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Author Topic: Tank cleaning and minnows  (Read 1188 times)
Mearwynna
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Tank cleaning and minnows
« on: January 21, 2012, 02:07:02 PM »

We usually take care of the fish tanks on friday night. On the big tank, (37 gal) we take out about 10 gallons, maybe less. Two 5 gallon buckets almost full. Today I took out the water and then took a good look at the tank. Oh my, it was covered in green and brown algea, even the light fixture was covered. So gross...so I decided to scrape the algea off most of the walls ( we left some for the snail) and by the time I was done the water was like pond water,  green and murky. I'm trying to keep the lights off most of the day, and only put them on in evening. The room is pretty bright during the day because we get a lot of sun in the winter, so maybe this causes a lot of algea to grow. I'm hoping the marimo balls will help keep the algea down a bit, and eventually I'm going to have duckweed and perhaps something called green foxtail in that tank as soon as I figure out how to do that with the gold fish. So I know more plants will help keep the algea down. But I want to know what is a good routine for tank cleaning. I was thinking about doing a larger water change like 75% once a month and lesser ones about 15-20% every friday night. Last night we ended up changing at least 75% of that green water and then added a cloudy water remedy to help clarify it further. It worked like a charm and did a great job. It seems like in order to clean the gravel well I end up taking out more than 10 gallons of water at a time. Gravel seems to trap a lot of stuff.

The snail and the minnows were really excited about the algea floating around. It was like a big feast for them. After the cleaning was done I was watching the minnows and noticed that several of them were doing  a kind of weird thing. Eratic brief swimming, and maybe rubbing against the rocks. So I continued to watch them but I don't see anything that would be irritating them. Now white spots or anything. They look o.k. unless there is something that I can't see with own eyes. I was wondering if it was a minnow behavior? They don't seem unhappy, have clamped fins or spots or look funny at all. I think I have two male minnows and 3 females. The males spent along time trying to attack their reflections yesterday after we had cleaned the glass. The big male did it several times, and then I saw some of the females do it. Do you think it could just be a minnow thing?
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cheri_alexander
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2012, 02:30:38 PM »

At least 50% every single week. I do more like 70% on six tanks every week. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I think brown algae is a sign of bad water quality or possibly poor filtration. Not sure exactly- I usually only get green. I scrape the algae off the front pane once a week and thoroughly vacuum the gravel.
Sorry, I know nothing about minnows.
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Skwishee
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2012, 02:48:54 PM »

I always ended up taking out around 80% of the 21 litre tank when I did gravel cleaning, so it's okay if you take out a bit extra. I'm not sure how much you are meant to take out, Cheri mentioned 50%, but I was thinking about doing 30% water changes on my larger tank? So not sure there... Maybe someone can clear that up.

As for attacking their reflections, fish can actually see out of the tank, not their reflections. Lucky chases up and down the side of the tank sometimes, at first I thought it was her reflection, but I looked through the side of the tank, I realised she was actually just looking at the wall paper! So I find when she does this, she is merely just having a look around.

If they're rubbing against rocks etc though... it might be the water itself, have you tested it or had it tested at a pet store recently?? It could be something to do with the ammonia, nitrite or nitrates.

As for algae, Cheri I'm not sure if it's a sign of bad water quality, it's usually caused by the tank simply getting too much light. So if it's in a position where a lot of sun light reaches it, then that could be the cause.
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cheri_alexander
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2012, 04:15:56 PM »

This is why small water changes are no good: Smiley
Wastes and pollutants never stop building up in an aquarium. The concentration increases until a water change, at which point the the pollution in the tank is reduced by the same percentage as the volume of the change. Example. You do a 30% water change, you leave 70% of the waste behind. The next week you change 30% which removes 30% of the total waste, leaving 70% of this weeks waste and 49% of last weeks waste. Do you see where this is going? After a few weeks you have a very high concentration of waste. The bigger the water change the better. Besides my fish love getting new water and I don't like the idea of them swimming through their urine.
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fantailer
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2012, 04:23:17 PM »

Yeah that would stink. Gladly I can't fit in a toilet.
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Skwishee
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2012, 04:30:49 PM »

Ahh very good point Cheri, I did attempt a water change, but it worked out somewhat smaller than I intended.
I think I will just have to worry less about letting the water settle, as I do not have enough buckets, to have enough water sat around for an afternoon XD Mammoth water change tomorrow!

