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Old 03-01-2010, 12:55 PM   #1
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Overcleaning the tank???

OK, my tank has a "curse" or I am a complete Aquariaidiot!!! My very first tank ever(10gal) was set up 6 weeks ago without knowing about fishless cycling, needless to say, in 2 weeks or so my beloved betta, 2 mollies and 2 guppies died, LOST ALL the fish in the tank. So I waited 2 weeks, checked the water levels closely and last week added 3 bleeding hearts. And guess what? even with good water readings, I have already lost 2 of the 3 fish!!! This "hobby" is becoming a form of "torture" as I am "obsess" trying to learn/ask on the "how to's"!...I have addressed the cycling situation, by now my water readings are within range, I have addressed the "possible" overfeeding, so the only thing that I may be doing wrong is the famous pwc's!!!!! I was recently told that I should do MONTHLY water changes, that weekly is too much considering that is a small tank with only 3 fish (well now only 1!!!) and changing the water that often is interrupting the "bioload" ...Can that be possible???Overcleaning your tank? I am so confused and stressed out!!! I appreciate yours help!!! THANK YOU!
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:06 PM   #2
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OK, my tank has a "curse" or I am a complete Aquariaidiot!!! My very first tank ever(10gal) was set up 6 weeks ago without knowing about fishless cycling, needless to say, in 2 weeks or so my beloved betta, 2 mollies and 2 guppies died, LOST ALL the fish in the tank. So I waited 2 weeks, checked the water levels closely and last week added 3 bleeding hearts. And guess what? even with good water readings, I have already lost 2 of the 3 fish!!! This "hobby" is becoming a form of "torture" as I am "obsess" trying to learn/ask on the "how to's"!...I have addressed the cycling situation, by now my water readings are within range, I have addressed the "possible" overfeeding, so the only thing that I may be doing wrong is the famous pwc's!!!!! I was recently told that I should do MONTHLY water changes, that weekly is too much considering that is a small tank with only 3 fish (well now only 1!!!) and changing the water that often is interrupting the "bioload" ...Can that be possible???Overcleaning your tank? I am so confused and stressed out!!! I appreciate yours help!!! THANK YOU!
Almost EVERY new fishkeeper has gone through this "torture" phase. It comes with the territory of being inexperienced with high expectations and goals.

Weekly PWC's are more widely accepted than Monthly one's. Do you have a heater on your tank? Enough oxygen? (Do you have good surface agitation and/or an air stone?) Since you have a light bioload, you can try doing smaller PWC's (Maybe 10% instead of 25% or so). It really depends on your bioload though. I know you have only 1 fish right now, but if you get more fish in the future, larger PWC's may be more prudent. Also, are you removing the decor and completely cleaning that as well? Doing this will remove the beneficial bacteria that is needed and can cause your tank to go through a "mini-cycle".
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:25 PM   #3
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We need some more information.

What are your water parameters?
What filter do you have?

Smaller tank = Bigger percentage water changes!
Waste builds up more quickly in a small tank because there isn't as much water to dilute it and small tanks are generally filled to nearer their stocking limits. I do a 40-50% PWC on my 20L and 29g and a 75-80% PWC on my wife's 5g and that's with a betta, two neons, and a mystery snail. The large PWC is the only way I've been able to keep the nitrate levels below the 20ppm level.

Whomever gave you the advice on the PWCs is a little confused. The fish provide the bioload. As long as there are fish in the tank, the bioload will be uninterrupted. The nitrifying bateria that turn the ammonia (fish waste) into nitrite into nitrate live on the surfaces in your tank. They're not free-swimming, so PWCs don't affect them much.

