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So we're back to the same old problem.
Yes, but I don't think there's a mystery really. I think once you add that filter, you'll be on your way to resolving it. I'd also suggest adding some sort of internal power head or hydor koralia to get more current going. You should also consider moving that return flow spray bar nearer to the surface. I like intakes low, returns high.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
prov356 said:
So we're back to the same old problem.
Yes, but I don't think there's a mystery really. I think once you add that filter, you'll be on your way to resolving it. I'd also suggest adding some sort of internal power head or hydor koralia to get more current going. You should also consider moving that return flow spray bar nearer to the surface. I like intakes low, returns high.
Yes ... it looks like a new filter is clearly in my future. I'll also look into a power head. In terms of moving the head up, though, it looks like it's as high as it can go (looking at the fittings). Although, I could point the nozzles more upward than straight out if you think that would help?

Thanks :) :fish:
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Well I took your challenge and moved the output up. I took about 1 1/2 hours, though, since the filter is so old (I got it with the tank when I bought it ... another reason to get a new filter) that the pieces were fused together. I literally had to break the extension piece and chisel off/out the pieces from the male and female portions of the remaining pieces. Then I made a spacer (2nd pic) to get it up even higher, so it sits about 1" below the surface now. Whew !!! Hopefully it will help some.

Here's pics of how it looks now ...



 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Well I bought a Powerhead for the Aquarium. It's a Koralia 1400gph (after looking at a bunch of them on the net), this one seemed to meet my needs the best) and really moves the water !!! Hopefully, based on earlier advice, it will help some. It sure makes the tank more dynamic.



 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Well it looks like I've hopefully finally solved my Ammonia problem. After looking at all the filters w/media I realized that about 2/3'd or more of the media was biological/bacterial media to obviously maximize the benefits of the good bacteria. I realized I was only running about 1/6 biological/bacterial media, which was way too low !!! So I removed the charcoal and the Ammonia reducer and replaced them with Seachem Matrix biological/bacterial media ... http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/Matrix.html and now have about 2/3rds biological/bacterial, an increase of 4 times the media. I really has seemed to work, since my Ammonia levels are now at 0ppm. Hopefully they'll stay that way. I feel so stupid for not thinking about this before, but sometimes that's the way it works.

Thanks again for all the help and advice !!!
 

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The charcoal and ammonia reducer would have acted as biomedia. They count when you're counting total biomedia. The Seachem stuff wouldn't provide anything new/better unless you added more, so more surface area. And the Seachem media probably wouldn't have been populated so quickly to be the reason for the reduction in your ammonia level. I'd say it's more a matter of the bacteria finally finding other areas of the system to populate. The whole system including decor acts as potential surface area for bacteria, as long as there's a good flow of water. The additions and changes to your filtration/water pumps may have been a big factor in getting your ammonia down. Don't get me wrong, increasing your biomedia was a good thing, but my point is that anything with a lot of surface area, like what the charcoal and ammonia reducer had, would work just as well. It's not always a simple answer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Well ... I decided to buy another testing device (http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/AmmoniaAlert.html) as a backup and comparison to the "Drop/liquid" test for Ammonia levels. What a difference !!! The Seachem says 0ppm and the "API Master Test Kit" says 0.5ppm !!! ... I bought the API kit from my LFS. I would tend to trust the API type of Drop test, but since my fish seem very healthy I'm thinking maybe the SeaChem device might be right and I have 0ppm. Maybe the API kit is old (I can't find a date on it anywhere).

Is there an Ammonia test kit folks would recommend as a 3rd backup? Or should I just believe the Seachem device (Seachem seems like a good company)?

Any advice from you experienced "water testers" would be appreciated.

Thank you !!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
jetnet22 said:
Water changes are the simple direct way.
I agree, that's why I do 20% water changes twice a week, which helps keep the bad chemicals in control. My abundance of live plants also seem to be helping keep my Nitrates at 0ppm ... at least that's what I assume is doing it. Not really sure.

