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Below are the 19 most recent journal entries recorded in Fish Keeping, Ponds and Aquariums' LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
10:52 pm
Trusted Aquarium Info Sites, Salt in Freshwater Aquaria
(Hi! I'm crossposting to here, because this is where I used to hang out and get really good advice, eons ago, and to 1fish_2fish because they seem to be a little more active these days. I hope that won't mean too many people getting redundant posts.)

There are opinions all over the internet about whether to add salt to a freshwater tropical aquarium or not. Vigorous, heartfelt opinions. Lots. And lots. And lots. Of opinions.

I've been doing it for years, but I'm quite open to the idea that I have been doing all kinds of stupid things for years. :)

So I have two questions:

1. What is your opinion on adding salt (aquarium salt, not marine salts or table salts, just straight up sodium chloride) to heated/tropical freshwater tanks?
- Never?
- Always? (How much per gallon?)
- Only as a remedy for certain illnesses?
- Depends on the fish? (Which fish?)
- Depends on if there are live plants?
- Depends on which live plants? (Which?)

Is your opinion based on experience? If so, please share!

2. What websites do you tend to go to for answers about things like this? Which, if any, sound authoritative but in your experience are unreliable? I could use recommendations for any sites people find consistently to have practical, reliable information for aquarium keepers.

I am in an awkward range when it comes to experience - not a novice any more, but still susceptible to some very novice mistakes. I've kept goldfish (lots of work, love them), small mixed peaceful community tanks (tetras, rasboras, danios, etc.), and ex-feeder guppies, most of them (including the goldfish tank because I am stubborn as hell) lightly planted. I know how to cycle a tank, recognize signs of common illnesses, check and maintain water quality, and avoid most of the idiotic things I did in my first couple years of fishkeeping, and a few idiotic things I actually managed to avoid. But my range is narrow, relatively, my tanks are small and simple, and I know there's a lot I don't know. So...a good forum is a great thing, but so are good information sites. Thoughts?
Sunday, July 27th, 2014
5:39 pm
euthanizing snails?
I have a planted 10 gallon aquarium full of 'feeder' guppies I'm rehabilitating from neglect at the moment, and it is being overrun by tiny snails. They're not the Malaysian trumpet snails that do a nice job aerating substrate, they're the little round snails with a bit of a point on them that probably do eat algae but in miniscule amounts. They come in on plants, and I'm used to them, but there's a LOT. I don't mind a few of them, but I have way too many, and am worried about what they're going to do to the stability of the tank, both in population boom, and if/when they have die-offs. I've gotten the tank back to a degree of health, but it's not as robust a system as it should be yet, and besides, it's annoying to have to scrape snails off my glass just to be able to enjoy looking at my fish.

I used to be able to feed snails to my turtle, but I no longer have a turtle, so that's out.

My favorite aquarium store suggested a yoyo loach to eat them, which sounded great until I got home and read up on them and discovered that A: even though they're small, the tank's still too small for them, B: they're schooling fish and I'd need to get at least 5 or 6 of them for them to be happy, C: they need a sand or very smooth substrate and I have pebbles, and D: they're boisterous enough that they'd be likely to upset my guppies. Also, it's possible they'd eat the fry, which would make me sad. So that looks like a big round 'no', and I am disappointed in my otherwise favorite aquarium store.

I'd rather not add chemicals to the tank that will have any effect on my fish, and it's hard to see how anything I add to the tank /wouldn't/ affect the fish. I don't mind hand-collecting snails to winnow down the population - and I don't mind that it won't get them all and I'll have to keep doing it - it's just a question of what I do with them afterwards. If I could feed them to something I would. But if I have to kill them to no good purpose, what's the best way? I can't dump them where they might get into the natural ecosystem of my part of the world, and I don't want to just resort to hitting them with rocks.

Advice? I know how to euthanize a fish - clove oil and then alcohol - but what about dozens and dozens of tiny snails? Also, is there anything I can do in maintaining the tank to make conditions such that they're less likely to breed like crazy?

