I'm having lots of big trouble
with my aquarium that I
bought about six months
ago from a retail live fish
store here in Canada. It's
suppose to be a 40-gallon
and has an undergravel filter
with approx. three inches
of #2 gravel on top and
a canister filter too.
It's also got a 150 watt
aquarium heater and some
plastic plants for decor.
But it's usually cloudy
and smells bad, and my fish
don't live very long. The
people in the store have
tried to help but I wonder
if they know what they are
Thanks in advance.
Hello C. W. Keeping fish in an aquarium requires
the right equipment and a little bit of basic knowledge.
You've got an aquarium. Be sure it's made of materials
that are not toxic to fish. You said you bought
a 40-gallon aquarium from a live fish retailer.
So that aquarium is probably OK and not the cause
of your troubles.
Next you need a filter with a BIO-Wheel like the
Penguin made by Marineland. Undergravel Filters
and Canister Filters are not recommended. Click
to read about aquarium filters then continue and
read the information about having 1/4" or less of
gravel in your aquarium. Fish don't need gravel,
except when they live in fish bowls.
You'll need a reliable Aquarium Heater, if you keep
warm water fish. Heaters come in different sizes
and should be sized to your aquarium at about 5
watts per gallon, but this varies with the temperature
of the air that the aquarium is exposed to during
the coldest time of the year. The 150 watt heater
you have is about the right size.
Follow the simple advice about feeding, cleaning,
and partial water changes given at our site and
you should be very successful.
and read this page from top to bottom. Be sure you
understand the summary given at the bottom of that
page. Underlined words are, of course, links to
here and read most of the pages that are linked.
Some of the pages that are about fish for children,
ponds, fish bowls, etc. may not help you solve your
current troubles. If you absorb most of the information
on these pages and put it too good use, you'll avoid
I think this information will help you, and I wish
you'd been able to read it before you started having
I have purchased a 55 gal
I had owned tanks before
although many years ago.
I have amperor filter system
with a bio wheel and the
original filter that came
with the tank which is an
aquatech power filter.
I added the amount of gravel
that was recommended about
60 lbs. I let the
filters run and the water
to be right before introducing
the new fish, but since
adding the fish (9 small)
first I had problems with
the amonia levels rising
and the water being cloudy,
I tested the PH and was
told to bring it down with
a chemichal, it was at 7.6,
I did that.
Now I have noticed a few
of the fish have ich on
them (specially a clown
loach and a catfish), I
have done partial water
changes, added some aquarium
salt and quick cure as well
as some stress coat with
bacteria. Now since
I am medicating I have had
to turn off the filters,
my amonia levels are high
again and the ph is also
back up, I did raise the
temperature to about 82.
The fish are looking and
acting much better but my
water is still out of control.
After reading about bio
wheels on this web site,
my husband and I are wondering
if I should remove all the
gravel, by some bottled
spring or drinking water
and start all over again.
How do I get the bio process
going and should I remove
and get rid of this gravel.
Oh, I have also added white
carbon to remove amonia
to the extra container in
my emperor system. Any help
will be extremely appreciated.
We can't wait to get this
all set up and start acquiring
some new additions.
Hello Maritza. When you say you added the recommended
amount of gravel, I'm worried that you mean one
pound of gravel for each gallon of water. So you
added about 50 lbs. of gravel, which makes a layer
about 2" to 3" deep on the bottom of your aquarium,
and that is where many of problems started.
Gravel is only ornamental.
Most fish do not need gravel. We recommend a layer
of gravel that is at most 1/4" thick. We have hundreds
of aquariums in our facility without any gravel,
and the fish are very healthy.
you got about pH was baloney! If the pH of your
tap water from the faucet is between 7.0 and 7.8,
that tap water will be OK for most freshwater fish.
So put the pH test kit away and don't worry about
the pH anymore.
You don't need Stress Coat
and you should never turn off your filter. You might
remove the filter cartridge for about one hour,
after you add Quick Cure, so the
activated carbon in the filter cartridge will not
absorb the Quick Cure. But really you don't even
need to remove the cartridge, because it doesn't
absorb the Quick Cure very quickly.
We recommend using
bottled drink water, not distilled or de-ionized
water, in fish bowls. But we recommend using tap
water from the faucet for aquariums, because buying
55 gallons of bottled water for your aquarium would
be a waste of money.
Your fish have ich,
so I recommend that you give your aquarium the Recommended
here for the details.
for more information about how to get rid of cloudy
water, where you will read that you should not add
more fish to your aquarium, until the cloudiness
is gone and your water is clear.
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