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Old 06-23-2004, 10:33 PM   #1
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Effective Cleaning Techniques

Hello forum:

Here I come looking for help again. I'm treating for ich right now, and my ammonia is out of control (my tank is/was starting to cycle). I have done a 30% water change daily for the last 3 days. Last night, I saw it dip to .50ppm right afterward, but today it's right back up to 1.0. In addition to the water change, I'm vacuuming the gravel, but I don't remember these vacuums being so wimpy (it's one those little self-starting jobbies). I doesn't whirl the gravel at all, and barely produces enough suction to convince even the tiniest flakes to mosey up the tube.

I've removed almost all plants and decorations while I treat the ich, and the gravel is all well within reach with no obstruction, so there's no reason I shouldn't be able to get some of this blankety-blank ammonia removed. (Maybe this is why when I had tanks as a child, my fish always died).

What's the most effective way to really clean that crap out of the gravel, without stressing the fish? I'm half tempted to stick the ShopVac in there. (that's a joke, I wouldn't really do that) TIA

--AquaBear
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In order of setup:

FW1-16g, 5 Zebra danios, 4 Pristella Tetras, 4 Black Skirt Tetras, 2 Gold Barbs, 1 Brush-nose Pleco
FW2-5g, 1 Baby Gold Marble Angel (raised from fry), 6 Zebra Danios
SW1-75g, (80# LR), Scarlett hermits, Turbo snails, Percula Clownfish (Gizmo), Oscellaris Clownfish (Whizzer), Indian Yellowtail Angelfish (Mikado), Royal Gramma (Orpheus), Black Sailfin Blenny (Casper), Yellow Tang (Pele), Racoon Butterflyfish (Raptor), Lyretail Anthia (Juliette)
FW3-30g, 2 mated Gold Marble Angels (Oscar/Yenta)
SW2-20g, QT, currently empty
FW4-30g, currently empty
FW5-20g, 2 Gold Angels (non-paired)
SW3-35g (REFUGIUM for SW1) - EVIL ChocChipStar, Nassarius and Turbo snails
SW4-55g, 4 BlueGreen Chromis, King's Crown snail.
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Old 06-23-2004, 10:46 PM   #2
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Get a bigger vacuum. I can tell you that mine does swirl the gravel around quite well. It's about 1 1/2 at the base and probably about 1/2" tubing.
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Old 06-23-2004, 10:59 PM   #3
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I've had great experience with the Python gravel vac. It's faucet-driven pump is far more powerful than a siphon. If fact, I'm terrified of using it in my betta tank for fear I suck them into it! 8O

I had a wimpy siphon pump like yours and had the same problem. I tossed it in frustration and bought another, one that had tubing with a larger inside diameter (5/8 inch, I believe). The water flowrate and the suction are more powerful it does a much better job at cleaning the gravel.
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Old 06-23-2004, 11:00 PM   #4
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A python on a 16 gal would empty it pretty much filling up the python hose !
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Old 06-23-2004, 11:41 PM   #5
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Another thought is to cut way back on feeding, so you don't have flakes sitting on the gravel in the first place. The fish can go a week without eating, no problem, so maybe skip a couple of days to reduce your waste production and get a handle on the ammonia issue.

I sometimes use my python on my 12gal, but, as stated, it is strong and empties the tank rather quickly (you can cut off the faucet and the syphon will continue, just slower, as long as the tank water level is higher than the sink) so I usually use a manual syphon for my smaller tanks.
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Old 06-24-2004, 11:10 PM   #6
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Hmmm....I will have to see what this Python thing is, since you all spoke of it so highly. It does sound too powerful for my 5 or 16 FWs, but might be a good choice for the 75 SW I'm setting up....although if it connects to the sink, the tank is 15 feet from the closest one. Still, all good advice...I'll give it a try.

The article on treating FW ich on here does recommend using an ammonia neutralizer while treating with medicine. I'm using Kent Ammonia Detox, but it doesn't seem to be doing a THING. I just did my 4th daily 30% water change, treated with the solution, and my ammonia is steady-on at 1.0 ppm. The water is super-clear, I haven't yet figured out what I'm doing wrong. Oh well, first thing I need to do is get rid of this ich, and then I'll try to get my cycle going again.

Thanks everybody.

