View Full Version : 125 gallon ca/sa cichlid tank.

06-24-2010, 08:01 AM
I recently got rid of all my saltwater stuff and converted this tank to freshwater. Did some research and bought some sand (not sure if this was a good idea) and my tank immediately became super cloudy despite a very thorough washing. I have a couple pieces of driftwood and a piece of slate left over from my last cichlid effort (9 years ago or something like that) Set up the tank and am trying to deal with the cloudiness.

Effort 1 I put the protein skimmer back on the tank and am hoping that it will collect some of the microscopic stuff thats making the water ugly

Effort 2 If i see no improvement with the skimmer tommorrow im going to get some carbon going big time to see if it will soak up whatever it is.

any other suggestions are more then welcome.

I started the cycle tonight as well, put a little cube of brine shrimp in the tank to let it decompose (I just have a problem with putting ammonia in there for some reason) Running the lights 24/7 with the water heated to approx 83 degrees. I actually dont have a freshwater test kit so ill be blind until i can afford to grab one. Pictures of my cruddy looking cloudy nasty tank coming.

06-24-2010, 08:27 AM
after cleaning the glass to make it look a little less horrible heres the pic


06-25-2010, 05:54 PM
day 2

Added some very high grade carbon borrowed from the chem lab at the university water is clearing up a bit. I also got my hands on some seeded media and about a quart of mulm from another tank. Once i can get this water clear ill be adding fish. I can still stir the sand and the water does not become any more cloudy.

06-25-2010, 06:38 PM
Unless your water is exceptionally hard, a protien skimmer wont really do anything other than oxygenate. the mechanics of it just aren't there in FW.

As for the cloudiness, carbon will not do much of anything. Try using some felt, or some other fine polishing media. You will probably have to replace it a few times, but it will help get the small particles out of the water.

Stirring it up and changing as much water as you can, and keeping it agitated while you do the water change, possibly a few times, will help as well.

Why so scared of ammonia?

06-25-2010, 06:50 PM
just dont like the idea of pouring pure poison in a fish tank. I dont understand why people think that carbon wont do anything. 1 gram of carbon has approx 1 acre of surface area (i could be wrong but its ALOT) if nothing else it should be an awesome place for bio filtration to happen.

06-25-2010, 07:00 PM
How will bio filtration remove sand particles?

I think carbon serves a purpose. Removal of sand is not one of them, and using it for a bio filter..well..not a common use anyway. It will eventually just become clogged up and be the equivalent of having pebbles in your filter. There are rumors of the carbon leaching after prolonged exposure, but I have yet to read any supporting documentation or testing.

I am, however, against people replacing carbon every month just because a company said so.

06-25-2010, 07:12 PM
With no fish, there is nothing to poison. Fish create ammonia as a waste product. Rotting food creates ammonia.

Meaning that putting the food in your tank to rot, is just another way of saying you are adding ammonia indirectly to the tank, in a mostly uncontrollable and unmeasurable fashion.

Not saying the food method will not work by any means, but there is no logical reason to fear putting ammonia in the tank.

06-25-2010, 07:14 PM
see i fail to see why a bit of carbon wouldnt remove microscopic particles, it has been used in the industrial world for that exact purpose for years. The particles floating around in the tank arent big enough to see. Its just a haze. If it will remove tannins from wood i dont see why it wouldnt. A friend of mine in a chem class (who i got this carbon from) told me that in an exercise showing the usefulness of carbon they filled a 2 gallon tank with coke and let it run through just carbon for about a week changing the carbon daily. At the end of the week they ended up with about .75 gallons of clear water and some gunked up carbon. I see what you are saying about the ammonia thing i just have a problem with it, ive cycled numerous tanks with this same method with great success. Though i feel my cycle is close to done after recieving this seeded floss and mulm.

06-25-2010, 07:22 PM
changing the carbon daily.

You could probably also use persian silk, or a fur coat.

