"AquaNotes" 
Feeding your Fish:

Remember :  "Over-feeding" has nothing to do with your fish "over-eating".                                             

Its all about not polluting their home!

* Please      Feed the fish (not the tank)! 

Following this advise will lead to a successful aquarium experience that 
you can enjoy with far fewer problems and their eventual costs !

Food should very seldom reach the bottom before your fish get it!  

You should strive to never see suspended,  settled or floating  food particles after 5 minutes!

And - Never allow food to be left on the tank bottom! 

If you make a mistake and over feed any type of fish food,  Please get out your net...
and go to work eliminating as much as possible! 

(Excess food is often the primary cause of undesirable algae outbreaks and also a "trigger"
for many fish deaths related to poor water quality).

Just 5 minutes out of your day !    

Some situations require daily or twice daily feedings.   Others will require only feeding every three days or so.   Consult your professional regarding your specific tank community.  In all cases, each feeding will only require 5 minutes of your time.
Please be willing to invest this small amount of time at each feeding to observe what is happening.  Do not feed and walk away.  

You will save yourself many headaches and considerable money!

You will get to know your fishes habits and what foods they like. 
And ...you will become better at NOT overdoing it. 

Stay around and enjoy observing them during feeding! 
Not only are they more active during this time,  but it is highly important that you see that there is no uneaten food left behind! 
You will also be able to note any unusual behavior that might indicate an emerging problem.

Very occasionally food will land on the substrate.   If it can be removed - it should be!
Please take notice and do your level best to rid the tank of this potential pollution! 
Net it out or grab it out - just get it out!  You may be preventing a chain reaction 
which could lead to many fish losses!
 
Then, be certain to adjust future feedings to insure that this does not happen often!

We subscribe to the philosophy that small frequent feedings are best.

So, be careful..... And responsible!  Your fishes lives depend on it!'

Note:  There are some instances where special feeding is required by certain bottom dwelling inhabitants 
and also special foods required for certain species.  There is much more on this subject such as feeding techniques 
and types of food that are specific to certain fish and invertebrates. 
Your aquarium professional will have specific recommendations for these.


Diseases in Aquarium Fish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Most of us understand that  problems may occur in keeping all tropical fishes.  

(This is where Your aquarium professional comes in)  

You should, however, become informed!  

Fact is,  most will not have to deal often with disease outbreaks and will enjoy few problems for extended periods of time.  

Watch your fish closely. You may help to notice something before it gets out of hand!

Your basic knowledge of disease recognition and prevention is very helpful in assisting us in keeping your fish healthy.

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Fish Anatomy

  














Simplified disease Chart 



























Diseases in Tropical fish

First,  Please consider a quarantine tank.  It is  a worthwhile investment.  You can watch for problems in new arrivals and medicate if necessary.  

Also, an ultraviolet sterilizer is highly recommended to prevent outbreaks of parasites.

Fish are most susceptible to disease while adjusting to captive life.

There are very many pathogens in all “living” waters beginning with an individuals capture to holding to shipping, then holding again at your local fish store and finally in your home system.  Imagine the journey that aquarium specimens have endured.  

Stress:

Stress is the common thread in most cases of disease in aquarium fish.  Though fish can be predisposed by genetic factors, stress is usually what sparks disease. Stress releases adrenaline which increases the heart rate and respiration.
Stressed fish can die of exhaustion or become weakened whereby the immune system cannot fight off a disease. 
Stressed fish will eventually become sickly and diseased. 
If  the stress is severe (as in the case of the child tapping on the glass or even sometimes during routine maintenance of the aquarium) 
the fish can go into shock and die on the spot.

Now, reflect on these other stress factors:

Wrong temperature or sudden changes in temperature
Improper pH or sudden changes in pH 
Children banging on tank, or sudden movements that scare the fish
Poor diet. 
Overfeeding which creates poor water conditons
Aggressive tank mates
No hiding places for the fish to feel safe
Overcrowding of your tank
Wrong salinity or  changes in salinity 
Any amount of ammonia present
High nitrite and nitrate levels
Any major change in any water chemistry levels
Toxins, such as Chlorine and Chloramines, copper, iron, lead, zinc, (common in municipal water)  
Antibacterial household sprays, Cleaning ammonia, nicotine, oil, paint fumes, insecticides, pet pesticides like contamination from flea collars and flea powder, detergents, colognes, lotions, etc. and on and on….. 
Even trace amounts of these toxins can have accumulated effects on the fishes resistance to disease if not directly poisoning them!

