Fishy dilema

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So last night I inherited five new fish from one of the neighbours. This morning they brought the tank up.

But now I am in a dilema. Do I really want to setup a new tank, given that my current ones are such a disaster? Or do I want to try and scale back?

The new fish are two tiger barbs, a white angel, a yellow cichlid, and a huge catfish (with menacing teeth). All quite agressive fish, so even if my other tanks were healthy at the moment, which they're not, the new fish would be likely to terrorise my existing ones. The tank came complete with undergravel filter and a pH test kit. So I ran around testing all my tanks. My four existing tanks have a pH under 6, which is bad news for adding new fish to, as they'd be used to a much more neutral pH. The new tank came with some water that was around 7.3. So I really need to keep the new fish together in a slightly alkaline water until I can get the pH of the other tanks up a bit.

The main problem with another tank, aside from the fact that I literally have nowhere to put it, and would have to invest in a stand for it, and some lights, is that my water changing setup is a disaster. Even if I could muster up the motivation again to do very regular water changes, there's the problem of where to age the water, and what to do with the waste. I currently have a 30L bucket which I keep water in for at least two days, so that I don't need to use water conditioners. Then I have a 30L bucket to hold emptied water until I can use it on my balcony garden. But the pot plants really only need 15L of water per week. And I feel guilty about pouring it down the sink (well, the toilet actually) because of the water restrictions in Sydney at the moment. And bottling it up and taking it outside to water plants around the building would take entirely too much effort.

So with water changes going to not be often enough to get/keep the pH in my tanks up, the only other choice is using "pH-up" (sodium bicarbonate). But this presents its own problems. Adding chemicals, of any sort, has a tendency to throw balances of who-knows-what off. The classic example is many fish medications, which have a tendency to kill off the "good" bacteria that breaks down ammonia and nitrites. You then end up with ammonia spikes which are even worse for the fish. Anything you add to a tank has the potential to affect the delicate balances in play.

So. Even after a long rant, I'm still no closer to deciding what to do. Maybe I'll sleep on it and decide tomorrow.

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Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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