Tag Archives: fish

Moving: With Pets (Part 2)


Moving is stressful when it’s just you and your junk (speaking from experience) – but how does moving take its toll on your pets? You can bet they’ll be stressed and anxious too, even if they’re not packing or trying to organise a removal company!

Here are some tips to help your pets cope with moving… part 2: moving with fish.

The fish:

  1. Never move the fish in the tank – always bag the fish.
    Tanks are not built to be moved loaded with water, and the pressure can easily crack a tank – which would result in loss of fish as well as water (and potentially glass) everywhere!
  2. Fill the bag 1/3 with water, and leave 2/3 air.
    This ensures plenty of oxygen for your fish in transit.
  3. Ensure to either use a rounded fish bag; or if it’s a bag that hasn’t been rounded at the bottom, turn the bag inside-out and don’t poke the corners out.
    This will stop your fish (especially small ones) getting stuck in the corners and becoming stressed (and potentially dying).
  4. Ensure to not over-crowd the bags. The size of the bag and the size of the fish will determine how many fish you put in each bag.
    Take into consideration the bag being filled 1/3 with water, and the length of the journey, when determining how many fish to put into each bag.
  5. Transport your bags of fish in a solid container, and ensure the bag is tightly closed (tied and/or with elastic bands).
    A polystyrene box/container, or a cardboard box (lined with a towel (was how I did it)) is good to keep the bags upright and insulated. Do not pack the bags in too tightly – use multiple containers if need be, and fill any space with a towel or something similar. The bags should sit comfortably in the container, but not be too loose that they may not stay upright. Placing a cover around/ over the bags to make it darker for your fish will help them not to stress too much.
  6. Starve your fish for 24 hours before the move (this won’t do them any harm).
    This will reduce the amount of waste on moving day – resulting in less toxins in the reduced space of the moving bag.
  7. Stress zyme, or a de-chlorinator containing stress zyme, can be added to the bags once the fish are in  – before tying the bag.
    Stress zyme helps to re-coat the mucus layer covering your fish, which is depleated with stress – thus helping to keep the stress on your fish to a minimum.
  8. Ensure to transport your fish as quick as possible – i.e. bag the fish up just before setting off, and set up the tank and put them in it upon arrival.
    Be sure to set up the tank as a new tank; as you usually would, with de-chlorinated water. Let the bags with the fish sit on top of the water for 15-20 minutes, and then put the fish and the bag water into the tank. Once the fish have been in the tank for 30-60 minutes, feed them.
Comet Goldfish

The tank:

  1. Ensure to turn off all electricals before putting your hands in the water (to remove fish or decor or attachments).
    Fish are not earthed so you cannot tell if the water is electrified, as it will not affect the fish. The last thing you need on moving day is to be electrocuted by tank water.
  2. Empty the tank of water.
    Transporting a tank full of water may cause the tank to crack/break, rendering it useless. If you want to keep the tank water rather than setting up fresh water upon arrival, put the tank water into buckets/containers and transport this way as opposed to leaving the tank filled.
  3. Remove the decor and attachments.
    Remove and bag up any ornaments – anything fragile you may wish to bubble-wrap. If you have kept boxes that filters/heaters/etc. came in, it may be worth putting the attachments back into their original packaging – and bubble-wrapping anything you feel needs it. I have always left the substrate in the tank before moving, however the journey was no more than 1 hours each time. You may wish to box/ bag up the substrate also.
    Some people like to remove the filter sponge and transport this in a bag of tank water to ensure the nitrogen cycle isn’t disrupted too much – for the short journey’s I have taken I have not done this, but transported the filter in-tact and boxed up.
  4. Ensure to turn off heaters 15-20 minutes before packing them away.
    This will ensure the heater has cooled down sufficiently to be handled/ packed.
  5. Ensure any food and treatments you have for your fish are packed away properly to avoid leakage. Ensure you have food and de-chlorinator in date.
    Moving is also a good time to check dates on things. Be sure to bin any out of date foodstuffs and treatments rather than taking up space packing these. Ensure anything that you bin, that is a necessity, is replaced A.S.A.P.
    Check food and the de-chlorinator before you move as you will need these on the day.
Comet Goldfish – my dissertation Goldfish that moved 4 times!

