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FAQs on Tanks for Freshwater Systems

Related Articles: Freshwater Tanks, Treating Tap Water, Freshwater Aquarium Set-uppH, alkalinity, acidity, Freshwater Aquarium Water Quality, Freshwater Maintenance

Related FAQs:  BiOrb, Olde Tanks, Freshwater Aquarium Water Quality, Treating Tap Water for Aquarium Use, pH, Alkalinity, Acidity, Freshwater Algae Control, Algae Control, Foods, Feeding, Aquatic Nutrition, Disease

 

Hex tanks and angelfish 4/15/12
Hello:
<Salve,>
I was wondering if anyone keeps angelfish in hex tanks??
<Have seen this, with juvenile specimens especially.>
I have seen hex tanks as big as 65 gallons, but I think that would be too small for the usual six angelfish.
<Correct. A pair might work though, if you could be sure it was a pair.>
Are the hex tanks just worthless for all fish??
<Almost worthless, yes. If you treated them as "nano" tanks and stocked with nano fish and shrimps, somewhat scaled upwards for a 65-gallon system, an expert fishkeeper could have some fun. Cherry Shrimps, Badis and Dario spp., Kuhli Loaches and Dwarf Rasboras could be used to create a fun system, perhaps planted with bogwood roots and Java ferns to create a vertical display in the centre.>
Someone told me that they are more likely to leak.
<The better sort are made from Acrylic in one piece, and these shouldn't leak at all under normal circumstances. Glass ones, yes, because they have more silicone joins -- and these are weak points on any aquarium -- would be proportionally more risky than a rectangular glass tank with fewer joins.>
Thank you!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Found aquarium   10/24/10
I found a 6 gallon aquarium about 2 hrs ago out by the garbage!
<Hmm'¦ best place for it, he says uncharitably.>
Heater attached filter too absolutely filthy with algae bloom.
<Both easy to clean, use water plus either lemon juice or vinegar to remove any limescale. Algae should rub off easily under a hot tap.>
But get this; 3 Panda Corys, 2 golden Danios, & 1 golden mystery sail alive! Yippee, I want to save them!
<Someone threw their fish out into the garbage? Alive? Extraordinary just how inhumane humans can be.>
Unfortunately here is the dead count; 2 Chinese algae eaters, 3 golden Danios, & 5 various mystery snails
:(!
<Oh.>
Atrocious all of these animals in 6 gallons!
<Agreed.>
So I did a algae scrub put new sand substrate a new filter (I have exact same tank for my son's Betta Irene) & a 50% water change! Whew, didn't know I'd be doing that tonight!
<I bet.>
Cannot get water checked until 10 am. Everyone seems to be ok. 3 problems though; I've only spoiled Betta so do not know if these guys all belong together?
<Bettas don't mix great with fish because they have trouble swimming fast enough to either avoid trouble or get food. But in the short term all should together. Danios are risky long term because they can be nippy, so I'd not recommend keeping them with Bettas. Corydoras do work with Bettas, but Corys prefer somewhat cooler water than Bettas, and at best, you'll be stuck with a fairly happy medium of 25 C/77 F. Any warmer and the Corys won't be happy, and any cooler and you'll find the Betta becomes disease-prone.>
(seems as if there previous owner knew nothing about fish at all!)
<Quite. Or animal welfare laws in your country.>
Are there too many in that small tank? & can any live in a bowl?
<Short term, yes, they can be kept in a bucket of water 3-5 gallons with the heater installed and at very least a airstone. That should work for a couple of days. With the filter, and with water changes, you could keep them in a bucket for several days. Note I have not answered your question about bowls. Bettas shouldn't be kept in bowls no matter the marketing, and other kinds of fish even less so.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/bettasysart.htm
>
Because I am broke until I get paid on Monday:(! Any help would be a heaven sent.
<Well, can't speak on behalf of the Fish Gods in whatever heaven they inhabit, but a 15 gallon tank would be the minimum for all these fish, Bettas, Danios, Corys and Snails. Long term I'd try and rehome the Danios, but your specimens may behave just fine, and if your Betta doesn't look nipped or harassed, you could leave things be.>
Thank you Pippy
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Found aquarium
Tajo yo por gestión bajo yo so son! I donar Sant yo mis tarde fin sin web ano os mí beta
<Sorry, I don't speak Spanish.>
just wanted to know if Danios cories & mystery snail are ok companions?
<Mystery snails tend to get "nibbled" by fish, so no, I don't recommend keeping them with anything other than more Mystery or Apple snails. But since Danios and Corydoras enjoy the same fairly cool water than Mystery Snails want -- i.e., around 22-24 C/72-75 F -- you could, in theory, keep them together. Do realise though that Mystery Snails rarely live for more than a year in tropical aquaria. They are quite tricky to keep; visit the AppleSnail.net site for more.>
& the bowl was a joke!
<Difficult to tell in an e-mail. You'd be surprised how many messages we get about fish in bowls.>
I have 7 Betta all in a min of 6 gallon cycled tanks!
<Excellent.>
One has a 15!
<Luxury! The Corydoras should be fine in this tank, if it wasn't too warm.>
Again thanks for your prompt response!
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

3 gallon tanks? Garbage; not fit for fishkeeping! 4/20/10
Dear Crew,
Can a paradise fish live in a 3 gallon aquarium?
<No. Macropodus opercularis is a fairly large, territorial and quite active species that needs at least 15 gallons. Appreciates plants, subtropical water temperature, and a reasonable water current. A notorious jumper, so needs floating plants and a hood, too.>
I use this calculator:
http://bettacare101.com/howmanyfish/ .
<Indeed.>
It says I can put 6.93 inches of fish in my 3 gallon. Is this reliable?
<Within reason, yes, allowing an inch of fish per 15 square inches of surface area is one of several guidelines used by hobbyists. But there are limits. Tanks below 10 gallons are too small for virtually all fish save Bettas, not least of all because they lack the swimming space fish require simply to exercise properly and feel psychologically settled. Tanks below 10 gallons are also prone to wild temperature and pH variations. Even for Bettas, 5 gallons is the minimum sensible aquarium size considering the need for a heater and filtration.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm
In short, a 3-gallon tank is no better than a bucket [and often no bigger than a bucket either]. Don't ever waste your money on such garbage, and any retailer who sells a hobbyist a 3-gallon tank is taking full advantage of their ignorance and/or wishful thinking. Don't buy tanks smaller than 5 gallons for Bettas, or 10 gallons for the smallest, least active tropical fish. If you aren't an expert fishkeeper, then a 20 gallon tank should be your starting point, if you want to succeed; anything smaller is a fool's economy. Cheers, Neale.>  

Hawkeye 201 aerator... bubbling in a tiny death-trap    4/13/10
Hi there,
<Hello. Melinda here tonight.>
We are caring for 3 goldfish in a 1 gallon tank for neighbors while they are away. The tank has a Hawkeye 201 filter with an upright air tube. The tube opening at the top where the bubbles come out is currently above the water level and no bubbles are actually going in the water. Should the water line be above the top of the tube? Our neighbors said the installation instructions said something about being 1" below - I think the instructions meant the water level should be 1" below the top of the aquarium and totally covering the top of the filtration tube. I cannot find any definitive instructions online as to where the water level should be. Please help.
<These fish need more help than you are going to give them with a bubble wand. To answer your question, yes, the water level needs to be above the top of the tube so that bubbles are produced. How far the water level is from the top of the tank doesn't really matter, as long as there's space between the tank lid (if there is one) and the water line. Now, back to what I was saying about how these goldfish need help: Please forward this e-mail to your neighbors when you have time. I'll include some links within this e-mail on goldfish care, and when your neighbors click on these links, they'll find dozens of linked pages above the titles of the pages with even more information on goldfish care, all from our site. These fish won't live long in this environment, and if your neighbors care enough to have you fish-sit for them, I'm hoping they'll care enough to upgrade environment to see these goldfish live the long, healthy lives they're capable of. Here are those links:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm>
Thank you.
<You're welcome. You happen to have stumbled onto a site full of volunteers who spend their time doing so because they truly care about fish. As a result, I feel the need to not only answer your query, but also to attempt to ward off the pending disaster which is goldfish in tiny systems like this! Again, if you'd be so kind as to forward this e-mail, and please do let your neighbors know that we're here to answer any questions they may have during or after reading.>
D.
<--Melinda><<Well-done Mel. B>>

