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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 55 gallon that used to be a community tank, then i decided to go with cichlids, I have a jewel,2 convicts, a yellow lab,jack dempsey,a parrot,a pacu,a red hook silver dollar,lepordinus(sp) and a 13in pleco.. I have 2- HOB marieland 350 filters, for at least a month now i have had cloudy water, I have tried everything, it seems like a product (acurel-f) works the best but its still not completely clear, I recently heard that it might be that my bubble strips, that run the length of my back wall maybe causing it, I heard that filters maybe suking the bubbles and chopping them into smaller bubbles which cannot float to the top causing the cloudyness? I have never heard of this, any suggestions? maybe on where I can move my bubble strips to? If i even need them, or anything? please help!!!
 

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I would guess that in the conversion and change in bioload, you are going through a mini-cycle. Have you tested your ammonia and nitrites?
 

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It sounds like a bacterial bloom, which is probably related to a problem with the filter. What type of filtration do you have on this tank? I ask because that is an enormous bio-load for a tank that size (not to mention a time-bomb of territorial aggression).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I would guess that in the conversion and change in bioload, you are going through a mini-cycle. Have you tested your ammonia and nitrites?
yes my ammonia floats between 0-0.25 and the nitries are 20, when i went with the change from community to cichlids, i did a 50% water chage and gave it a few days in between, that was about 3mo ago I just got the cloudy water about a month ago

It sounds like a bacterial bloom, which is probably related to a problem with the filter. What type of filtration do you have on this tank? I ask because that is an enormous bio-load for a tank that size (not to mention a time-bomb of territorial aggression)

Im running 2- marineland 350 HOB filters for up to 70 gallon and 350gph each
 

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Yikes, .25 ammonia and nitrite levels of 20 are bad, very bad.

It sounds like the filtration cannot keep up with the bio-load. This is only going to get worse as the fish get larger, and that's not even taking territorial squabbles into consideration. I'd recommend removing some of the fish-- pronto.
 

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If the change occurred over a month ago a mini cycle would have completed. I agree with the others, the tank is overstocked and can't handle the bioload with the current filtration. Time to reduce stock unfortunately.
 

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Agreed, sounds like bioload overload. Short term, lots of water changes and substrate vacuuming. Right now you've got a lot of dissolved organics clouding the water. Reduce it down via water changes which will also lower the toxins (ammonia and nitrite). It won't happen overnight, but the tank will eventually clear when things stabilize. Also, don't bother with the additives that are suppose to clear water. If they work at all, they'll only be masking the underlying problem.

Not sure how you've packed the filters, but when cleaning, only clean the mechanical filter pads, not bio filtration media. If you don't have both, that's another problem.
There should be two types of filter media, one that catches all the detritus and is rinsed or replaced regularly, and another that stays fairly free of detritus and is only occasionally rinsed in dechlorinated water.

Only clean one filter each week. Get on an alternating schedule.

Also slow way down on the feeding to no more that lightly once per day, just enough to sustain them until you come up with a long term solution. Moving some fish out would be my suggestion as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I only feed them 2- very small meals a day, the filtation has 4-charcol filters with 2-bio-wheels on each filter so I have a total of 8-chacol filters and 4-bio wheels filtering my tank, as far as down stocking what would you recommend? I personally didn't think my tank was overstocked, most the fish range between 3-4in except for the red hook who is about 6in here is a pic of my tank w/ the cloudiness some of the fish are hiding but you can get the general idea

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
also I do a 25-30% water change once a week and vacuum the tank, I replace the filters as needed which is about 3-4 weeks and haven't done anything with the biowheels except just let them do what they do
 

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Well, the pacu can get up to 30", so that'd be the first one to go. Go with a smaller pleco as well. Big pleco's can be messy. That may be all you need to do.

The biofiltration (going by your readings) is currently not keeping up. If you don't reduce the bioload by reducing the stocking level then an Increase in filtration is the only other answer and that could take the form of water changes and gravel vacs. That's a great form of mechanical filtration. Try going to twice weekly and also change or rinse out filter media on one of the filters at that time as well so you're hitting each weekly, but leave the biowheel alone.

It's a balancing act between bioload and biofiltration. Right now the bioload is heavier than what the filtration system can handle. So it'd have to be called either overstocked or under filtered.

HTH
 

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even if you get more filtration your still going to have problems when your fish start getting bigger, id say maybe keep the jack and convicts and the pacu , swap your large pleco for a smaller type (one that will stay smaller and get rid of the rest of the fish now (especially the africans) then once they get bigger find a home for the pacu.
 

