Bare bottom fish tank

I’ve been reading lots of good things about bare bottom fish tanks. The main benefit is that it’s very easy to vacuum the base of the tank. If I vacuum my gravel properly it takes me an hour to get rid of all the detritus. Also as my goldfish has grown it has been able to swallow some of the gravel which has then got stuck in its mouth.
I have been removing the gravel two handfuls at a time every water change. The two plants I had in the tank were pothos and spider plant which I replanted into terra-cotta pots with the original gravel holding them down.

Right now I’m about half way and have already noticed that the bare bottom half is far cleaner.


Nylon pot scrubbies vs Scour pads for Aquarium filtration

I’ve been doing lots of idle reading about various media that you can use in your aquarium filter to help with the Nitrification process. Below I’ve collected some articles which I found quiet interesting to read:

1) BioMatrix Looped Cord Media, marketed at the time by BioMatrix vs
scrubbing pad material manufactured by the 3M Company of St. Paul, MN. This article compared these two materials and found they performed about the same but the scour pads had a marginally better performance. One of their conclusions “The better performance of the 3M fabric over that of the BioMatrix system was most likely due to greater surface area.”

2)  This article tested nylon pot scrubbies as a filter medium. They found it works and also found that slow / trickle filtration is best for removing the most amount of ammonia.

Pot Scrubbies: Surface area/cu.ft.:370
Scour Pad: Surface area/cu.ft.:150-200

3) This article gives a list of media and their surface areas. 

4) A comparison of Seachem Matrix vs Eheim Substrat Pro and JBL MicroMec can be found here.

Fish Mox to control Fin rot

Once again I’m battling a disease in our aquarium. This time its fin rot on one of our goldies and it seems to be getting progressively worse.The others are fine (rosy barb, another goldy, white cloud minnow). Every 4-6 weeks we have something that appears in our tank. This can’t be normal and is probably something I’m not doing right.

Kokos goldfish forum says that fin rot is due to a bacterial infection which is caused by bad quality of water or overly stocked aquarium.

I’ve only just discovered that my tap water contains lots of choloramines (i assumed it was cholorine) and when treated with API tap water conditioner this converts to large amount of ammonia. I prepared a fresh batch of water as I normally do and tested this for ammonia. I found it contained 0.5ppm of ammonia and is similar to what other people in my area are reporting too. Maybe this is the cause of the bad water quality issue we are having?

For the next water change I’m going to buy some API Ammo-lock and use this in conjunction with my API tap water conditioner. When this combo runs out I’m changing over to Prime as recommended by my LFS.

To treat the fin rot, I’ve already added 0.3% of salt to the tank (equivalent to 3 tsp per gallon) and after a week there was no change. Next I tried Aqua Master Tri Sulfa Tablets and Melafix with little improvement.

The preferred treatment on the Kokos list is Penicillin. Penicillin is synthetically produced where as Amoxicillin is a semi-synthetic penicillin drug. Amoxicillin might be considered an improved form of penicillin. So I’m going to try one tablet of Fish Mox Forte as we have a 20 gallon tank.

However I am going to use some “left over” human amoxycillin (amoxycillin sandoz). The human tabs are 1000mg so I’m going to dissolve half a tab in some aquarium water and see what happens.

Amoxycillin Sandoz tablets contain 1000 mg amoxycillin (as amoxycillin trihydrate) as the active ingredient. The tablets also contain the following inactive ingredients:
• magnesium stearate
• cellulose – microcrystalline
• povidone
• sodium starch glycollate
• titanium dioxide
• talc – purified
• hypromellose.

Update #1 : 19/9/12 10.30pm
I took 1/3 of a tablet (ie ~350mg amoxycillin) and dissolved it in some tank water. Like the Trisulfa tablets there was some residue left (cellulose material) over which I let fall into the tank as well.

I got nervous and couldn’t put the half tab so the concentration is half way between fish mox and fish mox forte.

Update #2: 20/9/12 7am
All the fish are still okay. The healthy ones are still swimming with all the same vigor and energy as before. The affected goldy seems no worse off and doesn’t look better either.

So according to the fish mox directions tonight I’m going to make a 35% water change (replacing the 0.3% salt) and add another 1/3 tab of sandoz.

Make your floating goldfish pellets sink!

I read this tip on a couple of forums but I didn’t believe until I tried it! Don’t buy expensive sinking pellets till you have read and tied this technique.

