Home tank needs help!

  • #1
First time posting so let me give some background....

I have 2 tanks - 1 is over a year old, is in my office at work & is perfect..has 1 betta, 1 oto and 2 nerite snails it's 5 gal tank and is just perfect.
In Early August I started up a tank at home. It's a 10 gal. For some reason, maybe, I can't get this tank to cycle or maybe my water is too hard but I don't think I'm doing something properly and now It's killing my fish :-\.

It cycled for a month before I bought the fish, It was crystal clear, everything seemed ready so I went n got some fish. I put in a cory and 5 danio's (2 zebras and 3 glofish). (Probably a mistake for adding them all at once but they didn't seem to mind it and I thought I would help the tank cycle). Almost a week afterwards, the water got cloudy white so I did a water change of over 50%. That cleared up the cloudy white and but then the water started to get murky again with what seemed to be almost brown so the 2nd week I changed the filter cartridge and did another 50% water change. That stopped the murky brown, so then it started to turn a cloudy green and figured it was too much algae so I added in 4 zebra nerites. The snails were around and visible for about a week and then I found one dead and can't find any of the others. Of course the water is still cloudy and I can't see around the entire tank. It's still green cloudy even after water changes, I've changed the filter cartridge nearly every week/week & a half. Still no changes in the water color and the fish seemed to be doing okay minus the disappearing snails which per what I read, seemed to be a normal occurrence. I figured it was just part of the cycle process and would eventually clear up so I just kept doing what I was doing with the water changes and cartridge changes.

2 weeks ago one of my glofish looked like it was really slowing down. My filter seems to have a really strong current and it was just tossing the poor lil guy around. So I took it out of the tank and put him into a lil bowl to watch him. About 15 mins later he passed. I heard that glofish were not very hardy and since I got them from petco I didn't really have many expectations that they would last forever. A week later my second glofish was found stuck to the intake in the filter. Sighs. The next nite, my final glofish was floating on his side. The snails are still nowhere to be found, the cory and 2 zebra danio's are doing just fine except the one now seems to be in hiding since its just the 2 but I don't find him floating or stuck to the filter and every so often he swims by but more to the bottom of the tank now.

Note that the tank is still getting water changes and filter is still being changed, about every other week now, as it doesn't seem to be as dirty as it did when I had the 3 additional glofish. I'm really worried that the other fish are going to die and I'm afraid to add more fish to the tank but think the reason the one is in hiding is cuz the other is terrorizing it or bullying it and they need schoolmates. I also wanted to put in 2 otos to help clear up the algae that if the snails were still alive should be taking care of but again afraid to add anything else to the tank since the others died and I still can't clear up the green cloudiness.

The test kit says that the nitrates are perfect but my ph and my hardness is waaay high. I figured it was my water that was killing the fish so i've slowly started to change out my water for my mother's water which tests much softer and is well water so shouldn't have all the chemicals my city water has. The one thing this has done is that the water seems to be a little clearer.

Basically what I'm looking for is some advice. Should I add more fish? when do you think I should do that? Is there something I should be doing and am not. I haven't bought an ammonia test, that was on my list of things to do. If you need any other information I would be happy to supply it if I haven't covered it already....

I'm nearly at my wits end with the cloudy issue, my main concern right now is the remaining fish.
  • #2

Changing your filter weekly is probably where you're having problems. That's where the bacteria lives that consumes the ammonia and nitrites.

Do you have a test kit? What are your readings? No nitrates indicate a tank is not cycled.

When you say "everything seemed ready to add fish" what do you mean? How did you cycle the tank before you put the fish in?

Your best bet at this point is either daily, large water changes with a detoxifying dechlorinator or TSS.

When your filter gets dirty, swish it in dechlorinated water and pop it back, don't change unless it's falling apart and only change 50% of the media, tops. You will probably minI cycle when changing half the media, but it's not restarting the cycle completely by changing the whole thing.

Don't add anything else until your tank is stable and has been for a few weeks.

Cloudy white water is known as bactierial bloom.and will go away with time. Cloudy green water is an algae issue which is easily fixed by reducing the time your tank is lit.

Oto's are extremely sensitive at the best of times so definitely add them last. But don't add them just to clear up algae issues, just reduce your lighting. Adding stock to fix problems will only create more issues in the long run.

Whatever water you use. Keep it consistent. Swings in chemistry can cause fatal stress in fish.

Best of luck!xx
  • #3
To start, stop changing the filter media. The beneficial bacteria lives in the media, so every time you change the media, you lose a lot of your BB. If you find it gets too dirty or clogged, just swirl it around in a bucket of tank water. Tap would kill the BB.

Also, I recommend getting a liquid test kit such as API freshwater master test kit, as test strips are known to be inaccurate.. You want to test for ammonia and nitrite. These are the toxic substances. Nitrate is still toxic, but to a lesser degree.