However, cheapo felt would be IMO a better option. Once carbon is clogged, there is no way to "unclog it", meaning it is now trash. Felt can be rinsed. If you are using the carbon for bio media, you cannot replace it every day. If you are using it for mechanical filtration, its not advised. It will only filter the crud that physically sticks to it. Its main role is chemical filtration.Meaning that it is used to remove chemicals. Mechanical filtration is supposed to come first for a reason.

I am not trying to argue with you about it. You asked for suggestions, I gave them. Good luck. I'm out.

06-25-2010, 07:23 PM
Fine sand particles with not bind with carbon. You will need fine floss material in the filter to remove suspended fine sand particles.

06-25-2010, 07:31 PM
i wasnt trying to argue at all, just stating that i dont understand why carbon would work for certain particles and not for others. i might buy some felt as well, but as for now it seems the water is clearing up and stirring the sand up at the bottom doesnt recloud it.

06-25-2010, 09:46 PM
Day 3

Water is clearing and i bought a test kit the ammonia is about 1ppm the nitrites are starting to show up no nitrates as of yet (our water has about 5ppm out of the tap) i think this cycle is going to be largely bypassed by the seeded media i recieved. I did a bad thing and bought a fish before the tank was ready so now im hoping the 2 inch suriname geophagus doesnt destroy too much in my roomates 29. Though he does show interest in the zebra danios. I would have waited but 3 days ago they had 9 and today they had 1 left. From what the guy who manages the fish dept tells me they flew off the shelf immediately upon arrival. He told me they were going to try to get a few more for me but i just bought the single to ensure i get at least one.

Lady Hobbs
06-25-2010, 10:07 PM
No reason to leave the lights on 24/7 either. The heater and the filter are needed to cycle, not the lights.

06-25-2010, 10:10 PM
like to leave the light on to get algae growing, the way ive always guaged it was when algae appeared it was time to do a water change.

Lady Hobbs
06-25-2010, 10:17 PM
I seeee......

I will just stick with my large weekly water changes.

06-25-2010, 10:21 PM
i do weekly water changes, this is all purely for cycling purposes. The appearance of algae means to me that nitrate is starting to take hold and ammonia/nitrite are on the decline. I get a decent algae bloom then i do a big water change 50-70% scrub off some of the algae and then add a couple tough live plants. After the plants have been in for 3-5 days i add fish, pretty much never lose fish that way. I read all about fishless or fish in cycles and i figured i would just go with what has always worked for me. Ive done this exact method several times when i was a kid without a test kit even with no losses.

06-25-2010, 11:32 PM
Seeded media will speed up the cycle, just make sure it stays fed. If you lose your ammonia source, you will lose your cycle.

06-26-2010, 06:36 PM
Not to restart the argument but here is why carbon will not bind sand particles:

Carbon typically has a pore size(pores are what do the adsorbing by allowing molecules to have a large surface area to bind to) of 2-50nm. Sand at its smallest grain size is 62.5micrometers or 62,500 nm. So even a single grain of sand is 1000 times larger than the pore size of activated carbon.

Therefore carbon does not bind sand particles and any clarification would simply be the sand getting stuck in the filter which filter floss would do both cheaper and more effectively.


06-26-2010, 08:29 PM
@PostalPenguin -
I agree with the principal of what you explain. I will have to research this but I would bet good money that a typical bag of substrate (In this case sand) also has dust particles and things smaller than 62,500 nm. besides the standard sizes that the substrate comes in.

My own personal experience has just been to let the water settle on its own. I have never been disappointed..lol

06-26-2010, 11:37 PM
@tanks: Did we really need to quote the entire post that the person above you just made and that I just edited out? No, we didn't, as we just read it, and it was a re-run post.

06-27-2010, 10:05 AM
Day 4

Water is almost clear, the haze has declined to a very manageable level and i can now look through the tank lengthwise and see the other end. The ammonia is dropping off fast and the nitrites are high. I think that i may be ready to let my roomates zebras rest in a couple days as my geo really likes to take a chase at them every so often. Added some cheapo plastic plants to the tank and attached a nice amazon sword to one of the pieces of driftwood. Hopefully my fish dont destroy it, but i am fully prepared to have that exact thing happen.

