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SiameseFightingFist

Help & advice needed.

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I've learnt a hell of a lot about fish-keeping in the past month from reading a couple of books, and from the generous members here in this forum, and from starting my own 90L tank.

So I was naturally inquisitive when I found out a colleague had fish. He's a nice guy. But to make a long story short, over the past couple of weeks I found out that he had a goldfish or two in what looked in the photos to be:

- An unheated 20L-ish bowl but it had quite a bit of gravel and a couple of minor ornaments in it (about 1/4 of the bowl) so less space for the fish.

- He also has an airstone which is on an automated timer which only turns on for only half a day each day.

- The bowl doesn't have a big neck which means it has a smaller water-to-air surface area.

- He said ever since he got a snail he doesn't have an algae problem anymore so he rarely cleans the bowl because it looks clean.

- He planted a few strands of what looked like thin grass-like water plants in there (could be young-looking thin vals?), which is apparently good for the fish and water, so now he might only do a water change once every six months.

- There is no filtration system of any sort in place.

He also had other fish in there which he described as 'filler' fish which was what his LFS told him they were. His goldfish died a while ago and a couple of weeks ago, one of the filler fish died. So at the moment he's only got three filler fish left in there. When I saw the photos, I saw what looked like one Black Widow tetra and two Zebra Danios.

He's going away for an overseas trip soon and was concerned about asking one of his friends to come in every couple of days to feed the fish. So I thought about it and on my way home from work yesterday I sent him an SMS offering to buy the fish from him outright. He seemed fine with the idea because I think the silent look of horror I had on my face yesterday gave him some indication that I was possibly shocked at what I was hearing about his fish.

So I'm going to his place to pick up the fish tomorrow. I think I will set up my emergency 50L tank to house these three surviving fish under quarantine for a week before adding them into my 90L tank, is that the right thing to do? Is a week enough? I'll go out and buy another tank heater for the 50L today. What else do I need to do in the meantime? What do I look out for while these fish are being quarantined? I won't know what condition these fish are in until tomorrow. I am assuming that the water the fish are in are toxic-ish and the fish will need to clear it out of their system first.

I'm only a week into cycling my 90L tank, it looks like I'm going to have to cycle this 50L one too, or at least daily water changes while they're quarantined in there before they're ok to move into my 90L.

Edited by SiameseFightingFist

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3 fish in 50ltrs will be fine with weekly 25% water change. This IS cycling your tank. You only have issues if you put 20 fish in at once.

Just my opinion.

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If you want to keep danios as well, then yeah just toss them in the 50lt tank and they'll be fine with once or twice a week water changes. As Busman Paul said you only really have to worry if you're throwing in 10 big fish or 20 smaller ones at once. If you don't want the Danios (they can be fin nippers) you can see if your LFS will take them.

I would be quarantining them for two weeks. When you first add them I'd be doing a very slow acclimatization, probably drip acclimatization to avoid pH shock. I bet you would find that the water in their bowl is actually fully cycled with very acidic pH which would of been dropping due to high nitrates, and low pH means ammonia is less toxic which is how fish manage to survive these conditions (as long as they survive the initial cycle, anyway).

During quarantine watch the fish for scratching or rubbing on anything, any fluffy white tufts appearing around the mouth and things like that. I don't think they will end up sick but they will likely need some time to adjust to actual tank maintenance and proper water conditions.

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Thanks Paul and Yan.

I looked up drip acclimatisation but I didn't have time to do it for the fish. He earlier said he had a plastic container to transport the fish but it turned out to be his plastic salad bowl which, although was straight out of his kitchen cabinet, it still had some kind of dried pasta sauce on it, notwithstanding any residue of washing detergent that might remain.

The bowl was actually smaller than it looked in the photo, it was about a 10-15L, about 1/3 of it was filled with gravel with ornaments on top. The bowl lived right next to the stove and when I say right next to the stove, I mean actually on the stove bench right next to the heating elements. The water was green. There were tons of tiny little snails in the bowl which he didn't realise were there. I found 2-3 large but empty snail shells under the bridge ornament, he said he bought two snails a while ago and didn't realise they had died.

The water was last changed 'sometime earlier this year' and was straight out of the tap and was never treated for chlorine/chloramine (he didn't know he had to).

Anyway, I could go on.

