Rehab project
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Rehab project

This is a discussion on Rehab project within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Some relatives were looking to unload a 40g aquarium. The kids were supposed to be taking care of it, but I think 'benign neglect' ...

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Old 01-13-2010, 07:21 PM   #1
 
FrogHerder's Avatar
 
Rehab project

Some relatives were looking to unload a 40g aquarium. The kids were supposed to be taking care of it, but I think 'benign neglect' probably best describes the maintenance. They admitted that the fish maybe got fed once per day, and sometimes not even that. Unsure of their WC schedule (if any). I have always had a soft spot for fish...

The sides were covered in deposits of green dot algae, and the canopy and filter had huge amounts of scale built up on them. We drained the water about halfway down, and transferred the 3 fish into a plastic beef jerky jar with a small hole in the lid for gas exchange. The kids did some scrubbing while we drained the rest of the water.

We made the 100 mile drive back home with the fish in the jerky jar. It was about midnight Sunday when we got back. Discarded the ghastly blue gravel and the neglected UGF system and brought it inside. Added play sand for substrate. Didn't have a bucket, so put the sand in the aquarium, and added about 10 gal of water. Put an airstone in the jerky jar w/ the fish. Scrubbed the algae deposits for about 3 hours with a plastic potscrubber. Made a pretty good dent, but didn't get it all. Close to 4am at this point. Drained the tank, refilled with about 10 gal and drained again. Filled the tank 3/4, added Prime and Stability and set the jerky jar in the tank to let the temp equalize to the aquarium. Added some neutral buffer and pH down as our tap runs about 7.8 pH.

Over the next 2 hours, I slowly poured aquarium water into the jerky jar as it was floating. It eventually sank, and the fish swam out after being tempted with some food. Decided to check the chem today. Apparently the heater is malfunctioning - temp was 82 (heater set to 75)

Current parameters:
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0.25 ppm
Nitrate - 20 ppm
Temp - 80

Filter: Penguin 150 + 1 catridge sponge/carbon filter

Stock:
Silver Dollar - 1
White Skirt Tetra - 1
Cory (unsure of sp.) - 1
No live plants. Only deco is a couple plastic plants and one large pumice stone with a couple cool little caves.

I know the Silver Dollar is going to have to be re-housed. A few questions:

What should the max depth of the play sand be to keep from having anaerobic problems?

I'm trying to let all the nitrites cycle out before I do my first PWC. At what level of nitrates do I absolutely need to scrap that idea and just change some water regardless?

Are corys compatible with growing a nice hair grass lawn?

The light fixture (3 foot Perfect-a-lite) is buzzing terribly. Would a bulb change make a diff or is there some other component I can change out to stop the buzzing?

We've only had the tank a couple days, and it's way understocked. Can't believe how hight the nitrites/nitrates are. Is it possible the pumice stone is leaching nitrite or nitrate?

Also need some help ID'ing the cory so we can get him some company. Don't have a camera unfortunately. Very splotchy/mottled coloration (a little like a sculpin). 7 fin rays. Color scheme is light gray overlaid with large dark gray splotches.

Think that's it for now. Phew. As always, any help is greatly appreciated.

Last edited by FrogHerder; 01-13-2010 at 07:25 PM..
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:20 PM   #2
 
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You asked a lot of questions best left for the experts on the forum, but I just wanted to respond to your nitrite issue (did you say there are still fish in the tank?) If so then I'd do a pwc now. The bacteria are living on the gravel and decor and filter, etc. so they will multiply accordingly regardless of water change. If you don't have inhabitants in there now, then I'd just leave it and I bet it disappears on its own in a day (considering how high your nitrates are you have lots of bb built up). Plus, you don't want your nitrates so high so if there are fish, yes, do a pwc.

And can I add my own humble suggestion while you are re-designing...plants are always a nice way to establish a healthy tank. Okay, off my soap box now : )
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:52 PM   #3
 
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First off Hello, I don't think we met before.

For starters with the fish you have and the posted pH don't add these ph up/down chems. Your pH is SLIGHLY high yes buy its tolerable and with these chems you expose the fish to a permant swing and THAT is much worst then your source water by all means.
Sand: I'd suggest a depth of ~2"
Parameters Nitrite (NO2) don't let it rise past 0.25mg/l Nitrate (NO3) not past 40 mg/l

Hairgrass vs Cory - Absolutely no problem I done it in several of my tanks with even lager sizes Bronze Cory groups (10-12 Cory) in it, no issue.

