?  Well simple things like not over feeding fish, Changing the water frequently, choosing carefully the tank mates through research and observation can go along way in this effort.

Sound Maintainence Practices - The key word here is Prevention.  For instance it is very important that hobbyist have a Quarantine tank handy for new fish prior to introduction into your main tank. Regularly Scheduled Water changes, a Varied quality diet, Regular monitoring and testing  or water quality (Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, PH, KH),

Observation -  Even if we do all the things listed above sometimes aggression by tank mates or frisky behavior of our fish can lead to injury.  There are also times when things we believe do not matter or may miss can become stressors to our fish.  As mentioned these stressors can lead to disease.  In any of these situations observation is often the difference between such an event being just an event or turning into a disaster.  Fish cant talk.  They can however tell their keeper many things about their physical and emotional health by their behavior.  You must learn to be a "Fish Whisperer".  A hobbyist should learn the natural behavior of their fish.  Things like normal respiration (How many gill pumps per minute) of a fish. and then observe the fish on a regular basis.  Watching for any deviations from normal behavior.  Also taking the time to examine the body, fins , eyes, mouth, gills as well.  When I first got into this hobby and ran into my first few diseases in fish, I thought to myself "Gee Fish are really weak and fragile creatures".  Well as time went on I learned it is actually quite the opposite.  Fish are a lot stronger than we think.  It often appears they are fragile because once the average hobbyist notices the symptoms the fish is presenting it is typically very late in the game and a lot of damage has already been done..  So, remember fish are experts at hiding illness, The earlier you can catch symptoms the better.

Medication - I only recommend medication as the last resort.  Even then it is advisable to start with the least invasive drugs and work your way up.  It is important to not just go into the store and ask what to buy.  Do your research there are many websites that have diagnosis flow charts and picture charts showing what various symptoms look like and the possible diseases associated with them.  Once you feel like you have pinpointed your disease don't just go for the "Elephant Gun"  look up the possible medications you can use and try to make an informed decision on which is best for your situation.  Remember the typical pourpose of most medications is to kill off unwanted life forms that have taken refuge in or on the patients body.  The inherent danger in this endeavor is that the patient is also a living creature and so the medication chosen often has undesirable effects (Side Effects) on the patient as well.  Once again I can not stress the importance of having a quarantine tank and another benefit is it can double as a Hospital tank when not in use.  Believe it or not they are not the same although you can use the same equipment for either purpose. Anyone having more than one or two fish should have what I call a "Fishy First aid Kit".

"Fishy First Aid Kit"

Hospital/Quarantine tank - Must be always at the ready to act as your first line of defense in the event of illness breakout or as a preventative to keep newly purchased fish from infecting your main tank.

A cheap pair of womens pantyhose = (these are very useful to pour water treatment granules (ammo chips, Nitrasorb, charcoal, etc.) into and tie off the ends thus making a filter sock.

Ammo chips - Placing this in the filter can keep you sick fish safe from ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate. while you are medicating.  Since you are removing the ammonia you don't have to worry about itrites and Nitrates
because there is no ammonia to be converted into the latter.

Activated Carbon Granules - Useful for removing certain chemicals from the water.

Household Bleach -  Best general purpose disinfectant

Battery Operated Air Pump - Great for situations where you loose power or need to transport sick fish.

Sponge filter and Air pump - Can be a life saver in situations involving filtration failure.

METHYLENE BLUE -  Effective for lite treatment of bacteria and also as an antidote for poisoning including damage due to nitrogen poisioning (assuming damage is not too far along)This med will nuke your BB!! best not to use it in your main tank. Only use in Hospital tank.

Liquid B complex vitamins - Maintains nervous tissue, energy & metabolism.

Any Preferred Brand of Anti-Bacteria Medicated Fish Food  - Good for initial treatments of many symptoms especially if caught early while fish still has an appetite.

