Do the typical household fish stress if the tank is not cleaned?

Tank water was pea green and smelled.
Fish were eating good, swimming and in general nothing was wrong with them. No sores or dead ones or anything. They were just hard to see.
Some fish like dirty rivers.
Can go salt water to fresh and back.
Survive when heavy rains make their clear stream muddy for a week.

Does a fish ( I know not to put human emotions on a fish for Ogs sake but hang with me here.) feel better in clean water or whatever water it naturally prefers?

Has this ever been studied?

I just changed the filter on our little tank that the wife likes. I am a bit anal about not letting it get dirty but I have seem some… But the fish are fine for years… What is the straight dope?

You can easily quote for us the species that can survive those conditions. You can easily name the species in your aquarium. I’m betting they’re not the same.

Yes, you’re going to have to list the species in your aquarium to know what suitable conditions for them are. Goldfish, which are a kind of carp, are going to be much more tolerant than fish that live in clear streams. Some fish need well-oxygenated water, others like bettas can get oxygen from the air.

Another factor is that if conditions change gradually - say the water started off crystal clear, with pH of 7 and no algae in sight - and over several months it became swampy, then some fish will acclimate, even if those conditions are not ideal for their species.

Also, as Colibri mentions, some species are pretty much the cockroaches of the fish world: not because they are nasty, but because they’ll survive almost anything.

I used to have a Discus tank.
When the water got old, the fishes eyes would start to get cloudy. After I changed the water, and ran my activated charcoal filter, their eyes would become clear again.

Do not do any thing abrupt, like a major tank cleaning. That will stress the fish. Instead do a partial water change, just scoop some water out and replace that with clean water. Let the filter do its work, keep the filter clean. Then do another partial water change. If it is a 10 gallon tank, take out a gallon or two first. Wait a few days, change another couple of gallons. The filter and the water change should clear up the tank.

There is a symbiotic relationship between the stuff growing in the water and the fish that live in the tank. It is best not to disturb this with drastic water changes. Depending upon how good you feel about your tap water, just fill up a gallon container or whatever and let it sit overnight. The chlorine will evaporate. You should not put tap water directly into the tank, although I have done so but have very clean spring water.

If the fish seem distressed then more radical measures might be needed. But if they seem alright slow changes are best. Get an algae eater or a few bottom cat fish. Depends on how much room you have, they will help keep the tank clean.

And over feeding is the biggest problem that owners of home aquariums have. You will never starve your fish to death. Repeating, you cannot starve your fish to death. Leaving for the weekend? Need someone to feed the fish? No you don’t, just don’t feed them. Leaving for a full week? Same answer, just don’t feed them.

Fish are not cats, or children. Without knowing a thing about you or your fish tank routine, you are probably feeding them too often, too much.

I’d be more concerned about what you are doing to the filter - you don’t want to do anything disrupt the bacteria in such a way that you’re killing it. Lots of fish are fine with green/murky water, if fact some species prefer turbidity from what I’ve read. Some fish don’t like turbidity at all though. Other fish really don’t give a fuck; they just want to eat and shit and be left the fuck alone and not have any one tell them they’re loading the dishwasher incorrectly. I don’t know of any common aquarium fish that can withstand excessive ammonia and nitrate spikes.

Well, I reread my post and I can see where it could be assumed it was my tank that was green. Nope!!
But I know the tank in question and the owner well.

I could name fish that do salt and fresh, clear and muddy if necessary due to weather, clear only and muddy only or art least have the preference. But I ain’t going to. So there. Some ignorance a person just has to live with or fix themselves. I am old nuff that what I know is only found in museums of old wrong beliefs.

Lot of good info in the thread, advice and a couple new parts I did not officially know other than common sense, of which I have only a little.

Our little tank, 10 Gal. I think, 2 goldfish (carp), 3 small catfish and 2 baby bass looking fish which are the biggest.

I have heard that most fish will not out grow the tank (space) if fed correctly. ( Not too much as said up thread about over feeding.)

Filters = $$$$$ so I make my own and change after 2 to 4 days.
Scrub walls and stuff at 5 to 8 day intervals and then everything in the tank comes out every 30-40 days. all cleaned including bubble bar and submerged filter pump.

Water is added as needed all along and on the big clean, ¼ to ½ of the water will be changed.

Seems to work good. Water comes from the refrigerator filter to a Brita® pitcher to people & animals & fish. (Yeah, I am fussy about water in my delicate condition of ‘old age.’)

So far so good for about 10 years.

Wife bought a Betta which lasted about 10 hours after we got home with it. Put it in a smaller tank right next to the gold fish tank and it died. WOW!! No idea what got it, I suspect there was something about the water or a few seashells and stuff she added. That stuff had been washed, was old and had been soaking for months, then rinsed before going in the thank. But he/she/it died and wife was not happy camper but I had nothing to do with it so I was innocent thank goodness.

