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BlueWolf's Howl

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September 11, 2018

Angels in Heaven and Filters

All my angels went to heaven. I no longer have any angelfish in my tanks. It's my fault and I am sorry. I loved watching them.

The first two died after a few days. I saw them struggling and I tested the water - 1 ppm ammonia. I quickly set up a new (old) tank to put them in with fresh water, but by the time I had it set up - they were already dead.

I took that as a lesson and set up a "hospital" tank to have at the ready in case more fish struggled. It's a small 10 gal tank with live plants and a Penguin 150 filter. The filter runs 100 gph (gallons per hour) and is for up to a 20 gal tank. This filter runs the entire 10 gal tank 10 times per hour.

By the time the next two fish were struggling (a few days later), I quickly transferred them into the tank. The struggling fish eventually recovered and lasted to the end (they were the last angels to go).

A few days later (after about a week or two) six fish died. I didn't even see them struggle. I looked over at the tank and four were laying flat on the bottom. I scooped them out and about an hour later I saw two more.

I know I overstocked the tank. I thought the tank was ready - but it wasn't. I thought the AquaClear 50 pumping 200 gals per hour would compensate. I hoped the Nitra-Zorb would help to fix my mistakes. But it didn't. And now I know you don't add the fish all at once.

It will probably be a month before I get any replacement fish. I took the 3 cory catfish from the guppy tank and put them in the angel tank. From my experience in the goldfish tank, I know cory cats are resilient. And you have to have some fish in there (creating ammonia) to complete the nitrogen cycle. I believe my catfish are up to the job!

The guppy/danio tank - which was (and still is) my dirtiest tank was losing guppies daily. Not a one danio has even shown signs of slowing down, much less cuddling the filter (dying). That 20 gal tank has live plants and two Penguin 150 filters. Yes, that means that 200 gallons per hour are running through the filters. It's my dirtiest tank because it was way overstocked. I put in two plecos, 10 zebra danios and 10 guppies. It was spectacular! And it was also a spectacular fail.

The three remaining guppies are now in the hospital tank. Hopefully that has increased their chance for survival. And they are helping to cycle the hospital tank now that the angels are gone. They also have two crayfish for tank cleaners. I call the crayfish my little micro-lobsters. They look just like lobsters - and they were expensive (about $10 each). They are really amusing to watch (the cat agrees). I wasn't so amused when one of them grabbed an angelfish by the tail and wouldn't let go. That's how they ended up in the hospital tank. [Many of the angels were still alive at the time.]

The goldfish tank is still doing fine. It has the large carp, two comets, two albino cory catfish and six plecos. It has one live plant that is getting nibbled quite a bit. It only has one TopFin 20 filter. The fish in this tank survived (I don't know how) without a filter for years. But since I was setting up all the other filters, I put one on this tank. I went to look for the specs online - and found that this filter has been recalled. Apparently there is a shock hazard.

In a way, that's fine. It's probably better to have all of the same filters. I like the Penguins because they have two filter chambers. This makes it a bit easier to swap out filter cartridges. You can add a new filter (in front or in back) and wait a while before removing the old filter. If you merely swap out a filter, you are removing much of the beneficial bacteria along with the old filter. With the Penguin filters, you also have a "bio-wheel" so when you swap out filters, you don't lose all of the bacteria. The bio-wheel should never be replaced. If there is build-up on it - you rinse it with tank water and plop it back in. And the size B filter cartridges come in a 6 pack - so it's more convenient to only need one type of filter replacement.

The AquaClear 50 on the angel tank is a little different. It has 3 stages - a foam filter, activated charcoal and biomax beads. The activated charcoal is to be replaced every month, the foam insert every two months and the biomax beads every three months. It's going to take more effort to keep on that schedule for just one filter, but I do like that this one has an adjustable flow. The angelfish like less turbulent water - so I have a gang valve on the bubble stone and an adjustable flow on my power filter.

One last note about additives - I'm also using Stabilize in the three new tanks. It's supposed to cycle the tank faster by adding beneficial bacteria. There are a number of "tips and tricks" to cycle the tank faster. But from my testing, I can see that it's not as fast as you imagine. It just takes time. The daily water changes may help, but they are not completely solving the ammonia problem.


Posted by BlueWolf on September 11, 2018 11:11 PM