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I think the pacu will be significantly easier to rehome when it's smaller than it will be when it's bigger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
what other options to i have other than to get rid of some of my fish? I really like them alot plus i think a 55 gallon with a small pleco 2-convicts and a jack dempsey word look rather bare... what if be better to maybe upgrade to a larger tank and bigger filtration or? I just never had this problem before, when it was community I had the pleco 2- large bala sharks, 2- irridescent sharks, 2- dragon gobys, 3-swordtails, a black ghost knife and a huge 9in red tail tin foil barb w/ only a tetra 40-60 HOB filter and never had a problem, an I had it that way for almost 9mo, till I had a blow out on my tank, then moved them and it stressed most of my fish out, and they either died or caught ick,so I bought the new 55 gallon cycled the tank with the few fish I had left, and them went to cichlid type fish,and had it set up the way it is now for 5mo or so and this just started a month or so ago, and I figured it was due to lack of filtration so thats when i upgraded to the 2-filters I have now, is it because of the cichlid type fish or? sorry for all the ?'s Its just a new thing for me
 

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i think a 55 gallon with a small pleco 2-convicts and a jack dempsey word look rather bare
It would, but you said you had

a jewel,2 convicts, a yellow lab,jack dempsey,a parrot,a pacu,a red hook silver dollar,lepordinus(sp) and a 13in pleco.
what other options to i have other than to get rid of some of my fish?
Frequent large partial water changes and filter cleanings. 2-3 per week. Even so, the pacu will outgrow the tank, so you're just buying time.

From the list of current and past tank residents, you seem to like fish that tend to grow very large. You may want to consider upsizing to something in the 200-300 gallon range or larger. If you keep all of these fish in the 55, I'd say there's little, if any, chance for long term success no matter what you do. By long term, I mean years, not months.

Consider adult size of the fish you want to keep and get an appropriate tank. If the last tank full of fish hadn't been done in by the leaky tank, you'd have eventually gone through what you're going through now.
 

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Upgrading to larger tank will be inevitable if you want to keep your current group of fish. The Pacu alone needs at least 280-400 gallon tank or an outdoor pond.

I have 7 inch pleco that produces lots waste, so I could imagine what a 13 inch pleco can do. Try churning your gravel around when you vacum the tank also. It's a good chance that the waste is getting trapped under your substrate. I have a 350 bio-wheel filter on one of my tanks, but I don't use the cartridges. I use the foam sponges for the aquaclear filters, and I cut them into strips so they can fit into the marineland chambers. I also used some ceramic noodles in small mesh bag to help out with the biological filtration.
 

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Pacu MUST go. I had two 24 inch pacus in a 400g tank--and they made it look tiny. It took them 2.5 years to get to 24 inches, they were 12 inches in less than a year...

I don't think stores should be able to sell them. The Omaha Zoo has one that is 38 inches long. Seriously, how many hobbyists can handle that. If you do not have plans for a 4 foot deep, 10 foot long, 4 foot high tank, please get rid of the PACU NOW.

Then you need to decide what continent you are working on. Get fish that are compatible and research before you buy fish.

Get rid of the pleco too. I'd consider Bushy Nose/Bristlenose Plecos. They are much smaller and good algae eaters.

Then get rid of the Lab.

Then Start sorting out remaining fish. Sure, your fish are small now, but a lot of those fish get rather large, and aggressive.
 

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If you don't want what you perceive to be a "bare" tank, get rid of everything(EVERYTHING) but the yellow lab, and work on a malawi mbuna tank. 55 is a good size and you'll have lots of options. You can have many more smaller fish that will be active, interesting and colorful that won't outgrow your tank.

what is the fascination with fish that get enormous?
 

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Laurel said:
If you don't want what you perceive to be a "bare" tank, get rid of everything(EVERYTHING) but the yellow lab, and work on a malawi mbuna tank. 55 is a good size and you'll have lots of options. You can have many more smaller fish that will be active, interesting and colorful that won't outgrow your tank.

what is the fascination with fish that get enormous?
More importantly... what is with stores that only care about money--because selling a fish that could reach 3 foot long is simply irresponsible...
 

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Laurel said:
what is the fascination with fish that get enormous?
My fascination of larger fish came from the popularity of them. When I was growing up all the restaurants had huge set-ups with RD's, Oscars, and Dempseys. So when I purchased my first tank the only thing I could think of were large fish. I bought a bala shark, albino oscar, and a pacu for my 38 gallon. That setup lasted for about two months. I bought 55 gallon thinking I would be able to keep the oscar along with some RD's, but the devils killed every other fish in the tank before they turned each other. After that fiasco I read up on malawi cichlids and I haven't looked back since.
 

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I just don't understand the logical decision-making process when buying a fish like a pacu. "Hmmm, this fish gets 3 feet long? Sure, it'll be happy in my 55 gallon tank that's only 12" front to back. What am I going to do with it when it outgrows my tank? Well, it'll die." It's not like there are loads of people in line for a fish that they cannot fit in their bathtub.
 
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