Flying Guppies: Issues with the Fluval Chi aquarium

In one of my first posts, I mentioned to you that I had a Fluval Chi fish tank. I even talked about how pretty this tank was, with it’s clean cut and “floating waterfall”.

Fluval Chi Display and Accessories

Now I am telling you, whatever you do, do not buy one of these tanks. They are a poorly designed  with an insufficient filter.

I have had more problems with this tank than I can count, but for your sake, I will try to detail my experiences.

First, the tank has an open top, which makes it difficult to keep at a sufficient temperature for your tropical fish (remember 77 degrees is ideal). I could not keep the tank at a consistant temperature, even with a heater.

The open lid allows dust and other particles in the air to get into the tank and the filter cannot keep up.

The water is cloudy.

The filter won’t start.

The water from my tank evaporates quickly, one day there is plenty of water and thievery next my filter won’t work because the water is too low.

And the worst problem in my opinion, some of my fish are jumping out of the tank and on to the floor, I find them dead the next morning.

Ok, so if you refuse to heed my warning and go out and buy that tank anyway, here are some tips.

First, the water temperature problem and evaporating problem can be fixed together. You will need to add water to you tank every days ( or so, depending on climate). When you add new water, make sure the water is warm, or at least warmer than the normal water you put in. Pour it in through the fountain, to prevent shocking your fish. Adjust accordingly.

I have yet to find a solution to the dust problem, other than adding a lid. Home improvement stores can cut glass or plexi glass to fit the opening of your tank.

The best thing for cloudy water, is live plants. Put one or two in your tank and you should see improvement in a few days. Also, change out water often, at least once a week change out about 45 percent.

This is not my tank, but it seems that a lot of people are having this problem.

The filter in the fluval chi is tricky. To be honest, there is not really tried and true method to get to to start or restart. You just really have to play with it. Unplug it, rinse it out, put in back in the water and re plug it. Rinse and repeat as needed.

Fish may try to jump out of the tank for a variety of reasons, but with the fluval chi, what I I have found is the type of fish you put in the aquarium is key. Do not put guppies in this tank! They will jump. Guppies are surface swimmers, they linger near the top of the tank. The best kind of tanks for them are shallow and wide. Try fish that like to swim in the middle range such as platies or mollies.

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What’s for dinner? Feeding and care

What’s for dinner?
Like all living things, fish eat. There are a vast variety of fish pellets, flakes, stones and frozen treats, but don’t worry. Feeding you fish is a relatively simple procedure.

How much do I feed them?

TetraMin Tropical Fish Flakes (7.06 oz $14.56 at Walmart) is great for daily feeding


Just enough. There is no real magic number when it comes to feeding fish. It depends on the type of fish, their size, how many are in the tank and the individual fish themselves. Ideally, you should give them an amount they can consume in 45 seconds. Experiment with amounts until you find out which works best for your tank. Remember, too much food in the tank can rot in the tank and hurt your fish. So remove any extra food left floating around.

How often do I feed them?
Once a day.

What food is best?
Again, it varies. Tropical fish flakes are good for everyday feeding, but it’s good to mix it up from time to time. Freeze dried blood worms or brine shrimp are full of protein. It’s good to mix them in once or twice a week. Also live fruit flies, brine shrimp or blood worms can serve as a great treat.

How do I feed them?
Sprinkle food into tank and gently tap to let the fish know it’s dinner time.

I have to go on vacation. Will they be ok for the weekend?

Wardley Original Weekend Feeder (4 pack $1.52 @ amazon.com)

Sure. Pet stores sell feeders for fish that will provide them will plenty while you are gone. Most of them are in block form and are inexpensive.

One of my fish is taking all the food and won’t let the others eat. What do I do?
Separate him from the herd for a while. A breeding box will do to trick. Breeding boxes float in the top of you already existing tank, but will isolate a problem fish. Feed the other fish normally, but don’t forget to sprinkle some into the breeding box for your troublemaker.

Other FAQ

I have guppies. One of my guppy is biting off the tails of the other ones. What do I do?
Nothing, really. A guppy tail is used to attract a mate and show dominance. The biggest and brightest tails belong to the dominate guppy. They will pick at the tails of the other guppy. Do keep an eye on this, however. If one becomes particularly mean and is harming the others or preventing them from eating, he may need to be separated.

One of my fish has white spots on his fins, tail and body. I’d this bad?
Yes. It sounds like some sort of fungus.  You will need an anifungal medicine. Treat the entire tank, the disease is likely to spread.

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Buying Fish 101

It’s always good to have a general idea of what fish you want before you go shopping, but leave room for some flexibility. The fish you seek may not be the size, shape or color you originally thought, or they might look unhealthy, or be unavailable.

-Tank Tip – The rule of thumb is one fish to a gallon. (Example, if you have a ten gallon tank, ten fish is the highest you should go.) However, sometimes you can bend this rule a bit. If you get small fish such as guppies, you might be able to do thirteen in your ten gallon, but this is as high as I would go. It also might be a good idea to only half fill your aquarium on your first fish shopping trip. This way you can see which fish you like best, how they act and if they are hardy enough for your tank.

