My Green Hell, please help? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-12-2009, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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My Green Hell, please help?

So about 2 years ago now I got a 10 gallon wal-mart tank set, the kind with a light hood and hang on filter and a single goldfish and snail. It took a while to get it cycled but eventualy all was well. Nice white sand, fake black plants, Peanut the fish and Herbert the snail...very zen and all was well. Then about a year ago I got a hair alge bloom that lasted about a month and moved into a green slime type alge. The glass was opaque, the white sand became a solid fused crust of green black alge that I could only break up and throw away and Herbert was a green mess. All the while doing 2.5 gallon weekly water changes. Eventualy the sand got low enough that I just had to leave the last bit in, I scrubbed the front glass pane clean and it stays clean for a week or too then over a week goes from clear to totaly opaque. Herbert died, maybe old age or maybe high nitrates. Peanut doesnt mind because now the walls are edible. But my zen tank is now a green black hell.

My stats as of posting are:
Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 40-80 (its hard to read the card, as I cant even tell the difference between colors on it in that range)
Ph = 7.6
Temp = 71F
2, 10watt CFL bulbs
1 happy goldfish, 1 sad owner, -1 snail.

Ill add also, about 9 months ago I tried some algecide to no avail. 6 months I got 2 walmart snails who died after about a month, either from traces of the algecide or high nitrates. Now Im sure the algecide is cleared out but I dont know about the nitrates and theres no use in trying another snail if hes just gonna become slime covered. I also use poly fiber fill as a prefilter in my filter because with this much alge the main filter pad gets over run.

Any Ideas? Thank You
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-12-2009, 08:58 AM
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Welcome to the forum! From the way you describe it your 10g sounds awful. I've no experience with "slime" algae but I have plenty of experience with brush algae. What is your lighting period/schedule on this tank? I'm not a fan of chemicals as far as treating anything in a closed system and there has got to be a better way
I know someone(s) here will be able to assist so don't give up!

PS. Once you get this cleared up and you're ready to add another fish stay away from goldies. They produce too large of a bio-load for a 10g, not to mention their adult size is much too large for that size of a tank.

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-12-2009, 10:02 AM
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Aunt kymmie has started us off down the correct road. Don't ever use chemicals to correct problems (not referring to medications here). There is always a reason for trouble, and the solution that most benefits your fish is to find the cause and correct it.

Algae is a plant, and it requires light, CO2 (carbon dioxide) and nutrients to live. Algae occurs naturally, but when excessive means too much light and too many nutrients. Reduce the amount of light (don't have the hood light on so much, and don't allow direct sunlight to reach the tank, perhaps shade the tank a bit from window light--any of all of these might be called for depending upon your situation). Don't overfeed the fish. And as AK said, goldfish are heavy on the bioload. Regular partial water changes (minimum once a week is fine) are essential, but change more than 2.5 gallons of water each time. I would change 40-50% of the tank volume weekly, and thoroughly vacuum the bottom when you do. Use a good water conditioner.

The high nitrate reading indicates a high bioload and that insufficient water is being changed in porportion. One of the main purposes of regular partial water changes is to reduce the nitrates that naturally occur and increase in any biological system. With a weekly change of 40-50% you should see the nitrate number lower. At 40ppm it is not toxic to most fish, but that is as high as most authorities recommend, and it is better to keep nitrates no higher than 20ppm.

Brush or hair algae must be removed by hand to get rid of all that you can. The above info will prevent it from becoming a nuisance (a little bit on wood or rocks looks natural). Slime algae should never return, that is a clear signal of too much light and nutrients. Good luck.

Re the snails, I would go with the smaller species like pond snails and Malaysian livebearer snails. They will graze the algae and consume any uneaten food, but not contribute havily to the bioload. With a pH of 7.6 I'm assuming the water is hard rather than soft, so you should have no problem keeping snails as they will have the necessary calcium for building their shells and the nutrients in the tank will keep them fed.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-12-2009, 10:17 AM
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Hi Bulldog and welcome!

Kymmie and Byron have given you great information and I second all of it. I just wanted to say hello!!

