Need a bit of guidance please Help

  1. Dora Initiate Member

    I have a 10 gallon tank with a 20gal filter, a heater and an air stone. I've had it for about a year now. It's cycled, I perform a 40-50% water change/gravel vac every other week and I test with API freshwater kit. My readings are usually 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and between 5 and 10 nitrates. The temp is usually between 80 and 84 and I currently only have an otto and a dalmatian molly in there (the survivors of an ich infestation several months ago). My cory cat (one of my original fish) also survived and lived for several months after but sadly died about 3 days ago. Not sure what their life expectancy is but he had been around for about a year :(

    Anyway...I did a water change this morning and the readings were 0 ammo, 0 nitrites and 0 nitrates which I found really strange since they usually read between 5 and 10. The last two water changes before this one, I noticed tiny little grey/brown bugs in the water and on the gravel. They are smaller than a pin head, crawl around on the gravel and also seem to be able to swim around. I have no idea what they are, where they came from (I'm honestly afraid of adding any more fish at this point so there have been no new introductions) and whether or not they are harmful. I've noticed no differences in my fish since I've noticed these little bugs. I've noticed the molly picking at things and don't know if she's actually eating those things or not. Could those little bugs affect my nitrate readings? Can anyone tell me what they might be and if I need to worry about them? My fish keeping experience has had its ups and downs.. it was quite rocky at the beginning but then things seemed to be going fine and my tank was great for a while.. what could have happened to disturb it?

    Sorry about the length of my post. I would appreciate any input you guys can provide. Thank you and have a great day!

    Dora
     
  2. iloveengl Well Known Member Member

    Hello Dora. I'm sorry your tank is having so many problems. :( I don't have a clue what those little bugs are (sounds gross though), but I hope it's nothing really bad. I don't know what might have caused you to lose your nitrates, yet have no ammonia or nitrites; that doesn't sound like a mini-cycle. Hmmm, what test kit are you using? Is it heavily planted? Keep a close eye on it, in case it is about to spike ammonia or nitrite.

    If you're over the itch, it should be fine to lower your temp back down to about 78.

    I hope things get better!!! :;hug2
     

  3. Tony G. Fishlore VIP Member

    Good afternoon Dora. Do you have live plants? sometimes live plants use up the nitrates (its kinda like a fert... in a way LOL). If not then it is most likely going through a minicycle. How long has the tank been running? It is possible that with one of your water changes the bacteria might've weakened. What do you do with your waterchange? Do you gravel vac the whole tank, and remove filter media... what is the process you use?
     
  4. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    im also sorry for your losses....:( rip fin babies!!

    you probably lost your nitrates from over cleaning...although we never usually have that recommendation, with the fish you were keeping in that size tank, it didnt need so much of the water changes and cleaned as much as you were doing..overcleaning with a low bioload, can almost be as bad for the cycle as not cleaning enough ....they dont have a huge bioload and you could have starved the bacteria....

    if you dont have the issue of ich anymore, i would lower the temps to 78-80 for the fish...higher temps means less oxygen, which could have had an effect on mr cory....

    do you know what esle you want to stock in there? if you want more cories, i would get 2-3 more and add them now...or add 2-3 more mollies or 3-4 more ottos...one or the other of those sets..then watch your water parimeters, and go from there after 2 weeks...if you are going in a different direction, let us know and we can suggest some more ....good luck !
     

  5. Dora Initiate Member

    Thank you for you quick responses! I do not have live plants but I have read that they can absorb nitrates which is why I thought maybe these little bugs might be doing the same thing?? I have no idea. As for how I do a water change... I gravel vac a portion of the tank, shake the filter into the bucket of water and usually allow a filter to sit in the tank for a couple of weeks before I replace it (about once a month). I then replace with water that I've treated with API Stress Coat + Am I doing something wrong?
     
  6. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    I think the bugs are just water fleas..google them and see if thats what they are ;)
     
  7. Dora Initiate Member

    Shawnie: I have been meaning to get a magnifying glass to see what these things actually look like but haven't yet so I honestly have no idea. I read about copepods.. are those only present in SW tanks? If they are water fleas, should I be worried? As for what to stock in the tank.. I would like to add more color to it. Would guppies be a good choice and if so, how many? I need to read up on them since I know nothing about them and the temp they require.
     

  8. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    copepods are salty critters...so i doubt thats what they are ;)

    check out the water fleas...and no the fish will eat them they wont hurt anything...

    mollies like some of their own..so maybe go with 2 more mollies seeing how you already have one and she/he would like more, and 2-3 more ottos...

    guppies are much like mollies..tropicals who like their temps about 78 and are livebearers that will produce alot of fry if exposed to males..but if you dont want any fry, just leave the fems and the nature of the beast will keep the population down for you
     
  9. Dora Initiate Member

    thank you for all of your help. Glad to know the fleas are harmless, any idea what actually causes them to show up?
     
  10. Aquarist Fishlore Legend Member

    Hello Dora. Here is a link you may find helpful. Check out the video.
    Ken
    aquatic bug?