Thank you very much to everybody who has replied so far. ^.^
Heater turned to 78, it will take at least all of today and possibly tomorrow to drop to that.
Clarification on "work": The tank is in the library of an elementary school. I am the technology manager.
Came in this morning to find one of the barbs dead and two of the neon tetras alive with no neon (very pale). O.o This is apparently "much better than usual". Doesn't help me feel any better.
Going to try to attach photos. Full tank, as well as some shots of individual fish that I am not sure about. I recognize the albino bristlenose pleco and the mollies at least though. The spotty "silver dollar fish"? There are ones I think are black skirt tetras. They have been terrorizing the silver dollar fish on occasion by trying to school after it.
The whole tank
Black skirt tetras? What kind of platties?
Cherry barb (left)? Also mollies and pleco.
Silver dollar fish, spotted "silver dollar fish" (?) and some neon tetras.
Last edited by Charix; 10-04-2013 at 04:05 PM.
Reason: Adding picture info
Those poor fish are lucky to have a kind hearted person such as yourself to bring them out of their misery and give them a second chance...you will get great help here, please be tenacious and stick with the great job you are doing with this seemingly abandoned tank
I will be of no help identifying YOUR fish, but you will get the information you need, I am certain of it
BTW, welcome to the AC, and again, on behalf of those poor fish, THANK YOU!!
10 Gallon: 8 Platys, 2 Guppies, Snails, some RCS, and plants
40 Gallon Breeder: 10 Rosy Tetras, 10 Red & Blue Colombian Tetras, 10 Marbled hatchets, 7 Pristella Tetras, 6 Sterbai Corys, 1 Ancistrus "Rio Tocantins", 2 Re-homed Platys, plants and DW
"Don't cry because it is over; smile because it happened" --- Theodor Seuss Geisel
first pict is definitely a cory cat - possibly a peppered or Paleatus? not sure. When this tank gets healthy (and wow, have you made great strides getting it there!) I'd get the little guy at least 5 more just like him. Cory cats love to live in schools and are happiest when there are several in a school
2nd - yes black skirts. again - when the tank has recovered you might want to get a few more of them as they are a schooling fish. perhaps then they'll leave the SD alone :o)
3rd. yes, cherry barbs and mollies and that's a sweet little albino bristle nose pleco.
Also yes, you've got a plain and a spotted silver dollar pleco. 2 are okay in one tank
The platies are just platies :o)
Just some notes that may help. Plecos need driftwood. It's a steady part of their diet. Some fish stores have driftwood that's already been soaked so it sinks (Malaysian driftwood sinks immediately). If you could get the little guy some driftwood that would be great. They also like to eat raw zucchini slices. Just stick a fork into a slice (pointed edges down) and sink it in the tank. He'll find it and he'll love you for it. Make sure to remove any uneaten portions after 2 days and replace with a fresh slice.
The SD's would prefer to have something to hide behind. If live plants aren't an option, then get some silk or plastic plants or some larger rocks or large pieces of driftwood. They are generally very skittish fish and prefer a place to tuck in behind.
Just for the sake of aesthetics, the fish would be much more visible (and maybe silence those voices who want more) if you replaced the background with a solid black or dark blue. The reverse side of that backdrop may very well be black or blue. The fish will show up much better and it will appear as if there are more because you'll see more movement. If the back of the background is not a solid color, you can paint the glass.
I'm sure I've missed some of your questions but keep asking and the folks here will answer if they can
Okay, peeking back.
Just take the tank home.
Apartment living does not allow for fish tanks over 5g due to the catastrophic badness of 1000 lbs of water in an apartment.
Black skirts - get more
There are about 14-18 in there already. O.o Which is part of why the silver dollars panic when the whole school follows them.
The little albino bristlenose pleco is livid that I scraped the sides. Normally don't see it out in the day at all, but it's been sucking on clean glass and finally going for the weekend feeder.
All of the current plants in the tank are live and apparently not growing at all. ._. I've had to remove numerous dead leaves already and there are some dead-edged leaves. Should those stay or go?
I agree, the SDs are very skittish. I'll see if I can rearrange the flat rocks to make a hiding place for them. They are pretty big, so it's not an easy process. Sadly, the kids love to scare them and watch them fly across the tank. As do the black skirts.
I've had much mixed word about the filtering. Interestingly enough, places that want to sell me everything else say I don't need another filter. But yes, now that I look I see that it's rated for <100g. :\ Tricky bit is that for some reason we have two more motor bases for Magnum 350s but no actual canister or filter. I do run into the fact that being a school, I have to try to keep the top as closed as possible, otherwise all manner of things get dropped in. So a cascade filter (right wording?) is just asking for pain. Everybody here works on a teacher's salary, so yeah... *sigh* Even a $30 purchase can cause me pain sometimes.