Alternatively, if you have aren’t moving too far you can always leave the fish with a (competent) friend for a few days around moving day; or look online for a local establishment that can do this for you.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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Fishy Friends


It can be hard to know which fish will get along being in a communal tank. Which fish species get along, and which ones don’t. Quite often (unfortunately) the pet store or aquarium staff also do not know.

I was in a garden centre aquarium about a month ago to restock my tropical tank, and I was shocked to see some of the species that they had kept together. I was even more shocked, and saddened, to see the aggression within tanks due to the wrong species being kept together – dead fish, fin-less/ half-eaten fish, bullying within the tank… all sorts!

It is not fair on the animals in the tanks – they have nowhere to go, so it is the job of those caring for them to ensure they have optimum environments and tank mates. This starts by knowing your fish species and how to house them, and who with.

Tetra, platy, guppy, danio, corydora, swordtail, catfish, loach, molly, and goldfish species are all good communal fish (within their water types) – in my experience.

Chichlids can be kept with other chichlids – but do your research. You may keep the same species chichlids together of different sizes, or different species of similar sizes, or get a communal type (same species, varying sizes).

Barb species are communal within species. For instance you could keep several rosy barbs together, but not a tiger barb an a rosy barb together. Barbs ought to be kept alone within their types, they are not good communal fish – not good with other fish species.

Comet Goldfish
Comet Goldfish

Fighter fish on the other hand should be kept alone, except for breeding (but separated after mating has taken place). This species is very  territorial and aggressive towards other fish – definitely a solitary species.

The size, and the amount of the same species in a tank can cause issues. For instance, you can keep two tangs of the same species but they must be different sizes to avoid conflict/ aggression; or two tangs of the same size but they must be different types.

Ensure you research into fish species before acquiring them – some species may appear to be okay together or just make your tank look aesthetically pleasing together, but may not actually get on. An overstocked tank will likely cause aggression. Fish with lovely, long, flowing fins may survive happily with reduced numbers within their tank; but end up with chewed (off) fins by other fish when there is overcrowding.

Choose your communal tank species carefully. Do thorough research into every fish species, and how well your intended species will get along in a tank – taking into consideration tank size, and amount and size of fish wanted.

Something Fishy! (2)


This is a follow-up post to “Something Fishy! (1)” – inspired by my Comet Goldfish (see image, below)

Comet Goldfish
Comet Goldfish

In this part I give a bit more information on fish, tanks, husbandry, and more! Following on from fish diseases and foodstuffs, I have decided to talk about the tank and what goes into it, in this; part 2…

Hygiene and Husbandry

Water changes should be done 10% weekly or 50% monthly. More than a 50% water change should not be done at any one time, unless a new tank is being set up – this can cause an imbalance in the chemicals in the tank, which is quite likely to lead to problems!

A siphon is used for suctioning out dirt and debris from the gravel and décor. It also sucks out water so a bucket is needed to put the dirty water in. This dirty water is the water the filter sponges and the décor, should be cleaned in.

Tap water, at the correct temperature, with “Tap Safe” – the chemical that is added to the water to make it safe for fish – should be used to refill the tank. Chlorine and chloramines are strong chemicals which are added to drinking water, this kills bacteria and makes tap water safe for humans to drink. Untreated (without “Tap Safe”) tap water contains these chemicals, which can strip the protective mucus coating (what makes fish ‘slimy’) off the fish making them susceptible to disease and infections, and can lead to the death of your fish. Putting “Tap Safe” or “Safe Guard” makes the water safe and comfortable for your fish to live in, and must be done EVERY time you do a water change.

Safety First!

