Too much gravel?
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Too much gravel?

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Old 11-06-2011, 08:23 AM   #1
 
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Too much gravel?

Do you guys think its possiable to have to much gravel? I ask because the last couple months I have had an awful time with my 55 gallon tank I have had an ick outbreak lost a few fish, a fungus outbreak lost a few more fish, a parasite outbreak lost more fish and major problems with black brush algae. I have not added any new fish to bring in the diseases, been doing water changes and checking water like normal so I am thinking maybe to much gravel? Lights are on 8 hours a day temp stays around 78 degrees the tank is not over stocked and has real plants. Yesterday I was fed up with it and I know maybe it was not a good idea but I completely drained the tank and rinsed the gravel and only put half the gravel back but did not change the filter and replanted the tank after trimming a bunch of dead algae infested leaves off of them. I have also had several plants die I am down to 3 small sword plants, 2 bananna plants, and a small anuba plant. I dose ferts once a week and tablets every three months. I have no idea what could be wrong other than maybe to much gravel if thats possiable, I had about 4-5 inches because when I set the tank up I used the used but dry gravel it had in it as well as the gravel I had in two smaller established tanks to help the cycle now it hs maybe 2-3 inches. So did I do the right thing? Has anyone else ever had a tank go crazy after running fine for 2 years? Any suggestions I just don't know what else to do.
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:59 AM   #2
 
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Originally Posted by Calmwaters View Post
Do you guys think its possiable to have to much gravel? I ask because the last couple months I have had an awful time with my 55 gallon tank I have had an ick outbreak lost a few fish, a fungus outbreak lost a few more fish, a parasite outbreak lost more fish and major problems with black brush algae. I have not added any new fish to bring in the diseases, been doing water changes and checking water like normal so I am thinking maybe to much gravel? Lights are on 8 hours a day temp stays around 78 degrees the tank is not over stocked and has real plants. Yesterday I was fed up with it and I know maybe it was not a good idea but I completely drained the tank and rinsed the gravel and only put half the gravel back but did not change the filter and replanted the tank after trimming a bunch of dead algae infested leaves off of them. I have also had several plants die I am down to 3 small sword plants, 2 bananna plants, and a small anuba plant. I dose ferts once a week and tablets every three months. I have no idea what could be wrong other than maybe to much gravel if thats possiable, I had about 4-5 inches because when I set the tank up I used the used but dry gravel it had in it as well as the gravel I had in two smaller established tanks to help the cycle now it hs maybe 2-3 inches. So did I do the right thing? Has anyone else ever had a tank go crazy after running fine for 2 years? Any suggestions I just don't know what else to do.
Amanda, This is what I know about the substrate. Byron wrote this article and I quote:
"In very general terms, aerobic nitrification takes place in the top 1-2 inches of the substrate; anaerobic de-nitrification takes place approximately 2-4 inches down, and anaerobic bacteria producing hydrogen sulfide occurs in substrates deeper than 3-4 inches. In all three cases, it will be deeper in coarse substrates (like pea gravel) and more shallow in finer substrates such as sand. These generalities will also vary with the presence of live plant roots and substrate “diggers” such as snails and worms, since these factors result in more oxygen being made available in the substrate, reducing anaerobic bacteria activity. An oxygen level in the substrate of as little as 1 ppm promotes nitrogen reduction rather than sulfur reduction (hydrogen sulfide). [6]

Maintaining a substrate of fine gravel or sand no deeper than 4 inches, having live plants rooted in the substrate, and keeping Malaysian Livebearing snails are the best and safest methods of providing a healthy biological system for aerobic and denitrifying anaerobic bacteria."

I don't know what size your gravel is but if you had 4-5 inches that could have been some of the problem. You can read more of this in the article he wrote http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-74891/

What were the plants that died? Were they rooted plants or stem or what? You also said you had a break out of BBA in your tank. Was that on the plants that died or other plants? Sorry for so many questions just trying to figure out what is exactly going on. Also you said this tank was beeen up and running for 2 years how old are the bulbs? If they have not been replaced in the last 12-18 months this could explain some of the algae and plants dieing. I have no idea about the break outs of the fish. I have no experienced with that.
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:17 AM   #3
 
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Thanks Bordom. Now that you mention it I don't think bulbs were replaced within the last year, the gravel was small to med size (less than dime size), some of the plants (sword plants) had the algae and others just kind of melted for lack of a better way to descride it, some were crypts that never came back, others were the tall grass looking plant that I can't remeber the name of right now as well as some water wisteria and a red stem plant but I am pretty sure it did not make it because it came from a high tech tank with lots of light it was free so no biggy on that one. ; )
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:38 AM   #4
 
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Thanks Bordom. Now that you mention it I don't think bulbs were replaced within the last year, the gravel was small to med size (less than dime size), some of the plants (sword plants) had the algae and others just kind of melted for lack of a better way to descride it, some were crypts that never came back, others were the tall grass looking plant that I can't remeber the name of right now as well as some water wisteria and a red stem plant but I am pretty sure it did not make it because it came from a high tech tank with lots of light it was free so no biggy on that one. ; )
This is my take on this and I could be wrong but it sounds like to me your bulbs have lost the intensity they once had when new. This will promote algae growth. Also wisteria is somewhat of a high light plant. If it was growing for you for awhile then stop. That goes back to lighting issues again.
The crypt well I have only messed with one of those. I am learning that my plant is really picky. It is starting to come back from a melt. The best I can figure is the wisteria and sword I have behind it got to big and block some of the light it had before the melt.

The others that just melted away I am not sure about it could be the lighting as well though I would think there would be a lack of something else there like nutrients? You said you were dosing 1x week plus root tablets. So maybe with the lack of light the plants weren't about to use the nutreints?
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:43 AM   #5
 
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Thanks Boredom. I will replace them and hopefully with the new lights and less gravel I will have no more problems.
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:34 PM   #6
 
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I would think the amount of substrate was itself not responsible for the various issues, as I think you would have become aware of hydrogen sulphide poisoning. But the other factors, such as gravel particle size and light intensity could be the issues.

Having said that, I would not go beyond 4 inches with gravel, and 2-3 with sand. These depths seem to work in my tanks.

When you say gravel is dime-size, do you really mean the individual grains are close to the size of a dime? That is quite large, and some plants will have difficulty. Also, waste gets trapped in larger chunks and bacteria have more difficulty breaking it down. Pea gravel can also have this problem in my experience, but I would certainly not go with gravel larger than pea gravel (1/4 inch max).

Byron.
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:00 PM   #7
 
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The gravel is a mixture of slightly smaller than pea size upto dry black bean size not the size of a dime maybe half the size of a dime so I would say about a 1/4 inch. When I posted this morning a dime was the first thing I thought of to compare it to.
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