Overcleaning your tank is possible, but only if your take everything out and wash it with chlorinated water, bleach, or anything that will kill your bacteria. Water changes don't fall into that category as you should be using a dechlorinator.
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Old 03-01-2010, 02:47 PM   #4
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Thank you Viper and BigJim... So I am "on my way" if I fell like being "tortured"??? Well, I feel a little better!! hehehe...
BigJim, I will get the water parameters tonight, but I can tell you that I have a heater and a Tetra Whisper Filter (HOB) that came with the tank. I don't remove all the decor, I syphon the gravel and been removing 2-3 gal of water and treating the new water with Prime. I am careful that the temperature of the new water is close to the one in the tank. Thank you!!
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:00 PM   #5
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So I am "on my way" if I fell like being "tortured"??? Well, I feel a little better!! hehehe...
Yes lol, we all went through that "adjustment" period where we went from being "fish-havers" to "fish-keepers". Unfortunately some fish had to perish during our learning periods, but these experiences are essential for a lifelong love affair with the aquarium "hobby". Its not always knowing what to do, its knowing what NOT to do that can maintain a healthy aquarium.
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:21 PM   #6
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Wise words from a "pro"...Right now, the "line" between what to do and what NOT to do is very "cloudy" like when there is a bacteria bloom happenning!!!Ahhhh!!!! Thank you so much!!!
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:34 PM   #7
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Wise words from a "pro"...Right now, the "line" between what to do and what NOT to do is very "cloudy" like when there is a bacteria bloom happenning!!!Ahhhh!!!! Thank you so much!!!
HAHA, I am far far far far away from being a "Pro" (although I appreciate the compliment ). There are still times when that line between what to do and what not to do gets a little cloudy for me too. For instance, If you look at the pictures on my profile, that background is actually made of polystyrene foam and cement and is actually inside my tank. I had no idea how to do that sort of thing and I got my instructions from youtube videos lol. Right there, the line became blurry because I didn't know how it would effect my fish. I figured the risk was worth the reward because the chance to make that background came at an opportune time and it would be something that would make my tank look 100x nicer. So far it is working out so I guess the advice is to not be scared to do something in your tank, just make sure you research it as much as possible.
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:14 PM   #8
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I remember reading about your proyect a while back...3 months!!! OMG! I don't have that much patience!! It looks awesome!!! have you added more fish since the time you posted those pictures???
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:17 PM   #9
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I remember reading about your proyect a while back...3 months!!! OMG! I don't have that much patience!! It looks awesome!!! have you added more fish since the time you posted those pictures???
It could have taken a lot less time, but I wasn't as diligent with it as I should have been. I have only added a pair of snails to my tank that contains 2 Angels and 2 Pleco's since adding the background. I plan on adding some Zebra Danio's sometime soon.
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:22 PM   #10
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Lucky fishies!!!! Thank you for your help!
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:31 PM   #11
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Hey no problem! Thats why I first came to this forum and why I continue to come back and provide any advice based on my experiences whenever I see the opportunity to do so!
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:31 PM   #12
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ok, sorry if i missed this, but you said that you waited two weeks then added more fish... did you continue to add food or some source of ammonia? if not, your tank is not cycled... and a note on pwc's... i do 50% weekly in all of my tanks... cant do too many pwc's!
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:00 AM   #13
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[QUOTE=marina;1081375 This "hobby" is becoming a form of "torture" as I am "obsess" trying to learn/ask on the "how to's"!..
[/QUOTE]

We've all been through it. It's very easy at this point to just give up, but don't!

Quote:
.I have addressed the cycling situation, by now my water readings are within range,
What are they? Exactly. You should have Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, Nitrate < 20. If they aren't that then you're going to still have problems.

Quote:
I was recently told that I should do MONTHLY water changes, that weekly is too much considering that is a small tank with only 3 fish (well now only 1!!!) and changing the water that often is interrupting the "bioload" ...Can that be possible???Overcleaning your tank? I am so confused and stressed out!!! I appreciate yours help!!! THANK YOU!
Actually with a small tank you need to change the water more often than you do with a big one, as waste can build up much more quickly. Most will recommend a water change at least once a week. Personally I do about 25%, because that's how big my bucket is! :p

Water changes can cause an issue with the bacteria if you do say, 90% changes every day, they won't have anything to feed from. But you have to weigh that against the fish dying because they are being poisoned!

The best advice is once everything is established is to have a routine and stick to it.
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