ELECTRICS SHOULD BE TURNED OFF BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR HAND INTO THE TANK!! – Due to the filter (and heater) and light, there is electricity dangerously close to the water. If the water becomes electric due to a fault, the fish will be unaffected as they are unearthed – meaning you will not see it. You will know about it though, if you put your hand into the tank as you will get electrocuted.  So be safe rather than sorry – especially if there is nobody else around to help you if you do get hurt!

Housing and Environment

Tanks and Location

Fish should be housed in a decent sized fish tank – bowls are insufficient in space and are a poor home for your pet. Ensure your tank is big enough for how big your fish will grow, and the amount of stock in the tank. Never overstock your tank; this could lead to aggression, fighting and even death. Remember when you buy your tank that the space will be lessened with the décor added, so remember to account for this.

Put your tank in a quiet place as too many vibrations; from noise from TV or people walking past often, will cause stress to the fish. Fish have something called the lateral line, which detects vibrations; over-stimulation of this causes excess stress to fish, thinning the mucus coating, which can lead to ill health in your fish.  Ensure that you put the tank away from windows, as excessive sunlight promotes algae growth; algae upsets the chemical balance in the water as well as mucking up your tank.

Depending on what species you want to keep will determine the water in the tank – cold, tropical or marine. No matter what temperature, or water type you have you will always need “Tap Safe” in the water to make it safe for your fish to live in. The chlorine in tap water is unsafe for your pet fish and will cause very poor health, and even death; however, there are treatments to add to the water to make it safe. Depending on brand of the product, the name will be different – “Tap Safe” and “Fresh Start”  and “Safe Guard” (not “Safe Water”) are 3 of these treatments; differently named as they are manufactured by different companies, however do the same job. Always ask advice from the pet shop staff if you are unsure about which one to buy – if shop staff are unsure, go to a different shop!

Décor

Décor needs to be added to the tank for enrichment – natural is always best, however some people do prefer funny décor such as; sunken pirate ships, fake plants, characters (see image, below), and “No Fishing” signs. Fish however, prefer natural rocks, pieces of wood, and live plants.

Turtle characters, tank décor
Turtle characters, tank décor

Live plants also add oxygen into the tank making it a better environment for the fish. Although, it can become and expensive upkeep to have live plants if, like my fish, they just eat the plants resulting in the necessity to buy more… and more… and more! So I keep false plants in my tank – one larger and one smaller (see image, below) – to provide a hiding place, as well as a bit of colour in the tank.

Fake plant, décor
Fake plant, décor

For extra oxygen you could put an aerator in the tank (or as the Yellow Tang in Finding Nemo calls them, “MY BUBBLES!”) – which can be in standard form, or in the form of décor such as; an opening/ closing treasure chest, a scuba diver, or other items. Another option (as mentioned in part 1) is to position your internal filter high enough to keep the surface of the water moving (see image, below).

Filter keeping water flow, adding oxygen
Filter keeping water flow, adding oxygen

Fish like somewhere to hide, in case they feel threatened and need to get away. Large, leafy plants and tunnels are common hide-away’s; as are castles, houses, and sunken pirate ships! Natural looking, artificial hide-away’s are longer lasting than real bits of wood, etc. – and are easier to clean! An example of a hide-away is my tank’s natural looking, hollow of wood (see image, below).

Natural looking, wood hide-away
Natural looking, wood hide-away

A substrate needs to be provided – gravel is the most common, but sand or bark can also be used. Ensure that the gravel is bigger than your fish’s mouth, as during foraging fish often pick up bits of gravel, and are likely to choke if the gravel is small enough for silly fish swallow!

Backing paper is optional, it is for the owners benefit only – it hides wires at the back of the tank, and makes the tank look nice. Backing paper is fitted onto the outside of the tank on the back ‘wall’; image facing the inside of the tank. When a person looks into the tank from the front, the backing paper image can be seen.

Filters

A filter is necessary in all tanks; to filter the dirt, bad chemicals and faces from the water – leaving clean water. This could be an internal, external, or under-gravel filter. Filters need to be cleaned out regularly and thoroughly, in ‘dirty’ tank water – not tap water.

