Tank Water Issues!

  • #1
HI All,

Not sure really how to phrase all this but will just give you the facts/what I know.

  • I have a 10 gal tank which has been running for approx 3 months
  • 25% water changes every 2-3 days
  • In my tank there's 1 Betta, 8 Neons, 8 Embers, 3 Amano, 2 Mystery Snails
  • Water started to smell "off" and go cloudy 3 days ago
  • Noticed the Tetras would swim up to the top and gulp for air
  • Tested water nothing out of the ordinary
  • N02 + N03 = 0, GH = 8, KH = 6, pH = 7.2, Cl2 = 0
  • I did a big water change approx 70%
  • Swapped out all the plants/changed filter/Cleaned the gravel
  • I brought an air filter yesterday and have noticed the tetras don't go to the surface for air anymore
  • Water still smells and is cloudy.......
Any ideas please?
  • #2
First your tank is overstocked this could be the solution of this problem also if fishes coming to surface for air means you need an air pump and air stone
I almost forgot what is your nitrate?
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
0 apparently.....

I've got an airpump/stone now which looks to have resolved the issue with them coming to the surface.

It's just odd, the tank has had the same stock for well over 1 month, don't know why it'd suddenly do this.

So currently more concerned about the smell/cloudy water.
  • #4
that's actually a bacterial bloom...
which happens due to fish food lying on substrate for too long(excess feeding) or you have too much waste for your bacterias in your filter media to handle...
And here you have stocking issue's...
So I would suggest to buy a bigger tank or rehome you fishes...
In a 10 gallon you can do a well planted betta tank... which looks cool...

0 apparently.....

I've got an airpump/stone now which looks to have resolved the issue with them coming to the surface.

It's just odd, the tank has had the same stock for well over 1 month, don't know why it'd suddenly do this.

So currently more concerned about the smell/cloudy water.
yes you have it for a month... But you were doing 25% water changes every 2-3 days... Which somehow managed to keep ammonia in check... but slowly those bacteria grew in there and have caused white cloudy water and smell..
  • #5
HI there.

Do you know about the nitrogen cycle?

What you are experiencing is what we call "new tank syndrome". That smell you have is Ammonia. It almost always shows up at about the one month mark. You probably held it off with the frequent water changes.

It looks like you are using test strips to test your tank. I suggest getting an API Freshwater Master Test kit. It will give you more accurate results. Test strips can be notoriously inaccurate. Also with strips you aren't able to test for Ammonia. Which is very important.

So when you changed your filter pad, you threw away all of the good bacteria that was growing in there. So you are basically starting over. The first thing is, don't change your filter media. Just rinse it gently in old tank water.

You will need to do some work to get your tank healthy. One is to learn about the nitrogen cycle. We can help you get your tank cycled, but you will need to do the work.

Second is your tank is overstocked. Neons need a 20 gallon tank minimum. They need way more space than that. I would rehome those or upgrade to a 20 gallon long tank. The ember tetras are ok in a 10 gallon, but 8 is a lot. It is too many fish for a 10 gallon. So I also think a 20 gallon would be better since they are schooling fish.

Mystery snails can get huge. I only have one in my 10 gallon and I think he is too big for it. I wouldn't have 2 in a 10 gallon with all those fish. It's just too much.

I have 17 fish in my 30 gallon tank, and I am nearly overstocked. Pushing it a bit actually. You have the same amount in a tank that is a third of the size. Just to compare

You will need to increase your water changes to 50% everyday. This will decrease your Ammonia and help keep the fish from swimming in toxins.

If you want help with cycling your tank. I can help with that if you want. Just let me know.
  • #6
There are processes in tanks that take time, and a month isn't a long time. That was the only water change regime that could have kept that many fish alive in such an overloaded tank, but the problems will build.
It is absolutely essential to understand the nitrogen cycle. You can't keep a tank for more than a few weeks without learning that, and I think your gravel cleaning and filter change out will make you do a double take when you get what's going on. A lot of us don't think about the water when we start, and the realization that fishkeepers are water keepers is an unpleasant surprise when we see how it works. It's easy to master though.
Some use test kits, and some use slow and steady water changing and light stocking. You are way up there on the stocking already. But you are a 'hard worker', willing to take care, so you'll sort this out.

If you store them carefully, strips are not notoriously inaccurate. They are just as good as the test kits - better if they also include GH and KH. But they are a lot more expensive, by far, and need for careful handling. If you plan to do tests for the duration of the cycle, and stop once the tank is running well (relying on regular as clockwork water changes!), then the test kit is an unnecessary expense and I'd stick with the strips. Use the money you save for a tank large enough for all those fish.

The smell - activated charcoal/carbon is what the old timer used. It reduces smells. I expect it's the bacterial bloom causing the odour, and it should be temporary. It's often the smell of an uncycled tank, and it can be related to a sudden temperature increase, depending on your climate.
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Thank you all for the advice, will discuss with my girlfriend about what next steps we take in regards to the overstocked tank.

I've read the article about the cycle and I understand more now what has happened.

I will follow all the great advice mentioned here.

Thanks again all.

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