Buzzing sound to me like the fixture itself is going out - But you may wanna ask that question to someone more techy then me

The stone is not a source of NO's. But I'd be concerned its releasing calcium and in doing so up your KH and with that it'll up your PH which you'd not wanna do. Easy test to find out if its releasing or not, take it out; set it on a plate, drip vinegar on it see if it fuzzes, if it does, don't put it back in the tank.

The Cory you describe pop's various different one's in my min, please review "cats" here at these online fish stores to help ID yours
Aquarium Fish: Tropical Freshwater Fish and Saltwater Fish for Home Aquariums
Catfish, Freshwater Fish | Pet Solutions

Now a few suggestions to help this tank "heal" add live plants and a bunch of them, the more plants the better with your NOs and the fish's life; if you have troubles finding them locally, here's a good website to buy from Sweet Aquatics I'd suggest any fast growing plant along with your desired Hairgrass, such as Rotala Indica, Ludwiga Nantas, Narrow leaf chain sowrd, Java Fern, Camboma...something or all along these lines
Now to the fish themselves: Once your tank is cycled (meaning NO's and Ammonia at 0) and the tank is planted, I'd suggest to purchase more Cories, ideally of the same kind so they can follow their natural instinct and school, that'll make for healthier & happier fish. In your tank I'd suggest a group of 8-10 Cory cats. The same for the Skirt Tetra. The Silver Dollar grow to about 6-8"; personally I'd try trade it in for other fish at the store, if you dearly wanna keep it, don't add any more of its kind in this size tank.

Hope I covered it all for now - Otherwise shoot me with questions, I'll be back tomorrow
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:57 PM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel079 View Post
First off Hello, I don't think we met before.

For starters with the fish you have and the posted pH don't add these ph up/down chems. Your pH is SLIGHLY high yes buy its tolerable and with these chems you expose the fish to a permant swing and THAT is much worst then your source water by all means.
Sand: I'd suggest a depth of ~2"
Parameters Nitrite (NO2) don't let it rise past 0.25mg/l Nitrate (NO3) not past 40 mg/l

Hairgrass vs Cory - Absolutely no problem I done it in several of my tanks with even lager sizes Bronze Cory groups (10-12 Cory) in it, no issue.

Buzzing sound to me like the fixture itself is going out - But you may wanna ask that question to someone more techy then me

The stone is not a source of NO's. But I'd be concerned its releasing calcium and in doing so up your KH and with that it'll up your PH which you'd not wanna do. Easy test to find out if its releasing or not, take it out; set it on a plate, drip vinegar on it see if it fuzzes, if it does, don't put it back in the tank.

The Cory you describe pop's various different one's in my min, please review "cats" here at these online fish stores to help ID yours
Aquarium Fish: Tropical Freshwater Fish and Saltwater Fish for Home Aquariums
Catfish, Freshwater Fish | Pet Solutions

Now a few suggestions to help this tank "heal" add live plants and a bunch of them, the more plants the better with your NOs and the fish's life; if you have troubles finding them locally, here's a good website to buy from Sweet Aquatics I'd suggest any fast growing plant along with your desired Hairgrass, such as Rotala Indica, Ludwiga Nantas, Narrow leaf chain sowrd, Java Fern, Camboma...something or all along these lines
Now to the fish themselves: Once your tank is cycled (meaning NO's and Ammonia at 0) and the tank is planted, I'd suggest to purchase more Cories, ideally of the same kind so they can follow their natural instinct and school, that'll make for healthier & happier fish. In your tank I'd suggest a group of 8-10 Cory cats. The same for the Skirt Tetra. The Silver Dollar grow to about 6-8"; personally I'd try trade it in for other fish at the store, if you dearly wanna keep it, don't add any more of its kind in this size tank.

Hope I covered it all for now - Otherwise shoot me with questions, I'll be back tomorrow
damn, go Angel079. And why aren't you on the super mod list again???
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:13 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanieleah View Post
You asked a lot of questions best left for the experts on the forum, but I just wanted to respond to your nitrite issue (did you say there are still fish in the tank?) If so then I'd do a pwc now. The bacteria are living on the gravel and decor and filter, etc. so they will multiply accordingly regardless of water change. If you don't have inhabitants in there now, then I'd just leave it and I bet it disappears on its own in a day (considering how high your nitrates are you have lots of bb built up). Plus, you don't want your nitrates so high so if there are fish, yes, do a pwc.

