Rainbowfish with bulging eye?

Ouse

Woke up this morning to see a neon rainbowfish with a pink, swollen eye. These are the best pictures I could get:

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She is eating and swimming as usual; no difference in behaviour. Any idea of what it could be and how to treat it? Thanks.

Edit: I think it might be exopthalmia. It's only affecting one eye on one fish so it might be from an injury rather than poor water chemistry.
 

MacZ

exopthalmia

Scientific for popeye. Which is just a symptom, similar to dropsy a symptom of a bacterial infection.
The picture is less than clear.

Anyway: Waterchanges. High volume. Can you please use the emergency template? Any other steps depend on too many questions, that are all in the template.
 
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Ouse

Scientific for popeye. Which is just a symptom, similar to dropsy a symptom of a bacterial infection.
The picture is less than clear.

Anyway: Waterchanges. High volume. Can you please use the emergency template? Any other steps depend on too many questions, that are all in the template.
I’m in school right now so I’ll have to fill in the template and get better pictures when I get home. I would’ve looked into the problem deeper but the school rush got in the way. Sorry.
 
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MacZ

It's absolutely fine. I understand, I am a teacher.
 
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Ouse

Here is a better image of the fish. Ignore the plastic mess she is in; I question my sister's choice of decor too:

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Here is the template:

Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? 15 gallons (60l).
How long has the tank been running? 5 months (has had fish for around two).
Does it have a filter? Yes, Fluval U3.
Does it have a heater? Yes.
What is the water temperature? 28⁰C (I can't get it to lower so I might have to get a new heater if this is a problem).
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) Seven dwarf rainbows and three emerald cats.

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Weekly.
How much of the water do you change? 40-50%.
What do you use to treat your water? Prime.
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Just the water.

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Fishless cycle.
What do you use to test the water? NTlabs Aquarium Test Kit (drip).
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0ppm or 0.25ppm (hard to read)
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 10ppm
pH: 8.0 (higher than the usual 7.5).
* These were taken before the 70% water change I just did now.

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? Once or twice daily.
How much do you feed your fish? Enough to be eaten within a few minutes.
What brand of food do you feed your fish? King British flakes and catfish pellets, Fluval Bug Bites and Tetra FunTips.
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? A frozen cube of brine shrimp or daphnia on occasion.

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? Two months.
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? This morning.
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Bulging eye with some surrounding pinkness; looks like popeye.
Have you started any treatment for the illness? 70% water change just now; no meds.
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No.
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? No difference in behaviour in the fish with popeye, although another fish isn’t schooling with the rest.

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now) I woke up this morning to find a female dwarf rainbowfish with a swollen eye. It looks to be popeye, likely the symptom of an infected injury as only one eye is affected and the other fish don't have it. The fish is eating and swimming as normal.

I tested the parameters to find a trace of green in my test kit's ammonia test and the pH being higher than usual. Then I did a 70% water change. Now I'm writing this after just doing the change. I'm yet to test the water again but something strange had happened...

Edit: the fish I mentioned isn’t schooling looks a bit bloated and is breathing heavily. I think something is in the tank that is infecting the fish. This had to happen while I’m managing my awful cichlid tank...
 
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MacZ

What is the water volume of the tank? 15 gallons (60l).
[...]
What is the water temperature? 28⁰C (I can't get it to lower so I might have to get a new heater if this is a problem).
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) Seven dwarf rainbows and three emerald cats.

Slightly overstocked and temp too high. Higher temperatures promote bacteria growth.

Edit: the fish I mentioned isn’t schooling looks a bit bloated and is breathing heavily. I think something is in the tank that is infecting the fish.

Yep, this is a bacterial infection, then. The 70% wc was a good idea. I'd do 50% changes daily for the next 3 days and observe. Until then it either has gotten better or more specific symptoms have shown up.
 
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Ouse

Slightly overstocked and temp too high. Higher temperatures promote bacteria growth.



Yep, this is a bacterial infection, then. The 70% wc was a good idea. I'd do 50% changes daily for the next 3 days and observe. Until then it either has gotten better or more specific symptoms have shown up.
The heater was actually set to 25°C the whole time so I think it might be broke in some way. I lowered the setting but I can only wait and see if it makes a difference later on. If not then it will need replacing.

Ever since the 15 gallon cycled water quality hasn’t been an issue up until now. I might fast the fish or at least feed less throughout the bacterial infection just to keep things in check.

