Random Thoughts And Musings.

This is just a mish mash of things/thoughts that come up time and time again, so I thought I would pop some on here.


Water Quality.... Some folk do not believe the power of good, clean, fresh water and how it can do wonders for fish. Think about it, nature designed fish to live in moving water, their pee, poop, dead bodies and gases get washed away in the current. In a glass box that does not happen, the water is being cycled around, a bit like open windows compared to air conditioning units. Do regular partial water changes every week, sometimes more than once a week. There should be no difference in livestock behaviour before the pwc compared to after it. If there is a behavioural difference then you are not doing enough or not doing large enough pwc.


Medications.... Here is an interesting one and it does relate back to Water Quality. There are a few schools of thought about medicating livestock, the one I go for would be the cheapest and simplest way first, you will see why further down, repeated partial water changes. Most illnesses can be traced back to poor water quality, keep the water good and these commonly avoidable “illnesses” can be avoided, fin rot, bloat, dropsy, ich, are just a few examples.

Panic medicating, throw medicines at the tank and hope that something works, kill or cure, without good water quality it will more than likely be kill. Then you can blame the medications for not working.

Researched medicating, this is where you have researched thoroughly and got the medications that are actually needed for the problem. The user knows the water has to be pristine before use.


Water Test kits.... Now where do I begin, I believe the most common used water test kit on MAC is the API Freshwater Master Test Kit, some questions for those of you who use this, how can it be a Master Test Kit if it is missing the tests for gh and kh? these 2 things are also needed, it can explain a lot of water quality issues and poorly fish.

In my opinion, API is not the most accurate kit out there, please be aware that your test kit may not be as good as you think. I have tested water using the API kit as well as others using water from a cycling tank, the 2 other test kits brought back the same results whereas the API kit was totally different, it read lower readings than the other two.


Feeding... Not all fish are the same, some fish are strict herbivores, some will eat anything and some are strict carnivores. Nature designed them this way so why feed peas to a constipated insectivore? Why feed Malawi cichlids with a protein based food or living/frozen meat products? Research may well save the life of your fish. Mollies, Guppies, Platies all eat alage, so why not give them algae flakes or wafers, they do not require huge amounts of protein. Goldfish, now they will, given the chance, eat themselves to death, they do not have a stomach as such, food goes in and it comes out, they are constantly hungry, so you the responsible owner needs to be aware of this and feed small meals, sinking pellets, lots of vegetables to provide roughage. They do not require a high protein diet.

A heads up, flaked foods swell by about 3 times when it gets wet and pellets swell by about 5 times, so soaking the food before it hits the tank means it will have swelled before it gets into the eye sized stomach of your fish.

Fish, Icon, Design, Nature, Sea, Ocean

De-chlorinators/tap water conditioners... There are a huge selection of these on the market now, some good, some bad and some are just about okay. Everyone has their preference but not everyone will agree on “the best” there is no “the best” for anything, it is all “opinions”. So when someone asks what is the “best” de-chlorinator you can say “in my opinion XYZ is the best” I know that Prime by Seachem is highly thought of by a lot of folk on MAC, me personally, I hate the stuff, I used it once on 4 of my tanks and as a result lost over 20 fish. I do not, personally, recommend that product.

Education, Ten, Green, Bottles, Standing

Stores and where to buy things from... Now this may come as a shock to a lot of folk, this is an international site and not every country has Walmart, Petsmart, PetCo, Pets @ Home or Maidenhead Aquatics.... before advising someone to go to WalPetPetHomeAquatics find out what country they live in. What use is it to say “WalPetPetHomeAquatics has the XYZ dechlorinator” if they do not have those stores?

Stores Store Fronts Set Building Window Do

Fish stocking levels and Decor... I and no doubt you have too, seen posts that go along the lines of “I have a 30 gallon tank, what shall I stock and how should it be decorated” My personal tastes in decor and fish maybe totally different to yours, my experience of keeping water, I mean fish, maybe different to yours. I could advise to have a planted tank, living nature`s beauty in a box and to have a Tropical Community, but if it is the first tank, do you really want to delve straight into CO2, planting substrates and multiple different fish? Let us know your ideas, your vision that you have for your tank first. How demoralising would it be to be advised and then for it not to be how you want it, to lose interest then in fish keeping?


