11.24.2016

Pet Mountain - Review

I feel I have used the website PetMountain.com enough to finally give a fair review of the company.

If you sign up for an account on the site, they do send lots of e-mail advertisements which seemingly look like great deals.. such as "save up to 70% off". Generally they do seem to have pretty decent priced items, however it seems you only get the bigger discounts when you buy the bigger items or those in bulk size. Although I noticed on the site it tells you the % off you get, but if you run the percent-off based off their retail price it seems that it is generally off a bit on their total price (see the image below). So you do have to look at the price they have stated on their site rather than doing your own calculations for the cost. If you continue to crunch the numbers for the rest of their prices they are at times less than the calculations rather than more. If you want, you could contact the company about it but as you continue reading on here I will go into further detail as to why I will not waste my time doing as such.
Click to Enlarge Image
Once you make your purchase on PetMountain it gives you your shipping options and generally I choose whatever the cheapest option is which is a 5-8 business day delivery. Having ordered from this site several times now, I have only received my purchase from them on-time on 1 occasion which was the first time I had ordered from them. Every time since that order, my order has arrived like 2 days or so behind schedule. When this first happened to me, I contacted the company and was hoping to at least be compensated for the delay with a future discount or to be refunded my shipping costs. All I got in response from them was an e-mail stating when it would be arriving and they just treated it as if it was not an issue or something. That definitely was not the response I wanted and it made me question ever doing business with them again. This made me upset because I was waiting for medications for my fish that needed urgent care and time is of the essence when things like that arise. Its been over a year at least since that incident and obviously it is not something they're highly concerned about so, just be warned if you need urgent things from this company.

If you think I'm asking for too much by being upset about the shipping, you have to realize that I have worked for a company for over 10 years doing shipping and receiving, and dealing with items that needed urgent delivery. So at that company I worked for, we definitely pulled strings to make magic happen under similar circumstances. So yes, it does really bother me with this company because that is also like selling a lie to people. If your company can't meet the 5-8 business day shipping policy which your customer paid for, than you need to change you shipping guidelines to 5-14 business days or whatever is actually achievable for your business. How they run a business can also affect a customers business, which in turn can lose them business in the long run.

Those are really my only issues with this company, and like I said I have repurchased from them numerous times, but I do try to find most of my urgent items locally if I can. Otherwise, I know I'm going to have to wait longer than I want to by ordering from this company. They claim to have some "happiness guarantee" on their website so, I suggest you write them if you want these issues resolved as much as I do. My recent order I placed on a Sunday Nov. 13th 2016, my item shipped out Monday on Nov. 14th, and some how the 5-8 business day shipping said my order arrives Nov. 25th for whatever reason.. when it should have came no later than the 23rd which was right before Thanksgiving. On top of that, the tracking numbers they provide don't seem to work for USPS.com which is who they claim to be shipping their things through. Also, if you look at their BBB complaints a few other people have also had similar issues to my own. So overall, order things at your own risk and happy shopping!

9.19.2016

Quarantining New Fish - Tutorial

There are many different ways you can quarantine a new fish, the important part is that you do perform some type of healthy quarantine system so that you don't infect your aquarium with some disease, parasite, fungus, etc. Depending on your aquariums inhabitants your medications may differ, as well as your quarantine setup.

Containment
For smaller fish such as young/small goldfish, I prefer just using a 5-gallon bucket in comparison to setting up an entire tank dedicated to quarantine. If you are someone dealing with lots of new fish regularly, or perhaps you're a breeder/seller then you may want to use a tank as that could be better for your situation. For the average aquarist or those just starting out maybe buying one or two fish at a time then I prefer to just use a 5-gallon bucket, and it's going to be cheaper than getting another tank (plus 5-gallon buckets have many uses in the aquarium hobby). If your entire tank is infected with something, then I would treat the entire tank unless you're dealing with plants and other live creatures that can't handle the medication/s you're going to use in the tank. Also be sure to be mindful of your filter system as certain medications could affect your biological media which in turn can have a negative impact on your aquarium as a whole. Also when medicating it's advised not to use media like carbon as it can remove the benefits of your medication/s. After your treatments have run its course then carbon can help clean up some of that medication, although I prefer doing large water changes over just relying on something like carbon to eliminate everything. I would not add any fabric plants as it can hold bacteria, but you can use plastic plants which are a bit more sanitary and if fish are stressed these may help them feel safer. Also it's more sanitary to not use any substrate, and due to a lack of substrate I would suggest no lighting or very low lighting as the reflective properties from the bottom of the tank could also cause stress.

Filtration
I notice lots of people like to use either sponge filters or power filters when setting up a quarantine, and that's fine for those long term quarantine setups I mentioned earlier, but I often don't find it necessary for people just quarantining one or two smaller fish. The first reason I don't like to use a filter is because it can take a month to have a filter establish in your setup unless you're adding in good bacteria from another tank. That being said, your other tank if not cared for properly could introduce something bad to a new fish. The other reason I don't see using a filter on a QT tank is because a lot of treatments have you dump out your old QT medicated water after 48 hours, which is then followed up with a re-dose of the treatment. So your medicated QT water isn't really sitting around long enough for it to need to get cycled or to where the water is going to experience a surge of nitrite or even a huge loss in oxygen levels, etc. The other reason I don't recommend using a filter on a short term QT setup is because you can infect your filters media, and then you're just shelling out more money to replace those if you plan to use them in your main tank. The only type of filter I would recommend adding to your setup is an airstone because it's not something that will generally hold bacteria, etc. and with a lot of medications you generally need an airstone added so that the medication doesn't suck away all the oxygen from the water and it helps provide water movement which is often more naturally for most fish, just be sure your water current isn't too strong for your type of fish.