I’m also currently euthanising the fish that seems to have dropsy as a symptom. I think once my betta is gone I’ll use his tank as a hospital so I don’t have to kill fish whenever they fall ill. At least the fish that’s being euthanised will wake up in heaven...

Anyways, thank you so much for your help. :happy: The hobby is stressing me out as of late and then this bacterial infection decided to come along. When I find a new home for my fish currently in the 60 gallon I can move my other fish around to lower the stocking density.
 
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Ouse

Update: the eye of the fish with popeye is less pink now and the fish is still behaving as normal. I didn’t feed the rainbows today.

Ever since I turned down the heater setting the thermometer is now reading a temperature in the mid 20’s. I removed the thermometer from the tank and the reading lowered even further, so the issue is with the heater, not the thermometer. Although the temperature is around 25°C now I had to turn the heater setting to below that.

I’m going to do a 50% water change using the gravel vacuum later but first I have to eat dinner and wait for my sister to finish things so I’m not in her way and vice versa.

There’s lots of other things I want to do to turn this tank around but I’m not allowed.
 
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Ouse

Update: the bulging of the eye is noticeably smaller than before. The fish is still schooling and eating as normal and I fed the fish this morning.

I did a 50% gravel vacuum yesterday. The tank temperature is now 25°C.

Is there an indication of when I should stop doing daily water changes or should I do them until the popeye clears?
 
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Pfrozen

Great advice here and now your fish is healing :) awesome to see.

I would continue with what you're doing until your fish is fully healed.
 
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Ouse

The fish with the bulging eye is looking a bit bloated and is breathing fast. She's still schooling and eating as usual though. Is this a sign that I should euthanise her or just continue doing what I'm doing? I don't see why she's looking worse than before despite me doing daily 50% water changes and the eye previously healing.
 
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Ouse

I just got back from school and the infected fish is still noticeably bloated. Isn’t the only treatment for dropsy an Epsom Salt bath? If so then I will have to euthanise because I’m in no position to do that.

Edit: I’m euthanising the fish. Upon closer inspection the other eye is beginning to bulge and she is getting worse. Current symptoms are heavy breathing, popeye in both eyes and dropsy.

I think the pH spike was caused by dissolved calcium in the tank because when I was previously scrubbing the glass some of the limescale that forms at the surface must have went into the water.

Anyways, I give up. I’ve lost to this bacterial infection and I’ve lost two fish. My sister’s tank is in an awful state. There are so many things that could have caused this to happen and it might even not have been the sudden pH spike on it’s own. I must pray hard that another fish doesn’t become infected otherwise the whole tank stocking might die inevitably.
 
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MacZ

Problem is: Dropsy is just a symptom.

The cause of the symptom directly is starting kidney failure, in almost all cases rooted in a non-specific bacterial infection and/or inner parasites (the question which of these is the primary or secondary infection is almost impossible to answer).
Epsom salt baths make use of the fishes osmoregulation to get water that is collecting in the fishes body cavity out with osmotic pressure. They can relief the swelling, but that's pretty much it.

The proper treatment for the bacterial infection is either waterchanges and dialing down pH or an antibiotic. The latter is likely not to get in your country that easily and if you find a vet that is willing to prescribe: Is it worth it to pay around 100,- (service fee + actual meds) for a fish worth 5,-?

Try if a few more days with waterchanges might work. If that doesn't work eunthanising is likely your only option.
 
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Ouse

Problem is: Dropsy is just a symptom.

The cause of the symptom directly is starting kidney failure, in almost all cases rooted in a non-specific bacterial infection and/or inner parasites (the question which of these is the primary or secondary infection is almost impossible to answer).
Epsom salt baths make use of the fishes osmoregulation to get water that is collecting in the fishes body cavity out with osmotic pressure. They can relief the swelling, but that's pretty much it.

The proper treatment for the bacterial infection is either waterchanges and dialing down pH or an antibiotic. The latter is likely not to get in your country that easily and if you find a vet that is willing to prescribe: Is it worth it to pay around 100,- (service fee + actual meds) for a fish worth 5,-?

Try if a few more days with waterchanges might work. If that doesn't work eunthanising is likely your only option.
Thanks so much for this. Before you posted this I begun euthanising, but this information will be handy for future reference. I’m well aware that dropsy is a symptom by now.

