Foster aquarium - Help?
Hi all! Sorry for the possibly long read coming here.
My workplace has a 125 gallon aquarium. In March I found it and decided that the inability to see through to the back of it was possibly a Bad Thing™. Suffice to say, nobody knew how to take care of it. The pump was not pumping at all, the entire substrate was covered in an inch of fuzzy green stuff, and every fish in it was desperately gulping air at the top. Being who I am, I repaired the pump (Magnum 350 canister filter) first. I managed to research enough to know that water changes would be a good idea (seeing as they had not been done at all in the 3-year history of this poor thing, only top-offs with about twenty times as much water-safe added to it as it needed for the refill volume). So I started the process of this with a 25% water change, siphoning from below the gravel and getting out water that best resembled heavily-used motor oil in color. Pump filters clogged in record time (two hours!!) but with a bit of a poke twice a week (and frequent water changes) the tank was soon no longer brown inside and no fish died. In response to this corrective measure, the six platies promptly dropped a few dozen fry and the aquarium was taken out of my hands so I could focus on my primary job.
Happy October. Now it's my responsibility or will be removed. I dread the thought of the concept of "removal".
Unfortunately I have the "help" of a person who swore that gouramies (sp?) are communal fish and wasn't sure why the neon tetras were vanishing with four 7-inch long grouramies in the tank. They were rehomed prior to now. As well the tank went though two Ich infections (thank you local PetCo), had a nitrate spike at one point because of semi-aquatic plants drowning (they have since been removed, and once again, thank you PetCo), and went through a Salt and Heat ich treatment to eradicate it the most recent time. Numerous times the fish have displayed evidence of severe overfeeding as well (at least according to the multiple pieces of uneaten food on the bottom and very fat and lethargic fish at the top).
Details of Doom:
125g that is impossible to find new top glass for as it's two sections three feet wide each and apparently that kind of aquarium is not made anymore.
Gravel substrate with only a few fuzzy rocks
Same Magnum 350 canister filter, now with charcoal and outer filter sleeve
A handful of live plants (I'm not sure what)
Numerous rocks of rocky stature
Nitrates ~ 20-40, Nitrites 0, pH 7.4 (tap water here is 7.6), Ammonia 0, "Very Hard" (Yay test strips. *sigh*)
The pump is still working and now there is an air pump to help the fish as well
80F set by 300W submersible heater
The fish inventory is approximate due to the fact that it is observation only.
1x 1.5" Albino bristlenose pleco
1x 2.5" clown pleco
1x 1.5" "oto"?
Somewhere between four and seven ghost shrimp (Four confirmed, seven in theory)
What appears to be a cory maybe (somewhat stripy catfish with tiny whiskers?)
A silver dollar fish about the size of my hand
A fish that "looked like the other silver dollar fish when they were both an inch big" but now is less-tall than long and has splotches, but follows the silver dollar fish around like a puppy
~12-17 fully grown platies (Deep orange with black fins?)
3x silver mollies
3x black mollies
Somewhere between 12 and 18 neon tetra
Somewhere between 14 and 18 black skirt tetra (?)
Six of what look like cherry barbs
Probably about 40-60 plattie fry
One that looks and acts like the platties but is a very light orange instead. Some of the fry have taken on this coloration. They always get eaten by the silver dollar fish first.
On any given day while feeding the fish, the silver dollar fish will gulp down three or four plattie fry as well. :\
Anyway... I won't pretend I know everything (or even most of much of anything) other than common sense and a bit of research to find the information I provided above. All funding is from my own pocket now. I'd rather not have things "Fail" and result in bad things for the fish. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, because with 1000 pounds or so of water, I'm in over my head.
Welcome to the forum. It is awesome you are taking your time to provide these (previously) neglected fish a proper home. You posted a lot of information, so I may have missed lots! but right now all I have to recommend is switching from test strips to liquid test kits and also to get those nitrates below 20 ppm. It would help any members who are trying to help if you could post your concerns in specific questions. If you post pictures of your various fish we could help identify the unknown ones.