Fed up Fan Tail ! Bring in another Carassius auratus X C. goeblio w/ industrial dis.   -4/6/10
I have a fantail in a 35L tank.
<35 litres? Much too small for Goldfish.>
She stays mostly at the bottom of the tank in one particular spot .
<Unsurprising.>
When I feed her she tries to eat the flakes but with little success and her poo is now clear . She has no marks on her body and nothing around her mouth although it doesn't open very wide , I have also been doing regular ammonia tests and changing half the water weekly . I have looked on your site but cant find anything relating to her symptom , would be very grateful for some advice .
Many thanks Rebecca in the U.K
<Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
Goldfish are social fish that need large tanks. You seem to be providing neither of these essential requirements. The problem with your fish likely comes down to these. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fed up Fan Tail ! The incredibly stupid biz of BiOrb making, selling, and buying   -4/6/10
It seems incredibly stupid that BiOrb , a well known brand of tank, should put in <sic> there instruction booklet what fish to put in what tank and how many.
<Funnily enough, I'm writing an aquarium book at the moment, and I have just written a bit about expensive spherical aquaria with minimal practical value. A quick look at their website showed photographs of 60 litre (16
gal.) spherical tank with 5 goldfish in them -- despite the fact you'd need at least 210 litres (55 gal.) to keep 5 goldfish happy and healthy! Very definitely misleading, and arguably against the Trades Descriptions Act in the UK.>
What fish do you put in a 35L tank?
<Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm
35 litres is about 9 US gallons, but because of the tall, cylindrical shape of the 35 litre BiOrb tank, it can't hold as many fish as plain vanilla rectangular aquarium. BiOrb tanks are VERY overpriced for what they are, and practically every experienced aquarists weeps when they see some poor soul carrying one out of the pet shop! If someone gave me one of the things as a gift, I think I'd probably go with a male Betta and a bunch of attractively coloured algae-eating shrimps, such as Cherry Shrimps and Bumblebee Shrimps. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Building a tank in my basement 3/10/10
Bob,
<Zach>
I'm 26 and I just moved into my first legitimate house that I own and paid for.
<Wow! Congratulations!>
I have had about 10 years of experience with all kinds of fish keeping from Pacus, cichlids, FW stingrays and other Amazonian freshwater fish to tangs triggers, and eels in fish only tanks and lps corals and anemones in reefs. The basement of my house is the typical empty and cold basement that is unfurnished with no carpet.
<Ahh! How I wish I/we had basements here in S. California... they are a rarity>
The floors are concrete and so are the walls and the basement is 60x60 ft.
<Zounds!>
I just broke down my 300 gallon reef and I have saved up some money I was thinking about investing in a project. Is it possible to literally seal off a section of my basement with a wall of concrete and a glass window for viewing?
<Mmm, yes>
I have a concrete wall in the basement that is 20 feet long and 12 feet high before it meets another wall or the ceiling. What I want to do is seal off that wall with 3 more sides of concrete so that it is a concrete rectangle plus the glass window making a mega tank that is approximately 18 feet long 8 feet high and sticks out of the wall 8 feet.
<I see... How will you gain ready access... through an opening at top in the front...>
This makes the concrete rectangle + glass window capable of holding just under 13,000 gallons. If this dream tank is possible of doing, I would probably make it an Amazonian freshwater biotype with; Pacu, stingrays, turtles, and other Amazon giants.
<Ahh! There is something like this at the Denver Aq.>
If I were to save up more money and go with a saltwater setup I would get large fish like lookdowns, large tangs, possibly angelfishes, and maybe a few sharks or stingrays or something exotic.
<Do take care w/ addn. of sharks... they can/will eat tropicals>
I am well aware that this tank is basically something I would see at the public aquarium. I have an incredible passion for both freshwater and marine fish keeping, I would basically like to go diving in this fish pool. I have saved up about $15,000 for this tank.
My questions are:
1) Is my plan of making this 13,000 gallon concrete fish pool in my basement possible
<Yes>
2) If you could take a guess how much do you think the Amazon tank would cost and the marine tank
<You could likely "do the job" construction-wise with this sum of money... depending on the height of the viewing panel/s... How will you get them into your basement if they're taller than the manageable height of door, window openings here. And you'll need to investigate thoroughly lower cost mechanicals and controllers (mainly pumps and filters, lights)... AND do an analysis of the cost of operation here... Can be considerable. Lastly, at this juncture in your dreaming, planning, DO figure out means of venting moisture here. Of course, much more money could be spent>
I am well aware that this will be a long and costly process, but having a mega tank in my basement that I can swim in has been a wish of mine since I was 15. Thank you for answering this very weird and unique question. I know I will be asking many more if this project comes to fruition.
Thank you,
Zach
<Mmm, I'd get as much knowledgeable input for this project as you can... From folks who do such fabrication, installs (See RK2, RAD, ADG...) and local structural engineers, concrete work folks... Can be done for sure, but is an involved process. Feel free to send along specific concerns, questions, and do keep records of your progress. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Questions about used freshwater equipment -- 01/12/2010
Terrific site!
<It is a great site! Melinda with you here tonight.>
I looked for a day before writing this message, so as to not duplicate your answers... I am searching for any suggestions in reusing an older tank. I have acquired a 50 gallon (48x12.5x20) tank to replace a 25 gallon I currently have set up. It was used before for about 10 years until the previous owner decided to turn it into a plastic model diorama and give up the 'fish habit'!
<Haha I love hearing about the inventive ways folks use old fish tanks!>
Since I wanted to get things going quickly,
<Here, I think you mean in terms of cycling, not that you were trying to save time in cleaning the items.... I'll explain why this isn't helping the cycle in a minute.>
I didn't wash any of the items nor the tank, it was cleaned before garage kept, but the gravel seamed dusty(?)- the gravel is being reused from the 50 gallon and the other 'bobbles' were pulled from the 25 gallon. The filter system, consisting of an undergravel and a side hanging large green box with sponges and a carbon cartridge, the filter sponge was washed in water retrieved from my current tank. I used filtered (Culligan permanent under sink stage 3 filter-new) water and I also siphoned water from the 25 to the 50 , about 10 gallons to get the water in the tank and it is now getting up to temp (69* currently at 7AM).
<Okay. So, I would have washed these items, including the gravel, just to remove dust/random particulate. The filter sponge that was on the "new" filter has no beneficial bacteria left on it unless it's been on a tank that was running, with fish. Once this stuff dries out, if you listen really closely, you can actually hear the little bacteria scream. Or maybe that's just me! So, you could have washed this in regular old tap water.
I would avoid using this filtered water altogether -- tap water is going to be fine, and the trace minerals being removed by your filtration unit are actually useful/beneficial to fish. The siphoned water from the old tank most likely has some beneficial bacteria in it, but the really good stuff -- the stuff that's going to allow you to consider this tank "cycled" is in the filter media that's running on your current tank.>
It has been 3 days and it is a bit smelly and cloudy(milky), should I pull the gravel out and give it a good rinsing or is this just part of the cycling process, because I am using old gravel?
<If there's no ammonia present in the newer tank, then this isn't cycling.
Are you familiar with the process? Here's a link (at the least, it can be a refresher!): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
My guess is the cloudiness you're seeing is a result of the dust that was on the gravel becoming suspended in the water column.>
I will do a water change and filter element change tonight and see if things get better.
<Yeah, I'd just dump this and start over. As I said, there's really nothing that's going to come of letting the water sit and run through the filters, anyway, and now you're looking at some dust that's built up, and is in the water, and that's not good. The water you pulled from the old tank didn't have much beneficial bacteria in it; at least, not enough to worry about. As for the water you're adding, again, tap water is fine, as long as it doesn't contain a high level of ammonia or nitrate, and you use a product to treat the water which removes chlorine and chloramine.>
The fish I have are longer (dragon goby, senegalus bichir, 2 peacock eels and a 8" Pleco for starters they are going to appreciate the length!
<Dragon Gobies are brackish fish. Please read here on their needs:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i3/Dragon_Gobies/DragonGobiesart.
htm and those linked files below. In any case, I would go ahead and set this new tank up with fresh water, and give that gravel a good rinse with the hose, and start the filters that came with it running. Begin adding a pinch of flake food daily, and test your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels to monitor the cycling process. When you detect no ammonia or nitrite, but do have nitrate, do a water change and then add your fish, plus their filter, to the tank. (See that above link for more details on cycling.) This is a large bioload, and you've got to step carefully here in order to avoid a bad situation. Granted, they're cramped now, but they'll be even less happy if you rush this process! Also, these fish are still going to need something larger, with the Bichirs growing to a foot or so, and the Pleco, if it's a common, capable of achieving an even larger size, plus the eels, which can grow quite large, as well, (the largest I've seen was fourteen inches, but have heard of larger). You can research these fish on WWM using the search bar to get a good idea of what you'll need. I would say a 125 (six feet long) is going to be minimum here.
Also, be careful of your Plec around your Bichirs. My e-mails to Neale on WWM are archived with the rest, asking for help, when I realized a Pleco was sucking the slime coat off of one of my Florida Gars, so I know firsthand that this is a real danger when you put Plecos with slower-moving fish who tend to spend a lot of time on the bottom. I eventually had to separate the two in order to ensure the safety of the Gar.>
Thanks for any help!
<I think this info/the link will get you started in the right direction.
I'd take my time here with cycling the new tank. You're welcome!>
Shawn K
<Please feel free to write back if you have any further questions after reading.
--Melinda>

Regarding Discus  12/28/09
Dear Neale,
<Hello John,>
I have a 12inch dia. cylindrical aquarium (rather I want to use it as aquarium) which is of 2 feet height.
<Largely useless. Unfortunately for you, surface area is critical to fishkeeping, while depth is largely unimportant. You could perhaps keep half a dozen Guppies or similar, but even that would be far from ideal. As a general rule, avoid shapes other than rectangles, and always, always, ALWAYS prioritise length and back-to-back width.>
Which kind of fish is advised in this and how many?
<Wouldn't use this aquarium. Perhaps for plants and Cherry shrimps, but that's it. A very useless aquarium.>
I am passionate about aquariums..
<As am I!>
I have 3 other ..one is 4ftX2ftX2ft, the other one is 6ftX2ftX2ft and third one is 3ftX1.5ftX2ft None of these has discus. I have silver Arowana, Oscars, and then other cichlids....
<Nice fish.>
Can I keep discus by any chance in this new cylindrical one?
<No.>
John
<Cheers, Neale.>

Mickey Mouse Platy & Cory Catfish... stkg. too tiny volumes   08/05/09
Hello,
I have a 1.5 gallon tank, tiny little thing.
<1.5 gallons is too small for fish. Repeat, too small. As in TOO SMALL for fishkeeping. You cannot possibly keep any fish in there. If the retailer told you that it was fine for fish, he/she was lying and taking advantage of your ignorance. For a newcomer to fishkeeping, a 20 gallon is the best starting point. Do see here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm

Kiddie Pools as Aquariums 6/30/09
Hey Crew, Sorry if this question has been asked before, but I am interested in keeping some bigger freshwater fish, but I am afraid that glass aquariums of that nature will cost a fortune. I was wondering if using an alternate aquarium such as a kiddie pool may be viable, given that they can hold up to several hundred gallons of water.
<Mmm, yes... many kinds can be used... Do be careful with ones that "smell" strongly of plasticizer.... I'd definitely scrub/rinse with rock salt and water, use some livestock as a bio-assay for a few weeks before stocking... And do remember these need some sort of cover to prevent livestock leaving... and filtration, heating... will humidity be an issue?>
I have sufficient room in my basement for it and I have already found the appropriate filtration and heating
necessary for the pool, and having to spend less on the aquarium cuts the cost a lot.
<Yes... with what little is left after bureaucrats/gov't steal half our income, devalue what's left...>
I don't mind that I have to look at the fish from the top. Thanks for the help in advance.
Have you heard anyone doing this before?
<Oh yes... have even done myself. Do read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/lnrspdabvh2o.htm
and the linked files above.
Bob Fenner>

Ammonia (Bi Orb tanks; fatalities; poor water quality; the usual, really...) 6/21/09
Hi Guys
<Hello,>
Hope you can help, tried everything I can from various web sites but getting know where .
<Oh?>
I've a 30 l /8 US Gal Bi Orb which has been running for about 6 months, set up end of December , added fish slowly as suggested and got up to 6 Tetras and 2 Guppy's by mid March with no problems but was aware was now getting to maximum tank occupancy .
<Do understand that 30 litres, 8 US gallons is much below the minimum recommended size for tropical fish aquaria. Even 10 US gallons would be borderline for things like Neon Tetras. More importantly, Bi Orb tanks are an "odd" design that actually isn't all that good for keeping fish. They look nifty, I admit, but the spherical shape is the worst possible for fish in terms of surface area to volume ratio. The key thing is that there isn't a lot of oxygen getting into the water. So while they're widely sold, I strongly recommend against people buying them.>
For no apparent reason started to get an ammonia reading at the start of April , 0.25 , done partial water change about 10/20% added water conditioner and added cycle , following day all reading back to normal ,
tested water again couple of days later and ammonia starting to appear again , this is still happening now .
<It's probably not a "no apparent reason" issue, but rather something that's gradually developed. Ammonia comes from the fish, and it's removed by the biological filter. If you have ammonia in the water, it means you
either [a] have too many fish; [b] have insufficient filtration; and [c] you're adding too much food, and what the fish don't need is ending up in the filter and rotting. It's also worth mentioning that as time passes a
variety of things happen. The fish grow, for one thing, and a fish twice the length it was will actually be eight times the mass, so as fish grow, they produce much more ammonia than we think. As time passes, silt clogs up the biological filter media, be they sponges or ceramic noodles, and the silt suffocates some of the bacteria. So over time, filters process less ammonia, and to remedy that the media needs to be rinsed off
periodically.>
I've done partial water changes now , vacuuming the gravel media , anything from 10% up to 50% , 2 to 3 times a week but after a couple of days ammonia starts to come back and rises very sharply . At first I was adding Ammo Lock or Ammonia Remover but haven't done this for a month now , just the water conditioner and cycle , at water changes , however even when I add cycle now I don't get a biological bloom .
<Sounds to me as if this tank is overstocked, insufficiently filtered, and perhaps too much food is added.>
All other readings are fine and have never changed .
<What are they?>
The tank currently has only 5 Tetras in it now as 1 of them and the 2 Guppy's have died , they showed no sign of illness and were behaving normally , they didn't go all at once and were taken straight out once found , last one to die was the Tetra about 2 weeks ago .
<Hmm...>
The current tank conditions are Temp 26 , ph 6.4 , ammonia .25 , nitrate 0 nitrate 0
<Woah! Guppies cannot possibly be kept at pH 6.4! These are fish that need hard, basic water: around pH 7.5 to 8, general hardness 10+ degrees dH. If you live in a soft water area, it's best to keep Guppies in a brackish water system, adding 6-9 grammes of marine salt mix (not aquarium salt or tonic salt) per litre of water. This will not be acceptable for Tetras though.>
Hope you can help
Many Thanks
Paul
<Cheers, Neale.>

