New Tank Syndrome and 10 Galllon Bio-Wheel Making a Clicking Noise
So I have two Questions here.
What is new tank Syndrome exactly?I am Concerned that the 45 gallon might be in that situation i have already lost two fancies in it a black moore and a fantail and would looooove to keep the Red and White Ryukin Alive along with the comet.the tank isn't that old either i have had it for a month now.so if i can have an explanation that would be nice of what that is exactly? I tested the water
Nitrate was 0,
Total Hardness fell between 25 and 150 (tested it twice and living in nevada i think the hardness can't be helped but i want to conrol it the best i can)
Total Alkalinity was 40
PH Unites was 6.5
Ammonia level was 0
So I am very confused
and i just did a water change yesterday too and found the black moore dead this morning.I did hear that taking a filter cartridge from a well established cyled tank and dipping it in will give it benificial bacteria or something so wondering if i should do that for the 45 gallon cause my five gallon is pretty much cycled and it houses a betta fish and i have to change his filter soon just wondering if dipping it in the 45 gallon and maybe the 10 gallon is such a good idea?When i do water changes I add ammonia Remover and Zyme+Stress to help the tank the Zyme+Stress is suppose to give it benificial bacterteria so i may be adding to much.i only add it in during a water change other than that i don't touch it same goes with the ammonia remover.so should i stop adding those in during every water chnge and i do it on all 4 tanks not just the 45 gallon.
My Second Question is and i am wondering if anyone experienced this my 10 gallon's bio wheel is makeing a very strange clicking noise now and then and this tank isn't even a year old.it houses for now one guppy and two neon tetras(i plan to add more guppies a one or two more neon tetras later.there are no fish caught in it so that i know is out cause i check the tank when i hear it i think it also makes a spitting water sound like after you drain a bath tub it makes that suction noise as it gets the last of the water kinda of hard to explain what i mean exactly the bath tub drain was just the best example i could think of.
Hey Ash. . . I just read another post on this same subject by you. It sounds like you're trying to do your best to figure things out here, I'm really sorry you're having such a hard time. . . I applaud you for taking your goldies up to the 45 gallon tank. That's quite a huge step from a 5 or a 10 gallon, and a good start.
First of all, I want to make it clear to you that I'm a beginner, too. And I'm NOT a goldfish expert. I'm sure one of our coldwater friends will be around soon to help you, but I'll try to maybe get you pointed in the right direction in the meantime to the best of my ability.
New Tank Syndrome is what we call it when fish are introduced into a tank that hasn't been fully cycled yet. Here's a link to a bit of information about the freshwater cycle to get you started. It can be a bit mind-boggling at first, but give it a look over and feel free to ask any questions.
Basically, the nitrogen cycle is this. . . fish create waste in the form of ammonia. Ammonia in the water is poisonous and will kill them if left unchecked. In a closed system like a tank, there isn't anywhere for the ammonia to go, and there is no way that you'd be able to do enough water changes to keep up with the waste of a goldfish. So what happens is a bacteria begins to form in the tank that turns the ammonia into another nitrIte. NitrIte is better, but also poisonous to fish. There is a third step to the cycle which turns nitrIte into nitrAte. NitrAte is harmless to fish if it is kept at a low enough level by water changes.
You were kind of on the right track with trying to use the bacteria from the other tank filter to help seed this new tank, but just dipping the filter in the water a few times won't do very much good, I'm afraid. If there are no fish in one of your other cycled tanks, and if it isn't dried up yet, you should take everything out - the filter, any gravel or decorations you have, everything that has been in that tank for some time - and put it into the new tank for a month or so. This will HELP the bacteria to grow in a bit faster, but it's still going to take some time, and a lot of water changes, before this tank is really safe for the fish.
As to why your little Comet Xun is okay, and all of the 'friends' you've brought home for him are not. . . this is because, to a certain extent, fish can become 'used' to living with this poison in the water. It isn't good for them by any means, and he won't live very long under these conditions, so keeping things clean for him IS mandatory. But he's been dealing with it for some time now, and has built up a bit of a tolerance to the toxins. I suspect that the new fish that have been added are being dropped quite suddenly to an unhealthy tank with higher levels of ammonia/nitrIte than they were used to in the shop, and so are dying very quickly.