Heating
Depending what your fish may be sick with an aquarium heater may be needed, but it may not be necessary. Whether you use a heater or not it's also very handy to have a thermometer to test your water temperatures. When changing or adding new water you want the temperature to match up as closely as possible with the current water temp your inhabitant lives in. If a more than 4-degree F temperature change happens all at once it could in turn shock your fish, thus causing more problems arising, be it something like ich or even death.

Medications
Depending on your type of fish the medication/s you use can vary so, be sure you do some research beforehand and follow the medications guidelines on how to use it properly. For goldfish, most people will use Prazi to treat new fish for parasites. Prazi is short for Praziquantel and you can generally find this in powder or liquid form. Another medication is Metro which is short for Metronidazole which is often used in conjunction with Prazi. A fast acting great item to try with both of these two medications in it is API General Cure as it contains both of these ingredients and is used to eliminate a wide variety of parasites like gill and skin flukes, swollen abdomen, wasting disease, ich, and hole-in-the-head (aka Hexamita). As a side note when using a 5-gallon bucket to QT small fish you can get away with using 1 packet of API General Cure over the course of 4 days to have your fish be parasite free on a budget since 1 whole packet treats 10-gallons of water. If your tap water contains chlorine be sure to purchase a big bottle of water conditioner as well because any time you do a water change you will have to use this, otherwise you risk instantly killing your fish. If you aren't sure if your tap water contains chlorine you can either just choose to purchase a bottle of water conditioner (I like Hikari Ultimate for this) or test your tap water, there should be different ways of doing this available at your local pet store. Often if you're on city water you will probably have chlorine, whereas well-water generally may not. One more medication that is often used is Aquarium Salt, be sure it is for aquariums and not table salt, sea salt, Epsom salt, etc. While I don't find Aquarium Salt to be a miracle worker compared to actual medications it can help with gill function and aids in electrolytes, but I'll let you be the judge on how you feel it works for your aquatic friends. Another medication I would also use for quarantining new fish is Tetracycline or Sulfonamide to eliminate Aeromonas which is often a secondary bacterial issue. API Furan-2 is often used for Aeromonas and I find this treatment best for betta fish as they often arrive in tiny cups which create poor living conditions although any fish can have this issue. Aeromonas is something that can be passed on to humans so it's important to wear waterproof gloves when dealing with fish and their habitats. I also like Melafix, if you have fish with minor fin tears this works pretty fast but it can heal fins too fast which may alter the coloring of the damaged fin/s (which I have seen happen with guppies), and I do feel this works better for small fish varieties rather than goldfish. Also if you have some minor tank smells going on this stuff helps a little bit but it's kind of a temporary fix.

9.11.2016

Remove Water Stains from Walls - Tutorial

This week I came up with a simple tutorial on how to remove water stains from drywall! Although I love my fish and the aquarium hobby, often times water gets splashed onto my walls and once dried I'm left with streaky water stains. If your home suffers from this same scenario or if you just have dirty marks and spots on your walls, then this is a tutorial for you.
What you'll need...
Water
Magic Eraser
Spray Cleaner (I used Windex)
Cloth Rag

With a damp Magic Eraser carefully rub the water stained area of the wall, this will help loosen the muck as Magic Erasers are basically really fine spongy chunks of sandpaper. While the walls are still damp mist on some of the spray cleaner (avoid spraying over fish tanks and near electronics if you use Windex) over the area you just scrubbed (be sure it's a cleaner that won't strip off paint), and wipe off the area with a dry rag. If your water stains have been on your walls for a long time then you may have to repeat this process again another day, but most of it should come off the first time around.

Happy Fish Keeping!

8.07.2016

Where the blogging happens...

As I am getting ready for university life soon I have been creating a more efficient work-space for myself in my fishroom/bedroom. It has been a bit difficult for me to find time to blog lately, but I do tend to post more on my Instagram account (link in the sidebar) if you'd like to see what I have been up to lately. I love being able to look out my window as it just feels more relaxing and open compared to facing a wall, and I can watch the sunset or people going by. I am loving this little office area of mine, and this would probably work well for those in small dorm rooms. My bulky printer is located on the floor under my desk in case you were wondering.
I did intend on getting a new comp chair from TJ Maxx but it had sold out within the week I took to think over the purchase. Luckily, I just found it online at Bed Bath and Beyond and they have their 20% discounts available on there as well. So for about $20 more than TJ Maxx's price I went ahead and ordered the chair (link below). In the mean time, I got this furry white throw blanket (seen above) to put over my current old comp chair.

eBay: goldfish furin
Target: urchin pot (by Threshold)
Dollar Tree: fake succulent (I removed the plastic pot it came in)
Walmart: sketch pad, and bird-feeder window hook (which I painted white)
IKEA: vittsjo laptop table (in white)
TJ Maxx: white lilly and mint candle (by Dickens and Hawthorne).
Homegoods: white furry throw blanket
Etsy: gold diamond pen
Bed Bath and Beyond: lumisource caviar chair (in white)