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Goldfish Safety Tips


jsrtist

Lately a lot of posts have been coming on here with tragic stories of fish being sucked up and injured or killed either in siphon tubes or filter intakes. The other moderators and I just want to post a warning for everyone to see.

1) SIPHONING/GRAVEL VACUUMING:

Siphoning is extremely dangerous because of very strong suction being pulled through a small opening in a tube. If youve ever gently placed your finger on or near the tube while it is siphoning you know very well the extreme pressure it has which can pull your finger in and not let go. The longer something is on the end the more intense the suction becomes. As strong as it is on your finger, imagine how dangerous it can be for a small fish.

The number one rule while siphoning, while using either a gravel vac attachment, open tube or Python, is to NEVER look away or leave the tube unattended. It is easy to look away for a second but a second is all it takes to hurt or kill your fish. The Python comes with a handy open/close switch that can be used. If youre using just an open tube or vacuum then keep your finger over the end?which stops the suction?anytime youre looking away.

Some members have suggested using a tank divider to block the fish in one section of the tank while you are cleaning another part. This is a great idea. In larger tanks the fish will usually just stay to one side.

2) FILTER INTAKES

Now on to filter intakes?they can be dangerous for the same reasons as the siphon tubes. Make sure your filter ALWAYS has a strainer on the end of it. All hang on back and canister filters are supposed to come with a strainer. It should not be flat against the opening of the tube; it should be a long plastic strainer which either comes to a point or is a long cylinder with slats in it.

Bubble eye owners are strongly urged to put some sort of protection around the filter intake to avoid the bubbles being sucked against or into the strainer. They can easily be damaged, leaving the fish open to infection and disfigurement. Some pet stores sell special sponges that can be placed over the openings. A simple and cheap suggestion is to take a piece of filter sponge and wrapping it around the strainer and fastening it with a rubber band. These suggestions also work well if you have baby fish.

Let's stay safe out there! :D

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Again, I suggest idiot-proofing. It's what I have to do in so many of life's little dangerous situations!

When I am vacuuming gravel, I watch the end of the siphon tube every second.

But often I want to drain off more water when I'm through vacuuming. I put a mesh cover over the end of the tube and secure it with a rubber band. Not so much as a White cloud can get into trouble that way. I sit in front of the tank and gaze at the fish or read until it's time to refill the tank.

Caroline in San Jose

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Guest Shubunkin Queen

Posted

I take the fish out the tank when cleaning the gravel, because it frieghtens the heck out of them when I use it. :yikes:scared:hide:

I own a pompom while not as delicate as the bubble eye I use and air driven corner filter with an airstone and carbon and zeolite. The current isn't as strong and the danger of his cute little pompoms getting caught are lower. I find the double tail variety have trouble swimming away from a stronger filter than the single tailed. :help1

I agree there is a danger with gravel cleaners and a filter.

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Don't forget, never reach in a tank after a light or other electrical object has fallen in, or if you suspect the heater got cracked. :o;)

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Guest djmeehan

Posted

Could i ask a little question, i watch that none of my fish get sucked up etc put my fish do not like the gravel cleaner they hide behind the tree's and dont move untill the gravel has been taken out and i feel its stressing my fish is there no other way or would taking fish out into a bucket untill i gravel cleaned and filled back up be better or will this also stress the fish transfering them from one place to another?

Please help thanks in advance :)

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:hi Hi djmeehan!

Yes you can take the fish out when you vaccume the gravel. I personally prefer to, as it scared my fish, especially since I am terrible at getting the vaccume to start sucking, but I seem to have a natural talent for making tidal waves! All I do is place a fairly small bucket inside the tank, and get the fish to swim into the net, or bucket (I don't scoop them up because I don't want to scare or injure them). The bucket has tank water in it and the fish is never out of water, and my fish has never shown any signs of being stressed from a water change. I just transfer the fish from the small bucket to the bucket I have with the new water (already pre-treated), place the small bucket right into the big bucket (with or without the net) so it is submerged and let the fish swim out on its own. I do the reverse when it is time to put the fish back. When I tried leaving hte fish in, they showed signs of stress right after the water change, but everytime I have done it this way the fish is happy and shows no sign of stress. Sometimes my fish happily swims into the net no porblem, like it knows what's about to happen. I also put the tank decorations in the big bucket so the fish has somewhere to hide and familiar things around (not to mention this makes it easier too to vaccume the gravel since you don't have to keep moving them around).

