Please help with filter information
I am very new to this hobby and learning every day. The info I am having a hard time finding out is about my filter.
I know that the tank has to go through a cycling process, but I think mine is taking too long, and it's probably my fault.
I have a 10 gallon tank, with 9 guppies, 2 clown loaches and 3 baby guppies.
My problem is that I have high nitrites and I feel that I am not filtrating correctly.
How do I know if my filter is working right? I have one of those box ones, and I use the carbon and some polyester fiber, but I've read that those are cheap filters and not very good. Is it true?
My next question is about the biological filter. I understand that bacteria needs to develop in the tank to process nitrites into nitrates, but I am not sure where this bacteria lives? Everywhere? On the gravel? On the fake plants? On the decoration in the aquarium?
Or is it like I think I've just found out, and in my case it lives in the filter? Does it live on the polyester fiber that I clean every week and throw out??? Should I keep that fiber in the filter?
Please help, as you can see I am very confused and I really want my little fish to have good water to live in.
I do partial water changes every other day right now but nitrites are still there :(
Thanks in advance for your answers.
First off, how long has your tank been set up?
Second, what brand is this box filter? I have not heard of those yet. Is it homemade?
Are you using bioballs? If not, no good bacteria is growing in your tank. It grows on the gravel, decor, plants, etc. I dont know if it grows in the filter, I dont believe so but I could be wrong.
Also, I think clown loaches get too big for 10 gallons :dunno:
When I asked for filter recommendations I was told to get a bio-wheel power filter, either the penguin or the emporer. I think it's a great filter.
How long has your tank been set up? The cycling process can take up to six weeks and sometimes longer. Read the sticky at the top of the forum. You go from ammonia readings to nitrite and then nitrate. If you've seen ammonia (which is now down) and you're spiking nitrite you may be close to finishing.
The good bacteria live in the filter, gravel, plants, etc. as you suspect. This includes the fiber you're tossing. If it needs to be cleaned just rinse it out in used aquarium water when you do a water change. You need to be doing water changes if your nitrite is high, but why are you changing the fibers? You don't need bio balls.
By the way, with the fish you've listed you are way overstocked for a 10 gallon tank. The general rule of thumb is 1" per gallon of fish. Your loaches will need more.
Welcome to the forum, Elisa.:wave:
Carbon is not needed. All you need are filter floss and foam at the moment. Unless you are trying to get rid of tannins and medicines, carbon is useless.
Bacteria lives everywhere. Vast majority is found in the filter. Keep the filter media there until it is time for you to decide that it is worn out. Cleaning the filter media is done when you see your filter appearing to be clogging. Just clean under tank water.:) Hot water can destroy the bacteria rendering your tank dangerous to the fish because of mini-cycles.
The filter doesn't have a brand, but it's not homemade. It's a plastic container with a tube that blows air in it. Inside I put the carbon on the bottom and then the fiber. I close the lid and put it in the tank. It has a tube that comes out and blows bubbles. But at this point I've figured out that it is not a good filter, at least not one of the better ones out there.
I am not using bioballs. But I think they've said the bacteria grows in the fiter fiber, so I won't throw that out as often anymore.
Thank you for your reply.
I had no idea the loaches get that big... hopefully mine won't grow much.
I know I need the help! lol
I think you know which filter I have. Yes, the water goes through the carbon and the fiber. I will probably buy something else this weekend, one of the ones you put outside the tank? I know I don't want an underground one.
Are you serious I don't need carbon? I bought a small carton of it, and I was told that it was needed with the filter I have, otherwise it would only be polyester fiber in the filter? Hmm. If there is no carbon, then what is really filtrating/cleaning the water, just the fiber?
The foam and/or the biol-balls are the best for bio. filtration...the poly. fibres are more for filtering out the gunk...
Personally, I like the carbon...keeps the water nice and clear and smelling good...but it is optional...
Other filter media aside from filter floss and sponge are lava rocks, pieces of PVC pipes, ceramics(the ones designed for aquarium use), peat(lower pH, not necessary), oyster shells(increase pH; not necessary), gravel(placed in a bag), etc. There are several items to consider though I tried only a few.:roll:
External canister filters are filters placed outside the tank as well.:)
Filter floss can remove small particles. Foam can remove bigger particles. I used only these things in my filter.;) Carbon is used only if I see yellowing of the water(sometimes I do because my schedule sometimes prevents me from doing water changes), use peat or medicines.:)
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