Catastrophe and recovery

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Catastrophe and recovery

Post  fishfan on Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:46 pm

A lot of questions, so I'll just dive in.

I've had my 125 community up for nearly three years now with much success. Then, a few weeks ago, I lost a bala and five bosemanis and nearly everything else. They were all in obvious distress, literally dying in front of me, so I did a 40-percent water change, replaced the charcoal/ammonia pellet mix in the FX5 as well as cleaning the other medium and put in an aerator, which stopped the carnage long enough to check the water and egads, the nitrites were high as was the ammonia. Totally my fault. I had been letting it go for as long as two weeks between water changes and filter cleanings, and I hadn't checked the nitrites or ammonia for months. That won't happen again. Two or three died even as I was frantically changing the water, and it's a nightmare I don't want to repeat.

Things are better now--the fish appear to be thriving again--but I want to make sure that I'm doing things right and see if there is anything I can do to make things better.

First off, I'm checking the water every two days. Nitrite and ammonia returned to normal after three days of 25 percent changes after the first 40 percent change. I'm also doing a 25 percent water change twice a week in addition to a weekly filter cleaning, when I do a 30 percent change and change out one medium each time, usually the charcoal/ammonia pellets. Is that over-doing it on water changes? When I do a water change, I add a capful of Prime poured into the tank in front of the filter output and power head, which are close to each other.

Secondly, I am considering a substrate change. The tank now has white pool sand, and I confess that I have not always done a thorough job of vacuuming up fish waste for fear of sucking sand though the python. I'm thinking I should switch to gravel on the theory that it is easier to clean.

Lastly, I am re-examining the stock. I likely have too many fish. The tank was set up for clown loaches, of which there are a dozen, two of fairly significant size (5-6 inches), the rest three inches or less, mostly less. I have three African snake fish, one African spotted leaf fish that's nearly four inches, three balas that are each around four inches, four dollar-size angel fish, two bosemani that are both nearly four inches, a large feather fin catfish and a leporinis that's a good ten inches. The leporinis, I think, needs to go--he seems well-behaved, but the angels occasionally get nipped fins, and I think he's getting around at night. I'm also considering getting rid of the balas. My thinking is, they're going to get big and I'd prefer a school of 6-8 bosemanis and have them and the clown loaches be the tank's focus. I'm hoping that frequent water changes and the FX5 will allow a larger number of fish than the tank might otherwise support, but I know that there are limits to everything. I suspect that I will likely have to cull some loaches as they grow.

Thanks for any help that anyone can give.

fishfan

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Re: Catastrophe and recovery

Post  twocat on Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:34 am

I think you have too many fish in your tank considering their size. I would look at a second tank or removing some of the fish you have.
When you do water changes do you wipe down the sides of the tank?
If you have ongoing Nitrite and ammonia issues I would do something with the number of fish soon.

Never cull any fish because of their size. Someone from the club will take them. Post a add free fish and people will snap them up. I will also take any fish and find them a home.
I had three large pleco I was able to find a home for a few months back.

Mark

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Re: Catastrophe and recovery

Post  fishfan on Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:23 pm

When I said "cull," I didn't mean kill. I would NEVER do that. The LFS will take the leporinis and, I imagine, the other fish. But I would prefer they go to good homes, not just to the first person with money to pay for them. I'm thinking that I'll start with the leporinis and the balas and go from there. The leporinis is the biggest fish in the tank and the balas are growing fast, so I'm hoping that finding new homes for those four fish will help a lot.

I never wipe the sides of the tank because the sides have never become home for algae or have otherwise gotten dirty. Should I?

The nitrites and ammonia aren't perennial issues. I think they got out of hand because I wasn't changing filter mediums as frequently as I should have (the two pads I use got filthy) considering the number of fish--I should have been doing weekly filter cleanings without fail. Since I've been doing that, I've had no trouble. But, even then, the filter gets dirty enough after just one week that it seems a good idea to reduce the number of fish--it's gotten to be more of an issue as the tank matures. By comparison, my cichlid tank stays much cleaner. It's either 75 or 90 gallons (I can never remember) and deliberately overcrowded to handle the aggression factor--when they do start chasing each other, it's never for very long. I take care to feed sparingly and I have cats that get along with the cichlids and do a good job of keeping the bottom clean. I also run an FX5 on that tank on the theory that running a big filter helps, and I think that it has. I'm looking to replace it with a 125 gallon when I can find one for the right price.

So, if anyone wants three balas and a leporinis, let me know. I'm in Springfield. Thanks for the help.


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