Fin Damage – Is it Fin Rot?
submitted by Dena Edwards
Published 20 March 2022
There has been a significant increase in questions recently regarding fin rot. About 95% of the time, if not more, it is not rot. So, how to you know what is going on with your fish or what to do next?
First and foremost need to determine what type of fin damage exists. Does the fin look like a bite has been taken out? Shredded? Ripped? Are you seeing something dark on the fin edges that is not normal coloring? What about a clear or white edge? All of these questions can help point to what is going on as well as to determining what the root cause may be so it can be corrected.
Things I always ask when facing fin damage are:
What are the current water parameters? Specifics can help to determine if the tank is cycled and well maintained. Things to ask yourself include, how much and how often water changes are done. There is nothing better for freshwater fish than fresh water. Same is true on a smaller scale for saltwater environments. Doing water changes not only removes waste, but it also replenishes minerals that are lost to growing fish and to hungry plants.
How long have fish been in your tank? We they properly quarantined? New fish can be stressed from the shipping and new environment and come down with disease that may spread throughout a tank if not quarantined long enough to be confident no disease exists before adding to the main tank.
What tankmates are in the tank? Need to rule out incompatibility in species, such as keeping long finned fish with notorious nippers. Just because you don’t notice any aggression does not mean fish don’t nip or fight when you are not around.
Could you be dealing with an environmental issue? Environmental damage will appear as ripped or torn edges and sometimes shredded finage. When fins begin to repair themselves they will first look clear or white on the edges and many think this is fin rot when it is actually new fin growth.
If you have determined that you are dealing with environmental damage, there is no need to reach for medications. Instead, change the environment to eliminate the root cause. If the fin is ripped, then look at the decor for anything with a sharp edge that can grab a long, flowing fin. If cause by nipping or fighting, separate or rehome fish if unable to set up a second tank.
Treatment for environmental fin damage is to do nothing more than offering a variety of high quality, nutrient rich foods to support the immune system along with small daily water changes. Could add aquarium salt if fish will tolerate it or use botanicals to add tannins to the water column. Fish will repair their fins in 1-2 weeks.
White tips on this dark angel’s dorsal is new fin growth. This is what you want to see as it does not indicate there are any issues to be concerned about.
True bacterial fin rot is very distinctive. Fin edges can be a little jagged, but will always be dark from the rotting flesh that is being attacked. If you are seeing clear or white edges see the section about about environmental fin damage.
True bacterial fin rot along with one bite mark. These black sections are areas where bacteria is causing the flesh to rot and die.
True rotting flesh is the only time antibiotics should be used for fin damage. But which antibiotics? I use erythromycin in this case, but there are a few other fish medications that can treat fin rot. No matter which medication is used, it can be dosed with powder in the water column or with medicated foods; but once started continue treatment for a minimum of 10 days to ensure the bacteria is eliminated.
The Role Bacteria Plays in Keeping a Balanced Aquarium
submitted by Bob Steenfott
Feb. 13, 2023
Bacteria play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy freshwater aquarium. In this article, we will explore the various functions of bacteria in an aquarium, the types of bacteria that are commonly found in aquariums, and the benefits and challenges of establishing a balanced bacterial colony in an aquarium.
Functions of Bacteria in an Aquarium
Nitrogen Cycle: The most important role of bacteria in an aquarium is to facilitate the nitrogen cycle. This cycle involves the conversion of toxic ammonia produced by fish waste, uneaten food, and decaying organic matter into less toxic nitrite and then into relatively harmless nitrate. Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria, such as Nitrosomonas, and nitrate-reducing bacteria, such as Nitrobacter, are responsible for these conversions. Without these bacteria, ammonia and nitrite levels can build up to toxic levels, causing harm to the fish and other aquatic life in the aquarium.
Decomposition: Bacteria in an aquarium also play an important role in breaking down organic waste, such as dead plant material, fish waste, and uneaten food. This decomposition process helps to maintain a clean and healthy environment for the fish and other aquatic life.
Nutrient Cycling: Bacteria help to maintain the balance of nutrients in the aquarium by breaking down organic matter and releasing essential nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, back into the water. This helps to maintain a healthy and stable environment for the growth of plants and other aquatic life.
Types of Bacteria in an Aquarium
Nitrifying Bacteria: As mentioned earlier, nitrifying bacteria play a crucial role in the nitrogen cycle. These bacteria are responsible for converting ammonia and nitrite into nitrate.
