Removing UGF

  • #41
i'm looking at a photo of a strip my wife sent yesterday before I changed the water. this is not accurate, but it looks like 7.6.

I haven't tested PH since the water change; wanted to wait for some circulation first
  • #42
if your pH is low, then the ammonia would not be ammonia, but ammonium, which is much less toxic. That might explain why all your fish aren't dead. That would also explain why the ammonia alert wasn't reading "right" - it only reads ammonia, not ammonium, whereas the API kit measures total ammonia (ammonia + ammonium).
  • #43
it's not low,'s high

so the ammonia alert would read ammonia, but a regular API test would read both NH3/NH4?

can the nitrifying bacteria consume either/or? am I delaying re-establishment of my bacterial filter by using Prime / Ammo Lock / etc?
  • #44
Did you pull your UGF before letting the new filter run on the tank? It usually takes a few weeks to a month to cycle a filter. Also, for you to jump to 8 ammonia so quickly mean you had a lot of trapped waste in there. That's a massive jump.

Yes, the bacteria will consumer both ammonia and ammonium. Prime does not remove ammonia. It binds ammonia so that is not toxic to the fish but still available for your bacteria to consume. Sounds like you are taking the correct steps.
  • #45
I didn't even pull the UGF yet! totally unrelated incident. all was well.....and then it was not. I am not sure what caused this.

the only changes I made recently were the addition of 6 neon tetra & the two bala sharks. everything was stable....
  • #46
How big are the Bala's? That's a big jump in ammonia!

Did you add your new filter yet? I'd run it for at least a month before pull the ugf. If you can do a real good gravel vac with your water changes.

I hope all works out for ya! keep us posted.
  • #47
I think the ammonia has been climbing for awhile; there is no way it spiked that much from the bala. they are tiny! I do think we've been overfeeding.

new filter arrives this weekend. I will set it up & let it run for 5 weeks before I pull out the UGF.
  • #48
Sounds like it's a good thing your switching. If you had adequate filtration, ammonia wouldn't be able to build. Personally, I wouldn't use gravel as media in your canister. Ceramic rings are far more efficient. Tons of surface area on them for bacteria. They are very porous and work better than gravel. That's what I run in my canisters.
  • #49
the gravel in the filter was going to be there just to 'seed' sand filter. now i'm going to do this by just leaving the UGF in place in tandem with the fluidized sand setup for awhile. after that, the cannister will get charcoal or such. the sand bed filter will cover bio. a sponge pre-filter combined w/ another sponge in the cannister handle mechanical. finally, UV for germicidal.

ammonia = 5ppm; nitrite/nitrate = 0; pH = 7.8
-2 more fish.....another on life support.

50% water change done. ugh.
  • #50
I would do almost a complete change.
  • #51
When I got home, ammonia was 2ppm. Still zero nitrite / nitrate.

Remaining 2 bettas dead; sharks consuming the corpses

Black mollie showing symptoms. One is resting on the bottom & the other perched up top. They LOOK fine and swam down to eat, but so did the others....

Did an 80% water change. New filter setup will install friday. What a disaster.
  • #52
Man that sucks How long have you had the tank?
  • #53
Around four months. This all came out of the blue. I still have no idea what happened.

got the new filtration system installed today. still have the UGF in tandem. good thing, too, because I had to take the main pump down for the night. should have, in retrospect, used a check valve between the fluidized sand filter & the main pump. I fodded the pump. sand got sucked in & locked up the impeller. ugh. also, the ball valve that came with the FSBF was a leaker. good thing I had used a secondary.

ammonia is down. I will replace the pump tomorrow & add the check valve. you live, you learn.

here is a pic of the setup. the FSBF is a TMC V2 600. the UV sterilizer is a terminator 5W. the main cannister is a magnum 350. UGF & substrate will come out in a month; replacing gravel w/ sand. cheers.

FSB filter kept spewing bits of sand into my tanks (like snow). looked cool, but started emptying the filter. I lengthened the tube exiting the FSB so that the sand had a taller column to climb before getting into the aquarium. I also got some slightly coarser silica sand. it's heavier & stays in the filter with the cannister on full blast.

4 weeks or so & UGF comes out, sand goes in. oh, and MORE FISH! can't wait.


  • _MG_0987 (Medium).JPG
    _MG_0987 (Medium).JPG
    96.1 KB · Views: 86
  • #54
did it! removed the UGF yesterday & replaced substrate with sand. we are T+14 hours since I dropped in my first fish. everyone looks happy and alive. took some pics of all my fish in my 5G hospital tank. they were getting pretty antsy! that's:

- a dozen neon tetra
- two dwarf flame gourami
- two big snakeskin gourami
- two black molly
- two dalmation molly
- two bala shark
- three orange platty

they looked like sardines in there. total time in hospital tank was under 90min. I removed all tank decorations, drained half the tank (some into a 5G bucket) & moved the fish.

after that, I moved my filter to the 5G bucket full of tank water so I could keep the BB in my sand filter happy. then I cleaned the sides & started draining the rest of the water / vacuuming up the bigger nastiness.

I used a plastic dust pan to scoop out the substrate & put it in its own 5G bucket. I scrubbed the bottom & vacuumed out the goo. I hosed off the inside of the tank a bit & vacuumed that out, too.

after that, I took the empty tank opportunity to pull it away from the wall & change backgrounds. repositioned tank & added 50lb of pool flter sand. added decorations & started filling tank w/ water + Prime water conditioner. when tank was 3/4 full, I shut off the water & skimmed the surface with a paper towel inside a fish net (there was some oily residue floating on the surface).

I tested the water to be sure no chlorine remained, then I transfered the filter back to the main tank. at that point, I transferred a single neon tetra for a 1h observation period. he made it! I transferred the rest of the fish & filled the tank full. still a bit cloudy, but starting to look pretty good.

one note: if you have a heater plugged in and it is NOT submersed in water, it will heat up to a zillion degrees and melt the plastic holding clamps! whoops.

excited about the sand & looking forward to adding some inverts. planning on a cobalt hammer lobster, some malaysian trumpet snails & two fiddler crabs. fun!
  • #55
The crayfish will eat just about all the fish in your tank. Livebearers and tetras are easy targets for them. Just a heads up.
  • #56
jaysee - it's my understanding that there are two species of blue cray. one is fairly agressive, but the other (p. alleni) is supposed to be passive. do you have a different experience?
  • #57
I've kept several crayfish. There are at least 2 species of blue crayfish, though the blues are not a different species unto themselves. They are the two most common species in the hobby, here in the states - clarkiI and alleni.

Form follows function. Antenna + claws = missing fish at night. Fish that rest near or on the bottom are doomed to be eaten. Fish that rest by floating around higher in the water column are significantly safer.
  • #58
hmm. sounds like I need to rethink that route. do you see any issue w/ the crabs & snails? I know the crabs need a bit of land; I was planning on one of those little underwater terrariums that's fed by an air hose.

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Locked
  • Locked
  • Locked
  • Locked
  • Question
Top Bottom