Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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SUP 01-25-2011 08:51 PM

Hazy Water problem!

Brother has a 42 gallon hex aquarium (fresh) with 3 large (5" plus, 3 plecostamus about 8" each). Filtration is handled or not being handled by a HOT Magnum 250 and a Fluval 305. Tank can be cleaned and looks good for about a week and starts looking hazy after this. Small particles are being seen in the water column. Excellent water movement but something is amiss. Fluval filter has carbon and filter sponge material and Magnum 250 has ammonia remover as well as the mechanical paper / foam filter. These work well for about a week and cannot keep up? Seems like it would be enough.

(Fluval filter has about a pint of carbon in it). Any recommendations to help him? I have saltwater tanks and am not that much help in this arena.


SeaHorse 01-26-2011 06:40 AM

Can you tell us again exactly what is in it? The list is confusing. Well I have learned that Plecos are really dirty fish, I always thought they were a cleaning fish but if he has 3 that are 8 inches that's a pretty heavy load with nothing to clean up after it, except his filters. And he has 3 more of something else 5 inches?
Does he test regularly? can you give us some readings, how long has it been set up?, My canister filter has 4 layers in it and none of them is carbon. Large sponge disks, gravel like substrate, tube like substrate, fine poly fibre. Sounds like he has some of these between two filters? They way you have described the filter mediums it sounds like he has some in one and some in the other.
ok I need others to chime in here, these mediums work together and my thought is he should have all 3 or both in both filters, that way he could alternate cleaning of the poly fiber and sponges and not disturb the substrate..... help all you experts out there!!

SeaHorse 01-26-2011 06:46 AM

Sorry... can't type.... "these mediums work together and my thought is he should have all 3 or 4 in both filters,"

SweetPoison 01-26-2011 09:10 AM

What is his substrate? Whatever it is it may need some good housekeeping. I had the exact same problem and this was the problem.

Also ~ lose the carbon. Not necessary unless you are removing meds from a tank ~ plus a waste of money.

SeaHorse 01-26-2011 10:31 AM

Thanks SweetPoison, I thought that, but did not feel that I had the knowledge/experience to post it and was waiting for someone else to do so!! If he has 3 or 4 layers like I do in both filters he could clean one filter at a time and leave the other to ensure good bacteria, just write it down on a calender/schedule so he doesn't forget which one was cleaned last. Keeping a calender of what you did when, helps you diagnose problems and the exact timing of the changes you made. Sounds like he is struggling and making BIG weekly changes dealing with the output of all those fish... 3 big or 6 big fish?

Chickenfoot87 01-26-2011 06:56 PM

When I worked at petsmart the main reason people whould get cloudy water was that they were making water changes that were WAY too big. People seem to think making one big water change is the same as many smaller changes. Taking too much water out of a tank can cause a drop in the amount of good bacteria in your tank, especially if your tank has no gravel to hold onto the bacteria with. This also happens if you add tap water without adding water conditioner.

Next time this happens you could try leaving the tank alone or making a very small change (15%-20%) and keep testing the water and see what happens. Test before and after you make a change and see what it says, if the water is looking dangerous for your fish or if the fish start acting sick make another small change. Basically your doing a mini cycle, after a bit of time the tank should just clear up on its own.

The second most common reason for cloudy water was over feeding. A lot of people over feed especially if they have really large or really small fish. They assume big fish need a lot of food and its hard to feed a small enough amount for really tiny fish. Even with filtration the food can start to build up, I recommend feeding the fish every other day and giving half of what you think they need. Dont worry about the fish they can live a long time with out any food at all so a bit less isnt going to kill hem. Plecos make a lot of mess when they eat especially if you feed them those sinking algae pellets so this just might be your problem.

SUP 01-26-2011 08:45 PM

Sorry to be late in responding.

He really does not do any water checks. He simply changes a large amount of water (I am guessing about 20 gallons or more), cleans both canister filters (Fluval & Magnum), changes filter media (carbon in one nitrate x in other) and turns it back on. He uses chlorine remover to remove clorine. He uses tap water for his water. THe tanks stay clean and clear for about 5 - 7 days and then cloudy again.
He also feeds 8 pellets of something in the morning and 8 pellets of the same in the evening to the 3 large goldfish (each are about 5"). He also will drop algae tabs for the 3 plecos at the bottom. Not sure of the frequency on this.

I would take the following info from the previous posts:
1. Biological filtration is being upset (alternate cleaning of canisters should help this)
2. Smaller water changes
3. Feed less (fish can eat this amount but they are producing a large amount of waste in response
to a large amount of food).
4. Filters should be sufficient (Magnum HOT 250 & Fluval 305).

Media in filters? Carbon? Ammonia remover? Suggestions?

SeaHorse 01-26-2011 09:13 PM

Ahhhhhh! Totally makes sense now. Yes and you are totally on track and are going to explain it to him for us right?!! lol
Yes I just checked and the gravel stuff I use is the Ammonia Remover but I am not sure what the little stone tube things are called but it's where the good bacteria is held. Please explain to put both of these into his filters, remove the carbon, and not to change these for a good 6 months and even then only a partial. Smaller water changes, and way less food. you got it. Also when he cleans a filter to rinse out the sponges or fiber and put them back in, just remove the gunk! He has 6 of the dirtiest fish in his tank.
Ok everyone.... are those two filters, assuming he sets them up with the right mediums inside, with a proper schedule, can they handle the waste load? Let's see what everyone says!

SUP 01-26-2011 09:28 PM

I am going to do my best to explain it to him. The reason he went fresh instead of salt he thought it was add water, chlorine remover and that's it. Kind of like we use to do with our 10 gallon guppy / swordtail tanks 30 years ago. With the bioload of these fish he has it will not work that way. I had him purchase the 2nd filter (HOT 250 Magnum). I also told him to get other fish beside goldfish to no avail! Will do my best.


SUP 01-26-2011 09:31 PM

In saltwater tanks, we do not want the cannisters due to the nitrates they create. Very damaging for our reef tanks. His changing of both filters at the same time is destroying the good bacteria that takes care of all the water conversions that are necessary. Not sure the effect on the Ph. I think that is a big part of the problem but with the proper chems in the filters and the proper husbandry it can probably be dealt with. Just don't know what needs to be inside these cannisters for fresh water.


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