Denitrifying Bacteria: Denitrifying bacteria are responsible for reducing nitrate into nitrogen gas, which is released into the atmosphere. These bacteria play an important role in maintaining the balance of nitrate levels in the aquarium.
Decomposing Bacteria: Decomposing bacteria help to break down organic matter and release essential nutrients back into the water. They play an important role in maintaining a clean and healthy environment in the aquarium.
Benefits of a Balanced Bacterial Colony in an Aquarium
Stable Water Conditions: A balanced bacterial colony helps to maintain stable water conditions by converting toxic substances, such as ammonia and nitrite, into less harmful substances. This helps to prevent harm to the fish and other aquatic life in the aquarium.
Healthy Aquatic Life: A balanced bacterial colony helps to provide essential nutrients to the aquatic plants and other life in the aquarium, promoting healthy growth and overall well-being.
Clean Aquarium: Bacteria help to break down organic waste and maintain a clean environment, reducing the need for frequent water changes and making it easier to maintain a healthy and stable aquarium.
Challenges of Establishing a Balanced Bacterial Colony in an Aquarium
Slow Growth: The growth of bacteria in an aquarium can be slow and may take several weeks to establish a balanced colony.
Water Quality: Poor water quality can inhibit the growth of bacteria, making it difficult to establish a balanced colony.
Overstocking: Overstocking an aquarium can lead to an increase in fish waste, which can overwhelm the bacterial colony and make it difficult to maintain a balanced environment.
Bacteria play a crucial role in the functioning of a freshwater aquarium. They participate in the nitrogen cycle by converting toxic substances, such as ammonia and nitrite, into less harmful ones. Bacteria also break down organic waste, releasing essential nutrients back into the water, and contributing to a clean and healthy environment. To establish a balanced bacterial colony, it is important to monitor water quality, avoid overstocking, and provide the right conditions for bacterial growth. Having a balanced bacterial colony in an aquarium not only prevents harmful water conditions but also promotes healthy aquatic life and makes maintenance easier. Thus, a balanced bacterial colony is a key component of a successful freshwater aquarium.
Rasbora Fish: A Comprehensive Guide
submitted by Bob Steenfott
March 14, 2023
Rasboras are a diverse and beautiful group of freshwater fish that are popular among hobbyists for their striking colors and ease of care. These small, peaceful fish can add a pop of color to any aquarium and are perfect for beginners looking to get started in the hobby. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about rasboras, from their natural habitat and behavior to their care requirements and breeding habits.
Chapter 1: What are Rasboras?
Rasboras are a group of small freshwater fish that are native to Southeast Asia. They are part of the Cyprinidae family, which includes other popular aquarium fish such as goldfish, koi, and barbs. There are over 100 species of rasboras, with the most common being the harlequin rasbora, the scissortail rasbora, and the chili rasbora.
Rasboras are known for their vibrant colors and peaceful nature. They are typically small, with most species growing between one to two inches in length. They are also social fish, and are best kept in groups of six or more.
Chapter 2: Natural Habitat of Rasboras
Rasboras are found in a variety of freshwater habitats throughout Southeast Asia, including streams, rivers, and ponds. They are often found in densely vegetated areas, and prefer slow-moving or still water.
The water in their natural habitat is typically soft and acidic, with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. They also prefer water that is well-oxygenated and free from pollutants.
Chapter 3: Appearance of Rasboras
Rasboras are known for their striking colors and unique markings. They come in a wide range of colors, including red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. Many species also have black markings, stripes, or spots.
One of the most popular species of rasbora is the harlequin rasbora. This fish has a bright red body with a black triangle on its tail and a metallic blue line along its back. Other popular species include the scissortail rasbora, which has a silver body with a black and yellow tail, and the mosquito rasbora, which is a bright red color with black spots.
Chapter 4: Tank Requirements for Rasboras
Rasboras are relatively easy to care for and do well in community aquariums. They are best kept in groups of six or more, as they are social fish and prefer to be in schools.
The ideal tank size for rasboras depends on the species, but most can be kept in a tank as small as 10 gallons. However, it’s always best to provide as much space as possible, so a larger tank is recommended if you have the space.
When setting up a tank for rasboras, it’s important to provide plenty of hiding places and plants for them to swim through. Rasboras are natural shoaling fish and will appreciate a densely planted tank with plenty of open swimming space.
Chapter 5: Water Conditions for Rasboras
Rasboras are adapted to soft, acidic water in their natural habitat, so it’s important to replicate these conditions in your aquarium. The ideal pH range for rasboras is 6.0 to 7.0, with a water hardness of 5 to 12 dGH.
