View Full Version : New and in need of advice

06-10-2008, 08:25 AM
Hello, everyone! I've been stopping by here for a few weeks now to browse the forum for advice on my 50 gallon tank, which has been causing me trouble.

I think I may be on the right track now so I was hoping I could post my situation and ask for some advice from people who have been doing this much longer than me.


I bought this 50 gallon tank from a friend at work who no longer wanted it. I had a 10 gallon tank with four koi fish in it (and a platy), all of which had grown to the point of being too big for their home. I cleaned and set up the 50g, rinsed and added all new gravel and decorations and a brand new Marineland Penguin Biowheel filter. I let the puppy run for about a week before I added the four koi and platy, whom were followed shortly after by two more small koi from a koi shop.

All was well for a month until overnight the tank went very cloudy. Of course, now I know that my tank was cycling, but at the time I was simply frustrated. I cut down on the feeding and did a few water changes. This helped a little but the tank would quickly cloud up again. Believing my filter was crap (and my wife complained that it was too loud) I bought a Whisper 60 and put it in. Things got better for a bit but then went all cloudy again. When the cloudiness didn't go away and the fish began keeping their dorsal fins down and rubbing on the bottom I put the biowheel back in alongside the Whisper and hoped that the two filters together could filter out the cloudiness. I kept this for the past two weeks with about a 15% water change every other day.

Last week I even stopped putting salt into my replacement water because I thought maybe I had used too much in the past.

Then I went on my fact-finding mission (which led me here) and now I could just hit myself on the head. I pretty much understand cycling by now and hope things are on their way to being right.

After another 15% water change I just did (with salt by now) the water is clearer than it's been in weeks, although still not totally clear. And here are the water test results I ran before the water change:
Nitrite: 2ppm
Nitrate: 150ppm
Ammonia: <.25ppm
pH: >7.6

I know these aren't where they need to be so I was hopeing for advice on what to do next. Fish are still rubbing the gravel and seem to bounce between schooling at the bottom and being highly exciteable.

Also, I still have both filters running. Is there such a thing as too much filtering? Should I take one of them off immediatly? And when I eventually do, which one do you folks suggest will work the best between the two?

Thank you so much!!

Lady Hobbs
06-10-2008, 09:25 AM
Hi James, Welcome to AC.

Because you are asking questions and need some help, I am moving your thread into the proper area so others can get some good answers to you. They will miss your thread here in Introduction.

Something is way off on that nitrate reading. I've never heard of a kit that would test that high. Nitrates over 20 are not good for fish. You need to do some large water changes to bring that number down if that's a true reading and I'm surprised your fish are alive. Sounds as they are being over-fed and a lot of food is rotting in the gravel so cut way back on the feeding, as well. A small amount every other day is fine right now until you get that tank cycled.

When your tank clouded up and got that white water effect, it's generally from over cleaning, changing out the filter pad or vacuuming the gravel. Doing so removes the good bacteria as well as the bad but this messes up your cycle. Do not cleaning right. Water changes are fine as the bacteria does not live in the water but on the hard surfaces.


First of all, koi are not for fish tanks unless they are huge tanks. They are generally kept in peoples ponds due to their fish. Koi and goldfish are also cold water fish and don't need a heater in the tank and should not be mixed with others that need heaters.

Second, your filters are way too small. That Whisper 60 is about the right size for a 20 gallon tank but not a 50 gallon and certainly not a tank with large fish. Figure a filter will take care of a tank about half what it claims it will.

Your fish are flashing (rubbing the gravel) due to, I believe, ICK. Check closely and see if you see tiny white specks all over the fish. If so, you will need to get Ick medication.

I see you mentioned using aquarium salt. That also is not needed for goldfish.

You have a slew of things not going your way here: The wrong fish for a tank, flashing, an uncycled tank, an inadequate filter system. I honestly think you need to get rid of all these koi fish. Possibly the fish store will take them all and you can cycle your tank and start out over again with a tank that is cycled and with the proper fish for your size tank or give them to someone for their pond.

This from the internet:
Q: How big do koi get? A: Depends on genetics and size of pond & quality of filtration. Koi are usually 6-8 long at 1 year of age. 12-16 at 2 years, with potential of 24 to 36 and 20-30 lbs. in 7 to 10 years. The largest koi have approached five feet in length. Females usually get much larger and therefore cost more than males. Males usually look their best when small. Females usually look their best and develop peak colors at a larger size when they mature.

06-10-2008, 10:05 AM
Did you clean your gravel when you set up the tank?, get your self a fluval 405 or fx5 externel canister filter thay seam to be one of the best on the market right now, and i'd go with lady hobbs on the fish score!

06-10-2008, 10:57 AM
I've checked for ICK recently, but it's really hard to tell since most of my fish are white with colored spots. Will treating the fish for ICK be harmful at all if they don't have it?

As for the filters, do you think it's wise then to just leave both filters in and running?

06-10-2008, 11:50 AM
Looks more like your tank is overcrowded and seconding to ladyhobbs's comment aquarium is not for koi's....It should be because of that basically your water is getting cloudy faster

Lady Hobbs
06-11-2008, 03:27 AM
Even on white fish it is easy to see the ick on their tail fins but treating them for ick will not harm them if they do not have it, which I believe they do. But even this will not treat your whole problem and only delay what needs to happen and that's that those fish have got to go. Perhaps the fish store will take them but they won't take them back with ick so that needs to be treated first.

06-12-2008, 07:11 AM
It was incredibly hard to see if there was anything on the fish but I treated them for ICK yesterday and today they're doing fantastic. Their dorsal fins are up and they look like they're back to their oldselves. That and I believe my cycle is done. The water is crystal clear and all stats are within normal ranges.

Thank you!

06-14-2008, 01:28 PM
Just to let you know james, these fish "koi" grow pretty large as stated by Lady Hobbs. These are the facts that you cannot deny. Of course, they won't grow that big in such a confine space of 50 gallon tank, it'll most likely stunt the fish and die soon after.
Just a suggestion, if you wanted to set a cold-water fish why not consider goldfish. In many perspective it looked better in the aquarium. I mean Koi's are primarily kept in a pond due to their unique look from the bird-eye-view. IMO i found koi's actually pretty ugly in the aquarium perspective.