Hello Im new to the site and to aquariums.
I like the hobby, however have a 120 gallon tank that I can not stabalize. The PH is low, the ammonia is high, and a cotton like substance seems to be growing on the gravel. Fish are dieing pretty often, any advice?
Welcome to our forum. From your description, it seems like the aquarium may not have been cycled. It has to do with nitrogen and beneficial bacteria, all of which is discussed in other posts and blogs on this website. When a tank is not cycled, it will have ammonia spikes that are deadly to fish. The cure-all is a series of 20 or 30 percent partial water changes (every day for a week) followed by weekly partial water changes. That removes toxins like ammonia. A 120 gallon aquarium, which most of us would love to have, may require six or eight weeks to cycle. The daily water changes MAY save the fish that are left. A few things that will speed the cycle are some gravel or decorations from an established aquarium and floating plants like water sprite and hornwort. Also make sure to not over feed, and do a little research on the fish in your aquarium. Some require different water conditions, and many are not compatible.
Maybe that will give you a start. Ask plenty of questions, and we'll help.
Welcome to the forum!
How long have you had your tank set up? Did you add fish to it as soon as you got it up and running?
I agree with John, and just a little reading through older posts and blogs will explain the nitrogen cycle in detail.
The cotton stuff on your gravel is probably fungused uneaten food. This needs to be syphoned out immediately. It will increase your ammonia and mess up your tank bad.
The key to uneaten food is to feed no more than what the fish can completely consume in 2-3 minutes.
If this is new tank syndrome and you're having nitrogen cycle issues... If it was me... I'd vacuum the gravel with a syphon. Taking out as much water as possible. And put in fresh water treated with Bio Spira - Or some other instant cycling treatment, and check to see if that includes the water conditioner... If it doesn't remove the chlorine, you'll need Chlor Out, or Amquel Plus... Stress Coat or something like that.
What fish do you have in your tank now?
I know this is long winded, but with a few answers to our questions... Perhaps we can give you a hand learning about your tank.
had the tank for six months. have severens, firemouth, parrots, leopurus, bala sharks, gouramis....semi-agressive, largest fish is gold severen - about 6 inches.
all gravel has been removed and undergravel filters been removed, since the fungus was everywhere, even under filters and in tubes that were upright....pumping lots of air in tank....
i feed very little, since I ve read not to over feed them.
I just bought a complete test kit and it is stating that Nitrates are off the chart - DANGEROUS zone. says change 25% of water and add bacteria, Do you agree?
Thank you for your responses,
6 months? Wow... Usually we hear things like this in the first month or two.
If you don't overfeed... the fungus is odd... Especially if it was under the undergravel filter.
Did you thoroughly rinse the gravel and the undergravel filter before putting it in the aquarium?
The only other thing I can think of is that there isn't enough water flow at the bottom level of the tank.
Is it a Long? Or a Tall tank?
If it is a water flow issue, perhaps some bottom feeders would help... As in moving the gravel around on the bottom of the tank... If you got a group of 10 or so, they'll stay busy and perhaps help to keep the fungus from forming.
Maybe there's some other members that might have more suggestions.
I know you can get a power head (called something or another) that will move the water on the bottom of the aquarium.
As far as the water changes... If you usually do weekly water changes of 20% or so, you could probably get away with a larger water change, maybe 40% or so. If you only do monthly water changes then I'd do 20%. Then I'd do 20% every couple of days, for a week or two.
If your tank has been running for 6 months... you should have some bacteria built up... in the filter media at least. However pulling all the gravel... I'd add some bacteria... Do you have another tank? You could take some containers of gravel out of the established tank and set it in the big tank, but it'd take a lot of gravel to pull that off.
I like undergravel filters personally. I know that John does too. I'd rinse them really really well... Maybe with a bleach solution, then rinse them again really well, and put them back in.
Most of the beneficial bacteria live in the filter media and the gravel, so you're pretty much restarting the nitrogen cycle process. Many people have healthy aquariums with no gravel or other substrate; my own preference is a gravel substrate and live plants. In addition to what Angela had to say, I'll note that several, live bacteria products are now available to help with the nitrogen cycle. It will still take some time, and you may still have to compensate for the buildup of ammonia.