It’s also important to maintain good water quality in your tank by performing regular water changes and using a high-quality filter. Rasboras are sensitive to water pollutants, so it’s important to keep their environment clean and well-maintained.
Chapter 6: Feeding Rasboras
Rasboras are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods in the wild, including insects, crustaceans, and plant matter. In the aquarium, they can be fed a varied diet of high-quality flake, pellet, or frozen foods.
It’s important to provide a balanced diet that includes both protein and plant matter. Some good options for rasboras include brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, and spirulina flakes.
In addition to their regular diet, it’s also a good idea to supplement with occasional treats like freeze-dried or live foods. These can help keep your rasboras healthy and happy.
Chapter 7: Compatibility with Other Fish
Rasboras are peaceful fish and can be kept with a variety of other community fish. However, it’s important to choose tankmates that are similarly sized and have a peaceful temperament.
Good tankmates for rasboras include other peaceful community fish like tetras, guppies, and corydoras catfish. It’s best to avoid aggressive or territorial fish, as they can stress out your rasboras and cause problems in the tank.
Chapter 8: Breeding Rasboras
Breeding rasboras can be a rewarding experience for hobbyists, but it does require some effort and preparation. The first step is to provide a suitable breeding environment, which includes a separate breeding tank with plenty of plants and hiding places.
To encourage breeding, it’s important to mimic the natural breeding conditions of rasboras. This can include using slightly cooler water, increasing water flow, and providing a varied diet of live and frozen foods.
Once the breeding pair has spawned, it’s important to remove the adults from the tank to prevent them from eating the eggs or fry. The eggs will hatch within a few days, and the fry can be fed a diet of newly hatched brine shrimp or micro worms.
Chapter 9: Common Health Issues for Rasboras
Rasboras are relatively hardy fish and are not prone to many health issues if kept in suitable conditions. However, there are a few common health problems to watch out for.
One of the most common issues is ich, which is a parasitic infection that can cause white spots on the fish’s body. This can be treated with a medication like Aquarium Solutions Ich-X.
Another common issue is fin rot, which is a bacterial infection that can cause the fins to become ragged or discolored. This can be treated with antibiotics or by improving water quality and performing regular water changes.
In conclusion, rasboras are a great choice for aquarists looking to add some color and activity to their aquarium. With their peaceful nature and ease of care, they make a great addition to any community tank.
As time went by, I sold my large 55 gallon, 20 L, 29 Gallon and a few 10’s. I wanted to downsize the fishroom because I was having a difficult time with the upkeep of the tanks and keeping live stock alive.
I sold alot of stock of guppies, corydora and several fry from the two pleco species I have, the L133 and L133a. They have continually bred for me and I am enjoying them in my fishroom.
I still haven’t decided what main fish I want to put in the 40 breeder. I added a heater but keeping it below 75 degrees. I still have thinking of a good way to buffer the KH to stablize the PH. It comes out of the tap at 6.8-7.0 and drops to 6.4 or below. The plecos are fairing and still breeding without a heater in the 10 gallon and the 25 gallon tall.
I have mutt guppies which are pretty and exciting to see what you get. I want to concentrate on a high demand guppy that will breed well in my water and temperature range.
I also hope to get some shubunkin/goldfish hybrids this spring and will be watching that situation I have set up outside. I still have duckweed growing outside and water wisteria and a few other plants here and there.
I want a couple more different strains of neocardinia shrimp to breed and sell and mech from a couple fishfam businesses in my fishroom too.
After I decide what the main fish species I want to keep in the 40 breeder, I will let you know.
What I have learned setting up this tank:
2. Plans Change
3. The fish decide whether they are happy or not.
4. Snails come from nowhere!
5. Lights burn out when you least expect them to.
6. Fishfam is Family
7. There are so many choices out there, I don’t know what to do next! LOL
And There will be more things to learn as I add more plants, fish and keep the maintenance up on this tank.
The substrate is mixed gravel with crushed coral and separate from that is Eco-Complete where I have most of my plants, but I will be putting some in the gravel too.
I Thank the Fishfam Community for the donations towards the 40G breeder, the substrate, and the memberships that have been gifted to viewers.
I wouldn’t have made it without you guys! I love you and hope to see you around YouTube.
Should Medications Be Your First Line of Defense?
submitted by Dena Edwards (Everything Aquatic) 2022
Over the years there has been a trend of reaching for medications without first analyzing the situation to determine if medications are appropriate. And this approach had been leading to medications losing effectiveness over the years. Back in the 80s Metronidazole was a miracle drug as it could treat both protozoa and bacterial disease; however, today it is useless on its own for bacteria and can only treat a small range of parasites.
