The answers page. If you do not find what you are looking for here,  please come in and talk to us!                 
It may help if you take some digital photographs to help
you describe any problems / fish .
Please supply as much information as possible. Aquarium dimensions etc.

 There are 2 golden rules to successful fish keeping.
1. Do not over feed your aquarium.
2. Carry out frequent water changes.
2.5 (Oh, yes! Avoid using tap water to clean filter sponges).

Having allowed your tropical (or fancy coldwater) aquarium 7 days to settle and having added 
tap water conditioner, Choose some hardy species of fish that are appropriate for
the size of your aquarium.

At feed time: feed small quantities at a time, watching your fish eat all the food. Allow 1 minute of active feeding for the first 5 weeks of starting a new aquarium. 
Allow 2 - 3 minutes of active feeding in a mature aquarium.

Fortnightly water changes of 25% of the aquarium. OR if time does not allow fortnightly changes,
we suggest change 50% of your water every 4 weeks (monthly),
preferably using a gravel syphon if you have a gravel substrate.

Simple! Now apart from allowing your fish plenty of room in a suitably sized aquarium, you should be able to enjoy healthy fish in a healthy aquarium for many years.
Other more detailed information below!

 
                                                           FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Here are a number of small information/subjects. They are brief and cover only the basic important points
of the subject. More information is available by asking a staff member.
 1) HOW MANY FISH AND WHAT SIZE?  2) HOW MUCH WATER DO GOLDFISH REQUIRE?
To ensure a large margin of comfort for your fish,
we will recommend.
Goldfish: Allow min 10 litres per fish. Minimum temporary aquarium size 20 litres. change to larger tank ASAP. Fancy goldfish min. 15l each.
Tropical fish: 1cm of fish per litre of water (60 litres = 60cm of fish)
Max fish size (1:10) a 6 cm long (body). = 60 litre aquarium.

Experienced fish keepers (at their own risk) sometimes choose to exceed these levels. This is possible but may reduce the safety comfort margin of the fish.

Fish compatability: Like most animals, fish have variations in their social habits. We can offer advice but are unable to offer guarantees of compatability.
Territorial disputes can be a cause of disruption within an aquarium, it can help
to reposition decor when introducing new fish.
The internet can offer some usefull advice when researching new species.
When cared for, goldfish can live for over 20 years. We advise you to allow your young 5cm goldfish a minimum of 10 litres of water each.
(30 litre tank = 3 goldfish) As your fish grow they will require a larger aquarium.
There are 2 types of Goldfish.
Common
(slim single tail)
& Fancy (twin tailed round bodied.)
Common goldfish may live in an unfiltered aquarium. (weekly water changes)! All Goldfish benefit from the addition of a filter.
The fancy goldfish require filtration and lots of swimming space.
We offer the advice that: 'mixing the 2 types can sometimes result in the fancy species being denied the ability to feed, by the faster common species'.
 With care aquarists can achieve this mix safely.
NOTE: Correct feeding and regular water changes are the key to goldfish health and successful fish keeping. Sinking (best) or floating granular pellet foods and occasional frozen foods, are all that is required to keep your goldfish healthy.
(small goldfish = 6 granules per fish per day)
3) NEW FISH FOR YOUR AQUARIUM  4) ACCLIMATISING YOUR NEW FISH
Having set up your new aquarium, you should wait 7 days before adding your first fish. This tests the aquarium equipment and the integrity of the glass aquarium. It also allows the 'filters bacteria starter culture' to start maturing the aquariums filters. Most Local Councils issue licences to pet shops that include the condition of 'use best practice' (this means do not hurry and take the care of the animals welfare to be top priority). All shops have to comply with this rule.

We have colour coded many fish price tags. You should start by adding a small number of yellow labelled fish: these are the hardiest species that will tolerate tiny amounts of ammonia and nitrite. (common during the filter maturing period). after 4 to 5 weeks your filter will be mature this is when white label fish can be added. With experience you can add the green labeled fish
(do some research first) use test kits to monitor water quality.
Carefully and promptly, take your new fish home.
Open the fish bag and add 1/2 a cup of aquarium water from your aquarium. Wait two minutes, add another 1/2 a cup repeat this proces 4 or 5 more times. This will equalise the water chemistry, as well as the temperature. Now gently allow the fish to swim into the aquarium.
Keep the lights off for 1 hour.