I think 50% a week, sounds like a good amount Smiley
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cheri_alexander
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2012, 04:37:36 PM »

On some of my tanks it is impossible to tell how much I've taken out, it will look like half until I go to refill it and it's less. On my big tank I've measured and "the top of the dragon's head= 60 gallons". lol. On the 55 and under tanks I usually just take most the water, until there is just a few inches left.
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Skwishee
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2012, 06:15:36 PM »

Yeah, I find it a little weird, trying to transition myself from a 21 litre to a 90/100 litre  Grin

I was thinking it might be an idea to get a little marker, like some blue tack, and stick that half way down the tank, so I know when to stop  Smiley
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cheri_alexander
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2012, 06:47:54 PM »

I just had that idea too! I asked about calulating the volume of the top half over in "tank equipment.
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Nossie
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2012, 05:15:59 AM »

Green algae is a sign of great water quality, but brown is a sign that there's too much waste in your system. No wonder since the tank is cycling and you're changing out only 10 gallons of the entire tank volume Smiley As already suggested, try changing out more, every single week between 50-60%, even 70% if you've left the tank for a few extra days.

You've probably seen this thread: (Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)
But it contains what is, according to me and many others, a very successful way of maintaining a clean and healthy tank Smiley

I would have removed more water if it would turn green after scraping the algae off, mostly because it would simply look better and you'd also avoid having a bunch of dead plants floating about (which is essentially what it is). If you haven't already, I'd take out another 10 gallons now. If you left the tank for a bit longer than just a few days, you can go ahead and take out half or more of the water.

Another thing, duck weed is a menace in tanks, it will float on the surface and clog the filters. It also grows very fast so it'll be hard to control. In a pond it's okay since you can just go there occasionally and remove some, it would hardly be annoying, but with the filter-clogging issue I don't think it's a very attractive option. I'd suggest getting some other plants instead, like anubias, java fern, cryptocorynes... If you'd keep having algae problems, consider whether there's too much sunlight reaching the tank and/or buy yourself a nice bunch of three/four ancistrus (bristlenoses) Smiley
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fantailer
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2012, 06:00:18 AM »

Wow duckweed growing in a tank!!!!
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Skwishee
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2012, 06:41:03 AM »

Ah yes the duckweed, I forgot to mention that, I'd agree with Nossie, from experience, seeing my parents have duck weed in their pond, it has pretty much taken over the entire thing!
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Mearwynna
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2012, 09:15:03 PM »

Well, it's good to know I can safely take out more than 25% without doing any harm.  Tomorrow night I will change some more water out of the big tank and then do another 50% on friday. I'm hoping to get into a regular routine with the tanks.
I don't know what the different kinds of algea look like. It's just greenish brown, mostly green.
I thought goldfish liked eating duckweed? Oh well, I can continue to research plants and come up with something else. We'll see. There's so many things you can do, and it's fun to research.

I made the color enhancing gel food recipe the other day. The one on GAB. I used shrimp instead of salmon. He seems to like it, but it really didn't gell very well.
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Nossie
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2012, 04:04:41 AM »

They do, but why get something like that for them to eat when you can buy vegetables for them and not clog the filter? Smiley

By the way, when you get brown algae, you'll know. It's generally very unsightly and kind of looks more like a layer of dirt than algae.
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Mearwynna
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2012, 04:07:12 PM »

Here's an update.

Two of the minnows look like they are getting some kind of problem now. Just a few days ago I noticed a tiny black dot on one of them and not one has a couple black dots and some bumps along it's tail. I took those two out and they are in in a jar at the moment. The other 3 are still in the big tank. So it looks like flashing is a sign of a problem, even if I can't see it. they can feel it.

Phooey, now I'm worried about the big tank. Have we just contaminated it? If so, should we keep Sebastian out of it for another week? Should I remove the other minnows, too? This was going to be the big move him in weekend but now I think we need to wait. I'm kicking myself for not having quarantined the minnows.

Also, after reading a bit, some people treat the fish with meds to kill parasites. Should we have done that right away with as well? It makes sense.




I think you are right about the duckweed. A friend gave me some I I stuck it in a fishbowl and it's really small, and messy. I think I was thinking it was a bigger floating plant, I guess. Anyway, we might try some frogbit (I think) It seems to be a good bit bigger than duckweed.
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Nossie
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2012, 04:49:25 AM »

Black spots... If it's more like areas of black, it would be ammonia burns, but if they're like little dots, it's probably some parasite. I don't have any of my books here to check exactly what parasite it is, sorry Sad (I'm at my parents' place) Won't be home 'til tomorrow... but maybe you should take out all snails and plants except java fern from the tank and keep them in a bucket for the time being and try treating the water with a .3 concentration of salt (1tsp per gallon), this will kill most parasites. I'll be back with more info on what it might be tomorrow!
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Mearwynna
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2012, 05:39:50 PM »

Nossie, thank you. I went and picked up a heater, some tetra guard parasite treatment  just in case I need to treat the minnows for parasites. But I'm sort of wondering what to do with the big tank.  I can put the moss balls and the ferny thing in fish bowl (1 gallon) for the time being. The snail with have to go in there, too. Still don't know if the snail is going to make it. He's not acting normally at all. There is some movement, but he's not coming out of the shell. I do know now (after reading on the web) that they smell really bad when dead, so we'll just keep watching for that.
At the fish store, I looked at their minnows. Yuck! A lot of them had black spots like this, and what looked like black fungus on them. Mine look good in comparison!

o.k. so do you have to take the filter out when doing salt in the aquarium? Should I take the substrate out? Would parasites live in that?



