Interesting tank issues (at least to me)
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Interesting tank issues (at least to me)

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Interesting tank issues (at least to me)
Old 11-20-2012, 03:33 PM   #1
 
Interesting tank issues (at least to me)

Hello all,

Hope you all can shed some light on this for me. I'm on well water, but had some failed attempts at starting an aquarium due to water quality issues. Apparently the water in my area is very acidic, was coming out of the tap below 6, then would rise to near 8 over time. I was also having some iron issue in the water as well. So I spent the cash and had this...

WaterSoft Inc. :: Products :: Provectr® Iron/Sulfur Treatment

installed on the house, which seems to have eliminated the iron in the water and has helped the ph out a lot, as it comes out of the tap about a 7.2 then settles to about 7.5(near as I can tell). SOOOOO, moving on....


like I said, I had some failed attempts at restarting an aquarium due to water quality issues and I left the tank sitting for awhile, had water in it, before I took it all down,and had a new aquarium stand made for it. Set it up, washed the gravel I had been soaking for like 3 days into the tank, filled it up, put the filters on and let it run for about a week. During that time I ordered and pieced together an auto top off using a float switch, water pump, and 5 gallon bucket. Over the second week, I put in a few plants (amazon swords and some thin sword grass) and tested the water. Wow, the ammonia was super high, almost off the chart of my api test kit. I knew the thing had been dirty, but was surprised by this. So at this point, I cleaned the gravel (more) during 3 water changes over about 5 days, but didn't appear to get much of anything out of it, still read high on ammonia. So I changed all the filter media and let it run for a few more days. Approaching week three and a huge water change, I found the ammonia to be down to 2 ppm, nitrites about .50 ppm, nitrates to be 20 ppm. This part confuses me, as I've never had all three readings before. So my question is... what to do now? The gravel is clean, the filters are all fresh, plants are new, other then pieces of drift wood that I've soaked in water before putting back in the aquarium for a few days, nothing was in the old setup that is in there now.

Water tests like said before...

ammonia - 2 ppm
nitrites- .50 ppm
nitrates- 20 ppm
ph - 7.5
General Hardess/KH both came in at 3 drops or 71.6 ppm

Im using an API test kit that has cards for saltwater aquariums as well, it's right at a year old now (should I replace it?)

It's a 75 gallon aquarium, I'm running a Fluval 405 canister filter, Aquaclear 110 HOB filter, two Lustar number 5 sponge filters stacked on top of each other with a 660 powerhead pulling through them. I also have a number 3 sponge filter with air stone, but I took it to my parents and put it on mom's 10 gallon tank to cycle it for a few weeks while I got my tank set up.

I've tested the water straight out of the tap, and no ammonia/nitrites/nitrates were found.

So what do y'all think?


Thanks in advance,


John
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:45 PM   #2
 
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Hi John, sorry to hear about your ammonia issues. I'm sure someone here will be able to offer some advice. It's a little out of my depth. But I had to say great username! Second only to ninjablackghostknife, in my books.



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Old 11-20-2012, 03:56 PM   #3
 
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I am guessing this was a second hand tank. From what you are seeing I would believe it was used for either mice or reptiles. Your levels would be fine for a plant only tank. The only other things I would put in water with those levels would be goldfish, turtles, and frogs. You could do a wonderful half and half set up in a tank that size.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:10 PM   #4
 
Haha, thanks for the compliment Canadian Fish.

Yes, Blackfeet, it is a second hand tank. To my knowledge, it was only used as a fish tank, but I bought it off a guy who didn't know anything about fish keeping and the tank originally belonged to his grandfather who had recently died. Again, to my knowledge, hard to say what he actually did with it, but that's the story I was given. I really don't want Goldfish, I'd really like some normal tropical fish to put in there, assuming I can get the water parameters inline.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:33 PM   #5
 
I would go with a planted tank with reduced or no water changes. the plants will condition the water so fish can live for years and years.


my .02
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:52 PM   #6
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beaslbob View Post
I would go with a planted tank with reduced or no water changes. the plants will condition the water so fish can live for years and years.


my .02
So I should just throw a bunch of plants in there and let them do their thing? Any particular write ups/ articles you like on this topic, or do you have some advice of your own? I'd want easy care plants, nothing that's going to get too complicated.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:48 PM   #7
 
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I think we need to go a bit further into this before thinking of fish.

How did you wash the tank, meaning, were any chemicals/bleach/vinegar etc. used?

All filter media should be replaced with new; never use media from someone else's tank, you've no idea what it might contain.