--AquaBear
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In order of setup:

FW1-16g, 5 Zebra danios, 4 Pristella Tetras, 4 Black Skirt Tetras, 2 Gold Barbs, 1 Brush-nose Pleco
FW2-5g, 1 Baby Gold Marble Angel (raised from fry), 6 Zebra Danios
SW1-75g, (80# LR), Scarlett hermits, Turbo snails, Percula Clownfish (Gizmo), Oscellaris Clownfish (Whizzer), Indian Yellowtail Angelfish (Mikado), Royal Gramma (Orpheus), Black Sailfin Blenny (Casper), Yellow Tang (Pele), Racoon Butterflyfish (Raptor), Lyretail Anthia (Juliette)
FW3-30g, 2 mated Gold Marble Angels (Oscar/Yenta)
SW2-20g, QT, currently empty
FW4-30g, currently empty
FW5-20g, 2 Gold Angels (non-paired)
SW3-35g (REFUGIUM for SW1) - EVIL ChocChipStar, Nassarius and Turbo snails
SW4-55g, 4 BlueGreen Chromis, King's Crown snail.
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Old 06-24-2004, 11:16 PM   #7
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I strongly suggest using the heat and salt method for treating ich.
Another reason your vac may not be working may be due to a small difference in height between the tank and where your water is going. I always put my "fish only" bucket on the ground next to the stand. Then, I begin siphoning and gravel vacuuming. Putting the bucket next to the tank will not produce enough suction.
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Old 06-25-2004, 08:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaBear
I'm using Kent Ammonia Detox, but it doesn't seem to be doing a THING. I just did my 4th daily 30% water change, treated with the solution, and my ammonia is steady-on at 1.0 ppm. The water is super-clear, I haven't yet figured out what I'm doing wrong.
Just a thought here. When you use an ammonia detoxifer it doesn't remove the ammonia. It only makes it less harmful. As such you shouldn't expect to see your ammonia test readings to change after using that product. In fact, many ammonia detoxifers can cause ammonia tests to give false readings. Good luck!
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Old 07-01-2004, 01:13 AM   #9
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Wow, I don't think I would have ever thought about that (I didn't take chemistry in high school, so most of this stuff is over my head). So then I might not have as much ammonia as I think? Or at the very least, if it's less harmful, then my fish might be okay. So then is it a good idea to continue the regular water changes until I can get my tank to cycle, or should I let it sit a couple of days to see if false readings clear up (of course then if the ammonia gets too bad quickly, I suppose I could lose a few). See, this is something that isn't obvious from the reading I've been doing.

And Menagerie....I ditched the Ich Guard last week, put carbon back in my filter and turned up the heat. So now I'm treating both my FW tanks that way. The fish don't seem to mind, and those %(*#*& white spots have disappeared faster than with the chemicals. But I still need to keep it 86 for 14 days, to make sure I got all the potential offspring, correct? I'm so glad everyone here turned me on to that. It's so much simpler than having to add medication, and it doesn't turn my suction cups (and tubing and decorations) blue.

So now things are a bit more under control, except Homer (my Betta), his tail looks like he might have some fin rot...a small section of his tail looks almost transparent. I don't know if that's the problem or maybe he rubbed up against something in the tank and tore it. I need to try and find out what's going on there.

And the stand for my SW finally arrived, so I've also been busy setting THAT up. I just put my live rock in yesterday and it's starting to shape up nicely. I need to figure out how to put pictures of my tanks out here once I get them going so people can see the results of some of their terrific advice!

--AquaBear
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In order of setup:

FW1-16g, 5 Zebra danios, 4 Pristella Tetras, 4 Black Skirt Tetras, 2 Gold Barbs, 1 Brush-nose Pleco
FW2-5g, 1 Baby Gold Marble Angel (raised from fry), 6 Zebra Danios
SW1-75g, (80# LR), Scarlett hermits, Turbo snails, Percula Clownfish (Gizmo), Oscellaris Clownfish (Whizzer), Indian Yellowtail Angelfish (Mikado), Royal Gramma (Orpheus), Black Sailfin Blenny (Casper), Yellow Tang (Pele), Racoon Butterflyfish (Raptor), Lyretail Anthia (Juliette)
FW3-30g, 2 mated Gold Marble Angels (Oscar/Yenta)
SW2-20g, QT, currently empty
FW4-30g, currently empty
FW5-20g, 2 Gold Angels (non-paired)
SW3-35g (REFUGIUM for SW1) - EVIL ChocChipStar, Nassarius and Turbo snails
SW4-55g, 4 BlueGreen Chromis, King's Crown snail.
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Old 07-01-2004, 01:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
But I still need to keep it 86 for 14 days, to make sure I got all the potential offspring, correct?
Yes!
If you can QT Homer, treat for finrot using bettafix (I think that's what it is). Bettas often cannot be treated with the same meds used for other tropical fish.
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