01-24-2008, 12:32 AM
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I'm really NOT an expert on what chlorine does, how long it stays in the water, etc. Please see if anyone else has more information on this! Here is what I know though:
Ok, first off, we've definitely found the problem! Chlorine is very caustic to fish and so are many other ingredients. **Always** condition your tap water before adding it to the tank. Put the conditioner in the water when it is in a container, not when it is in the tank and wait 5-15 minutes before adding the water to the tank, so that the conditioner has had a chance to work. I fill the tank so that there is about 2-3 inches between the edge of the water and the top of the tank.
This would explain why your tank seems to have lost all of the bacteria that break down fish waste. Chlorine kills all the good bacteria, meaning that your tank needs to build up this bacteria all over again.
Also, yes, you are overfeeding your fish. You should feed your fish as much as they can eat in 2 minutes, 2-3 times a day. A lot of the time fish can't help their nature to strike at food when it is nearby, even when they are full, so they bite food and spit it back out. It can look like they are hungry and still eating, so that may be what has been confusing you. I'd recommend you use a siphon to vacuum up the excess food on the bottom of the tank. You can easily get one at the pet store for about $8.
I would recommend continuing to do 30% water changes, every day, and monitoring your water parameters. Hopefully your fish can recover from the damage that chlorine does, but I'm really not sure. I'd really recommend reading some articles on tank chemistry and other fish care as soon as possible. Not only will it help you take care of your fish, but it's really fun to keep fish when you really understand what's going on with them. I have a great book called "Manual of Fish Health" which I always refer to, but there's plenty of interesting, informing articles online.
Best of luck!