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In Case of Emergencies - Please Read Before Posting

Discussion in 'Fish Keeping Chat' started by LinznMilly, May 13, 2020.

  1. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Likes Received:

    There's nothing more worrying than noticing your fish is sick, especially if you don't know how to help it yourself, and it's frustrating when you post asking for help, only to be bombarded by an interrogation. We understand that and we sympathise, but in order to help you, we need to know some basic information about your set up, and the only way we can do that, is by asking you questions.

    With that in mind, I've written this post in an attempt to help you get the advice and support you need ASAP. These are the questions we will be asking. If you could Copy and Paste them into your post, it will save us all a lot of time and get you the much needed advice sooner.

    1) How big is the tank? (in litres, gallons, or physical dimensions length x width x height)
    We ask about tank size because the smaller the tank, the quicker things can go wrong. Knowing tank size or volume can also help us work out medication dosage, if necessary.

    2) How long has it been set up? Could you tell us the make and model of the filter?
    This is in two parts;
    A) Age of the set-up gives us a vague indication of how likely the tank is to be fully cycled. For example, if you've had the tank for 2 weeks and got fish a day after the tank, we know you're 2 weeks into a fish-in-tank cycle. Plus, the newer the tank, the more likely it is that it's a causative factor in the problems you're experiencing.
    B) Knowing the make and model of the filter can help us work out if it's appropriate for your tank and stocking.​

    3) Did you cycle it before you added the fish? (Cycling involves adding a source of ammonia to the tank and testing daily until ammonia and nitrite return to 0ppm and you have a nitrate reading. This process takes weeks - not days. You can find a link with more information on cycling here).
    This is related to Q2.

    4) Do you have any test results for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, (in ppm or mg/l - "water parameters fine" doesn't tell us anything) pH, GH and KH? Also, details of the test kit you're using will be beneficial, too.
    Another question that has multiple parts.
    A). Water quality problems (ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate) are the single biggest causes of illness and death in the hobby. "Fine" is subjective, we need the actual results.
    B). PH, GH and KH, collectively known as water chemistry, affect the toxicity of any water quality issues. Plus, fish kept outside of the parameters they've evolved for are more susceptible to problems
    C). Dip strip tests are usually less reliable than the liquid tests, and you usually have to buy a separate kit for ammonia (which makes absolutely no sense to me, but then I don't work for a test kit manufacturer), so if, for example, your fish are showing all the signs of nitrite poisoning, but the kit says it's 0mg/l, we'll take that into account but advice you do a 50% water change anyway. :D

    5) Could you give us a full list of tank inhabitants, including species and numbers?
    It's important to know then full stocking of the tank for a number of reasons;
    A). To rule in or out the possibility of overstocking
    B). To ensure that any treatment we advise is safe for all species - for example, there's no point in advising a copper based treatment if you have inverts or sensitive fish in the tank, because it'll kill them.
    C). To rule in or out any compatibility issues.​

    6) When was the last time you did a water change? How much, and did you use dechloronator?
    The day-to-day running of the tank doesn't change much, which makes water changes the most common variable in the hobby. It's the one part where we can screw up - forgetting the dechlorinator is just one part. Also forgetting to plug the filter back in, like I did, 5 weeks ago :Bag

    7) When was the last time you added anything new to the tank - fish, inverts, decor Did you quarantine them? If so, how long for? You can find more information on quarantine here

    Adding new fish (or any inverts or decor that was in a tank with fish) can come home sick. Fish shops and suppliers often keep diseases under control by using UV sterilisers, which can mean the fish have no immune system to speak of, which means as soon as they come off UV - like your home aquarium, for example, they have no defences against any and all diseases out there. Plus, any immunity they have gained is put to the test with the stress and shock of transport.

    If you put them straight into your main tank, any diseases they come with can quickly lead to a tank-wide problem.

    8) Could you post pics? Mainly of the fish in question, but also of the tank. Sometimes a member might spot something that you may have overlooked.

    9) Anything else you think we need to know? The emergency, the history, etc.

    I know - it's like ringing 111, isn't it? You want to know what that growth is on the fish, or why the fish's tail is in ribbons, and we're asking apparently irrelevant questions about ammonia and tank sizes. But just like the urgent care number, the answers to the questions may not seem relevant to you, but there's every chance they could help us pinpoint the problem and give you the information you need to sort it.

    Thank you for helping us to help you. :)
    #1 LinznMilly, May 13, 2020
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
  2. George Duke-Cohan

    George Duke-Cohan PetForums Member

    Mar 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    I have to say that this post is much needed. Especially with newbies. Amazing detail and well explained. Now I can just say "Please read this post" rather then listing all the questions again and again. Thanks, loving the revamped guides. :Happy
    Magic Waves and LinznMilly like this.
  3. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Thank you.
    Magic Waves likes this.
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