Thanks for any thoughts.
Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
1:42 pm
Saturday, March 31st, 2012
9:45 am
Gourami Health Emergency!
I am terribly afraid for one of my female three spot gouramis. Admittedly, I haven't been actually watching the fish for the last week due some intense schoolwork. I've continued my usual weekly water changes, still feeding the same flake food I have for years, and today's tests for pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates come out a-OK. But something is desperately wrong with her. Here are photos from her insanely temporary hospital setup:

The bizarre thing...is her behavior. She can right herself, still swims about rather actively, can ascend and descend the water column fine, and doesn't appear to be bothered. I haven't offered food because I've been afraid of intestinal blockage... The thing that's weird is she's no longer so skittish. She's normally a fish who hides 90% of the time for whatever reason and I typically leave her be, which is probably why I didn't see this today. But part of the reason I saw her today was because she didn't immediately flee and hasn't panicked nearly as much in my presence as I'm used to her panicking. She doesn't appear to be respiring very hard...

Her scales aren't standing on end, I don't see any wounds, ulcers, fungus, or external parasites. The other fish seem to be fine (Corydoras cats, a couple of ottos, and one other much younger female three spot). I put on a pair of gloves and covered them in stress coat to see if she'd let me touch her. I quickly and gently palpated the mass and it feels soft, not hard. I put the lid on her hospital container to leave her be...she's only four years old, I thought she had at least another two in her?

What do you all think this is? What should I do?

--Jaime T.
Thursday, September 15th, 2011
8:21 pm
Bettas, Fish and Me!
Originally posted by ruggedh2o at post
Full Mask Turquoise  HMPK
Since I'm a tropical fish hobbyist and I'm done moving around. I think it's time for me to get back to doing what I love to do the most. The raising and selling of various tropical fish species. I've done it before and I plan to do it again! It's my passion. It takes time and frankly I have plenty of time on my side now so I might as well get started. 
Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
2:42 pm
Aquarium Stand
Okay, so I'm curious about everybody's real life experience with aquarium stands, whether they were expressly made for an aquarium to sit on or you're just using a very sturdy dresser.

Basically, I got my 20 gallon tank, and now need somewhere to put it. My 10 gallon managed very well on a very sturdy, older wooden nightstand, but it's too small (width and lengthwise) to use for the 20.

Has anyone had luck with putting a tank that size on just 'regular' furniture? My family just inherited an older, short dresser from my grandfather that I've already initially tested for weight by placing the equivalent of ~280 lbs on it. It seemed fine for the few moments the weight was applied, I'm just worried it will over time collapse. Also, it sits on the floor on little legs rather than directly on the floor, like an aquarium stand would. Would this increase its chances of suddenly breaking on me?

Exactly what makes aquarium stands bought specifically for that purpose any sturdier than normal furniture? In my experience, both tend to be made of wood.

I'm just looking for any stories/input people have regarding regular house furniture vs. 'aquarium stands'. Thank you!
11:21 am
Rare Opportunity - Brand New 75 Gallon Tank
So, I have a rare opportunity to start a tank brand-new; there's a chance for me to get advice before I even fill it to avoid creating problems for myself. It's 75 gallons, I already have two filters, heaters, and enough light in the fixture for medium light plants.

These are the things I still need to buy or make: a replacement glass hood, plant substrate, some sort of drain+fill system that doesn't involve hauling buckets, and a background. I'm still trying to figure out a way to mix my own less expensive substrate, since I understand that I'll probably need roughly 70-80 pounds for a planted tank. Eco complete or Tahitian Moon Sand is worth it with 30 gallon or less tanks, but with a 75 gallon it's out of my budget.

