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Old 12-16-2003, 03:56 PM   #1
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New freshwater tank question

Hi all!

I have a 20 gal freshwater set up with 4 fantails (love'em) - the water is fine, the fish are healthy, all is well EXCEPT for the tiny little air bubbles (they look almost foamy/soapy) all around the perimeter of the waterline...what are these? Should I be concerned?

Thanks,
Renée
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Old 12-16-2003, 04:00 PM   #2
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How long ago did you setup the tank? Often this can just be the water offgasing and the bubbles collect until the dissapate. This can happen after water chnages as well.

Did you use soap to clean the tank before setting it up? You should never use soap on a fish tank as it is quite deadly to fish.
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Old 12-16-2003, 04:04 PM   #3
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I could be some harmless contaminate (like new gravel not thoroughly washed)
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Old 12-16-2003, 04:31 PM   #4
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Hi - thanks for the quick response!

I set the tank up 3 weeks ago and let it cycle for a full week before I added the first 2 fish. I let them acclimate for a week and then added the the last two fish. So all in all, the tank's been 'active' for nearly 3 weeks. The water is clear (it does smell a little though), the ammonia levels are between 0-0.25ppm, the temp is 70°C and the filter is working fine. The bubbles only showed up after I added the last two fish (on the weekend). I did vacuum the gravel last night (to clean up the debris) and of course I had to add back some water (yes I treated it first) so maybe that's the problem?

p.s. No, I didn't use any kind of soap or detergent

oops - forgot to mention, I did rinse the gravel and all ornaments thoroughly before putting them in the tank
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Old 12-16-2003, 05:27 PM   #5
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Hiya Fantailfreak and welcome to Aquariumadvice

What do you use to treat the water? Some products can cause a few bubbles.
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Old 12-16-2003, 08:32 PM   #6
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Yeah, I've had bubbles in my tank from time to time. Sometimes due to sexually active gouramis, sometimes due to an excessive amount of oil from tubifex worm cubes. It's pretty normal...

Cycling usually takes a little longer than 1 week, Fantailfreak. The fact that you are showing any ammonia at all indicates to me that you have some bacteria, but not enough (yet)! You will want to continue to do daily water changes so that you don't stress your fish. As they're goldfish, they'll be far more resistent than your average fish, but don't count on them surviving if your ammonia levels continue to rise, which they probably will... (If you know "Home Movies" on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, think John McGuirk and his goldfish (plural)!) You haven't really done anything wrong, though, as goldfish are hardy and can be used to cycle a tank. Adding them 2 at a time was a good idea. Just beware that a cycling tank is a dynamic system that can quickly spiral into disaster. Monitor, monitor, monitor and do 20-30% water changes from the bottom of the tank every day. It's surprising how fast ammonia can build up.

Good luck... I wouldn't worry about the bubbles at all. IME, they go away after a while. Allivymar could be right, though. Your water conditioner or other products you add to the water could be causing the frothiness. I use Wardley's conditioner and don't see any froth. I've also used TLC, "Tender Living Care" with little froth.

HTH
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Old 12-16-2003, 10:33 PM   #7
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Yes, all that advice is great. As Madasafish mentioned it could be an oil or protein that is frothing at the surface. Think if you have every watched the beach at a lake when there is frothy white foam forming. This is gernerally some sort of protein matter that has decomposed.

And water changes are still the best way to deal with the frothing and the cycling tank.
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Old 12-17-2003, 09:59 AM   #8
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Thank you all for the excellent advice. I will continue to monitor levels and do 20-30% water changes every day (for how long?).

I have one question though...if I continue to remove old water and replace with new water, won't that decrease the already low levels of bacteria that are there now?

In answer to your questions...I use 'Chlor' something to treat/condition tap water; I believe it might be Wardley's but I can't remember for sure (I'm at work right now so I can't run into my living room to see!)

Also, in addition to their regular twice a day feeding (I feed a little bit and watch to make sure it's all eaten - I do that 2 or 3 times) I had been giving them a little tubifex as a treat (not even anywhere near a whole cube - just a pinch off the corner) but perhaps, as you mentioned, the uneaten worms have left an oily residue?

I looked at the bubbles last night, I can count them there are that few; maybe 20 or 30. I will still monitor the situation though.

Thanks again for welcoming me and for your help!

Renée
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Old 12-17-2003, 04:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Fantailfreak
I have one question though...if I continue to remove old water and replace with new water, won't that decrease the already low levels of bacteria that are there now?
The good bacteria live (mostly) on surfaces - gravel, your filter, etc. , so removing the water won't have much effect on the cycling. Cycling will slow down a bit with water changes as you are removing the Nitrogen compounds (food for the bacteria), but it is much healthier for the fish to go slow & maintain low levels of NH3 & NO2.

I have fantails too & occassionally noticed some froth on water surface. They go away with water change, and I don't much worry about it.
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Old 12-17-2003, 04:51 PM   #10
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Yes, as jsoong says, doing water changes really won't hurt the cycle of the tank that much. If you are getting ammonia or nitrite readings that means that there isn't enough bacteria to deal with that high of an amount yet and they are catching up. And our test kits won't find all of the ammonia so there will always be a little left over for the bacteria to munch on an grow. It should still cycle pretty quickly with goldfish in there (messy little guys).
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Old 12-17-2003, 05:06 PM   #11
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I checked the ammonia at lunchtime today - 'ZERO'........YAY! (As it happens, I was reading the little dipstick the wrong way 'round - according to the instructions, which apparently I didn't feel I needed to read completely...you read the plastic side, not the pad side! DOH! (Of course I will continue monitoring)

Good to know about the bacteria as well
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