Your water tests are showing very unusual readings. The first thing that you should do is to go out and purchase the API Master Freshwater Test kit. This is a very accurate and reliable test kit that will give you (and us) the real information that we need to fix things in your tank and pull you and Xun through this mess. They cost about $30, but they are far more accurate than any of the other tests (like the strips) and this kit will last you for a very long time.
Right now you do not need to worry about hardness, Ph, or alkalinity - they don't really apply. What you NEED the information on is Ammonia, nitrIte, and nitrAte.
I'm not sure what to tell you about the ammonia remover and the Zyme+Stress, except that in a fully cycled tank you shouldn't HAVE any ammonia to remove, nor should you need to add bacteria. But as a general rule I'm not really the type to put chemicals into my tanks, so I'll leave it up to someone else who may have more experience with these particular products to try to help you out on that one.
For now, my advice to you is to read up on the nitrogen cycle and how it works, keep up with your water changes, get that test kit ASAP, so you can see what you're dealing with - and if you can get anything into this tank from any other tank that has an established bacterial colony to help speed the process - do so! I'm a bit unclear on how many goldfish are living in this tank right at the moment. . . but don't buy anymore! Goldfish ARE notorious for being large waste producers, and I don't even know how many (if any) can be kept in a 45g tank or for how long before they need to move up into a larger tank. What I DO know is that keeping any fish in a cycling tank is very dangerous. Personally, I would look into taking the newest ones back to the pet shop until you get this all worked out. Better to let them go than to watch them die. . .
Hopefully one of the goldfish gurus will be along to help you out with info more specifically related to goldfish keeping. Until then, good luck!
As for your biowheel. . . I've had this come up before on one of my tanks. At my next water change I rinsed the intake tube, along with the filter media and the biowheel itself out in DIRTY TANK WATER (you should always clean your filters very gently in dirty tank water to avoid removing any beneficial bacteria that is growing there) then took a Q-tip and cleaned the housing where the bio-wheel sits. Pay special attention to the inside of the intake tube, it can become clogged, and this will often lead to issues like you describe. . .After that I had no more problems with it, though I'm not sure what I actually did to fix it! Hopefully it works for you, I think it was just luck on my part, lol!
i took the water to get tested and they said the same thing everything read fine i explained the situation and they said it was to much turbulance in the tank i had 2 airstones and a strong filter for a 75 gallon and i have two comets in thetank right now Xun and Test subject(just a temporary name) we needed to try something to see if it was just the fancies who were effected or if a comet would be a affect i feel bad for doing this but it wasn't my idea so far he's lasted past a week so i will be changing his name next week but any who both fish are Comets i always had 2 to 3 goldies in the 45 gallon tank nothing more nothing less. and the ryukin died on the way to petsmart because of the turbulence in the tank was too strong so i removed one of the airsto nes so far it's made a diference but i am waiting a week or 2 to make sure i had to do tthe same thing with the guppy tank the airstone seemsed a bit too strong in that tank even with a smaller one in there i had to take it out to calm the water turbulence down so far it seems it was putting stress on the fish cause as soon as i removed them in both tanks the fish calmed down.of course i have only 2 guppies and 2 neon Tetras in the 10 gallon right now so as soon as i can figure out exactly how many i can fit in the tank.
i clean my filters all the time i had to do a good scrub down on the 2.5 gallon tank before i put my female betta Cheria in it.that tank had sooooo much algea from it being empty for months omg scrubbing the motor was not a walk in park i thought it would never get cleaned.I also figured on the problem on the clicking noise funny hing is after i did a water change it stopped making that noise but i am keeping an eye on it and the surving fish.