Proper Dosages and use for items listed above:

ERYTHROMYCIN or Maracyn same stuff basically.)
Dosage: 125 mg per 5 gallons of water.
Duration: Every 24 hours.
Procedure: 25% water change before each treatment.
Recommended treatment period: 10 days.
SPECIAL NOTES:Best used as a last resort for stubborn bacterial infections and in cases where pathogen is not positively identified. Very effective to treat "BACTERIAL SEPTICEMIA" (red lines in fins and gills)

 JUNGLE Brand Anti-Bacteria Medicated Fish Food
Dosage: As much as the fish will eat in a 10 second time frame
Duration: Every 12 - 24 hours.
Procedure: Do not use other foods during this 5 to 10-day period.
Recommended treatment period: 5- 10 days.
SPECIAL NOTES:Also effective to treat "BACTERIAL SEPTICEMIA" (red lines in fins and gills)

POTASSIUM PERMANGANATE as Live Plant disinfectant
Dosage: Add just a few grains to a container then add the water. It takes it a little while to dissolve, You want to achieve a dark pink tint to the water
Duration: Soak Plants in solution for 15 to 20 minutes
Procedure: Soak Plants in solution for 15 to 20 minutes. USE GLOVES AND GOGGLES WHEN WORKING WITH THIS CHEMICAL. After soak rinse well with water and dechlorinator mixture. Then rinse again to be safe.
Recommended treatment period: 15-20 Mins
SPECIAL NOTES:THIS IS VERY SERIOUS STUFF. USE GLOVES AND GOGGLES. Do not mix this chemical with anything other than water or dechlorinator as dangerous chemical reactions can occur.

HOUSEHOLD BLEACH as Live Plant disinfectant
Dosage: Mix in a bucket with water to achieve 5% solution
Duration: only complete procedure 1 time.
Procedure: Prepare one bucket of 5% bleach solution and one bucket of dechlorinated water. soak plants in Bleach solution for 2-4 minutes. then promptly remove them and swish around in a (double declorinator dosed) doseddechlorinated water solution - Just to be safe add a few extra drops of dechlorinator while in bucket.
Recommended treatment period: only once.
SPECIAL NOTES:use gloves and glasses or safety goggles when working with chemicals. Use caution bleach can easily kill the plant as well as the bacteria you are after. Some plants are more sensitive then others, IE: Anacharis

HOUSEHOLD BLEACH For Tank & Equiptment disinfection
Dosage: Mix in aquarium or a bucket (whichever applies) with water to achieve 10% solution
Duration: 24 hours
Procedure: soak equipment and all surfaces that contact the water column in bleach solution for 24 hours. Easiest way is to fill tank with solution, place lids and heaters and nets and hoses into tank,and connect filtration and let it run occasionally wiping down surfaces un touched by water.
Recommended treatment period: 24 hours
SPECIAL NOTES:use gloves and glasses or safety goggles when working with chemicals. Make sure you rinse, dechlorinate and repeat several times after treatment

(2) Large bottles of BASIC DECHLORINATOR (the kind with nothing in it but
Dosage: Typically 1 drop per gallon

Dosage: (As water treatment for fish) 2.5 ml of a 2.303% solution per 5 gallons of water.
Duration: Every other day.
Procedure: Complete water changes before each treatment..
Recommended treatment period: 10 days.
SPECIAL NOTES: Effective as an antidote for poisoning including damage (assuming damage is not too far along)This med will nuke your BB!! best not to use it in your main tank. Only use in Hospital tank.

Hospital tank/ Quarantine Tank - Complete with:
- Aeration,
- Heater,
- Filter (a very simple HOB is best, Reason being that you can easily access the filter media area.  When used as a QT tank the Filter should have normal Bio Filtration Media.  When used as a Hospital Tank the media should be replaced with ammonia chips.)
- Size: Should be minimum of 10 gallons (try to get the smallest size that can comfortably house any sick fish or any new fish you may buy.)
a few plastic plants, maybe a cave.  You should however avoid substrate as this tank should be stripped down and disinfected on a regular basis and having gravel makes that process extremely difficult.  If you are one of those people who just cant stand bare bottom tanks then I suggest you try glass marbles or the glass disks (The kind that look like squished marbles).  These are preferred because they are non porous thus they present the least surface area making them almost as easy to disinfect as the tank itself..  The basic rule of thumb here is to avoid any decoration that makes it too easy for the fish to hide.  Also avoid anything that is complicated or delicate as these things can often be very difficult to disinfect.
QT/HOSP. Tank Set Up and usage:

As the name implies the "QT/HOSP.  tank" will have 2 purposes:
1) Quarantine tank - Keep new fish in there for 2-6 weeks (I personally recommend 6 weeks) as needed
2) Hospital tank - Sometimes fish in your main tank or new fish you quarantine will become sick.