The big question is though...what to put in it? I could leave out the heaters and keep a few goldfish. There was also talk about making it The Biggest Fancy Guppy Tank Ever. Some other ideas have included making an Amazon themed tank with various tetras and corydoras, as well as some sort of arrangement full of Gouramis. I'd welcome any suggestions. :3 I am particularly fond of tanks where each fish species has their role(Bottom swimmers, sedentary fish, and schooling/top swimming fish. I don't want to own anything that will intensely outgrow that size tank however and I do intend to keep my fish for as many years(Or decades) as they'll live.
Friday, July 15th, 2011
3:24 pm
Advice on Tanks
Hi, I'm sorry if this question is a little 'too' basic, but I'm having a surprisingly hard time with this.

I want to move my community of barbs over into a larger tank (they're currently in a 10 gallon), so I'm looking for something about 20 gallons. However, I can't find any Aqueon brand tanks in that size - do they not make them? I currently have a 10 gallon Aqueon and I'm really satisfied with it, so I'd really like being able to stick with that model. However, that's where this community comes in, since I can't seem to find one.

Can anyone suggest to me a good tank that comes in a size of ~20 gallons? I've been able to find a few online (namely Marina and SeaClear) but reviews are minimal at best and I'm really leery of spending $130+ on something that might immediately break/be incompatible with filters/leak/etc.

Thank you!
Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
11:44 am
Newbie aquarist -- pH and cloudiness?
Hey everyone. I purchased a 10 gallon tank two weeks ago and added 2 danios last week under the recommendation of a Petsmart associate (BEFORE finding out about the best fishless cycling methods online... :/). One of them died and the other is still living. I suspect that the culprit is my high pH, which almost matches the highest color of my testing kit (roughly 8.2). Everything else is normal (no chlorine, etc.) except for the alkalinity. My color is showing a "dark turquoise", but the highest (300 ppm) is a dark green color. Do I assume the alkalinity is greater than 300 ppm?

These are the relevant products I've been using:
* Seachem Neutral Regulator - which does NOT help my pH at all
* API Proper pH 7.0 - which neutralizes the pH to 7, but it rises back up to around 8 in a matter of hours
* Top Fin Water Clarifier - which helped at first, but is no longer effective (and the bottle says to "seek aquarium specialist if it doesn't work after 2 treatments")

As of right now, I have 3 danios and one serpae tetra. I have changed the water regularly (roughly twice a week now) and instead of tap water, I've been using bottled spring water after dechlorinating (just a precaution). I've even changed 50% of the water TWICE now to help with my pH and cloudy water issues. The employees as Petsmart aren't giving me the helpful advice to fix the issues.

Any ideas?

Current Mood: confused
Friday, August 27th, 2010
6:41 pm
photo sharing
algae anyone?http://www.flickr.com/photos/a2fishguy138/4932766453/in/set-72157624821279402/
the rest of the pics on this set are great from a good summer. just thought I'd share.
Friday, July 16th, 2010
9:33 pm
New to community, and aquariums....
Hello, and thank you for accepting me to your community..........I am very new to aquariums, and I have not purchased one yet, but really want to....I am interested in tropical fish......Not salt water fish just yet, but in the future yes......I had a 20 gal tank in the past and did well, yet my fish seemed to mysteriously die, especially after I cleaned the tank, regardless if I conditioned the water., that was about a year I had the fish.......So please, any information, anything at all please all help is wanted......HAHA I need an aquarium book for dummies right now, I just really love fish and want to have them, but I want them happy and comforatable.......I am really interested in Chiclids, and this fish called a Knife, and a few others I saw.....But I really want to know what fish get along and which do not, and what is they're diets consist of.......ect...........I know this is alot, but any information will help....Thank you!!

Current Mood: sleepy
Thursday, July 15th, 2010
11:35 pm
Ick, it happened to me.
Hey guys. So with the temp. fluctuations going on, I have got a small ick out break in my community tank. So far only my small plecos, my rainbow cichlid and my bumble bee cat are affected. Of course, those are my favorites.
How do you all treat ick in a tank with young fish (no longer fry) and loaches?

Monday, May 17th, 2010
2:40 pm
fish ID help
I bought some cherry shrimp a few months ago, and when I arrived home I realized there was a baby fish in the baggie with the shrimp.