i use to just add the ammonia remover to be safe i thought it was just something to add to prevent it but i looked into it a bit further and just stopped adding it cause i learned it gives ammonia spikes and shouldn't be added every water change >.< though i think the most ball is being the culprit of leaving ichy stuff on thr intske tube so i have to clean it off every water change if it keeps up i am taking t out and putting it in an other tank the intake tube is a bit lower in that tank than it is in the others.Anywho i think i found the solution but not poaitive on it but i rather hear feed back and advice from others never hurts to take helpful advice from others
Ash.... as chesh has said forget every one of the parameters and look firstly at the basic three..... Ammonia (NH3)... Nitrite (NO2).... and Nitrate (NO3) these chemical toxins form the basis of the nitrogen cycle, this is a cycle which effectively cleans the tank on a bacterial level to rid the tank of firstly Ammonia by changing it to nitrite and then by ridding the tank of nitrite by changing it to nitrate..... So typically in a newly set up tank fi you do a series of tests every second day or so you would find that firstly the ammonia would go up to a spike, because the fish have pooed!..... Next the ammonia wold be converted to Nitrite, this happens because of a bacterium called nitrosomonas..... so the ammonia is converted and begins to fall and then nitrite s created and begins to rise ..... so we see the second peak in the nitrogen cycle, that of nitrite. At this point, another bacterium or two takes over.... called nitrobacter and another called nitrospiras..... they inturn take the nitrogen and convert it to nitrate..... so the nitrite is consumed and thus falls and the nitrate is produced and we see a third spike..... that of Nitrate...... Nitrate is eventually broken down in to oxygen and nitrogen.... but you don't need to be concerned with that part of the cycle unless you start fish keeping seriously.
As you might have gathered.... there is always SOME ammonia and SOME nitrite and some nitrate in a tank.... there has to be in order to keep the bacterial cycle alive... but the point is that to keep the bacterial cycle alive means that the balance of the waste production against the waste consumption is such that you would never register a reading on a test kit on a well set up and cycled tank. We use filter media from an established tank to speed up the process in a new tank, this is called seeding the new tank.... However you mention that you are "dipping" the filet from the established tank.... into the new tank.... im not sure if theis is a language anomaly but merely dipping it in the water of the new tank is insufficient to get the bacteria into the water and established on the hard surfaces of the tank and decorations and gravel and such like, which is where the main colonies of these bacteria will live, the old filter media needs to eb put into teh new tanks filter and left there for a few weeks.
So to the suggestions..... when you state test results, always state them in the order of the cycle..... so can we have the test results for Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate..... Just a salient point...check the expiry dates of your test kits, when you are cycling a new tank its important to have accurate tests.
At this stage of the game its difficult to over dose with beneficial bacteria so continue to use the stress zyme and get the old filter media in there. Then start doing daily tests and write down your results in a diary... this is important.
Its worth saying at this point..... dont add any fish to the setup, I am sure you realise this but its worth saying anyway. Dont add any untill all the two first spikes have gone down to zero again...so ammonia and nitrite back to 0.00 and then the nitrate will need looking at and reducing with water changes etc.... but lets cross that bridge when we come to it.
With regard to the black moor.... yes it stands to reason that it was he who died, they are a highly bred fish and delicate to a fault.... Ryukin are also highly bred so we need to be careful there, fantails less so.
Hope this helps, send me a private messgae if you need any further help.
So i should only add the ammonia remover if the ammonia gets too high cause it's just a temporary it doesn't stay in there permantly? wait test kits have experation dates? mine are alllllll brand new so i doubt they expired.i just needed to know what new tank syndrome was and i grasped the gist and idea of it.
i am waiting at least a month before i decide to get another fish for the 45 gallon tank.as for the 10 gallon i am hoping the guppies and tetras will live past a month cause there is only two of each kind in there and i know tetras need to be in a school of 4 to six and would love to have that and guppies i think are like what a school of 4 to 7?i did want some ghost shirmp but i am scared of sucking them up during a water change cause they look invisible and hard to see that's why I didn't get any cause i am scared of sucking them up in the the vaccum when i go to clean it.
there was too much turbulence in the tank i've been watching it since i took out one airstone so i know it isn't my water like i said several times it's not the water thta water twas tested before a water change was made in the tank.so please stop saying it is.i stopped using the ammonia remover and i had to change the filter in the 5 galllon established tank yesterday and replace it with a new one it was starting to effect my betta freckle's tank i wanted his tank to look crystal clear not ichy looking so i had to throw out the filter cartridge.The 45 gallon wouldn't fit the that filter it's too small since the pump takes L Cartridges and this was a Z Filter Cartridge i was dipping in the the tanks could be wrong if the z cartridge can go in a 55/75 gallon filter pump.the pump I use didn't come with the tank we bought it seperately and looking back when i did have the two airstones in i watched the moor and the ryukin swim through where the turbulouce was and get pushed back like they were struggling to get to that one area so i know now it was to much turbulence in the tank thought like i had mention they were swimming as if it was stressing them out. white fantail was fine up til i moved him in the 45 gallon and then he acted strange and then poofed he diappeared from the tank so my assumption is that he was bullied and eaten cause he was the smalled one in the tank boy that argument with mom's boyfriend was fun for awhile saying it takes hours for a fish to be eaten not days,but the black moor had white stuff on his fins so it might also have been icch that killed him and i didn't notice til it was pointed out after he died or i could have rushed and got the medication for it.i have medication on stand by right now that cures multiple diseases.god that stuff makes one room smell like a fresh new diaper it is stong smell trust me.