biOrb Aquarium - Planted Tank   5/16/09
Hello Bob,
<Tom>
I'm hoping you might be able to assist me by writing an article about creating a stunning freshwater biotope in a biOrb Life aquarium?
<In what way/s?>
I'm not sure if you know much about the biOrb range of aquariums (see www.reef-one.com)
<Mmm, am quite familiar... saw the line last year at Interzoo again... in CASCO's booth>
but we have developed an aquarium which makes keeping fish extremely easy for novice fishkeepers. All our aquariums (16 Gallons is the largest) have biological, chemical and mechanical filtration which is pretty unique for this size of aquarium. In a recent review by Practical Fish Keeping magazine they said "The filtration is commonly mistaken for Undergravel - which is isn't" and "Contrary to popular belief, the filter is actually pretty good and works well. In fact the amount of ceramic media supplied would be enough to biologically support a much larger density of fish. As a result it gets full marks for biological filtration".
<Yes...>
Our aquariums are designed to look attractive and bring more people into the hobby of fishkeeping (which as you may know the numbers of fish keepers is declining around the world), but we haven't sacrificed good fishkeeping practices to make the aquarium attractive.
One of the elements of the fishkeeping hobby which we have not explored in great detail is planted aquariums. Due to the ceramic media, which provides the huge biological filtration, it does make keeping some live plants more tricky. However as the images attached show it is very possible to create a planted aquarium but I would like an expert like yourself who has a great eye for designing amazing planted aquariums to look at designing one. Is this something you would be interested in doing?
<Thank you for the offer, but no>
As you can see these images are ones which were taken with a simple camera before thinning out the plants etc. However, this does show how nice the planted biOrb Life looks.
Please let me know if you are interested in working with me on this.
Kind Regards,
Tom
<Am out of the country too much of the rest of the year really to do such a project justice... and by and large not a "big fan" of such small volumes with limited surface area, inherent troubles in heating, maintenance. But I wish you and your business well. Bob Fenner>

Link Exchange Please, no   5/6/09
HI My name is Paul and I have recently started an online store selling some amazing fish tanks.
I would like to say that I love wet web media and it is a great resource for all pet fish information, and I have added a link to your site from my site at http://aquariumsbowls.com/information.php?info_id=9 Let me know if you would like this changed in any way/ anchor text or description.
I would really appreciate if you could return the favor and link to mine.
The Title(anchor text): Fish tanks
The site is: http://www.aquariumsbowls.com
Description: Unique Fish tanks and aquariums for marine, tropical and Bettas.
Thanks very much for your time!
Paul Sutherland
info@aquariumsbowls.com
<Paul, I/we elect not to link or help you promote these items... It is my decided opinion that what you show/list is not of use to "home hobbyists"... Bare bowls for Bettas, sans heater, filter... won't work for the "average" person to keep Siamese Fighting Fish alive, well, for long... and the small, tall cylinders you show are poor for similar reasons... lacking much needed surface area and volume to house much of anything, least the animals shown in the "ads"... I strongly suggest you revisit, think long and hard re what you are up to here... And either change your product assortment, or add at least some commentary re what will be required if one tries to keep life in these ornamental containers. Bob Fenner>

Baby BiOrb tank - my fish have died, advice for future please. -- 09/07/08
Hello there,
<Good morning,>
I am in desperate need of some advice.
<Oh?>
About 5 months ago I bought a baby BiOrb tank.
<Please understand this tank contains just 15 litres (less than 4 US gallons) of water. It is not suitable for fishkeeping, end of story. It's a very expensive, very attractive, bucket. A total con? Well, depends on how you define "throwing your money down a hole" but the image on the front with Goldfish and such is completely misleading. At best, it could house a single Betta, or alternatively a few Cherry Shrimps and funky Nerite snails. But that's it. No other fish of any type whatsoever will be happy or easily maintained in a tank this shape or size. The small volume means that fish wastes can't be diluted effectively, and the tiny surface at the top (because its a sphere, not a box) means very little oxygen diffuses into the water. By any standards, it's useless for fishkeeping.>
We slowly introduced 6 guppies, a loach and 2 platys. When I brought the platys home and put them into the tank to adjust in the bag I noticed there were 9 babies in their which must have been born on the way home. This is the first time I've had fish so I wasn't sure what to do with them. As I had already had a guppy baby survive to 4 months (at that time) and bearing in mind it was after shops closing time I decided to add them all to the tank.
<Long term none of these fish will survive. As they grow, they'll expect more "resources" in terms of oxygen and waste management, so there will come a point where the Baby BiOrb is overloaded, and they'll sicken and die.>
All of the babies survived, 6 of them lived in the filter (which it seemed they could swim in and out of) and three were happy hiding in the rocks at the bottom of the tank. The guppies also had babies and two of these survived by living in the filter.
<OK.>
Two weeks later I noticed that one of the guppies had a fur on her and was waving her head from side to side, then I noticed another had white spots/. After researching on the internet I discovered this was Ick. I immediately went to my pet shop and was recommended the BiOrb
First Aid filter. I carried out the instructions and hoped for the best. Removing the existing filter managed to kill all the platy babies which were living in it (I was distraught about this).
<Right; the "fur" is Fungus, and typically means poor water quality. No great surprise really. The Whitespot/Ick is a parasite likely brought in with the new. Both diseases need prompt treatment with specific medications.>
Gradually day by day all the fish have died including last night the two guppy babies. I am left with only the loach which doesn't seem to have developed Ick. This has been a very upsetting experience and I was wondering what I should do now. How do I find out whether the
loach has Ick (he doesn't appear to have any spots or fur) and how do I go about introducing new fish and ensure that this experience does not repeat?
<You absolutely cannot add any more fish to this system. Please, re-home the Loach. What species is it? I'm guessing a Clown Loach (orange-and-black creature) or a Weather Loach (mottled brown, eel-like thing with long whiskers). Either way, completely unsuitable for this system, and being both gregarious species need big tanks that allow them to be kept in groups.>
I was also wondering what I should do when the babies are born. We have lots of ceramic media in the bowl for them to hide in but if they are living in the filter how do I get them out and what happens when they get too big to swim out and get trapped?
<Rearing the babies is the least of your problems. But do see here for the basics:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/poeciliids.htm
>
I would appreciate any help and advice.
<Take the fish out of the darn thing, and either put shrimps/snails in it or sacrifice it to the Fish Gods. Either way, it's of no use for what you want. The pet store sold you a "bill of goods" as the Americans say... (in other words, you were taken advantage of as someone who didn't known what they were buying). Have a read of this:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwlivestk.htm
And then get back to us if you're still unsure about what to do next and we'll do our best to help. Do also invest in an aquarium book, or at least borrow one from the library. Beginners often start with very small tanks (by which we mean anything less than 90 litres/20 gallons) and these are notoriously difficult to stock with suitable fish. Maintaining good water quality in small tanks is hard work too. So it pays to be upfront about the problems, and make sure you've done your research. Fishkeeping is a very simple hobby if you do things precisely "by the numbers" in terms of fish requirements and water chemistry; but if you try to make things up as you go along, or worse, rely on the advice of the store clerk, you'll almost certainly end up with dead fish.>
Many thanks,
<Most welcome.>
Lucy
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Baby BiOrb tank - my fish have died, advice for future please. -- 09/07/08
Hi Neale,
<Hello Lucy,>
Thanks so much for this advice. The loach is a weather loach
<A lovely fish; needs at least a 25-30 gallon tank though -- gets to 20 cm eventually, and does want some buddies. Does great with Goldfish in an unheated tank indoors. Lots of character.>
and I will see if I can find a bigger tank in which to rehome him. I'll do some research and check out the links you recommend first as you suggest.
<Very good.>
I really appreciate your no-nonsense and speedy reply. I certainly do not want to repeat this experience, it has been heartbreaking.
<I understand. We've all been there. What we try to do here is to show how keeping fish can be rewarding, rather than upsetting.>
Many thanks,
Lucy
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Fish Bent in Half: Improper Housing - 7/1/08 Hey guys! <Hello! Benjamin here today> My fish is in a bowl on his own, fed regularly but only a small amount, washed regularly and given attention. <Hee! I don't know if he needs 'attention' but it sure is fun to watch our fish! On the other hand, there really are no fish that are suited for life in a bowl. I assume you have a Betta or a goldfish- a Betta needs a heated, filtered aquarium; a goldfish requires at least 15 gallons of living space to prevent toxic build-up of wastes. Please read on wetwebmedia.com re the specific needs of whatever the denizen of your bowl is> He is currently almost bent in half and led on the bottom of the bowl. When he swims, he swims in circles but keeps sinking to the bottom. Can you please tell me what is actually wrong with him and if there is anything I can do to help him? <Based on his living space, probably poisoning from ammonia or nitrite compounds; otherwise a late-stage symptom of internal infection of the coelom or gas bladder. If your fish has not reached expiry by the time you read this, small frequent water changes with dechlorinated water may help- as will some time spent reading about proper husbandry for this fish and future charges> Thanks in advance, Vicki <Best of luck, Benjamin>

Re: Fish Bent in Half: Improper Housing: Since the Sun has Risen Yesterday, Surely Tomorrow... - 7/1/08 Hello! I have kept fish in the same tank for years and most usually live 3-5 years. But thanks anyway for your advice. <Past successes do not dictate future ones...Bacon would have things to say here... <<! A new high! Sir Francis evoked on WWM!!! RMF>> the point in case here is that your fish is improperly housed and one way or another its demise is imminent and hastened by being kept in a bowl. Please read re basic fishkeeping, ethics on wetwebmedia.com. If this is a Betta spp. you are slightly under the expected lifespan; if this is a goldfish you have barely reached a sixth of their low-end life expectancy. Ultimately, although bowls may be popular they simply cannot be used conscientiously- that they are safe or adequate for any fish is false. As G.K. Chesterton points out, "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions"> Vicki <Benjamin>

