Struggling to maintain a community

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by Kels, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. Kels

    Kels Small Fry

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    Hi Guys,

    I have recently gotten back into the hobby, and I have had my tank up and running for about 6 months now. I have changed the landscape about 4 times (keep changing my mind) but it has always been a planted tank. I have recently added more plants into it, as it was looking a bit sparse.

    My original setup was as below:
    4 leopard danios
    4 pink danios
    4 male guppies
    2 ancistrous

    After they were in the tank for a while, I had only lost a few fish (within the first few days, so maybe the shock got to them, I'm not sure) I tried to keep a gourami pair, but they got some white spots on them (not ick) and I treated the tank as instructed, yet they still perished ( :'( ).

    I currently have a few "hardy" fish, but seem to be losing fish semi regularly, not sure to what. I do regular water changes (about 20% every 2 weeks), "clean" the filter every few months, try to make sure that I dont overfeed (one flake per fish!), yet I have algae (green on the side of the tank, and black little fur balls that spread like wild fire despite my best efforts...) and a dead fish every few weeks :(
    The light is on from 6:30am - 4pm daily, sometimes a bit longer if I forget to switch it off, but I am debating changing this from 4pm - 10pm - thoughts?


    Currently I have:
    2 Octocinclus (I think thats what they are, terrible with names...)
    1 Ancistrous
    1 Leopard Danio (little W**ker of a fish...)
    4 neons

    About a month ago, i bought 6 neons. Found one dead about two weeks ago, and another one today while i was cleaning the filter (he was actually in the filter, could have gotten stuck in there? not sure... not the first fish I have found in the filter.)

    I have those water testing strips, and everything seems to be fine in the strips,
    pH is +/- 7.0
    nitrates and nitrites are 0
    GH and KH are both around 7
    temp is on 26.
    2 lights, one is an Aqua Glo, and the other is a bluish light, I cant remember the name, and I cant see it on the bulb at this moment.


    Is there anything glaringly obvious that I'm missing? I love my fishies, and everytime I lose one I am incredibly sad...

    Sorry for the crit wall of text here, just trying to give as much info as I can.
     
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  3. Jwh

    Jwh

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    Nitrates at 0 is unlikely, the strip tests are notoriously inaccurate. The blue light likely fuels algae growth, sounds like you may have black beard algea, post a photo, and read the algea thread on how to deal with this., you may have to do a blackout

    my experience with neons has never been great, I've also had them drop dead for no apparent reason, you filter inlet should have an grid like guard on it to protect fish from being sucked in.
    i would suggest getting a more accurate test kit, and change the blue light for white or pink, clean you filter monthly, do weekly waterchanges.
     
  4. butcherman

    butcherman Administrator

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    how big is your tank and what filtration are you running?
     
  5. Jas

    Jas

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    i agree with the above. for the time being take a sample of your tank water to a lfs to do a nh3, no2 and no3 analysis. i just feel that you have the lights on for too long. 8 hours is enough. Was the tank cycled before adding the fish? seems like your tank is still cycling. what substrate are you using? are you using driftwood? was it prepared for use? let us know what the results of the analysis is.
     
  6. Broder

    Broder

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    Every time that you uproot and change your tank there is likely to be a minor ammonia spike in a new tank. Not definitely, but probably. Let things settle for a few months. I agree with losing the blue light. You should clean the first section(sponge or wool) section of your filter every other week depending on how quickly it clogs up.

    Are you you treating your new water for chloramine?
     
  7. f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    Just checking the obvious here ... you wear cloves when you work in the tank? I get the feeling sometimes that females carry more chemicals in the form of perfume, nail polish and hand cream etc than males. Also be sure that you do not expose the tank to other cleaners in the house, things like wood polish, glass cleaner etc.

    If the above checks out then start looking at the tank.

    Later Ferdie
     
  8. DoubleDutch

    DoubleDutch Corydorasfan(atic)

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    How and when do you clean your filter ??
     
  9. OP
    Kels

    Kels Small Fry

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    Wow thanks so much for all of the replies!!

    Pics for reference:
    Tank in totality: Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
    Lights: Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
    Algae: Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet

    Cycling through:

    I wasnt aware of this, I will see what I can do with the light, the one seems to be a purplish glow (the Aqua Glo) and the other is a whiteish (could be blue not sure), Pic above.
    I have the ViaAqua, and the inlet is too small to suck in fish (unless its fry), only place they can go in is if the filter is submerged, at the top. I need to cover this, will do this soon.
    I will definitely start cleaning it more regularly, I was initially advised to clean the filter every 3 months, and the water changes once every 2 weeks once the tank has been fully cycled. Will adjust accordingly :)


    Tank is roughly 103l, running a ViaAqua 902.


    Will take a water sample to my lfs for a test, have also in the past 6 weeks or so reduced the light from 12h (initially was advised this), to 10, but I am then definitely going to reduce this further - thanks!
    I am using black sustrate with the plant food one too, the name escapes me... I cycled the tank for two weeks before adding in fish, I had it running, and I also put plants in in order to introduce some kind of an eco system initially before the fishies arrived. The plants came in at the end of week 1, fish at the end of week 2.
    Driftwood yes, soaked for approx 2-3 weeks before adding into the tank, boiling hot water every few days. I have just put in some new stuff, but only roday read about the salt, should I remove it and soak it again with salt? It has only been in a few days, but the middle bigger piece has been in for months.
    Will keep you guys informed of the results :)


    I hadnt considered that either. I try to do a light gravel vac with my water changes, would this also affect the spike? There is normally a lot of gunk that comes up through the vac, but luckily it is 90% contained to the cleaner.
    I am not, I was told that our water here is fine right ot of the tank... guessing thats another load of BS I was told :( I stay in Durbanville, and i know CPT's water is notoriously soft. ButI guess the chloramine is more reffering to the chemicals in the water. I will ask at my LFS if they have the stuff that can remove this from the water before adding it into the tank.
    I am quite happy with my setup now, so its unlikely to change much, I might add a plant or two, but I wont uproot everything. I normally just move some plants around, nothing too hectic when I change stuff, but I guess this would still cause a spike.