i do take fish keeping seriously i don't just buy fish and put them in some take and go here you go swim hope you don't die.i watch my fish closely and i mean closely. people say they're just fish they don't do anything or oh you can just get another goldfish for 10 cents if they other dies i know fancies cost more the full grow man they are pricey i want my wo remaining goldfish to get bigger been thinking of building a pond for them actually but that isn't for awhile.but i love my little babies they make me happy and i want to take good care of them so i don't care if people say they're just fish i consider my pets family and so i'm a bit frustrated on deaths of the fish fish i had.i seems i have a better luck with the bettas.if it comes down to it i might turn the 10 gallon tank it a female betta community tank or a regular breeding tank i am considering to buy a qaurintne/medacine tank just as soon as i decide where to set it up.
it's not just my goldies having issues now it's also my guppies and tetras too i am worried about them in the 10 gallon and i've had the 10 gallon since july so i know it's cycled just don't understand why the fish keep dying in there i also assumed it's too much turbulance since i was watching spaz out like the goldfish did or they're just being active i took out their air stone til i go out and get a much smaller one to not give off to much turbulence in the tank cause as soon as i put that in it wasn't gentle bubbles flowing in that tank it was like a motorboat went off in the 10 gallon since the bubbles were moving rapidly instead of gently,that or i need more gravel in there to burry it more.i tried adding an air stone in the female betta's tank and she immediately flailed all over the place and it was to strong for that tank since it's so small.the male betta take has one was moving rapidly too so i replace it and it's now fine.it seems all the round air stones had seem to be the problems cause they were all round and giving off too much turbolence.
To clarify regarding the Nitrogen Cycle and New Tank Syndrome (which are the same thing)
Ash. . . in truth, you shouldn't NEED to add ammonia remover AT ALL. New Tank Syndrome is what happens when the bacteria that is needed to REMOVE the ammonia isn't in the tank yet. This is what we call the nitrogen cycle. Ammonia is turned into nitrites and then into nitrates by these bacteria, and it is necessary to have them in your tank in order to keep your fish alive.
If you have a reading for ammonia on your tests, then you must do a water change and get the level down as soon as possible for the health of your fish. It's a bit confusing while the cycle is establishing, because the bacteria FEED on the ammonia, and you need the bacteria to grow, but ammonia kills fish. So lets just try to keep the ammonia levels as low as possible while these bacteria are growing in your tank - this is the only way to get through new tank syndrome and keep your fish alive. Again, if you can get ANY established media into your tank - even if it's just a handful of gravel - it'll help.
Test kits do expire, but if just purchased yours are probably fine. However, if you're using the STRIPS, they aren't very accurate, and you'll want to get a LIQUID test kit as soon as you can!
Definitely good to wait on getting any new fish, but don't put a timeline on it just yet. You need to wait until your ammonia and nitrite levels drop to 0, and from that point wait a month or so before adding any new fish. That said. . . with goldfish, you'll HAVE to keep your stocking VERY LOW in a tank this size, depending on the breeds. Snappy will be able to give you advice on this, he's a goldie guy, I don't keep them, personally. But they are heavy waste producers and can grow enormous very quickly. For now, just get through the cycle and the new tank syndrome, and then do your research before you get into stocking! :smile:
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Now. . .
Calm down! Take a deep breath! Neither Snappy nor I have in ANY way indicated that you are not trying to do the best that you can to help your fish lead long and happy lives. IF we thought that you were the type to say that fish are a dime a dozen, we wouldn't be trying to help you. Please try not to be so defensive, and to space out your questions - some of your posts are very difficult to read, and I am getting confused between which tank(s) you're talking about! We have to be able to understand you in order to reply properly!