To help prevent territorial bullying, reposition some decor in the aquarium. Observe your fish over the next few days for signs of stress.
As fish have individual charicteristics occasionally compatibility issues can occur. We are available for advice if required. Best practice is to quarintine all new stock for 7 days prior to adding
 to your main aquarium.
 5) FRIENDLY / HARMLESS BACTERIA  6) AQUARIUM MAINTAINENCE
Nature has evolved a specilised bacteria that breaks down dead organic material. Both the leaves from the trees and the waste from your fish will be broken down into increasingly less dangerous compounds by 'Bacteria'. In your aquarium
These, 'Nitrifing bacteria will colonise your filter media, as the filter pumps water through the media, the nitrifying bacteria absorb the waste products. They convert fish waste in the form of 'ammonia' into 'nitrites' then the nitrites are converted into 'nitrates'. This removes the toxic effects of the waste. To colonise a filter completely takes 4 to 5 weeks. During this time it is important not to over feed or over stock your aquarium. Bacteria will be killed if exposed to tap water, so always clean any reusable filter media in used aquarium water, not under the tap.
Changing up to 50% of the aquarium water monthly, ( or 25% fortnightly) will ensure the gravel substrate is free from excessive detritus and maintain the health of your aquarium fish.

Use a gravel cleaner to drain the water from your aquarium. When used thoroughly over the aquarium gravel it will remove the detritus that has accumulated. Replace water with heated and dechlorinated tap water.

Excessive algae or snails are often a sign that the Aquarium gravel has not been effectively maintained.
 7) ALGAE IN THE AQUARIUM  8) SNAILS IN THE AQUARIUM
Algae is a naturally occurring plant life. Just like any other plant, algae requires a few things to thrive. Including: light, water and food. The control of algae is a simple process of controlling these 3 parameters......Lighting should only be on for 6 to 8 hrs per day. Water changes should be carried out regularly, Minimum 50% per month using a gravel syphon. This will remove the fish waste, within this waste are the nutrients that the algae will use as a food source. In tropical aquariums, Sucker mouth catfish (pleco's), snails and algae shrimps may also help control algae.
NEW INFO: An incredibly effective new algicide has been developed that is producing outstanding results. See instore for details.
Snails are a natural part of every eco-system,
though unsightly they cause no harm to fish or plants.
They can be introduced to your aquarium as eggs or live baby snails in bags of fish, plant or gravel. they are opportunists, they will multiply in a similar manner to mice, when there is an excess of food they will breed to use the available food source.
To eradicate the snails you must reduce excessive feeding and ensure that regular gravel syphoning is carried out to remove the excess food. Botia loaches or assassin snails (cannibal snails) can also be used to eradicate snails if required.
 9) AQUARIUM MINERAL SALT  10) PLANT GROWTH AND CO2
As rainfall percolates through soil and rocks it absorbs natural minerals and salts, This water ultimately enters the water table where the fish utilise the minerals for their health. Tap water has a low mineral content.
The addition of Aquarium salt adds minerals to the aquarium, providing electrolytes and helping the fish produce oxygen through their gills.
The addition of one teaspoon of 'aquarium mineral salt' per gallon of aquarium water will ensure mineral balance in your aquarium. Particularly good for livebearing fish.
In addition to adequate light & a liquid fertilizer, plants will grow at an accelerated rate by the addition of CO2. Aquarium plants absorb dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) and convert it into carbohydrates through photo-synthesis. This energy is stored in the stems, leaves and tubers, fuelling growth as required. It is only consumed during photoperiods when light is available (on). CO2 levels can be increased to improve plant growth rates by a new daily additive that has been producing outstanding results. Come instore to see our demonstration aquarium set up. Cost approx 5p per 100l per day.
 11) AQUARIUM WOOD. (& decor)  12) WATER PUMP & POWER HEAD CARE
Having selected your aquarium bogwood, we would encourage you to spend a little time ‘processing’ it before adding it to your aquarium. Bogwood can release tannin’s into your aquarium. Tannin is completely harmless though it may discolour your aquarium water to a yellow tea colour. To help prevent this, soak the bogwood in a bucket of water for a day or two, scrubbing it a few times during each day. Before adding the wood to your aquarium, pour a kettle of boiling hot water all over it to seal the wood pores.
Slate & Rocks: To test the suitability of rock & slate, add a strong vinegar to the item. If it bubbles and reacts...do not add it to your aquarium, as it may alter the water chemistry.
A water pump is a critical peice of equipment.
Consider the availability of spares 'at short notice' when purchasing your pump or. Consider having a spare pump.
Regular maintenance is required on all underwater pumps and power heads. unplug, then remove the pump and disassemble. This should expose the 'impeller', remove this, taking care to retain any washers and end caps. Using a cotton bud clean the impeller well and the impeller blades/magnet, reassemble carefully. this should be carried out every 8 weeks. This may also be required if the pump stops working due to grit / gravel entering the pump and jamming the impeller
                                                  The chemistry  of water management
BUTTONThe graph and information show how nature has provided a simple solution to
'what do we do with all the waste'?
2 types of bacteria will naturally inhabit your filter (during 5 week maturation period) and provided there is a flow of oxygen rich water, they will 'eat' 'convert' 'breakdown' (any term you prefer) the waste and turn it into Less harmfull compounds including Nitrate & a little plant food.

