trying to clean out waste build up in 150 gal tank

Discussion in 'Water Changes' started by Gozeedos, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. GozeedosValued MemberMember

    My 150 tank has a build up of fish waste ....from reading the posts I have to much gravel and dead spots which would pretty much be the whole front of the tank. My fish have dug out the back which measures about 3 inches or so and now the gravel in the front measures about 7" in the front....I have been working on waste removal by working through the gravel in the front once a week carefully....started adding fish waste remover last week....tested the water daily for ammonia had one alert....added ammonia remover...Today I am due to change the water again and working the gravel in the front....should I be removing some of the gravel as i do? I have an under gravel water filter system......I have not added any aquarium salt in a long time...should I add some to help with the process? I will also be adding cycle. I have silver dollars, gold severum, parrot, algae eater,

  2. luke355027355027Well Known MemberMember

    Hmm I hear silver dollars are very destructive. Me personally I would get a large canister filter to help with filtration or maybe a sponge filter. Do a large water change that cleans the entire gravel. And than finally try removing some of the gravel and put it in a bin for a week and see what happens.hope all is well. Do you have high nitrate readings?

  3. CichlidSWAGAWell Known MemberMember

    As long as you keep up on water changes (50%) every week there will be no need for ammonia remover or salt. I would also invest in a canister filter. If you have more then 2'' of gravel I would remove some.
    Hope this helps

  4. luke355027355027Well Known MemberMember

  5. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    I agree, water changes do help, as well as good gravel vacs. I tend to vac my tank in thirds when I can, left then right then center. I usually vac every other week if its a tank I can get to the bottom of, unlike a lot of my planted tanks lol.

    I would recommend a heavy vac of that front half to third of the tank and do a water change with it, don't be afraid to do a large WC if it ends up being that way.
  6. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to Fishlore.

    I agree with increased water changes and increased gravel cleanings to lift the debris will go a long way to cleaning up your tank.

    I also recommend rethinking your stocking choices as you have quite the mix going on with incompatible species.

    Best of luck with your tank!
  7. GozeedosValued MemberMember

    Ok....did the water change like suggested....really got into the thick gravel and vacuumed down in it...removed about 2 bags or so of gravel.......crippy there is so much debris in there.....the water is cloudy right now....I have to admit this is a little nerve racking for me......I could tell when I started the filter back up that I had opened up some flow because debris came out of there too.....After the water settles I will test everything and we will see how it looks. I added waste remover to the water to help breakdown the mess......:;juggle

    As a rule I do a water change every month....about 1/3 of the water....I ran into this problem because...well a couple of much gravel! The filter cannot operate properly...and I was told not to disturb the gravel but to just tap the top and only one quarter of the tank at time....turned out to be a mess in this I am reducing the gravel going to add a canister filter (soon)
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2012
  8. AlyeskaGirlFishlore VIPMember

    I agree lots of water changes and gravel vacs will clean your tank up in no time.

    I'd skip any additives that help breakdown waste etc. that's what water changes and gravel vacs are for. The least amount of chemicals added the better.

    You need to remove that under gravel filter and replace with a canister filter or two canisters would be good.
  9. CichlidSWAGAWell Known MemberMember

    For a filter recommendation you should check out the fluval fx5 on amazon, depending on your budget
  10. GozeedosValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the recommendation! This looks and sounds like what I need....Just watched the video......I do have a question...It says to do water changes you hook up to the filter...does that mean I do not have to vacuum the gravel?
  11. luke355027355027Well Known MemberMember

    I dont know much about the FX5 but the only filter that you might get away with less water changes is called a diatomaceous earth and they are great filters. Personally i use the Fluval line there good for their price and an FX5 seem to work great. No matter what i always gravel my Vacum, and when i am done i turn my lights off and pick up a handful of gravel and stir the entire tank up and let it sit for a day. This really helps with gravel cleanliness. WARNING do not do this if you dont have at least 8 time turnover in your tank because it will take a while for your water to clear up. I just recieved a 150 and plan to do 40 gallon every three days
  12. AlyeskaGirlFishlore VIPMember

    I've been running the FX5 on my 125g for 2 years now. I've never used the filter as a pump to do water changes. I've got a faucet hookup to drain/fill and for a good gravel vac I do half the tank weekly with a syphon that I hang out the window. Then refill with faucet hookup. Works like a charm.