And can I add my own humble suggestion while you are re-designing...plants are always a nice way to establish a healthy tank. Okay, off my soap box now : )
Yes fish are still in the tank. They came with it, and there's really no other place for them to be at the moment. Did a 25% wc, and retested.

pH: 7.2-7.4
ammonia: 0
nitrite: <0.25 ppm
nitrate: 10 ppm

Can't wait to get some plants in there (hopefully this weekend). Really want a nice lush hair grass lawn on the bottom, and maybe some plants with a pinkish tint to set the color off. A little worried if I moved plants over from our other tanks right now they would just end up food for the silver dollar.

Oh, if anyone in colorado has a good home for a 5" silver dollar we could meet you somewhere.
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:22 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrogHerder View Post

Oh, if anyone in colorado has a good home for a 5" silver dollar we could meet you somewhere.
Did you know there are classifieds on this site (you're new, yes?).

Plants do a superb job of absorbing nitrates. My nitrates never (ever!) go above 5ppm and I feel I have a pretty well-stocked tank. Plus, they are just so beautiful. And my fish LOVE them. I haven't asked them, I can just tell by watching how they cruise the planted terrain : )
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:52 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel079 View Post
First off Hello, I don't think we met before.

For starters with the fish you have and the posted pH don't add these ph up/down chems. Your pH is SLIGHLY high yes buy its tolerable and with these chems you expose the fish to a permant swing and THAT is much worst then your source water by all means.
Sand: I'd suggest a depth of ~2"
Parameters Nitrite (NO2) don't let it rise past 0.25mg/l Nitrate (NO3) not past 40 mg/l

Hairgrass vs Cory - Absolutely no problem I done it in several of my tanks with even lager sizes Bronze Cory groups (10-12 Cory) in it, no issue.

Buzzing sound to me like the fixture itself is going out - But you may wanna ask that question to someone more techy then me

The stone is not a source of NO's. But I'd be concerned its releasing calcium and in doing so up your KH and with that it'll up your PH which you'd not wanna do. Easy test to find out if its releasing or not, take it out; set it on a plate, drip vinegar on it see if it fuzzes, if it does, don't put it back in the tank.

The Cory you describe pop's various different one's in my min, please review "cats" here at these online fish stores to help ID yours
Aquarium Fish: Tropical Freshwater Fish and Saltwater Fish for Home Aquariums
Catfish, Freshwater Fish | Pet Solutions

Now a few suggestions to help this tank "heal" add live plants and a bunch of them, the more plants the better with your NOs and the fish's life; if you have troubles finding them locally, here's a good website to buy from Sweet Aquatics I'd suggest any fast growing plant along with your desired Hairgrass, such as Rotala Indica, Ludwiga Nantas, Narrow leaf chain sowrd, Java Fern, Camboma...something or all along these lines
Now to the fish themselves: Once your tank is cycled (meaning NO's and Ammonia at 0) and the tank is planted, I'd suggest to purchase more Cories, ideally of the same kind so they can follow their natural instinct and school, that'll make for healthier & happier fish. In your tank I'd suggest a group of 8-10 Cory cats. The same for the Skirt Tetra. The Silver Dollar grow to about 6-8"; personally I'd try trade it in for other fish at the store, if you dearly wanna keep it, don't add any more of its kind in this size tank.

Hope I covered it all for now - Otherwise shoot me with questions, I'll be back tomorrow
Hello Angel. Nice to meet you, and thanks for popping in.

Did a WC, but did not add anymore pH down. Did add some seachem neutral regulator (buffer). Is that OK, or would you recommend avoiding that product also?

Checked the rock with vinegar. No fizzing, so back in the tank. The thing is so porous it's like a sponge. Wondering if some of the nutrients are just oozing back out of it after being in unclean water for so long.

Think I overshot a little on the sand. Will pull about 1" back out.

Think the Cory is a paleatus. What would be the best way to confirm this?

Thanks again.

FH
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:09 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanieleah View Post
damn, go Angel079. And why aren't you on the super mod list again???
that you'd need to ask out Forum owner.
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:18 AM   #9
 
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I also never used the Seachem stuff.
The problem is, and you may wanna test this in your tank.
Using powders or liquid to set a certain pH often (like 99.999% often) results in the fish being exposed to a pH curve like 7.8 from tap-down to 7 on w/c up to 7.5 between w/c and so on. These permanent fluctuations are not healthy, stress the fish out, stressed fish are prone to get sicknesses, sick fish/ unhealthy fish doesn't live long...You get the chain reaction here.
Reading up on this very product thou, what I do like, it also acts like a water conditioner to detoxify chlorine, metals etc; so that's def a plus (ALWAYS use a water conditioner never use plain tap water).

