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Old 01-26-2012, 09:12 AM   #1
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considering rebooting my black moor's tank... can it safely be done?

Ok, here is some background into this fish.
I got him just over a year ago when my dad randomly dropped him and a sibling fish off, he lived in a small temporary set up (i wasn't given prior warning to receiving the fish) until i could get a tank for him and both had been unhealthy ish from the get go.
The smaller moor died off very quickly and had been obviously more ill. Since then though I have constantly had health problems with the surviving moor (named cuddles).

He spontaneously will get very lethargic and sickly, i do regular tank maintenance in identical timing to my other gold fish tank (the fish inside is very healthy). Despite doing constant water changes, giving him a healthy diet he seems to have very spontaneous health problems. He will have bouyancy issues where it seems like an invisible string is holding his tail when he tries to get to the bottom, and will hide at the surface of the tank in his plants (particularly in a shaded corner). A couple times he has side floated, and then has extremely speedy recoveries, like within 24 hours.

After making as many positive changes as i could i looked more into the ideal tank set up for goldfish and have realized the gravel is too deep in my tank (about an inch or so over whats recommended). I think that bad bacteria may have set up in the depths of the tank gravel and might be polluting the tank and keeping the water cloudy despite all the maintenance done to the tank.

My question i suppose, is how do i handle this situation?
If i remove just the top layer and there is bad bacteria trapped underneath, wouldn't this leave open a well of bad bacteria?
Is it possible to safely dump the tank and recycle it?

Thank you for your time.
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:24 AM   #2
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How big are your goldfish tanks?

When you do water changes, do you siphon out the debris from the gravel?

What are your readings for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linamints
Both tanks are 1.5 gallons (i know this is extremely under sized, i'm trying to compensate with regular water changes until i can afford a bigger separate homes for both of them).

And no, i usually don't do gravel cleaning unless there is debris visible, i'm afraid of taking away too much of the good bacteria in the tank.

I have no test strips on hand to give more accurate details though i'm afraid :\

Part of why i want to flush the tank is i was recently without power for about a week (came back online sunday) and i figure if i'm going to reboot it it should be before the tank is properly back on cycle when doing so will kill all good bacteria. I'm relatively sure the tanks cycle has been completely broken by the outage.
Your PM contains valuable information for those trying to help you, so I hope you don't mind, but I posted it here.

You MUST do gravel vacs. The vast majority of your beneficial bacteria resides on your filter media, not in the water column and not in the gravel or on decor.

In this case, you have fish with huge bioloads in 1.5 gallon bowls. You have no choice but to actually change out the water daily, which includes getting rid of any debris within the gravel.

If you cannot afford a minimum of 20 gallons per fish (if kept separately), then the humane thing to do would be to rehome them immediately. Nobody ever said this was a cheap hobby. The initial output of money is pretty decent when you consider tank, filter, heater, etc.

Test strips are pretty much useless. Get yourself an API master kit (about $23 on-line) or take a water sample to your lfs and have them test for you. Be sure they give you the numbers, if this is your choice.

As long as your filter media stayed wet, then you probably didn't lose the cycle. Only testing will let us know where you stand.

Hopefully, this is all helpful information for you.
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:22 AM   #4
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+1
I agree with Lynda. Your moors health issues are directly related to his water conditions in too small of a tank. He needs atleast a 20gal tank just for himself. I doubt these size tanks have ever truly cycled due to the huge bioload goldfish carry. A liquid test kit is a must so you can monitor your water conditions & act appropriately. Please consider either upgrading their tanks as soon as possible or rehoming them. If you dont understand anything, please ask & we will help you!
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:05 PM   #5
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Could you link to where you can get the API master kit for $15? ones i've found came closer to $30 total.

As implied in the PM, i am planning to upgrade both of the tanks. I'm planning to get both fish tanks with full set up all at once when it's possible for me to do so.
I also do not know anyone who would take him or do water changes as frequently as i do.
I am aware the tanks are undersized and i try very hard to keep up with them and their bio-load.
If possible could you advise me to a percentage i should be doing daily?
Previous attempts at asking this didn't get any results so i'd appreciate a firm percentage and i'll update my maintenance accordingly.

Also, while the advice is appreciated, it doesn't answer my question. I wanted strictly to know if i can safely dump the gravel and tank water and re boot the tank.
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:08 PM   #6
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API Test Kits

I had said $23, it's on sale apparently for $20.98.
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:11 PM   #7
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If you have a filter on the tank, you can dump the gravel and water and do what you call a "reboot". You MUST save the filter media and keep it wet in used tank water while you do this.

Frankly, I would probably change out the water daily, in its entirety.
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linamints View Post
Could you link to where you can get the API master kit for $15? ones i've found came closer to $30 total.

As implied in the PM, i am planning to upgrade both of the tanks. I'm planning to get both fish tanks with full set up all at once when it's possible for me to do so.
I also do not know anyone who would take him or do water changes as frequently as i do.
I am aware the tanks are undersized and i try very hard to keep up with them and their bio-load.
If possible could you advise me to a percentage i should be doing daily?
Previous attempts at asking this didn't get any results so i'd appreciate a firm percentage and i'll update my maintenance accordingly.

Also, while the advice is appreciated, it doesn't answer my question. I wanted strictly to know if i can safely dump the gravel and tank water and re boot the tank.
Do you have filters on these bowls? This will help me answer your question in respect to dumping the gravel. In respect to water changes, these bowls are so incredibly small for the bioload goldfish carry, I would honestly change 100% of their water daily with temperature-matched (match the temp of the new water to the tank water), well conditioned water. If you have a 5gal bucket, you can fill it the night before & condition it & use the water from the bucket the next day as it will be the same temp as the bowls. If you cant afford new tanks right now, even a large plastic 30gal storage bin ($10 walmart) with a appropriate sized filter $15-25) would suffice as a temp home for these guys until you can afford to upgrade them.
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:17 PM   #9
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Yes, both tanks have a filter set up that i keep a good eye on and are set to give as much surface action as possible.

