Relearning the basics
new to the site but not new to fish keeping..
I'm posting this here so that people new to the hobby( and those that are on the fence about maintence) realize how important tank maintenance is...and also that anyone.. no matter how experienced can and do make mistakes.. it's part of the learning process..
I've been keeping aquriums of some sort since the late 60's , when I started, books and the local aqurium supply stores were the only sorce of info... I learned about water changes,the effects PH. Amonia and the nitrogen cycle has on aquatic life ( I also have a ornamental goldfish pond)..
flash foreward to last summer... While remodeling my Family room in May, I moved my 16 gallon comunity tank ( UGF and Penguine 150 filters).. . from its home in that room to the foyer "temporarily".. .. the project and life itself got in the way... maintenence was put on hold.. weekly water changes ..on hold... gravel vacuming..on hold.. monthly water tests ..on hold.. ... because the situation was "temporary" I figured an extra week or two wouldnt hurt.... my original plan was to relocate and restablish the maintenence program as soon as the room was finished... along came October the now scuzzy looking tank was still in the foyer.. there was barely enough water to keep the filter primed.. I relocated the tank... cleaned the filters.. my wife ( not a fish person) scrubbed everything clean... including the biological filter( disregarding my instructions to only rinse it in old tank water).... a check of the water found unusualy high PH... this I linked to a degrading coral ornament( and of coarse severe neglect).. surprisingly Amonia was 0... Nitrates were ..Im embarrased to say @ 160PPM... I removed and rinsed the gravel and UG filter ( Nitrate trap!) and changed 50% of the water with distilled water and treated it with slime coat and a bacteria booster.. long story short, there were a few issues with an amonia spike( I blamed on the bio filter cleaning) and the shock of the whole water changed killed two glow tettras and a all 4 neon tettras...everything else survived..the whole event is embarrasing to me.. I have always taken pride in the appearance of my aqurium ( and fish pond)...I've vowed to NEVER let this happen again.. three weeks latter all inhabitants are healthy..happy and the water is crystal clear...PH is 6.8.. Amonia is 0 and Nitrate is maintaining 25 PPM..
Moral of the story.. DONT FORGO MAINTENCE.. Routine water changes... gravel vacuming and filter replacement is vital to the health and well being of your fish... also you are never to old to learn.. or in my case re-learn lessons learned close to 50 years ago..
On a side note... I joined this site to learn about the care and construction of a salt water tank.. it's been a life long dream.... I feel the time has come to take the leap ..once i "snoop" around and gain the knowledge to properly care for a larger more complicated system..
And FWIW as you research saltwater system please look up macro algaes. They are the marine equilvant of FW plants and have much the same great effects.
a crappy cell phone picture.. healthy and happy today...
Wow! Thanks for this post! Good words, and a good warning to all! NEVER too experienced to make mistakes, and KEEP THOSE TANKS CLEAN!!! Thanks for being honest about your experience, and welcome to TFK!
You aren't the first (and far from the last) person who has let life get in the way of tanking and awakened to the CODE RED nitrate test that indicates what we like to call Old Tank Syndrome. . . We call it that because - as you said! It is those tanks that are oldest, and have been running the longest, that tend to lose the attention of their owners and fall into a state of neglect. :/ I'm still a beginner in the wonderful world of fishkeeping, but I've already had to 'rescue' two tanks (belonging to others!) from the dread OTS - it's not a pretty picture, and unfortunately far too common.
Everyone has their own maintenance routine, and every tank is unique to some extent - but it is imperative that we stick to it for the health of the animals that we have committed to care for. It really doesn't take much for a tank to slip out of balance and each skipped water change makes it that much worse. . . and as you learned, fixing it isn't as easy as it seems. The best advice I (as a beginner!) would give to someone dealing with a situation like this is GO SLOWLY! Bring the tank slowly out of the muck, rather than shocking it's inhabitants with massive water changes - and the inevitable pH swings, and cycle instability that can result from such dramatic measures. . .
So happy to hear you've gotten back on track with minimal losses!
Things have sure changed since the 60's!!! My mom gave me a few of her old fishkeeping books when I first started learning and O.O Wow! A lot of it is completely the opposite from what I have learned in the newer books (and sites)! Never too experienced to learn - especially with tanks, and I'm sure that you have much to teach from your many years of experience!
Would LOVE to see snaps of your goldfish pond, and three cheers for the regained clarity of your currently happy and healthy tank! I am very much looking forward to watching that one-day salty tank grow! Once again, welcome to TFK - we're glad to have you!
Nice! Thanks! *clicks*
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