I don't understand what am I doing wrong :(
I've been on this board before, for not being able to cycle a tank and other beginner problems...
You guys have helped so much, and hopefully you can shed some light on these new problems I'm facing.
Well, to begin I have a 10 gallon tank, with and AquaClear 30 filter.
The tank started off with guppies and 2 clown loaches. All my guppies have died, one after the other one, over a matter of months. I've lost them all. They all died similarly, by just wasting away. Nothing major. Just as if they got weaker and weaker. Some I would find stuck to the filter opening, some would stay in the corner on the top of the tank for few days, and then die, some would develop a hump and then die, some would become smaller and smaller, even transparent almost, some would just disappear and then I would find them dead behind decoration...
Then I tried to change fish and I got 3 mollies. Two have died already, over the course of, say, a month. One more is left, and I feel bad for her because I feel she will die too.
The two clown loaches, instead, have grown, and, knocking on wood, seem doing ok. They've been in this tank since the beginning (February/March).
Let me give you some details about the tank. I've moved it closer to a window, and I'm thinking I will move it away from it, since the algae is sooo out of control, it's disgusting. I'm dreading having to clean it today. I mean I've seen strings of algae (it used to be just a little).
Is algae dangerous for the fish?
Next, I've bought a little vacuum pump, that doesn't seem to be doing the job right, as it just stirs things around but doesn't really pick them up.
Any good suggestions on a cheapish vacuum?
My gravel is medium in size, and I have not changed it since the beginning. Should I change it?
The filter only has a sponge and the white rocks for bacteria to grow in it. I'm not using the carbon since I've read here that it's really not necessary, but my water smells bad and I'm thinking I should use it again.
What are your thoughts on carbon?
I was thinking that maybe the fish were dying because they needed more oxygen, so I bought a bubble bed, one of those tubes you put down at the bottom, and it's about maybe 6 inches long. I've attached to an air pump, the lowest setting one the sell, but I get this feeling that the bubbles it creates might be too much for the fish to handle. They look (especially the clowns) not happy when the bubbles are on, so I feel bad and turn them off at night (I figure they can sleep better in quiet water).
So now I'm torn, is this bubble bed good for them or not? Do they need extra oxygen? Is it my imagination, or the bubble bed makes the water dirty faster?
I have a big castle in the water (ok, maybe a bit too big for this size of tank), and it has turned into the clowns home. They rarely come out of there, one a bit more than the other, and of course when I'm not around. Is this ok? I've read it's good that they have a hiding place, but they really live in there more than out. And is there such a thing as a TOO big decoration for the tank? Can it hurt the tank?
Lastly, my water levels. My pH is low, about 6.4. I've been able to have no ammonia nor nitrites. But nitrates are always a problem. I do 25% water changes every week but always get high nitrates readings, in the 40s.
And now that I really have only 3 fish in there, it actually looks like the water has deteriorated. It's as if the tank just gets worse and worse, no matter what I do, and no matter how many fish in there.
Oh, one more thing. Is it normal that every thing in the tank now looks full of algae and green, should I wash the decorations and the fake plants, and strip them of this slimy coat they have?
Please guide me in the right direction, what am I doing wrong, and what should I be doing different, and what should I start doing that I am not doing?
Algae is not dangerous to fish however it is if it decomposes in the water causing oxygen depletion. Did your fish even gasp around the surface? If so, that's a surefire sign that your tank has very low oxygen level. For this, you'll definitely need to aerate the tank. A lot of surface movements will increase the oxygen level. Your clown loaches will actually prefer too much movements around and very high oxygen levels. They originated from rivers where there are always currents. A large river tank is actually the most appropriate setup for botiine loaches.
How often do you feed your fish? What test kit are you using? You may use carbon to remove the odor from your tank.
The bubble bed simply lifts off a lot of wastes that are around your substrate thus clouding up the water. You'll need to siphon the gravel a lot. What gravel vacuum are you using if it's doing the job poorly?
I'd suggest doing water changes twice or thrice a week. Every other day would be much more preferable until you can keep the nitrates below 40.
Does your window direct too much sunlight? If so, avoid placing a tank in a sunlit room. You may have nutrient imbalance judging by your algae growing out of control. Wash all decorations to remove the algae. Don't use soap when cleaning them.
If you can afford a larger tank, your clown loaches will appreciate it even better.
Just a thought about the guppies, did oyu ever see any signs of them being bruised, discolored, missing fins or any physical damage? I am think that maybe the loaches had some fun with them and killed them one by one.
Not 100% sure, I am new. But I think I read carbon not being necessary in planted tanks, but if you are non-planted maybe you should still use the carbon? Just a thought, not sure if I am right or not.
Good luck continuing and hope you get some healthy fish going!
Re: I don't understand what am I doing wrong :(
All of Lupins word are "dead on" but I will try to elucidate some of his comments as well as address additional of your questions.
as it may be of some help in your "algae fighting"?
I have used a python on a 10 gallon tank and the only difference is you get the job done very fast though a python would be a large investment for something as small as a 10 gallon tank. A standard aquarium gravel vac should be efficient enough.
Also in my experience you cant really have too much decorations unless your fish is large enough and needs a large amount of swimming room. The castle is definitely better than nothing for the clown loaches, you might want to look into some live or fake plants though to give the mollies/guppies places to hide.
At a Ph of 6.4 I wouldn't recommend giving guppies or platties a go. Livebearers all thrive in harder, more alkaline water and although they can be acclimatised, I have had no luck with them and TBH, rerally don't think it's worth it.
I strongly recommend rehoming your clwons or finding them a larger tank (minimum 75g) ecause as Jones mentioned they will either be stunted or die in a 10g tank, and if they are stunted they will eventually die anyway.
Assuming you do rehome the clowns there is a way to raise your Ph naturally (never use any chemicals to change the Ph - not good for the fish at all) by adding crushed coral to the substrate. Add enough so that there's probably half gravel, half coral. Monitor the Ph of the tank for a few days and it should come up significantly. Make sure you rinse the coral well first thoguh. A Ph of anything over 7 would be a significant improvement for the guppies but 8 would be fine, even thoguh it may seem very high. The problem with thisis that there are many fish that won't apreciate such a high ph so make sure you know what you want before you do this.
I'd first like to say, 'What a lot of helpful responses!' Aren't fish forums great? 8)
Now to the bit that I can add..... your gravel vac? you say you cannot get it to pick up solid waste?
I use a simple, small, cheap gravel vac and a 5 gallon bucket to pick up all visible waste........ in 4 tanks, with a total volume of 135 gallons. And that's 1 bucket (of very black water!)
I call that the 'company's coming' water change. :D
My method is this. Put the narrow end into the bucket and the wide end into the tank, holding it horizontal until it fills with water. Lift the wide end out of the tank, allowing the water to run into the smaller tube. Put the wide end back into the tank, again horizontally. If you can be quick enough to re-submerge the wide end while the larger tube still has a little water in it, that is enough to start the suction. Practice makes perfect. :roll:
And the algae? For best results scrub thouroughly and often. :)
thank you for your reply.
Yes, sometimes my poor molly comes up and breathes heavy by the surface. It's actually more like opening and closing her mouth as if she is blowing kisses, but I guess she is having breathing problems :(
I use Freshwater master test kit by API.
No, not really. I can't say that I've ever seen the clowns being mean to the guppies. Only once I saw one clown with a dead guppy in his mouth, but I got the feeling that he just started playing or eating him after he was dead. And the guppies never had any bruises nor missing fins. But who knows? These clowns are never out when I am around. You have to see the way one of them runs when he sees me, like I want to eat him or something! lol He's cute, though.
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