He's been living with some guppies and now that he's a bit older he's started chasing them a a little, though not badly. I'm not sure what he is though.. any help? Looks some some pics I've come across of various shiners but idk.

+2Collapse )

Thanks in advance.

Current Mood: cheerful
Sunday, May 16th, 2010
8:11 pm
hi guys! i have a snakeskin gourami who i think may have a small prolapse...
what makes me unsure, however, is that it seems kind of "fibrous".

i know that in people, this is a sign of an anal fissure, but i couldnt find any info as far as googling "fibrous fish anus" went (hahahaha).

it seems to come and go- shes had it since january, easily.
it doesnt seem to bother her, or hinder her pooping... i just dont want it to progress into something bummerish.

so- prolapse? something else?
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
11:14 am
bumble bee tank mates
Hi all
Im getting ready to set up one of a few brackish tanks. I know I want to keep some gobies, I love bumble bees and am looking at dancing gobies.
What else can I keep with them? I was thinking a mudskipper might work well, but what else stays small and isnt a bottom dweller?
Thanks for the ideas.
Monday, May 10th, 2010
8:44 pm
Leaking tank - HELP!
I've just carefully refilled my Juwel Rio 125 tank after having to move it - it has no fish but now has plenty of Florapol fertilizer underneath the gravel, etc.

Except 2 days later it became apparent that there's a leak. Only a few mls a day, but still.

Is this fixable? What sealant might work? I assume I'd have to take all the water out again...

Or do I need a new tank? :(
Sunday, April 18th, 2010
11:27 am
Big new tank + catfish questions
Hey everybody!
I recently moved into a house of my own, and I am really psyched about the idea of getting a nice big tank with catfishes, but I have a few questions.
1.) There is a chimney smack in the middle of our house. The floors slant downward away from the chimney. The biggest this tank is going to be is 55gal [so, not exactly HUGE]; is this going to be a problem? It will probably be against an inside wall.
2.) Can multiple Featherfin Synodontis live together? Or they prefer to be solitary? What about Clown Synodontis?
3.) FELLOW CATFISH LOVERS, I want your opinions! What is your ideal setup? If you had 55 gallons of water in your house--y'know, in a tank--and an adoration of catfish what would you do!?!/! I prefer Synodontis but I also like glass cats, corydoras, plecos, etc. I love community tanks with live plants. And I have been keeping fish for 6 years. My oldest fish, Wayne the betta, died last week at the age of 5.
4.) Those of you who've built your own tanks/stands, where can I find the best instructions for this? I am mostly looking to build my own stand, not so much a tank.
Thanks a zillion!
Saturday, April 10th, 2010
10:21 pm
Few Tank Questions

I've been wanting a betta with a plant recently because it is a beautiful set up

But in the past I've raised many bettas in bowls, and fish in tanks, as well as house plants.
I know these setups are toxic for the betta, as lilies have poisonous toxins in them to fish, as well as other animals and us! Even though they are beautiful.

So I was wondering if anyone in the fish community knows good alternative plants to grow with bettas they they'll benefit from? I was even curious about maybe growing dwarfed rice plants, as they do live in rice patties :p might give a bamboo kinda look


1.but the questions I had were do any of these plants grow without a filter and with what substrate (sand, can you use soil?) and fertilizer is used, if any fertilizer
particularly water plants that may flower?

2.are there any subtle filters that could work in a large glass bowl/vase? there's undergravel filters but I've heard they don't work well? is this true?

3.Random, does water conditioner expire? Its been a while since I've had any fish tanks.

Thanks for your time! :)
Happy fishing

Current Mood: excited
Sunday, February 28th, 2010
10:24 pm
I have a few tanks Id love to set up. One of them is a 30g cube. Its a neat tank, but Im not sure what the shape will lend itself to in all practicality.
I dont like salt water. Ill do brackish, cold water, and tropical. Ive never done ciclids, and to be frank, Im not really up for anything challenging.
What is awesome and I need to try?
Thanks for the thoughts
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