Changing to freshwater and stocking   6/18/08 Hello again. <Hello!> You have all been very helpful in the past with my current marine tank though I now fancy a change as the maintenance of the marine tank is taking up too much time. I have a 500ltr main tank with a 100 ltr sump running an ocean runner 3500. In the main tank I have 2 Hydor no4's to give circulation. The lighting is by was of arcadia series 3 metal halide lamps. <Apart from the skimmer, most of your marine hardware can be used in a freshwater tank with ease. The lights may be rather strong though, i.e., algae-promoting and expensive, unless you're keeping very light-demanding plants. Otherwise, scaling back to the equivalent of 2-3 Watts per gallon fluorescent lighting is ample.> As I mentioned the maintenance of the marine tank is starting to get behind due to time limits and I am looking to switch back to freshwater. That way I can do regular water changes with ease. <Indeed.> So to the point. As I have not had freshwater for a long time I am quite out of it and have tried looking though your articles only to fry my brain. <Oh?> I am looking to use the current set up but change the substrate to a gravel and completely clean out the tanks. If I leave some of the current substrate will this help cycle the tank quicker? <Not really; except in a fairly high-end brackish system, the "marine" filter bacteria will die back completely.> What would you put in the sump for fresh water, I considered just gravel and lots of plants (not sure what type yet) <The usual use for sumps in freshwater tanks is as a place to dump chemical media, specifically carbonate material for raising the KH. This is obviously useful if you're keeping fish that need hard water, such as Tanganyikans, Mbuna, Central Americans, or Livebearers. A brackish water setup would also benefit from the sump being filled with calcareous material, but adding salt to water might be just the sort of work you're trying to avoid! Some (advanced) aquarists also use them as "vegetable filters", using fast-growing plants or algae to remove nitrate from the water. Do look at the book 'Dynamic Aquaria' for info on this sort of thing. Otherwise, simply use the sump as additional filter space and fill with bio-balls or ceramic noodles in media bags.> And finally I am looking for a quite a busy community tank (the kids love watching loads of fishes shoal) but with a few interesting fishes for me. <Lots of options here. If I had a big tank with a sump, I'd definitely explore the idea of small to medium-sized Tanganyikans (lots of colours, interesting behaviour) or "rare" (in the sense of infrequently kept) livebearers such as Goodeids. Both these options would provide ample scope for an advanced aquarist to try out non-standard, non-generic freshwater fish, whilst still offering the family lots of "pretty fish" for them to watch and breed.> Any help on the above points greatly appreciated. P.S. I considered using some of the live rock as decor rock. I know it seems a waste but might as well use some of it as the LFS does not want it all. Will the rock have any benefit in freshwater of just decor. <Dead "live" rock becomes nothing more than limestone rubble; again, splendid for tanks where the fish like hard water, but really rather an expensive approach. Generic tufa rock works just as well.> Many thanks again Paul <Cheers, Neale.> Seeking feed Back 05/25/08 Why wondering throw the web today I trip over a idea I fell in love with. The water bridge setup were two or more tank are link with upside down "U". It sound like a grate why to get a big tank out of smaller tanks. What sound like a must is having the filter intake in one tank and it's output in the other insuring water flow in the U. The tanks would need to be at the same high I belief to void one draining into the other when the power goes out. One would also have to watch water level in the tanks to void emptying out the bridge into the tanks. <Sounds like a lot of work to me. Connecting tanks with tubes and bridges and whatnot looks good on paper, but most fish won't swim through these connections, especially if they are transparent. Nothing really beats a simple rectangular aquarium.> When I saw this idea layout I thought it would make a interesting setup for a clown loach tank. The problem is I don't belief clown loach would want to swim through a see throw pipe. <Indeed, a Clown Loach would not swim through a transparent PVC or glass tube.> It would be grate if I could go to the store and pick up black PVC piping which cost far, far less then the see throw stuff, but would they swim throw a pitch black pipe? <Perhaps, if at the bottom of the tank.> There also the desire to be able to monitor ones fish coming and going throw the water bridge to insure the don't get themselves into trouble. They be out of sight in black PVC, but then a fish could still get them selves into trouble hiding out in their cave with out any water bridge to be seen. <Doubt the fish would get stuck; most fish are very good at squeezing through cracks and tunnels.> Then there the other burning question how long and how wide should a tanks be for a group of clown loach, if one could make clown loach friendly water bridge? <Clown loaches are big fish, potentially 30 cm/12". They are also schooling fish, and shouldn't be kept in groups smaller than 5-6. Obviously that means they need a big tank. I'd recommend not less than 250 litres/55 gallons for juveniles, and even bigger tanks for adults.> I spouse in theory one could link 5 20 gallon tanks measure 2 feet long 1 foot wide and get 100 gallons, but no full grown clown loach would be happy in any of them even if one had the worlds grates water filtration. So needless to say I know 2 foot long tank are out for clown loach's but could 3 feet or 4 feet long tanks work? or would they be to short or not wide enough? <120 cm/4' would be the minimum for a single unit in such a system of tanks.> The water bridge idea seem to me to be a grate way to get around the fact it can be hard were I live to find a tank over 4 feet long for sale, yet there are pit falls with the idea some I seen other I have not. <Can't say I feel very positive about this idea. It's perhaps better to think about what Clown Loaches want, and design a tank around them. Perhaps construct a miniature version first and try it out with a smaller loach species like Botia sidthimunki, and see how that works out. Cheers, Neale.> Upgrading tanks  4/28/08 Hi! I'm Alia. <Hello Alia! One of my fave characters names from Frank Herbert's "Dune" series> I want to thank you guys in advance for all you help! I find your site very useful. Anyway, I currently have a 10 gallon glass aquarium with filtration and fluorescent lights. In my tank I have 5 mollies, two black (1 male and 1 female), two golden Lyretails (1 male and 1 female), and 1 silver female. I keep the tank brackish. I want to get a larger tank possibly a 20-25 gallon one. <Ahh! You will find it much easier to maintain> I'm having difficulties finding a tank because I am not sure if acrylic is better than glass or if I should buy an aquarium kit or buy the pieces separately. <There are a few "standard" arguments pro/con... glass being cheaper, but acrylic reselling for more... glass breaking easier, but acrylic scratching easier... all posted on WWM> If buying the pieces separately is better, what type of filter, lights, and heater do you recommend? <Posted... see: http://wetwebmedia.com/ for both freshwater and brackish systems.> I've been looking online and I haven't found a tank in that size range. Do you know of a place to purchase reasonable priced tanks? I live near Torrance California. Thank you so much! <Mmm, I'd look around, even consider Craig's List for used gear here... as you live in a densely populated area, there are likely deals to be had. Bob Fenner>

Two-tank coldwater system? FW   01/22/2008 Hello, and thanks for reading, <Welcome> My wife bought a ?goldfish? tank with some Christmas money, it is ten gallons, and I promised to take care of it for her. <Mmmm> Now, as anyone who knows anything about fish will tell you, and as I recently discovered with a little research, ten gallons is not even enough for a single goldfish if they survive long enough to grow. <Correct> I could now begin a long tirade about how fish are marketed, sold, and kept (especially betas), but that would be preaching to the choir, so I won't bother. <Appreciated> Unfortunately, I got caught up in the fun and bought my own little friend, a blue crayfish they sell as ?blue lobsters? for aquariums. (Which is silly I guess, because they can be troublemakers, or get eaten when they moult.) He has his own tank, and is busy remodeling. The problem is: I have a black moor, a calico fantail, and 2 very entertaining snails in a 10 gallon tank, and an adorable little crayfish in a 6.6 gallon long tank. Everything is fine now, but this will not last long. (Can you believe it? These things grow over time! And they poop! Who knew?) <Heeee!> The solution is: More water, duh. The question is: How best to do it? <Buying a larger tank, system...> I have a few ideas, but I want to run them by an informed person before I do anything else retarded with regard to livestock. From what I have read on various websites until my eyes burned, the more water volume in an aquarium/system, the better, so keeping two tiny aquariums is sort of counter intuitive to the whole idea of an aquarium anyway. It goes without saying I'll have to purchase larger tanks, but my readings got me curious about a few things. After I acquire a larger tank for the goldfish, would it be a good idea to get a 20 or use the ten for the Cray, and connect it somehow to the goldfish tank, so that the two separate tanks are part of one system? <A neat project... and would marginally improve water quality...> I don't want to put the Cray in the same tank as the goldfish for obvious reasons, but would them being in the same system cause any problems? <The Cray might well eat the goldfish> Would adding iodine for the crayfish hurt the goldfish? <No, not in moderation> I read an article here about someone who kept Crays in a sump for a goldfish tank, and it seems like a good idea, being that they are both coldwater, but I want to make sure. What is the best way to do this? <Mix, blending their water? To use a sump for both displays... pump water to them, allow to individually return to the lower sump...> Are there easier ways that don't involve drilling holes in aquariums? <Yes... there are "overflows" that are hang-ons... of a few designs...> Is this dumb, and should I just try and maintain the two tanks separately? <Mmm, not necessarily. Do take a look here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm The second and fourth trays... on Sumps, Overflows...> Also, I use a Berkey filter system for our human drinking water- would this water then be appropriate to use in the tanks, or would it require further treatment? Here's a link to their informational site for more info on what the filter does. (www.berkeywater.com) <Neat product and site... this water will be fine for use as is> Thank you Levi <A pleasure to chat with you. Bob Fenner>

Sick Fish? by Rob 1/9/08 Hello Wet Web Media <Hello Rob,> Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I have a newly set up freshwater community aquarium of 10 gallons. <Adequate for Neons, marginally so for Guppies, but too small for Platies. Please understand a 10 gallon tank is very difficult to stock, and one of the worst tanks for beginners to start with. Size matters, and a beginner should always choose a 20 gallon (or larger) aquarium.> The aquarium has been in operation for about a week and contains 3 Platies, 3 Guppies, and originally 5 Neon Tetras (two are left) within the first 3 days or so a white growth started to appear on the Platies sides and fins which could be true fungus but I am unsure. Along with the white growths, red streaks are starting to appear next to the growths. This symptom could be a internal infection but I need a professional answer for this one. <Likely both Finrot and Fungus, which will often occur together in immature tanks with poor water quality (almost certainly the case here). Use a proper combination medication that treats both simultaneously (e.g. Maracyn or eSHa 2000, but NOT Melafix/Pimafix). Also monitor the nitrite level in the tank, as it is ammonia and nitrite that are stressing the fish. If you can detect nitrite above zero, then do a water change. While a tank is immature (that's the first six weeks) it is a good idea to change 25% daily, at least for the first month. Only when the tank is settled down can you relax and do the normal 25-50% water change per week (in a small, difficult to keep aquarium like a 10-gallon system, I'd HEARTILY recommend 50% water changes per week.> Along with the red streaks the Platies gills are becoming red and appear almost non-existent which could also mean a internal infection. <Unlikely an internal infection. Much more like nitrite/ammonia poisoning.> All of these symptoms together could mean that they received these diseases in the pet shop but I am unsure of the origin. <Forget it! Nothing to do with the pet store. These symptoms are 100% typical of too many fish being added to too immature a tank that's receiving too few water changes. Your fault, not the fish shop's.> All of the fish are eating fine and their behavior is the same as I know them by. <While the fish are sick like this, don't feed at all. When the nitrite level is zero, then start adding tiny amounts of food, literally one or two flakes, crumbled.> I added aquarium salt in the time of the set up of the tank and allowed it a few days to normalize before adding fish. <Did you read an aquarium book before starting? Please make an effort to do so. Resting the tank for a few days achieves precisely nothing. Why should it? There's no magic involved here: the bacteria in the filter grow when they receive ammonia from livestock (or an inorganic source). If the tank is empty and just sitting there, there's no ammonia, so the bacteria don't grow. Adding a whole bunch of fish like you did certainly provides the ammonia, but the bacteria population takes weeks to reach full capacity, so until then, the poor fish are swimming about in an ammonia-ridden cess pool! Hence their deaths. This is why when you "mature" an aquarium using fish, you start by adding just one or two small species, and then a couple more a few weeks later, and so on across the next few months. What you've done won't work. In addition, none of your fish need salt. Who told you to add salt? While salt can have therapeutic value under some situations, it isn't something you should add without thinking, and certainly not something that needs to be added on a regular basis. Rather, you should be monitoring water quality and chemistry using those test kits I hope you bought (at least a pH and a nitrite test kit) and acting accordingly.> I have consulted many sources and hope that the Platies sickness can be cured with your consulting. <Ultimately, yes, they can be cured, but depends entirely on whether you're prepared to start keeping your fish properly or not. Your move.> Thank you for your time. <Not a problem, and hope this helps.> Rob <Cheers, Neale.>