Some good news, though, I bought a test kit from Seachem ... http://www.amazon.com/Seachem-Multitest-Ammonia-Test-Kit/dp/B001EUI4VM and it gave a reading of 0ppm !!! So my other API test kit is likely bad or out of date (no way to tell, since there's no lot number on it), since 2 out of 3 test kits are giving me 0ppm.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Follow-up ... the date of the test kit I assume is 2009, since that's when the instructions were printed, so it's 1-2 years old. I'm not sure about API products, but they do seem to be the leader is testing kits, so I'm not sure what's going on.

:fish:
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Well, I've had my tank for almost a year and have had 4 broods of fry and I have about 50 fish in the tank now, including 15 1/2" long fry, about 20 1 1/2" long, 10 about 2" and 5 adults ... everything seems to be going rather well. I do 50% water changes with Prime water conditioner and put SeaChem Lake Tanganyika salt powder in ever week to try to keep the pH high (above 7) and the water hard.

The hardest part I've been finding is trapping the fish without killing them (I think from Panic in my Trap). The one's I've been successful with, I've taken out of the trap within 30-60min. Longer than that and I think they hyperventilate and die ... which is quite sad :( . So my plan going forward, after I think perfecting the trap ... http://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=234325&highlight= ... is to keep an eye on the trap every 15-30 minutes, while it's in the tank and only try to catch fish on days I'm able to do that.

On the water parameter side here's my current water specs, which seem to have been holding steady for months now:

kH - 9-10
gH - 7-8
dH - 17-18
pH - Usually in the high 7's
Ammonia - 0-1 depending the test kit I use (I used Seachem, Seachem Alert and Salifert). As was mentioned in previous post ... http://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=229889&postdays=0&postorder=asc&&start=30, my API test kit would give a falsely high reading, due to the Prime I add so I don't use it anymore.
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 3-7
O2 - 10-12
CO2 - 4-11 - seems to vary widely, based on the exponential function of pH (CO2=3*kH*10^(7-pH)

On the feeding side, I use New Life Spectrum OPTIMUM Fresh H20 Flakes and supplement that with Daphnia Moina as a live food treat (usually every day) ... http://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=224327&highlight=

I hope this helps and all the best to everyone !!! :fish:
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
I noticed a few days ago that my fish were breathing heavy and tried to figure out why. At first, I thought is was just the pH, since it was lower than normal (7.5 vs. 7.8-8.0). Then I read about adding aeration, so I added an air-stone strip and that helped a lot. But then I noticed the filter wasn't pumping any water (and that, I believe, adds Oxygen to the water through the tiny bubbles it pours out of the spout.

So in total, I ended up bringing the Oxygen from 8ppm to 12ppm by doing the following:
• Added an air-stone strip
• Put in Lake Tanganyika buffer, since I forgot to add it the last water change
• Found out, this morning, the filter was clogged and not working at all (the fine mesh at the top was packed full or crud) so I put in some new mesh and now it works great again !!!
• These brought the O2 from 8 to 12ppm and pH from 7.5 to 8.0

Hope this helps some one ... all the best !!!
 

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I recently upgraded to a 90 gallon from a 55. i never tested my water :) i have mostly african then 2 clown loaches, 1 texas cichlid and 1 black ghost knife. oh and water has salt and the temp floats around 85-86 degrees. I been adding fish so i want to keep ich away.

Im sure this isn't recommended lol, am i crazy or does anyone do something similar.
 

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ramonj6047 said:
I recently upgraded to a 90 gallon from a 55. i never tested my water :) i have mostly african then 2 clown loaches, 1 texas cichlid and 1 black ghost knife. oh and water has salt and the temp floats around 85-86 degrees. I been adding fish so i want to keep ich away.

Im sure this isn't recommended lol, am i crazy or does anyone do something similar.
"have never tested my water" is NOT a good idea.
 
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