Internal Filter

These go on the inside of your tank are best for single tanks of standard sizes (best for your everyday fish tank). Internal filters come in a range of sizes to fit with most standard tanks and even some smaller ones, and are very easy to clean.

External Filter

These are larger than internal filters, and sit on the outside of the tank, with a bit attached to the inside – these are great for large tanks where the filter size needed is just too big to put in the tank.

Under-Gravel Filter

These are often found in small, starter tanks and are unseen, because (as the name states) it hidden under the gravel. The gravel being on top of the filter can cause issues with the filtration, and under-gravel filter performance is not great (not recommended – even for starter tanks).

Filters need to be cleaned out weekly or fortnightly (at least). The filter has a sponge (or sponges) inside which need to be cleaned in the tank water itself – not tap water – because the chlorine will get into the filter and get into the water rendering your “Tape Safe” or “Safe Guard” useless.

Heaters

In tropical and marine water type tanks; a heater needs to be placed, as well as a thermometer on the outside of the tank to ensure the optimum temperature is regularly maintained. Ensure the temperature is not too hot or cold for your species – research into the species you will house before you get them. Ensure, in multi-species tanks, that the temperature is suitable for all species of fish that are in your tank.

Lights

Lights are also a fixture beneficial to the tank. The light can be turned on to see the fish in the evening, and can be on during the day – but lights should be turned off at night so the fish can sleep. Fish lack eyelids so need complete darkness to enable the to get a good night sleep! Different light types can be purchased – daytime and night-time lights; night lights usually being a blue colour and not as bright as day lights. Day lights can be standard tank bulbs, or UV bulbs which imitate sunlight by providing vitamin D. Preference is down to you when picking a bulb, however if you choose to go with a UV bulb – ensure you remember to turn them off for a minimum of 10 hours each night as too much vitamin D can also cause health problems.

Final thought…

One of my Comet Goldfish was not too pleased with me for photographing him, his tank-mates, and his tank! I thought I would share with you the photographic evidence of this, in the form of a meme… enjoy!

Unimpressed Goldfish
Unimpressed Goldfish

Something Fishy! (1)


After doing my dissertation on goldfish nutrition, bringing the fish back home with me, and them surviving the long journey from university, I am quite impressed at how well my goldfish are still doing after 2 years! I also maintain my dad’s tropical fish tank with somewhat smaller and different species to my Comet goldfish (pictured below). This tank has been going since I was a kid, just replacing stock as required.

One of my Comet Goldfish

There are some key factors in well maintaining a fish tank, which I have decided to cover in 2 parts so that I avoid writing an essay! So here it goes…

Feeding

Food varies with species. There a many forms on the market. Flakes are the most common/ popular, as are pellets. Live and frozen food are also popular choices for meals and/or treats – again, this depends on the fish species and dietary requirements.

Flakes and Pellets

The brighter coloured the flakes are, the worse they are for the fish as they are filled with additives and colourings! Pellets are harder to tell by colour, however, the best kind you can get is from a reputable brand, not a supermarket’s own brand (this goes for flakes too).

Pellets Flakes
Pellets                                        Flakes

Ensure that you feed the correct flakes for your tank species – fish from different climates, habitats and water-types have different dietary requirements – according to what they would eat in the wild. Tropical flakes for tropical species, cold-water flakes for cold-water species, and marine flakes for marine species. Pellet-wise they can be more species specific than just water-type, for example; Catfish pellets specifically designed for catfish, sinking pellets for general bottom feeder species, and another example being cichlid pellets designed specifically for the diet of cichlid’s.

Live

Mealworms: live mealworms need their heads crushing to prevent them eating their way out of the fish’s stomach). These may also need cutting up if they are too large for your fish – do not feed anything too big for your fish to swallow, as fish can choke too! It’s difficult to do the Heimlich-manoeuvre on your fish!