Metaframe Aquariums, resale of antiques!  -11/18/07 Hello, After doing several searches to no avail, I'm hoping you can help me. Recently several people have offered to buy my 15 gallon Metaframe aquarium. It is in great condition and is still currently in use, with its original stow a light canopy. I've looked on eBay and have seen two currently listed, one 10 gallon for $80 and an identical 10 gallon for $250 so I'm a little confused about its actual worth. Any assistance you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Kate <Hello Kate. To quote Margaret Thatcher, "something is worth what someone else is willing to pay for it". This may not help you much, but there it is. Personally, I'd spend next to no money on a 15 gallon tank. It's simply not useful except for rearing baby fish or housing very tiny community fish or shrimps. Every time I advise beginner aquarists, I always, always, ALWAYS tell them to go for a 20 gallon tank upwards. Anything smaller can't be used to properly maintain the sorts of fish regular aquarists like to keep, like goldfish, guppies, angelfish and so on. Moreover, your sort of tank, with a slate bottom and metal frame, just isn't a good long-term investment. These tanks simply get increasingly more likely to leak as they age, and moving them from one house to another is precisely the sort of thing that puts strains on the joints speeding up this degradation. So while it may appeal as a collector's item, as something a hobbyist should spend money on it makes no sense at all. For less than $100 you can get an all-glass 20 gallon tank with lights, heater and filter from a brand like Marineland that gives you a warranty as well as a source of spare parts should things go wrong. Getting prices from eBay is not always helpful, because by definition eBay exists to use the auction mode of sale to drive prices up. Moreover, a lot of stuff never sells at its listed price. Anyone who spends $80 on a second-hand metal-framed 10 gallon tank -- let alone $250 -- is, in my opinion, out of their mind! I'm not really sure this is what you wanted to hear, in which case I apologise, but we really aren't geared to advise people on commercial or financial issues. Cheers, Neale.>

Is my aqua fizz creating too much bubbles for my small fish bowl? -- 07/23/07 Hi, I just got a small fish bowl with 3 fish in it. I also bought a small aqua fizz air stone that I attached to an Elite 800 air pump. I am worried that it is creating to much of a disturbance to my fish as they seem to fight to stay away from it. Is this a problem? If so what can I use instead to give my 3 fish air in such a small bowl. Thank You, Joanna <Hello Joanna. Keeping fish in bowls is a very VERY bad idea for all sorts of reasons, not least of all the water is not filtered and the fish have no space for swimming around in. Fish kept in bowls invariably stay sickly and die young. It's cruel, it's a waste of money, and it doesn't share any of the best parts of the hobby with you. So, rather than fussing about with airstones, which clearly isn't working here, I'd encourage you to get an aquarium for your fish. Goldfish, if that's what you have, are BIG animals and very messy, and need a 30 gallon aquarium, minimum. If you want a smaller aquarium, don't get goldfish, get something smaller, like guppies or neon tetras. Please have a read Hope this helps, Neale.>

Needing Upgrade advice. Acrylic/Glass, and cichlid sel.   3/1/07 I currently have a 29 gallon and a 10 gallon fresh water setup. I was thinking about shutting down the 10 gallon and replacing it with a larger tank 40 to 50 gallons.  What in your opinion are the pros and cons of an acrylic versus glass tank? <Mmm, acrylic hold their value longer... are not nearly as likely to break or leak... but do scratch easier than glass... though are easier to remove scratches from... Acrylic are better thermal insulators... look nicer IMO>   I was going to stay with fresh water and look into getting some cichlids.  Any advice about these as far as hardiness would be helpful also.  Thanks, Chuck <The third largest family of fishes... some very tough indeed... others very much not so... Perhaps you want to investigate a given biotope... a part of an area of the world... micro-habitat... Or center on a key species or two... See the Net, books re... or write us back with more specific questions... Bob Fenner>

GOLDFISH (NOR ANY FISH, IN MY OPINION) DO NOT BELONG IN BOWLS!   1/23/07 Hi Jorie, <Hi again> I'm afraid my fish lives in a bowl. <Ok, this is not good for any fish, but especially a very messy goldfish (or two).  Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm.  Another good goldfish resource here: http://www.kokosgoldfish.com/ > We don't use the term gallons but I think its about 4-5 liters. <Just about...WAY too small for even one goldfish.  One fancy goldie needs at least 10 gal. of water, plus proper filtration and regular water changing.  Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfiltration.htm > I think that's one gallon. <I am under the impression that 1 liter = (approx.) 0.26 US gallons.  Even if your bowl is 5 liters, that's about 1.3 US gallons...unsuitable for any fish.> Well a regular bowl. <Terrible.  Read here; even though its an article about Bettas, the same rationale applies: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm > I don't know how much ammonia the water  has but I know we have hard water (I hope you understand my point). <Ammonia and alkalinity (hardness of water) are not the same thing.  Ammonia is a toxin and cannot be present in any amount in a fish's water.  Here's a good article explaining "ammonia, nitrites and nitrates and how they interact to establish the necessary nitrogen cycle in an aquarium (which, is virtually impossible to do in a 1.3 US gal. fish bowl) : http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm > Oh, when I asked a friend who has some experience at this about my problem he said that its because I had different water from the pet shop,  or the fish was sick,  or he had a shock. <Bottom line, if your friend has any reasonable amount of experience, he would have told you that you need an aquarium of at least 10 US gallons (just under 38 liters), with biological and mechanical filtration.  Also, you should be doing regular water changes, matching the pH and temp. of the "old" vs. the "new" water as closely as possible.  What your friend tells you is all true and possible, but the key issue is that your fish is essentially swimming in its own waste, in highly polluted water, and this will eventually kill him.> He doesn't believe that the other goldfish was attacking the fantail. <Well, if I recall correctly, you saw a "bite" in the fish that died? Something had to have caused this...> Oh, and one more question. My goldfish is always at the surface for air so I want to buy an air pump. <GET RID OF THE BOWL. Get a reasonable sized aquarium, as mentioned above.  If you want two goldfish, you'll need at least an 80 liter tank...> Can I put one in the bowl? <You could, but this won't resolve your polluted water problem. Invest in a larger tank instead.> If yes, do you have some models to recommend. <No, I recommend a bigger aquarium. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm > Thanks you so much for your time. Sorry for all this questions. <Don't apologize for asking, but please understand, this truly is an essential.  Your one fish likely died from poor environmental conditions, and your other one will likely perish as well.  It is cruel and inhumane to keep any fish in bowls, esp. goldfish, who are notoriously messy.  Not to mention there are great temperature fluctuations in small bowls, little oxygen content, etc... Unfortunately, you don't have the luxury of taking all the time in the world to read the mounds of info. on proper fishkeeping; do your fish a favor, take my word on it, buy a larger aquarium with filtration, and get your fish in their ASAP.  All the while, be doing your reading, and you'll soon see why I'm so concerned for the health of your fish. Best regards, Jorie>

Insurance   9/21/06 Hello,           I have recently moved into a new house, and my landlady is quite paranoid about my 120 gallon freshwater aquarium breaking. One of the stipulations of my lease is that I need to get renter's insurance that should cover damage, should the tank leak. <This is a good idea... for both parties... for all your belongings> I am, however, having a challenge finding such coverage. Can you point the way for me to seek any providers for this type of coverage? Thank you, Bill Day, Waterville, Maine. <Easy enough to do... with a "Yellow Page" or such phone directory or the Net... contact insurance companies in your area... and ask if they offer Renter's Insurance... and if their policies cover aquariums. Bob Fenner>

Supporting A 20 Gallon Tank  9/9/06 Greetings all, My first (and most -pressing-) question has to do with the position of my tank. My boyfriend and I live in a small one room apartment, we came across a 20 gallon tank  out with the trash one day  and  decided to give it  a  new  home. Currently, we  have  it  set  up  on  a  sturdy  dresser (there is also a piece of cardboard beneath the tank), the dresser faces towards the door but we have the tank set up so the "front" of it faces our all-purpose eating-sitting-sleeping area. However, the tank is about two inches longer than the dresser is wide, and so is unsupported for about an inch on either side. It has been full of water for about two weeks now, and so far so good, but the visual thought of the seams giving out from stress are really cringe inducing. Do you think this is an "okay" setup, or should we really reposition it so that the entire tank is supported? (I know of course the latter would be preferable, but that would put the tank at a really crummy angle for observation of the fish.) If you think this isn't "okay" could you say whether it's an inevitability or just a not entirely remote possibility? < Remove the tank and place a piece of 3/4 plywood under the entire tank and than place in back on the dresser. This Tank with water will weight close to 200 lbs. The tank should be OK as is but I would feel better with a little extra support on the end pieces. The plywood will also help protect the top of the dresser. Some dressers are made of particle board and not solid wood. I would start looking for another stand if your dresser is made from the particle board.> Secondly, I have a question about our fish. After cleaning the tank (just with a new sponge, and soaking it in water for a day), setting up the filter/airstone/heater/gravel/etc., and letting it run for about a week we went out and got three scissortail rasboras to keep in it. This was three days ago. (These seemed like a good candidate to survive the cycling.) They range in size from about an inch and a half, to 3/4s of an inch. The two larger fish have seemed pretty much content, actively swimming and the like. However, after maybe 6 hours the smallest fish retreated to a corner of the tank. If the other fish swim over to him he either ignores them, or darts over to the other side of the tank. He also comes out briefly after the lights are turned off for the night, but goes back to the corner within a few minutes. He comes out to eat, and seems to get his fair share, and otherwise looks healthy. I'm wondering if because of his relatively small size the cycling process/stress of transportation/some other factor is hitting him harder than the larger fish. Or, if he's perhaps just trying to separate himself from the establishment of the pecking order. (Initially the other two fish chased each other, and each claimed a nip from the other's tail. The chasing seems to have stopped, and the little fish still has very nice full tail fins.) Or, if perhaps there just simply aren't enough fish around for his schooling instinct to kick in. Other information that may be useful to know: we have (assumedly) soft water with a pH (that has remained steady) of about 7.3. In our excitement we neglected to test the water from the pet shop, but since it is just around the corner we assume it was similar. We took about 45 minutes to acclimate them by adding doses of water from the fish tank into the bag. We have been changing a gallon of the water daily. There are two large, two medium, and three small fake plants in the tank, along with a large rock (bought at the pet store), and another largish decoration. These are mostly oriented towards the front and the back, hopefully providing plenty of both cover and swimming room. We have been feeding them about 8 tetra flakes daily (two feedings of 4 each). Sorry for such a long-winded explanation for one little rasbora, but it would do my heart good to not loose any fish due to preventable circumstances. < Schooling fish like these prefer to be in groups of at least six. After cycling you can add some more fish and he will feel better and come out more.> One last question, if you will. We definitely plan to add more rasboras, knowing well that three isn't a proper school (not to mention that I find them delightfully amusing). I have read that if schooling fish are introduced singly to a group they sometimes get unduly harassed. For this reason, we are reluctant to add them one by one. Also, we anticipate the need for some sort of "janitorial" fish. In your opinion what should take precedence, reducing the bioload, or getting these guys into a proper school? (Of course we don't plan to add anything until we test and find ammonia levels to be 0). < Get the school up and running first, but really you could add the others at anytime as well.>     Finally I would like to thank you guys for your wonderfully informative site, and also your time in reading (and answering) this letter. It is greatly (greatly) appreciated!-Krisi < Thanks for your kind words.-Chuck>

