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Hi everyone! As we go along in our fish keeping journey we learn all manner of useful tips and tricks in our own experience, as well as what is shared through forums like Kokos.

I thought it would be fun to give some of our best personal tips for keeping goldfish, maintaining their environments, or other useful snippets we have each gathered. There hasn't been a thread like this in awhile so I think we are overdue :)

What are your most useful tips? Let's have 'em!

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I'll go first!

- Keep a dry erase marker right by your treatment tanks. Mark directly on the glass what treatments are in and use tally marks or dots to indicate each day of the treatment passed, as well as the date of the last water change. It makes keeping things straight much easier when it is all right there on the tank, itself, and the markers are easy to wipe off and non-toxic.

- Always keep one towel rolled up behind or under each aquarium you maintain. There is almost nothing involved in aquarium maintenance or daily tasks that isn't improved by close access to a towel to wipe yourself and the tank down.

- When you open the last of any item like food or medication immediately jot it down on your grocery list to get more, so you are never without the item you need. This is a bonus life too because I recommend the exact same thing for everything from crackers to cotton swabs. Always add it to the list when the last package or jar is opened.

Edited by Arctic Mama

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I taped two large kitchen  plastic garbage bags together and put it at the foot of the tank to keep any spilled water off the base of the stand.   We went to OSH and bought the  3x 6  plastic runner and use that  now. Anything to keep water  from getting underneath the stand!

Edited by KimA.

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That's an excellent idea! We just varnished the pants off the stand so the water doesn't penetrate, but plastic is surprisingly useful for that :)

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Chris here... Being a rookie at keeping water babies, I need to add to the plastic idea... I used a trash bag on the floor first then add a retired bath towel (folded twice) on top of it... I have learned very quickly that I can become distracted while siphoning out water after the vacuuming is complete... And the bucket got a little tooooo full... :(. More like a mini flood... I have done a lot of water changes in the last month... Necessity is the mother well learned lessons... :)

PS: and to be very honest, I have had to run and get one, two or three extra towels.... But only twice so far... ;)

Oh one more thing... I use my poop water to help with water the plants outside... At least till my husband says "STOP IT!!! (The leaves are turning yellow from too much water!!!). As I said... LOTS of water changes... :(

Edited by Chris1251

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I measured and used a permanent marker to make dashes on an inconspicuous corner of the tank to show at a glance how far to empty the water for different percentages of water changes.  I feel like it helps me be consistent and change out exactly the amount of water I mean to without having to estimate every time. :)

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Similar to Kathleens post...for my tanks and tubs that I only use for QT I usually make a mark with a permanant marker where 10g is beause most of my tanks or tubs are more than 10g but when treating fish I only use 10g. Makes it easier to get it right.

 

 

I'm sure there are more little tricks I have but I'm too tired to think of them righ tnow lol

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If you keep live plants and us CFL, T5/T8, or other florescent style bulbs mark down what date you put them in and how many hours a day they are on.  CLFs and such should be changed after 6 months of "on" time.. SO if you have a light on for 12 hours a day that mans once a year you should get new cfls/t5/t8 etc.  LEDs are suppose to last thousands of hours (As long as you did not get a cheap brand that burns out). 

Source: 3:48 in

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Kathleen, I've never heard that one before. What a simple, good idea.

Aqua aurora - I'm terrible at switching out bulbs but it is true they decline in lumen output and even temperature - as a keeper of planted tanks it's a good reminder to be fastidious about that for the sake of my plants :o

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I measured and used a permanent marker to make dashes on an inconspicuous corner of the tank to show at a glance how far to empty the water for different percentages of water changes.  I feel like it helps me be consistent and change out exactly the amount of water I mean to without having to estimate every time. :)

:teehee

the side of my tank has this... So much easier to see the level of water you need out :)

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Magnesium deficiency is not uncommon in aquaponics (my spinach showed signs of it), but its an easy deficiency to fix with a tiny bit of Epsom salt (from grocery/pharmacy-no dyes or additives) put into the tank.  Don't put too much in or it will create a calcium deficiency instead.  "add a dry ounce for every 1000-1500 gallons" so only add very tiny bit if you are a multi hundred to thousands of gallons.

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To be fair Taryl, I don't know of any professional aquascaper that swaps their bulbs out regularly. The ones that do either change fixtures for some reason or want to experiment with bulb colouration. :rofl

If you buy a new tank, move it in when no one else is home and play dumb when they ask questions. :D

Joking aside, if you use a gravel vac or a python, it's always good to cover the end with some netting in order to prevent accidental injuries to fish. Also, if for whatever reason you need a gravel vac and don't have/can't find one, you can make a temporary one out of a water bottle and a length of hose. Simply cut the bottle in half and stick the hose down the bottle neck. Exercise some caution though, as the cut edges may be sharp.

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All my fish are in outdoor tubs.  Mostly fifty gallon stock tanks.  I keep a stack of three five gallon buckets  for each tub, and write the name of the fish on the top bucket in the stack assigned to each tub.  Two of the buckets in each stack are for measuring.  I siphon off the dirty debris bottom water into them.   When the bottom of the tub is clean, I'll use the third bucket to dip into the tub to fill up both buckets so I have a total of ten gallons of water removed from that stock tank.   I use that water in the garden beds. 

 

Then, I get fresh water from the storage containers (HDPE Rubbermaid trash cans), and measure out ten gallons back into those buckets.   I fill them with a separate bucket that is only used as the water storage dipping bucket, so as not to contaminate the storage water. 

 

This way, I know I'm  doing exactly a twenty percent water change, and (I hope) avoiding cross contamination of fish tubs. 

 

Some evaporates from the tubs, so once a week, I have to add extra. 

Edited by Distaff

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The other thing is I hate, is dealing with sticky buckets - as in when they stack, and later, you can't get them apart.  I ended up tying on some foot long pieces of old airline onto the handles of the buckets (thin rope would work fine too).  I insert the loose end into one bucket as I set the next bucket into it.  The thickness, allows some air so the buckets don't suction together.

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If you keep live plants you've likely had to deal with snails.  Most common are pond, bladder, ramshorn, and sometimes Malaysian trumpet snails (mts).  While they are a natural part of an ecosystem most people find them a nuisance/unsightly/hate all the poop.  But the snails eat diatoms (aka brown algae), leftover food, dead plant matter, even the fungus that grows on newly submerged wood (mts mostly stick in the substrate but will get on the tank glass/plants if they're not finding any other food).  Population growth is based on available food, if you have a large population explosion you have one or more of the above listed foods in excess.  Cleaning the tank, removing dead plant matter, reducing food given can help keep a population in check.

If you want to get rid of snails there are several methods from the simply squish with finger, blanched veggie on a plate over night, to the product "No Planaria" (fish, shrimp, plant safe).  If you are trying to get rid of snails you will need to of multiple treatments/food traps over 2-3 weeks to get most of them (including newly hatched snails). If you never plan to keep any invert in the tank (shrimp or snail) in the tank/pond etc you can also look into copper treatments to kill snails off but be mindful of doses, don't want to hurt your fish!

Edited by AquaAurora

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If you have a garden (flower or vegetable) outside, don't send your removed tank water down the drain with a python/pump!  Take it outside and water your gardens (or even lawn if there's a drought)!  If you keep black worms (an aquatic worm culture) or grindal worms soil-less (use water changes to clean scouring pads) the worm poop water is also great for plants! 

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