Brine Shrimp: these can be purchased in many aquariums and pet stores in a bag of water. They will live approximately 5-7 days (slightly longer if they are refrigerated), but ought to be fed to your fish A.S.A.P to prevent them from dying before your fish get their dinner! Do not feed dead brine shrimp to your fish as it could cause stomach upset.
*Interesting fact – this is what your first “pet” was if your first “pet” were Sea Monkey’s!*

Blood Worm: these can also be purchased in aquariums and pet stores, and come in a bag of water. Again they live approximately 1 weeks, a day or 2 longer if they are refrigerated.  However, with blood worm you may wish to drain the water out as it can turn your tank water red! This can be done by pouring most of the water out; carefully keeping the blood worm in a small amount of water at the bottom, and then pouring that into you tank.

 Frozen Food

Beef heart, blood worm, and brine shrimp are the most common forms of frozen food sold. These can all be defrosted for feeding to your pet fish, for marine or tropical tanks. Cold-water tanks can have the frozen blocks defrosted, or dropped straight into the tank – as it shouldn’t affect the water temperature too much, and is a great and tasty way for your cold-water fish to cool down on a particularly warm day.

These types of food can be the main diet, in the place of pellets or flakes. They can be fed as a treat or supplement weekly or every-so-often, again to replace a flake/ pellet meal or as half-half with flakes/ pellets.

If you have larger carnivorous species of fish (such as an Oscar Fish) frozen mice are often fed, defrosted, via long forceps to avoid bitten fingers! Depending on the quantity and size of the fish, determines the quantity and size of the frozen mice fed.

Other Treats

Depending on if your fish is a cold water, tropical or marine fish; and whether they are herbivores, carnivores or omnivores, will depend on what it needs feeding.

Vegetables (not for carnivorous species!):

  • Zucchini (sliced to appropriate size)
  • Lettuce and Swiss chard (shredded to appropriate size)
  • Cucumber (sliced to appropriate size)
  • Peas (boiled or fresh, or frozen for Cold-Water)
  • Broccoli (boiled or fresh, chopped to appropriate size)
  • Split green beans(boiled and cooled)

Fish treats can be purchased that stick to the side of the tank, and can be nibbled at throughout the day.  These need to be suitable for your tank – tropical, cold-water or marine – just like flakes need to be specific to your tank type. These can be a good way of health checking your fish as the treats can be stuck to the front of the tank, and you can see a lot more of your fish when they come up for a nibble!

When checking your fish out for signs of ill-health, bear in mind some common fish diseases to look out for…

Common Fish Diseases and Treatments

White Spot > Characteristic white spots covering body; white spot treatment

Ich > Small white or grey spots on body; ich treatment

Rot – Fin, Mouth, Tail, Gill > Fungus rotting various parts of the body – fluffy grey or white patches; fungal treatment

Parasites – Gill fluke, Nematoda, Anchor worm, Internal Parasites > There are, as with most species, too many to name individually – both internal and external parasites; various parasitic treatments

Velvet > White/ yellow ‘peppered’ spots all over body; ich treatment

Dropsy > Bloated, protruding scales; anti-bacterial treatment

Head and Lateral Line Disease (a.k.a Hole-in-the-head) > visible holes in the head and along lateral line – at first pin prick size, and then get larger. Swollen lateral line; various “Hole-in-Head” treatments

Tuberculosis (Fish TB) > hollow belly, weight loss, possibly sores;  no known cure – very contagious to other fish, zoonotic (can be transferred to humans) if a human puts bare, wounded/ broken skin into infected tank

Oxygen Deficiency > Water problem – more oxygen needed in water. Gasping for air at the top of tank can be seen, water tests can be done; possible solutions – 50% water change, add aeration, add real plants (naturally put O2 into tank), put filter closer to the water surface to keep the water flowing/moving (adds O2) – see image below.

Filter keeping water flow, adding oxygen
Filter keeping water flow, adding oxygen

The majority of these treatments can be purchased in a pet shop, if not the treatments can be found online.