White looking film on water surface and cycling questions
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White looking film on water surface and cycling questions

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White looking film on water surface and cycling questions
Old 05-25-2009, 05:00 PM   #1
 
White looking film on water surface and cycling questions

I noticed a white looking film on the surface of my water today. Any ideas on what the cause could be? The tank is 75 gallons and has been setup for 4 weeks. I just changed food 2 days ago to TetraMin Tropical Crisps from Wardley tropical flakes and am wondering if it could cause this. How do I fix it? If you need any extra info just ask.

Here is some info:

75 gallon freshwater
setup 4/24/09
2 Emperor 350's
300 Watt submersible heater
79 deg

There are 45 fish in there now:
5 cherry barbs
4 mickey mouse platys
4 red platys
4 neon tetra
6 lemon tetra
2 von rio tetra
6 red danio
1 pleco
1 butterfly pleo
6 blue long fin danio
2 silver molly
4 blue mickey mouse platy
and a big surprise on 5/19/09 12 silver molly fry.

My first ammonia spike was on 5/20/09 0.25....been checking daily since added fish in. All of these fish were not added in at once. I know we did a big mistake by adding more but the ammonia wasn't rising and I added media in from the other tank thinking it would help when we setup the tank. I even had a nitrate reading a few weeks back.
This past Saturday ammo .50, nitrite was a darker than normal blue but not the color of the next reading, my pH went crazy and was up to 7.6 and its usually 6.6, the nitrate was showing 5.0.
I changed the water and the pH went down to 6.0
So since 5/20 i've been doing a daily water change of about 10 gallons. I lightly just move the siphon over the rocks but don't move them......hoping to at least remove some fish waste or excess food. I only feed once a day and the babies get a bit of finely powdered flakes 3 times daily. They are in the breeder net. Should I not be doing daily changes because of the ammonia? I know its overstocked and now I got it a mess. I just checked the levels and here is what I got: Ammo 2.0, Nitrite 0, pH 6.0, Nitrate 0. I already did a 10 gallon water change a few hours ago but this time did not go over the rock surface I just removed water. Am I hurting the tank with water changes and lightly going over the rock surface? How long does the ammonia keep spiking for? What can I do to try to get through this rough period?
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:18 PM   #2
 
If you look above where the light is shining you can kinda see the white film but its hard to get a pic of it.
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Old 05-26-2009, 02:06 AM   #3
 
The white stuff disappeared on its own.

Now its just trying to get through the cycle. I had to catch the long fin danios....someone nipped some fins.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:16 AM   #4
 
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The ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings in your first post indicate that the tank is not cycled. It appears to be at the first stage (ammonia) which usually takes 5-9 days. At some point during this period, the nitrite will start to rise, and after another 5+ days fall back to "0" and nitrates will begin to appear during this. Once you have readings of "0" for ammonia and nitrite for several consecutive days, the tank is cycled for the amount of bioload in it. From that point add new fish (if you intend to) slowly, a few at a time (with a 75g you can add several small fish together, like a shoal) and wait several days before adding more, and so forth.

Do not clean/rinse the filter media for 3 months. Do weekly partial water changes as normal, once a week, 30-50% each time [see warning on this below]. Do not vacuum the gravel or "clean' rocks, as this removes bacteria. Run the syphon over the gravel so as to pick up visible detrius but not disturb the substrate.

You are fortunate that your pH is acidic, or you would probably have dead fish from the cycling. At an acidic pH (below 7.0) ammonia largely converts to ammonium. Ammonium is not toxic to fish. Your ammonia test kit will read ammonia and ammonium together as 'ammonia" which is good because it tells you the stage of the biological nitrogen cycle. As I mentioned above, you are at the ammonia stage. Ammonium is also food for nitrosomonas bacteria just like ammonia, so the nitrogen cycle works out exactly the same (though slower) in acidic water as in neutral or alkaline, but it is easier on the fish.

If your pH suddenly rises above 7, the ammonium changes back to ammonia, and the fish will probably die from the sudden shock and poisioning. What is the ph of your tap water? If it is above 7 you should lower it before doing a water change. Aside from the tap water, I can't think why the tank pH would suddenly jump one full point--that is a change of 10 times the acidity of the water, which is very significant for the fish in it, and must be avoided. There is no need (or should not be a need) for daily partial water changes; once or maybe twice a week are sufficient until the tank is cycled, unless there is a very sudden rise in nitrite, which could occur and must be monitored daily.

Do you have anything in the tank that would raise the pH, like calcium-based gravel (dolomite, coral) or limestone rocks? What is your tap water pH?

Byron.
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Old 05-26-2009, 05:08 PM   #5
 
Tap water pH 6.4
Both the 75G and the 10G have a pH of 6.0
Gravel is the pebble beach kind from petco. I don't believe there is anything to raise my pH in there. I only have plastic plants, castle, mossy log ornament and another plastic ornament.

So basically change my water only once a week unless the nitrite spikes. I am assuming if the pH rises above 7 and I get an ammonia reading I should do some type of change or add some AmmoLok to turn it to ammonium.

