FINALLY Got a New (60 Gallon Again) Setup for my Goldies...Lots of Questions
The more seasoned members of the forum will recall my last dilemma (it's been QUITE some time since I have posted on here; much going on including, in the wake of our last tank crack disaster, the unfortunate death of our beloved Black Lab/Aussie Shephard ) which stemmed from a stocked 60 gallon fancy goldfish setup which came down with a bacterial infection through poor water quality conditions and maintenance on my part, brought about and to our attention by a new Red Cap Oranda who proceeded to exhibit aggressive tendencies and began nipping at the backsides of our Chocolate Fantail and another beautiful female Red Cap. This nipping ended up resulting in nasty, open sores on their back ends, eventually letting a bacterial infection in from the poor water, and killed them within 48 hours a piece, even with dosing with Maracyn. I was able to save the aggressive Oranda and a then new small Black Moor, who were transfered to a 10 gallon starter tank to remove them from the infected, nasty water of the 60 gallon for the purpose of recovering in fresh, clean, unaffected water.
I stripped that infected tank down, threw out all the decor, gravel, plants, etc. but kept the two HOB filters I was running, an Aqueon QuietFlow 55 and an AquaClear 110, while ditching their old, infected media. But in the cleaning process, I mistakenly used SCALDING hot water to rinse out the debris in this tank, thinking I would kill the bacterial infection on the walls of the glass and such -- against the advice of some on other online help forums -- and it must have weakened the tank's seals or something because after about two or so weeks of running the newly set up tank after being cleaned out, and adding back in the Black Moor (to begin with) to start re-cycling, our home was flooded from a HUGE, jagged crack that developed in the back glass and which emptied out half the water from the 60 gallon. The water spilled onto the carpeted floor of our upstairs loft (where it was situated) and into our living room below, destroying ridiculous amounts of personal property and causing a remodeling headache with homeowners insurance that I NEVER want to experience again...
Once the house was fixed, which took almost a month, the old cracked tank was obviously thrown out, and what we ended up with was a 10 gallon, running with just an Aqueon QuietFlow 20 and a bubble bar, stocked with the same Black Moor that survived the infection and multiple moves, plus the aggressive Red Cap Oranda who started the whole fiasco in the old tank to begin with, plus two other small fancy goldies, not particularly exotic in any way. Would you believe that almost ONE YEAR LATER, these four goldfish are STILL alive and actually getting bigger and thriving, even after being housed in a 10 gallon tank because we couldn't scrape up enough funds to get another bigger one? I did DAILY 50% water changes on this 10 gallon and dosed with Prime each time -- NOTHING else. They're still alive and doing well, and the Moor lost most of her black scales and has become almost all gold colored, with some black in her fins...she almost looks like a Lionhead! But she's been getting much larger and much fatter, so it was obvious we had to do something...
Fast-forward to this past Super Bowl Sunday. Being a New England fan, I wanted to see the 49ers beat the snot out of the Ravens, as the Ravens handed the Patriots their behinds in the AFC Championship IN Foxboro, so when the game wasn't going in the direction of San Francisco having a chance, I decided to bite the bullet and drive over to our local Petsmart to buy a tank we have had our eyes on for some time now as it was the very last day it was on sale for $260 something, and this included the 60 gallon Marineland aquarium, dual hoods with fluorescent lighting and a pretty nice stand; Marineland called it the "Heartland Ensemble" and it looks like this:
60 Gallon Aquarium » Marineland® 60 Gallon Heartland Aquarium Ensemble | PetSmart
We did not really have the money for it, but I caved anyway and after RIDICULOUS amounts of twisting and turning the stand and the tank to try and get it to fit into my four door sedan by the store's manager and a sales kid (they will not deliver) I ended up driving home with the stand in my trunk and the tank on the back seat of my car. Getting it up the stairs to our loft was a totally different problem -- it took my wife and I all our strength to drag these HEAVY pieces up our stairs and finally into position (we're putting it in the same spot our last tank was in -- I know, we're probably asking for the same crack-and-spill problem but it won't work anywhere else in our home and our handyman has reinforced the area under the floor where we wanted to put it).
Since last Sunday, I have cleaned up the tank (NOT with scalding hot water this time!), filled it up with water to the brim when it was sitting in our garage and let it sit for 24 hours to be sure there were no leaks (there IS a crack in the dark colored sealant on one of the walls of the tank which concerns me; like a chunk has been chipped off, but it doesn't seem to be leaking even now upstairs in its permanent home), washed the natural-colored gravel we had in the last setup, poured the gravel in, got the two HOBs up and running with brand new media and hooked up the two bubble bars I was previously running to the two pumps I already had -- a Tetra Whisper 60 and a Rena Air 400. We decorated with the sparse amount of stuff we had (the newer decor I used after the last tank crashed) and filled up the tank with cold tap water. The filters started running and I started dosing with Seachem's Stability to kick-start the cycle and prepare the water for the fish's transfer (the water was also treated with Prime twice); last night, we transferred the goldfish with a container, one at a time, to the new tank, making sure the new tank was running for at least 48 hours to get to room temperature, where they're comfortable from sitting in the 10 gallon, as well to make sure Stability was running for at least two days.
