Aquarium Update – Driftwood and Live Plants

My aquarium has undergone some major changes in the past couple of months. I’ve been constantly tweaking it to make better looking, functioning, and self-sustaining. I’ve been maintaining it quite heavily since I know the changes I make stresses out my ecosystem. I’m constantly checking the water quality, doing small water changes when necessary, and also observing my goldfishes behavior to make sure there aren’t any signs of stress.

I know a ton of people are thinking and some are also telling me to leave my tank alone. “Let nature do it’s thing,” they tell me, but as a new hobbyist, I can’t be helped! I’m learning so much that it’s hard not to give my aquarium all this attention! I’m pretty proud that my tank is quite natural as well. The only thing I add to the water is aquarium salt and water conditioner. My filtration system is made up of sponges and ceramic bio media – that’s it. I do have a few plastic aquarium decorations in my tank, but I plan to eventually replace those with something natural – rocks, driftwood, live plants, etc.

Here are the transition of my tank… I didn’t take photos every step of the way because I was always “in transition”, but these are the gist of it.

First:
floating_bag

Second:

before

Third:

After

One of the first thing I did was remove the tree trunk on the right side of my tank. My goldfishes LOVED playing around it, but it has many sharp and jagged edges that hurt them. It had to go!

I also had to take out a ton of the gravel. Zoro is MUCH slower than the other two so if I didn’t put enough food into the tank to let a few of them drop to the bottom, he’d never get any. With the gravel being so large, food would easily fall through the cracks and be unreachable to my. So it, too, had to go.

A piece of driftwood was added to my tank last week and the other was added last night. I attached a piece of Anubis to the piece on the left and Java Ferns to the piece in the middle. I’m planning to add a few more plants. Maybe another Anubias to replace the plastic plant on the right and hopefully some that will float freely in the tank. Not sure what I’m going to add yet, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to grow some lilies. I’m not sure if this is possible since I have a tank cover and overhead lights, but I definitely want some plants sitting on top of the water.

I’m gonna have to take a better picture of my tank when I get home. Probably a photo with faster shutter speeds so the bubble wall doesn’t look so crazy ;P

Just wanted to do a quick lunch update! I hope everyone’s holidays are going well!

Bye 🙂

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Relentless Ammonia!

For awhile now, my water tests have been coming out consistent so I haven’t been testing it frequently. I did a 20% water change a little over a week ago and the following Monday, started my goldfishes on a new diet (http://wp.me/p1Btyv-qO). When I tested the water on Wednesday, I got ammonia readings of 1.0 ppm. This is strange because my tank is cycled and the only thing I should be seeing is a rise in nitrates. I immediately attributed the ammonia reading to the new diet. Blood worms and brine shrimps get pretty messy so I’m not surprised that it would pollute my water.

I immediately did a 10% water change. The next day, I tested the water and got the same results so I did another 10% water change. On Friday, the ammonia was still reading 1.0 ppm. So, I did a 30% water change. Saturday I fast my fishes so I’m hoping that would help with any ammonia issues. I was wrong! Sunday I got the same reading so I did another 10% water change and today when I tested it, it looked a little higher than 1.0 ppm. So… I did a 20% water change. I’ve been doing small water changes every day and nothing is bringing the Ammonia levels down!

I started to feel defeated and was worried about what would happen to Zoro, Nana, and Freddy when Chae and I leave for our ski trip. I won’t be here to do water changes! I’m grateful that my brother agreed to feed them while we’re gone, but asking him to also do a water change is a bit much! I had imagined the horrifying call I’d get from my brother when he discovers them belly up, “I’m sorry Kim, they’ve gone to Fishy Heaven.” 😦

API Products

I’m not sure what prompted this, but I decided to do a water test on my tap water. More specifically, my tap water that has been conditioned with API Stress Coat+ and a tablespoon of Aquarium Salt (in 5 gallons of water). I also did a water test on the water from our RO filter.

IMG_3443[1]

The results SHOCKED me. The test tube on the left is my conditioned tap water and the test tube on the right is water from our RO filter. Our tap water contains ammonia. At least I know that our RO filter removes ammonia. So, mystery solved! The reason why I wasn’t able to get the ammonia readings to go down was because I was putting ammonia back into my tank! I’m still a little mortified as I’m writing this post.

When we first set up our fish tank, I tested our tap water and only trace amounts of ammonia showed up. The results were very similar to the RO water. Our RO filtered water comes out of a small spout and it takes a really long time to fill up a 5 gallon bucket. It also gets extremely hot after about 5 minutes (or less). Since the readings were coming out similar to tap water, I decided to use tap water. Tap water comes out of the faucet much faster and the water stays cool the entire time.

If you look at the photo below, the spout to the right is our RO filtered water. Just to give you an idea as to where it’s located and what it looks like 🙂

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It looks like I’ll be doing a fairly large water change tomorrow. I have one 5 gallon bucket filled with RO water that I hope cools by the time I do the water change. I’ll have to pick up some distilled water from the store tomorrow. I hope I can improve the water quality before leaving for the ski trip.

New Diet for the Goldfishes

I read that variety in a goldfish’s diet will help them grow big, happy, and healthy. I’ve been feeding my goldfishes mostly Omega One Small Sinking Pellets. I would soak them in tank water for about 10-15 minutes (to soften them) before giving it to my goldfishes. Once a week I would feed them frozen blood worms. Not too much variety! I decided to take this article’s (http://tinyurl.com/mzwjqc3) advice and incorporate more variety into their diet.

