Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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vobizzy 09-17-2007 11:47 PM

Hatchry at Work (need some advice)
Hello, i am volunteering at a museum and have been done so for awhile. My job there is to take care of all the aquatic life there and to be honest a have minimal experience (i work as a naturalist for a big aquarium) i've learned a lot from all the books i've read but it never gave any situational senarios so i am in a bit of a problem.

Just a couple of days ago i decided to take initiative and made it my responsibility to take care of the hatchery for some white spotted bamboo sharks. Let me tell you about the system first:

It's two tanks that are connected to one wet dry system, one tank is a 40 gal tank while the other is about a 50 gal. It's bio media are bio balls/barrels that the water tickles on. No prefilters btw.

Now just by looking at the tank it immediately looks over crowed, and there are known cases that soem of the regular aquairst overfeeding them.

A couple of days ago i notice that the heater was broken in the tank so i decided to fish some of the glass out and i managae to get all of it out, while doing so i noticed that both pumps were off and i went an took a look at it. It turns out that the GFI outlet needed to be reset so i press the reset button and plugged the pumps back in. Only one of them worked. So the matenience guy there and myself went ahead a changed the water pump. In the back of my mind my brain was telling me to a full chem on the tank because the tank looked WAY too dirty so i went ahead and did it. the results are as follows:

NH3 = .50 ppt
NO2 = .25 ppt
NO3 = 160 ppt....the test was bright red which was a first for me.

I'm pretty new at this so the results definitely told me that it meant a HUGE problem. I went around and asked for some advice from Aquarist from my work and they told me that i should do a big water change, add some Amquil (nitrifying bacteria), and beef up more of the filtration.

Any advice you guys can help me with would be appreciated.


gymnothorax 09-22-2007 01:52 AM

big water change would definetly be the first move. You didn't say what the ph of the tank was, but it wouldn't surprise me if the high nitrates are holding them down, so I would check and definetly add some buffer. As far as improving the filtration i would start replacing the bioballs with liverock, (only a little bit at a time though, give the tank time to adjust). Bioballs have a tendency to harbor nitrates over time, which may explain the test results a little better. Other than that, I would also recommend adding a grounding probe to the tank as well. Stray current will stress the baby sharks out very fast, and it sounds like you might have some electrical issues, good preventative if nothing else. I hope this helps, let me know if you run into any problems : )

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