I pers never heard nor experienced anything like rock's "storing" nutrients. So since its not giving off anything like calcium, I'd not be worried. but if you don't like it just toss it, won't hurt your tank at all.


Too much sand isn't a problem, specially not since you wanna consider planting (unless of cause you filled half your tank with sand, that would be lil too much then ) too little sand however results in plants drifting back up, not able to properly root down etc. Considering the mess involved, just leave it as it is and you'll do just fine
Think I overshot a little on the sand. Will pull about 1" back out.

Image results on a paleatus here Corydoras paleatus - Google Search
They look almost like gray spotted/ dotted; is that what yours looks like? (don't mind the incorrect pictures on this list with Albion's).
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Old 01-14-2010, 02:06 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanieleah View Post
Did you know there are classifieds on this site (you're new, yes?).

Plants do a superb job of absorbing nitrates. My nitrates never (ever!) go above 5ppm and I feel I have a pretty well-stocked tank. Plus, they are just so beautiful. And my fish LOVE them. I haven't asked them, I can just tell by watching how they cruise the planted terrain : )
Hi stephanieleah.

I am a nooB. I think I had seen the classifieds, but didn't make the connection. Listed the fish in there.

Took your advice. Transplanted a couple small swords and a good sized hank of hornwort from our 20g. The tank still looks pretty bare by my standards (I like lots of plants, too). Hopefully it helps the nutrient issues? Mainly trying to see if the Silver Dollar will treat them as cover or as a food source before we get too carried away with the planting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel079 View Post
First off Hello, I don't think we met before.

For starters with the fish you have and the posted pH don't add these ph up/down chems. Your pH is SLIGHLY high yes buy its tolerable and with these chems you expose the fish to a permant swing and THAT is much worst then your source water by all means.
Sand: I'd suggest a depth of ~2"
Parameters Nitrite (NO2) don't let it rise past 0.25mg/l Nitrate (NO3) not past 40 mg/l

Hairgrass vs Cory - Absolutely no problem I done it in several of my tanks with even lager sizes Bronze Cory groups (10-12 Cory) in it, no issue.

Buzzing sound to me like the fixture itself is going out - But you may wanna ask that question to someone more techy then me

The stone is not a source of NO's. But I'd be concerned its releasing calcium and in doing so up your KH and with that it'll up your PH which you'd not wanna do. Easy test to find out if its releasing or not, take it out; set it on a plate, drip vinegar on it see if it fuzzes, if it does, don't put it back in the tank.

The Cory you describe pop's various different one's in my min, please review "cats" here at these online fish stores to help ID yours
Aquarium Fish: Tropical Freshwater Fish and Saltwater Fish for Home Aquariums
Catfish, Freshwater Fish | Pet Solutions

Now a few suggestions to help this tank "heal" add live plants and a bunch of them, the more plants the better with your NOs and the fish's life; if you have troubles finding them locally, here's a good website to buy from Sweet Aquatics I'd suggest any fast growing plant along with your desired Hairgrass, such as Rotala Indica, Ludwiga Nantas, Narrow leaf chain sowrd, Java Fern, Camboma...something or all along these lines
Now to the fish themselves: Once your tank is cycled (meaning NO's and Ammonia at 0) and the tank is planted, I'd suggest to purchase more Cories, ideally of the same kind so they can follow their natural instinct and school, that'll make for healthier & happier fish. In your tank I'd suggest a group of 8-10 Cory cats. The same for the Skirt Tetra. The Silver Dollar grow to about 6-8"; personally I'd try trade it in for other fish at the store, if you dearly wanna keep it, don't add any more of its kind in this size tank.

Hope I covered it all for now - Otherwise shoot me with questions, I'll be back tomorrow
Hello again, Angel. Thank you again for your response.

Checked the chem this morning
pH: 7.2-7.4
ammonia: 0-0.25 ppm
nitrite: 0-0.25 ppm
nitrate: 10 ppm

Did another 10% WC and pulled a couple small plants over from a cycled tank. Didn't add any pH down or buffer. Pulled the sand down to about 2". Hoping we'll be able to do some heavy planting this weekend. The rotala indica looks like the one to go with the grass.

There seem to be a few varieties of grass. Are there any that are easier to care for than others?

Won't be adding fish for a few weeks, but mulling some stocking ideas. You think this would be OK?

4 Bronze Corys
4 Peppered Corys
4-6 White Skirt Tetras
4-6 Serpae Tetras

Last edited by FrogHerder; 01-14-2010 at 02:14 PM..
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