Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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bots10 05-07-2012 04:36 PM

New Guy :) Some questions and a "Hello".
Have been reading these forums for awhile and finally decided to sign up because I had some questions of my own. First off I have 2 tanks. A 29 gallon freshwater with community fish and my newest addition that replaced my 55g a 75g semi planted freshwater african cichlid tank. I have had the 75 set up for 3 days now and so far so good. I used turbo start and once the tank was up to temp in went my fish.

Upon buying this tank I also went filter crazy because of some many different things I have read on the internet. "No water disturbance with a planted tank, co2 injection..." Well after reading I went out and spent a good deal of money on a Ehiem 2217. I felt like it wasnt going to be enough so I also found a partner for the monster with a marineland c-160. That is my current filtration on this tank. This is my first time with canisters and so far I dont know how I feel about them. They dont take care of debry on the top of the tank and thats my main concern.

The light for this tank is the same one I used on my 55 gallon. Its a t5ho 2x54 using a 10000k and a 6500k.

Now heres my question's.

Is water disturbance really bad for planted tanks? because right now I have like none and the top is very dirty.

Do I have sufficient lighting?

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

rhymon78 05-07-2012 05:53 PM


Originally Posted by bots10 (Post 1072631)
Is water disturbance really bad for planted tanks? because right now I have like none and the top is very dirty..

Hey welcome to TFK! You'll find no end of great advice here.

I am no expert, and others will no doubt chip in here but I also have a fairly heavily planted 29g community tank. the surface of which is covered in floating plants, and I used to have the filter return pointing at the surface (my filter is completely housed inside the tank) this surface disturbance was reeking havoc with my small floating plants, causing them to all congregate at the intake etc. so I asked Byron, you'll meet him soon, about this similar quandary. And his advice was that surface disturbance wasn't necessary in a planted tank, and could infact drive out essential Co2 from the system which is critical for the plants. So from then on I turned it inwards so the return was just going off into the tank and not disturbing the surface AT ALL. which was lovely for my floating plants.

My concern was for the fish, that if I did not have surface disturbance they would not get the required level of O2 as the water was not being oxygenated at the surface... I forgot about the oxygen all the plants are creating but we'll brush that to one side!

I recently had a near catastrophe with a nitrite spike out of nowhere, and gasping fish at the surface looking very sorry for themselves etc. So panic stations, numerous water changes, dosing with prime etc and things stabilised. But I did turn the return from the filter back to the surface so there was disturbance. Whether this is right or not for a planted tank, at this moment in time is irrelevant as I want to ensure my fish survive. and as there was obviously something causing that nitrite spike I don't want to take any chances. maybe one day I'll point it back into the tank again, but for now my floating plants are spinning around and around on the surface, which to be honest isn't such a bad thing to look at!

I think it depends on how serious you are, if you wanted a high tech specialised planted tank with Co2 injection etc then maybe you don't want surface disturbance, but if you just have a few plants, I wouldn't worry about it. when you say the surface is dirty how do you mean??

No idea about lighting I am afraid, I am sure others will help you with this.

nice to meet you

bots10 05-07-2012 06:14 PM

There is plant debris floating up near the top of the tank along with food and other little floaty bits.

rhymon78 05-07-2012 07:05 PM


Originally Posted by bots10 (Post 1072798)
There is plant debris floating up near the top of the tank along with food and other little floaty bits.

that floating plant debris you just need to remove by hand, I am in there every day picking bits out. as for food and such, it could be that your over feeding. my fish finish what I give them in about 30 seconds, and theres nothing left! I also feed sinking pellets, algae wafers and frozen daphnia/bloodworm every now and then. there shouldn't be anything at the surface, occasionally it looks like a bit oily maybe? from the food, but there certainly shouldn't be much else.

Just a few question, did you add your fish after 3 days? how many? do you know about aquarium cycling? are you keeping your eye on water testing, its just that after 3 days your tank may not be ready for fish. If you have a LOT of fast growing stem plants and floating plants you may get away with fish "in" cycling, if you only add a fish or two. and if its a cichlid tank, they are bigger than the usual tetra, danios et that are normally used to withstand the cycle process. so more waste and ammonia could be being produced etc.

You may have looked into this, and I might have misunderstood. just checking, because if not you need to keep a close eye, and daily water parameter testing is essential.

bots10 05-08-2012 08:50 AM

I had the water tested and everything was fine. I used the gravel from the other tank along with some of the filter media from the hob filters.

bots10 05-08-2012 08:51 AM

I woke up this morning and it seems like a few of my fish are up near the surface, maybe air gulping?

Byron 05-08-2012 10:38 AM

Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum bots10.:-D

Let's first deal with the emergency, and fish gasping is an emergency. Can you test the water for ammonia and nitrite? It is probably one of these. If either is above zero, do an immediate partial water change of half the tank volume. Use a good dechlorinator, Seachem's Prime or another by AP called Ultimate is good during the initial stages as they handle both ammonia and nitrite, but at the moment any dechlorinator will work.

Let us know the numbers and we can go from there. Test before the water change, obviously. If ammonia or nitrite are not above zero, I would still do a partial water change as something is obviously not right with the water.


redchigh 05-08-2012 11:19 AM

Agree with Byron, but increase the water movement now while you test. If it's ammonia, oxygen helps the fish deal with the gill damage that ammonia causes. If it's low O2 levels, then oxygen is definately a good thing to add. ;)

In an african tank, you probably have really hardy plants- they'll do fine with lower CO2 levels. You can have a *little* water movement.

bots10 05-08-2012 12:15 PM

No3 is zero. I dont have the capability's to do a nitrate test right now. I live semi close to a petsmart and will take a water sample to them after my final tonight.

rhymon78 05-08-2012 12:49 PM


Originally Posted by bots10 (Post 1073656)
No3 is zero. I dont have the capability's to do a nitrate test right now. I live semi close to a petsmart and will take a water sample to them after my final tonight.

If your having a major nitrite spike, you really need to do something sooner than later. Like byron said a good 50% water change is a must. as long as you have one of the good water conditioners he mentioned. Its not something you can really leave, your fish if it is bad water, are dying.

I had exactly the same thing last week, I rarely have problems with ammonia, and have never seen nitrite above 0 since the first week or so. then out of the blue last weekend I notice the fish are acting weird, all hanging at the surface, seemingly gasping for air. I tested the water and it was showing nitrite present. So went into panic mode, did two water changes and dosed with prime!! this settled things down, I also removed a fish that I had stupidly added that did not get on well with the fish already in there, so there was major stress in that tank for 3 days before this happened. don't know if that could have been a contributing factor?

anyway, don't leave things. Your tank surely hasn't cycled properly even if water parameters tested ok? don't always trust what petsmart tell you. get yourself an API master freshwater test kit, that way you can be sure things are ok. if theres too many fish in there and the tank can't handle their waste properly, they will suffer and die if nothing is done.

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