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Mess In The Gravel

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Ok, this is about the tropical tank, but not an issue with the fish but water I think.

A while ago I mentioned how there is always so much stuff in the gravel of the tropical tank, accusing my hubby of overfeeding them because at the same time his tank has so much brown algae in it now.

I took care of the feeding for the last week now, and I am not feeding them very much at all. Not starving them but as an experiment with the brown algae I only fed them once a day, about half the size of their eyeballs, and had them fast at least one day. Only a couple tiny pellets (the nutrafin tiny tropical pellets, they are about less than half the size of saki hikari) made it to the bottom uneaten.

So it was not Steven's fault, I really thought he put way too much food in there and that is what I keep cleaning out every time.

Just before I did clean the tank again, only 4 or 5 days after the last cleaning, and again there was SO MUCH stuff being sucked up by the gravel vac, it was ridiculous!! At the same time I noticed though that the gravel, which has brown algae on it, seems to be getting lighter colored when vacuuming.

Can it be that the stuff I'm sucking up is brown algae or algae spores or something like that? It is tons of tiny, light brown particles. I should take a video next time. It is like a big cloud of particles floating up into the gravel vac.

Unfortunately I hadn't tested the water before the water change, and as always I changed about 65% of the water, so I can't really give you helpful water params if you'd need that.

Info about the tank:

Tank size: 20 gallons, filled to the rim, lightly planted, 78F

Stocked: 1 angelfish, 2 dwarf gouramis, 2 platys and 1 rubberlip pleco. So this tank is FAR from being overstocked I think.

Filter is a Top Fin HOB 20 gallon with 100gph. Extended the filter intake pipe to about 1.5 inch above the bottom of the tank.

10 inch bubble wand with a small air pump to make some light, soft bubbles as the angelfish gets freaked out by strong bubbles, and a small airstone with a very small air pump inside the tall cave (drilled a small hole as air-outlet in the top) to keep the water in there from getting stagnant.

Thin layer of gravel. The gravel is this epoxy "painted" white gravel, even though it is not white anymore. Kind of rough texture, I wonder if I should replace this gravel with new one, but the tan unpainted kind with smoother surface.

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Here's the other post with photos of the gravel



You can see how brown it is, but after vacuuming it turns almost as light as in the corners by the small ornament in the first photo

Edited by Oerba Yun Fang
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  • Regular Member

The blue gravel in my first pic is like your white gravel. I was informed by a cory catfish expert that this type of gravel can be toxic to cories over time because the color flakes off and leaches something bad into the water. So I replaced it with the smooth, natural gravel in the second pic and had no problems with it. Eventually I went to natural sand because this is what cories prefer--so that's another option for you. The sand has to rinsed really well though cause it gets cloudy at first til it all settles. After a few weeks all the cloudiness was gone and now it's always clear when I clean. The fish were all fine with the sand/cloudiness, no problems at all. Anyway, it wouldn't hurt to get rid of your white gravel and put a natural one in. Maybe try changing food as well? Hope it works out for you!




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Ok, thanks! Tomorrow I will get the natural gravel as I doubt any of hubby's fish really care for sand. I really want to get rid of all the stuff in the gravel I have right now, it looks so dirty with the brown algae growing on it.

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