Regarding your water, and how fine or not it is. . . there are a MILLION different reasons why the fish in your 10g could be having trouble. Even if it is not an issue with cycling, nearly EVERYTHING that will affect fish can be in some way DIRECTLY related to the water in which they live! Turbulence - disturbs the WATER (and can also have a direct effect on the bacterial colonies within the tank), and so the fish are stressed. . .leading to illness. This is still a water issue, the way I see it! MOST of the time, any type of sickness or illness or unexplained death in some way will lead back to the water!
So again, please? Try to sort your questions out one by one, don't feel that you're under attack - you aren't, you're learning, and we'd like to help you. . . but unless you let us. . . we can't!
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So now, if I may ask a few questions of my own that might be able to help to figure out where the trouble is?
1. What test kit/strips are you using?
2. Can you run tests on your 45 gallon AND your 10 gallon tank for us, and post the readings so that we might be able to get some idea of where the tanks stand?
5. Is your 10g tank heated? Betta and goldies can often do fine at room temperature, Tetra and Guppies will need a heater - what is the temperature of this tank, and is there any fluctuation between daylight and nighttime hours?
3. How often are you doing water changes, and . . . how are you doing them?
4.Could you walk us through your water change process?
*Do you vacuum every time - or ever?
*Do you clean the filter every time - or ever?
*If you DO clean the filter, how do you do it?
*What are you adding as a dechlorinator?
*Do you match the temperature going into the tank with the temperature of the water that is already in it?
*Do you clean the tank walls with every water change? How often if not?
*You mentioned a mediation - what medication is it that you have, and which tank have you been using it on?
If you can get us some of these answers, we'll be much closer to figuring out what's wrong. However, it seems as though you've already decided it's the turbulence of the water ONLY, and if that's the case, I'm not really sure why I'm responding, if the problem has been solved? With Betta fish, bubble stones can cause quite a problem in a tiny tank, especially with the longer-finned varieties. But in a 10, or a 45 gallon tank, and with tetra, guppies, or goldfish. . . you'd really have to have an absurd amount of agitation and stones for the problems to have been caused ONLY because of them, I think. . .
luckily i am doing a water change in the afternoon.and i am not so keen on air stones i just thought you buy them set them up and the bubbles start flowing at first it did ave fiamyness to it but after doing something i have no idea what idea i just buried them in the gravel like the directions said after moving into the new house and it keept foaming in the 10 gallon so i thought hey let's try a smaller one....haha nooooope still the same so i just pulled it out.
the male betta tank the round airstone did the same thing but when i but this one in it gave a gentle flow so i just left it in there.
the 45 gallon had two in there plus a strong pump so i knoe it was turbulence in that 45 gallon that was stressing out the goldies but i am doing a water change in the afternoon so i'll get bac toyu on the testing.
to answer some questions
1. master test kit
2.yes it is heated.it stays between 80 to 82.i am not sure if the heater is a time or not though it came with the 10g when i bought it
3.I do them once to sometime twice a week. how i do them i do it two ways depnding how i feel. i will take out at leat 50% of the water all at once since i am using a 1 gallon bucket i have to make at least 6 tripd to get it at 50% that i get the water at the tempature i want it and feel it up sometimes put the water conditioner in while filing the bucket up and gentlly puts it in the water til it's to the rim.Another way i do it is i do the exact same thing but after i feel it with new water i go a take more of the water out and repest the process but i mostly do that on the 5 gallon and 10 gallon tanks.i rarely do it on the 45 gallon cause after i put the new water in i do n't want to toucch that tank anymore.
4.like make a video?yeah i can try to do that
5. yes every time i always vaccum the gravel.
6.yes i clean them.had to scrub the crap out of the 2.5 gallon filter before setting the sucker up for the femal betta.
7. and i am not sure how often it needs to be cleaned i normally begin cleaning it as soon as i see algea for around the rims
8. i am not sure what to add or exactly what to do so i get a bit scared of doing that cause i do't know exactly what it does.
