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Art

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  1. Thanks dnalex and Cindil. If I"m understanding you correctly, you simply tucked a bag of activated carbon somewhwere directly in the thank?
  2. I couldn't figure out how to get a video in here but how about a still? Does this look like your problem? I too would love to know the cause. I don't believe the lighting has anything to do with it other than the more light, the more reflectance and the more visibility. Top half of the tank: maybe an observational phenomenon (i.e., because that's where the light is?) or maybe a clue to the problem (i.e., fine bubbles from your filter?)? I've got nothin' here -- no clue. Quick bit o'data on my rig and the conditions in the picture: 45 gal tank. 3 orandas and a couple of african dwarf frogs. Fluval 350. Whisper 60 and 14" of air stone running at about 25% - 30% capacity. NH3 slightly elevated at the moment at 0.25. NO2 and NO3 both at 0, pH =7.6, KH = 6, GH = 5. 50% + or - water change x 2/week. Regular fish diet of ¼ tsp sinking pellets per day augmented with a treat here and there (maybe 2 or 3 x per week) e.g., peas or brine shrimp. The picture is taken through the long end of the tank. It doesn't look as pronounced through the front. It's frustrating to not have a more precise vocabulary to apply to this problem...
  3. Orangebetsy, I’ve also been having some difficulties with pH, i.e., comes out of the tap at 7.0 and after a brief time in my aquarium (a day) it’s 6.0 (or perhaps lower since I can’t measure below 6.0 with my API test kit). So I did some internet research and what follows is a combination of review of what I’ve found and my experience with this situation. I’m not completely finished with getting my water squared away but pH issues -- particularly pH drops --- seem to be a perpetual topic. Actions I've taken based on what’s described below seems to be working and my pH is headed in the right direction and I suspect the problem is going to be solved. The bottom line up front: get a KH/GH (Carbonate Hardness/General Hardness) test kit and do what's necessary to get those factors where they need to be first. Then worry about pH (if you even still have a pH problem after that). The longer story: As it turns out, it seems there’s a triumvirate of water properties that have to do with your pH and water hardness. They are: KH or “carbonate hardness”, which is a subset of GH or general hardness, and then finally; pH …and probably in that order of precedence. Just my novice opinion, but if you understand how these interact/interrelate qualitatively, then you can get a sense of the “mechanics” that are going on with the chemistry. My laymen’s advice is to not go messing with pH at all (except in extreme circumstances) until you have a good handle on the other two. If yours goes in the same direction that mine is going, the pH will start to resolve itself. This is fascinating stuff if you can find a chemist that speaks English enough to explain it. Solutions like water have all kinds of naturally occurring things in it besides water. It’s the water and these other things, minerals like calcium and magnesium, and things that the chemists call “salts” that give the water the properties of hardness. In this case, don’t just think “sea salt” type salt exclusively. Salts are a whole class of compounds. Of these “salts” there’s a particular class called “carbonates” that are of particular interest here and with respect to pH. The reason is that carbonates act like pH shock absorbers. If you hit a pH bump, it’s the presence of carbonates that will put things back to rights. Conversely, it’s the absence of carbonates that will allow your pH to swing about with every little change. I was also wondering why my pH was dropping in the first place. Here are some things to bear in mind. As a perfectly natural phenomenon, pH in a freshwater ecosystem will fluctuate throughout the day for a number of reasons – foremost among them the action of plants which add oxygen during the day (with light) and carbon dioxide at night (without light). Also, the action of your good bacteria will drive acidity up/pH down. Nitrate, for instance, is an acid. This is all perfectly natural. What keeps healthy water from fluctuating wildly is the presence of these carbonates. These are “buffers” that contribute a property to the water called “alkalinity”. The prpoerty known as "alkalinity" is what buffers your water against pH changes. Now here’s the trick. If you want your water to be healthy, then you want it to be “buffered” against dramatic pH swings. (A little swing is ok and of little or no concern – a couple of tenths of a point so long as the range stays consistent over time (measured in days).) Trying to manage pH to a particular range if your water isn’t properly buffered will make you and your fish crazy. So first, take steps to get your KH/carbonate hardness up to about 6 degrees of hardness. Now the flip side of this is that once it is in that range, changing the pH becomes more difficult – because that’s what having a KH in that range does. That being said, your pH will probably go up as you raise your KH into the proper range. At least mine is. KH is a subset of GH and includes KH plus a lot of other beneficial minerals – minerals that are important to your goldie’s color for instance. When they say a particular fish likes a particular hardness, they’re talking about GH not KH. Goldies like a GH at about 6 dh. There are a number of products on the market that help adjust the buffering capacity, i.e., the alkalinity, of your water. I’ve been using Alkalinity Regulate to adjust overall GH (which helps raise KH). But my KH has been lagging a wee bit behind my GH. I’ve read that regular old Arm and Hammer Baking Soda will raise the KH without affecting GH, so I’m using that also. It seems to be working… I’d love to hear comments/other’s experiences or corrections. I got most of my info for this from http://water.me.vccs...alkalinity.html which looks like it might have been put together for a General Chemistry 101 class, and an article called Practical Water Chemistry, What you Need to About Know and Why. I haven’t taken any chemistry myself for almost 30 years so I don’t get all of this stuff. But these are close enough that if you hang with it, you can get what you need in terms of “getting the mechanics” of what’s going on. Good luck.
