Just Changed Tank Features
I just changed out my aquarium gravel to round 50 cent-size glass. A couple of fish have developed clouded eyes and are not eating. I have had a 55 gal tank for 20 yrs. and have never come across this. I used ick control additive and have used a 7.0 ph balancer liquid. Filters are new and water is clear. Tank has been cleaned regularly. Have not added any new fish in some time. I want to add some more, but I need to resolve the problems with some of the fish. The tank has power heads and under gravel filtration. The tank also has the double filtration system by tetra that hangs on the back of the tank. I want to get live plants, but will wait until the fish are healthy. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
By replacing the enitre substrate you have removed most of the nitrifying bacteria. As you had undergravel filtration as well, this has removed the filter bacteria as well as the substrate bacteria. While there will be some nitrifying bacteria left on other surfaces, provided these were not cleaned in tap water and kept moist throughout, it will not likely be sufficient. The problem is therefore ammonia poisoning.
Do an immediate water change of no less than half the tank volume. Use a good conditioner, preferably one that detoxifies ammonia as well as chlorine/chloramine, but no other products. The pH chemical is adding more stress to an already highly-stressed situation for the fish. I don't know what the ich control additive might be, but I doubt it is going to be helpful.
If you have an ammonia test kit, test ammonia daily and if above zero, do a 50% water change. Also test for nitrite, and if above zero, same. Both are highly poisonous to fish.
We can talk about plants and such once this present issue is out of the way. I would be interested in the new substrate though, can you post a photo of this "glass"?
Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
+ to Byron. New Substrate, new filter media = loss of your beneficial bacteria colony that is critical in maintaining 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. If you do NOT have an API master liquid test kit you really need one. It's up to you to monitor the water parameters and understand the nitrogen cycle. Without knowing what your ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate and PH levels are, you can't stay on top of ammonia or nitrite levels which determine how much and how often you need to change your water until this gets straightened out.
As Byron says do an immediate 50% water change and do it daily until you get your ammonia and nitrites down to .25. Eventually they will fall to 0 but it's going to take a while. You are basically starting from scratch with this tank.
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