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Tank at work


BurningIvy

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Hi there =)

I've been asked on behalf of my employer to find out how to take care of the 150G tropical tank at work. I know that they do not keep up with it at all and fish die all the time. I hate looking at it and have approached them several times about its maintenance. Today, they approached me. They don't know anything about the tank aside from 'it's cloudy and they keep dying' so I know I'm the one who will be fixing it. The problem is I've never had a tropical tank. But you have =D I took a few pictures of the tank and hopefully that will help you. I'd really appreciate any help I can get. I don't know if the fish are compatible or even what kind they are. I have taken a picture of at least one of each type of fish. Could you help me identify them and teach me about the requirements for them? Also the tank is extremely cloudy (probably due to a lack of water changes). How do I fix cloudy water?

This is the whole tank:

tank.jpg

This is a long grey fish (just one in the tank) as well as an XL pleco( just one in the tank) :

smelt.jpg

This is Trinket, pink fish, there are two like this in the tank:

pink.jpg

This is a grey fish, there are about 12 of them :

grey.jpg

The tank recently held an African River fish and his mate but they both died in mysterious ways. (Jumping out of the tank and flopping on table 32 to be exact.)

It's a horrible mess but I'm hoping I can fix it with the right helpers =)

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The last picture is a long fin tetra I believe. I would start with testing the water parameters and a water change. Find out what filtration is on it and see if it is adequate for the tank. Fresh water fish are easy to take care of. Just maintain the water like you do with goldies. The temp should be about 76 degrees on freshwater tanks. I hope this helps.

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Thanks a lot! I'll take a sample home with me tomorrow and test it. I'll also do a big water change. It's a huge filter in a cabinet underneath. It's labeled MAGNUM but I don't know the size. There is a heater as well so I assume the water is near 76-80 F.

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The pink fish and the grey fish with black stripes are both tetras of some sort, so they are peaceful. Tetras are happiest when kept in groups of at least 6 of their own kind. No idea what the bigger grey fish is. The tetras would probably appreciate some plants to hide in (fake ones are fine).

Do you know anything else about the tank, like how long it's been set up or how long the fish have been in there? The first thing I think when I see cloudy water is that the tank isn't cycled.

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That stripey one is a black skirt tetra. I had a few of those, nice peaceful fish. The other I believe is a white skirt tetra. They usually look light pink. Like fishtankbabe said, they prefer groups of 6 or more and are peaceful community fish that should be housed with other community fish. 76-78 degrees would be an ideal temperature for them. Make sure there's no fin nippers in the tank with them. Have no idea what that big one is though. Could you maybe get a side shot and an approximate size?

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The tank has only been up since late summer, however these fish have been together for a long while. The old tank had a big leak and we had to get a new one. I will try to get a pic of the big grey guy but he never comes out of the log, it's like he's shy. Thanks for identifying the little ones for me =)

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I also agree to check if it is cycled because a lot of times cloudy water = not cycled. They might be cleaning out the filter with tap water which kills the BB's ( and is something a lot of people do when they don't know how to care for a tank)

I think this is the first thing to be done. then after I would do a big water change since it is needed (and I'm sure the test results will tell you that) Do they have a siphon to vaccum the gravel with?

If I were you I would also slowly remove gravel until there is very little left, just to make the cleaning easier

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I agree deal with the water quality first. Then you can add fish. Most everything you know about goldfish well work with this tank. However the water changes wont need to be as often or as big. I would also see about adding some live plants depending on what that large fish turns out to be.

Good luck and have fun.

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Maybe also add a poly filter if there is room somewhere in that filter to see what it picks up. Temporarily using carbon would help clear organics from the water also.

And take a good look at what media they have in the filter and add to it possibly.

Find out what kind of water maintenance products they are using like Prime etc its possible they are not using anything.

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I agree with all members who have suggested checking the cycle first, as this is really the priority here.

I am thinking, though, that if the fish have been together a long time as you say, there might hopefully be a cycle in the tank just by dumb luck on their part. The cloudy water could be a bacterial bloom if theyre lucky.

If this new tank was recently set up - do you know if they washed the substrate? if they didnt then this could also be whats clouding the water.

I cant help ID the fish hidden in the ornament from that photo unfortunately :(

as others have already said, the other fish are Black Skirt and White Skirt tetras (though the pale one could yet turn out to be a Bleeding Heart tetra, its hard to say when theyre in poor shape).