Their new diet looks something like this:

Monday
Morning: Omega One sinking pellets
Evening: frozen blood worms

Tuesday
Morning: Omega One sinking pellets
Evening: baby spinach

Wednesday
Morning: Omega One sinking pellets
Evening: frozen brine shrimp

Thursday
Morning: Omega One sinking pellets
Evening: baby spinach

Friday
Morning: Omega One sinking pellets
Evening: frozen blood worms

Saturday
Goldfish Fasting; no feeding goldfishes!

Sunday
Morning: de-shelled peas
Evening: de-shelled peas

Every week day morning I feed my fishes Omega One sinking pellets. This is mostly because it is fast and easy and very little preparation is needed. In the evenings, I feed them frozen blood worms or frozen brine shrimp in the evening on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday, I give them baby spinach. On Saturdays, I fast my goldfishes; they aren’t fed. On Sunday, I feed them de-shelled peas (once in the morning and once in the evening). The peas are suppose to clean out their digestive system and also help prevent swim bladder issues that are common in most goldfishes.

GoldfishPelletsSM4_2oz_2

My first attempt to feed them baby spinach did not go very well. I took a medium sized leaf that had a nice long stem and put it in a microwave safe bowl. I covered it with water and microwaved it for a minute. I put the long stem under a heavy pond stone in the aquarium to hold it in place. At first, Zoro, Nana, and Freddy just kept on nibbling on my hand and ignored the spinach. They didn’t know the spinach was food! When they finally did, they couldn’t take a bite out of it. They would nibble on the spinach leaf and get nothing! I later realized that it wasn’t cooked long enough and so it wasn’t soft enough for them to eat. Once we heated up the spinach longer, they were able to gobble it up!! It was really fun watching them eat it 🙂

I should have taken photos or a video, but I didn’t. I was more concerned that they didn’t get “hurt” while eating the spinach. There was an incident where the baby spinach leaf got tugged out from under the pond stone and Nana had the entire stem in her mouth! She was swimming around with a spinach leaf coming out of her mouth. It looked a little like she was waving a green flag around. Anyways, she couldn’t eat the stem because it was too hard. It took me awhile to catch her and pull the spinach out of her mouth. I really wished I took a photo because it was RIDICULOUSLY cute, but… I was scared she was going to hurt herself so there wasn’t time for photos.

Sorry for the lack of photos. This post was not the post I had intended to write tonight so I wasn’t prepared for it!

The post I had intended to write is here: Relentless Ammonia!

Landscaping

A few weeks ago, wait. Actually, it’s been a month. A month ago, we did some landscaping on our front lawn. It was in some DESPERATE need of tender, love, and care. Don’t take my word for it, though, see for yourself!

BEFORE:

leftSide_before

 

AFTER:

leftSide_after

——————————-

BEFORE: 

rightSide_before

AFTER:

rightSide_after

——————————-

BEFORE:

front_before

AFTER:

front_after

I know it’s nothing fancy but a drastic improvement. We’re very happy with the changes and are pretty sure our neighbors are, too! They all have such nice lawns it was embarrassing to see our house next to theirs.

Sorry for the short post, but I want to get some gaming in before bed 🙂 At least I updated! Yayyy!!

Night all!

Zoro, Freddy, and Nana

I’m not really in the mood to blog tonight, but since it’s been over a week since my last post, I felt it was necessary to at least make an attempt.

I wanted to blog about my 30th birthday party I had over the weekend, but I don’t feel like it anymore. Then I thought, lets update on my aquarium! I changed my mind as soon as I pressed the “Add New Post” link.

I honestly just want to talk about my fishes.

Zoro is doing good and I swear he’s grown since we got him two and a half weeks ago. He has a white belly that I find extremely adorable! I was able to get some better photos of him that I would like to share. 🙂

zoro-1 zoro-2
zoro-3 zoro-4

Freddy has battle wounds on him. When we first brought our fishes home, Nana started being aggressive towards the others and chased them around the tank. When I checked up on them one morning, I noticed Freddy was pretty beat up. At first, I thought Nana has “bitten” him, but I think it’s more likely that he got hurt on one of the aquarium decorations. I’m pretty sure the culprit is the log on the right side of our tank, so I decided to remove it from their habitat. Poor guy =/ He’s going to have some pretty bad scarring.

freddy-1 freddy-2

Nana is no longer aggressive towards my other fishes like she was when I first got her. I guess she was trying to establish her leadership/dominance. Go figure, the “girl” in the group ;P We don’t really know if she’s a girl or not, hence the quotes around “girl”. Anyways, she has a white mark on her face and I’m not sure why. At first, I thought “ich”. Ich is a disease that is common with freshwater fish and can get fatal if not treated properly. Ich is a parasite that attaches to your fish. Causes them to “itch”. They’ll rub up on stuff because they’re itchy! However, it’s only on her face and it’s just that one spot. I’ve been monitoring her and she doesn’t have spots anywhere else so it’s not likely that she has ich. I THINK she might have “inverted” the inner tissue of her lip when she ate a sinking pellet that hasn’t softened enough =/ I’m not sure if this is the reason but it’s the only thing I can come up with. Anyone have any ideas they might like to share?

nana-1 nana-2
nana-1a nana-2a

I guess that’s all I wanted to share for tonight. This has been a pretty decent entry considering how I didn’t even want to start it, if you ask me ;P

Night all!