Large pet stores such as Petsmart and Petco offer two week guarantees on their fish. That way, if your fish dies or you decide you don’t want it, you can return it. However I would be careful choosing where to buy your fish. Some places do not keep clean tanks and may have diseases in their aquariums. Local specialty fish stores are generally the best, but use your best judgement. Watch the fish. Are they

Fish with Fin Rot. Do not buy this fish!

swimming around pretty actively? Are there numerous dead fish in the tank? Is there evidence of fungus or disease in the tank?  Are there white spots on the fish’s fins or tails? If so, do not buy your fish at this location. Even if the fish you choose does not look unhealthy, if there is disease in the tank all the fish are at risk. They might not show the signs for several days.

Also, be careful when mixing different types of fish. Those labeled “community” are usually fine together. But be careful with fish marked “semi-aggressive” or “aggressive”. Ask a pet store specialist before mixing these types of fish in your tank.

-Tank Tip – The most popular fish for beginners are mollies, platies and guppy. All of these fish are live bearers, which simply means they give birth to live babies (called fry) instead of laying eggs. They also reproduce very rapidly. If you have a male and female of these fish, or if these fish have been kept in a tank with both sexes, you will eventually have fry. So keep this in mind.

When you select your fish, the store will put the fish into bags for you to take home. Moving is extremely traumatic for the fish, so after purchasing them, take them straight home. Try not to jostle the bags and watch your turns on the way home. Also, NEVER drop the bags!! It’s best to have someone hold the bags on the trip home to prevent rolling and shifting. When you get home, place

How to float bags in an aquarium

your fish bags into your tank and allow them to float for 5 to 10 minutes. This gives the fish time to adjust the water temperature.

When you release the fish into the tank, do not pour all the water from the bag into the tank. You can open the bag and use a net the catch the fish and transfer them into the aquarium, but that can be difficult. Open the top of the bag and drain water from the bag into a sink or cup. Leave only enough water for the fish to remain submerged. Then you can pour the fish and remaining water into your tank. When you add your fish to your tank, it’s best to add a few squirts of Stress Coat just to soothe the fish.

When you first set up an aquarium, you should expect some causalities. Fish are delicate animals. The move from pet store to your house, can be enough to kill them. Also, your water may not be balanced properly yet, which can cause for some difficulties. Sometimes the fish you bought, may have been sick to begin with. There are many reasons, but don’t beat yourself up. Ask the  professionals at your local fish store if you take severe losses in your first week, but if you have one or two deaths in the first few days here are some things to check.

  • Temperature – make sure that your tank is the temperature recommended for your fish. Most tropical fish can survive in water with a temperature from 72 degrees to 82 degrees, but a temperature of 77 degrees is ideal.
  • Water PH – most pet stores sell kits to check your water’s PH.
  • Water cleanliness
  • Food – You may be over feeding or feeding the wrong kind of food.
  • Other Fish – Watch your fish. Is one getting picked on by the others? Are one type of fish eating all the food? Are they just not working out together?

Happy shopping and enjoy your new pets!

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Taking the Fear Out of Aquarium Shopping

Buying a tank can be overwhelming. Walk into almost any pet store and you will see dozens of styles and sizes all screaming out at you.

The first thing you need to decide when buying an aquarium is size. Fish tanks are measured by how many gallons they hold. Different kinds of fish require more or less space. So consider which kinds of fish you want to have when shopping for a tank. One and two gallon tanks are often advertised for beginners, but this is misleading. As a rule, smaller tanks are harder to keep than larger ones. I would recommend at least a five-gallon tank for a beginner, but a ten gallon would be best.

In most cases it is cheaper to buy an aquarium set. Most sets include everything you need to set up an aquarium, but if you decide to buy the pieces separately, here is a list of things you will need.

* A TankGlass is best.

* A Filter cleans and circulates the water through out the tank.

A Basic Filter

 

Those with carbon are best. Make sure the one you buy has replacement filter pads. Filters make noise, so, depending on what room you are planning to put your tank in, you might want to pay a little more for a quieter machine.

* Air Pump and Air StoneCirculates the water in the tank and surface area for

Air Pump and Air Stone

proper gas exchange. In order words, they help the fish breathe. Pumps can also be noisy, so if you plan on putting it in your bedroom,

Decoration with Air Stone (Top Fin Balinese Dragon with Airstone $11.99 - $24.99 at Petsmart.com)

 

look at one that is advertised to be quiet. Air stones are placed in the aquarium to emit a stream of bubbles. There are many different kinds of air stones, so think about the size of your aquarium and how you want the tank to look before buying one. Some tank decorations have air stones build into them, for people who don’t want an exposed air stone to mess up their décor.

* Tank Hood and LightYou will need a lid for your tank. Most

Aquarium Hood and Light

 

are sold with lights already in them. You will need to find one than fits the size and model of your tank. Also, look to make sure you know where replacement light bulbs are sold.