So far as gravel cleaning, you don't really have to take it out of the aquarium. A syphon with a large diameter uptake tube will clean the gravel without removing it. You can even buy maintenance systems that do the syphoning as well as the refill. Most recommend cleaning only half the gravel during scheduled water changes. Certainly you should syphon out all the gunk, but leaving some of the gravel substrate untouched for a week will help maintain the colony of beneficial bacteria.
Please keep us updated.
I fully agree to what Sir John says however in addition i would love to suggest you a few things .
May be you could consider having a bare bottom tank and acquire a eheim 2217 external canister filter along with all the accesories that come with it beneficial bacteria are also readily available in the LFS .
Cycle your tank for at least 1 month with the beeneficial bacterial that would colonise the filter media and in the bio balls of the canister .
Then you can check for nitrates and ammonia and then proceed with the tank inmates .
Do a 20% WC every week .
The canister may seem a initial investment but its worth having than losing those beautiful creatures regularly along with the price tag.
It is in my opinion may be some body else may have some better opinion .
Please update us about your developments .
Best of luck
I found in my tank those whitey stuff in corner. And one of my friend told me those are not harmful. And will go away by time and proper lighting.
I recently took out all the gravel of my 8 gallon and built a small filter. But suddenly my 4 tiger barb and danios were dead. I understood that it is very dangerous to clean all the gravel or remove gravel all at a time is soooooooo harmful. Please do it,NEVER ever.
i thought my tank is dirty at that time and i change 50% water each day. but the tank was still gloomy. I thought it was bloom. and took all the gravel.
Now i took back all the gravel and put a old power filter sponge, which was totally blocked by brown mud like, may be those are bacteria. I did that couse i think the bac in sponge can be helpful to cycle the tank fast.
What do you say?
That brown mud was probably a colony of beneficial bacteria. It's OK to clean some of it by swishing the filter media around in some removed aquarium water. The gravel also holds beneficial bacteria. It's not necessary to remove all of it if you use an aquarium syphon with a large diameter pickup end.
Without the beneficial bacteria, the nitrogen cycle will not work, and the aquarium water will have toxic ammonia or nitrite. From your last posting, it seems possible that the beneficial bacteria were accidentally removed; it's also possible that you were over feeding.
To get the cycle working quickly, you can try some products like Cycle. The newest is Start Smart; it contains beneficial bacteria that is activated by aquarium water. The manufacturer claims it will instantly cycle an aquarium. If you buy some, please let us know how well it works.
sorry to say that the product is not available here. sir john, i will keep those word all time in mind. thank you.
I think API Prime also contains beneficial bacteria, as does Eco Complete. If the aquarium still has fish, you should do a partial water change every day until ammonia and nitrite measure zero. The zero readings usually indicate the nitrogen cycle is working.
If you don't have access to a water test kit, watching the behavior of the fish is a good indicator. When their appetite returns, water quality is improving. Since you have some seeded filter material, the cycle may get started quickly. Please keep us posted.
Sir john, Ill keep those word in mind. Thank you.
There is no Api prime or other water conditioner is available here like as water test kit. I have only my eyes and nose to understand the quality of water. (proud to have those).
Its 4 days, since i re kept those gravel and few muddy brown staff from my old filter media (Earth smell). First the water was so dirty that cant see anything through it. But now it is almost clear. No visible particle floating. It may be because the UG filter.
I will keep posting.
Okay so this fungus is on some of my gravel and most it is on the decorations in the tank. Do I need to clean this stuff off the decorations and do tank changes everyday
Pls ask your query in a separate thread
Hi it sound like your tank haven't cycled and is undeveloped. The filter needs time to mature and it haven't you need to get the water tested for ammonia, ph, nitrate and so on. As for the cotton like substance its where food has been left and grown fungus and mold you need to keep the gravel very clean or it will become a problem causing water and bacteria imbalances. Hope this helps Ross.
hey guys, i have a 40 tall' with two red ear sliders and a convict. all live in perfect harmony. recently ive noticed the same cotton like substance through out my tank. i havve a HV 302 canister along with a circ pump in the bottom of tank. i did a 50% change this week and it is now even worse. should i do a 100% restart on water and keep good stuff in the media?
It could be related to over feeding or even sugar from soft driftwood, a fermentation based carbon dioxide system, a high sugar food or even some newly added decoration.
how do i get rid of it i've done the tank changing / picking it by hand and nothing works.