I still wonder what level a fish knows or is aware of things with no more brain than it has. They do have enough brain power to be a fish, that much I think is correct.

Do they find edible scraps at the bottom of the tank? Else how would the fish maintain energy metabolism? I used to religiously feed my goldfish twice a day. They got fat and big - maybe I was overfeeding them?

Goldfish/carp and many catfish are pretty tolerant. There are a lot of “bass-looking fish” so I couldn’t say about those.

That’s basically an old wives tale. Fish won’t grow larger than their tank because they will die before that. They could, however, become stunted due to inadequate food and the build up of waste products.

The natural habitat of bettas is stagnant water and as I mentioned they are capable of breathing atmospheric air gulped from the surface. So it does sound as if there was some chemical involved in killing it so quickly.

Fish don’t ‘grow to the size of the tank if fed correctly’. That’s a myth. While there are thought to be a few species that release hormones that can affect growth into the water, and so stop growing if the hormones reach a certain density, however, this is not something all or even most fish do. No catfish or goldfish do. What you’re doing is, I’m afraid, maltreating them so they’re stunted.

10 gal is far too small for the fish you currently have; the normal rule is approx. 1 inch of fish per gallon of water. A healthy goldfish is more than 5" at full size. Whatever the ‘baby bass looking things’ are, they shouldn’t be in there, and are unlikely to live long.

Never rinse a filter under the tap, the point of filters is to build colonies of bacteria which break down the ammonia/nitrites, and the chlorine in tap water will kill them. Swoosh them out in tank water occasionally to remove built up gunk, but that’s it. They shouldn’t be changed every 2-4 days. Do you mean you’re literally throwing the old one out and putting a new one in? What on earth are you doing that for? If they’re getting gunky that fast, it’s because your tank is badly overstocked and the filters are not getting chance to build up the bacterial colony they’re designed to maintain.

There shouldn’t be a ‘big clean’ changing half the water. Dead tough fish like goldfish will survive, but ‘will survive it’ is a pretty poor target when it comes to caring for pets. Brita filters are not designed to remove chlorine or other chemicals toxic to fish. They’re intended to make your water taste good, but that’s not the same as making it suitable for fish. Again, goldfish will survive being exposed to chlorinated water, but it’s far from good for them.

I’d highly recommend doing some research into how to keep fish before buying anything else, especially tropical fish. Keeping goldfish alive is easy, it doesn’t mean that’s how you’re doing it is right.

Yeah, goldfish will eat whenever you feed them, but they simply excrete food undigested. Somewhere between once a day for young fish and twice a week for adult ones is normally reckoned as about optimum. Leaving them for a week is fine.

Being poikilothermic (‘cold blooded’) they expend very little energy in comparison to endotherms like us and have a far far slower metabolism.

Altho I agree overfeeding is a hundred times the problem that not feeding is, and they can easily go a few days or even weeks, however- tropical fish can starve.

I would agree with everything Filbert says, but I’ve also come to the conclusion that fishkeeping is weird and a lot of things that should not happen do happen; such as these goldfish that lived an incredibly long time in dubious conditions.

But I would still err on the side of not doing things that are commonly known to cause the fish to suffer.

Given the conditions and the fact that they’re surviving in them I’d guess the “baby bass” fish are oscars. Those fuckers can survive almost anything. Then again, the fact that there are still other, non-baby bass fish still living makes that identification less solid because oscars are mean little bastards that kill basically everything aside from plecos and snails. But looks-wise, it’s a good guess.

Lots of Cichlids look like baby bass. Baby bass also look like baby bass.

I don’t think baby bass get sold in pet stores though.

Baby bass don’t. I think that generally oscars and goldfish prefer very different water conditions, which goes to show what fish can get used to given gradual change.

If the betta died that quickly, I’d say your water is pretty extremely out of whack. As mentioned you have too many fish for the size of the tank, so I would guess too much ammonia and nitrates. The pH has likely swung pretty widely too. One way to find out is to take a small sample to a store that sells fish. They will test the water for you and tell you.

It would be pretty unusual, that’s for sure, but if you go to a site like NANFA you see some pretty odd stuff end up in feeder fish tanks.

I would also guess it’s an Oscar.

I had Oscars once, they killed a couple snakeheads I put in with them (this was a long time ago when you could still buy snakeheads at the aquarium).

My sister had one of those black and red oscars that systematically killed off everything but a couple snails in its tank and got enormous–it was a huge tank and the thing was massive. She’d feed it flies by swatting them then tipping them off the flyswatter into the tank. Got that ridiculous fish trained so every time you waved a flyswatter it would book it up to the hatch in the cover for a treat. Then one morning she woke up and the thing had managed to leap up hard enough to dislodge the tank cover and beached himself on the carpet. Dead by morning, the idiotic critter. You had to admire its dedication and strength though. That tank cover was heavy.