Perhaps I will have to lower the pH. It suddenly rose from 7.5 to 8.0. How can I lower it? I’ve heard that botanicals are effective but they require a thin layer of sand, so they’re no option.

I’ll test pH now.
 
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MacZ

I’ve heard that botanicals are effective but they require a thin layer of sand, so they’re no option.

A leaf litter bed requires sand, that's right, but botanicals in genreal do not. But the KH decides everything. Just look through my several explanations I posted here the past 2-3 weeks.

So test your KH, then you will know more.
 
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Ouse

I’m bad at doing KH tests but tomorrow, when I have the chance, I will do one. I get criticised for overreacting to the situation by others so it limits what can be done.

The ill fish has been euthanised and the rest are asymptomatic. I tested the pH and it’s still at 8.0. It hasn’t budged since Monday when the daily water changes begun, so that KH is very important to consider.
 
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MacZ

With 8 pH it's safe to say KH is all but low.
 
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Ouse

KH = 11dKH
 
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MacZ

Thought so. It's not bad for most rainbows. The idea of getting the pH down was to counter bacteria infections. So... yeah... just keep up with the waterchanges and keep the tank clean. Should be enough to prevent more cases.
 
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Ouse

Today is weekly water change day anyway. Is 11dKH bad for cories?

I assume the rise in pH and KH caused the infection. Since Monday I’ve been changing the water by 50% daily so I’m not sure why the pH (and likely KH) has remained this high for all that time.
 
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MacZ

Is 11dKH bad for cories?

Not optimal, but unless they're wild caught leave things as they are.

I assume the rise in pH and KH caused the infection. Since Monday I’ve been changing the water by 50% daily so I’m not sure why the pH (and likely KH) has remained this high for all that time.

I think it would be interesting to know the KH level from before. Anyway, with that KH, pH will just settle at about that level. Read up on the equilibrium of KH, pH and CO2.
I don't think it caused the infection either. The fish already had the infection (popeye being the proof).
 
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pagoda

Probably a silly question but have you checked the pH of the water before it goes into the aquarium?

Water companies are notorious for altering and adding things without notice or warning....especially when they decide to run pipe cleaners through the underground pipework and the water goes completely haywire for a few days (Yorkshire water are bad at doing it so as someone who lived in Bedfordshire many years ago, I imagine your sister's waterworks might have been toyed with too)
 
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Ouse

Not optimal, but unless they're wild caught leave things as they are.
I’m not sure if they’re wild caught or not but I think my LFS usually stocks captive bred fish.
I think it would be interesting to know the KH level from before. Anyway, with that KH, pH will just settle at about that level. Read up on the equilibrium of KH, pH and CO2.
I’ll do some research on this.
I don't think it caused the infection either. The fish already had the infection (popeye being the proof).
I would’ve imagined that the rise in pH played a part. The original high temperature likely did however. I did suspect that the popeye was caused by an infection entering an injury around the fish’s eye.
Probably a silly question but have you checked the pH of the water before it goes into the aquarium?
7.5 out of the tap.
I imagine your sister's waterworks might have been toyed with too
We’re in the same house using the same water. I don’t think anything has been toyed with as the pH in the other aquariums is still 7.5. I still have reason to believe that limescale got into the aquarium when I scrubbed the glass, otherwise I’m not sure why the KH rose.

Thanks again!
 
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MacZ

I’m not sure if they’re wild caught or not but I think my LFS usually stocks captive bred fish.

If it's on of the standard species (like C. aeneus, panda, trilineatus, pygmaeus, sterbai etc) they are very likely tankbred. While they would profit from softer water, they're fine.

I would’ve imagined that the rise in pH played a part. The original high temperature likely did however. I did suspect that the popeye was caused by an infection entering an injury around the fish’s eye.

The temp is really the likelier explanation, yes.

We’re in the same house using the same water. I don’t think anything has been toyed with as the pH in the other aquariums is still 7.5. I still have reason to believe that limescale got into the aquarium when I scrubbed the glass, otherwise I’m not sure why the KH rose.

Have you tested the KH of the tap?

Just for reference, test your tap at least every three months. I myself do a quick runthrough once a month, just to stay on top of changes, as I know our water comes from 3 different sources and is mixed from these sources in different ratios as needed. All info I get from the provider are the year's average, for some parameters they also give the min/max. But that is all and the range can be wide.
 
