Help needed

  1. PeteO Member Member

    Hi guys

    For some reason all of my fish (have 12 African cichlids) have started hanging out at the top of the tank. Everything seems normal such as the filter is working etc.

    I do regular water changes and the tank itself is in pristine condition. All seems weird.

    Any ideas?
  2. Aquarist Fishlore Legend Member

    Good morning,

    Are the fish at the surface gasping for air or just swimming around the top of the aquarium?

    If they are gasping for air, then an air pump w/air stone should be added to supplement the oxygen supply.

    What type of filtration are you using? There may not be enough surface water movement to provide enough oxygen for your fish.

    What temperature is your aquarium water? Warmer water requires more oxygen. Again, adding an air stone w/air pump should be added.


  3. PeteO Member Member

    Hi Ken

    I'm using an external Aqua Nova filter. The water appears to be coming out of the pipe OK but with not quite as much force as it used to.

    The water is at 27deg.

    I'll go and purchase an air stone and see how that goes.

  4. Aquarist Fishlore Legend Member

    Good morning,

    If you have a reduced flow from your filter output then the media may be clogged and needs to be rinsed in siphoned tank water.

    I'm not familiar with the type of filter you have. If it is a canister with an outflow tube, then direct the outflow toward the surface of the water so that it creates more surface water movement, if possible. :) If you can do this then an air stone may not be necessary.


  5. PeteO Member Member

    Yeah I think it's time to clean the filter.
  6. Aquarist Fishlore Legend Member


  7. PeteO Member Member

    Cleaning the filter has worked wonders.


  8. bowcrazy Well Known Member Member

    Anytime your filter has a reduced water flow you need to clean it. The filter will slowly become less efficient as the water flow threw it decreases. It will not only low the amount of ammonia and nitrites it can convert but it will also lower the amount of oxygen exchange that it provides threw surface turbulence.

    The filter is the most important peace of equipment we use in our tanks. Without a filter properly operating filter the water will become toxic for the fish. It should be checked at least once a week for proper operation and cleaned if there is any sign of decreased function.

    I at least remove the filter media (not the bio-media) and rinse it during every water change and lightly slosh it around in the used tank water to remove some of the material that is slowly clogging it. As long as you leave the bio media alone you can even get quite aggressive when cleaning the other filter media.
  9. Jayha68 Member Member

    When you say filter media on say a canister tank, is that the stones or the mesh membrane? I'm still a bit confused when people say filter media over bio media.
  10. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    I don't think there are any set naming converntions but I think when people say filter media, it's kind of generic, meaning what ever media is in your particular filter, but could mean the floss of sponge material.

    I think most people are talking about the ceramic "rings" that come with cannister filters and all AquaClear filters. They are called "bio-rings" quite often.

    So I believe Bowcrazy means he removes the sponge type media and rinses it, but he is leaving the ceramic rings alone. Incidently, this is how I clean my filters also.

  11. Jayha68 Member Member

    Thanks for the clarification, my canister uses pea sized stones but I did see the "rings" at the store, if I wanted to go to the rings over the stones (my cannister has two "holders" for this media type) would I be best replacing one ring, waiting a week or two then the second to avoid any cycling problems?
  12. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    There is really no reason to replace the "stones" with the rings. My AquaClear filters have the stones and they do the same thing the rings do.

    But if you are dead set on replacing the stones, I would maybe replace half of one basket with the rings, wait about 2 weeks, replace another half, wait two weeks etc.

    Of course, be diligent about testing if you remove any of the stones, since there is the possibility of a mini cycle any time you reduce the amount of bacteria in the filter.
  13. PeteO Member Member

    How often should the ceramic rings be replaced?
  14. QQQUUUUAADDD Well Known Member Member

    Never change the ceramic rings. That is where all the beneficial bacteria lives.
  15. bowcrazy Well Known Member Member

    You don't need to ever replace them or clean them. You don't ever want to mess with the bio-media part of a filter because you can cause the cycle to crash or at least go into a mini-cycle.