And i'm honestly stunned at the 100% change, i have been told by MANY sources that is very bad for the fish and might send them into shock (i was told even the 50% i do regularly was too much!). Are you sure it'd be safe to dump their tanks so frequently?
I am careful with water changes temperatures so we're all good there (i've read even a few degrees off might kill a fish).

I'm also curious about the storage bins, i've been told the plastic in containers like that suck out oxygen (useful for properly storing certain things but concerns me slightly with fishies). How much would a good quality tank (just the tank) run me?
By conditioning water what do you mean exactly? like letting it settle or adding things to it and letting it set up?
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linamints View Post
Yes, both tanks have a filter set up that i keep a good eye on and are set to give as much surface action as possible.

And i'm honestly stunned at the 100% change, i have been told by MANY sources that is very bad for the fish and might send them into shock (i was told even the 50% i do regularly was too much!). Are you sure it'd be safe to dump their tanks so frequently?
I am careful with water changes temperatures so we're all good there (i've read even a few degrees off might kill a fish).

I'm also curious about the storage bins, i've been told the plastic in containers like that suck out oxygen (useful for properly storing certain things but concerns me slightly with fishies). How much would a good quality tank (just the tank) run me?
By conditioning water what do you mean exactly? like letting it settle or adding things to it and letting it set up?
If their are filters, then you should be ok to dump the gravel. I raise fancies (particularly, broadtail moors) and follow aggressive water change schedules for optimum health & growth of my fish. I had never had a fish die or go into shock from water changes (including 100%wcs). Most serious breeders of fancies practice 100% water changes daily. The masters of the art of fancies, the Chinese & Japenese breeders, created these fish & have been breeding them for over thousand years and are religious about 100% daily water changes. Fancies have survived and thrived thus far. Just make sure you match the temp & use an appropriate water conditioner (such as Prime) to dechlorinate & condition your water before using it.

The use of a plastic storage bin is meant to be only a temporary solution to your housing issue. It would need an adequate filter & aeration (bubble wand or airstone) and the lid would have to remain off so oxygen can freely exchange across the surface. I dont know if you reside within the US, but if you do, craigslist has alot of inexpensive used tanks for sale. Worth checking out!
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:35 PM   #11
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About the 100% change question: I have a young comet in a small plastic tank until the weather warms up enough for him to go back outside and he gets a 100% change daily. I pour him and his old water into a bucket, rinse and refill his tank, put his hornwort back in, and net him and put him back in. He's pretty smart--he sees the net coming and pretty much holds still or swims into it to get to fresh water. No issues.
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:54 PM   #12
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Thank you for the confirmation. Is there a time of day when it's best to do water changes?
I tend to do their water changes before they eat dinner, which is about an hour before i darken to the fish area so they get rest (my own schedule is very irregular depending on my work load so i try and keep them on a better schedule.
Is it irrelevant at what point in their day they get this done?

Also how bad is it for both tanks to share a gravel pump? I've heard this is dangerous to the health of both tanks and haven't done it, but i am curious how necessary it is to buy everything in sets of 2.
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:58 PM   #13
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As long as you are doing daily water changes, it shouldnt make a difference as to the time of day they are being done. I am not sure what you mean by a gravel pump- do you mean a pump that can serve 2 lines of airtubing/aeration (1 for each tank)?
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:02 PM   #14
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er i guess the better term is gravel vacuum.
it's a plastic tube connect to a long thin tube that sucks debris out of gravel.
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:07 PM   #15
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As long as both of your fish are healthy, using the same grav vac for both tanks is fine. If one or both fish are sick, you need to either use seperate grav vacs or disinfect the grav vac between use on seperate tanks.
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:16 PM   #16
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how do you safely disinfect? (i forgot to ask this about the buckets too) i know a lot of soaps and cleaners are harmful to fish, are there cleaners for aquarium equipment?
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:27 PM   #17
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When I had ich in one tank out of four, after I used the vac on that tank, I filled a bucket with hot bleachy water, then I sucked that through the vac tube. Then I let the vac tube air dry and this seemed to disinfect well.
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:27 PM   #18
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Easiest (and cheapest) is a dilute bleach solution. You want a 10% bleach solution for equipment/buckets, nets, etc. Mix 1 part bleach to 9 parts water (ie 1 cup bleach to 9 cups water), soak everything for 10-15mins, then rinse well with hot water.
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:00 PM   #19
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Just posting an update on Cuddles.
I took your advice and did a 100% water change, and very thoroughly got out the bacteria and debris that was trapped in the gravel.
I also wanted to thank you all for the advice, i have not seen him so happy and lively in a long time. And i feel much more secure in full changes now that i see how much better he is.

I have just a couple more questions.
1 Someone said earlier test strips are useless, why are they?
2 What is the best water primer i can use that works well for a black moor and one of those little feeder fish (this is the fishy in the other tank named LiLi, she's over 4 years old now).
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:23 PM   #20
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Glad he is doing better! Prime is the most recommended water conditioner there is available. Test strips are quite inaccurate- if you do a search on here, you will find a few threads of 'strip vs API test kit results' & the drastic differences posters got when comparing the API tests to strips. STrips are chemically flawed in the respect that they are affected by everything from the length of time they have sat on the shelves to humidity levels to the testers fingers & the oils that are on your hands naturally. Perhaps, in a perfectly controlled scientific setting, their accuracy may be greater.
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