Here is the set up for each:
Advance Preparation methods:
A) Keep an extra few filter pads or sponge media stuffed into your filter on your main tank.
- When needed you simply remove the extra media and rinse it thoroughly in a small bucket or container of dechlorinated water (The container only needs to be large enough for you to connect your QT tank filter to it - No larger than that). You then connect the QT tank filter to the bucket or container and let it run for a few hours till the water looks clear. (At this point all of the BB is evenly distributed into the new filter and it is ready for action in the QT tank.
B) Another is to keep am extra sponge filter in your main tank.
- When needed you simply move the filter to the QT tank. *Note* I don't prefer this method because when the filter is finished service in the QT tank you place it back in the main tank and I do not like putting things from the QT tank into my main tank except

Set Up:

1) Quarantine - As a QT tank you will use method A or B to place filtration on the QT tank. and place the newly purchased fish into the QT tank using the drip acclimation method. Let the fish serve their time in QT observing them for illness or odd behavior. when the time is completed and you deem the fish healthy you will place them in the main tank using the drip acclimation method. Once the tank is empty you should sterilize the whole QT tank, filtration and all. And then reset for the next batch.

2) Hospital - As a Hospital tank you will replace the bio filtration with ammo chips (This will keep the tank from having ammonia /nitrite problems while you medicate.). Since it is chemical filtration you you do not have to worry about the adverse effects of antibiotics and similar medications on your Beneficial Bacteria because your filtration does not depend on bio-filtration. Once the fish are returned to health you will change the water and run the tank as a QT tank for about 1-2 weeks to make sure the fish is indeed back to health. While this is going on you can soak the ammo chips in salt water (This recharges them) so that they are ready for the next time. Once fish get clear bill of health you can drip acclimate them back into the main tank. Once the tank is empty you should sterilize the whole HOSP. tank, filtration and all. And then reset for the next batch.

Note on QT/HOSP. Tanks:
*Salt Water QT/Hosp Tank* Exactly the same as for FW however it is very important to always have some extra saltwater ready in case you need to perform any emergency water change or for regular water changes due to medications.  Make sure to monitor the water parameters daily.   Never mix up saltwater and add it right away. Freshly mixed saltwater can be harmful to fish.  For this reason It is a good practice to always have enough premixed saltwater on stand by for water changes and top offs. 
I know it all seems like a lot but trust me if you ever catch a really nasty disease from new fish or if a fish in your main tank ever becomes seriously ill you will really learn to appreciate the above methods. ie: It becomes very "Routine" once you have done it a few times.

Liquid B complex vitamins
Dosage: 1 drop per 2 gallons of water
Duration: once a week
Procedure: leave in till next water change
Recommended treatment period: 10 days.
SPECIAL NOTES: Maintains nervous tissue, energy & metabolism.

Recent trip To Baltimore National Aquarium!!

  Recent trip To Baltimore National Aquarium!!

As part of our Mothers day celebration weekend and as rewards for great work in school by all the kids and also as partial celebration of my youngest child's birthday we recently packed up the whole tribe and went to the Baltimore National Aquarium. It was somewhat of a long drive but it was well worth it and everyone had a BLAST!!

National Aquarium in Baltimore
501 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, Maryland, 21202
Due to the high volume of e-mails we receive we cannot guarantee a timely response. You may want to use our search engine.
* Conservation:
* Education:
* Events Planning:
* Immersion Tours:
* Intern Opportunities:
* Reservations/Group Sales:
* Media and Public Relations:
* Membership:
* Visitor Services:
* Volunteer Office:
* Web Management:
General Aquarium questions may be addressed to:
* 410-576-3800 (daily 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
* TTY/TDD: 410-727-3022
For assistance when purchasing tickets online:
* 410-659-4239 (daily 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Contact the Aquarium in writing at:
National Aquarium
501 E. Pratt Street
Baltimore, Maryland, 21202

We had an awesome time and here are pics from some of the exhibits.

*Note * - I have a strict personal policy of not posting personal pictures of myself or my family publicly to the internet. Thus you may see some reflections and people in the pictures but I assure you before anyone asks none of them are of myself, my family or anyone I Also sorry for the quality of the pics but it was crowded and a lot of the viewing panes were smudged and many of their tanks don't have pristine water conditions (I was surprised at this).