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Skwishee
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2012, 05:12:40 AM »

From my understanding the parasites will be living in the water. They wouldn't live 'on' the substrate as such, I don't think, because it isn't a living thing? Maybe someone could clarify that.

Also is it possible that black dots are natural colourings for a minnow? Or it could indicate a burn from ammonia/nitrite/nitrates that's already healing.

Could you possibly test the water? See what ammonia/nitrite/nitrate's currently are? If the fish are flashing, it may be because of one of those  Smiley

There is one type of parasite I have heard causing black spots, but it is very rare and only seen in ponds, because the parasites needs an intermediate host like a bird.

It's mentioned here; (Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)
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Nossie
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2012, 05:20:09 AM »

They do dwell ON it, but not really inside it. And whichever parasites outside the fishes' bodies will die from the salt anyway Smiley
Leave everything the way it is, the filter won't be bothered by the salt at all Smiley
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Mearwynna
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2012, 10:08:59 AM »

Natural spot on minnows look more like dark patches of scales (because that's what they are.) This is not like that. Nor is it like amonia burns, I know what that is too.

These are black dots that look like something is encysted in their flesh, random on the fish and one has more than the other. I can see them really well when held up to the light. They are circular and about the size of a pepper flake, slightly raised.

I was googling around last night and saw this. (Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)

If you scroll down there is a picture of some really sick minnows. It almost has this kind of look to it but not at all so bad.

The water quality should be fine. I did just get he api test kit so will be giving that a go sometime today.

I saw some pics of the BSD and it doesn't really look like that either.
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Mearwynna
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2012, 09:34:54 PM »

Well, I started a prazi treatment today for the minnows. I'm using tetra gaurd, the only one I could find at LFS. What exactly is going on with them, I have no idea.

I also took out the plants and salted the aquarium.

We used the api test today. Everything looked great, maybe just  a trace of amonia. The color was slightly darker than the card. Still way under .25.

We did the water test today and the kids thought we were doing chemistry.
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Nossie
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2012, 04:01:53 AM »

I would actually still place my bet on the ammonia burns, unless the spots are protruding from the skin looking sort of slimy?
Now that you called it "dark patches of scales" Smiley
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Mearwynna
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2012, 10:29:56 AM »

No, I didn't say they were dark patches of scales. Sorry if I was confusing. They are slightly raised and almost perfectly circular. And small.  This doesn't look at all looking like amonia burns we have had before in our other fish, nor the dark patches of scales that minnows can get. There are some pictures on the web of that, and it's not like that either.
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scrivens345
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2012, 11:41:25 AM »

  minnows sometimes get black spots....it is a natural colour change to that of their ancestors.....a bit like moors turning gold but in reverse

[image]
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Mearwynna
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2012, 02:02:08 PM »

Yes, and it's not like that, which is really puzzling. At the lfs I pointed out the difference in the minnows they had and the lady was able to see what I was talking about right away. It's very obvious when you look at the minnow. I wonder if I can get a good picture...it looks sort of like a pimple filled with something that is black. On the one little minnow, there are several of these things right along his back behind his dorsal fin, inside the slightly transparent flesh. I's just kind of weird, but at the lfs I saw so many gross things on the minnows including fish lice and black fungus patches that I now think it's best to treat them right away and keep the in qt for longer than usual time. I wish we had done that now, but ultimately this is going to be ok. If I can't get them to heal up or go away I might sacrifice one and do an microscope examination to see if I can see what it is. (or what is in it.) I do have some experience with that.

So anyway...these little minnows are kind of cute in a everybody- over-looks -them kind of way.
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Nossie
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2012, 02:38:47 PM »

You don't have to sacrifice anything to just do a simple biopsy! @_@
Just take a small mucus sample on the glass-thingie (sorry, not that good with microscopy terms...) and look at it |:
However, if one of them dies you might want to, if possible, bring it to a laboratory for a checkup. (Remember to keep the fish cold until you can get to the lab!)
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Skwishee
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2012, 06:00:48 AM »

Hmmm, raised black spots? Definitely sounds like some sort of parasite... As Nossie said just a scraping will do for a microscope check. These articles have some great information on parasites and looking for them;
(Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)
(Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)

With regards to the plants, did you add them, after the minnows? Or were they in the tank before the minnows were added?
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Mearwynna
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2012, 09:31:50 AM »

The snail and the sword (??) plant at the same time, the moss balls were later and they were in qt for more than a week. I just can't get a good enough picture.
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Skwishee
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2012, 06:19:52 AM »

So the plants were all added after the minnows? Did you quarantine the sword plant as well?
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Mearwynna
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Re: Tank cleaning and minnows
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2012, 05:09:11 PM »

No, we stuck the plant, the snail and the minnows in the big tank. They were in there for 3 or weeks. The plant was one of those grown snail free that petco sells.
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