    You still have to vacuum the gravel weekly which is your water change.
  13. GozeedosValued MemberMember

    half the tank weekly? I have the same set up with the gravel vac and hose......I was of the understanding that you are not supposed to change more than a third at a time......LOL...I have been a baby about changing to much worried about the bio filter being messed up......

    Ok I looked up Diatomaceous Earth....I have never heard of it....You add it to the water for insect and larva control?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2012
  14. ShineWell Known MemberMember

    The bacteria that holds the cycle is not present in the water column... it resides primarily in the filter media, in the gravel and some on ornaments and such. Replacing half the water will not effect the cycle, what it does is replenish minerals and remove nitrate. Both of which are great for the fish's health/well-being :)
  15. CichlidSWAGAWell Known MemberMember

    Alyeskagirl is talking about the aqueon 25 or 50ft gravel shipon it hooks up to your water faust and fills and shipons your tank for you. They do wonders! I would look into that also there time savers.

    I use one of those to siphon my tanks and while it's shiponing I use a normal shipon to do my gravel vacs into a bucket. I can do a 50% water change on my 125g in about 20min, emptying and filling
  16. AlyeskaGirlFishlore VIPMember

    I used to vac the whole tank weekly but it was a lot of work so half at a time isn't so much work. 50% weekly water change.

    Let's get you straightend out, good bacteria isn't free floating. Lol. Most of the good bacteria resides in the filter. Some colonizes on the gravel and decor or anything porus. Canisters are great for stuffing them full of media, especially biomax - ceramic porus rings.
  17. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    Yes canisters are great, some of the no name ones if you will are just as good and half the price so really its up to your budget as to what you can have. I would recommend the following for a good maint schedule for your tank.

    Do a gravel vac of about 1/2 of the tank bottom I say about because you may not be able to get at all of it. If you are doing this regularly no need to go crazy every time with it.
    See how much water that takes you. If its at a minimum of 10% of the water int he tank then I would top up the tank. I would usually do closer to 25% but it depends on your time really. I try to vac and water change once per week thus the smaller amounts but you could do slightly larger ones on a bi weekly basis. The end result is keeping the tank cleaner and how much time you have to be able to do it effectively.
  18. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    It sounds like you are on the right track for getting your tank back into a healthy environment. :)

    I recommend water changes of at least 30% to 50% weekly. Keep in mind that nothing beats freshwater for your fish. Without frequent water changes, your fish are swimming in their own waste regardless of the types or amount of filtration that you have.

    Salt is not necessary in a Freshwater Tank.

    As mentioned by another, adding chemicals to rid your tank of this and that are not always what they are made out to be. However, I do recommend Prime or Amqeul + in combination with Nova Aqua + for your staple water conditioners. The Prime and Amquel + are great ammonia Neutralizers and are used by many members on this site. Personally I use Amquel + and Nova Aqua + as my staples.

    If you have an ammonia reading other than 0 then daily water changes are necessary and adding Prime or Amquel + to neutralize the ammonia for 24 hours until it's time for the next water change. Any amounts of ammonia can be harmful even fatal to your fish. Keep up with daily water changes until you have readings of 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites and under 20 Nitrates. At this point, you have regained your cycle.

    The Product Cycle...I do not recommend it. If your tank has completed the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle with 0,0 under 20, and you happen to have an ammonia spike, a few daily water changes with Prime or Amquel + should help to regain the cycle.

    Looking at your Aquarium Profile Information under Water Conditioner Used, I would stop using all of them but the Stress Coat. Even then I would switch to the water conditioners I've mentioned above.

    Buffers to alter your pH levels can be risky as they are unstable and can lead to a pH crash resulting in fish loss.

    Chemicals for removing algae may be fatal to your fish and invertebrates should you have them. Algae can be controlled via your lighting. If you have algae issues, reduce the amount of time that your lights are on. Too, certain types of fish and snails can help to keep algae under control.

    Waste Control product...not necessary. Increase your substrate vacuuming! :)

    Best wishes for your tank and fish.

  19. LyndaBFishlore LegendMember

    I'd be very concerned about using this in a fish tank. Gardeners use it to lay over their soil to eliminate slugs/grubs. It literally acts like thousands of little razor blades and slices their guts open.
  20. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    I have used diatomaceous earth with diatom or micron filters to remove the floating algae that causes green water. But would never use it in the aquarium.

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