You MUST rinse your hands of any foreign substances.  You can use salt, baking soda, or lemon juice to scrub your hands and arms. Rinse, rinse, rinse!


Reducing stresses:

Use a good conditioner like Stress coat or Novaqua.  These are aloe based conditioners which help neutralize chlorine and chloramines as well as detoxify some metals, and provide an extra slime coating for the fish. 

Remember, these conditioners will cause proteins skimmers to become overactive.  You must  disconnect your skimmer when using these products.



Common diseases:



PARASITES

Signs of a parasite infestation are:
White or whitish spots that look like salt or fine sugar crystals.  
Scratching. If a fish rubs against objects in the tank, he is probably trying to rub off parasites.
Copper is the treatment of choice, but care must be taken to avoid damage to the biological filter.
This is where a quarantine tank is very useful.   Freshwater dips can be used.  Also decrease the salinity to around 1.015 or so.  Also, insure that your tank temperature is constant.



LYMPHOCYSTIS 

LYMPHOCYSTIS is a virus that lives off of impurities in the water while attached to the fish.
It doesn’t live off the fish but may kill indirectly by interfering with, swimming ability, respiration or the fish’s inability to feed.. 
Eliminate impurities in the water through optimal filtration, UV sterilization,  water changes, or diatom filtration. 
Lymphocytes can only be killed in the aquarium purifying the aquarium water.



BACTERIAL INFECTIONS

Signs of a bacterial infection usually appear as whitish patches or coatings on the body, fins or eyes.  Cloudy eyes are often a tip off. 
Use antibiotics and medicated foods to treat bacterial infections along with frequent water changes.
There are many different types of bacteria and you may have to try several types of antibiotics to find one that works.  (Water changes between treatments) 
Internal bacteria infections are identified by a fish that struggles to stay “neutrally buoyant”.  The swim bladder is often affected by internal bacterial infections.  Carbon will remove medications from the water and must be removed during treatment.



FUNGUS

Fungus is white with a velvety appearance. It is most likely to be found on the mouth, eyes, or fins.
Treatment consists of water changes, medicated food, and antibiotics. 



POPEYE

Popeye is caused by an infection behind the eye.  Medicated food and good tank conditions may help.



SWIM BLADDER DISEASE

The swim bladder is the organ which allows a fish to stay in “neutral buoyancy” in the aquarium (not sinking or floating).  The swim bladder may be damaged by bacteria, parasites, or injury.  When the swim bladder fails the fish loses its ability to swim normally and may swim sideways or even upside down. Use water changes and medicated foods.



DROPSY

Dropsy refers to a bacterial disease that causes a fish to swell so that the scales stick outward. 
Normally when the disease has progressed this far there is little hope for the fish.

Note; if it is ever necessary to “euthanize” a fish, the most humane way to do so is to place it (in water) into a freezer.  It is thought that the body functions slowly wind down and the fish should not suffer.




(The above are some of the most common diseases that you might encounter)

 
It is imperative that you examine your fish on a daily basis for any signs of the above symptoms. 


The best time to do this is at feeding time.  As you become aware of each of your aquarium inhabitants individual habits you should be able to recognize the onset of many of these conditions.  

Naturally, it is necessary that you let your aquarium professional know of any such symptoms as soon as possible.  

 

More on "stress"

Stress is often mentioned with regards to tropical fish diseases. 

Very many pathogens live in the wild and are present in all aquarium water.  Fish naturally carry a variety of pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and parasites.  Aquariums also harbor these organisms, which are especially prevalent in the gravel.  Healthy fish with healthy immune system should be able to fight off these ever present disease organisms but fish that have been affected by stress conditions may fall victim.

Stressed fish are more susceptible to various diseases.  Generally stress is caused by transportation, physical damage during netting and transportation, adaptation to life in captivity, sudden temperature changes and radical activity outside their aquarium environment.

 


 
* A special note on the ethics of fishkeeping        


 
Some might question the ethics of keeping aquarium fish, considering that many tropical fish are lost in capture, 
transportation, holding and ultimately in the care of us, the hobbyists.  