I've now got the two zebra danios and the single black widow tetra in my 50L tank to which I've added conditioning salts and had been warming up since last night to about 23c. The danios looked really happy, stretching their fins, exploring the tank, zipping about. Their colour seems to have come back after a couple of hours.

The black widow we're worried about. It looks weak and lethargic, in the salad bowl it was sort of on its side a bit. In my 50L tank it went right to the back wall and tried to hide, and in fact it found the plastic plant I placed in the tank, leaned itself sort of on an angle between some plastic leaves and didn't move. We felt so bad for it that we did something we probably weren't supposed to do, we went right to the LFS and bought two little black widow tetras and put them in the tank with it. It took about 15 mins before it realised they were there and finally moved and 'shoaled' with them. Finally, a sign of life, it's probably been a very long time since it had seen another one of its kind. It hung out with them for a few hours.

Now, it seems to be resting, it's just staying in one spot sort of on a slight angle next to the plastic plant now while the other tetras are swimming about. Occasionally one of the other tetras will come and nudge it a bit and it'll come back to life for a brief moment. Still not sure if it's going to survive or not.

Edited by SiameseFightingFist

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During quarantine watch the fish for scratching or rubbing on anything, any fluffy white tufts appearing around the mouth and things like that. I don't think they will end up sick but they will likely need some time to adjust to actual tank maintenance and proper water conditions.

I've been keeping an eye out. Is there anything more I can do for these guys other than water changes and conditioning salts?

By the way I discovered that one of the danios is actually a leopard danio which as I understand it is a variation of the zebra. I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with the danios yet. My chief concern was to get them out of that environment first. I wasn't intending to run two tanks though and I'd be concerned if I transfer them to my main tank that they'd bully the Betta.

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Just an update - the zebra & leopard danios seem to be doing really well, zipping about the tank, they don't seem to stop moving.

The black widow is still alive, at times it looks happy swimming around with the other two black widows I put in there with it, other times it hangs out by itself without moving much. I fed them some flakes yesterday but I'm not sure if this black widow ate any, the other fish are too fast for it, it's still a bit sluggish.

That colleague of mine is going to get another two goldfish for his little 10-15L tank. I am silently depressed at the thought.

He says he is attached to that bowl because it was given to him by someone who has now passed away. So he feels he has to keep it and use it by having fish in it.

I offered to get him a tiny pico/nano tank or something where he can maybe keep a couple of tiny tetras or guppies or shrimp but he insists it'll be 2 goldfish in about 10L of space with no water changing.

Come to think of it, my bucket at home is a 10L bucket. That bowl is smaller than that, it's 5L - 8L maybe.

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Like I said, all's you can do is give him information, but if he's too stoopid to be mindful of the animal's welfare, well - he's only going to plow through the fish and keep the LFS in business.

Ignorance isn't something you can be responsible for.

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I think with these 'fish uneducated' types, goldfish is pretty much the only fish in existence and any other kind of fish is a hassle. it was certainly like that for me (I admit, I killed a few goldfish >_>) and now, i don't want to touch goldfish with a 3 foot pole. My friends got me a cute watering can with goldfish in it this year >_> i do tell them quite often i hate goldfish, but every-time I tell them 'i like fish' somehow it automatically translates to 'i love goldfish'... I honestly don't have the will/resources to keep goldfish at all and despite my frequent water changes, both died before i could rehome them. Someone apparently told my friends that with a couple of reeds in the can the goldfish would be fine... I couldn't really say otherwise since it was a gift... but still >_>

/end rant

maybe offer him some free guppies to try out? and while you're at it, slip him some plants? XD

in the end though, Ness is probably right, can't fight stupid.

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He has these thin wisps of something that looks like grass already in the bowl. The way he talks about them, the grass sounds like some kind of magic addition to the bowl that helps to clean the water for the fish so he doesn't have to do as many water changes (even if the water was green from algae).

Guppies need a heater don't they? I don't think he wants guppies anyway, he was insisting on two goldfish for his bowl, I couldn't budge him on that.

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You might not be able to budge him on the goldfish, but you could try, maybe by showing him pictures of other fish he can keep in there.

On the water front, maybe try to talk him into an undergravel filter? You can get round ones for bowls, and he already has an airline and gravel...

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nah there's no way he would get an undergravel filter. He used to only have the air pump on for half a day to save in electricity costs.....

He may be slowly coming around though. Now that his fishbowl is empty, he told me he's starting to realise how small it actually is.

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