Plans for Upgrading FW Tank 7/12/06 Hi guys. <Hi> First allow me to thank you for your very informative website, and for your dedication in assisting others in the hobby. <Thanks for the thanks.>   Currently, I have a 55-gallon freshwater planted tank w/ a few fish. I am interested in upgrading to a 75 or possibly 90-gallon tank. <Nice> The emphasis will be on keeping freshwater tropical fish such as discus, and on simplifying (if possible) routine maintenance operations. First decision: material selection. Here is what I have gathered so far concerning the pros & cons of acrylic vs. glass aquariums: acrylic aquariums, in general, are: 1. clearer than glass aquariums, 2. lighter than glass aquariums, 4. more flexible than glass aquariums (is this really desirable if you don't live in So Cal?) <In some applications where physical motion is harder to avoid, often in public settings.> 4. better insulators against temperature fluctuation, 5. more expensive than their glass counterparts, and 6. much easier to scratch. There doesn't seem to be a consensus as to which material is clearly the best choice. <Neither one is clearly better than the others.  Also with some of the high grade glass now available the clarity of glass tanks can be as good/better than acrylic, but at a price of course.> Well, what about tank failure? <Neither is really failure prone if properly set up, but glass is less forgiving.> Most of what I have read implicates glass aquariums as being more likely to fail due to their seams. <If improperly setup/stored.> However, I have also read that this is not true. What is your opinion on this issue? <Really, as far as basic quality, six of one, half a dozen of the other.> Can you tell me if bowfront tanks are any more likely than traditional rectangular tanks to leak? <Mine never have.> Are you aware of any pros/cons regarding bowfront tanks (m ore difficult to clean, etc)? <Honestly, I wouldn't buy another.  They look nice, but the magnet scrapers don't work real well on them, and you get some weird blind spots.  Not terrible, but I have become a fan of plain old rectangular tank over time.> Since I said that I would like to simplify routine maintenance operations, do you have any suggestions for me?   <Still need to do all the basics, water changes, filter cleaning, etc.> I would like to make water changes easier to perform, especially if I go to a larger tank. I currently use a gravel vac to remove water, and replace it with R/O water (algae gets a foothold and never goes away if tap water is used!) Would it be beneficial to get a pre-drilled tank and use an overflow and sump, or are these only for marine applications? <Often are used, nice for hiding equipment, good wet dries, but really won't make anything easier.>   If it would be beneficial, then what are the risks of tank water draining out on the floor? <Can definitely happen, testing, good design necessary to minimize these risks.> Lastly, my interest in upgrading to a larger tank was recently peaked when I viewed the tank backgrounds made by Pangea Rocks @ www.aquarium-background.com. My current tank is not wide enough to install such a background in. Do you have any feedback on these products from current U.S. customers? <Haven't seen these before.  Look nice, but doesn't say what they are made of.  Also have to worry about detritus getting stuck in/behind the background.  Try some BBs to see if anyone has used them.> Thanks in advance for your reply. <Sure> <Chris>

What about "Top Fin" aquariums - 5/25/2006 Hey there WWM crew! <<Hey Linda.>> I've read through your site and could not find any opinions on the Top Fin aquarium, sold thru PetSmart.  I cannot find anything on the net as to who manufactures these aquariums. <<I do believe it is Marineland or Perfecto>> Is this aquarium, to your knowledge, equal to the All Glass or a step below?  (reason why I'm asking is that I bought a 75 gal. last week and am hoping it is a decent tank, although, am certainly not against returning it and buying an All Glass or even an Oceanic.  Most of the fish stores in GA have All Glass but liked the stand so much at PetSmart, that I went for the tank, also.) <<I have a 47-gallon X-tall by Top Fin, and I love it.  It is gorgeous, sturdy and I have never had a problem.  Buy with confidence! Thank you.  Linda   <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

A cruel tank  - 05/23/2006 <<Tom here, Martin.>> Well, I don't know what will become of this e-mail, but I have to alert someone because I feel something is cruel and everyone should be warned... everyone who is into this hobby, that is. I came across this guy on e-bay selling tanks that have the following dimensions: 68" high, with a front of 12" wide and a side of about 8" deep making the footprint, or worse, the SURFACE of this five foot deep tank less than a square foot! I am no expert but YIKES is all I can say. The guy has pix of goldfish and such in there, and even says that this is scientific and educational for the kiddies, and how everyone will Ohh and ahh when they see your tank. I wanted to immediately go report this to P.E.T.A or something... Am I wrong to be this angry? Am I overreacting? <<Your reaction, and perhaps anger, are certainly understandable. To add a little perspective, however, is this fellow worse than any company, or individual, that peddles an inferior product, i.e. a product that doesn't do what is claimed and, therefore, places the health and well-being of our pets at risk? The guy is, at best, a moron but he won't be able to peddle his death traps to knowledgeable people.>> Could you please warn people of the detriments of owning this tank and the effects trying to cultivate life in that particular environment would have? <<You just warned folks for us, Martin. Any aquarium with insufficient surface area to allow for gas exchange/oxygen uptake (and this one takes the cake!) should be shunned by anyone looking to keep fish. Simply put, the larger the surface area of the top of the tank, the better. For those who like Rules of Thumb, 12-20 square inches of surface area per inch of adult-sized fish should be used as a rough guideline, high end being better.>> Otherwise I may go to his factory with a heat-gun and melt all of his acrylic tanks in the name of all the merciless pet fish murder he's inflicting from cheese-bay. I didn't provide a link because I didn't know the legal ramifications and what not, but he's not hard to find under their search engine, searching for "square aquariums". <<Thanks, Martin, for sharing this with us and our readers. You've done everyone a service today. Tom>>

My poor harlequin is breathing from the surface!? Inherent BiOrb limitations, problems   - 03/26/2006 Dear WWM, <Molly> I am having some trouble with my relatively young tank. It has been up and running for about 3 months now (not including the pre-fish   cycling period). It is a BiUbe. <BiOrb?> I have 6 x harlequin rasboras, 1 x male Betta splendens, 2 x smallish bottom feeders. I have followed all the instructions on setting up a tank religiously and all my readings are always perfect -except for nitrate (NO3)   which always seems quite high -have been doing water changes to bring it down (is coming down slowly). It's in the 50-70 range which my test kit says is bad but not toxic. Is this right? <Not correct. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwnitrates.htm and the linked files above> Everyone seems happy and fine although the tank gets dirty VERY quickly. <These units have this trend/trait... unfortunately "kill off" much livestock and hobbyists consequently...> I clean the top of the filter tube and the rock I have when I do water changes but they, and my plants (not live) become grubby   very quickly -a few days tops. It is a green sludge, sometimes brown.   Is this algae? <A mix of this and bacteria mainly> Why is it becoming so dirty so quickly? <Inadequate filtration, circulation... the unit itself> Should I change the filter? Or am I feeding too much (once a day a pinch of flakes which all get eaten up)? <Both changes would likely help> -Perhaps I should also mention that during my pre-fish cycling period I put in some live plants but they kept going brown and dying so I only have plastic now. Any ideas why? <All sorts... posted on WWM> However, this evening I noticed that one of my harlequins seems to be breathing from the surface. He goes up for air for about 10-20   seconds, swims around for a few seconds then goes back for more. No one else is behaving oddly. I am very worried for him. What could it be? <Lack of oxygen, pollution... see WWM re... real trouble once again with this product> My temp is 78-80. Many thanks for your wonderful website, Molly, London. <Please use/read it... and soon. Bob Fenner>

FW zee plungee!    3/24/06 Greetings Crew. <Lisa> I'm a new fish mom.  I have a Betta in a 1-gal. mini bow tank.  He used to be in a 1.77 gal. Marina tank, and sat on the bottom, very still, wouldn't eat while I was around.  He seems really happy in the 1-gal -- the light, for one thing, makes a big difference, and now he swims around in front of me and eats. I have a 2.5 gal. mini bow tank right next to it (the beta watches but doesn't flare), with 3 mollies (one black, one black potbellied, one gold dust) and 1 Mickey mouse platy in it.  They're healthy, they get along well, and they love to be fed -- they get very active whenever I come near the tank (I think they think they're dogs -- trying to teach the black molly to do tricks).  They've been swimming on both the bottom and the top, and they like to hide near the filter.  Lately they seem a little more aggressive with one another, and they've been spending more time at the top. <Good observations... happens, natural, with growth, crowding... aggression> But again, it's usually just when I'm in front of the tank (when I watch from a distance, they're fine) and they're not gasping for air -- they look like they're trolling for food.  I've wondered if I need to feed them a little more -- the black molly is pretty aggressive at feeding time -- but I don't want to overfeed.  Their mouths aren't stretching and they don't appear to be in distress, but I'm worried that I'm crowding them. <You are, will be> I do a 30%-50% water change weekly, and rinse off the gravel, etc.  (Have only had them for about a month or so.) The water is clear -- only slightly cloudy a couple of times after a change -- and smells fine. They're hardy little guys -- after a bad earlier spell with goldies I'm terrified that I'm going to hurt them or make them sick.  Should I just shut up and go get them a 5-gal tank, or am I worried for nothing? <Ahhh! The bigger the better... In time, even larger. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Many thanks. Lisa FW zee plungee! II   3/24/06 Thank you!!!  You couldn't have made that any easier.  Heading to the pet store tonight/tomorrow for a new tank to bring in to the office to get started/conditioned for about a week before I bring them in.  Until I get them situated will do more frequent water changes and may add a second little sponge filter I have, just to try to keep the water as clean as possible. Have a great weekend. <Thank you for sharing. BobF>

