As if...grandson with fish tank out of balance

georgygirl

Bronze Supporter
May 16, 2011
47
Yes, as if I weren’t having enough water problems with the pool. Little cloudy, combined chlorine too high. Cya too low. ph fluctuating...etc. etc. And my grandson decides he wants a 20 gal aquarium. We have been trying to balance that water for over a month! And I keep getting confused between what’s going on with the two of them!. Happy to say, they are both almost balanced. Ask me what I did where and I really couldn’t say. I don’t understand the chemistry behind any of it. But I at least remember when A happens do this...when B happens do that. THANK YOU TO THIS SITE!
 

borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,286
Pacific NW
Is it salt-water? I've heard those are much tougher to deal with, but maybe they didn't use tfp lol.

fun fact: we advocate buying an ammonia test kit for fish tanks if it is suspected ammonia is in the pool. to confirm.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
20,410
Check out troublefreeaquarium.com.

I got mixed up last summer and accidentally put an Intelliflo pump on my 100 gallon aquarium.

The water flow in the aquarium was 60 miles an hour. Those fish were exhausted trying to swim away from the intake.

When I finally turned the pump off, the fish was swimming so fast that he shot through the glass like a bullet.
 

Casey

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2007
11,521
SW PA
A fish tank has to go through a cycle. Its been awhile since I cycled a tank but it converts ammonia to good bacteria that lives in the filter media. If you wash the filter media in tap water, you have essentially killed your good bacteria ending the cycle and you'll have to start all over. If you find you need to clean a fish filter, you should syphen water from the tank into a bucket (only used for fish) and rinse the filter in there. Purchase a good test kit too. If you have gold fish in a small tank, you should consider putting them in a much larger one because of the amount of waste and ammonia they produce. Good luck. I've been thinking of starting a new tank again.
 

StroggCore

New member
Jan 18, 2020
2
Chicago, USA
A fish tank has to go through a cycle. Its been awhile since I cycled a tank but it converts ammonia to good bacteria that lives in the filter media. If you wash the filter media in tap water, you have essentially killed your good bacteria ending the cycle and you'll have to start all over. If you find you need to clean a fish filter, you should syphen water from the tank into a bucket (only used for fish) and rinse the filter in there. Purchase a good test kit too. If you have gold fish in a small tank, you should consider putting them in a much larger one because of the amount of waste and ammonia they produce. Good luck. I've been thinking of starting a new tank again.
Well, then, under which water should the filter materials be washed? And I don't really understand why ammonia is so harmful. It is clear that all sorts of chemical processes occur in the water and because of this, ammonia is formed, but as far as I remember, it is not fatal to marine inhabitants. And so back to the beginning of my comment, I want to buy a new aquarium, therefore, I would like to know how to properly clean the filter and with what I will need to clean the stones and corals, so as not to kill the right bacteria.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,325
Central California
I wish you good luck. I tried for many years to make a success out of a 75G marine tank. I'd spend a pile of dough and it'd look amazing, then it wouldn't. Rinse, repeat. Rinse, repeat. I never did figure it out. I even went though an "aquarium-guy" phase. Didn't help! I had a good test kit, but never did use it much (uh, can we say "correlation?!?").

Fast forward to a TFP "marine" pool and no problems. Go figure. Testing is the key, I suppose. The other big factor, the size of the water body. The bigger the body, the more forgiving. I've poured a gallon of acid into my pool by mistake, no problem. But it takes just the tiniest bit of a mistake in a "little" 75G to turn it into a disaster. And at $25-$75 a pop per fish, that's a big disaster! Worse for 20G, I'd imagine.

Sorry, don't mean to discourage. Just remorseful that I never got it right. So I hope you can. The tank ended up in a sort of status quo state. I stopped putting money into it, and it got down to just one fish... and rocks. An incredibly tough little blue damsel. That tank stayed like that for years. Like many years. I couldn't bring myself to flush him. Loyalty! (Mine and his!!) One time, in an attempt to clean it out, I overdosed something and minutes later the little guy was just laying on the bottom. I was mortified (and relieved... it's finally over!). But, but, I killed him! Next day, he's swimming around like nothin'! I was like "Yay? He lived? Uh, who-hoo?" He lasted for years after that. 75G, one fish. And rocks. Was he lonely? Or content? I pretended he was at least happy that he never had to out-run bigger fish. We discussed it often, but he never had much to say about it.

Then I moved to house with pool and he didn't survive the transit. Still loyal, I honestly expended a huge effort to move that tank. But the water exchange was too much for him, I guess. So I gave $1000s of dollars of gear away and turned the stand into a bench... his memorial. Let's have a moment of silence, please...... OK, we're good!

bench.jpg
 

Wobblerlorri

Bronze Supporter
When I did freshwater aquaria, I had a hard and fast method of starting one.
  1. Put gravel, rocks, little treasure chest in aquarium.
  2. Add water.
  3. Let it sit with filter running for a week to drive off chlorine.
  4. Add five neon tetras or similarly cheap fish.
  5. When they'd die one by one, leave the tiny carcasses to decay into the gravel. There's your biofilm.
  6. When the tetras quit dying, the tank was ready for the expensive fish.
Never lost an expensive set up by murdering a few tetras at the beginning.
 

Casey

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2007
11,521
SW PA
Well, then, under which water should the filter materials be washed?
The filters get rinsed in the bucket of fish water that you syphen from the tank n put back into the filter housing unit. You're only rinsing the muck off the filter, not the good bacteria. When you "wash" or rinse the filter under tap water, it kills the bacteria and you're starting the cycle all over.