  4. Here’s a thought. One thing I’ve noticed is that despite the published ranges of the various elements of your water chemistry and characteristics, there are some poor goldfish that live in, and tolerate abominable conditions for quite some time. On the other hand, I’ve noticed that a sudden and dramatic (both conditions together) change in some of those elements and characteristics will kill your fish. For example, we’ve all seen awful goldfish bowls with sad residents. We probably also know of fish that were killed because of a sudden and dramatic change in temperature or pH -- particularly if they had been weakened over time by subsisting in mere survival level conditions. Based purely on personal opinion, I’d recommend keeping an eye on the key factors (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH, and temperature – hey, if y’all wanted to comment on your key factors, I think that might be interesting). If anything is really out of the recommended range then consider remediating with a water change immedieately, BUT with the following stipulation: Test your tap water first and know where it stands on the measurements (don't forget the temperature). Roughly speaking, I think you can only expect to cover a percentage of the distance between your aquarium measurement and your tap water measurement in proportion to how much of a water change you do. For example, suppose your pH has crashed in your aquarium and is now at 6.0 and your tap water consistently measures out at 7.2. If you do a 50% water change, then you should roughly hope for a resulting pH of half the distance between 6.0 and 7.2 or 6.6. This is only a very rough way of thinking about the likely result but you get the idea. What I’d be more worried about would be doing a 100% water change and then shocking the fish with a sudden and dramatic change from 6.0 to 7.2 in one sudden step. It would probably be better to do a series of water changes – say start at 20% or 30% and then move up to 50% or 75% with 24 hours or so in between until you’re where you need to be. You can move percentage of water changed up because the proportional distance to cover between your tank water and tap water is less so you can change more – if that makes sense. Test, test, test, but except in extreme emergency, correct slowly. And remember, this is as much art as it is science. Still the best way to stay ahead of the game is… well… to stay ahead of the game. If you’re doing frequent water changes then there shouldn’t be too much concern over what percentage you’re changing because the aquarium and your tap should be testing out in fairly close proximity. And there’s really no way in my experience, even in the best possible balance, to keep the nitrates from creeping up. You have to mechanically remove them with a water change. Every configuration will be different based on tank size, bio load, type and quantity of filtration, amount of aeration, amout of feeding, temperature, light, you get the idea. The key is to find what % change at what frequency best suits the dynamics of your aquarium, and then keep up with it.
  5. Actually there’s not just one type, rather there are bacteria in a number of different genuses that perform this function, e.g., Bacillus and Proteus. For that matter Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter are also not just a single species but are genuses.