* ThermometerYou will need to maintain a certain temperature for your fish. A thermometer is a MUST. They are relatively cheap and can be found at your pet store. They are many different kinds, shape and sizes. As long as it works, it doesn’t really matter what kind you get.

* HeaterIf you keep your house relatively warm, you may not need a heater. However, in the winter months, they are a good idea.

* Gravel, Plants and DécorYou will need a layer of aquarium

Penn Plax Enchanted Castle Aquarium Ornament ($11.99 at Petco.com)

gravel at the bottom of your tank, but the color and kind is completely up to you. Keep in mind the “theme” or style you are trying to have in your tank. It’s like decorating a room, really. The same holds true for any plants are decorations you put in your tank. There are tons of ways to decorate a tank. Try sticking to a

PETCO Amazon Sword Green Plastic Aquarium Plant ($2.79 - $9.59 at Petco.com)

theme, though, such as a roman coliseum, or a pirate trove. They even sell Sponge Bob decorations! Have fun, but remember not to over crowd the aquarium. Your fish will need room to swim.

Other stuff you will need

Water is the biggest part of owning fish. Its temperature, PH levels ect… When you first set up your aquarium, you need to wait at least 24 hours before adding your fish. This gives time for the chemicals to balance out, and for the filter and air stone to cycle the water. Here are the basic supplements you will need to start your tank.

* Water ConditionerYou cannot just take water straight from the sink and put your fish in. First you will need to remove harmful chlorines and chemicals from the water. A water conditioner will do this for you. I use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Stress Coat Aquarium Water Conditioner. Simply follow the instructions on the back of the bottle. You will need to use this every time you add new water to your tank.

*BacteriaNo, I’m not kidding. A health tank is full of bacteria. Just use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Stress Zyme, or something like it.

* Aquarium Salt Yes, with freshwater fish, you still need some salt. Look for aquarium salt for fresh water fish. No one really seems to know why freshwater fish do so well with salt in their tank, they just do. It improves gill health, strengthens their immune system and improves their color. I use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Aquarium Salt.

There are many other products, gizmos and gadgets on the market, but these are the basics. Be sure to clean and rinse everything before placing it into your tank. Your gravel will need to be put into a colander and rinsed to remove any dust and dirt. Your next step is to go pick out your fish! Remember, if you have any questions, just send me an email (thegirlwithfish@gmail.com).

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Want to Save Some Cash?

Of course, it’s always good to shop around to find the best price and keep your eye out for aquatic sales. But you also might want to consider getting a discount card at your local pet store.

Petco has their P.A.L.S program, and PetSmart has a PetPerks card. Both of these cards are free; all you have to do is sign up at a local store. It’s like having a Kroger Plus card, really. Both programs will send you coupons and online offers, but the most useful thing about the card in the in store discounts you receive. Swiping this card can take several dollars off your purchase. These deals are not only limited to tanks and accessories, but are offered on fish as well.

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Fish Tanks for the Soul?

I know it sounds crazy, but having a fish has actually been proven to be good for you.

Apparently, watching your finned friends flit and float helps relieve stress, lower blood pressure, improve your mood and help you relax. I was skeptical about this at first, so I did some research. Here’s what I found out.

  • A study at Purdue University found that people with Alzheimer’s disease are calmer, focus better on eating, and digest their food more easily when they eat their meals in front of a fish tank.
  • Since the 1980’s studies have shown keeping an aquarium helps people relax which improves mental and physical health. In one study seniors provided with an aquarium experienced a surprising drop in blood pressure. Watching fish swim has also been shown to help calm hyperactive children.
  • Other studies showed patients who waited for dental appointments in areas with an aquarium needed less pain medication compared to patients who waited in rooms without aquariums. For this reason the waiting rooms of many doctor’s offices, dental clinics, and children’s hospital wings contain aquariums filled with colorful fish.

So, there you are, go get some fish!  Doctor orders!

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I like fish

I’m the girl with fish, and as the name implies, I’m going to be blogging (mainly) about my aquatic critters, they’re feeding, housing, ect… I only have freshwater fish. I have never tried  to start a salt water aquarium, but I plan on trying sometime.

Right now I have two tanks set up. One of them is a regular ten gallon, the other is a 6 gallon Fluval Chi.

In case you were wondering, this is what a Fluval Chi aquarium looks like. It's pretty isn't it?

My ten gallon tank is fairly well planted, but I don’t think I’m going to put live plants in my six gallon partly because I want to keep that tank styled a certain way, and partly because I don’t want to deal with any more plants. I will talk more later on about live aquarium plants and all their many wonders.

I have a variety of fish right now:

  • Guppies
  • Mollies
  • Platies
  • Cory Catfish
  • Algae Eaters
  • Guppy Fry (Baby Guppies)
  • And an African Dwarf Frog (a recent addition).

I will be talking about different types of fish and which might be best for you in a later post.

Fish are a great relevantly low maintenance pet, but they do take some work. I am here to help you along and answer any questions you might have to the best of my ability. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I will give you the best answer I can, or help you contact the right professional. Thanks for reading! Girl With Fish out!

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