9. yes o do all the time.will admit i had a few mistemprature reads but it didn't effect the water too much
10.all the time.even if there is no visible algea on the tank i clean it just incase there is any grime and much that is hiding
11.i use two one is betta flix i use it on the male betta cause he recently lost fins like a few months back they are groeing back though so i ahave been reframing from over medicating him. and i used a bit on the 45 gallon cause the new comet had a bit of his top fit torn from the other fish in the tank he was in when we bought him.
as for the second i use API General Cure it was reccomended to me by someone so i gave it a try i used it on all the tanks.makes the room smell like a fresh new diaper for a day
i devide the days i do water changes on the tanks though
Thursedays i change the water for the 45 gallon tank and the 2.5 gallon tank if it's twice a week i will be getting a water change maybe this saturday
and sundays or if twice than tuesdaya i do water changes on the 10 gallon tank and the 5 gallon tank
i'll get bacj to you on the test results i might have to re wash pump again that 2.5 gallon the top of the water always either looks like a warm jacuzzi cause that water stays warm without a heater or it is just dirty hopefully tomorrows water change fixes that
i just realized i have morino moss balls in the tanks except the 2.5 gallon will those help cycle the tank a bit i hop them around from tme to time and i know i have two from the establish 5 gallon in the 45 gallon tank
So that weirdest thing happened i went to go test the water's ammonia and the water in the tube turned a purplish pink O.o which was weird went to test it again andthis time it showed the water had no ammonia
1. Master Test kit - great! Now we know we're getting the right readings. Very good to know!
2. :!: Temperature. . . this *could* very well be a huge part of your problem. I'm not sure if you mentioned what type of Tetra you have in your 10g tank, but 82 is VERY warm for most creatures. Guppies may be able to tolerate temps that high, but it is DEFINITELY at the high end of their comfort level. I suggest that you drop the temperature back a few degrees, and double check the temperature tolerance of all of the fish you keep, and adjust the temperature to be somewhere in the middle of their combined comfort zones. My tanks tend to stay around 78, but this is based on the specific needs of the fish that I keep. There are Tropical Fish Profiles at the top of the page, and you should be able to get the information you're looking for up there.
Regarding the heater being on a timer. . . some heaters come pre-set from the factory, while others are able to be adjusted. They usually turn on automatically when the temps fall below the level they are set to keep the water. If yours is not the adjustable type, it may very well be broken, and I've read stories of fish being . . . well, cooked. . . by broken heaters. See if you can adjust it based on what you find out about your fish's temperature needs, and if you can't adjust it, get a new one ASAP. Be VERY CAREFUL NOT TO CHANGE THE TEMPERATURE TO QUICKLY, though. This will be a shock to the fish, and can kill them. Let the temperature gradually fall to the proper setting.
3. First off. . . SHEESH! You can get a 5 gallon bucket AND a siphon hose at Home Deopt or Lowes for under $10 for both! A 1 gallon bucket at a time sounds like TORTURE! :shock:
You might want to look into the amount of water that you're changing a week. Some people like to change more, some less - and it really depends on the specific tanks that you have and what the water tests are telling you. It is often better to do 2 25% changes a week than to do 50% all in one go. This is because it can be stressful on a fish to go from very dirty water to very clean water suddenly. If you do choose to continue doing 50% water changes all at once, it is probably a better idea for you to remove a smaller amount of water, then replace it with fresh, a few times over than taking the tank level down to 50% and filling it back up - which is stressful on the fish, too.
4. Sorry, no - the above gave a good idea of your step-by-step process, and that's just what I was looking for!
5. Gravel Vacuuming. I am NOT an expert on this, I didn't keep gravel in my tanks for very long before I switched over to sand, so do some additional research here. But from what I have read and been told, you can actually OVER vacuum the gravel. Because the beneficial bacteria lives on the surface area of your tank - the gravel is FULL of the stuff. We want to keep it there! Of course, you want to get the wastes out, too. Many people recommend that you alternate the area that you vaccume with each water change. For example, this week's water change, you would vacuum the left side. Next week, the right side. If you break it up like this, you can be sure that there will always be enough undisturbed bacteria to keep the cycle going. If you remove too much of the bacteria at one time, there can be flux in your cycle, and ammonia can become a problem in a cycled tank.
6, 7 - Cleaning the filters (and changing the filter pads) - This is something that you want to be very careful with also. Our filters ALSO have a lot of beneficial bacteria colonizing in them that we don't want to disturb for the health of our fish.
First, the filter pads. . .I suspect that you're changing them more than you need to, because you feel that it is the right thing to do. While the BOX will tell you to change it every month or every 3 months, this is not really the best thing to do. When you do your water changes, if the filter pad looks like it's full and yucky, gently remove it from the filter and swish it around in the DIRTY TANK WATER that you just took out. If you hit it with tap water, the bacteria will die, so you don't want to do that! Any filter pad should be fine to continue using until it is quite literally falling apart. You may be able to get away with swishing this media out once every 2 weeks or so.