Food for thought:

We must consider, and it is widely accepted, that the aquarium hobby has done an enormous amount to educate and create empathy towards our natural environment.  

Challenging as it may be, your aquarium can bring you hours of enjoyment, peace and tranquillity.  And while they are in your care, most of your aquarium specimens will be living happily has clams, so to speak.

Remember, Life in the sea is short and seldom easy.  Relatively few individual organisms survive to become adults and most of them that do seldom live more than a year or two.   An individual fish may be eaten by a predator, caught in a net and frozen for market, or carefully collected and maintained in an aquarium for a time.  

Losses can always be expected, but limiting mistakes by continuing your education will help reduce problems.

We have cared for many aquarium specimens that have lived a number of years, some well over a decade.  
A healthy aquarium system can easily support the average fish living multiple years.



Bottom-line: 

If you are enjoying the fun of keeping aquarium fish  (and you do so responsibly)  .......   then   .......            

                                                                                                                               .......   Embrace the challenges and enjoy!



Frequently  Asked Questions

How often should our aquarium be serviced?

Your monthly fee is based on an average weekly, biweekly, or monthly services.  These are average planned service calls.  Generally, your service technician will arrive within the parameters of specified regularity.  However, we are working hard to keep many customers aquariums in top condition and some systems require more or less attention at varying times.  Aquariums are by nature problematic.  (This is why you have contracted with a professional).  Emergencies sometimes occur and require that we alter our schedules.  We ask for your patience if (on occasion) your service times vary.  Please feel free to call on us at any time to inquire about our schedules.  

Note *   Your service contract may include unlimited service calls regardless of the nature of those calls.  

You can rest assured that when you have a problem, we will be there to correct it!

Why does algae grow in my aquarium?

Cleaning or rotation to clean decorations will be a regular aspect of your aquarium service.

Algae is a naturally occurring plant life which is present in varying forms and in all aquaria.  Algae is not harmful, however it can become unsightly.  A good growth of healthy algae provides an additional food source for your fish and assists in oxygenation.  

Your InnerScapes technician will control growths of certain algaes in your aquarium.   You can assist us by occasionally wiping some “early growth algae” from the Interior glass.  Overnight algae “blooms” can sometimes occur.   Algae is dependent upon food and light.  Excess food and  light can cause unusual algae blooms.  Changes in water chemistry, temperature, etc. also support algaes growth.  Sometimes, depending on these many variables, algae blooms require unscheduled visits.  We are always on call to handle any problems.

Can "R/O" water help reduce algae problems?

The answer is a resounding YES!   Algae and bacteria thrive on the total dissolved solids which are mostly removed in  reverse osmosis filtration.


How much do I feed my fish?             

Important!  Small frequent feedings are best.  Feed a small amount and when it is quickly consumed by your fish, leaving nothing to fall to the bottom of the aquarium then you may feed more.  A variety of food is very important for the health and well-being of your aquarium inhabitants.    

Overfeeding will pollute your system!             

  
Why do my fish sometimes fight amongst themselves?

Fish have different personalities.  Some are aggressive, others are passive. 

Fish do eat other fish.  If one specimen becomes weakened or is otherwise too timid, he will fall often prey to other fish.  Even compatible species sometimes will kill one another.  Sometimes death occurs as a result of stress from being chased by other fish or as a result of competition from other specimens.  We will do our best to recommend compatible species, but in this field no rule is absolute.


Why do healthy fish becomes sick?

Even established aquariums with healthy communities can  become diseased.  Parasites and bacteria are always present in aquarium water.  Stress due to temperature fluctuations and other factors such as minute contaminants,  can cause outbreaks of disease.  

Note:   Your aquarium technician has extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of aquarium illnesses. 
At the first sign of unusual appearance or behavior in your fish, call us immediately! 
You may be given instructions to continue to observe them or we may wish to immediately come have a look. 
(Most often,  you will not be charged for additional service calls).

We are at your service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!


If you have a question or suspect a problem, please give us a call.  We may be able to solve the situation over the phone.  

As always, we appreciate your business and encourage your questions. 