Weekly water changes, 25%, pull from the gravel and such (gets plenty of brown gunk out in some spots). Ensure return water is same temp as the tank (Measured with IR thermal gun. ^.^ ) and treated to de-chlorinate. Would love to have more live plants, but only options nearby are Pet Co/Smart and the selection is sad. The current plants came from PetCo along with some semi-aquatic plants that died and made a mess when completely submerged.
The water level is up literally to the very inside bottom of the top of the tank.This submerges the pump outlet, which doesn't go down very far, but seems possibly high. Fish hide up behind the wooden frame quite well. The tank is not completely level, so to the bottom of the frame on one side leaves an inch on the other. High enough? Too high?
Main thing to overcome right now is dropping too much personal finances into a tank that hundreds of people poke at daily, thankfully usually just tapping the glass, which I'd prefer they didn't as well.
Suction cup thermometer in the lower left. That is how I know the tank was maintaining 82 when the heater was set to 80, and so I set the heater to 76 for 78.
I'll see if I can finagle a solid background for the tank. Put the focus on the fish, not on the backdrop. I know somebody might get very upset, but yeah.
Continued thanks for all the people contributing information!
An inexpensive black backdrop - black posterboard mounted using Command Clear Fridge Clips -
Mount the clips on the backside top and bottom tank frames, at each end and in the middle, facing down on the top frame and up on the bottom frame. Trim the poster board to fit between the clips and slide it thru, which will hold it on and give you a cheap black background.
It also sounds like the tank is not level. This is a problem, with no way to fix it without removing the fish, draining the tank and leveling it. Your water level should be to the bottom of the top frame.
Last edited by gronlaura; 10-04-2013 at 09:18 PM.
As a school, we have 500' rolls of 50" wide colored paper, so getting 6' of it and trimming it to size was no problem. Then... Scotch tape. :D
Then... The algae. ... I scraped the front and sides, but the back? Not only is there limited to no access, but wow... 30 minutes on one one-inch by five-inch spot with a metal scraper, kept getting more and more green off... STILL not clear of algae. @.@ That and a little silver molly girl who just can't resist the urge to eat the algae off the scraper ASAP on each scrape, which delays my work.
Nothing I can do about the level unfortunately then.
Repositioning the plants and rocks is ending up being a greater challenge than I expected. They're all very small compared to the tank. :\
Today is "five hours of aquarium work day" for me, so wish me luck.
didn't realize there were so many black skirts. so that shoots that theory dead :o(
there's a product called flourish. If anyone ever pitches in, it may help the plants. You can leave them as long as they aren't dying.
you might try Craig's list for filters. sometimes they are VERY cheap there.
If you don't already have one up, try a sigh: "Please do not tap on the glass. It frightens the fish and they can injure themselves."
In the full tank shot you sent, I can't detect any noticeable algae on the back wall. I'd leave it for a while and see if the pleco doesn't start digging into it since you've cleaned the other 3 walls. Not saying it's up to the pleco to clean it but sometimes, they do exactly that.
Our worst offenders either can't read that (K-2) or don't care (Grumpy 7-8th graders).
Managed to scrape the back wall effectively while changing out the water. Not being up to my shoulder in water made it possible. Fish swarmed my hand to eat the scrapings and got in the way at every possible moment. Now if I stick my hand in at all, they all swarm and nibble. O.o The mollies are insane. That's my official opinion.
Two neon tetras have were almost all-white have recovered their red, but their blue stripe is still missing. Nitrates came in at 5ppm *yay* but Nitrites hit 0.5 instead of their normal happy zero *eek!*
Got a platty that everybody says has always been this way:
It's like a huge blood blister. Scales are lifted and it's slightly puffy. I recall seeing this fish or a similar case a month ago. The spot was maybe half as big then.
Repositioned everything in the tank. Plants had to have some dead leaves removed and were all moved to the left. All the fish want to hang out there now. Two flat rocks were put up, leaning against the back wall atop lava stones to create a hiding space. The SDs started their normal side to side panic and stopped at them and absolutely would not go behind them, turned around instead. So I placed one flat against the back wall, lava stone at its base, and another in front of the lava stone. When the SDs reached that again, they crossed to the front of the tank. *sigh*
Tank work took three hours to replace 25% water and scrape the whole back, reposition everything, and feed them. Prior (bad) caretaker complained about five hours of work. ... No idea.
No idea what's going on with the platy. It might have gotten burned on the heater. Or it might be something else all together. Keep watching it.
All this cleaning may have removed some of your beneficial bacteria and fired up the nitrites. You'd best check ammonia too. And I hate to break it to you after all the work you've done today, but with nitrites at that level, they're going to have a bad effect on the fish. if you could do a large water change tomorrow or Sunday that would really help them out.
Once you get on top of this - and man oh man have you done a great job so far - if you don't add stock and don't over feed, you should be able to get by with 30 - 50% water changes weekly. Of course an additional filter will also help but I realize that's not in the cards right now.
Regarding the nitrites again - You didn't by chance recently throw out any of the filter media in the old filter because it was so dirty, and replace it with new did you?