Treating fin rot

When the beautiful fins of your previously healthy looking fish suddenly seem to be melting away, it can be easy to panic. It may be fin rot! Luckily this common aquarium fish disease is often curable, especially if you take action right away. Keep reading for more information on what causes fin rot and how you can prevent it as well as diagnosing and curing it if it’s already too late.

betta fin rot

Photo by Melissa

What causes fin rot?

Fin rot, like many fish diseases, is caused by a combination of factors. It’s a bacterial or fungal infection, meaning the “melting” is caused by bacteria or fungus eating away at the fins. Bacteria such as Pseudomonas that cause fin rot are not that dangerous for your fish by themselves and can actually be found in any aquarium. The real danger is secondary infection, such as when the fish rips its (tail) fin or is otherwise injured, for example by other fish. The bacteria and fungus can easily latch onto the open wound and cause it to become infected.
Another huge factor in fin rot is stress. A stressed fish is much more susceptible to any disease and especially fin rot! Stress can be caused by many things, but the main reasons for fin rot are bad water quality and an improperly cycled aquarium caused by overstocking or lack of water changes. Insufficient feeding, bad choice of tankmates, injuries, disease or stress from transport and all other things that cause stress and/or injuries to a fish increase the chances of infection. The oranda below had both dropsy and a case of fin rot on the pelvic fins.

Preventing fin rot

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Keeping fancy goldfish in ponds

Although keeping fancy goldfish in an outdoor pond year-round is not an option everywhere due to climate differences, setting up a fancy goldfish pond even just for the summer can be a fun project. (Temporary) life in a pond is often beneficial for your goldfish when done right and it can also lessen maintenance time for you. Keep reading for more info about keeping fancy goldfish in pond and tips on starting your own pond setup!

Which fancy goldfish types can be kept outside?

You can keep any type of fancy goldfish outside in a species-only pond during the summer if temperatures don’t regularly exceed ~85 °F/29 °C. Please don’t mix your fancies with single tailed goldfish or koi! If you live in an area where temperatures stay above freezing year-round, the fish can stay outside in an above ground or below ground pond the entire time.

Oranda goldfish

Oranda goldfish may do well in ponds year-round.

If temperatures do drop below 32 °F/0 °C but it doesn’t get too cold, there are still a few fancy goldfish types that can stay outside year round in a below ground pond. The pond should have some parts deep enough to not freeze entirely; most goldfish keepers recommend a depth of around 4 ft/120 cm. Fantail goldfish as well as orandas and ryukins have been reported to be able to survive the winter outdoors in moderate climates when proper winter precautions are taken. Be sure to always keep a small portion of the pond ice free; some goldfish keepers with smaller ponds also choose to keep the water running during winter by using a heater.

If you’re unsure whether your goldfish are safe outdoors during winter, I would personally not go for it and just wait until it’s spring or summer again. If you do think you can keep them outside, be sure to Continue reading

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Aquarium driftwood

Adding driftwood to your aquarium is a great way to get a natural look and imitate the habitat of some fish species. Aquarium suitable wood can be found in many shapes and forms and there is a type for almost any biotope! Although adding it can really make your aquascape, there are a few things to consider before running out to the store (or the forest). Keep reading to find out the do’s and don’ts of driftwood in your aquarium and a of list the most common types of driftwood found in pet- and aquarium stores.

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Using driftwood in your aquarium

If you’ve found a piece of driftwood for your aquascape, it can be very tempting to try to add it right away. Unfortunately, though, you’ll usually quickly find the wood floating at the top of the tank! Driftwood can’t be added to an aquarium without a bit of preparation.

Because even pre-washed pieces of wood can still contain dirt or loose pieces, a thorough scrub is a good plan. An old dish brush and hot water will work great for this! I also always rinse the wood with some boiling water to make sure anything harmful I missed while cleaning is also gone. After washing the wood, it’s time to solve the floating problem. New driftwood is almost always buoyant until it has been submerged for a while, so if you don’t want it floating around the aquarium you can put it in a bucket with water for a few days until it’s waterlogged. If you don’t want any tannins from the wood to leach into your aquarium water, try Continue reading

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Caresheet: Red Claw Crab

Red claw crabs are very interesting to keep and a very easy impulse buy, but unfortunately there is still a lot of misinformation about their care to be found in aquarium stores and on the Internet. They are often kept in freshwater community aquariums, but their ideal habitat is actually a single species low-end brackish paludarium! Keep reading for more information about keeping red claw crabs and setting up a suitable home for them.

Name

Perisesarma bidens, red claw crab, red clawed crab, mini crab. They’re also sometimes still referred to as Sesarma bidens.

Natural habitat

Red claw crabs are naturally found in mangrove swamps in Asia. In these estuaries, rivers flow into the sea, creating a mix of fresh and salt water. The water is quite shallow, temperatures are tropical and the ground is usually covered with fine sand. This gives us some great guidelines for what a red claw crab paludarium should look like!