Hope I have helped you and aren't giving bad advice.

:fishtank:

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Now see the variability of goldies. My Punch is not happy when I was removing him for cleaning- I swear this is true- He wants to be where the action is- so I made a devider and do half of the tank at a time- and it keeps the excess junk from getting to where he is- . Now get theis - if I vacuum longer than usual- I have to let him in to check out what is going on or else he becomes frantic that he is not there inspecting- when he comes over - he checks each area that I have done- if I leave a small snail or something - well the vacuum gills turn on and good bye snail- If I am there excessive time- he will let me know I am done by swatting the vacuum hose with his tail quite hard.

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Such differences. My fish go after my hand the second it touches the water.

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Guest Janelle

Posted

I wish we had known about the dangers of the gravel siphon before we did it for the first time. We sucked that poor fish right into the siphon and sucked one of his eyes almost all the way out. He's hanging in there, but we are waiting for the eye to fall off. It's gross, poor thing. He seems to be adapting though, and the other fish are not aggressive at all, so hopefully it will all work out. And now I KNOW to be super careful with the siphon.

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oh no! :yikes I hope he'll be ok!! get well soon lil guy! :goldfish: have you gone over to the 911/999 section for any tips on how to treat him?

Now get theis - if I vacuum longer than usual- I have to let him in to check out what is going on or else he becomes frantic that he is not there inspecting- when he comes over - he checks each area that I have done- if I leave a small snail or something - well the vacuum gills turn on and good bye snail- If I am there excessive time- he will let me know I am done by swatting the vacuum hose with his tail quite hard.

lol, now that is too funny! :rofl3

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I have a very gentle vacuum with a spreader/diffuser on the end and my goldie likes to follow it around and gobble up any tasty bits that are disturbed. She got partially pulled into it once and responded by whirling around and attacking it... goldie rage!

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wow, I must have the odd fish in the bunch, my fish LOVES when I syphon her tank, she's always swimming up and down the tube trying to eat the floating "goodies" that she can see, it's funny, and I also never not watch, she's funny, sometimes I have to physically move her out of the way, when it's syphoning day, it's Gremlin's play day. :rolleyes:

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One of my angels got sucked in to my python,and has been a bottom sitter ever since :stars ,so be VERY careful :exactly Poor baby :sorry::

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Guest Glass-man

Posted

I'm planning on running my first ever siphon partial water change tomorrow so really appreciate all the points & warnings!

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Guest Penguino

Posted

2) FILTER INTAKES

Now on to filter intakes?they can be dangerous for the same reasons as the siphon tubes. Make sure your filter ALWAYS has a strainer on the end of it. All hang on back and canister filters are supposed to come with a strainer. It should not be flat against the opening of the tube; it should be a long plastic strainer which either comes to a point or is a long cylinder with slats in it.

My hang on back filter (Top Fin Power Filter 30) didn't come with a strainer. I'm always paranoid that my fish will get sucked into the tube. He swims under it often. Are these strainers sold separately? If not, what can I use as an alternative?

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When i first started keeping goldfish and i didnt know any better and thought 1 fish/1 gallon rule, i had 5 goldies in a 5 gallon :(. One of them got really weak and i couldnt find him in the tank the next morning. I eventually found his back half sucked in between the grill of the in tank filter still breathing and listless. I was upset for months and couldnt get the image out of my head. I got him out of the filter and put him in a container, his poor little back was broken but he just kept on breathing so eventually i had my boyfriend euthanize the little guy. Im pretty sure that scarred me for big time!

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2) FILTER INTAKES

Now on to filter intakes?they can be dangerous for the same reasons as the siphon tubes. Make sure your filter ALWAYS has a strainer on the end of it. All hang on back and canister filters are supposed to come with a strainer. It should not be flat against the opening of the tube; it should be a long plastic strainer which either comes to a point or is a long cylinder with slats in it.

My hang on back filter (Top Fin Power Filter 30) didn't come with a strainer. I'm always paranoid that my fish will get sucked into the tube. He swims under it often. Are these strainers sold separately? If not, what can I use as an alternative?

Try looking at one of the big online stores and you may be able to find one. Otherwise, you can use a bit of vegetable bag netting around the end--that's what I use on my python to keep th fish from being sucked into it when I change the water.I think you can use a loose woven filter floss as well. But, I would guess that you can find th part onlne--how strange it did not come with one. You can always write to TopFin, too...

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