Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Giri 06-25-2013 07:25 PM

Don't let friends watch your fish tank
I was stuck in a hospital for a great deal of time,for reasons not really important to the situation- I had to leave for two months and I couldn't look after my tank. So, really needing someone to care for the system, I enlist a friend to do that and watch my home space.

We are no longer friends.

I had a few more rosy reds put into the tank that were ,in fact, doing well after my first failed attempt. A lot was going well in there actually, my wisteria and coulomb plants seemed happy- and my amazon sword plants were promising babies. Java ferns were...doing their thing. I was a bit concerned for them, but figured all would be fine with some TLC. Anyway, my friend starts care for my tank, once we get brief opportunities to talk/email correspond, I ask about my home and my tank. I'm told everything was fine, no need to worry.

I should of been mortified, I nearly keeled over returning home. The tank is an absolute mess. I have to list the problems because of what I found.

Initial Setup:
Five Rosey Reds (fish,in case no one is familiar)
two coloumb plants
Two teeny java ferns
Two Amazon sword plants
Basic happy tank

One Rosey Red ( poor thing)
Wisteria is dead( and completely decayed in tank)
One coulomb is alive( maybe?)
Java Ferns are a complete wreck
Amazon swords have survived decently well, but one runner line seems to be dying.
Filter is no longer pumping
Heater unplugged
Lights and a my water testing kit gone(WHY? I wish I knew)
Water five inches high in tank, filthy

All the plants that died decayed in tank, my fish were never fed.I have no idea how the one has survived! No water changes, not even ADDING water, I came in to find it running with about,oh, maybe five inches of water in the tank. Now Ive been trying to fix it. However, not being able to work for so long has left my very little by way of resources.

So I've got to fix this, but I need a bit of help.

1) Water problem.

I left what was in there and filled the thing back up(properly introducing the poor little fish). Everything is ok, but the water is still a bit cloudy. Should I perform a few water changes over the next few days?

2) The filter

This is my biggest problem. I can't get the thing to pump, I've cleaned it extremely well, the blades are turning fine when plugged in,but it just won't pump out the water. Any ideas? I've no way to buy a filter, nor get a supplement to a filter into this tank. So, the next question.

How else can I save this poor fish and these plants?

If I can't fix this filter, I don't know what to do.I don't want to get rid of anything in haste -I may be able to get a new filter in about a week. Hell, I'll look like an idiot and take one lone fish to the pet store....(If they'll take her) but my plants i don't want to lose. I adore these plants- they were my main goal in this venture. I just don't know what to do and I really need some help.

JDM 06-25-2013 08:07 PM

That sucks.

Without the filter you can still do what you want plant wise. The barb should really be in a group, more like what you started with but no filter = no fish as this is, I assume a smallish tank. Once you get the plants re-established you can consider what you want to do for filter and fish.

I took fish back a while back that were in our office tank, incompatible, too large and too small a group. Don't feel awkward or like an idiot for doing what you need to, it's better than flushing the fish.


SeaHorse 06-25-2013 08:22 PM

You can also make a sponge filter if you have some tubing, a sponge, an air pump and a water bottle. easy peasy.

Giri 06-25-2013 08:27 PM

Yes, it does suck, but I vented my frustrations of the matter with many a colorful word upon seeing the mess. Now I'm just sad and have to deal with it.

Thanks though Jeff, I appreciate it. I feel so bad for this guy- I hate that this fish has been alone for god only knows how long. I'll bring him to the pet store tomorrow. Little trooper.

I should've mentioned previously, the tank is ten gallons.

Would you happen to have any idea how to at least get the plant life re-established in this tank? Particularly the coulomb, a piece is currently drifting about and surviving in some way, but there is one piece planted still that is near bare but green and alive. Any java fern advice would be awesome to.

Giri 06-25-2013 08:30 PM


Originally Posted by Jakiebabie (Post 2408786)
You can also make a sponge filter if you have some tubing, a sponge, an air pump and a water bottle. easy peasy.

