Ammonia DIsaster
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Ammonia DIsaster

This is a discussion on Ammonia DIsaster within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Hi and thank you in advance. This is my first post... and an unfortunate one. I have a 60 gallon tank. Filtration includes UGF ...

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Old 03-13-2010, 08:30 AM   #1
 
Ammonia DIsaster

Hi and thank you in advance. This is my first post... and an unfortunate one.

I have a 60 gallon tank. Filtration includes UGF (2 Penguin 60 Powerheads and 2 lines with airstones topped with small charcoal cartridges); 2 Emperor 400 PowerFilters (with Biowheels) each with 2 (Holds 4) charcoal filters). I also have a Magnum 350 Canister is full of a mixture or carbon and calcium chips and a floss filter sleeve).

The bottom of the tank has large polished stone. largest maybe 1/2" diameter. 1.75" average.

The tank has been up for a year.

Here's my problem, and I think I have it solved in my head... but I want your experienced opinions as I am virtually frustrated and sad at the loss of many endeared fish.

First, I love Goldfish of all kinds. I lost every fish. Three different loss cylcles in the last 2 months. I have overcrowded, marginally (but figured with all of that filtration, that I should have been ok). Ammonia has been the culprit. White spots, then fin rot then floaters.

My thought is that the ugf and the volume size of the gravel has been the problem. The amount of waste created by general feeding and fish waste is settling or being pulled to the thick "crevacy" gravel and the natural cycle can't handle the build up of ammonia any longer... I have supplimented with all of the bacterial products... many many water changes... (no lecture necessary).

My solutions.

-Get rid of the UGF. or,
-Get rid of the UGF and leave only a small amount of the pebbles. or,
-Get rid of the UGF and exchange for smaller gravel (waste cant find hiding places as easy? or,
-Get rid of some of the pebbles... keep the UGF add two more powerheads and reverse pump them... constant. (total of 4 reversed). Lose one of the hang on Emperor 400's. or,

-everything in my last thought, but lose both of the Emperor 400's.
-everything in my last thought, but remove some of the gravel and put a finer bed over top of it.

Ok, so somethings to think about.

Now, the next question is... what do I do right now? Do I completely take the tank down and clean it spotless? Do I make one of the above changes and condition the water for a week or so then add fish?

I am so frustrated and sad at the lose of so many fish

Thanks in advance....

PS: I have another successful 125. I have no gravel, no UGF. It's not pretty. Can an aquarium with no gravel be pretty? Your thoughts?

Does anyone know of a good source via parcel carrier for very large healty fancytail goldfish... the particular variety is not a concern. Love them all.

Thanks again,

Rich
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Old 03-13-2010, 09:35 AM   #2
 
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First of welcome tot he forum!

Setting all other matters aside for the moment till I get the big picture....If I understand you correct you are running 4 fairly large filters on this 60g right now correct?
One thing that has not been mentioned at all but would be interesting to know: What's your water maintenance schedule on that tank?

Personally I do not pref bare bottom 'empty' tanks - I like tanks with natural colored gravel and plants better But some people like hot pink plastic flowers rather then natural - So really its all a matter of personal pref.
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:51 AM   #3
 
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Welcome to the forum! I remember reading about UGFs and that the only way to run them and have them be effective was to run them reverse flow. Granted, my reading wasn't that involved as I know I'm not ever going to be running an UGF. An UGF with goldies? I wouldn't think 6 filters could keep up with that bio load.

On your 125, is this a barebottom goldie tank? I'm running a hospital tank right now that is bare bottom and I hate the "look" of it. I will admit that bare bottom is a cinch to clean and maintain. But it's so unattractive. I've put in a mass layer of floating plants, thinking it would detract from the bottom but it doesn't. I'm considering putting in some potted plants, just to spruce things up. Goldies love to munch plants so that may not work in your tank. Goldies won't munch on anubias, right?
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:00 PM   #4
 
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Sorry to hear about your troubles. It must be so frustrating to lose all your fish. So there are no fish in the tank now? I think what I would do in your situation would be to remove the UGF's and replace the large pebbles with smaller gravel. Leave the cannister and 2 Emperor 400 filters. The Emperor 400 are excellent bio filters. As Angel asked, what was your tank maintenance schedule? I've not kept goldfish before but I know they are a messy fish.