I would think about re-homing the goldfish, as stated above, they can get very very messy.....are you using a API liquid test kit or strips? what kind of filtration do you have on your tank??
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-12-2009, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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As far as light goes, zero sun light, but we keep strange hours, 6pm-6am or so. The hair algae is gone at this point, just the slime stuff. He gets fed once or twice a day, too much? As for his size, he fits his tank well now and will always get a bigger one when he needs it, one day a big 100 gallon tank maybe. I was reading about protein skimmers, since they physically remove the matter from the water, where as normal filters trap it on a pad and then circulate water over it, it seems like that just dissolves it back into the water, it seemed like a skimmer would help. But while the pet store guy said skimmers would work in fresh water, a few websites said no. Which is it? And if they don't work is there anything for fresh water that has the same effect of actually separating the matter from the water flow?

Thanks for the help
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-12-2009, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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I used the api liquid kit and the filter is a hang on the back type you see at walmart. A fabric pad with carbon inside and a bio sponge. As far as a new home, I couldn't bare to give up my buddy, especially not back to the store where hed just go into a tank with 20 others and get sold to someone who wouldnt take as good care of him. No, my goldfish is plenty happy, balanced water, food, and since he sits on my desk I give him attention every day, he even likes the algea as far as I can tell because its something to eat. Its just me that doesnt like the look of the tank
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-12-2009, 11:34 AM
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Water changes,vaccuming the gravel to remove dissolved organics,and maintaining the filter by cleaning or replacing, the media, will all help with reducing nitrates ,,And what others have mentioned,, reduce the lighting time on the tank ,maybe remove one of the bulbs,along with cleaning the glass on regular basis will help with unwanted algae. Maint routine on aquariums once you get one,,, is no more difficult than starting a pot of coffee. Trick is establishing a routine that you do not stray from. Once you get the tank cleaned up,, A small amount of effort is needed to maintain it's cleanliness. Your goldfish no doubt very much enjoys the vegeatable matter But I suspect It would enjoy a larger tank as well. I should also mention that you do not want to clean anything that goes in the tank with any type of soaps or chemicals. (once caught girlfriend cleaning glass inside the tank with sponge from kitchen sink) Always clean filter material or cartridges with old aquarium water that you take out during weekly water changes that Byron described. There are no Skimmers,pumps,or potions that will keep your fish healthy. They rely on us to provide them with proper enviornment.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.

Last edited by 1077; 05-12-2009 at 11:44 AM.
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-12-2009, 12:30 PM
Sorry to say, but if you've had that goldfish for two years and it can still fit in a 10gal there is something defiantly wrong with that. Your 25 cent common goldfish is suppose to get about 2 feet long if cared for properly. For a two year common or comet I would expect about 5-7" average. Given the small tank along with the kinda high nitrates, my best guess would say your fish is stunted. It's commonly what happens when fish are kept in two small of tanks. Sorry if it sounds harsh, but I would either get rid of the goldfish or get a very large 125gal tank for him. Keeping him in a 10gal will eventually kill him through stunting.

.... I'm probably drunk.

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post #9 of 12 Old 05-15-2009, 12:26 PM
the slime algae, does it come up easily? liek a carpet? if so its BGA and its not algae, its bacteria. last ditch effort to get rid of that is meds but sucking it up and maintaining ur tank should keep it under control.
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-15-2009, 01:06 PM
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Bulldogg, 1077 and others have added even more great advice.

In order to keep your nitrates under control you will need to set up a weekly routine. After doing it for several weeks, you will be able to fly through it. As 1077 said, it's as easy as making a pot of coffee. and your fish will thank you for it!!

Espically with a goldfish, should you choose to keep him (although not reccomended by many) will continue to be a waste machine. Cleaning the tank will definetly help keep your nitrates under control, anything under 40ppm is fine, around 10-20ppm is the norm by some.

I know nobody likes to hear that they should give up a fish, but think of it like keeping a dog in a very small can't run around grow and mature the way they are genelogically designed to do so, the same goes for fish. Mikalia gave a good tank could get away with a 90G, but the bigger the better.
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