E-mail us with your questions 


Setting up an aquarium

Perhaps you are considering “going it alone” 
in setting up a smaller aquarium system or perhaps
you are hauling out that old aquarium for another try.

The following tips will prove helpful. 
Of course, your aquarium consultant stands ready 
to help you if you feel the need.


Advice and education


It is important as you setup, maintain and enjoy your aquarium 
that you have a source for information on this great hobby.  
Ask your aquarium professional to supply you with the 
information and product needed to keep your aquarium 
at its best.  Make sure that you ask questions and use this
person to educate yourself on fish keeping techniques. 
It will also benefit you to purchase a reference book 
about fish keeping. Ask your professional to suggest a book
that will help you get started right in the hobby.
  

Location


It is important to choose the proper place for your new aquarium carefully. The aquarium should be placed on an appropriate size aquarium stand or a sturdy surface that can easily support the weight of the full aquarium.  Do not place the aquarium in direct sunlight.  Direct and indirect sunlight will result in excess algae growth making your aquarium unsightly and will increase the aquariums maintenance.  
  

Cleaning your aquarium


It is important to clean your new aquarium prior to setup.  Simply wipe the inside and outside with a water-dampened paper towel. Make sure that no cleaners, detergents or chemicals of any type are ever used when you are cleaning your aquarium.  Be careful when handling a wet aquarium. 
  

Adding gravel and decorations


After your aquarium is in place and cleaned, it is time to add gravel and decorations.  Gravel is necessary to anchor live or artificial plants and decorations in your aquarium.   It also helps to create a natural environment for your tank inhabitants.  It is recommended that you purchase pre-packed or bulk gravel at your local pet store.  Add approximately 1.5 pounds of gravel per gallon of water or about 2 inches of gravel in depth to your aquarium.  Most gravel contains a little dust or particles that can cloud the water in your new aquarium.  We recommend that you rinse your gravel thoroughly prior to use.  This can be accomplished by using a colander or spare clean bucket.  After your gravel is in place it is time to add rock, driftwood, plants, and other decorations to your aquarium.  It is important to clean items with fresh water prior to use.
By adding decorations to your aquarium you will create a fish friendly environment.  Use rock and driftwood to create tunnels and hiding places for your fish.  You may also want to add artificial plants to the aquarium at this time. If you intend to use live plants it is recommended that you wait roughly one month after your aquarium is running and stocked.  This will allow your aquarium to cycle properly.
  

Adding water


After your aquarium is decorated it is time to add water.  Room temperature water should be used.  Place a large bowl near the bottom of the aquarium.  Begin to fill the aquarium by simply pouring the water into the bowl that has been placed in the aquarium.  The bowl will diffract the stream of water decreasing the turbulence and allowing the majority of gravel and decorations to stay in place. 
Once the aquarium is filled, the water should be treated to remove chlorine and/or chloramines.  Ask your professional what product they recommend for the water in your area.
  

Filters


There are many filter options available to you through your local aquarium professional.  These options include basic filters such as undergravel and sponge filters to power filters and sump filtration units.  Each of these filters was designed for certain applications and/or environmental considerations. Your dealer will be able to recommend the type of filter that will best meet your needs.  Make sure that you read and follow the directions provided by the manufacturer of whatever filter you decide to purchase.
  

Heaters


A heater is recommended for most tropical fish.   Fluctuating temperatures may cause health issues in your aquatic environment.  The majority of tropical fish live well in a temperature ranges between 74 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.   Ask your advisor for the specific temperature requirements for the fish you have selected.  They should also be able to recommend a brand and size heater for your aquarium. A good rule of thumb would be to purchase a heater that has about 5 watts per every gallon of aquarium water.  To help regulate the temperature you should purchase a thermometer.  It should be placed opposite the heater.  This will give you a good indication of water temperature in your aquarium and you can adjust accordingly. 
  

Lighting


A fluorescent full hood is recommended to provide the necessary light for your fish and plants.  It will also help reduce evaporation and will keep your fish from jumping out of the aquarium.   Fluorescent light provides a natural, full-spectrum environment.   Fluorescent lighting is also more energy efficient than incandescent hoods and the bulbs will last longer.  An automatic timer is recommended to turn the lights on and off.  Too much light may cause unwanted algae growth.
  

Adding fish


Once your aquarium is ready to handle the first arr