06-28-2010, 01:27 AM
day 5.

Ammonia down to .25 and nitrite at 1.0 nitrates comin in somewhere between 10 and 20. I hope this thing gets lower fast because my geo in my roomates community tank has decided that he likes to eat zebras (1 down 6 to go) . My roomate doesnt care but i kinda do. He has actually suggested letting the geo wipe his zebras out so he can keep it. The water in my tank is finally crystal clear and im starting to notice tiny little algae patches popping up around the tank. I can still stir the sand up pretty good and dont get much cloudiness out of it. I put the light timer on and how have the tank set to 10 hrs of light and 14 of dark

06-28-2010, 01:54 AM
Wow that's a fast fish to catch a Danio!! As long as your room mate isn't attached to them they are food...lol
Looking good!!

06-28-2010, 02:02 AM
Does anyone think that a big water change might get me cleared up enough to put that geo in there, i just watched him pop another zebra. It would appear that he has figured out a system for catching them. He charges at them and then they all make a circle around a rock and he will position himself right in their path and he just got another one (2 down 5 to go)

06-28-2010, 05:59 AM
Put some guppies in there he will eat his fill and leave the danios alone.

06-28-2010, 06:06 AM
Im not sure because there are other small fish in the tank now and he only seems to want to kill the danios. The little neons dont even seem to exist in his eyes. I guess ill test the water in the morning and see what it looks like.

06-28-2010, 07:37 PM
Day 6

Water parameters are reading perfectly showing nitrates pretty high i will now do a 70% water change and wait for everything to settle. I will then go try to catch that little geo out of my roomates 29 and get him acclimated.

06-28-2010, 11:16 PM
did my water change and added the little geo. About 15 minutes after adding him the manager of the store called me and said that another of the geos got returned today due to agression problems. Now i have 2.

06-29-2010, 03:32 PM
Day 7

Tested my water this morning and i think i can maybe see a change in my ammonia level but im not even sure about that. These little geos are fun to watch. They tirelessly turn over the sand even though there is nothing to find. They seem to get along prety well but do bicker a bit over one cave under one piece of driftwood.

06-29-2010, 06:53 PM
at my roomates request i took the remaining zebras out of his tank and tossed them in with the geos. In the company of another geo (or due to the size of the tank) the geo seems to have absolutely zero interest in them.

06-30-2010, 11:10 PM
Day 7

That tny little tint difference in the ammonia test is still there so im keeping an eye on it. The fish are doing awesome just digging around herding zebra danios. Im actually wondering if im not imagining the ammonia.

07-01-2010, 07:55 PM
Day 8

Added a little ball of moss to one of my driftwood pieces and it came with a few pest snails. Apparently not a problem as my geos went crazy on them they suck em in chew em up and spit out shells. I think i may have found a source for a free live treat for them.

07-07-2010, 06:12 AM
Day 12

"sigh" added a third much smaller geo into the tank today and immediate warfare broke out. The existing fish didnt pick on the newcomer but started after eachother still leaving the little zebras alone. I netted the newcomer and took him back thinking that he was the cause. I completely rearranged the tank hoping to lower the aggression and so far it hasnt really worked all that well. They dont seem to be doing much if any damage just jawlocking and pushing eachother around a bit. Im not really sure what im going to do about this problem, hopefully they just stop beating up on eachother.

07-09-2010, 09:47 PM
attempted to add more geos today and bought the only 2 they had at the store. Upon release the two existing fish flared their gills at eachother mouth locked and acted all around mean. After a few minutes they calmed down a bit and started in on the newcomers flaring gills and doing a bit of chasing. after about an hour they are all grouped up and acting normally with an occasional gill flare by the biggest in the group. The pecking order seems to be setting itself and im assuming that all will be well soon.