Regarding the actual plastic pieces of the filter - the same rule applies. The intake tube, the casing, the output - you don't want to scrub them, but rinse them out in the old tank water to free them of any debris. I have a problem with algae showing up on the output of my HOB filter in my 10g tank, too. That one spot I do clean fairly regularly - but only with tank water. In my tanks, it is VERY important that I clean the filter intake with every water change, or it gets clogged with debris and the filter will not be able to do it's job, so make sure you double check the intake - if I read correctly, a clogged intake IS what was wrong with your biowheel? So rinse that out in dirty tank water with every water change.
8. Adding a dechlorinator. I was asking what you are adding to the water that comes out of your tap to make it safe for the fish before putting it into the tank. This is also called a water conditioner. . .
I use Prime, drop for drop, it's the best and least expensive (considering how little you need per gallon) product that I've found, and I think most people on here do recommend this one, too. The water comes out of our faucets with either chlorine or chloramine in it. It's okay for you and I, but not safe for the fish. Our city's water folks add this stuff in to make sure the water is clean enough for us to use, but it's deadly for the fish. There is also the chance that your water can have traces of heavy metals in it, as it has run through all of the pipes before coming into your home. The dechlorinator drops that you add to the water before putting it into the tank remove all of these things that will harm the fish, and make the water safe to be used. Be sure to double check - not all of these products are created equal. Some don't remove Chloramine, for example. Not all areas have that added to their water, so it may not matter to you - but it is something to look into and be sure of. Prime takes care of all of the above, plus some - so you can skip the research and get that, if it's easier.
9. Great! Glad to hear you're aware of this, because it can be very deadly to a fish to be tossed from one temperature to another suddenly, so we always have to be sure the temp of the water going in matches what we took out - and don't worry - we've all been off every now and again. As long as it wasn't TOO far off, or TOO much water at once, it's probably fine - though you do want to do your best, of course :-)
10. I also clean the tank walls with every water change, so I see no harm in it - someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but we have to see our fish, right!
11. Medications: Okay. . . first I want to make something very clear to you - and PLEASE understand that I'm saying this only to help, and am in no way being critical or judgmental in any way. You're trying to help your fish, and I respect that. . .
THE BEST THING FOR YOUR FISH WILL ALWAYS BE CLEAN WATER. Most illnesses, torn or frayed fins, fungal issues - almost all of them are a direct result of water conditions not being ideal, and if caught early enough, in many cases THEY CAN BE HEALED BY MAINTAINING CONSISTENTLY CLEAN WATER.
This is VERY important, because there are SO many 'magic potions' that you can find on the shelves for fish. A few drops of this will cure algae! A capfull of that will get rid of ammonia! Some of these products are very necessary - but usually only in very specific cases - and the rest of them are just trying to get your money.
I'm a new Betta keeper, but Bettafix I believe is a watered-down version of Melafix. It's something that I'm familiar with, and fairly comfortable with using from time to time. It is good to help a fish heal after having a fin nipped - even though the fish should heal up quickly enough with clean water in most cases ;-) When your Betta lost his fins. . . the problem probably had something to do with the water not being as it should be - you're learning, things DO happen - and I hope that you'll be able to give him the best now that you're taking the time and getting a better understanding of what all of your fish need. You may want to do a bit more research, perhaps on the betta forum - where people will be better able to advise you on how best to deal with helping his situation along. Glad that you're giving him a rest from the meds, over-medicating is dangerous, too - so I'm happy you've picked up on that.
I'm ALSO not very familiar with Goldfish, so. . .perhaps Snappy or someone else can help you here. I don't think that Betafix or Melafix would do them any harm, but I've never looked into it personally, so double check.
:!: AS for API General Cure . . . this is NOT a medication to toss into a tank without a LOT of forethought, and a very good understanding of which specific illness your fish is being treated for. This med has two VERY strong ingredients in it, and though they are good for treating certain things, they should not be used without a strong need. Meds are hard on the fish, and there are ingredients in this one that can potentially wipe out your bacterial filter and send your tank into a cycle - if this happened in your tank(s) it could certainly be a part of the problems you've been having.
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