                   These graphs and charts may look daunting at first glance,
                                  they are easy for us to explain to you instore.
                            The aquarium nitrogen cycle (How your filter matures).
NITRIFICATION CYCLE
THE NITRIFICATION CYCLE   (graph above)
AMMONIA (NH4) IS PRODUCED BY FISH AS ‘WASTE’ & BY DECOMPOSITION OF FOOD aAND ALSO AS A BY-PRODUCT OF FISH
RESPIRATION. THIS WILL ACCUMULATE IN THE AQUARIUM UNTIL: WITHIN YOUR FILTER ‘NITRASOMONAS’ (NITROSPIRA) BACTERIA WILL GROW AND MULTIPLY. THEY WILL CONSUME (CONVERT) ALL OF THE AMMONIA. BUT PRODUCE NITRITE (NO2) AS A WASTE PRODUCT. THIS WILL ACCUMULATE IN THE AQUARIUM UNTIL: A SECOND ‘NITROBACTER’ BACTERIA WILL MULTIPLY WITHIN YOUR FILTER, THEY WILL CONSUME (CONVERT) ALL NITRITE AND CONVERT IT TO NITRATE NO3. (THIS IS PARTLY CONSUMED AS A PLANT FOOD BY YOUR PLANTS). NITRIFICATION IS COMPLETE WHEN LEVELS OF AMMONIA AND NITRITE ARE ‘0’.
YOUR FISH MAY BE STRESSED IF NH4 (AMMONIA) OR NO2 (NITRITE) LEVELS = 1-2PPM.
PROBABLY DAMAGED OR WORSE IF LEVELS REACH 5PPM.
HOWEVER NITRATE (NO3) CAN BE TOLLERATED BY MOST FISH PAST 50PPM.
A TEST KIT WILL ALLOW YOU TO MONITOR ALL LEVELS, ENSURING A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR YOUR FISH.
test kit chart
Having tested your aquarium water for the main test parameters. The graph above will show you the relative comfort margin of the aquarium for your fish. As we have seen in the graph above the waste product of the aquarium is 'converted' to NO3 Nitrate Via the 2 stages of Ammonia (NH4) and Nitrite (NO2). Try to maintain your aquarium at the safe level where possible. However, straying onto the 'caution' area is a reduction in the comfort of your fish and should be remidied as soon as possible.
                                                                 Test kits
Api Colour test chart
As you can see from the picture shown, By completing the series of tests in your kit. (Here we have used our standard test kit) you will have 4 test tubes filled with test solution. after waiting the few minutes for the reaction
to take place, the results will present themselves. All tests
Vary from close matches to the comparison chart (see Ph 6.8 with the 1st test tube) To 'the colours are different' (see
test 3 (NO2)) Where there is very little accuracy in the
colours, However we can see the intensity of colour. So, we
can deduce that the reading is towards the higher figures at
the high test response colours. with NO2 anything over 1ppm Requires action, so 1 or 5 action is still needed.