Same for substrate; toss it out if it came with it. Gravel and sand will adsorb substances that may leech out much later, and here again you've no idea what chemicals or substances may have come into contact with the substrate. You can use sand for the substrate if you intend a planted tank, or fine aquarium gravel. These will be expensive from a fish store, but there are cheaper alternatives. I use play sand from Home Depot or Lowe's. Some substrate fish will be better with sand too.

This is a freshwater setup, so test kits for saltwater will be inaccurate. Invest in the API Master Combo, it contains pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate which are you you need. The GH and KH of the source water is also critical. I've no idea on the linked water treatment apparatus. Does this treat all water in the house, or can you use water from the well without it going through this? I would have the well water tested for GH and KH; and the water after it passes through this filter device. The API GH/KH test kit is fine, or perhaps you can take water samples to a reliable fish store to test; if the latter, make sure you get the numbers, insist on it. "Hard" or something does not tell us what we need to know.

Byron.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:07 PM   #8
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
I think we need to go a bit further into this before thinking of fish.

How did you wash the tank, meaning, were any chemicals/bleach/vinegar etc. used?

All filter media should be replaced with new; never use media from someone else's tank, you've no idea what it might contain.

Same for substrate; toss it out if it came with it. Gravel and sand will adsorb substances that may leech out much later, and here again you've no idea what chemicals or substances may have come into contact with the substrate. You can use sand for the substrate if you intend a planted tank, or fine aquarium gravel. These will be expensive from a fish store, but there are cheaper alternatives. I use play sand from Home Depot or Lowe's. Some substrate fish will be better with sand too.

This is a freshwater setup, so test kits for saltwater will be inaccurate. Invest in the API Master Combo, it contains pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate which are you you need. The GH and KH of the source water is also critical. I've no idea on the linked water treatment apparatus. Does this treat all water in the house, or can you use water from the well without it going through this? I would have the well water tested for GH and KH; and the water after it passes through this filter device. The API GH/KH test kit is fine, or perhaps you can take water samples to a reliable fish store to test; if the latter, make sure you get the numbers, insist on it. "Hard" or something does not tell us what we need to know.
.
Byron.

To wash the tank, I just used lots of water and paper towels to wipe out the tank. no cleaners.
The gravel was my gravel that I had, no cleaners, just soaked and washed in lots of water.
Filter media was all new when I set it up, nothing from their tank. (nothing except the tank its self came from their tank) I purchased filters, heaters, lights, decorations, etc.
The test kit tests for both fresh and saltwater. It tests for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, ph, high ph, gh/kh
The filter treats the whole house.

I can no longer use water straight from the well, but it was told to be very acidic, high iron, sulfur, and very hard. Well, I know it had iron, not sure how high, but it had it, and I could smell the sulfur sometimes when outside.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:49 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhNoFive0 View Post
To wash the tank, I just used lots of water and paper towels to wipe out the tank. no cleaners.
The gravel was my gravel that I had, no cleaners, just soaked and washed in lots of water.
Filter media was all new when I set it up, nothing from their tank. (nothing except the tank its self came from their tank) I purchased filters, heaters, lights, decorations, etc.
The test kit tests for both fresh and saltwater. It tests for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, ph, high ph, gh/kh
The filter treats the whole house.

I can no longer use water straight from the well, but it was told to be very acidic, high iron, sulfur, and very hard. Well, I know it had iron, not sure how high, but it had it, and I could smell the sulfur sometimes when outside.
That at least rules out some possibles. So back to the ammonia, we have Blackfeet's comments and that is something with which I have no experience.

I see we had the GH numbers, sorry, missed that before. I would be a bit concerned as to what the water device might be adding to the water to deal with the original minerals and to raise the pH. Have you by any chance had a professional lab test the water, perhaps to ascertain it was/is safe to drink? Those results might tell us something.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:06 PM   #10
 
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
That at least rules out some possibles. So back to the ammonia, we have Blackfeet's comments and that is something with which I have no experience.

I see we had the GH numbers, sorry, missed that before. I would be a bit concerned as to what the water device might be adding to the water to deal with the original minerals and to raise the pH. Have you by any chance had a professional lab test the water, perhaps to ascertain it was/is safe to drink? Those results might tell us something.
To be honest, I'm not sure exactly how that system works other than it sucks in a lot of air, oxygenating the water causing ________ to happen to the iron, which then allows it to be filtered by the gravel like media it houses. I haven't had the water tested, I just assumed it would be safe to consume since it's a purpose built house filtration system (and it tasted a lot better), not some rigged set up that Billy-Bob said would work. I guess I'll see if I can get the water tested and see where I stand.

Thanks for the help.

John
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