PS It was also a source of great pride to hear my family say Our specimens at home looked better than most of the same species in the I told them "Well they have a lot more fish to care for than we do"...hehehe




Thanx for stopping by.  Hope you enjoyed this post. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

DIY Feeding Bell For Angler Fish

 DIY Feeding Bell For Angler Fish

I have been having a problem getting food to "Blue Eyes" (Hispid Angler Fish)
(Click this link for full information on our 47 Gallon XT SW FOWLR Predator Tank )

Special considerations:
The tank is a "Column" tank which means it is very deep. Most pre made tongs and similar target feeding devices don't come long enough to do the job properly.

Possible solutions:
I thought about:
- A tank divider
- Feeding Stick
- Aquarium Tongs

Just to name a few

While cruising the forums I noticed in one of my favorite forums "" That a lot of the reef tank hobbyists use feeding bells to feed their corals. I went to youtube and noticed some very interesting DIY feeding bells made from soda bottles. Finally I decided to try something of my own and here is what I came up with.

“I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.” -  Nikola Tesla  - Hmm well Nik I agree with ya except the Friends and Love

DIY Angler Fish Feeding Bell

Close Up of the "business end"
Here is how it works.

In Action!!

Blue Eyes didn't like it a whole lot at first (Actually there was a lot of testing before final design- However No Angler Fish were harmed in the making of this photo

Ummm I can't say the same for the feeder fish though...
Ok so anyway they go into the cup.

Add some tank water.

Pour contents of cup into tube

Raise tube above assembly and let water gravity take over

Cover end of tube with mouth and blow - DING>>DING>>DING Dinner is

Once he realized during testing (not pictured in this set of pics) He really didn't mind much being in the bell as he now knows it is his personal dinning

Here is how it was made.

You may notice there is no glue involved in the assembly of this project.  All fittings are pressure fit.  The purpose of this is two fold:
1) No worry of toxins to contaminate water
2) easy assembly and disassemble allows easy cleaning and replacement of warn parts or future upgrades to design.

Here are the tools I used.  You may use other tools that serve the same purpose depending on what you have available.
Starting from left to right:
Serrated Knife
Cordless Drill & Drill Bit that is smaller than the smallest animal you will be feeding to your fish.
Circular Saw


Starting from left to right::
1" PVC Pipe

Quality Clear PVC Tubing
Vinyl Tubing (The soft pliable kind (Those are the little pieces in the bottom middle)
A Hawaiian Punch container (1 Gallon Size)

Drilling and Cutting::

 Drill holes in top region of Hawaiian punch bottle make sure to stay clear of the area you intend to cut the bottle.  I found its easier to drill the wholes while the bottle is in one piece.

Identify the area you want to cut to achieve the height of bell that you desire (Make sure you leave your fish enough head room but not too much or when you put feeders into the bell they will hide at the top.)  Use serrated knife to separate bottle at the area you decided upon.

Finish cutting with scissors and trim as necessary to insure bell sits level on the ground.

Cut PVC pipe to desired length - Make sure it is at least 6" taller than the height of your tank

Measure and cut Quality PVC tubing - Make sure it is 2-3' longer than the PVC pipe.

Cut a 4" length and a 2" length of the soft vinyll tubing.  Then split them both length wise.


Thread PVC Tubing Through PVC Pipe until it is about 2-3 inches longer than the portion you want to have hanging down in the finished Bell.

Wrap Vinyl Tubing around PVC Tubing (Wrap as tightly as possible)

Keep wrapping till assembly fits snug into PVC Pipe.

Stuff Assembly into Pipe.

The goal is to have Vinyl Flush with edge of PVC Pipe Yet Have 1-3 Inch over hang of PVC tubing.

Place remaining piece of Vinyl over PVC Pipe As shown above.

Hold Vinyl in place while forcing the whole assembly into mouth of Bell assembly.

Once properly inserted it will look as above.

Adjust as needed so that it is balanced and can stand on its own and Bingo you have Done it!!

Remember all fittings are secured with pressure only for a reason.  This way should your fish grow or you destroy the bell you can easily replace it.  It also makes cleaning simple.

Enjoy your new toy!!!  Don't forget to comment if you like this.