Updating the Website

There is no more Membership Registration or Log in. I have done away with the forum. and I am trying my hardest to secure this website better and Make it more user friendly and load faster too.
If you have any suggestions let me know. I may provide a small store later and an active chatbox for those that visit the site.
Thank you
Susan for SlC Aquatics

Fin Damage – Is it Fin Rot?

Fin Damage – Is it Fin Rot?
submitted by Dena Edwards
Everything Aquatic
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

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.

For You Who Like Root Tabs

For You Who Like Root Tabs

Submitted by KassCeeBee
January 1, 2023

This is for you guys who like to use root tabs. I just added some today during my water change.
Here are some BEFORE pictures to see if they help or not.
I have switched it up recently and changed my liquid fertilizer. I switched from API to Fluval Gro+ . I have seen new growth using this liquid fertilizer. I do not have their recommended iron test kit though, to know how much to dose. I have been conservative with the amount I add. I could see more growth if I knew how much my aquarium needs.

What is the Best Diet for Guppies, Endlers and Other Livebearers?

What is the Best Diet for Guppies, Endlers and Other Livebearers?

What is the Best Diet for Guppies, Endlers and Other Livebearers?
submitted by Dena Edwards

All livebearers are considered omnivore species, which need a variety of proteins and plant matter in their staple diet. In the wild they would eat insects, insect larvae, copepods, shrimp, algae, plant leaves, etc. They really are opportunistic eaters.

In an aquarium I like to offer different foods to keep the overall diet varied. There is no single food that can provide everything needed, not even a prepared food sold for feeding in the home aquarium can provide everything needed for growth and overall health.

I like to have proteins in the range of 40-50% generally, and prefer quality proteins, such as a variety of shrimp, insects and even fish.

Good protein sources include whole meals, such as whole salmon meal or even fish hydrolysate, which basically is fish meal before all the liquid has been removed. Insect meal is another great protein source that is found in some higher quality foods as well.

As for plant matter, there are many, many options. Along with spirulina, kelp and veggies in processed foods I like to add fresh, raw veggies and even occasional fruits. I try to get organic, but not always possible. Cut a small bit and stab it with a fork to weight it down in the tank. Cucumber, zucchini, mushroom, green beans, broccoli, etc. Easy to get into the habit of setting a small amount aside for the fish before cooking to prepare my own meals. My fish go crazy over strawberry and tangerine slices, but they can quickly pollute the tank so those are offered the day before a water change.

Good treats include live (so long as you could trust the source), frozen or even freeze dried, but rehydrate first to avoid digestive issues.

Everyone has their own idea on what the the best diet may be. Personally I believe if you offer a variety of foods, including some fresh veggies as well as a few fruits along with a varied protein diet you should be able to provide the correct balance.

In my tanks I feed Guppy Color Feast (a granule very high in protein at 52%), Guppy Flake (a mix of veggie and meat based flakes, 40% protein), and if needing a color boost I add Guppy Color Flake (47% protein focusing on shrimp sources to boost oranges and reds). Then, for veggie content I occasionally add fresh, raw veggies. Just a small bit which I can stab with a fork. No cooking, no blanching as I want to retain the nutrients. I also on occasion feed live Baby Brine Shrimp as well as Repashy, etc.

In the summer I also set out a bucket of water and collect the mosquito larvae to feed to my fish. Man do they go ape over them! They perk up so much that I don’t even recognize their behavior!!

So, like I said, variety is important as no one food can provide a complete balanced diet for any creature.

I set Up a 40 Breeder!

I set Up a 40 Breeder!

Submitted by Susan Core
SLC Aquatics
January 2023

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:
1. Patience
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.

#Fishfam Mom
Susan for SLC Aquatics

Should Medications Be Your First Line of Defense?

Should Medications Be Your First Line of Defense?

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

Attending a Tropical Fish Auction

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.

Fish Acclimation Guide

Fish Acclimation Guide

Acclimation Guide
By Dena Edwards on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 7:17 PM

You’ve always heard that buying fish direct from a breeder will fill your tanks with higher quality fish. But what about all those horror stories about DOA or fish arriving with their gills burned from ammonia buildup and attempting to gulp oxygen? Many times I’ve heard that it is a waste of time shipping fish because they always die; and to purchase local. I have a real problem with that statement. How do you think your local fish store gets its fish?

