Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Not sure about this part of fish keeping! (

tomcatguy74 02-18-2011 06:09 PM

Not sure about this part of fish keeping!

I have a 5 gallon tank that has 3 guppies in it, heater, air pump, fluoro lighting.
This is an Aqueon Bow Tank kit with Aqueon Filter on it. I was told to change the filter once a month.
The filter is now almost black. Very dark green. When should I be changing it?
I also need to do a water change today. Just fed fish. Feed every other day.
Please help



Guppie luver 02-18-2011 06:39 PM

change it all and what sex are the guppies ! if they are female you need an up grad but if they are males then its ok but if it is female and males put together then a biger over populated tank remember 1 gal. per 1 in. of fish or else suffer the concencences

zof 02-18-2011 07:06 PM

As the previous poster said in such a small tank you should only keep 1 sex of guppies so you don't have babies, as for the filter if it is an activated carbon filter then it might appear black just because of the carbon showing through. I would change based on what is recommended on the filter but would also keep the old filter in the tank for a few days so the bacteria in the tank has a chance to move over to the new filter. If you don't care much about the benefits of active carbon then I would only change the filter when water is no longer flowing though it at a good rate but instead around it, as its the beneficial bacteria we as fish keepers look for mainly in filtration. Also you could probably just move to filter floss instead of the more costly replacement cartridges.

Also its up to you but I would recommend feeding the feed every day just in smaller portions, as fish are use to scavenging for food all day every day.

Byron 02-19-2011 11:29 AM

I am not familiar with the filter type mentioned, but if the media is something along the lines of a foam pad, floss, etc., it should not be changed until it literally falls apart or the water is able to escape around it without going through it. Rinsing media is sufficient to remove particulate matter. Rinse in a pail of water from the tank; using tap water with chlorine or chloramine will kill the bacteria in the filter. Rinsing in tank water will remove the matter but not kill the bacteria.

Filter manufacturers are notorious for recommending that media be replaced regularly. This is to sell more stuff. There is no practical reason for replacing filter media if it is still doing its job, that is, the water is forced to run through the media and not somehow get around it.

Rinsing should be done as needed. The more crud that collects in the media, the less the water can flow through, and the filter is not as efficient. I rinse my sponge filters every week during the water change. Canister filters on my larger tanks I rinse out usually every couple of months, though some tanks need more, others less often, depending upon fish load.


Guppie luver 02-19-2011 01:25 PM

can you tell us the sex of the guppies?????????????????????????

tomcatguy74 02-21-2011 06:33 PM


By Byron's direction I just did a 2 gallon water change and rinsed the filter element as best as I could in the 2 gallons I removed from the tank for the water change. I detoxified the water and replaced the salt. Seems kinda strange doing it this way but it makes sense. We will see where it goes. The filter was badly clogged but I think I got 75% of the crud out of it.
Guppy Luvr, I have 1 male and 2 females. I am trying to save the male. He was not doing very well this evening until I fed them. He has been missing his right swimmy fin for awhile but has figured out how to manuver around without it. If he goes I will replace him with a one of the babies that the first female guppy has. I think she is preggo. I will take the remaining babies to the pet store so they can get adopted. I just finished he water change and all 3 of them are scared in the front corner of my tank. They're so cute.
Hey won't a water change stress out the pregnant guppy?

Byron 02-21-2011 06:39 PM

I would suggest not using salt. While livebearers can tolerate it, they do not need it, and it is one less thing to cause trouble. So you'll know the reason, I'm copying my comments from elsewhere on salt:
Salt is detrimental to freshwater fish and plants in varying degrees. To understand why, we must understand what salt does in water.

Salt makes the water more dense than the same water without salt. The aquarium contains water. The bodies of fish and plant leaves also contain water [just as we do--we are, what is it, 70-some percent water?]. The water in the aquarium and the water in the fish/plant are separated by a semi-permeable layer which is the cell. Water can pass through this cell. When either body of water is more dense, the other less-dense body of water will pass through the membrane to equalize the water on both sides.

Water is constantly passing through the cells of fish by osmosis in an attempt to equate the water inside the fish (which is more dense) with the water in the aquarium. Put another way, the aquarium water is diluting the fish's body water until they are equal. Freshwater fish regularly excrete this water through respiration and urination. This is the issue behind pH differences as well as salt and other substances. It increases the fish's work--the kidney is used in the case of salt--which also increases the fish's stress in order to maintain their internal stability. Also, the fish tends to produce more mucus especially in the gills; the reason now seems to be due to the irritant property of salt--the fish is trying to get away from it.

I have an interesting measurement for fish. Dr. Stanley Weitzman, who is Emeritus Research Scientist at the Department of Ichthyology of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington and an acknowledged authority on characoid fishes, writes that 100 ppm of salt is the maximum for characins, and there are several species that show considerable stress leading to death at 60 ppm. 100 ppm is equal to .38 of one gram of salt per gallon of water. One level teaspoon holds six grams of salt, so 1 tsp of salt per gallon equates to more than 15 times the tolerable amount. Livebearers have a higher tolerance (mollies sometimes exist in brackish water) so the salt may be safe for them.

Plants: when salt is added to the aquarium water, the water inside the plant cells is less dense so it escapes through the cells. The result is that the plant literally dries out, and will wilt. I've so far been unable to find a measurement of how much salt will be detrimental to plants; all authorities I have found do note that some species are more sensitive than others, and all recommend no salt in planted aquaria.

Guppie luver 02-21-2011 06:49 PM

ya so that will work and a water change is good if it is a small one at a time so that it wint stress them

tomcatguy74 02-21-2011 07:05 PM

So what do I do about the salt now??

Byron 02-21-2011 07:20 PM


Originally Posted by tomcatguy74 (Post 597593)
So what do I do about the salt now??

If it were me, I would simply stop adding it. Water changes will dilute it time by time. As I mentioned, livebearers have a higher tolerance for salt, but if there is no reason to use it, I wouldn't. If the time comes that you need to use it as a treatment for something, less will have more effect.

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