    I dont wear gloves no. I had also never considered that, but I dont often wear perfume, hand cream etc. I do have acrylics on my nails, but those are sealed in with a UV gloss - its not going anywhere lol. I am very anal about only using fish stuff for my tank and to avoid any cross contamination.
    What do you mean about the tank? or is this only reffering to the things above?


    I clean the filter only after I have done a light gravel vac and removed the water from the tank. I take the filter apart and give it a light rinse in the water that I took out of the tank, I dont add in any water into this, and then once that has been done, put it back in the tank.
    Tank has been up and running for about 6 months, and I cleaned the filter for the second time today (was told every 3 months or so is fine)
     
  10. Broder

    Broder

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    Your LFS will prolly recommend a product that treats chlorine in the water. Check the label to ensure that it also treats the more poisonous chloramine. Seachem Safe is one such product.
     
  11. Linxie

    Linxie

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    Won't be the nail polish... I wear nail polish (only wear perfume for work and hand cream after I've done dishes)... when working on a tank, wash my hands and rinse them thoroughly and don't wear gloves... it won't be the nail polish.
     
  12. GregM

    GregM

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    Hey, I agree with all the wise people here.

    Sounds like a lot of light and the less desired spectrum thereof.

    Weekly water change for sure, not based on the level of waste but to even things out and prevent extremes, either up or down. How do you clean your filter ?
     
  13. Chris_H

    Chris_H Discus for Life

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    I scanned a bit and did not see (or missed) anyone ask how often you do water changes and how you do it, like adding anything to the water or standing it over night to get rid of chlorine. Also, how often do you clean the filter as GregM asked, a canister filter needs to be cleaned regularly.

    On that tank I would change 30L water weekly and do a filter clean every two weeks (remember to clean the filter in the water you removed from the tank to make space for fresh water, never wash filter material in fresh water). For changing water, all I would do is add prime to the 20L jerry can and add warm enough water to it, stand for an hour and add to the tank.

    Vacuum of the sand/gravel you can do once a week if you like, this will not kill beneficial bacteria. Also ditch all the water testers, they are bad and give wrong readings, the only ones that work are the expensive lab testers.
     
  14. GregM

    GregM

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    @Chris_H agreed. The reason I asked about the filter is that if the internal filter there is your only filter and you are washing it out under the tap to clean it, you will be effectively killing all the good bacteria in your filter materials which could explain the fluctuations in levels and certainly the algae blooms. Your tank would effectively have no means of converting the bad chemicals into good ones. Constantly cycling in a sense.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016
  15. OP
    Kels

    Kels Small Fry

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    Thanks! I know my LFS is a Seachem stockist, so they should have it :)


    Definitely sounds like I need to change the light, going to be looking into this next month.

    As mentioned before, I do a light gravel vac, and that then siphons about 20% of the water out of the tank, then i take the filter apart in the old tank water and just swoosh it around in that to loosen any excess gunk and then put that back together and in the tank.

    Yea Im sure I mentioned it, but I think it was in another post I made yesterday (scatter brained :) ). When I bought the filter they said its a very low maintenance one, but I guess they all say this lol. so up until this point I have cleaned it twice. Once after 3 months, and then now again. So I am definitely going to be cleaning it more often.

    Going to be going through to my LFS on Saturday and getting some Chloramine to remove the chlorine from the water as someone else suggested.

    Luckily I only have three strips left lol... but definitely going to be relying on the LFS more accurate water tests to give me the readings I need.
    You are closeby to me (im in Sonstraal heights), what LFS do you use that is reputable, and had a good range of healthy livestock? :)


    Definitely not washing it out under the tap, luckily I learned that lesson a very very long time ago when I first had my tank up and running (around 7 years ago). So I got that going for me I guess... lol :)

    Sjoe, so much learning to do! Love it!
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  16. Chris_H

    Chris_H Discus for Life

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    :D I will PM you the LFS details. They all pretty much use the chemicals that aren't that accurate, but it is still free so go have a look. For the chloramine and chlorine neutralizer you can get PRIME as I mentioned. It works very well. I use the larger 500ml bottle in two months on my large tank lol)

    Seachem. Prime
     
  17. OP
    Kels

    Kels Small Fry

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    Thanks very much :)

    So when I next do my water change on Saturday, I should use the prime (tank is only 130l so I guess I will just follow the instructions on the bottle hehe), and should I then let the water stand for a while before I put it in the tank?
     
  18. Chris_H

    Chris_H Discus for Life

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    Yeah, one cap full of 5ml will treat 200L of water, so get a smaller bottle and use about a quarter cap full, you can use the screw rings on the inside to estimate. Put the Prime in the bucket or whatever first, put in the water which will mix the lot and let it stand a bit so the prime can start working and you are good to go.

    Edit: only treat the new water, not the full tank. so you will treat for 30 to 50L, and not 130L
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  19. OP
    Kels

    Kels Small Fry

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    Ah yes that makes sense, especially because the water that I put in yesterday would have started cycling already and should therefore already have effectively been "dechlorinated"

    Thanks! :)
     
  20. GregM

    GregM

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    Second that. Great product, pricey but worth it.
     
  21. Chris_H

    Chris_H Discus for Life

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    It takes about 24 hours or the water to be chlorine free, but the chloramine will still be there, which is also pretty bad. So the fish got chlorine poison, which is now gone, but is still getting poisoned by the chloramine :(
     

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