  6. Many appologies. Won't do it again.
  7. Hmmm… If I may take the liberty of rephrasing, I think you’re saying, “Hey, isn’t a little weird that my ammonia and nitrates would both be at zero on my otherwise cycled tank?” Sequence: 20 gallon tank is up and running for two months and known to be cycled. Two weeks ago, Roach fumigation requires the dismantling of the aquarium but care is taken to put the filter’s bio media in a bucket of water. Post fumigation, tank is re-assembled and has been running ever since. (I assume that includes the fish, filters, the whole nine yards.) 3/20: Last night’s testing revealed ammonia (NH3) = 0 ppm, nitrate (NO3) = 0 ppm. 3/20: Whereupon you: removed the fish to a Tupperware container, and; added 2 ppm of ammonia to the tank last night. [*]3/21: Testing today showed 10 ppm of NO3. [*]3/21: Added 2 more ppm of nitrate to the tank. At step 2, did you put the filter media into de-chlorinated water? And was the rest of your equipment protected from the fumigation? A possible theory is that your tank is, in fact cycling again and is about mid stage. If your tank is occupied then your fish are producing waste. That being necessarily true, then one of two things has to be going on given the data above. Zero NH3 because somehow you’re inadvertently killing the ammoniafying bacteria – (say by doing frequent water changes but not de-chlorinating the water?). If this were the case, I’d also examine your fish for red or bleeding gills, gulping for air, i.e., symptoms of chlorine poisoning. You’d probably also notice an excess of sludge unless you were vacuuming it out with the water changes. If this is the case, de-chlorinate your water with every change and start cycling your tank. A more likely and hopeful explanation might be that your ammoniafying bacteria colony is established and are in fact producing ammonia, but your nitrosomonas have also kicked in and are handling the ammonia. You should monitor your nitrite (NO2) level. If your ammonia is already at 0, then that means you have enough nitrosomonas to account for all of the ammonia being produced. They, however, should be producing the NO2 that your nitrobacter need. Under this “your tank is re-cycling” theory, your nitrobacter colony hadn’t gotten up to speed yet on 3/20, as evidenced by the 0ppm level of NO3. Going from 0 to 10 in just 24 hours seems like there may be something wrong with the test performed -- but you should start to see that level go up. Adding ammonia to your tank which results in a rise in NO3, however would indicate that that those participants in the cycle are present and the colony has started to kick in. There are some pieces to this that aren’t making sense. Your test result numbers seem to be all over the place. I guess I’d recommend that you take a look at how you are doing your testing and make sure that you’re doing it correctly and in a controlled way. Perhaps check the expiration dates on your test chemicals. Try taking two samples. Test one yourself and take the other to your lps and see how their results compare to yours. For caution’s sake, I’d recommend testing all three components at least daily for the next 3 to 5 days or so, NH3, NO2, and NO3 and log your results. If you can keep your ammonia at 0 ppm and your nitrites, NO2, as close to 0 ppm as possible (your goldfish can handle slightly elevated for short durations but expect to lose ‘em if you don’t get it down) and your nitrates, NO3 to under 15 ppm-ish if you have live plants, as low as possible if not, then you’ll be back in business. Administer all this with a healthy dose of patients. Do not expect things to happen immediately. At step 7 above, I’m still curious as to why (and how) you added nitrate? You’re probably aware that nitrate is 1/3 of the components in common fertilizer. The other two being phosphate and potash. When you put 5-10-5 on your lawn, the first 5 is the portion that’s nitrate. Phosphate is a component in a lot of fish flake food. So basically you’re creating perfect conditions for a big ole’ algae bloom problem. Under normal circumstances, there should be no need to add nitrate to a goldfish tank. Anyway, good luck. Let us know how you make out.
