Goldfish Water - Useful Tips That Keep Your Fish Healthy
Once you have kept fish successfully for any length of time, the secret becomes obvious: it is to have consistently clean, pure well-oxygenated goldfish water, uncluttered with debris, and which allows effective "cycling". It would eradicate about 90% of illnesses, including many common bacteria, parasites and viruses. These are highly opportunistic and poor water quality provides a thriving breeding ground for diseases.
As long as you treat the water that goes into the aquarium with conditioner and ensure it is similar temperature to the water already in there, your water changes will assist your fish to thrive.
Weekly water changes are the core of your goldfish care. Your gravel cleaner may take a bit to get used to, but your need to become adept at doing this, without disturbing the fish.
What are the aims of your water change:
- Keep ammonia levels low by diluting them with clean water
- Increase oxygen in the tank by removing water with dissolved phosphates
- Cleaning all the waste products that have accumulated in the gravel
- Add clearer unpolluted water that allows fish to thrive
Water changes help keep a constant high quality goldfish water. This means a lot less worries for you and your family.
What you need for a water change:
- gravel cleaner
- 5-gallon bucket
- water conditioner
- old cloth towels
How To Do A Water Change
Step 1: Preparation
- Place the towels on the floor to catch any drips or mess
- Add fresh tap water to a bucket or a water jug. Ensure you add the correct amount of water conditioner to the water before you add it to the tank
- Adjust water temperature using cold tap water and boiled water. Boiled water removes the germs
- Place the draining bucket on the towels
- Ensure the bucket is lower that the level of the bottom of the tank (gravity will drain water away)
Step 2: Remove the water
- Place the gravel cleaner inside the tank. Suck firmly on the end of the gravel cleaner pipe till the water starts to flow
- Move the gravel cleaner from one corner of the tank to the next. Press it into the gravel to collect the waste matter. You will see dirty, clowdy water draining into the bucket
- Remove as much of the waste products as possible. Place your finger over the end where dirty water is coming out so it won't suck up clearer water
- Continue this until you have removed 50-60% of the water in the tank
Step 3: Add the new water
- Ensure you have not vacuumed any small fish
- Gently add the treated fresh water till the aquarium is full
- Let it settle. Place the cover on the tank at once
These are simple and exact steps you must follow when doing your weekly goldfish water changes.
Signs of Ammonia Poisoning
- black areas appearing on the fish
- fins are flattened and clamped. Healthy fins should be taut, shiny and erect
- goldfish should display vigorous uncontrollable activity, darting from side-to-side or end-to-end in the tank
- swimming in circular movements
- fish lying at the bottom at the tank, still
- little response and overall appearance of fatigue
- no eating or appetite reduction
- starting to go to eat food and giving up half the way trough
- periodic gasping at water surface
One of the main reasons it helps to buy the biggest aquarium possible, is to allow the Nitrogen Cycle to operate easily. From the moment you add goldfish to the tank, water quality will deteriorate: lose scales, excretion, uneaten food, plant material and other factors will all "pollute" the water. To minimize these, we want to have the most amount of water in the tanks, the largest surface area possible for gas exchange to keep water as pure as we can and also provide the best conditions to propagate and maintain healthy bacteria.
A little bit of chemistry helps you understand what is going on inside your aquarium:
- Fish eat food, which contains nitrogen
- Ammonia (NH3) is excreted from the gills and fish urine. Ammonia is harmful to your fish
- The bacteria in the filter and "substrate" (gravel) break down ammonia to Nitrite(NO2). This is still harmful to the fish
- Other bacteria feed on Nitrite to produce Nitrate (NO3), which is much less harmful for the goldfish
- Plants use nitrates as food source
- Fish may eat plants and so the cycle stats again
If you have the largest tank possible, then this will naturally absorb sudden increases in nitrates, nitrite or ammonia, so your fish are unaffected.
Love to you,
Image credits to: Exa7m @ Flickr.com