So far, there hasn't been any loss of fish (it's been about 48 hours since they're in the new tank) but MANY things are bothering me about this new setup and, of course, I have a plethora of questions regarding what my next step is...
First of all, this Marineland tank is RIDICULOUSLY tall. On the stand, there is NO WAY I can get to the bottom of it to clean it or move decor without standing on a chair or stepstool, and that is already becoming tiresome. I would NEVER buy another tall-over-long tank ever again; my last 60 was rectangular and longish, but this one keeps a similar footprint yet puts its distribution of the water in its HEIGHT, and it's daunting to maintain. There is also a severe LEANING problem with the stand and tank, being that they're on padded carpeting, so the tank is NOT level, leaning forward a bit and making the water level impossible to even out on the surface. My question with regard to this problem is will this eventually affect cracking and loosening of seals with this tank again? Will the leaning forward (it's not "severe," but it's not really subtle) create the seals in front to crack from the pressure?
Further -- the fluorsescent lights under the ridiculously cheap, plastic hoods provided in this package look HORRID. I don't know what it is, but my water looks green and "unhealthy" and it is NOT my water supply. It's definitely the lights. I really can't stand the way the lighting is illuminating the aquarium and the goldfish inside; even my wife says it gives her a headache when they're on and we're in the dark. The lighting in no way brings out any of the colors of our decor or the fish themselves, and it gives off like a sickly, hospital-like, cool greenish hue that's VERY offputting; I don't know what to do....if I should replace the hoods with different lighting, but we really don't have the money for that right now...any thoughts or input would be appreciated here.
The hoods themselves feel like they're going to break off in your hand when you lift one to feed or take them off to get to the water in the tank; my two HOBs fit okay in the back after I cut the spaces for them out, but this tank is so high that I can't even see the flow of the filters' outputs when I lift the hoods or even peer over the tank on TIPPY TOES...it's ridiculous.
Another issue I'm having since setting up this Marineland is with my air pumps and bubble wands -- I'm getting no air pressure from either of these pumps since setting them up for this tank, and it's causing very little bubble output in the bars. I am assuming it's because this tank is so tall and the water is now so deep, they're going to need more powerful pumps to feed the bars, but it seems my Rena Air 400 has gotten water into one of the output valves because I wasn't running a stop valve on it, so only one side of the outputs is working...this is causing very little bubble action to be produced. The Tetra Whisper, feeding the other bar, is also producing little to no power as there are very little bubbles coming from that bar too. Both pumps are running "bridged" with a T-bar connector so both their dual outputs are feeding one common line to get all its power to each bubble bar. I don't know what to do here, either; is this because this new tank is so deep in water depth now that I need a new pump, or new pumps? Can anyone recommend an air pump that is powerful enough to feed two bubble bars at the bottom of a very tall 60 gallon such as the Marineland I cited in the link earlier in this post?
Finally, we get to my next step with this tank and the health of the fish -- I know some on this and other forums are against using products like Seachem's Stability to kick-start a cycle, but I had success with it in the past and it seems harmless to the goldies. Tomorrow will be my third day dosing with Stability, and the fish seem to be doing okay, swimming and enjoying their new added space to stretch out etc. and eating fine as well. I am experiencing cloudy water from what I assume are the bacterial colonies attempting to take hold in the tank from the Stability, but here are my questions as the new tank matures:
Was it wise to put the goldies in so soon even with the Stability? I was under the assumption that the fish waste and its ammonia produced would be good to further start the cycle. At this point, now, what should my water change schedule look like? Being that the fish are in just 48 hours or so, should I be looking to do a water change? Or should this wait? I know this probably depends on parameter readings, but I wanted to first share with you all what I did and in what steps so you could understand my reasoning for it; the tank is dosed with Stability for two days now, and treated twice with Prime just to keep bad stuff in check. Normally, I would use Prime just when doing water changes, but I felt comfortable adding it now...
The bottle of the Stability says fish and other aquatic life can be added at any time in a new tank when using the product so long as the treatment is finished for 7 days -- tomorrow will be the fourth day, so I am just going to continue for the 7 days and then stop using it, but should I be doing any water changes right now, or just wait until the Stability regiment is done, then begin weekly changes? Or is this ALL dependent on what the API test readings come back with?
Is there ANYTHING else I should be doing at this point to help these fish survive the move to their bigger home in terms of chemicals, water exchanges, etc...or is it just a waiting game at this point? They were transferred into the same tap water they're used to from the 10 gallon they were in, and I DID wait 48 hours for the tank to get to the same room temperature they're used to. Was this wise? I did NOT transfer them in nets, because I think it's not the humane way, what with them not being able to breathe during those moments, and instead let them swim into a container and then swim out of it in the new tank, all on their own...was this okay?
If anyone could lend any insight, opinion or feedback on these matters, I would greatly appreciate it; I really don't like this Marineland setup, but you know what? The fish are in a bigger home and I suppose that's all that matters. I'm NOT stripping this thing down again to return back to the store; it was a nightmare getting it home anyway because we don't have a truck.