What Are The Perfect Conditions to Make or Keep Fish Healthy?

Perfect Aquarium, Hospital Tank, or Quarantine? Everything Perfect to Make or Keep Fish Healthy

There are a few essential criteria for improving fish health and if you’re not already “doing it thusly” perhaps it’s time. There are TONS of ways to “do it right” but the following is how I treat fish, and house my tropicals. Goldfish benefit from all the same. At my house, this isn’t just for hospital tanks. This is exactly how I keep my community tanks.

A Perfect Environment?

For fish to recover from diseases and disorders they should experience minimal crowding, clean, pH-balanced well aerated water, good food and hiding places. Subtle differences exist in pH requirements among fish but the regular hobbyist will do fine with 'neutral'. 

  • Less than 1" of fish per gallon water in tank

  • 78 degrees Fahrenheit

  • pH regulated to neutral

  • High aeration and pristine filtration

  • Biologically active nitrogen reduction

To provide the ULTIMATE in hospital / treatment tank water, sponge filtration is THE BEST. 
The filter at right fits in a 20 gallon tank but it's made for 120 gallons, and would be many times the needed filtration but you can't have "too much" but here's a link to other sizes with the correct pore size. Aquaneat has the right pore size. 

Sponge filtration is great because it won't suck up the fish, not even baby fish. And it colonizes super fast and it's easy to clean. It runs with an aerator, not electricity. So the "power" is OUTSIDE the tank. Better still, that makes the tank essentially 'silent' but very well aerated. Because the aerators are sometimes noisy, I hide the aerator and run a long supply line to the tank. At home, I run an Aquascape Pro Air 60 with a supply line from outside the house. 
On a small tank use THIS ONE
At right, an air pump good for up to 500 gallons. I own 4 of these 45L units and they run for literally: YEARS

You have to get air from the air pump gang valve to the filter. I really, really like silicon airline tubing and if you haven't used it, you're in for a treat because it has no memory and so when it unrolls is straightens out, and drapes, instead of trying to roll back up. 
At right, is a BIG FAT roll of silicone tubing. You could be two or three PACKS of tubing, or this practically "lifetime supply" roll for about the same money. 

78 degrees is good for any fish recovering from an illness and accelerates clearance of white spot. 78 degrees also bolsters the fish immune response to fungal infections. 
Getting 78 degrees is easy with tank heaters, and my favorite is titanium, with an easy to read LED display and controls ON THE CORD and not on the unit. See the unit at right. It's all that. Also, it's 400W which means in a tank of 20-30 gallons it can hit the mark with minimal "on" time. The heater you see at right is too big for a ten gallon tank. 
You could use one of THESE for a 10 gallon. 

The system you put the fish into has to have biologically active media - beneficial germs that digest nitrogen. It's easy to get these from a healthy system already at equillibrium. Even the pet shop may spare you some media-squeezings.  At right, click the button to read about how to "bio-seed" a new system

There are tons of ways to bring and hold a pH to "neutral" which is the "important" thing. My preference, among LOTS of good ways to peg the pH, especially in a hospital or quarantine, is SeaChem's Neutral Regulator
They make a "liquid" version  but what I have noticed about liquid pH regulators is LACK OF ECONOMY.
Beginners could apply a dose to their tanks once a week and avoid pH issues forever.

So you set up a quarantine or hospital facility and you're seeing cloudiness in the water, and some cloudiness is okay if it's mineral haze but if it's bacterial you need to knock it down. You can use a water clarifier which works AMAZINGLY with a sponge filter as above. In tanks, the one at right (Accu-Clear) is the best. 
There's a POND version of clarifier that works well with a little better economy. 

A substrate in a fish tank or hospital tank also colonizes with beneficial bacteria and is a welcome sight to sick fish. I left gravel behind in my tanks about 6 years ago and never looked back. I use black sand. I've used black Fluorite. It's good too. The thing about black sand is that it intensifies colors in fish and it doesn't coagulate a bunch of fish poop. I get little snowdrifts of fish poop SOMETIMES but normally the poop gets swept up into my sponge filters.  

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This is The LCD Screen Scope
We Did The Tutorial With. I did a twenty page tutorial (Here's the tutorial) with video, audio, images and even little parasite movies to show you how to use a microscope. 

This Filter is Good For BIG Dirty Tanks
I've been wrestling with water quality with the turtles. The sponges work GREAT, but in THOSE turtle systems where they eat MICE the poops are bulky. This filter can handle it. In "Tortu's" tank, it's got an 800 gph pump and it rocks. 

PraziPro for Flukes
They nailed it. Figured out the solubility and worked out the dosing. It works. 

Buy Some Good Koi?
No, this isn't really for the 'high end' collector y'all. But for someone who isn't near a decent garden center, here are "good-to-quite-good" Koi you will like at a very good price. I know these guys personally.

Best Food, Ever
It's made for (and I discovered it for) my Blood Parrots but the small size, intense color enhancers and excellent formulation make it superb young-Koi food. Oh, and it's AMAZING on color-cichlids like Flowerhorn and Blood Parrots. 

Pro Air 60 Aerator is a VERY high output air pump pushing my whole fish room (17+ drops), and I have one at home driving everything there, and I have one as a back up. 

Formalin Malachite (Not dilute)
There are formalin malachite preparations at 10%, 22% and 37%. There's economy in the concentrates. Hard to get Prime shipping because air transport is curtailed. This is a good value on 32 ounces. 

Topical For Koi and Pond Fish Ulcers
I like 7% tincture of iodine because it stains but it's hard to hurt anything with it. Used with a WOVEN gauze, this works well to clean and disinfect a wound. Only use ONCE. Do not 'repeatedly' scrub wounds. 

Confectioner's Glaze 
Is the way to bind a medication to fish food. Gone are the days of paste food and oil. The write up is done, it's RIGHT HERE.

Koi Health & Disease
Hopefully this link takes you to the newest edition by PRIME to get it to your house the fastest. 

I have over ten of these Titanium Heaters in my fish room and at home. They're a paradigm shift in aquarium heating. They're titanium and 400W for under $30! Whaaaaaaaaat?

CyroPro by Hikari is safe and easy for Anchor Worms and Fish Lice.

Whatever heaters you use, back yourself up with a temperature controller, it'll turn on, and off your heaters. If your heater seizes "on" at least the thermostat will stop a tragedy. 

LifeGuard by Tetra is a tablet version of a tame 'chloramine-t' or 'halamid' compound that's easy to get and good on bacterial infections, in baths. 

Antimicrobial
If you're making medicated feed for a larger group of fish, this will come in handy. Dosing is available in the site. 

For me, filtration-of-choice
For aquariums, even small Koi holding facilities or small ponds. These sponge filters are cheap, easy to clean, and they clear hazes very well when used with some Accuclear or similar.

Rubber sided, round, nettable tanks
Make great hospital or quarantine facilities. They SHOULD cost about $200-300 depending on size, but this, lower quality unit (while panned in some reviews) may be good. Don't overfill and make sure it's propped up.

1200 Watt heater, on a thermostat held securely above the waterline, works GREAT as a large tank heater. That's all I'll say because there's risk of electrocution and all that. But then, even in a bucket you could get killed. Sound like fun?
I have several of these ALLIED PRECISION stainless ones that are a couple years old. Working still. 

Potassium Permanganate 
500 grams could be a lifetime supply but it's 50% more than the 100g cost wise, for 500% more amount. Dosing is in the site and the book.

What Does Ajax Eat?
I looked for something well formulated, with meat as the first ingredient. Something UNDER $2/lb and something they could deliver for free. And this was it. He looks and feels great on it.