I must confess that I’ve been feeling like an expert pet owner: we’ve kept our fish alive for six weeks (apparently I’m easily impressed). I’m happy to report we still have two platys and four neon tetras, all of which seem active and, dare I say, happy.
The blessing and curse of pet fish is, they are low-maintenance. My son and I change 15-20% of the water in the tank every week, and we all take turns feeding the fish every evening. The status quo makes it easy to feel confident!
Until, that is, the water in our tank began looking cloudy two days ago, as if tiny particles were floating throughout the aquarium. Eh, nothing a water change can’t fix, I thought. But vacuuming/siphoning the gravel in the process of changing the water may have made matters worse.
I thought we’d mastered this pet thing! I panicked a little, expecting the worst. But according to the Internet, cloudy water is a common symptom, the causes of which range from continued nitrogen cycling to overfeeding.
In our case, overfeeding seems like the most likely cause: while we know one flake per fish is a good ratio, we were coming to the end of the introductory packet of fish food that came with our tank, and had been using piles of the tiny crumbs at the bottom of said packet. We were trying not to waste, you know? What I suspect, though, is that many of the tiny flakes intended as fish food landed among the substrate and became food for hungry-turned-happy bacteria. A case of our eyes being bigger than our fish’s stomachs.
The solution, I hope, is switching to a fresh container of whole fish food flakes, and monitoring that each fish is able to eat its fill without leaving leftovers at the bottom of the tank. General consensus among the fish-loving online community is that fish should eat what they need within two minutes. Unfortunately tonight I think we still overshot our goal, uneaten flakes littering the gravel once again. Hopefully we’ll do better tomorrow.
I am proud of my problem-solving skills… assuming I solve the problem. Time will tell. We had intended to add more fish to the tank, but now we’ll wait until the water returns to crystal clear before messing with the bio load. Our 10-gallon tank should support four additional fish (for a total of 10), and my son has his eye on two more neon tetras and two fancy guppies. Hopefully they’ll join our little community before long!
Tags: Fish & Ponds