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My fish don't like me anymore.

1193 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Phonic
30G bowfront with a Penguin 250.
4 small Yellow Labs
1 Firemouth which is my favourite and a survivor.
1 Pleco which is pretty much a **** machine - Planning a hospital tank for it.

My tank has been set up with all levels being dead on from readings by my test kit and my LFS.
The tank has been very stable for months thanks to the incredibly useful information from the good people on this forum.

2 months ago I bought a Python vac and did a 40% change. Previously I'd used a siphon type and a bucket.

Ever since I used the Python my fish seem to be hiding from me, I'll approach the tank and they'll all hide. According to a fish-keeping friend I'm too gentle and need to "Get in there" and vacuum it but I prefer to not try to decapitate my fish by being careful.
They used to crowd round the front of the tank when I went to feed them but it takes a few minutes for one of them to come forward which is when a few more will venture out to see me.

The Penguin seems to clog up within 3-4 days with darkish green slime, I've started to put 2 sets of filter media in there so I can turn the filter off for a minute or 2 so I can rinse the first cartridge without clouding up the water and letting the rubbish getting back in.

I don't overfeed, I don't think my tank is overstocked and I clean regularly, the filter is pulling water however the biowheel did stop for a few hours once due to the buildup of slime on the filter media which was only 3 days old.
Would a canister filter help? I can live with rinsing the media over buying these expensive Penguin C-size every other week.
The tank isn't in direct sunlight and the only algae I have is a little brown on a rock.

I'm scared to vac again because of the stress on the fish.

Please help!
Thanks all.

Edit: I tried the 3rd party Ginger filters and cut-to-fit media, it's cheaper but doesn't solve my build-up problem.
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The filter clogs up after 3-4 days??? That's odd. I know you say you don't overfeed but unless you have live plants in there that have leaves falling off the only thing that could be clogging your filter is excess waste, (uneaten food or feces). How much and how often and exactly what are you feeding your fish? How big is the pleco?

On the fish being shy--don't worry about it. If they are eating and swimming normally otherwise, (you may have to sneak a peak at them to be sure they are), then eventually they should get use to your presence around the tank. Keep using the python and siphon the gravel as needed.

The Pleco is around 3" - he's being moved to another tank ASAP, he's just too big.

My wife and fish-keeping friend think I may be underfeeding. I started out feeding 2-3 times/day for the first month (I was a newbie and they were just so cute) but have been feeding once per day for the last five months or so, a small amount of Cichlid Gold which sinks onto the gravel and disappears within 3 minutes or so of me leaving - I watched them come out and devour it.
I turn the filters off when I feed, the old Tetra feed I used was getting sucked into the filter inlet which was clogging my filters originally. Now I changed over to the larger food it sinks without going near the inlet.

There is an amount of Pleco feces in the tank which I'll remove on the next vac.

The Penguin filter says up to 50 gal and I had another Aquaclear 20 running alongside for a while to get the media ready for the hospital tank.

I had to call MarineLand 2 weeks ago regarding their filters. I bought a 3-pack of C size at PetCo. As soon as I started rinsing them out I had a lot of small shards of carbon coming out the plastic backing, it took 15 minutes of rinsing to get it to stop. The girl on the "Customer service" line told me to take them back. Didn't ask me for a batch # and said she just drops the filters in without rinsing.
I have literally no confidence in MarineLand/Tetra anymore.

I know part of my problem is the Pleco, he's just a waste producing machine.
There's no red in the filters and my LFS guy who I trust also said the filters shouldn't be getting this bad.
I clean the whole unit out (not the biowheel) once every 2-3 weeks because of the slime buildup.

I'm beginning to think I'm overstating the rubbish buildup in the filter but at the same time know that water shouldn't be coming out of the overflow after just a few days.
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