I would try to convince them of a few things short/long term to settle the tank, some of this has already been covered by others so sorry if I repeat anything, but its best to be thorough:

  • Filtration/Heating - If you can, try to have a closer look at the equipment to see if you can find stats like wattage on the heater or GPM on the filter, if you cant find these there may be serial numbers that you can use to look the details up online. If the heater or filter are under-rated for this volume of water then they would need replacing/adding to as a priority. 76-78 is a fine temp, but you need to have a reliable thermometer in there to make sure that it is at that temp, and stays there (in event of heaters cutting out etc), I use the regular glass thermometers in mine, they are affordable and reliable.
  • Treatments - As others suggest finding out what conditioner they use and advising a suitable alternative may be required.
  • Water - They need to find out the water params, i.e. PH GH KH so you can work out if theyre suitable to the fish in there. IMO larger tetras like the ones they have are pretty adjustable, so aslong as theres no extremes they should be fine, however since we dont know the other fish's ID yet that could be more of an issue. You already said you plan to test a sample of water so this would help with that :]
  • Stocking - They need to decide if they want to keep the tetras, if they do, then they should probably boost the population once the tanks cycle is stable. I think the rule of 6+ is good but if they can fit more in, all the better, as these fish are in a busy environment they are going to feel better in bigger groups. This is a pretty large tank and could very easily accommodate 10/12 of each tetra IMO.
  • Stocking -They also need to find out what the other fish in the tank is - If you can get better pictures we may be able to do that here, otherwise you may need to speak to a LFS and show them a clear photo for ID. Once you find out what it is you will know if its compatible with the tank size and water parameters you have.
  • Stocking - The XL Pleco may eventually get huge which could lead to a stocking issue in the tank, but that is probably much further in the future, just something to keep an eye on over the years.
  • Decor - If theyre going to keep a Plec of any kind in there then some form of real wood is important, I believe most or all suckermouth fish rasp lignum from bogwood as a necessary part of their diet so going without it longterm is not ideal for that guy.
  • Decor - I agree some real plants could be beneficial - if they want simple then much like with goldfish Anubias and Java Fern will work well (taller anubias like A.lanceolata, A.Hastifolia and A.congensis would work well I think), but with their set up you could also try other easy plants like Amazon Swords or Giant Vallis (though Val may become plec food if he takes a liking to them). I dont think theyre going to achieve massive planting if they arent going to put the work in so id say its going to be more for the comfort of the fish than the quality of the water.
  • Decor - If they want something easy to keep clean id change the gravel for sand, gravel gets dirtier and requires more regular vacuuming, whereas sand is compact enough that the detritus stays at the surface and is easier to siphon out, but thats just my opinion. If you remove gravel it could also effect params and cycle as sand is much more neutral, so thatd be more of a long term thing if you find the gravel a chore to maintain.
  • Decor - Hollow ornaments can be risky even in trop tanks if theyre not regularly maintained. Personally I think its best to use natural materials in a tank, i.e. rocks, live plants and real wood. This may not be to their initial taste but I believe there is a strong argument that these are healthier and can look alot more impressive in a display tank like this.

Hope some of this is helpful (if anyone disagrees with any of this then please chime in ^^ )

Im sure there are other things to consider also, those are just what come to mind right now, but I think really you could take this as a lucky situation in alot of ways, they are understocked atm (though they may be overstocked by the time the mystery fish is IDed depending what it is, and the plec full grown) and they are asking you to try and improve things, so obviously have some level of care for the tank, even if its just to make it look healthier for aesthetics, they are at least willing to try and change things. I am sure you can help make this into a great tank for them :)

Edited by Lucerne
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Thanks for all the help! I haven't really had a chance to sit down with the manager and talk fish this week because the restaurant has been super busy. Anyway, I plan to pull this thread up and let him read it and then see what we can budget to fix up and the tank and what we can do to make sure it gets the attention it needs. I was told today that the long grey fish is actually a freshwater smelt. I don't know if it's true but it could be. And again I really appreciate the input and I'll be back with more to tell as soon as things calm down in shop.

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Man that mouth looks familiar on the big grey one. Shot in the dark, but does it look anything like the one in my sig (below)?

Can you describe it at all? As others have touched on, the type of fish aren't as important as getting the water quality in check... just curious now. :)

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Ugh, I wouldn't want to look at the tank the way it is while I was eating. Surely they will give you some budget to clean it up because it's not appetizing. I hope you can Lucerne's great advice, and I hope you can get some plants!! :)

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lol FantainFan, good to see a familiar face. I've been away a while and the site looks totally different, I hardly recognized it! Ms Koko's been busy.

Burningivy, a good multi-stage HOB filter w/ some carbon would go a long way in clearing the water and removing the odor. Tell your manager about the potential return on investment, for under $100 now they'll see more customers like me who would otherwise walk out of your restaurant upon seeing a mismanaged dirty tank like that - whether true or not I'm going to assume your kitchen looks the same... Plus saving money on new fish, I don't know about goldfish but when trops jump they're sometimes trying to escape some toxic water condition (ammonia, ph, temp, etc.). Best of luck.

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