Don't add more fish. Your tank can't handle their bioload at the moment. Adding fish only causes the ammonia levels to rise (from their poo). Adding too much fish at once could also overload your bacteria's capacity to convert ammonia-> nitrite-> nitrate, so next time, only add about 2 fish every few weeks to let the BB adjust.

Because you're probably still cycling your tank (and you're still probably at the beginning), I'd check your ammonia levels every day/ every other day and do water changes accordingly. The ammonia and nitrite levels should be below 0.5ppm.

Also, I think otos are schooling fish, so if you have room in your 10 gallon after it's cycled, I'd move him over and get three more.
  • #4
Great googly moogly! I third the motion! Quit changing your filter! @_@ I know it SOUNDS like a good idea! Clean filters in a dryer are good. Clean filters in your home's heater are good! There's NOTHING as awesome as a fresh bag in your vacuum, buuuuuut with fish, it's different!

You want a bacterial buildup! Gross, right? Yes, but necessary. I suggest looking at the profiles of people with a lot of stars under their names. (Not mine. I suck at stuff.) They often list their water parameters in their profiles. ALL of the numbers are important, but the ones that'll kill your fish the quickest are.... Chlorine. (comes in the tap.) Ammonia. (fish pee.) Nitrite. (bacteria pee.) Nitrate. (also bacteria pee.) The first three should always read 0. Zero is the magic number. In a cycled tank, you will get SOME nitrates. It's a good thing. I like a nitrate level of 5-15. At 20, I am not worried, but anything higher and I'm goin' through the tank with a magnifying glass, looking for culprits. Okay, okay. At 16 I'm goin' through my tank. OKAY, OKAY. I'm always goin' through my tank with a magnifying glass. >.>

Hey, by the way, auto-links are awesome. Nitrogen Cycle. Woo!

If your eyes are too tired to read through it all, I will explain it in super easy terms! <3 (No condescension!)

fish pee -->
ammonia -->
bacteria eats it, yum! -->
nitrite -->
bacteria eats that, too! -->
nitrates -->
plants eat this, and your water changes remove the excess.
  • #5
Alright time for my two cents haha. As far as what the others have said about the filters media, definitely listen to that advice. However the reason I'm posting is about the oto and your other fish. It's correct that they are a schooling fish however they would not be as happy in a 10 gallon as they would be in a 20+ gallon tank and if you add anymore you will not only overstock your tank but possibly harm your fish. I would suggest re-homing your current oto or upgrading to a larger tank so you can not only provide an ideal life for the oto but for the danio's and cory as well since they need a school too (at least 6 for each species so ideally above a 20 gallon tank). For any information to help understand the conditions each fish requires to be healthy and happy you can read up on the info here on the forum, simply click the Fishlore logo at the very top left of the screen and use the search bar on the right hand side to look up any and fish that you have or are looking to get. Also you might want to scan your tank for the snails again, if they have died then that is a large source of ammonia that is hurting your other fish. I hope I was helpful, thanks.
Nick Della Rocca
  • #6
My turn! Haha. As stated don't change ure cartridge. The only thing would change in the filter if u want/have to is cut a slit to remove/replace carbon. Second ad your tank is 10 gallon is uncycled, I would do as follows.

1. Buy prime. Its a water conditioner. Best stuff for its price and a bottle lasts forever.
2. ApI master test kit. An absolute must. Great kit. Worth the money for sure.
3. A bottle off tetra safe start (tss). Its bacteria in a bottle. Abd saved my rear end big time. Highly recommended since you have fish.
4. Now u have everything u need to buy. I would test your water. Make sure your ammonia is .5 or lower. You lower it with water changes. Every 50% water change will knock that number down in half. When u do that last water change with prime and ammonia is .5 or lower wait 24 hours then add your tss. The prime will kill your tss if its added to soon. Wait 2 weeks. No water changes nothing but 1 light feeding everyday or 2. After 2 weeks u should read 0 ammonia 0 nitrite 10-20 nitrate.
Then u can do a water change and start your weekly routine. Check water every couple days. They say to change ure filter catridge 1 time a year. But as stated only do half of the media.

As far as your 5g. If its been going good and all seems fine. I wouldnt change a thing. Although you do have school that do prefer schools my thing is if they seem happy why change them. I have a single emerald corey in my tank that is harrased by my crayfish. but I don't think he could be happier. He plays in the bubbles, perches on my plants, I even catch him sitting on my crays tail from time to time.

Back to topic about the 10g. I'm very confident if you take this advise by thanksgiving your tank should be ready to see its first bird!
  • #7
I want to add a thumbs-up for Nick Della Rocca with regards to TSS. I forgot to mention it in my post, and it is a MUST-HAVE. Ever since I got my tank chemistry balanced, I haven't had to use it, but it's great to have in an emergency, and what you've got is an emergency! Tetra Safe Start is magic, PURE MAGIC.

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