Advice... Most of us came to MAC in times of stress, something has gone wrong and we don`t know what or why, we panic and reach out to those who we hope can help us, I know I did and even though I have said it before I will say it again, thank you to those people, those volunteers who out of the goodness of their heart, gave up their spare time to give me advice. My first tank was a disaster, 4 Fancy Goldfish in a 20 UK gallon tank, “something” was wrong but I did not know what, I came to MAC and asked for help, I was asked, what fish, what size of tank, what was my water change routine, what were the levels of Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH, my answer was “you what?!?!” I had no idea what those levels were or how to find out, so I bought a test kit, Ammonia was 5ppm, Nitrite 8ppm and Nitrates were off the scale. I moved 2 of the fish out to other tanks and for the next 12 days did daily multiple 50% partial water changes on every tank, until those figures came to 0,0,5. I was and still am grateful for the advice I was given then, this is why I am a believer of partial water changes being the first thing to do.

Stress Word-Art Depression Stress Stress S

When receiving advice, remember it is just that, advice, you do not have to follow it, neither does anyone have to give it. The majority of people on MAC are here because they want to be, not because they have to be as we do not get paid, we are Volunteers. Some folks get upset at the advice they receive, some folks never say thank you if the advice they were given works for them, some folks actually get abusive and nasty, and yet here we are still giving out advice, out of the goodness of our hearts, from our own experiences, from what we have researched, learned and taught ourselves, from advice we have been given and found that it did work for us. If you do not agree with the advice you receive, don`t swear at us or get angry, all that does is to make sure when you come back, if you have not been banned for abuse that is, no one will want to help you. If we did help you, please let us know the outcome, a simple thank you will do.

Thank You Note Thank Thank You Note Messag

Before I close this blog a plea from me to you please try to use punctuation not using it makes for very hard reading it means that oldies like me have to read reread and try to work out what on earth you mean. Using it on the other hand makes life a lot easier.

Images from Pixabay and Pexals apart from the fish tank which is mine.

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.


