Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   enough filtration? (

beetlebz 01-27-2010 07:50 PM

enough filtration?
I have a 110g community, currently housing 2 full grown blue gourami, a juvie (6") jack dempsey and a monster 9" royal pleco. i have 2 of the tetra double filters (i believe they are around 330gph) and a eheim ecco 2236 canister, but my ammonia keeps spiking something fierce. they get a weekly gravel sweep and water change. is it just taking its time to stabilize or do i need more filtration muscle?

Angel079 01-28-2010 08:44 AM

Enough....dang I'd pers consider that too much....

How long has this been set up? There's a reason your ammonia goes up like this, either from your tap water, too much food ...the usual suspects; the only role your filters play there as b. bacteria of which you may or may not have enough/ any inside your filters there if its a new set up.

On a side note: What's your long term plans there - The JD and Gourami is a VERY testing mix in that tank if you ask me.

beetlebz 01-28-2010 06:07 PM

they wont be an issue angel :)

the tank has been up around 2 years. originally housed 3 green severums, a krib, a common plec, and a school of tiger barbs and was perfect water quality, then the ammonia randomly shot up to 8ppm one day and everything but the blue gourami died over the course of several weeks, despite daily or every other day water changes.

with just the blues the water settled right out after a while. added the jack a couple months ago, and all was well. spiked a little bit but went back down to .25ppm in a couple days. added the royal pleco a few weeks later and again, small spike but went back down. last night my jack looked jet black, tested the water, and again its up to 4 or 5ppm. did a monster water change but what gives? when id di the water change i didnt pull alot of muck or uneaten food from the substrate.

could it be my filters? the two HOBs pads muck up fast, but i dont swish them until they start plugging up and sending water over the overflows. the canister i do only a couple times a year. could the muck in the filters be causing it?

Angel079 01-28-2010 06:16 PM

I don't use HOBs EVER so I'm not much help to you there; but part of why I don't use them is what you're explaining there...that's why I just stick to Canister :-)
You say you sucked up bunch uneaten need to start feeding every 2nd day then, you're feeding weeee too much :-) 1) Food gets left over 2) They eat SO MUCH and leave stuff over, image what comes out the other end...

MOA 01-28-2010 09:47 PM


My personal experience in this sort of thing indicates two main culprits: 1) your tap water has ammonia in it from time to time or 2) your substrate is old and the bottom layers are starting to deteriorate. I would begin by testing your tap water a couple times over the next couple days. If your tap water has ammonia in it, then you may need to invest in a reservoir to pre-filter your water. If it is not the tap, then my next bet would be your substrate (i.e., gravel). To clean your substrate, remove about 1/5 per week and rinse it thoroughly, let it set for a few days, rinse it again (colanders work well for rinsing most substrates) and then place it back in the aquarium at the end of the week. Repeat this process four more times for the next four sections of substrate. This will help purge your system of excess organics.

If your HOB's are plugging up within a week or two, then it is a pretty good indication that you have too many organics in your aquarium. Feeding less and cleaning parts of your aquarium system may be necessary (do not clean more than 1/5 of the environment at a time, or you may loose too many of your beneficial bacteria). Your canister filter may also be to blame in this cases--you may need to rinse out the filter media every months or two (not too thoroughly, just enough to loosen things up) instead of only a couple times a year. What I have learned is that small preventive measures executed frequently tend to fair much better than occassional large alterations. Canister filters are great, but they can encourage a laziness that can have fatal side-effects; people get used to the idea of not cleaning them out very often and they wind up harboring a lot of unnecessary organics.

The above is opinion, of course, and I would recommend that you talk with some other people about your situation before making any major decisions.


beetlebz 01-28-2010 09:52 PM

i start a regular regime of cleaning the mechanical pad in my ehiem canister filter, and ill start feeding a little less. the fish in that tank are big eaters but i suppose it doesnt mean they need to be :)

Angel079 01-28-2010 10:36 PM

You got that right there! Most if not all tank kept fish have never been documented to starve to death but more often then not die of the consequences from too much food (too fat, poor water conditioners etc etc). I even had exp in the past where I had no other hoice but to leave my fish alone for 1 week at a time w/out food (no fish sitter available) and they all always did just fine.

iamntbatman 01-29-2010 02:30 AM

Man, this AGAIN? I remember the last time you had unexplained ammonia spikes in your tank and we spent forever trying to figure out what caused it. Didn't it end up being a piece of driftwood you had, or something like that?

beetlebz 01-29-2010 10:44 PM

nah, never figured it out. Eventually it got bad enough to kill off most of my fish and eventually with almost no bioload they just kinda straightened themselves out over time. until now that is... grumble.

the only thing im thinking is i need to feed a small fraction of what I currently feed. for the most part all my tanks now are set up with similar stocking lists to the way it was before... big food is big poo. I go a week only feeding little bits, and lets see where we get. this time im serious. I will buy prime by the truck load before i lose my royal pleco :P

lennyboy222 01-30-2010 09:32 AM

They are no such thing as too much filtration, only under filtration. Did you cycle the tank before? A cycled tank never has high ammonia spike. If you did not, try cycling your tank using bacteria product like seachem stability. They work by introducing live bacteria to your tank and convert ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. This helps speed up the cycling process. This is called new-tank syndrome and is the most common problem that new tank experienced and leading to the death of the fish. Don't add anymore fish to your tank. Just wait for the ammonia to naturally settle as the tank is currently growing bacteria to help remove the ammonia.

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