We had casualties today and my 6 year old isn't happy but she is dealing with it. I have 1 more long fin danio to get out and move since we have a fin nipper.

38 in there today
5 cherry barbs
4 mickey mouse platys
4 red platys
4 neon tetra
6 lemon tetra
2 von rio tetra
6 red danio
1 pleco
1 blue long fin danio (the other 5 in the 10 gallon now...buggers to catch!)
1 silver molly
4 blue mickey mouse platy

Thank you so much for your response and insight. You will be saving me lots of extra work with the water changes we were doing.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:32 AM   #6
 
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Yes on the water changes, once a week should be OK (do 35-50%) and retain this schedule permanently once the tank has cycled. But when the nitrite starts rising as it will, monitor the fish and if they begin showing more severe stress increase the pwc accordingly (more often). Just syphon water out from the corner if this becomes necessary, to avoid further stress on the fish. Once you have the last danio out, stay out of the tank (except for the pwc) until it is cycled. Reason is to avoid further stress on the fish; the cycling will be enough for them to handle without something else that could tip the balance against them.

Tank pH at 6 with tap water at 6.4 is normal; pH in a tank tends to drop slightly due to the biological processes. While most aquarists (including me) would tend to prefer the pH closer to 6.2-6.4 than 6.0 or below, that is not a concern at this stage and can be addressed later if necessary. It is that sudden rise to 7.6 that puzzled me; let's hope it was a fluke, or perhaps just an inaccurate reading--inadvertently adding 3 instead of 2 drops of reagent or something.

Keep to your minimal feeding, more food (eaten or uneaten) increases the bioload and the bacteria need to multiply more to handle it. And I would get a bottle of "Cycle" or a similar biological agent and dose the tank. It contains live bacteria that "quick-start" the ammonia and nitrite stages of the cycle. This significantly (in my experience) lessens stress on the fish in the tank. While the ammonia stage will be relatively stress-free in this case, the nitrite will not, so Cycle will help. Follow the directions on the label for whatever product you get; Cycle is 1 tsp per 10 gallons once, then once again a week later; doesn't take much.

Byron.
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:18 AM   #7
 
Is stress zyme by API similar to cycle? We have been using that weekly also. Thanks again for the help.
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:30 AM   #8
 
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Originally Posted by azzip4 View Post
Is stress zyme by API similar to cycle? We have been using that weekly also. Thanks again for the help.
According to API's website, yes, Stress Zyme is a bacteria culture. I've not used it myself, but from the description it seems to be much the same, adding live bacteria to fight ammonia and nitrite according to API. Some aquarists doubt the usefulness of these things, but I have used Cycle with every new tank and never a fish loss or, to my eyes, stress. I've had pencilfish spawning in a new tank within 2 weeks from setup when the tank would not even have been cycled, so I believe these products work.
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:33 PM   #9
 
Barbs like to get nippy with long finned fish so they're probably the ones picking on your danios. I agree with most of what Byron told you. Your are very lucky your ph is low right now! I had to cycle a new tank with fish in it since I had no where else to put them. My pleco was just about jumping out of the tank till I dropped my ph. I did end up loosing most of the fish, except those darn guppies! Cycle is good and so are any of the other brands the have live bacteria but they are not the end all, fix all. If it were my tank, I woukld probably keep up the small water changes. As long as your not disturbing the gravel where the bacteria is trying to live or stressing the fish, a small were change will help keep your levels good. 10g is good for a 75g tank. Just put the siphen in the top corner like Byron said to try to disturb the fish as little as possible.

There are chemicals out there that nutralize ammonia however they also prolong the cycling process. Don't add any more fish or change the filter media. If the plecos are small enough, try to get one of them in the 10g since they produce a huge amount of waste. I keep thinking of more things but Byron already said them! Good luck
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:45 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holly View Post
Barbs like to get nippy with long finned fish so they're probably the ones picking on your danios. I agree with most of what Byron told you. Your are very lucky your ph is low right now! I had to cycle a new tank with fish in it since I had no where else to put them. My pleco was just about jumping out of the tank till I dropped my ph. I did end up loosing most of the fish, except those darn guppies! Cycle is good and so are any of the other brands the have live bacteria but they are not the end all, fix all. If it were my tank, I woukld probably keep up the small water changes. As long as your not disturbing the gravel where the bacteria is trying to live or stressing the fish, a small were change will help keep your levels good. 10g is good for a 75g tank. Just put the siphen in the top corner like Byron said to try to disturb the fish as little as possible.

There are chemicals out there that nutralize ammonia however they also prolong the cycling process. Don't add any more fish or change the filter media. If the plecos are small enough, try to get one of them in the 10g since they produce a huge amount of waste. I keep thinking of more things but Byron already said them! Good luck
Holly correctly mentioned the filter bit, not changing it, very good. Also don't "clean" it except to rinse the media but only when it really needs it; you want the good bacteria to stay and multiply. Even after the tank is cycled, this is good maintenance; filter media should only be replaced when it is literally falling apart (the pads), and rinsed in tank water or declorinated tap water at the same temp to remove particulate matter as needed. You want the water to pass easily through the media, but you want the bacteria to remain there.
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