Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Monsterpony 02-13-2008 09:14 PM

Water help
 
I am not sure where to put this as it is not an emergency, but I need some help with my tank.

1. Size of aquarium (# of gallons)- 55 gallons
2. Is your aquarium setup freshwater or brackish water?- freshwater
3. How long the aquarium has been set up?- 5 years, but these fish have only been in it since last October
4. What fish and how many are in the aquarium (species are important to know)
- three rasbora hets
- four golden barbs
- four black skirt tetra
- four neon tetras
- two dwarf frogs
- one 5-inch bristlenose pleco
- one 7-inch (common?) pleco- this one is leaving in a couple weeks

5. Are there live plants in the aquarium? No
6. What temperature is the tank water currently? 74 F
7. What make/model filter are you using? Regent power filter
8. Are you using a CO2 unit? No
9. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? A little bit
10. When did you perform your last water exchange, and how much water was changed? A week ago, 50%
11. How often do you perform water changes? Every 1-2 weeks usually, more often recently
12. How often and what foods do you feed your fish? flake food (tetras, barbs), sinking shrimp pellets (frogs, plecos, the others will eat them occasionally) and algae wafers (plecos)
13. What type of lighting are you using and how long is it kept on? Fluorescent light, 15 watts, on from 7:30 am until 10 pm
14. What specific concerns bring you here at this time? For some reason the water is always slightly cloudy, not murky, just not clear. I have tried doing a couple 20% water changes, then a couple 50% water changes over the last three weeks. The water will seem to clear up for maybe a day and then get cloudy again.
15. What are your water parameters?
-Nitrate 20 ppm
-Nitrite 0 ppm
-GH 150 ppm
-KH 160 ppm
-pH 7.8

16. What test kit are you using and is it liquid or test strips? test strips
17. When was the last time you bought a fish and how did they behave while in the pet store tank? October- healthy, swimming- I bought them from a good fish store with high quality fish.

Cody 02-13-2008 09:20 PM

I suggest getting liquid test kit instead of strips.

The only thing I find wrong is the lighting. First off, 15 watts is not enough for a 55 gallno tank. You need at least 3 watts of lighting per gallon. The next thing on the lighting is how long you have it on. You should only have it on 10-12 hours a day. You have it on for almost 15 hours. This could be the cuase of the cloudy water.

scottysgirl 02-13-2008 10:58 PM

You do not need, and should not have three watts per gallon for a non-planted freshwater tank, that will cause massive and horrible algae outbreaks. Sounds to me like you are having a bacterial bloom. Try cutting back on your feeding, and keep up with the water changes. Can you give the exact specs on your filter? I am wondering if the tank is underfiltered, and that combined with over-feeding has induced a bacterial bloom. Have you changed your gravel or cleaned your filter material lately? Sometimes a disruption of the 'good' bacteria can lead to this problem.

Monsterpony 02-13-2008 11:04 PM

Thanks for the reply. I didn't realize that they needed that much time without the light. Is there a minimum amount of light they need?

A couple questions:
1)Since the light is fluorescent, wouldn't that have a difference on the wattage equivalent? At least when comparing incandescent to fluorescent, a 15 watt fluor is the equivalent to a 60 watt incand. The bulb is the size of the top of my tank so do they make higher wattage bulbs of the same length?
2)A friend suggested that the cloudiness might be due to a bloom of infusoria. What do you think is the likelihood of that and if so, how do I clean them out?

fish_4_all 02-14-2008 12:30 PM

#1, You do not need more light unless you plan to get live plants. You have plenty. I am curious though, did your tank come with 2 light fixtures? If so they should both be 15 watts minimum if not 18.
#2 You could very well have an infusoria bloom. This is caused by overfeeding sometimes and also excess nutrietns like nitrates. Water changes will help to get rid of it but they usually go away on their own with reduced feeding. Make sure to do a good deep and thurough gravel vac at least once a month to clean out the mulm in the substrate. If it doesn't get bad enough to effect the fish it is rarely something to worry about.

I get green water twice a year, every year it seems in my tanks and I only do water changes more than normal if I see the fish at the surface a little more often or I can't see through the tank.

Daphnia will eat green water and infusoria but the fish will eat the daphnia. Some filter floss in the tank for 2-3 hours a day for 2-3 days will help get out the tiny stuff also.

Monsterpony 02-14-2008 05:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scottysgirl
You do not need, and should not have three watts per gallon for a non-planted freshwater tank, that will cause massive and horrible algae outbreaks. Sounds to me like you are having a bacterial bloom. Try cutting back on your feeding, and keep up with the water changes. Can you give the exact specs on your filter? I am wondering if the tank is underfiltered, and that combined with over-feeding has induced a bacterial bloom. Have you changed your gravel or cleaned your filter material lately? Sometimes a disruption of the 'good' bacteria can lead to this problem.

Sorry, I don't know how I missed your post. I feed the flake food twice a day, only as much as the fish eat in a few minutes. I feed the shrimp pellets once a day and one small algae wafer disc every other day. I also occasionally feed freeze dried brine shrimp instead of the flake food. Can you think of any changes I should make?
I don't know what the specs on the filter are. The tank set up was left behind by my roommate's old roommate so I don't really know anything other than it says Regent on it. What size should I have for this size of tank. It has a activated carbon filter which I change about once a month. I haven't changed the gravel since October.

Quote:

Originally Posted by fish_4_all
#1, You do not need more light unless you plan to get live plants. You have plenty. I am curious though, did your tank come with 2 light fixtures? If so they should both be 15 watts minimum if not 18.
#2 You could very well have an infusoria bloom. This is caused by overfeeding sometimes and also excess nutrietns like nitrates. Water changes will help to get rid of it but they usually go away on their own with reduced feeding. Make sure to do a good deep and thurough gravel vac at least once a month to clean out the mulm in the substrate. If it doesn't get bad enough to effect the fish it is rarely something to worry about.

There is only one light fixture, it is built into the tank cover. I was reading on here that the light bulb needs to be changed yearly and since I doubt it has been changed in 5 years or so, I will be getting a new bulb soon.
I have been doing gravel cleanings every time I do a water change.

jeaninel 02-15-2008 02:41 AM

You may be a bit under filtered. I would add another filter such as a Penguin 350 or Emperor 400. Leave the old filter running also. I run a Penguin 350 and a Whisper 30-60 on my 55 and my water stays nice and clear.

I don't have live plants so I just leave the lights off while I'm not home. There's enough ambient light during the day for the fish to see. I just turn the light on when I come home from work so I can enjoy my fish.

Monsterpony 02-16-2008 10:28 PM

I was able to get to the LFS today and I do think my filter is too small for the tank. Would it be better to add another small power filter (so have two smaller power filters running), upgrade to a sngle larger power filter, or add a smaller underwater filter (so have one power and one underwater filter)?

Oldman47 02-17-2008 10:00 AM

If you have room for 2 filters and don't mind the extra upkeep, 2 are always better than 1. The best part is that if one of them fails, the other can keep your tank healthy until the failed one can be repaired or replaced. Another advantage is that they can be cleaned on an alternating basis so that you never completely remove the biofiltration no matter how thoroughly you clean one. The other one will provide the biofiltration in the short term.

jeaninel 02-17-2008 09:58 PM

Get a filter that is rated for a tank larger than yours. You can never have too much filtration. I would get another power filter and also keep your existing one running so you don't lose your bacteria colony.


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