Waterchange and tank cleaning question.
Hi all and back to a newbie question.
Currently fighting a battle against nitrates (Fluctuating between 40-80ppm) with ammonia and nitrites remaining at 0ppm. PH is maintianing average at 7.0 (Hard to tell between color chart 6.8 to 7.2)
I know i am overstocked but the tetras may be making a visit to the freezer with fin rot. No indications or syptoms showing on the other occupants. Medicated the tank as per the instructions and currently currently doing 15% waterchanges per day with activated carbon in filter to remove the medications. The tetras still have indications of fin rot with one also having a growth on its lower jaw. (Could this maybe indicate Neon Tetra Disease). Not sure
Yesterday i vacuumed the substrate and cleaned the filter media. Refilled and turned on the powerhead. I was observing the spray bar and noticed algae growing out of the outlets. Also a whole lot of diatoms (excuse spelling) and white slime proceed to enter the aquarium. Attempted to use the net and capture some of the crap clouding up the aquarium.
I figured that this could be the root cause of the Nitrate issue and conducted the water change again tonight. This time i puilled the filter apart and removed the biological media. I aggitated and rinsed the media in tankwater and removed a lot of the diatoms / buildup. Cleaned the filter area and removed the algae. Assembled and filled the tank back up.
My ultimate question is have i made a significant mistake, regarding the biological media rinse?
Rinsing your media in tank water is fine. It won't kill the bacteria on it and is the prefer way of rinsing them off.
I'm not certain of the history of your tank?
Medications for fin rot are anti-bacterial, so you've likely killed off your beneficial bacteria! This is why we treat such things in a hospital tank.
It is likely that your N2 cycle will begin anew once the medication is gone.
Note: neon tetra disease is identified by the tail section of the fish turning pale yellow or white. The growth on the jaw, if white is likely a fungus which often goes hand in hand with fin rot the result of unsavory 'characters' in a new or unbalanced tank.
You will need to monitor the water params and be prepared for a partial water change (as much as 50%) if/when ammonia and or nitrites spike in your new cycle.
As for high nitrates, assuming your source water is nitrate free, you should be able to control with 50% weekly water changes using a gravel siphon to clean the substrate. Don't over feed the fish, add some [floating] plants (I like Anacharis).
keep us posted.
I agree with posts to date, but would like to explore the so-called fin rot. Are you sure this is not due to fish nipping fins? If the fish stock in your log is correct, you have a possible issue with the sole Black Widow Tetra; as it notes in our profile [click the shaded name for the profile] this fish is known to nip fins. And this behaviour can be aggravated when the fish is in too small a group (no less than six, you have only one) or in too small a space (to the fish's thinking).
All characins are likely fin nippers, actually; they have excellent sets of teeth, and are not adverse to using them on other fish's fins. With most species this is prevented through sufficient numbers and tank space, but some species will nip regardless. And nipped fins are almost identical in appearance to fin rot.
On the nitrate, adding to what has been said already, yes, a buildup of organic matter in filters can cause this. Live plants (of which you have some) and weekly 40-50% water changes should keep them below 10ppm. Nitrates is a mis-understood problem for many aquarists, who often see no issue with nitrates above this number. But as Dr. Neale Monks has been saying in recent issues of PFK, nitrates above 20ppm will likely negatively affect all fish we keep, some more than others, so keeping them below 20ppm is wise.
Going from your log, this is a 9 gallon tank with the 1 BWT, 6 neons, 3 Ember, 4 rummys, 1 bristlenose and 1 cory. The tank is no where near sufficient in size for the BWT or the rummys (which both need more, the latter a lot more, check the profile please), the cory needs a couple more... enough said for the moment. Except that any of these tetra could conceivably be fin nipping in these conditions.
Thanks again all who have contributed. I am still learning in leaps and bounds and understand the overpopulation problem. With all your good advice the nitrates have returned and are being maintained at less than 10ppm. I am conducting daily 10% WC`s with a gravel clean every 3 days to remove waste buildup from the substrate.
I was expecting the tank to conduct a mini cycle with the medication, but daily tests (Prior to WC)proved otherwise with no spikes in either Nitrites or Ammonia. Im thinking the plants might`ve contributed.
The good news is i have convinced the better half that a bigger (3foot) hobby tank for me to play with while she deploys to the gulf is a good idea. So Ebay has become my friend and im looking into a purchase in the near future to better accomodate current inhabitants and maybe increase the Black Widow Tetra numbers to a more friendly school.
It is going to be a slow build as i want to do a 3d background with plant recesses, driftwood (for the Pleco) and caves. Basically to protect the roots in there own built in pot and allow me to give the remaining substrate a good clean once a week. (Stand by for more posts as im sure i will need advice)
But the daily water changes are working well and after hours of viewing the BWT, i believe it is a little fin nipping going on. Plus it is summer here in Australia so the garden is getting a good water every other day.
Again cheers for the info and help. Basically now i think its water chemistry (PH, KH, GH) that i have to get my head around and i should be good to go.
Oh and turn the 9g into a QT/HT as required.
You can read more in the substrate section of this article:
Sorry Byron, not sure if i am confussed ( I usually am). Are you saying if i hollow out sections of the 3D background forming small to medium garden beds to facilitate substrate and planting that this could be detrimental to tank overall chemistry. My thoughts were that if the plants had there own individual garden bed that i could avoid disturbing the roots and focus the gravel cleaning on the main substrate body at the base of the tank. Thus leaving the plants to do there own thing without me interfering other than the weekly inspection and trim as required.
As always i am still learning. And appreciate any input.
Second is my point about the substrate itself. If you read the article I linked, it explains the biological importance of the substrate, and planted substrates generally need no "cleaning" as this is only going to mess around with nature. If you have questions after reading the article, fire away.
Hi again. Sorry to bother but the link didnt work. I had a look in the sticky areas but didnt find it. Would you mind posting the link again or just direct me to the general area and ill go from there.
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