Custom Tank Design Questions   3/3/06 Basically, my wife and I are building our dream house out on about five and a half acres in West Virginia, a few miles west of Martinsburg. <How nice!> We're going with a very energy efficient design, incorporating passive solar, earth sheltered, solar hot water, rain catchment, in floor radiant heating and more. <Sounds good> One of the hobbies I've had for a very long time has been keeping aquariums of different kinds. I've done everything from that 10g starter tank my mom got me when I was 11, up through a hand built 575g coral propagation tank that lived in the basement of my house. <And will likely stay there!> With this new house, both my wife and I have decided that we would like to take the chance to design a tank into the home. And based on my experiences with different types of tanks, I've decided to go with a fresh water, planted tank. <Will be gorgeous> I thought about some of the nicer tanks I'd seen with that theme from my Takashi Amano books, the displays at the Baltimore Aquarium, and from other hobbyists. But the one thank that stuck out in my mind was the display at the Barnes and Noble at the Power Plant in the Inner Harbor. <Mmm, haven't seen this> The feeling of being under the surface of the water, and the extremely wide vista of that tank make for a spectacular experience. I don't think that I have quite enough pull with my wife to convince her I need a seventeen foot long tank just yet, but I have gotten her very excited about replicating a somewhat smaller version. What I am thinking about, is basically taking that tank, and chopping it in half lengthwise, to end up with an 10'x5.5'x4'x rectangular tank. The current idea is to pour the tank out of concrete, leaving a hole for a piece of 2.5" thick acrylic for the viewing window, which would   measure 8'x5'. <... I would aim for something with less depth, vertical ratio... easier to work on (to put it mildly), light and will look nicer if a bit more horizontal aspected> It would rest on the inside edge of the concrete wall, in a special ledge that would be poured all around the tank. It would then be siliconed into place. The inside of the concrete tank would be coated several times with epoxy to ensure that it is water tight, and of course, the window sealed with as much silicone as we could throw at it. <Not necessary... just a good solid bead to nestle in> The outside of the tank would be dressed in a stamped stone concrete to make it fit into the decor of our home. <Very nice touch> The walls would be extended to allow for filtration, co2 injection, and other equipment, as well as for a ladder to access the top of the tank.  A 2 foot wide catwalk will be suspended so that I can clean the front glass with a scraper on a stick, <Very hard to see...> or, when I'm feeling particularly frisky, by me in a bathing suit. <A good plan...> Lighting will be supplied by four, 250w 10kk MH bulbs, supplemented with fluorescents as needed. <... not near enough light for this depth... I would count on 1,000 watt MH's (yes) if you go with five feet depth> The whole room will be vented with a dedicated heat exchanger system, and the tank itself heated by sufficient wattage on a temperature controller. Trace element and mineral dosing will be handled as needed. Access to the room will be from a door in the family room, which is behind the intended space where the tank will go. I'm planning water and drains to be plumbed into the room for RODI evap. replacement, and general maintenance. <Good... and maybe a shower for your use (not a joke), and a sink...> Obviously this tank is intended to be a showpiece for the entire room, if not the entire house.  The biology, and decor of the tank will attempt to copy that of the B&N tank, with faux rock shelving providing different levels for planting, sunken roots, and limbs, and a general African biotope for the plants and fish. <Nice... perhaps the Barnes and Noble folks would allow you a glimpse of their back-room area for input, inspiration...> The questions I have at this stage of the game pertain to the engineering aspects of the tank. In particular, how thick  a piece of acrylic would I need going with the viewing window of 8'x5'. <Inch and a half... two inches if you can afford it> If I reduced the height of the window to 4', would it make a significant difference in the thickness of the material required? <Oh yes... and cut the cost by about half... 1 1/4" would do here> How thick should the concrete walls be that make up the sides of the aquarium? The bottom? <Depending on the mix, use of steel rod, wire reinforcement, 4 to 8 inches.> Given that the final weight of the tank will end up around 15000 pounds, how thick does the slab under the tank need to be? <Mmm, would support all around the edge with filled-cell block, make eight inches> (current thickness is 10" + 4" of concrete for the floor). <About right> Thank you for taking the time to go over these questions. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to 'pick the brain' of experts in this way. Sincerely, Brian Robak PS Here are the websites: http://www.brianrobak.com/gallery/NewHouse/  <--- for plans for the new house http://www.brianrobak.com/gallery/FishTanks/    <--- for my fish tanks Please note that almost all pictures can be "blown up" by clicking on the "full size" link, found on the upper right of the light blue bar. Also, many of the albums have sub albums, so be sure to click on them a few levels deep to get the full pictures. <Thank you for sharing your dream/s with us. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Am I overcrowding my tank?  02/12/06 Hello,   I'm kinda new to the whole fish keeping experience, and would like your help. I have a 2 1/2 gallon tank with two female balloon mollies and 4 ghost shrimp. My question is are my fish safe from over-crowding? <Mmm, not really... small volumes are very easy to "get away" with pollution, vacillating water quality...> and if possible is it okay for me to have one more balloon molly? <I would not> I've been doing a bit of research and what I can gather the general rule is a fish of one inch for every gallon, <Better one cubic inch per every 3-5 gallons> but I've read cases where people had more fishes in their tank than they had gallons and they were having no problems. I would also like to know if I can feed my mollies any vegetables like say: lettuce or cucumber. Any suggestions you can give me will be much appreciated.   Thank you,   Marissa <Good question... but your chances of trouble increase tremendously with adding more life to small tanks. Bob Fenner>

Nano v. Eclipse   2/1/06 Nice site.  I was thinking of getting a 12 gallon freshwater tank for my office.  I'm looking for the least amount of hassle. I stumbled upon the Eclipse System 12 and the Nano Cube 12 Gallon. Is one "better" than the other? <Mmm, yes... in general the Eclipse is better for freshwater set-up "types" and the Nano for marine...> I will get hearty fish, and whatever extras (like a heater) which will make the whole experience easier and nicer.  I may also get one for my home, and may end up getting a larger set up in future. Thanks! <Ah yes. Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Nano v. Eclipse    2/3/06 Sorry to be a pest, but I have to ask why?  Nano cube cost a bit more, but it's made of glass and comes with a pump.  I am only starting my fish education, but those seem like good things that the Eclipse doesn't have? <The Eclipse units have less capacity for modification for marine types of filtration (protein skimmers require cutting the top, and the "wheel" is inadequate... often, for biological filtration), the Nano's have more flexibility for upgrading lighting... all in all making them more adaptable to marine use. They are better for most freshwater applications as the top covers most all... jumping, evaporation...Bob Fenner> Reptile Tank Being Used For Fish   1/21/06 I just got a used 55 gal tank from a pet shop. It was for reptiles. I washed it, scrubbed it, and set it up and all is fine. After filling it I noticed that the tank has started to bow out and the brace that runs across the top has split and is now almost and inch gap. This really sucks!!! Can this be fixed? I am thinking of getting a large clamp from the hardware store and clamping it back together across the top. I am using two lids to cover it , so the clamp over the middle wouldn't be in the way.  Anything you could tell me would be of great help to me. <Many terrariums are made of thinner glass than those tanks used for aquariums. Drop the water level to about half and clamp the front and back together. Clean the areas under the lips in the front and back portion of the tank. Silicon in a six inch wide piece of glass to be used for the new brace between the front and the back . give it a couple days to set up and refill the tank. It should work as good as new.-Chuck> <<RMF is nervous re this suggestion/practice>>

Converting Saltwater to Freshwater; Donations via Pay Pal 01-06-06 Thanks for all that you do.   I have approached aquarium keeping backwards, having started with saltwater.  The inhabitants from my 12 gallon with the Eclipse 1 hood have all (both) been moved to my 55 gallon.  I would like to go to freshwater, planted tank with the smaller aquarium.  I want to be sure I am not missing anything in the conversion (or doing too much).   I will pull the liverock and crushed coral substrate and replace with stone.  I will also remove the coralline algae that has built up on the back glass (no chemicals).  I also plan to replace the 50/50 bulb with an aquatic plant bulb.  My main question involves the bio-wheel.  I assume the beneficial bacteria is not the same and it will need to be cleaned (or replaced).  Is this as simple as rinsing in hot water or should some bleach be involved? <You can place the bio-wheel in a bleach and water solution over night.  Then rinse well and place the wheel in a freshwater bath with a dechlorinating agent. This will ensure a fresh start.>     I am planning to keep a small school of Cardinal Tetras and 1 or 2 larger fish (suggestions?) with 6-8 small plants.   Finally, I would like to do what I can to support the site.  I will be selling some aquatic items on EBay and would like to donate the proceeds.  Is there a method in place to donate via Pay Pal? <We do have a collection site through Amazon.com. You can find the link at the bottom of our home page. Thank you for your question and your support. Travis>      Thanks. Nano Cube: Freshwater Application  1/8/06 Hello!  Happy New Year! <Hi and happy new year to you as well.> I'd like to set up a second fresh water tank and was wondering what you thought of the JBJ 24 gallon cube. <For freshwater I think they are great.> I did a search and found them discussed for saltwater but not fresh. <Yes, they are more heavily marketed to Marine keepers, and in my opinion this is quite unfortunate. The 'Cubes are much more suited to freshwater aquaria than marine aquaria due to their compact size and lack of a protein skimmer.> I would like to have two rams, a small school of cardinal tetras, some plants and maybe some Corys. <Sounds good.> I'd like to have a larger tank (what I really want is a 180 gallon biotope) but I rent and only have a small space available. <I understand, but wow a 180 planted, that would look sweet.> Here is a link to the specs:   http://www.jbjlighting.com/sys_24g_nanocube.html <I'm quite familiar with them, we get a lot of 'Cube questions.> I haven't seen any discussion about them for fresh water, and was wondering if it would be a good choice. <Yes but switch out the stock 50/50 light bulbs for 6,500K or 10,000K.> As always, thank you so much for your help! <Anytime.> Michelle <Adam J.> Re: JBJ Cube Freshwater  - 01/12/2006 Hi, <Hey Michelle.> Thanks for your reply!  Yes, 180 gallon would be sweet! <Yes we all want bigger tanks it seems, no matter how big our current system is.> I'm glad to here that you like the JBJ cube. <I wouldn't go that far, I could think of some significant changes I would make if I were the designer, however I wouldn't say its "bad" either, just has room for improvement like most things.>   A few follow up questions. <Mmm-hmm.> Would the filtration that comes with the 24 gallon unit be all that is needed?    <I would replace the stock pump, with something of similar size like a Maxi-Jet.> To do plants, would I need to inject CO2 because of the power compacts?  I'd rather not. <Depends on the plant in question, but you can get away without an injection system.> Is the 18" length really okay for a pair Rams? <Probably would prefer larger quarters as adults.> And finally, is it true they leak a lot? <I have heard reports that they, do (leak). Though the one I used to keep did not. I will say that the problems I have seen reported to JBJ were handled very well by the company. Good luck, Adam J.> >I did a search and found them discussed for saltwater but not fresh. ><Yes, they are more heavily marketed to Marine keepers, and in my opinion this is quite unfortunate. The 'Cubes are much more suited to freshwater aquaria than marine aquaria due to their compact size and lack of a protein skimmer.> I had a 20 gallon nano reef for about two years, I never want to do that again.  It was a really nice tank, but I was so burnt out by the end.  I was checking twice a day to make sure everything was okay.  If I have a salt tank ever again, it has to be bigger.  Right now I have a 10 gallon low tec planted tank that has been running for about a year and a half, it is so much easier and it looks nice.  I would never go back to a small salt tank. I do have another question for the fresh tanks.  I've never had any of the algae eating shrimp.  I heard something about them attacking and eating fish, is that true?  Also, how does one provide a safe place for them to molt?  Do I need to put in iodine when they do?  Will they be okay with a pH of 8.0?   One last question, I just picked up an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals carbonate hardness test kit (and general hardness is on order).  Is the drop that changes the color from blue to yellow suppose to be the last one, or do you keep putting in drops until the yellow is bright (I found it to be just one more drop)?  I hope that question makes since. Once again, thanks for your help! Michelle Stainless steel in freshwater aquariums  1/1/06 Hello, I am currently building an experimental 55 gallon aquarium with an integral under gravel sump.  I would like to use stainless steel for the floor/sump but I'm concerned about contamination ( the surface area of exposed steel will be fairly large).  Can austenitic stainless steel be used in freshwater aquariums?  If so, which types?  Is there any known resource for this type of information?  If direct exposure is a taboo, how well does powder coating fare?  Any information would be appreciated. >> Dear Don, If you have a freshwater tank, you could use stainless steel, but with the cost it would certainly be cheaper to use just about any other material such as plastic, glass, acrylic etc. To be sure you would have to use surgical grade stainless steel - if the steel you are using oxidizes it is not good for the fish. To be honest I would advise against it. Good Luck, Oliver

Aquarium brands/backgrounds  11/24/05 Hello. I've got a question regarding fish tanks and backgrounds. I'm interested in purchasing a 100+ gallon aquarium for a Tanganyikan community tank, but I'm not sure which brand aquariums are best. <Opinions vary... but all the major brands are warranted, worthy. For glass I like the Perfecto, All-Glass and Oceanic lines... for acrylic, the SeaClear/Tradewind/CASCO, TruVu/Aquaplex and Tenecor lines...> One of the LFS sells Jebo aquariums. Do you know anything about them? <Yes> Do they have a good reputation? What other brands might you recommend looking at? <Mmm, more mixed than others listed above> I haven't yet decided between glass and acrylic, so I'm open to suggestions. <Mmm, see WWM re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tksstds.htm and the linked files above> My second question is about Pangea backgrounds. <Gorgeous> They look beautiful, but I'm wondering whether you've heard positives or negatives about them. Thanks so much for your feedback! <Have seen these at trade shows and set-up around the world. Quite sturdy, stunningly beautiful. http://www.aquarium-background.com/ Bob Fenner>