I guess the first question would be a safe way to clean the front outside of the aquarium. I understand Windex and other cleaners are likely to be unsafe if even just a tiny bit gets up and into it, and even with the glass cover I am reluctant to possibly endager the fish. Dirty hands and water drips have resulted in front glass that is difficult to see through or photograph through.
++ to Madag. Good for you for taking on this tank. It's such a shame when this happens. It's also amazing the fish are alive.
try using a sponge wet with water and a little vinegar to remove the water residue from the outside of the glass. Inside you can use a scraper (found at most fish stores) to rid it of the bulk of the residue.
Perhaps you can go to Lowes or Menards and find some plexiglass to cut for a top?
Keep up with those water changes. If you're using buckets, you might want to check into this product which works great: http://www.amazon.com/Aqueon-Aquariu...+water+changer
Also, you might want to purchase some Seachem's Prime to condition the water. It's highly concentrated and will be the most economical product to use. And new water must be conditioned as the chlorine in the tap water will kill the fish.
And lastly, put a sign near the tank that clearly states :"do not feed the fish unless you plan to clean the tank" Or HIDE the fish food so only you feed them :o)
Again, good for you and keep asking questions.
Not easy to get vinegar here. I may need to try water alone first, and see if I can find something very clean to use with it. I specced out Plexiglas and found that thick enough of it for the top of the tank would cost about $60 per sheet and each sheet would only cover half the tank. O.o I'm not getting a budget for this, so it's all out of pocket T^T
Doing a 25% water change ended up being a matter of carrying 30-40 lbs of water at a time over 80 feet or more through a library, so I did end up getting that at the local pet store, though more costly, and I had to get the 50' one and an extender. Carrying out 32g of water and 32g back in was... ow.
The food has been hidden and I did spend an hour yesterday armpit deep in the tank scraping the inside of algae that I've been advised has been there for a few months. The fish ate it all when I scraped it off. :\
The silver dollar fish eating all the baby platties. Problem or not? If it is a problem, best way to deal with it? (I know of no place nearby to sell fish for rehoming unless just surrendering them to the PetCo or Petsmart. :( No quarantine tank, no dividers, etc.) Also somebody indicated they will get Even Bigger, and then it will definitely be a problem.
Tank overcrowded? Other folks keep wanting there to be more fish so it looks more interesting. :\
The tetras and barbs are not schooling really, which I have seen hints could be indications of an issue. They are just scattered throughout the tank randomly. With only six barbs, I can see this being more likely, but both the neon tetras and the other tetras have at least a dozen each.
welcomewave.gif to the AC!
The very knowledgeable and friendly members here will help to get "your" tank back in shape. You have already started on the right path. Kudos to you for taking responsibility for the fish when given an ultimatum. Bravo!
Welcome to the forum, and good on you for taking on this task.
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit. -Vince Lombardi
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” ― John Wooden
Sandy Hook Elementary......Lest We Forget
Welcome to the ac! You found the best place to get help.
First, the fry getting eaten is not really a problem unless you care that they are getting eaten. In a way it might even be a good thing, as it will prevent your tank from getting crowded when the fry grow up.
Second, since the tank is now your responsibility, under your own pocket, and it was going to get removed if you hadn't stepped in, have you considered taking it home? I don't know how easy it would be to move it (others would have to chime in on the best way to accomplish this) but if the tank was going to be removed, you are the only person paying for it, and the only one taking care of it, you might as well take it home with you. Since they were going to get rid of it anyway, perhaps you can offer to get rid of it yourself and take it home. Once the tank is at home you will have better control about what happens to it.
If the tank stays at work, I'd tell others who want more fish to chip in for all the out of pocket expenses you've had. Also advise them that no matter what, they are NOT to purchase any fish and dump in the tank. Lord knows what they'd buy and it very well might not be compatible with the fish already there. Tell them if they are truly interested to read up on tropical fish so they'll realize how much care they take and then maybe some of them will pitch in and help you.
You're not over stocked. Not necessarily the best mix but it is what it is at this point. As I said before, it's a wonder any of them are alive. I think you'll see the fish returning to their schooling behavior as they grow healthy again. I would not add any fish. This tank needs to recover. See how all the fish are doing in 6 months.
Poor guys. They're so lucky you bit the bullet and stepped up