The gold fish pellets I bought with our tank is the Marine Master Goldfish Granules. The ingredients are fish meal, shrimp meal, wheat germ, wheat flour, soybean meal, yeast, vitamins, organic minerals, natural colouring. All the goodness your growing pets need.

Marine Master Fish Food Goldfish Granules

These pellets float no matter how long you soak them. I have tried soaking them over 24 hours and almost 99% percent of the pellets stayed at the top. The issue with floating pellets is that my goldfish swallow a lot of air when eating these pellets and regularly have swim bladder problems.  It makes them swim lopsided and looks very uncomfortable. Fasting them for 2-3 days generally clears up this problem but I didn’t want them to regularly do this.

Another issue that that some of my fancy goldfish like the Black Moors or Telescope-Eye Goldfish would find it very hard to see the floating pellets and would go hungry. These fish prefer food that sits at the bottom of the tank as they can hunt for it easily. Sinking pellets are normally 2-3 times more expensive than the floating variety and are not guaranteed to sink! Quite a few online aquarium stores have even put in notes retracting the manufacturers statement [See here].

If you take one of the floating pellets in your fingers and crush it, you will notice that center is composed of a pocket of air which does not leak out even after soaking. However if you add this crushed pellet to your tank it immediately sinks.This indicates that problem is with the manufacturing process rather than the food itself.

Most tips recommend that you soak the pellets and then squeeze them gently to push out the air pocket. Adding these pellets to your tank will make them sink immediately.

However I prefer the quick and easy method to dislodge the air pocket shown in the Youtube video below.


Basically you take a syringe and add your floating pellets. Then you suck in some tank water, then cover the tip of the syringe with your thumb and pull to create a vacuum. This forces air pocket to be sucked out of the food and replaced by water. And Yes, the effect is instant!

More goldfish info


Tank Cycling




Our goldfish and their medications

We bought an aquarium three months ago, the tank is a Aquaone Auqamode 600 (~65L). The glass of this aquarium has been bent into a 180 degree semi circle to offer the best possible view of the fish from all angles.

We had started with three fish (2 Shubunkins and one red cap comet fancy tail). The images below are similar to the ones we have.


Thing progressed really well for two months and I decided that it was time to add a new fish to the tank. I really wanted to add a telescopic eye black moor and the rest of the family agreed.

For about three weeks after the new fish we had no problems but then one of the shubunkins started to flash and clamped down her fins. The other three fish started attacking it and she looked quite miserable. We talked to our local fish store (LFS) and they suggest to wait and see what happens. We couldn’t watch this without taking any action so we got some API Perma Fix and Aquarium salt.

We dosed the tank according to the instructions and after two days nothing changed. The shubunkin was getting worse so we moved her to a separate smaller tank and attached a Aquaone SR2500 airpump.

Although she wasn’t getting worse I think she wasn’t improving either. One morning I changed the water and when I came back to the kitchen 10 minutes later she had jumped out and landed on the floor. Discovering her on the floor was a horrible experience. I didn’t even expect that a goldfish could jump at all!

By the evening the second shubunkin in the main tank started to display the same symptoms. I rung up our LFS and they recommended we try Aquatopia Australia Para Blast Tablets as they suspected it was a gill fluke infestation.

Active Constituents: 20mg/Tb Trichlorfon

Manufacturer: Aqua Topia Australia

Treats: External Parasites

Dosage Rate: Use at the rate of 1 tablet per 40L of aquarium water.

We dosed the tank with Para Blast and salt and the results were almost immediate. Over the next 24 hours the fish started swimming better and became more active. They released many long strings of mucus but showed no ill effects. However our shubunkin was still being picked on so I made a DIY isolation chamber from a old fruit yoghurt container which I used in the main tank. The effect was similar to the photo below but not as “elegant”.

Today we did a 30% water change and vacuumed all the gravel. We gave all our ornaments a good wash to get rid of the mucus. We have dosed the tank with Para Blast, Permafix and salt. We hope everything should start to settle down once again.

My suspicion is that we introduced the flukes when we bought the back moor from our LFS. Reading articles on the internet this seems to be a very common issue. What we need to do in the future is work out how we can quarantine new fish before adding them to our main tank or just add them and a dose of Para Blast. The latter is easier to do but not really nice.