  8. When you test for ammonia and nitrite and nitrate, you are not testing directly for “bugs”. You are actually only testing for evidence that you have colonies of bugs, or are starting to get colonies, or something has happened to the colonies of these amazing little creatures. Consider this. If you think about the name “nitrogen cycle”, it makes sense that each member in the cycle must be present or the cycle would be broken. And while we put our aquariums together for the fish and other critters that we buy at the lps, these unseen little fellows come along at no additional expense, are absolutely critical to your aquarium’s health, and have a beauty of their own – at least in the awesome elegance of their operation. It’s in understanding that this whole thing is meant to be a cycle – and it is out in the wild. But the cycle in our aquariums is not as perfect as when Mother Nature handles the whole thing herself and at some point, we must intervene and substitute for Mother Nature. Your goal is to balance things as best you possibly can so that the interventions can be as few and non-invasive as possible. Okay, so what about these unseen denizens and how do they relate to your 0 ppm test measurements? If you put fish in an aquarium and feed them, you will start the cycle. No ifs ands or buts. After a while the fish will have digested the food and pooped it out. And thus it begins. Enter the first set of “bugs”. (And if you don’t mind me suggesting, you might want to learn the names of these guys and what place they play in the cycle. It’s hard to feel warm and cozy about bacteria, but taken as a whole, the beauty in the nature of what’s going on in your aquarium is really astounding and it will deepen and enhance your enjoyment of the whole enterprise.) The first set of bacteria to show up on the scene are ammoniafying bacteria; so called because, well, they produce ammonia (NH3 – don’t let the chemical symbols be intimidating, for now just accept that NH3 is shorthand for ammonia). The ammoniafying bacteria need the fish because they produce its food. The fish need the ammoniafying bacteria because the fish waste is toxic to the fish. The same is going to be true of every member in this cycle. Each member is dependent upon the previous member for its food, and dependent upon the next member to get rid of the toxins it produces. So what about the next member? These guys are called nitrosomonas. They’re fascinating little creatures that unlike you and me and plants and fish who ultimately (or directly) get their energy from the sun, nitrosomonas get their energy from a chemical reaction, i.e., they are “chemotrophic” (as opposed to “phototrophic”). It just so happens that the very chemical they need is the ammonia that is being produced by the ammoniafying bacteria. So the nitrosomonas eat up the ammonia but then they produce nitrites (NO2). Naturally, since this is the waste product of nitrosomonas, you can expect that nitrites are also toxic – in this case both to the nitrosomonas and the fish. So we move on to the next member in the cycle. Nitrobacter, like nitrosomonas, are chemotrophic. And consistent with the very nature of their membership in the cycle, they use nitrites to produce energy and produce nitrate (NO3) as a waste product. Now notice that this whole cycle started with you. You fed the fish. Primarily, this is where the cycle ends. In the wild, and to some extent, in your aquarium if you have live plants, the nitrate feeds the plants which convert it to nitrogen and oxygen (the air you’re breathing now is roughly 70% nitrogen and 30% oxygen) and become food for the fish. In the wild, and to some extent in your aquarium if you have live plants, the fish eat the plants and the cycle goes on; each member dependent upon the member before and after it in the cycle, all members needing to be present or the chain is broken and things get toxic. One of the major reasons that we have to do frequent water changes – we must do frequent water changes, is because in an aquarium, there’s no way to get rid of enough of the nitrates. Sooner or later the nitrate level builds. While nitrates are not as toxic as ammonia and nitrites beyond a point, they become deadly. So we remove them. You feed the fish on the front end and remove the nitrates at the back end. With all this in mind, it now makes sense that when you first start your aquarium you see evidence of each successive member in the cycle by measuring the amount of toxin they are producing. It also makes sense that the previous guy’s toxin is actually food for the next guy so the next guy can’t get established until his predecessor in the cycle is established. That’s why the ammonia goes up, then goes down when the nitrosomonas show up to consume it and why the nitrites go up until the nitrobacter come along to consume it, and so on until the aquarium is “cycled” or balanced. Once an aquarium is established and properly balanced, you’ll have just enough, but not more (due to their food supply), of ammoniafying bacteria to take care of the fish. You’ll have just enough nitrosomonas, but not more (due to their food supply), to take care of the ammonia. You’ll have just enough nitrobacter, but not more (due to their food supply). And you will have to monitor all this through regular testing. If all is balanced NH3 = 0 ppm, NO2 = 0ppm, and you play your part by getting rid of the excess nitrates through regular water changes. So your 0ppm readings would indicate that your tank is cycled. Sorry for the long response but it’s such a beautiful bit of nature when you understand it. I hope it helps.
  9. It looks like this topic has gone quiet but here's a link to exactly the right web page on this topic entitled: Residential Wood Framed Floors and Aquarium Weights by Kevin Bauman (StructureGuy), [link removed by DNAlex] Bottom line: you're probably OK but it depends on where you put the aquarium in the room, how much other weight you have on the floor in the room and a few other factors. Good luck.
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