  • Cloudy: Well said, Fish Obsessed!
  • Carley: I enjoyed that. Good word M .... FishObsessed!
  • FishObsessed: Thank you ladies :-)
  • Vale: Good post :)
  • Demi2312: Loved your article. Curious to know what your thought the best water testing kit was? In use api currently. And have to confess to being a seachem lover, which isn’t easy in the UK!
  • critterchic: Loved your blog! I too found MAC when worried about my fish. I had rediscovered my love affair with aquariums after a 15-year hiatus, but had forgotten or never even learned so much. (Back then you either went to the library or trusted the advice from your local fish store.)
    I’m an avid researcher and have found that MAC is usually more reliable and accurate than most "user advice" sites. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE HELPED OTHERS! I know you personally, along with Cloudy, Carley & Vale have helped me in the past. I probably did say thanks, but if not - Thank You!
    I too am curious about what water kit you prefer. I’m in the US and use API Master & Prime. I’m always open to learn about better things (that fit within my budget) so I welcome any information from someone who actually uses a product.
    OH and THANKS again. I already presoak my bettas’ & shrimps’ pellets. I didn’t know flakes also swell. Thanks to people like you, I’m constantly learning how to be a better "fish mom."
  • FishObsessed: Thank you :-)
    In my opinion :-) JBL Freshwater Master Test Kit, that is the one I use and get on well with, it comes in a little suitcase, I have the Marine kit as well. Very similar to the API kit in so much it has the test tubes, colour charts etc but tests for toxins at a much lower level. Another one is the Salifert kits.
  • Fishfur: Very well done, FO. Enjoyed it very much
    But I have to ask this question, since you mentioned the topic and it’s been bugging me of late. How do we know the stomach of a fish is the size of its eye? I have tried to find out with research if there is any truth to this and haven’t had much luck with it.
    If anyone knows where this idea came from or if there is actual, anatomical proof of it, I’d LOVE to hear or see it!
    Just by way of comparison - when I buy fish to eat, the heads are there. I can see those fish eyes. But the cavity, where the guts were, is huge, by comparison. I know very well that not all of the gut space is filled by just the stomach - intestines, liver, kidneys, etc. all reside there, but the stomach, which I’ve only seen empty, with all the rest of the guts, looks a heck of lot bigger than the eye, even if one removes the eye and sees it in its entirety! The eyeball, btw, is much, much larger than the portion we can see from the outside.
    Tiny fish, well, yeah, got to be a tiny stomach, for sure. I’d just love to know where this comparison came from. Too many things get copied and repeated on the net and not all of these things have science or accuracy behind them.
  • FishObsessed: Thank you Fishfur
    That is a really good question and one that I am pursuing.... I will update when I have hard facts, even if it means dissecting a dead fish or several to do so. I am squeamish so wish me luck.
    If I find scientific based studies on the net, I will post the links to them.
  • Fishfur: I was never keen on dissection either, though I did it in school. Fetal dog sharks. Their stomachs were a good bit bigger than their eyes were, though I wasn’t comparing them directly at the time, not knowing at that time, that one day, I’d really, really want to know this :-).
  • Carley: Interesting discussion on Fishlore:
    """Now, playing devil’s advocate (because it’s what I do), while the statement about eye/stomach size is obviously false, this doesn’t entirely render it useless.
    We’re looking at the outside of the stomach, whereas the statement is discussing how much a fish should eat. This means that we should first consider the fact that we’re thinking of the empty space inside of the stomach, not the external size of the stomach. We should second consider the fact that it isn’t healthy to have a completely and continuously full stomach*.
    So, yeah, fish’s stomachs are larger than their eyes. On the other hand, saying "small aquarium fish should be fed about as much food as the size of their eyes" would be pretty accurate, presuming you’re feeding on a daily basis."""
  • Fishfur: Also very good points.
    I so much prefer to time the feeding, as opposed to estimating an amount. If the fish eat it all in the time allotted, how much they eat isn’t as important.
    The ‘eye’ thing comes up so often with Betta fish. I’ve had quite a few Bettas over the years. One of them would eat as little as two pellets in a meal, but most of them ate much more, as many as 9 or 10 pellets. And I often fed them live foods too, worms, brine shrimp, scuds, etc. Where the food can survive in the tank, I don’t worry at all, but if it will die, like brine shrimp, then I limit the time with that too. But I read a lot of posts where Betta fish are being given only one or two pellets twice a day, which seems really inadequate to me, for most of them. Most fish do not eat until they’re too stuffed to move, excepting maybe goldfish. But if the time they have to feed is limited then overfeeding isn’t a problem.
  • Jenni41fish: Thank you. This was an interesting read. I am very appreciative of the advice I have gotten on this sight.
    Since you mentioned it, what test kit would you recommend?
  • FishObsessed: Thank you :-)
    In my opinion :-) JBL Freshwater Master Test Kit, that is the one I use and get on well with, it comes in a little suitcase, I have the Marine kit as well. Very similar to the API kit in so much it has the test tubes, colour charts etc but tests for toxins at a much lower level.
    Another one are the Salifert kits, individual tests so you can buy just what you require.
  • MarkDiaz: I am overjoyed with the quality of advice, helpfulness, and polite interchange on this site. Not a direct comment on the blog, but made me think to say so.
  • MollySchool: Great read FO, I enjoyed that.
    I’m curious, do you believe that livebearers, like my Mollies, could really be sustained and thrive on only Algae Flakes or Wafers?
  • FishObsessed:

    Hi there Mark, I am impressed with the advice etc found on MAC and sometimes having a sense of humour works to just keep things ticking over :-) Hi MollySchool, Mollies etc do well on Algae based foods, where I work they get fed on a food that is Spirulina based, they do not get fed meat products while with us. They will eat Algae within the tank but cannot be classed as a fish “good for removing algae” such as Bristlenose Plecs or Otos for example. They have evolved a certain mouth and tooth pattern that enables them to scrape away at algae, they also have a long digestive tract that enables the enzymes to digest the vegetable based foods. Long term feeding on protein rich foods does have a detrimental effect on the fish. A lot of high end Molly breeders feed only algae based foods with added green vegetables and it is shown the females get larger and have bigger broods than those that are on a “normal” tropical food diet. So yes, they will do well on Algae based flakes or wafers. :-)

  • Jenni41fish: @FishObsessed, what about Platys? Should I be avoiding protein rich foods with them as well? Mine will eat anything.

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