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Old 12-07-2003, 04:05 PM   #1
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Help, 3 year old daughter fed fish this morning!

She put the whole container of fish food in there, the container was floating in the water and all the food was settled at the bottom in the gravel! She also threw in plenty of wafers. It's a 30 gallon, and I just got the fish on Tuesday, 4 bronze catfish and 4 white clouds. I vacuumed the gravel and changed out close to 20 gallons of water, but there is still quite a bit of food left in there. What else can I do? Do I need to take everything apart and clean out the gravel? Please say there's a better way! Other than my betta, these are my first fish.
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Old 12-07-2003, 04:15 PM   #2
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Try vacuuming again! Since these are your first fish I'm going to assume that you don't have a big power filter like a Diatom or Magnum handy. Your best bet is to vacuum out everything you can manage and keep a careful eye on your Ammonia levels. Maybe somebody has a better idea.
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Old 12-07-2003, 04:21 PM   #3
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MADD water changes.. and yes you NEED to remove the food immediately. I doubt you've got a QT but no biggle. Just vaccum like crazy and do a 50% water change.
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Old 12-07-2003, 04:22 PM   #4
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Sorry, I forgot to mention what kind of filter I have. It's a Millennium 3000, and I also have an undergravel filter. I guess I'll be doing lots of vacuuming for a while.
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Old 12-07-2003, 04:23 PM   #5
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also if you're filter caught a lot of the food, clean it. Its not the fish I am too worried about.. its also the algae boom that might take place unless you do vacuum like crazy.. and do a 50% water change... and then do a 25% water change in a couple of days.
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Old 12-07-2003, 04:24 PM   #6
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Vaccum and vaccum more to get the food out. Keep an eye on your levels, but you should be fine over time. Don't break down the whole tank, especially if your tank has already cycled.
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Old 12-07-2003, 05:10 PM   #7
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My four year and six year olds have done the same thing. You have already been given the best advice vacuum, vacuum and vacuum again.
Good Luck.
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Old 12-07-2003, 07:29 PM   #8
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My twins just turned 3 and I used to let them "help" me feed the fish, but over the past year I have not allowed them to touch the fish food or feed the fish, and explain that only Mommy can do this job. However, they are like a couple of baby orangutans and it is hard to watch them every second, even though I stay at home with them, so I feel your pain!

I am concerned that the undergravel filter has drawn a quantity of the food down into the cavity beneath the gravel, so be very watchful of your water parameters and look out for a spike in nitrite and/or ammonia. There are ways of sucking that debris out, by syphoning through the uptake tubes using an air line hose, but hopefully you won't have to do that.

I second the recommendations above involving gravel vacs and water changes. Good luck!
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Old 12-07-2003, 08:07 PM   #9
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I agree with the water change but bear in mind that changing too much of the water will bring about its own problems if the fishes have to re acclimatise to a tank full of new water chemistry and temperature too quickly.

Under most circumstances 20% of water should be the most one should have change a week. 50% is acceptable by some authorities but is a lot of water non the less. Bear in mind that there is a time period between the food being dumped into the tank and it rotting and turning into ammonia.

HTH Good Luck

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Old 12-07-2003, 08:35 PM   #10
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Okay, so since I already changed out 50-75% of the water, should I just leave it for several days and keep an eye on the ammonia? The tank is cycled, and there are 2 cartridges in my filter, so I can rinse them a few days apart and not disturb the bacteria too much, I hope. Thanks for all the suggestions, I just hope my fish don't overeat too much now.
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Old 12-07-2003, 08:51 PM   #11
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I am concerned about food being under the filter plate... I guess there's no way to tell. (I have tried sucking stuff out directly from under the plate and did not have success.)
I would suggest putting small amounts of food in smaller containers and refilling as needed -- although I am sure you have already found a new spot to keep your food

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Old 12-07-2003, 09:06 PM   #12
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did you try takeing out as much as you can with a fine mesh net first before takeing out so much water.
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Old 12-07-2003, 11:11 PM   #13
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The only net I have is a small fish net, and I don't think it's fine enough to get the food out, but maybe I'll try it. What should I do about feeding the fish for the next few days? Should I not feed them for a day or two, or just feed minimally, or what?
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Old 12-07-2003, 11:36 PM   #14
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In addition to the very good advice you've been given - ie. vaccuum, vaccuum, vaccuum...

I might also suggest that you not feed your fish for a day or two. Even with all that vaccuuming, there's probably still leftovers in there. Plus, this gives you time to go out and buy another canister of food.

Happy vaccuuming!
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Old 12-07-2003, 11:37 PM   #15
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Oops, sorry. I see you've already thought of the not feeding thing! I've really got to pay attention to other posts....
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Old 12-08-2003, 08:27 AM   #16
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I would leave it for several days, like you say, and check ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Then do smaller water changes as necessary.
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