Originally Posted by missxlys
My son’s goldfish was a fair game prize. I never wanted a fish but hey, the little guy was my responsibility once Grandpa dropped him off at our house so we are making the best of it. We got him a 10 gallon tank and I’m trying to get a new 20 gallon tank cycled so he can move into that.
Shoutout to Aiken Drum for his instructions; ammonium chloride is ordered and en route to our tiny town! We will upsize tanks as we can but space is limited.
In the meantime, we got an albino bristlenose pleco about a month ago. Everything fell apart after that. We feed a little protein with shrimp & lobster food and an algae disc each day. The tank exploded with algae this week, and nitrate has spiked to 160 ppm
. I did a 20% water change and changed filter cartridges.
I will continue to do water changes daily to hopefully get this under control.
Here are my issues/questions:
1. Goldfish has a few scales missing now.
He seems fairly normal in eating and behavior but I’m worried about him. I put some Jungle Start Right in, to hopefully help with his healing and slime coat, and some Stress Coat to help with all the sludge in the gravel now, but should I be ordering something else to treat him? Could the pleco have brought something with it in terms of illness that I should be treating? Not ich - I have seen that before and could ID it.
2. I have always done water changes with 1 gallon bottles of spring water, with API Quick Start and Tetra Aquasafe Plus Water Conditioner/Dechlorinator mixed in. Our home water is awful and we use a water softener so I haven’t figured out how to use tap water safely. The other obstacle with tap water is having a big enough receptacle to let the tap water sit in to get it to room temperature. It’s killing me to cart in gallon after gallon of spring water… there has to be a better way to do this. Can I order the big jugs from the Culligan man? If so, what additives do I need to use to prepare it for the tank? I know this seems simple but I would love someone to spell out exactly what kind of bottled water and product to use so I don’t screw it up.
3. What kind of adjustment do I need to make to the pleco’s feeding to avoid another algae infestation?
If you have a cycled established aquarium and just want to move the fish into a bigger tank, you don't need to cycle the new tank. Just set up the new tank and move the old established filter and fish into the new tank. The beneficial filter bacteria lives mostly on the filter media so moving the filter and established media onto a new tank will give you a virtually instant cycled aquarium.
If you post pictures of the aquarium and algae it will provide more information. But as a general rule, algae grows from excess light and nutrients, and not enough live plants to use the light and nutrients. If you don't have any live plants in the tank, you will get algae growing instead. Adding some live aquatic plants like narrow Vallis, Hygrophila polysperma, Ambulia and sword plants will help control or prevent algae.
You can also add some Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta), which is a floating plant and that will reduce algae.
Duckweed is another floating plant and is small. It does well in outdoor ponds or aquariums and most goldfish love it. Goldfish need a lot of plant matter in their diet and at least 50% of their diet should be plant based.
Bigger water changes will also help reduce algae by diluting nutrients.
Bristlenose catfish need driftwood and algae in their diet. it helps their digestion. They will also eat other foods like the shrimp pellets.
You don't need to feed algae wafers and shrimp pellets at the same time or even on the same day. Feed one type each day and that is it. Too much food will increase nitrates and encourage poor water quality and algae.
Small water changes are useless at diluting things in water. Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day until the ammonia and nitrite are 0ppm, and nitrate is less than 20ppm.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.
If you do a 25% water change, you leave behind 75% of the bad stuff in the water.
If you do a 50% water change, you leave behind 50% of the bad stuff in the water.
If you do a 75% water change, you leave behind 25% of the bad stuff in the water.
Don't change filter media/ materials unless they are falling apart. The filter media holds beneficial bacteria that help keep the water safe. They eat ammonia and convert it into nitrite and more bacteria eat the nitrite and convert it into nitrate. If you change the filter media, you get rid of the good bacteria and ammonia and nitrite levels will go up while more bacteria develops over the next month.
Nitrate test kits will read nitrite as nitrate. If there is nitrite in the water, you will get a false nitrate reading.
If you have a power filter that contains filter pads/ cartridges, buy a sponge for a different brand of filter (I used AquaClear sponges but there are other brands) and use a pair of scissors to cut the sponge so it fits in your filter. Add the sponge and leave it there with the old filter pads for 2 months or so and then throw the old filter pads away (keep the sponge). You can add more sponge after that.
Sponges get cleaned by squeezing them out in a bucket of aquarium water and re-using the sponge. the bucket of dirty water gets poured on the lawn/ garden outside.
Sponges will last for years and only get replaced when they start to fall apart.
Filter pads and cartridges that need replacing every month are a sales ploy designed to keep you giving your money to big companies. It also screws up the filter bacteria so is not acceptable in my book.
Post pictures of the goldfish and pleco so we can check them for disease.
The best treatment for unknown health issues in fish is big daily water changes and gravel cleaning the substrate. This dilutes nutrients and disease organisms in the water and buys you time to find out what is going on.
Don't add medications/ chemicals unless you know what the problem is.
What is the GH
(general hardness), KH
(carbonate hardness) and pH of your water supply?
Get your tap water tested and the bottled water tested for GH
Your water bottle company might be able to tell you what is in the water, either by telephoning them or looking on their website. if not take a sample of that water to the pet shop for testing.
This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm
, dGH, or something else).
Goldfish do best in water with a GH
above 150ppm and a pH above 7.0.
Bristlenose come from soft water with a GH
below 150ppm and a pH below 7.0
If your tap water has a GH
around 150-200ppm, you can probably use that with a dechlorinator and not use the bottled spring water.
*NB* You don't need to dechlorinate bottled water. It should be free of chlorine/ chloramine. If it has chlorine or chloramine in, then it is tap water that has been put into a bottle and you are being ripped off.