More Myths About Livestock Scratching Acrylic Tanks - 11/18/05 I recently bought a 220gal Tenecor tank (72X24X24) with the Simplicity Plus system with the intention of setting up a FOWLR system. I originally wanted to buy a shark, but after reading your site, I realized that this tank is simply too small for one. <<Yes, and shaped wrong too.>> I would like to put a couple of triggers in though, maybe a Blue Throat and a Picasso. <<Cool! I have a Blue Throat in my Tenecor 375.>> The guy at my LFS said that triggers sometimes scrape their teeth along the sides of the tank, and since this is an acrylic tank, I thought I'd better check. I've never read about this behavior, have you? <<Nope...probably falls in to the same category as the stories about the Ctenochaetus genus of tangs scratching acrylic tanks with their teeth...mostly wives tales. >> <<Did you bring this up with your wife?  MH>> I think you need not worry...and believe me when I say...YOU will put far more scratches in the tank than any fish!>> Thanks! Robert in Texas <<Welcome, EricR in South Carolina>> >Mmm, do agree with the hobbyists causing more scratches... but have seen trigger-made scrapes in acrylic... and a pleco-destroyed one recently. RMF<

Fishbowls banned! (In Rome) 10/25/05 CNN just ran a story on fishbowls being banned in Italy and I thought you might find it interesting!  ROME, Italy (Reuters) --  " The city of Rome has banned goldfish bowls, which animal rights activists say are cruel, and has made regular dog-walks mandatory in the Italian capital, the town's council said on Tuesday.  The classic spherical fish bowls are banned under a new by-law which also stops fish or other animals being given away as fairground prizes. It comes after a national law was passed to allow jail sentences for people who abandon cats or dogs."  Here's the link to the full article:  http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/10/25/italy.fishbowls.reut/index.ht  <Thank you for this. BobF>

Small Tanks, Small Fish? - 08/04/2005 Hi, WWM crew!   <Hi, Jennifer!  Sabrina with you, today!> Since becoming a devoted fan of your site, ;-) <Yay!> I have upgraded the size of all of my tanks to a 10 gallon minimum.  I'm now wondering if the old tanks (a 2.5 and a 5 gallon) can serve any purpose aside from be used as hospital tanks.   <Oh yes, absolutely.> What is your opinion regarding the ethics of keeping a fish (or other creature) in a tank this small?   <Provided the creature in question is suitable for a small tank, my opinion is quite positive.> I enjoy having life on my desk at work, but fear it's quality of life will not be very good if it is confined to such a small place.   <Understandable.> Am I being overly sensitive?   <Nope.  Just a conscientious aquarist!> I would greatly appreciate your opinion!    <Alrighty....  *Assuming* we're talking freshwater, here, you have PLENTY of options.  I would urge you to consider the 2.5 gallon tank for a mini planted aquarium....  They *do* make fluorescent lights for 2.5g tanks, and plants suited to this would be java moss, java fern, Bolbitis fern, and Anubias sp. (A. nana or A. nana "petite" would be a good choice for a very small tank).  For livestock, cherry shrimp would be ideal.  These are becoming more and more available in the hobby, so hopefully they would be somewhat easy to find - they will even breed in a tank of this size.  Otherwise, many people keep a Betta in a tank of this size, and they do indeed often seem to be quite content.  Another fish option would be scarlet Badis badis (actually Dario dario, now), as these fish don't grow much larger than a centimeter in length.  Heterandria formosa are a tiny livebearing fish that do well in relatively small tanks - great for the 5g, but maybe not the 2.5g.  I have also kept and bred peacock gudgeons in a 5.5g tank....  no other fish with them, though.  Trichopsis pumila is a tiny gourami that, in a well planted 5.5g tank, does quite well.  Really, there are a lot of tiny options out there for ya!> Thank you! -Jennifer <And thank you for writing in!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Glue smell in New tank 7/7/05 Hello Everyone, <Bryan> I recently bought a new 25 gallon tall aquarium from PetSmart. Well it's been sitting on my new stand for a few days so I finally put some gravel in it and filled it up. My problem is that there is now a GLUE like smell coming from the tank. <?> Right now the temp is about 90+ do to the fact I filled it up with zero fish in it. I expect for it to level out in a few days and then see if I needed a heater. <You will if you're keeping tropical animals... important that the temperature not fluctuate much, keep warm> The rocks inside the tank were picked off the ground outside from a previous "dump" of another aquarium but were scrubbed with hot water. I'm really baffled by this and am curious what is going on. Please help. Bryan, WA <I would empty this tank and re-fill it... wait a few days, see if this odor persists... You did rinse it out before initially filling? I might try a "test fish" once the system is cycled... Bob Fenner>

Tank Too Small? Hi. I have a small 3 gallon Eclipse tank that I got to hold some tetras. After they all died I went back to the store and they gave me a small African cichlid (I think - it is blue with black vertical stripes and is about 2" long). I have no other fish in there. I have had it for 1 day. It is swimming around a lot, going up and down the glass, followed by lulls. It is not eating much although I saw it gobble a few floating pellets I put in there but not the flakes. I read that cichlids need lots of room and now I am wondering if I have doomed this little guy from the start.  Any advice on how to keep it alive? Also I have 7.0 pH balancer but I heard cichlids need more alkaline water. Thanks, Bob <Yeah, you are correct to be concerned. Three gallons is too small for him. And these Rift Lake cichlids like a high pH and very hard water. I would return the fish or invest in a tank around 20 gallons. There are water additives that will give you Rift conditions if you want to upgrade his tank. Don>

Tank Size Hello there, just a quick question on my tank. I'm buying a second hand tank from a friend. He says 35 gallon I think its a 29. 30"l 19"h 12"d so which one is it? thanks >> These dimensions are for a tank of 29 gallons. Oliver

Bow Front Tank Problems? About a month ago I submitted a question about my two iridescent sharks flipping out in a 72G bow front tank.  I had recently moved them from an overstocked 90G standard tank to make things a little nicer for me and the fish.  Anyway,  we seemed to not be able to pinpoint the problem I was having at that time.  But thankfully, after a month of misery, I have found the problem.  It was the tank itself.  I finally decided to put my sharks back into the standard 90G and put my Arowana and my silver dollar into the 72G bow front tank.  Well guess who's flipping out now!  My sharks are back to being calm and eating and my Arowana and silver dollar are flipping out.  They will only get startled if I approach the front of the tank.  If I approach the tank from the sides they're fine, it's only that damn bow front.  Well hopefully these two will get used to it better than the sharks.  They are both a lot more calm than the sharks and don't get startled half as often.  Oh well.  Wish me luck.  The last thing I need is an unhappy Arowana.  Thanks again for your help.  -Ted < Never heard of this problem before. The same optics that the bow front offers that we as aquarists seem to enjoy could distort the view of a fish inside the aquarium. next time I have my bow front out I will look at it from the back to get the fishes perspective.-Chuck>

Lid on Too Tight Hi, I have a 10g freshwater tank w/8 guppies, 2 catfish & a pleco.  Until recently the only cover I had on the tank was a screen. A few weeks ago I decided to buy a hood for the tank & put in place. Shortly after 4 of my guppies died. The hood I placed on top of the tank almost completely seals the top of the tank with the exception of where the filter & air tubing run through and that's a tight fit. I was wondering could a tight fitting hood with very little openings cause problems in the fish tank such as dissolved gases not being able to escape? Could it cause other unforeseen problems? Please enlighten me. Thank you. < As the water moves in the aquarium the surface comes in contact with the air where CO2 and other gases are given off and oxygen is absorbed by the water and utilized by the fish and the bacteria that break down the toxic fish waste. I have seen instances where a tight lid, especially in an acrylic tank, can suffocate an aquarium full of fish.-Chuck> 

BiOrb screen Do you have any suggestion as to how I can screen the filter intake of the BiOrb. I thought about putting a hole in the middle of a fine net pulling it over the bubble tube and securing it with some media.  Thanks very much for your advice Lesley <This sounds like it would work... I would contact the folks who make the BiOrb for their input as well... It may be they have devised a screen, and they should be advised re the need for such. Bob Fenner>

Is a Bigger tank a Better Tank?  Is It "Dave", or "Luigi"?  Chain yanker? Hi I have heard and read that when buying a tank the bigger is always better is that true for the most part? <Bigger tanks are actually more stable than smaller tanks so it is easier on the fish.> And I was never that good at math so I was wondering how long in inches is a 125-gallon fish tank? Thanks Ma'am look forward to hearing back Dave. < There are 232 cubic inches in a gallon of water multiply that by 125 gallons and that will give you the total volume of the tank.-Chuck>

How Big is a 125? Why Ask if it's Sitting Right There!? Dave, Luigi? Hey man look I'm sorry but I still just don't get ya could you please tell me how many inches or feet is in a 125-gal tank? I would really like a tank of that size I just need the exact measurements. Thanks Dave. < A typical 125 gallon from All Glass is 72x18x22. Other manufacturers have slightly different dimensions and different shapes too.-Chuck>  

FW tank size per livestock Hey. Well, my parents have finally decided to get a larger tank. YAY! but I don't know how big it should be... I want to keep: 3-4 guppies, 3-4 swordtails, 5 zebra danios (are zebra danios suitable in tropical temperatures of about 27 C?)  and 4 catfish. how many gallons should my new tank be? and roughly how much would it cost in Australian dollar?? Thanks. you guys rock <A good estimate, sixty to eighty litres minimum... cost? You got me mate... I'd try the Net re. Bob Fenner>   

HOW BIG? Hello again. I am overcrowding my tank and I am going to follow your advice and buy a new tank. My only issue is that I don't know how big my new fish tank should be. I wish to be able to have approximately 2 angelfish, maybe 6 mollies, and about 10 other fish of different species about the same size the mollies, such as cichlids and some egglayers. How big should my new tank be? Thank you for all your help and you site is number 1!!! James < If you get a regular rectangular shape tank then a 30 plus gallon tank should be fine. If you go with a unique or different shape then I would go with something a little larger like a 40 gallon or so. Cichlids are very territorial and when breeding tend to take over one end of the tank. If there is no "end" like in a hex then they seem to take over the whole tank. Thank you for your kind words.-Chuck>

Calculations Offered by One Who is Mathematically Declined.... >Hello again >>Hello for the first time. >I have a 4ft tank and would like to know how gallons of water it holds. The measurements are 122(L)x 43(H)x 31(D). >>Well, since you've used feet and asked for gallons (which is a very good thing, otherwise I'm forced to convert, the results are not always good) I do believe I can help you. In order to figure gallons (U.S.) of a rectilinear vessel all one needs to do is multiply (in INCHES) the three dimensions. So (ready class?), one would address it thusly:  Uh.. shoot, your measurements don't indicate inches, centimeters, or cubits! Alrighty then, you'll have to sort this on your own, my friend. All three dimensions, Height x Width x Depth = ???? (usually a fantastically large number). Then take ????/231 = total gallons U.S. (total divided by 231, which is the number of cubic inches in a gallon). Make sense? Marina   


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