NOTE: WE CONSIDER ONLY THE AMMONIA AND NITRITE TESTS IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO RECOMMEND THAT FISHKEEPERS SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO. REGULAR WATER CHANGES AND CORRECT FEEDING, SHOULD REDUCE THE NEED FOR pH & NITRATE TEST KITS.
Other information you may find useful.
What does 'brackish water' mean. for (spotted & fig 8) Puffer & other fish species?
Puffer fish are often refered to as 'Brackish water fish'. Brackish water contains between 0.5 and 30 grams of dissolved salt per litre of water, more often expressed as 0.5 to 30 parts per thousand (ppt). Thus, brackish covers a range of salinity regimes and is not considered a precisely defined condition. It is characteristic of many brackish waters that their salinity can vary considerably over space and/or time (seasonal). The area Pufferfish are found typicaly contains between 0 to 4 ppt. 0 during the wet season when freshwater is flowing down the 'Mekong' river, and up to 4 ppt during the dry season, when the slower river allows 'salt water creep', some sea water to make its way partly back upstream. This salt content can be reintroduced to the aquarium by adding 1 teaspoon of mineral salt per gallon of aquarium water. (This will not adversly affect most medium size community tankmates). Though care should be taken to research suitable tank
mates for the occasionally unpredictable pufferfish. (there are many 'pure' freshwater puffer species).
After adding new fish
After following the step-by-step Acclimation Procedure for your new fish, here are a few tips we recommend to make the transition to its new home as stress-free as possible for your new tankmate:
-Provide plenty of hiding places for your new arrival. Rocks, plants, and sheltering areas will reduce aggression and stress in the aquarium.
-Maintain good water conditions through proper maintenance to ensure a healthy environment during this stressful period.
-Try to add more than one fish at a time to an established aquarium. The chance of one particular individual being singled out and harassed will be minimized.
-Always feed your aquarium before any new fish are introduced. This will help to reduce aggression toward new tankmates.
-Rearrange decorations in the aquarium before the introduction to distract existing fish and remove established territories.
 This will help the new fish by putting it on equal ground as new territories are developed by all tankmates. By following these tips and adhering to the other pre-introduction principles of proper selection and acclimation, your new and existing tankmates will have the best possible opportunity for a smooth transition with minimal stress.
OUR LEGAL COMPLIANCE:
All retailers are obliged to conform to the 'Animal welfare act 2006'.
Part of the act (part 4), is important for retailers:
Part 4. section (2) A person commits an offence if—
(b) an act, or failure to act, of another person causes the animal to suffer,
(c) he permitted that to happen or failed to take such steps (whether by way of supervising the other person or otherwise) as were reasonable in all the circumstances to prevent that happening.
When we ask questions before suppling any animals it is to ensure:
Animals we supply are going to a suitable aquarium with appropriate capacity and equipment.                  
And to help ensure they are free from un-necessary stress and are cared for. to conform to the 'Animal welfare act 2006'.


Southend Council have adopted the ‘Model conditions for pet vending licensing 2013’

We engage with the licensing dept. to ensure that we comply fully with the Councils conditions.

Our part in this: Occasionally we are informed by our customers things like
'we only change water 'once per year'. 'We never use tapwater conditioner' 'I only have a 4 litre bowl for a goldfish.
We are obliged (where possible) to give advice that is deemed 'good practice' when advice is being sought from us. We fully understand that there are many ways to successfully care for home aquariums. Fish keepers from the 50's and 60's successfully kept and bred fish without the equipment and advances in modern equipment we have today. However we hope all of our customers can appreciate that we have to give advice (when asked and therefore in a supervisory role) that is based on modern day 'best practice' and that conforms with the 2006 Animal welfare act, 2013 & model conditions for pet vending licencing and the current trading standards acts.