operator error or bad tank maintenance??

pamela

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I'm not sure I should be on the "beginners" forum since I've had a tank now for over 5 years.. but I still feel like a novice. There's so much I just still don't know. For instance, I find that the glass cover to my tank is constantly filthy. It seems to grow a hard crusty substance everytime I turn my back. The only way to remove it is to completely remove the entire top of the tank cover, separate all the components (glass from plastic), then use a new sharp razor blade to scrape the irritating substance away. Sometimes I think I see tiny moving objects along the edges.. like small organisms. So, I've started rinsing everything in a bleach solution (1/4 cup bleach to 1 gallon water), then a hot tap water rinse, then allow everything to dry on towels in the kitchen (usually over night .. as it's the only time I can be absolutely sure one of my three preschoolers won't get into anything). But, time and time again it starts to reappear after only a few weeks. It can't be hard water build up as I'm using only distilled water in my tank. And besides, hard water doesn't have living breathing MOVING parts. I have a 50 gallon freshwater with an Eheim filter system. The pet store suggested that I use a product by Kent Freshwater called R/O Right to restore the essential minerals to the water. We have a very serious evaporation problem (we're in the middle of a drought and water rationing) and I have to add another gallon of water about every three or four days just to keep the water level from dropping a half inch or so. Any ideas what this could possibly be and how I can prevent it?
Pamela
 

Butterfly

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Unless your keeping extremely delicate fish it's not necessary to use anything besides your tap water treated with dechlor. distilled /RO water doesn't have the trace elements your fish and plants need.
As to the stuff that gets on your glass- thats the bane of all fish keepers. Water evaporates then dries on the glass tops causing a film. then its repeated over and over resulting in the crust you describe. Vinegar and a brush will take it off.
Have you looked at the wigglies under a magnifying glass? That would help us know what they are.
Congratulations on keeping a tank for five years!! and WELCOME TO FISHLORE!!
Carol
 

LilaBean

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we are always amazed at how many little critters we see when we do water changes and dump the old water-- but i never thought to put them under a scope!! i should have know that you fishlore experts would know what they were with a good description!! LOL LILA
 
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pamela

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I use distilled water b/c I wouldn't (and don't) drink the stuff out of the tap. Our reservoir is so low that it's practically a mud hole instead of a water supply for the city. The water tastes bad, smells bad, and has stuff floating in it (most days). I don't cook with it. We use the tap for watering the plants, washing the dishes, and taking a bath. That's about all. So I keep distilled in the tank. The tank is far cleaner than that of some of our friends and I don't seem to have any complaints from the fish. As long as I'm using the essential mineral supplement for all water changes I shouldn't encounter any problems with fish health, right? We have only fake plants.. mostly rocks and statues in the tank. I know, not very decorative of me.. but I have 3 kids, ages 1, 3, and 5. I have my hands full most days. The fish are doing good to be fed!
Pamela
 

Butterfly

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As long as you add the supplements to your water it should be fine
Carol
 
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