8.25.2017

Doctors Foster and Smith & USPS - Review

I have ordered from the website Doctors Foster and Smith once or twice in the past and I don't remember having as many issues as I have been experiencing recently. I am not even sure it's completely their fault so much as it is USPS but here's my review with what I experienced over the course of several weeks in regards to a recent purchase (an item I have purchased from them before in fact).

On July 10th 2017 I made a single item purchase on the DFS website. According to USPS, my item should have arrived July 15th but at the latest, I was expecting it to arrive by July 19th (based upon the DFS shipping time frame). When my item did not arrive I decided to contact the DFS customer service on their website about my item not arriving and that I checked the tracking on USPS and it appeared stuck at a sorting facility, etc. I then got an automated number from the DFS site stating "Your Question has been Submitted" and then it gave me a reference number stating "A member of our support team will get back to you soon" and that was on July 21st.

On July 22nd at 12:08 am I finally received notification from USPS that my package had finally arrived at a different sorting facility. Then at 2:08 am, it had arrived at a distribution center and at 5:53 am for some reason it was still at the same 12:08 am facility, very strange. Along with that last notification, USPS stated that "The package is delayed and will not be delivered by the expected delivery date. An updated delivery date will be provided when available. Your item arrived at our ---- destination facility on July 22nd, 2017 at 5:53 am. The item is currently in transit to the destination". So on the 23rd, I did not see anything again from USPS which is probably because it was Sunday so, by Monday (the 24th) I was hoping to receive another notification from USPS as there was now no definite date of when my package would be arriving. Another odd thing that happened was that my local USPS called me on the 20th when I only signed up for text notifications and all his message said was how the item has not yet arrived at the facility and that I could contact him if I needed to and he left me a number. Personally, from a business perspective, I always prefer to have things in writing (maybe because I'm a Blogger) but when it comes to showing proof of events that happened I feel it's more reliable to an extent (I've watched Judge Judy, haha).

So back to DFS with that reference number they gave me stating how they would get back to me soon. I sent them a notification on the 21st in regards to my order and by the morning of the 24th, they finally got back to me. They were very nice about the situation and told me they would pay back my shipping costs and if I didn't receive my item by the 26th to contact them again. Luckily for DFS my item finally arrived before their new date. Worst case if I didn't hear from USPS or DFS that I would have sent my problem over to PayPal since I purchased through them and from my years of experience it is usually better at solving such online payment issues which would have at least gave me my money back from DFS. When my product did arrive everything in my package was fine, and I really don't know why USPS was holding the package as it was only a MagFox that I had ordered. Overall, my DFS experience went well but USPS has let me down numerous times now and I'm really glad it wasn't a package of live fish or something similar.

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).