The key to having fish or invertebrates survive is knowing water parameters. More specifically the difference between the water in your tank and the water in the shipping bag. The greater the difference in water parameters the more caution must be taken to acclimate fish. When purchasing from a local store odds are the water you bring the fish home in will be fairly similar to your tanks and acclimation is not necessarily required. But what about when fish are shipped across the country or internationally? There are a few key steps that I take to ensure stress-free acclimation and to avoid fish losses where possible.

A. Ask the seller for their parameters
….and, test the bag water when it arrives! I have learned over the years that many are either ignorant of the conditions in their tanks or for some reason don’t want to provide accurate information. I am not willing to risk lives and my money over someone’s belief. For example, I have had breeders tell me their pH runs 7.0; yet the water they shipped was over 8.0 in pH.

B. How much variance in pH? Are you having to raise or lower pH?
The closer the pH between the two water sources the easier it will be to acclimate new arrivals. The general rule is if there is no more than 0.4 variance then you can simply net out the fish and drop them into your tank. This is the ideal situation. However, it never happens for me.

Is the pH in your tank higher than the shipping water? Then take a short time to acclimate. Fast acclimation is used simply to ensure there is nothing in my water that the fish reacts to. Fish have an easier time adjusting to a higher pH so long as it is less than 1.0 variance in pH acclimation isn’t too involved.

Is the pH lower in your tank? Then acclimation is critical to avoid osmotic shock as well as avoiding a struggle to breathe and low survival. You know that messing around with pH can lead to fish deaths (the reason why we never recommend messing with the pH in a tank), but it is sometimes required when fish ship, as is my case. When lowering the pH fish must undergo changes in their gills to be able to take in oxygen. Drop the pH too quickly and this change will kill them faster than just about anything.

C. When the variance is greater than 1.0
….take it slow! Plop and drop will just about guarantee fish losses, especially when lowering pH. If during the acclimation process you see the fish pumping their gills or gulping air then slow down before the fish succumbs.

Here are the steps I take when dealing with fish shipments:

1. Test pH of bag water (most often this is between 7.0 and 8.0)
2. Test pH of QT tank water (my water runs 6.6 out of the tap)
3. Test bag water for ammonia (when pH is above 7.0 ammonia is more toxic to fish). This is important as it can lead to other intervention steps when necessary to save struggling fish.
4. Add 1 drop Seachem Prime to help neutralize ammonia buildup
5. Set up a drip acclimation into a 5 gallon bucket
6. Carefully transfer fish and bag water into the bucket
7. When variance is between 0.4 and 0.8 I run a fast drip of 5 drops per second; but when greater than 1.0 then slow drip of 1 drop per 1-2 seconds
8. Place a screen or net over the bucket to avoid jumpers
9. Every 15 minutes or so, monitor fish behavior for any signs of stress. If stress is found, stop the drip and let them adjust; and only continue when they are again breathing normal and no longer gulping air
10. Once bucket is 3/4 full, I carefully pour off most of the water and continue with the drip
11. When bucket is again 1/2 full then net out the fish and transfer to the tank
12. I leave the water low in the tank for the first day. Then, fill up the next day or even do a small water change if there is any measurable ammonia

Because my water pH runs low I have had to make some drastic decisions to save the fish. Most shipments take 4-8 hours to acclimate to my lower pH level. Dropping pH for 7.8 to 6.6 is not an easy or quick process. Once when fish arrived in pH over 8.0 with 1.5 PPM ammonia I knew I couldn’t take so many hours to acclimate. Fish arrived very stressed and already experiencing issues maintaining buoyancy in the water. As I knew I didn’t have enough time to lower the pH I opted to add baking soda to my QT tank to match that of the bag and transferred the fish. Then, do small daily water changes to lower pH. In these cases it can take 7-10 days to remove baking soda and to get the QT back down to my norm of 6.6 pH.

Hopefully, some of the above will help you the next time you receive fish.