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Ouse

If it's on of the standard species (like C. aeneus, panda, trilineatus, pygmaeus, sterbai etc) they are very likely tankbred. While they would profit from softer water, they're fine.
They are emerald cats (C. Splendens).
Have you tested the KH of the tap?
Not yet, but I’ll do that now!
Just for reference, test your tap at least every three months. I myself do a quick runthrough once a month, just to stay on top of changes, as I know our water comes from 3 different sources and is mixed from these sources in different ratios as needed. All info I get from the provider are the year's average, for some parameters they also give the min/max. But that is all and the range can be wide.
This is very useful. When I get a new test kit I will do this. I don’t want to allow myself to run out of the reagents in my current one; the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH reagents are at least half empty now.

It might be useful for me to learn about my water provider and how they do things.
 
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pagoda

This will sound really daft but have a look inside the kettle in your kitchen as that is a really good indicator of excessive KH....heavy scaling is a red flag

Ordinarily scaling on the aquarium shouldn't make that much difference unless the KH is very high from the tapwater....hence why washing machine, kettle and other electrical water boiling/heating elements die early, cos too much KH = heavy scaling and that screws everything up...including aquarium heaters cos the scaling can also affect the internal thermostat on an aquarium heater
 
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Ouse

I‘m confused... the tap water has a dKH of 13? :confused:
This will sound really daft but have a look inside the kettle in your kitchen as that is a really good indicator of excessive KH....heavy scaling is a red flag

Ordinarily scaling on the aquarium shouldn't make that much difference unless the KH is very high from the tapwater....hence why washing machine, kettle and other electrical water boiling/heating elements die early, cos too much KH = heavy scaling and that screws everything up...including aquarium heaters cos the scaling can also affect the internal thermostat on an aquarium heater
Limescale forms at the surface of the aquariums (especially in this one) and sometimes around the base. It also forms on the taps and in the sinks. It’s in the kettle too; I just checked and saw limescale in there. I didn’t expect the dKH from the tap to be so high though. Why might it be 11 in the aquarium but 13 in the tap?

Warning! Silly question incoming: do higher temperatures encourage limescale growth?
 
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pagoda

Water heating will encourage scaling...its why kettles etc need replacing so often in high KH areas. Even though aquariums are never boiling water, the fact that the water is warmer than the pipe supplying it, means scaling will happen faster and often thicker than average

The slight reduction in the aquarium from the tap is likely due to the various additives, plants etc that soften it down a tiny amount
 
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Ouse

Water heating will encourage scaling...its why kettles etc need replacing so often in high KH areas. Even though aquariums are never boiling water, the fact that the water is warmer than the pipe supplying it, means scaling will happen faster and often thicker than average
Hopefully now that the temp is lower than before the limescale will be less of a problem. Maybe this is why the heater is acting strange; to be 25°C I had to set it to 18°C. I might replace it.
 
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pagoda

Hopefully now that the temp is lower than before the limescale will be less of a problem. Maybe this is why the heater is acting strange; to be 25°C I had to set it to 18°C. I might replace it.

I would definitely replace the heater as its probably ruined the inbuilt thermostat thanks to scaling build up

Bedfordshire is built on clay soil, hence why around Stewartby area there are old brick pits that are now lakes....the county was world renowned for making red bricks. The water company uses high levels of calcium beds at the waterworks to run water through before treating ready to be piped to households. I used to go through a kettle every 6 months in Bedford (Manton Heights/Brickhill area) whereas now in Yorkshire a kettle lasts 3 to 4 years....its all down to the water, how its treated and what they add into it.
 
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carsonsgjs

I would definitely replace the heater as its probably ruined the inbuilt thermostat thanks to scaling build up

Bedfordshire is built on clay soil, hence why around Stewartby area there are old brick pits that are now lakes....the county was world renowned for making red bricks. The water company uses high levels of calcium beds at the waterworks to run water through before treating ready to be piped to households. I used to go through a kettle every 6 months in Bedford (Manton Heights/Brickhill area) whereas now in Yorkshire a kettle lasts 3 to 4 years....its all down to the water, how its treated and what they add into it.
Yep, as a general rule oop north have softer water, daan south have harder water. My tap water gh and kh changes by the week though - gh has been as high as 10 and as low as 4. Kh hovers around 3-5.

definitely sounds like the heater needs chucking though.
 