Appearance

With a size of no more than around 4 inches (10cm), red claw crabs stay smaller than some of the other crab species available in aquarium stores, which is why they’re sometimes referred to as “mini crab”. Males are Continue reading

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Aquarium filter 101 | Types of filters

Any time you’re setting up a new aquarium, choosing the right filter is something you have to think about. Because your filter contains the beneficial bacteria that keep your aquarium ammonia free and safe, it’s actually one of the most important choices you make! 
With all the factors that you should keep in mind – aquarium size, what types of fish, heavily stocking or understocking – and the many different filter types and brands available, things can get slightly confusing. To hopefully clarify things a little, keep reading for a list of the most common filter types and their pros and cons!

Garnelenbecken: Station 3

Sponge filters are a great option for shrimp tanks. Garnelenbecken: Station 3 by grafzahl

Internal filter

Probably the most common filter type is the internal filter. These come in most aquarium kits or you can buy them separately at pretty much any pet- or aquarium store and online. Internal filters are usually pretty cheap, but the quality unfortunately varies and they do take up a lot of precious space in the aquarium. Some can make a pretty loud whirring noise 24/7, which really isn’t something you want when your aquarium is set up in your bedroom! Most internal filters also only contain sponge and miss the important biological filter media that contains most of the beneficial bacteria and helps keep your cycle stable.

That all being said, I personally regularly use internal filters, especially for my smaller aquarium setups. If you get one that is high quality, they are a nice and cheap option! Just be sure you buy the right type for your aquarium size. Cut off part of the sponge and replace it with biological filter media such as bio balls and you are all set! If you’d like, you can also hide the filter, as pictured to the right.
A popular internal filter is the Aqueon QuietFlow.

Canister filter

Though not very popular for nano aquarium setups, a canister filter is usually actually the best filter choice you can make. They can get a bit pricey and are sometimes a bit difficult to set up for beginners, but they have so many advantages. They don’t Continue reading

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Betta food & feeding

Figuring out the right diet for your betta can be quite a challenge. There are many different foods available in pet- and aquarium stores and online, but unfortunately not all of them are high quality or even good for your betta! If you’re struggling with what, when or how to feed you’re definitely not the only one. Keep reading for more information on what to feed your betta, how to find a good quality food and everything else you need to know.

What to feed your betta

The most important thing you need to know about your betta if you’re looking to feed the best possible foods is that these fish are 100% carnivores. Their upturned mouth reveals what they like to eat in the wild: insects that have fallen into the water. They can’t survive on plant based foods and, contrary to what some pet stores will tell you, they do not eat plant roots. A proper betta diet always consists of protein based foods!

DSC_3660

Betta fish are naturally insect eaters. DSC_3660 by gomagoti on Flickr.

As with pretty much any fish species, variety is the key to a healthy diet. Most fish- and betta keepers choose to use a high quality pellet or flake food as a staple; more information on what makes a pellet or flake ‘high quality’ can be found below. Because feeding nothing but the staple food wouldn’t make for a very varied diet, it’s a good idea to also get some other types of food. There are plenty of options! I personally always have at least two types of frozen food (white/black mosquito larvae, bloodworms, brine shrimp) lying around. These foods make a great betta meal when thawed properly! You can also occasionally offer your betta freeze dried foods. Some fishkeepers choose to feed live foods that can be bought at aquarium stores, which is something bettas will enjoy but also sometimes brings the risk of introducing parasites into the aquarium. For safe (and fun!) live food options, you can try hatching your own brine shrimp eggs or wingless fruit flies.

High quality betta food

With all the pellets and flakes meant for bettas that all claim they are the best, it can be difficult to figure out which one to actually buy. Luckily, Continue reading

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Floating aquarium plants!

Floating aquarium plants, often with long decorative roots, are popular in many types of aquarium setups. With good reason! There are many advantages to keeping floating plants in your planted aquarium; although they may not always be ideal combined with plants that need a lot of light, they are a great addition to almost every setup and quite easy to keep. Keep reading for more information about keeping floating plants, why they are great and which species make a good choice!

Why keep floating plants?

  • Amazon frogbit root system. Photo by Tumblr user apossibletwin!

    Amazon frogbit root system. Photo by Tumblr user apossibletwin!

    Hiding place – many popular fish species such as bettas, dwarf puffers, gourami and clown killifish occur naturally in darker waters and prefer a densely planted and shaded aquarium with plenty of hiding places. Floating plants provide shade and cover and the long roots help make your fish feel safe, which can help prevent stress. I like using floating plants in quarantine tanks for this exact reason! It’s not just adult fish that will make thankful use of floating plants; they are also a great place for tiny fry and dwarf shrimp to hide and forage. The most popular floating plant with long roots is Limnobium Laevigatum, also known as Amazon frogbit.

  • Easy to grow & low maintenance – many of us fishkeepers are plant enthousiasts but at the same time unfortunately lack the green thumb, time or money to set up a high-tech, high-maintenance aquascape with more difficult plant species. Easy plants that require no extra lighting, nutrients or Co2 such as Java fern, anubias and crypt species are Continue reading

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