Thanks Jackie, I may give it a shot before straight out buying a new filter, I've seen a lot of great tutorials on it. I just can't get my hands on anything new ( I don't have an air pump atm either) for awhile.

JDM 06-25-2013 08:38 PM

Java ferns just do what they do, as long as they are not planted in the substrate they'll survive or not. Even if the leaves die off the rhizome is probably not dead and will come back, i had little pieces surprise me.

I don't know what a coulomb is.

Probably best is to clean out the obviously dead stuff and see what the green does... although with no fish a little decaying plant material isn't a bad thing.

How long have you had the tank running prior to this episode? What is your lighting? Have you been doing any fertilizing? Will you add more plants to fill it in or just want to see what happens with what you have?


Giri 06-25-2013 09:02 PM

Alright, some TLC and I'm sure the ferns will make it.Though, I know java ferns to be substrate planted,could you elaborate more please?

I found some old research on the coulomb plant, should be able to get it to survive, maybe.

The tank had been running approximately two months prior to this.
My lighting was a T5 setup, but they are gone now.
I previously had the API root tabs in, I popped more in today.
I don't want to run any risks so I'm going to maintain current plant business, though one of the sword plants has two more growing off the appear ready to be harvested and planted.

Giri 06-25-2013 10:23 PM

Alright, in case anyone ever needs that video Jackie ( who was a huge help!) mentioned, this is it :

A big thanks to everyone. I think all of this can be fixed. It'll just ake a bit of time + effort. Happy swimming all!

(I will totally still take suggestions + any advice on the matter. I do appreciate it all, but currently there is little else I can do)

JDM 06-26-2013 06:14 AM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by Giri (Post 2409114)
Alright, some TLC and I'm sure the ferns will make it.Though, I know java ferns to be substrate planted,could you elaborate more please?

Java fern grows from a rhizome, not a root, similar to anubias. This is the green stalk looking root part and the brown hairs are for anchoring the plant to wood or rock. If the rhizome is planted below the substrate it will eventually rot, although the larger the grain size of gravel the longer it may last. Large pebbly substrates may work ok as there will be enough circulation.

Here a shot of the rhizome on a group of ferns.


Giri 06-26-2013 01:50 PM

Ah yes, I see! I must of confused myself when I intially planted them in the tank. I had them in loose gravel, but i don't think it was loose enough. This may explain some of the issues I had before the incident! I will be trying what this fellow is suggesting though,to see what happens.

Update on tank status:

I have a filter! Thanks to the information provided by Jackie, and others in the fish chat, I was able to do a cost effective setup in my tank. Though I didn't follow he method in the previously linked tutorial exactly, because I would've run over budget to get some of the media needed. I picked up a 'Marina bottom filter" casing (On sale, three dollars! Woo! I didn't really have anything to start drilling holes in water bottles. Or a water bottle...Shared house, but no one buys cases of water or the plastic pop bottles) , some tubing and the marina 50 air pump to set up. I then ripped apart some old filter cartridges, popped in the carbon and the poly fill they were made of, and viola! A filter! And you know what? I LIKE THIS ONE BETTER. I suggest it to anyone that is looking to make an effective filter, for a low cost. I even suggest the pump for anyone that needs one. It's a good,quiet pump that does it's job well. Granted, you could follow the instructions found in the tutorial because that'll be just as effective, but this casing seems to do the trick to. I only set it up a little while ago, so we'll have to wait and see how things go.

My water is still murky, bleck. I'll be doing another water change in a little while ( Did a 15-20% eariliar)

The fish is still here. I named him( I think it's a boy anyway) "Cooper". Or Cooper-Trooper. Little solider he is. I tried to bring him back, but upon calling ahead the LPS wouldn't take him. I'm sort of stuck now, I do not want to get any more fish, but I also don't like that this very social little guy is alone. Suggestions welcome!

I'm about to do some replanting, the Java ferns need it and I think the swords will benefit in the end. Going to plant th two teeny swords plants today as well and get them started, there is no sense in having them continue to feed off the mother plant with how big they have gotten.

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