Reddish water? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 04-15-2010, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
Reddish water?

Well, I thought I knew a thing or two about fish, but finding this forum and reading some of the posts.....I've quickly changed my mind!
I currently own a fifty-five gallon freshwater tank with a few live plants and perhaps ten small fish. Mainly mollies, Cory fish, and two sword tails. Please don't ask me about the plants, I bought them because they looked nice.... I know, kind of pathetic, but I recently figured out that this is becoming a big hobby of mine and I'm trying to learn as much as I can now! I love my fish and the beauty of my tank. Unfortunately I didn't know Ammonia from Nitrates when I first cycled my tank (at least I knew to do that!), and now that I thought I got the hang of it, I'm reading stuff that's confusing me even more!
Well, long story short, the only thing now that I can't figure out is wrong with my tank is the color. From the middle down, the water looks...reddish. Not from Algae (I looked up every single form of it, lol), but I was curious if it was due to the six plant fertilizer 'pods' I stuck in the gravel? It wasn't red before that, so I'm hoping that's the cause. I bought the five in one test strips just to make sure, and everything is in the proper level. The darker water is causing the UV bulbs that feed my plants to not penetrate as well and my plants are starting to look worse for the wear. Should I do a water change? I did one (50%) right before I put in the plants due to high very high ammonia about a week ago... Like I said, I'm new and trying to learn! Glad to be part of the board, by the way!
Nice to meet you all, and thank you for taking the time to read!
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post #2 of 4 Old 04-16-2010, 12:21 AM
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Do you have any wood in your tank, it sounds like it could be tannins. Or what substrate are you using. About your plants not doing well, the lights that come with the usual 55 gallon kit are notoriously underpowered for the plants you probably have. If nothing else, try and get a tube that is around 6700 kelvin in temperature.
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post #3 of 4 Old 04-16-2010, 09:27 AM
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is the plant ferts you are using,the same as you have always had,or
are they new ?
how does the water look after the water change ?

when you set up a new tank,hide an extra
sponge or two behind some decor,that way you have
something seeded for you next filter.
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post #4 of 4 Old 04-16-2010, 01:51 PM
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Hi and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping.

I think the light over your tank is the problem. You mentioned UV light, is it really UV? This is not good for plants, and probably not for the fish either. Won't go further into that unless asked.

On the other hand, if you mean some sort of aquarium or plant light, they are not very good lights, as rsn48 rightly mentioned. They tend to turn the tank purplish (being high in red and blue and no green to balance) and they are far less intense light for the wattage. A full spectrum or daylight type of tube will work fine. A kelvin rating around 6500K is best, kelvin denotes the "colour" of the light, and 6500K is close to sunlight at mid-day so the colour rendition is natural. And they contain blue and red highs, which help the plants, with green in balance for the natural look.

Fertilizer tabs or sticks in the gravel are unlikely to colour water since most of them are made to release nutrients only when in contact with plant roots and bacteria. Or so the manufacturers claim. I've never had reason to doubt this.

There is a series of "stickies" at the head of the aquarium plant section here, lighting is covered in part 4, but if you are new to planted tanks you might find some useful info and background in the series.


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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