Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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SaraLee 02-21-2013 03:23 PM

Weird Flaky Stuff
Soo, I'm cycling a 90 gallon tank. The ammonia is almost nonexistant, more than 0 but less than 0.25; the nitrites are through the roof, my test goes up to 5.0 and that's what it's showing. I'm not sure what the nitrates are, I haven't tested them today (two days ago they were at 20, but ammonias dropped and nitrites have risen so they probably have too).
My pH is about 6.4 and the temp is 86.4 F.

There are 6 goldfish about 3-4 inches in the tank. I was using them to cycle the tank - yea I know, some people think this is cruel but please try to focus on my issue not the fact that you may not like my methods.

The tank has been set up since the first week of February. I'm using a mix of dirt and sand as a substrate and my tank has been clear since a few days after setting it up when the dirt cleared out.
This morning everything was fine, the water looked great it was still clear. A few minutes ago I walked out into my living room and there were large flake like things floating in my tank. It looks like someone dumped a handful of large fish flakes into the tank. They're almost a translucent white-ish color. They don't float on the surface, they're just suspended in the tank moving around it. I put my hand in to try to grab one of them and it broke apart, but they don't seem to be breaking apart from hitting the plants or fish. It almost felt slimy but it was hard to tell in the water and I couldn't get it out in my hand. The goldfish seem to think it's food, I watched a couple suck them up and spit them out - they were still whole when they spit them out too, not broken up at all.
This morning I added a small patch of Riccia Fluitans to the surface of the tank. But I don't think it's related.

Does anyone have any idea what this is or why it's in my tank?

Chesh 02-23-2013 04:06 PM

Not really very experienced with this, but thought I'd reply since I've recently come across this exact same thing! I'm helping a 10-year old in getting her goldfish tank properly maintained after literally YEARS without water changes, and loss of many fish. It's been quite a process, and there were SO many of these white bits in there when we started it was unreal! The gravel vac won't pull them up, I have to target them with the siphon itself. They WILL settle eventually, but also stay suspended in the water column for quite some time.

I honestly just assumed that they were old/uneaten flake! Since Goldies don't have stomachs, they need to be fed small bits several times a day, anything over that will get wasted. . . of course this tank has been being fed by a 10 year old girl, so it might be that we're talking about different things. . .

Since I became involved, she's now feeding her fish on a quality pelleted food, which is better for them all around, and all cleaning aside, the amount of these white flaky bits have all but vanished. . . so I'm still thinking it could have been extra flake food! But I'm not really sure now. Hopefully someone with more experience can give BOTH of us a solid answer on what it could be :)

SaraLee 02-23-2013 10:21 PM

I don't normally give that tank flakes. I was giving the goldfish small pellets. Occasionally they were getting some flakes, but the flakes they were getting were soo much smaller than hat was floating around in my tank.

It all ended up getting stuck to my plants and the intake of my filter, so I was able to get it all out. It hasn't reappeared yet, but it was so strange. I haven't seem this happen in any of my other fish tanks, this was the first time, and hopefully whatever it was doesn't happen again.

I've since re-homed the 6 goldfish that were staying in my tank and my boyfriends goldfish is temporarily residing in there. One goldfish is a lot less detrimental to my plants than 6.

Even though it's gone now, I'd still like to know what on earth it was. It was so sudden it was crazy.

Good luck with your goldfish project. I hope it goes well and the girl learns a bit about caring for her fish.

Chesh 02-23-2013 10:38 PM

Hmmmm... no idea! Your experience sounds so similar to what I saw, but I just assumed it was flake. I don't really know that to be sure. Hopefully someone else can tell us, because. . . ew! Oh yeah, she's learning allright! I'm just hoping that she'll continue the practice once I stop going over every week and holding her hand! Time will tell, at least I know I tried! :D

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