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Ouse

My area of Bedfordshire is very chalky. I’m near Luton in an area with multiple chalk pits. Befordshire doesn’t sound like the best place to be a kettle! :D

I can go check my LFS, which sells heaters.
 
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pagoda

My area of Bedfordshire is very chalky. I’m near Luton in an area with multiple chalk pits. Befordshire doesn’t sound like the best place to be a kettle! :D

I can go check my LFS, which sells heaters.

Since you have the white stuff in abundance, your LFS should be able to advise on the best heater that will last longest in the water state.....but tbh you are quite likely to be replacing the heaters in all aquariums every 6 to 8 months cos scaling is a killer to all heating elements and thermostats
 
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Ouse

I’ve had my 30 gallon and 60 gallon heaters for much longer than six to eight months. I think right now scaling is only an issue in my sister’s tank because the temperature was so high and limescale is noticeably more prominent in this tank than the others. Maybe I can get new, better thermometers too, which I would like to do.

Should I keep doing daily 50% water changes on this tank or can I continue to do them weekly again?
 
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pagoda

I’ve had my 30 gallon and 60 gallon heaters for much longer than six to eight months. I think right now scaling is only an issue in my sister’s tank because the temperature was so high and limescale is noticeably more prominent in this tank than the others. Maybe I can get new, better thermometers too, which I would like to do.

Should I keep doing daily 50% water changes on this tank or can I continue to do them weekly again?

I would be inclined to do 3 or 4 more daily changes to make absolutely sure all is well, then go back to weekly changes. As for the heater failure.....it is most likely scaled and killed the thermostat (the thermometer should have picked up the temp increase but it would have only been noticed at the time or if checked on a daily basis, so no telling really when the heater thermostat went nuts)

Once back on the weekly routine, just make sure your sister is more vigilant...or if she is not keen on that then you need to be, just to be certain the issue has infact been handled and the eye issue wasn't anything more sinister than the KH and heater failure.
 
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Ouse

Encouraging my sister to actually check in the fish is a challenge, and I find myself doing it much more than her, although at the cost of being shouted at. :) She must understand that there’s more to the hobby than putting fish in a tank and never observing them again.

I can’t actually be sure if the KH rose or not because I never tested it before. It’s definitely high though, and I’ve learned lots from you and MacZ about KH today.

I’ll continue doing daily water changes for the next few days and I’ll look into replacing both the heater and thermometer. While my sister is downstairs I will go change the water now.
 
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Ouse

New heater has been added and is set to 24°C. It’s 50 watts and is the same make as the heater in my 30 gallon, which is doing well.

Superfish tanks are known to me for having very bright lights. Are they also known for making poor quality heaters?
 
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pagoda

New heater has been added and is set to 24°C. It’s 50 watts and is the same make as the heater in my 30 gallon, which is doing well.

Superfish tanks are known to me for having very bright lights. Are they also known for making poor quality heaters?

Superfish are good as basic/starter equipment in my experience. I use JBL heaters, used them for many years after trial and error with other manufacturers.
 
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MacZ

Superfish tanks are known to me for having very bright lights. Are they also known for making poor quality heaters?

Bright lights, my behind! :D They usually have less lumen than comparable lights.

I have a superfish heater, somewhere in my box with replacements. It was ok, but it already had a damaged coil when I got it. If possible I prefer Eheim, right now I'm using a Juwel.
 
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pagoda

Bright lights, my behind! :D They usually have less lumen than comparable lights.

I have a superfish heater, somewhere in my box with replacements. It was ok, but it already had a damaged coil when I got it. If possible I prefer Eheim, right now I'm using a Juwel.

Aquarium lighting is a right royal pain in the rear imho

All of my aquariums came with the "supplied with kit" lighting....so bright that I got a headache, nevermind the poor fish who scattered behind everything they could find to get away from it.

All my aquariums have exactly the same lighting unit...a Nicrew 20cm long, MCR that I can fade right down to "cloudy day" level - cost 14 quid each unit, one unit per aquarium. Cos no matter what people who design aquarium lighting might think, it is NEVER bright sunshine every single day in every single country all the time. The light is very small yet gives enough lighting to have brighter spots and shady spots all over the aquarium....the fish are hyperactive, what real plants I have (frogbit) thrives nicely and no glaring bright lights giving me a headache :)

The lighting that came with the aquariums is stuffed away in the cupboard along with the supplied heaters and internal filters as emergency spares.
 
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