Hi I'm new to tropical fish keeping (3yo daughters request) and have a problem I can't get my head around.
I have had a healthy pond with Koi, Tench, Orfe and Rudd for 10 years so I understand coldwater husbandry but I can't crack this tropical stuff.
I have a 120l (80x40x40) tank which is stocked with 10x Zebra Barbs, 5x Black Tailed Platys, 2x Bristlenosed Plecs and 4x Cherry Shrimps. All of the fish are currently 3-4cm in length and the shrimps are about 1cm. The Tank consists of course substrate (3-5mm) a block of ornate sandstone (that came from the outside of my chimney when it fell off my house a few years ago and was thoroughly clean before it went into the tank) and two plants once of which is ornamental the other is I believe bristle (something?) both of which were purchased from the same supplier as the fish (put in tank 4 weeks before the fish).
The tank is unheated at the moment as the ambient temperature in the room is keeping the water at 23deg C (I plan to buy a heater in couple of months) and the tank is sited in my conservatory which is actually a lean-to type with polly carbonate roof so not too light and hold a constant temperature. I have also over specified the filter as I have done so in my pond.
Initially (first 8 weeks) the tank was placed in a position where it was in direct sunlight for 3-4hrs a day which caused fluctuation in water temperature but it maintained crystal clear water but suffered from stringy algae rising from the plants and stone when there was prolonged sunny weather. Because of this I relocated the plant to a position in the same room where is wasn't subjected to direct sunlight. Around the same time I noticed that my daughter had placed a tissue in the tank (I think she thought she was helping lol!) Anyway ever since the tank has been suffering from green water!!!
I'm now carrying out total water changes every week along with scrubbing the glass to remove algae. The water I'm using is sprayed into a paddling pool using a fine mist sprayer (I have used this process for my pond for 10 years without casualties) along with the correct dose of Tetra Aquasafe. But within 2-3 days the water is going cloudy.
The fish and shrimps seem fine as they have been in the tank for about 2 months and there have been no fatalities and all seem healthy and feed well so i'm not worried about the water quality (or should I?). I feed the fish once a day and I may be a little stingy on the amount I feed them as I'm worried about nitrate levels due to uneaten food but they seem ok and the Barbs are getting bellies lol! 1hr after feeding there is no visible food left in the tank.
So... after all that info... what am I doing wrong? HELP!!!
Aside from the work involved changing the water the tank just doesn't look nice with green water. Coincidentally the fish seem very shy, hiding behind the stone and in the plants and only show themselves when you sit very still or feed them.
Thanks for persevering and reading this post fully but I wanted to give you as much info as I want to sort this out.
Just until an advisor comes along... I expect they will need details of all your water test results (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph) as well as information on your filter type and size.
Also you need to be sure that the sandstone is aquarium safe - it may be leeching substances into the water.
You should also take a look at the care sheets for your fish. A quick glance tells me that 23c is at the lower end of the temperatures they require and I expect your tank is dropping below this overnight.
Thanks for the advice Alibunn, I have to pop into town on Thursday so will take a sample to be tested. With regards to temperatures I've been putting off buying a heater until the Autumn as I thought I could get away with it! I can see how this may affect the fish and keep them wary but surely it wouldn't be a cause for the green water? The fish themselves seem very healthy and as I've said I've had no fatalities since stocking 2 months ago.
Before we look at the green water there are a couple of other points to consider.
First off, the Danios are temperate fish and the others are true tropicals so they shouldn't normally be kept together. The temperature is OK for the Danios but is too low for the other fish in the tank and it needs to be kept at around 25C for them. You need a heater now.
Secondly, you need a test kit. You need to b e able to monitor pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrates inthe tank regularly.
Thirdly, I suspect that as you're in Dorset you have hard water which is probably also a relatively high pH. Unfortunately that is not suitable for the Bristlenose Plecos who need soft acidic water. You need to find out what the pH and hardness of the water is.
On to the green water. The most common causes are too much light and/or too many spare nutrients in the water. If you have lights for the tank try turning them on for less time in total and splitting the lighting period into two with a couple of hours gap in the middle. Find out what level of nitrates you have in your tap water. If it's high to begin with then the nitrates produced by the processing of fish waste will take the level high very quickly and provide a food source for algae to grow.
Whilst I believe "I know my bananas" when it come to managing a pond, managing a tropical tank is new to me.
I stocked the tank as per the advice of MHA (guess the rest!!!) so the mix of species was based on the info I supplied them about my tank and set-up as I knew nothing. The reason why I decided to join a couple of forums to get honest advice was that my instinct told me they would only try and sell me something else - if the fish die... they sell more, however I love fish (even to eat!) and nature in general so don't want to cause any species any undue discomfort.
I have already received advice about getting a heater via the PFK forum (where I posted the same post) and I will get one on Thursday. I will also purchase a test kit.
Your quite right the water around here is hard but I have no idea what the pH, nitrate or nutrient levels are in the base tap water so I need to use that as my starting point.
I'll let you all know what the test kit turns up on the pH/nitrite/nitrate levels are...
p.s. The Plecos seem to be in fine fettle and are usually the only fish easy visible even during the day where they can be found on the glass and the main ornamental rock (and filter?)
dekahuna wrote: I'm now carrying out total water changes every week along with scrubbing the glass to remove algae. Darren
Hi Darren, total water changes will disrupt the filters bacterial colony so only aim to do 25-30% weekly.
The sooner you are able to get your own test kit the better, most, if not all on here use the API fresh water test master kit which will test for Ammonia, NitrIte, NitrAte and PH so well worth the investment and it will last you a couple of years.
By the way noodle, any idea why the water color has changed since I moved the tank? It's now in a position where it's out of direct sunlight whereas before it had direct sunlight for 3-4hrs in the morning on a sunny day? Could Wessex water have changed the water they supply? I suppose we'll only speculate until I test the water.
I think there is one common and fundamental message coming through... get a test kit!!!
I will purchase the API kit and let you all know the results and we can work from there. As I've said before the welfare of the fish is paramount so any advice from you guys will be taken on board and acted on.