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Old 08-15-2011, 03:34 AM   #1
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Smile Help out a beginner please! (suds problem)

Hey everyone,

New to owning an aquarium here. I bought what I believe is a 29 or 30 gallon tank two days ago. Filled it up with tap water, added everything it needs, floor rocks, a couple decor items (a volcano and a couple fake plants), a heater (currently set at 78 degrees F), a filter and a bubble disk inside of the volcano that churns out some serious bubbles...

Anyway, I set it all up, added a capful of Prime Seachem water conditioner that removes all of the nasty chemicals and such. Had the bubble disk in the volcano going and left for work... 8 hours later I returned home to a tank with a good 1.5 inches of foam across the entire water surface... some of it got so high it was almost overflowing out of the back of the tank by the filter. Smelled the water, doesn't have any distinct or soapy smells - smells like plain water. I turned the volcano off for the night and the next morning the majority of the bubbles were gone, but there was still a 1/4 inch film of bubbles across the water surface.

Here's a photo of the volcano going: Ring of FIRE!

Is it possible to "overbubble" your tank and create this "sud" effect on the surface? I bought the pump for the bubble disk that said "for tanks up to 30 gallons" on the box so I assumed it would be fine, but maybe the volcano is outputting way too much oxygen and causing the tank to fizz? Should I exchange the pump for a less powerful one? Or is it the water conditioner still circulating through the filter and becoming agitated by the bubbler? Or is it something totally different that I am missing?

By the way, no fish in here yet obviously... Oh, and if you have any suggestions for really unique freshwater fish that I should get, let me know!

Thanks for your help everyone!
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:20 AM   #2
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The only way I can imagine you getting that type of effect in a new unstocked tank would be through some sort of contaminate. Just bubbles in just water shouldn't have that effect without some major dissolved organic compounds otherwise.

It's a pain, but I think you're going to have to tear it down, rinse everything, and try again. Was anything you put in the tank or the tank itself used? Regardless, it's a good idea to rinse with plain water anything decorative, plastic, stone, or glass prior to placing it in a tank. You never know what got on it in the garage, pet store, etc. or what they used as a release agent at the molds in the factory.
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:38 PM   #3
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I suspect you needed to rinse your rocks before adding them to your aquarium.
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Old 08-15-2011, 02:02 PM   #4
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I will sometimes get a lot of bubbles on my surface water when my water level is too low (HOB filter).

I suspect that you do have too powerful an air pump. Are there settings on the "ring of fire"? (laughed at the name!)

Did you have your filter working while the volcano was going?

Don't forget that, depending on the fish you get, that much agitation in the water might not be a good thing. Some species really prefer no flow at all, some more of a stream like flow. You'll have to pick carefully.
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Old 08-15-2011, 05:31 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies everyone. So, from your responses - here's what I can say: I rinsed the rocks but I didn't do it for a very long time, I figured a good quick strain under the faucet would be enough to get most chemicals off and the filter could handle the little remaining traces in the water. The plants I rinsed also. Next question is: if the suds are from some chemical from the rocks or something, will the filter ever be able to remove it all if I let it run without fish for a week or so? Or is totally draining the whole thing and refilling it the only option? I don't think I have a ShopVac that can suck up water and bucketing it out would probably take 3 times as long as filling it. Haha. I'm going to take a water sample to PetCo today and have them test it, hopefully they identify if there is anything in the water. I'll let you all know when I get the results later today!
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Old 08-15-2011, 05:37 PM   #6
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I've seen the same thing from not rinsing substrate, or not rinsing it very well. Just do some water changes and gravel vacs, should clear up.
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Old 08-15-2011, 05:38 PM   #7
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What is your plan on doing regular water changes? You'll need a bucket or a python or something of that nature.

Also, I would suggest you pick up an API master kit. Sometimes, the employees at the lfs don't really know how to test water correctly, or they use strips, which are inaccurate.

If I were you, I'd turn off the volcano and do water changes to see if the bubbles go away. If they remain with the volcano off, then that is obviously not the culprit.

How are you cycling this tank?
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Old 08-15-2011, 05:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razzo View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone. So, from your responses - here's what I can say: I rinsed the rocks but I didn't do it for a very long time, I figured a good quick strain under the faucet would be enough to get most chemicals off and the filter could handle the little remaining traces in the water. The plants I rinsed also. Next question is: if the suds are from some chemical from the rocks or something, will the filter ever be able to remove it all if I let it run without fish for a week or so? Or is totally draining the whole thing and refilling it the only option? I don't think I have a ShopVac that can suck up water and bucketing it out would probably take 3 times as long as filling it. Haha. I'm going to take a water sample to PetCo today and have them test it, hopefully they identify if there is anything in the water. I'll let you all know when I get the results later today!
I don't think PetCo is going to be able to test for foreign substances. they can check ammonia, pH, nitrite, and nitrate. I wouldn't bet the farm any of those test kits would show a contaminate unless it happened to have one of those compounds in it.

You might can get away with water changes and gravel vacs, as eco suggested, but I personally have never seen a tank make a foamy head head 1.5 inches thick, even with unrinsed substrate. Cloudy? Sure.

Maybe try turning off the bubble disk and see if there is a visible film?
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:34 PM   #9
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Update

So, as suggested I removed all of the water from the tank, took all of the rocks out of the bottom, rinsed them, rinsed all of the aquarium decor (plants and volcano) wiped down the interior glass with a plain wash cloth (that has not previously been used with soap or anything like that) and water. Added all new tap water, plugged the filter and volcano back in. For the first day or so the problem seemed to be solved - no more "foam" at the water surface. However, after another day and a half of the filter and volcano going nonstop, the foam has returned again - not quite as thick as last time but definitely still there.

Again, it doesn't seem to have a smell of any kind, and it doesn't really leave a residue on the glass either. If I move my hand around the surface rapidly the bubbles all pop temporarily, and then after about an hour the volcano produces enough to cover the entire water surface again.

So, it should be the volcano bubbles causing this problem right? I mean I can't really think of what else it could be considering everything has been thoroughly rinsed and the filter is going for a long time, and the water smells clean. Oh, I forgot to mention I replaced the air pump with a less expensive and less powerful one of the same brand - funny because it produces basically the exact same number of bubbles the other one produced - literally cannot tell the difference. At the very least I got 10 bucks back for getting the less powerful one haha. Anyway, any thoughts people? I really want to get some fish in here soon and this is really delaying the process.
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:43 PM   #10
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If it were me, I'd nix the volcano idea.....

Before you do that, though, can you just run the bubbler hose in the tank (not through the volcano) and see if you still get the bubbles?
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