Our first line of defense starts by following a proper quarantine process with new purchases. It is critical to have enough time to evaluate the overall health of new purchases to avoid spreading disease. I have always held new fish 2-4 weeks minimum in QT. Once I got very busy and fish ended up being in QT for much longer. And I learned a difficult lesson too as at 6 weeks in QT the new fish started to develop a flesh eating bacteria. And by 4 months everything was lost. If I had moved them into my main tank at a month I potentially could have lost everything, not just the new fish. So now, I QT for 3 months minimum.
I am aware that many fish-keepers use medications as a preventative measure; however, most medications are not intended for such use. I am not going to say anything is wrong with this practice, but I will say if medications are not used appropriately then resistance can build up and medications will become less effective. I am also aware that those who import fish will notice over time fish will arrive with certain issues from specific vendors; and they will immediately medicate. This is a different approach in my mind to just tossing in meds to see what sticks or when there is no identified issue. Each of us will follow what we are comfortable doing and need to make educated decisions.
I have been approached by many recently asking for recommendations on what medication to use, yet have no idea what they want to treat. Without first evaluating to identify the root cause there is no way to recommend anything other than moving to a QT and closely monitoring the fish in questions. Anyone who approaches me with this type of situation asking for recommendations on which medication to use I always ask for the following information:
What are the current water parameters? Specifics are required to determine if the tank is cycled and being maintained with enough water changes
Ask how often water changes are done and the water volume. There is nothing better for freshwater fish than fresh water. Same is true on a smaller scale for saltwater environments. Doing water changes not only removes waste, but it also replenishes minerals that are lost to growing fish and to hungry plants.
How long have the fish been in your tank? We they quarantined?
What tankmates are in the tank? Need to rule out incompatibility in species, such as keeping long finned fish with notorious nippers
With the case of fin rot, it is very different from environmental damage. Rot is often noticed at the fin tips and will gradually eat away at the fins; plus the fin edges will be very dark in most cases. Environmental damage will appear as ripped or torn edges or shredded finage. And when fins begin to repair themselves they will first look clear or white on the edges and many think this is fin rot when it is actually fin growth. Any time there is no sign of actual rot, the first approach is to do nothing more than offering a variety of high quality foods, doing small daily water changes and sometimes adding botanicals to add tannins to the tank. And in 1-2 weeks the fins will repair themselves.
We don’t take antibiotics for a leg cramp or a migraine, so why would we do so for our pets?
Attending a Tropical Fish Auction
submitted by Ed’s Picknupcichlids 2022
For those who are going for a first time or those who have attended
auctions previously below are some tips for attending whether buying or selling.
My number one thing is preparing your fish for the auction. Too many people
do not fast their fish. I do not feed the fish I am bagging for 2-3 days before I
bag them. This way they will produce less waste while in the bag. Please no
cramming more fish into the bags than they are meant to hold. When bagging fish,
use clear plastic bags meant just fish. Ziplock bags and baggies are not made to
hold water or fish.
Several fish stores will give you some fish bags for free or for
a small charge. Some auctions limit the number of bags or items you can bring.
Some fish will get stuck in the corners. One way to avoid this is to rubber
band the corners. Another way is to invert the bag and double bag it. Plus, if you
have a heat sealer you can crimp the corners before bagging. When closing the
bags make sure they have 1/3 water and 2/3 air. Breeding groups need to be
separated in separate bags and marked or taped together. When bringing your
bags of fish they should be in a cooler, Styrofoam box (fish box) or Totes with
lids. For larger fish buckets with lids. The Styrofoam boxes keep the fish warmer
in the winter and the darkness causes less stress on them.
Best thing when buying or bidding on fish is to get there during the
previewing time. Bring a pen and something to write on or type in your notes on
your phone the name of fish, how many, adults or fry. Check everything including
how they are bagged, how the fish look, how many of the same fish are in the lots.
When bidding hold your card up high enough to be seen.
If you are bidding on fish make sure to get a bidder card at the before the start
of the auction. Make sure you have a few tanks at home ready for the fish you
want to bid on. All of these tanks should be for quarantining the fish. I always
allow for a couple of extra bags. I always go home with more fish than I planned.
I find where you sit is important for buying or selling. I sit up front and
write down what my fish sold for and what I paid for my winning bids. Volunteer to
be a runner. You don’t need to be a member to do this. I volunteer at many other
club auctions. This allows you to see all the fish up close.
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