8.18.2017

Treating Eye Cloud

When it comes to "eye cloud" or "cloudy eye" it is said to happen due to a shift in low pH; dietary deficiency (lacking in Vitamin A); bacterial/fungal infection; or the presence of ammonia. Personally, I feel this is more related to a possible bacterial/fungal infection. What I found to work well as a quick remedy is API MelaFix which is used to treat bacterial infections. MelaFix contains tea tree oil which is often used as an antifungal and it also helps to repair damaged fins, ulcers, and open wounds.
Eye Cloud
Eye Cloud looks similar to fogged up water goggles, as it's just a smokey looking film over the fishes eye/s (in the image here you can see my fish Boba with some minor eye cloud appearing). It may be very likely that a fish that gets eye cloud continues to have some reoccurrences of this happening again in the future. Some other remedies I have come across online but not yet tried myself are Tetracycline Hydrochloride; Nitrofurazone; Sodium Sulfathiazole; Sodium Sulfamethazine; Sodium Sulfacetamide; Victoria Green; and Acriflavine. Nitrofurazone is the only medication I'm familiar with using when it comes to goldfish so, I would probably start with that if you're not having luck using MelaFix to clear up the eye cloud as this should clear up in a week.

8.11.2017

Aquarium Updates and DIY's

Lately, I have had a few aquarium mishaps, the first being that I managed to crush my glass intake tube as I was trying to pull it apart from the tubing. That said, there has to be an easier way to separate those two pieces so if anyone has any tips on that please leave me a comment below and let me know as I have yet to see anything on that topic. Luckily, I didn't manage to cut myself as the tube shattered in my hand (I felt as if I was the Hulk that day) and I had kept the plastic intake tube that came with my canister filter originally so I will now have to use that one in the mean time.
Red spots on Ramen - before (top image) and after (bottom image)
For those of you that don't follow me on IG I have lost 2 of my goldfish recently (Pocky and Ramen) due to some red spot/sore problem (as seen in the photo here). The size of these red sore looking spots would range from half an inch in size to smaller dots, and it was not caused by anything hurting them in the tank. Honestly, I probably could've prolonged their lives by not removing them from my main tank and placing them in 5g buckets for treatment but I didn't want to risk further harming my healthier looking fish and after months of trying to remedy this, I figured it was time to let them go (Ramen was basically stuck on her side for a month and began having trouble eating so, I didn't want to prolong that any longer). I'm not even sure what this is as I haven't been able to find many photos in which to identify this. I believe this may be VHS (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia), but I could be wrong as I have never dealt with this before. I tried tons of different medications, etc and I failed with all of them. Whatever this is, it's definitely highly contagious for my goldfish (not sure about other fish as this is just a goldfish tank currently). I noticed when I did my large weekly water changes it often would clear up a bit but over the course of a week it would reappear but the red spots would jump to random places on the body (not really the tail or head area). Sometimes there would be an almost grayish scab that would appear in the center but not always, which you may think is a parasite but I don't believe that was the case (I even dosed with Prazi). Whatever it is I believe to be an internal virus of some kind (I'm not a vet but that's just my best guess) and both fish suffered from Swim Bladder Disease before that occurred.

I am beginning to feel as though fish that end up with Swim Bladder Disease are more susceptible to having secondary issues. Perhaps a weak swim bladder could be a sign of a weak immune system (or SBD weakens a fish in general). It just seems little is known on how to remedy true Swim Bladder Disease without the aid of surgery and the fact it's called a disease makes me want to relate it more to a poor immune system which may have been affected by certain medications, or it could just be a heredity issue. I know some aquarists feel SBD can be remedied with diet change but I feel those results are temporary from my experience, and a major SBD issue won't truly be resolved by diet alone.

Also, I finally got around to trying out my Virkon tablets which are better at killing nasties than bleach and I will say that... it's not that bad. It does have a slight odor to it but I don't find it nearly as offensive as bleach or ammonia. Also, someone mentioned to me that they stopped using this product because it is corrosive, and actually in its powder/tablet form it is corrosive but once you get it to a 1% dilution in water (1 tablet + 1 pint of water) it is no longer considered corrosive (according to the label). Personally, I really like this product thus far as it doesn't seem to leave any residue as with bleach, but I would avoid using it directly on anything metal or electronic just to be on the safe side in terms of corrosiveness (the same can be said for products like Windex). 
Carpet mold from the tank when I started scrubbing it out.
As for my last mishap I learned that if you're using an untreated wood stand of some kind for your aquarium and it has an entirely flat base that rests on your carpet (I was using the top of a wood hutch) than you are basically asking for a mold problem. If any water goes near your carpet, overtime that moisture will creep under the wood base and thus you're very likely to end up with some mold, which was my experience this week. I ended up with some dry black splotchy looking mold and the best way I found to clean up this mess (first dispose of the moldy tank stand and find something better if possible) is to make an ammonia dilution (2 capfuls of ammonia per 1 gallon of water). Using an abrasive brush scrubber you'll than scrub over the carpet in circular motions with the ammonia mixture until the mold coloration removes (or is killed rather) and then you'll repeat this with some clean water. Next use a wet/dry vacuum to suck out the water from the carpet (and its surrounding areas) and then use a fan to help further dry out the area. The carpet may require an additional cleaning after this initial one has had time to dry out as it could still be a bit discolored.

That's all I have to share for this week and I have been super busy lately (hence the lack of posts) but I am working on putting together some new posts before I start back up at University the end of the month so do come by again soon!