Unfortunately, if there are no fish left in the tank now your beneficial bacteria may have all died off and you'll have to cycle your tank all over again.
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:23 PM   #5
 
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You have had some good responses, so I'm only going to add my agreement and mention a couple of points that stand out.

You don't indicate how many fish (we're assuming goldfish), but a 60g is not very large for goldfish, as the goldfish experts here will tell you.

Bare-bottom tanks are worse for this sort of problem because there is no surface for the bacteria to colonize that would otherwise handle some of the organics. The substrate is the most important level in an aquarium because of all the aerobic and anaerobic bacteria that colonize it. Bare tanks need considerably more maintenance to avoid issues. I agree that finer grain substrates work better, preferably small gravel (1-2 mm grain size). UGF is very good filtration although you may want to rethink a UGF depending upon future plans for the tank (plants for instance if you were to go that route with different fish of course would be better with canister filters).

Last point is that filters do not make up for other issues. It is a myth that the more filters the better and the more fish one can accommodate. There are many other things in the water from fish, biologically, that some waste. And filters do not do anything the more there are in this respect. A tank is a balance or biological equilibrium between fish (type, number, size), plants (if present), and bacteria. Adding more filters usually negatively affects this balance rather than assisting it.
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Old 03-13-2010, 03:17 PM   #6
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel079 View Post
First of welcome tot he forum!

Setting all other matters aside for the moment till I get the big picture....If I understand you correct you are running 4 fairly large filters on this 60g right now correct?
One thing that has not been mentioned at all but would be interesting to know: What's your water maintenance schedule on that tank?

Personally I do not pref bare bottom 'empty' tanks - I like tanks with natural colored gravel and plants better But some people like hot pink plastic flowers rather then natural - So really its all a matter of personal pref.
Yes 6 filters. 2- Emperor 400's 1- Magnum 350 and a UGF with 2 Powerheads and two separate airstones.

Maintenance shedule was 35% water changes once per month. 10 gal. 1 per week. 3/1

I was running carbon in the emperors and carbon/calcium in the canister.
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Old 03-13-2010, 03:20 PM   #7
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeaninel View Post
Sorry to hear about your troubles. It must be so frustrating to lose all your fish. So there are no fish in the tank now? I think what I would do in your situation would be to remove the UGF's and replace the large pebbles with smaller gravel. Leave the cannister and 2 Emperor 400 filters. The Emperor 400 are excellent bio filters. As Angel asked, what was your tank maintenance schedule? I've not kept goldfish before but I know they are a messy fish.

Unfortunately, if there are no fish left in the tank now your beneficial bacteria may have all died off and you'll have to cycle your tank all over again.

No fish in the tank :(
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Old 03-13-2010, 03:39 PM   #8
 
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35% w/c on a 60g tank with goldfish really is NOT that much at all. If you decide to restock again I'd strongly recommend something like 40% each week rather (with a good water conditioner).
To start over again with these tanks purchase no 1 I'd do is a good liquid test kit such as offered by Tetra or API so you can indeed check your Ammonia, NO2, NO3 at home as needed each day and if there's troubles on the rise do a w/c.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:39 PM   #9
 
Update:

I ended up completely draining the tank... keeping about the equivalent of a gallon bucket of gravel damp (barely disturbed) aerated in the existing water... keeping my biowheels (4) soaking in the aquarium water as well as all of the filter media... including the reverse powerhead sponge covers...

I added new finer gravel... dechlorinated tap water... and spinked the remaining existing (soaking gravel).

Now... I have two hob emperors with 4 total biowheels (used soaking ones)... and two rUGF.

I allowed the tank to just run for about 2 weeks... and then added two fairly decent sized oranda's.

My ammonia was still higher than I'd like... but finally after daily 25% water changes (from bottom) and two 75% changes... I have it down to .5 with the API kit. All of the other water parameters are in range.

The fish look good and healthy.

One hides until feeding???? Ideas????

Other than that... I think I got this tank under control.

Thanks for all of the grand advice!

Rich
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:07 AM   #10
 
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0.5 ppm ammonia is still higher than ideal, which is zero. I'd continue to do water changes; muscle that ammonia level down to where it barely shows up on the test and your fish will thank you for it.
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