6.16.2017

All-Natural Aquarium Glass Cleaner - DIY

I actually found an amazing all natural glass cleaner online and I altered it slightly for better use on aquarium glass. I found a lot of DIY window cleaners online which used alcohol and I didn't like the idea of having that near my aquarium inhabitants, nor using vinegar regularly on aquarium glass because it can eat away at silicone. This recipe uses tea which is acidic in pH but it's more natural and makes me think more of a blackwater habitat so, I don't feel it's going to affect the silicone.
What you'll need...
1 - Spray Bottle (that holds at least 1 Cup of fluid)
1 Cup - Distilled Water, hot
3 Tea Bags - Black Tea, Organic (or English Breakfast; Irish Breakfast; Classic Black; Wild Forest Black)

Steep the tea bags in the cup of hot water for 5 minutes, remove tea bags, and allow to cool. Pour the tea into the spray bottle and attach the sprayer. Shake mixture before use and spray on glass. Wipe vigorously with a paper towel or cloth until the surface is dry.

Side Note: Don't be like me and try drinking this, it's extremely bitter (bleh).

6.09.2017

Cost Effective Media

Having used canister filters for awhile now and a bunch of different types of media I decided to share what I feel are some of the best and most cost-effective media items you can get.

Course Media
Typically I find most course media is some type of porous plastic material, similar to that of a shower pouf. That being said you could use a shower pouf, however like a lot of others out there you can step into your Dollar General Store and pick up a 6-pack of plastic scouring pads for $1. I honestly love using these scouring pads more so than course media made for an aquarium because they collect a lot of muck inside the pads. Most of this plastic media can be easily hosed out and reused numerous times before you find the need to possibly replace it, which makes it some of the most cost effective media you'll come across. Also, if your plastic media is like that of Easter grass you should probably just toss it because loose stuff like that doesn't hold together and won't do as good of a job at collecting big muck particles.

Medium Media
Foam Media is generally used as a medium grade media, and I have found this may be most similar to thin foam mattress toppers, and the one with crates in them will allow for a bigger surface area for bacteria and such to accumulate. Keep in mind if you try using a foam topper that it isn't treated with odd chemicals or something (or perhaps soaking/rinsing it well may help if you detect odd smells). Foam media tends to rinse out pretty well to be reused again but may require a bit more squeezing compared to the course media. I also find many people tend to skip out on this type of media so, it's up to you to decide if you want to use this or not.

Fine Media
A lot of people like to buy polyester quilt batting from a craft store (or similar) to use as fine filter media. Keep in mind that this material needs to be replaced more often than your other media because I have found it generally breaks down after a month or two and it becomes almost sludge-like and difficult to clean thoroughly (so just toss it after a month). This is also one of the most important types of media to have in your filter as it keeps the finest muck particles out of your good biological media. You'll want to make sure the batting is 100% polyester, is not mildew resistant, and doesn't contain any additives.

Special Media
There are tons of gimmick media type products on the market from media claiming to reduce nitrates to clarifying water. Take these types of products with a "grain of salt" (as the saying goes), and know that some of these things may not do much of anything and may just cost you more money in the long run. A lot of people love to use carbon based media and honestly I don't notice significant changes from using it whether it's in pad-form or a loose form that you place into a filter sock. Carbon can be good or bad as it can possibly remove any water treatments from your tank and create clearer water. There's also Seachem Purigen which is popular to some people and while I'm not sure what impurities this stuff removes it does change color over time (so it must do something, right?), but don't expect miracles with any of this stuff. If you don't notice changes in your tank, water stats, or with your aquariums' inhabitants than I'd say it's probably just a waste of money in the long run. Also, if your media is decent, setup properly, and your filter has had time to cycle (at least a month) then you really shouldn't have a bunch of problems with your tank water (although some inhabitants do prefer certain types of water over others, in which case you may need something like an RO filter). More natural items people use to help with their water stats are things like seashells, driftwood, or peat, but these items may be unreliable or hard to adjust.

Biological Media
Some of the best biological media that's also the most cost effective is natural lava rock (just be a bit wary of chemicals in some of these). Most people will probably suggest rinsing out your media every month, but it's been said you should replace your biological media every 6 months (especially if you want to avoid possible health issues with your aquatic friends down the road). Although I recently spoke to another aquarist who stated "some manufacturers will tell you to replace the biological media every 6 months but that is ridiculous - the media should be nicely bedded in with aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. The anaerobic bacteria generally take 4-6 months to get established but aerobic should only take 2-3", so to each their own. To clean your media a bit more thoroughly of possible nasties that could be lingering around... a friend of mine suggested using equal parts water and vinegar (a gallon of vinegar is also fairly inexpensive and it's great for removing hard water build-up on your tank). Keep in mind this vinegar solution will not eliminate all nasties, which is why you should eventually replace it. To help kick start your bio media you'll probably want to invest in some bacteria balls as this will help you avoid water cycle issues (but still be sure to keep a close eye on your water stats during this time, just in case). You'll probably want around 2.5 to 5lbs of bio media per 30 gallons of water in your canister setup in order to better sustain your aquarium's bio-load. Also, if the lava rocks are too bulky you can easily hit them with a hammer or ax to break them into smaller pieces. As a side note, avoid buying ceramic rings as its smooth surface won't allow bacteria to build and accumulate, but its best use is redirecting water inside your filter (just in case you got some of this for free with your filter setup and don't want to waste it).