is my filter too clean? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2014, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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is my filter too clean?

I think something's wrong with my tank? I've been doing 20-25% water change once a week, and rinsing one half of the filter media (gently, in old-fish-water bucket) every other week, the other half two weeks later. It used to be the filter was always full of dark gunk, but now it's not. Last time I cleaned filter there was very little debris, this time there was almost none, and it's not dark brown/black. It's pale tan. Is there something wrong? Am I cleaning it too often?

Also maybe related, maybe not- some of my fish have stringy pale poo. I do feed them peas once a week (after a day of no food) and occasionally give them zucchini- I thought the zucchini caused pale poops- but now I worry they have internal parasites?

One died last week had been skinny for a very long time. The others all look/act fine.
My water params are Ammonia zero, Nitrite zero, Nitrates 40.

Should I be concerned and what can I do thanks for any help
(I've had this aquarium almost a year and still trying to figure out how to do it right)
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2014, 08:52 PM
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I might increase the amount of water that you change to 50%.
Usually a planted tank needs some nitrates but 5-15 is better for the fish.
Unless I misunderstood you the filter pads each only get rinsed in tank water once a month ? If this is correct that is not too often.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2014, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, that's correct. I'm just puzzled why there's no dark debris in the filter now. Thought I'd been overdoing it.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2014, 09:55 PM
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+1 Ray. Sometimes a fish will get picked on to death, and it's an isolated incident in your tank. You can do both sides of the filter at the same time in water from the water change - it shouldn't affect the bacteria enough to notice.

A couple of other things you can do is make sure you're not overstocked and make sure you have good circulation of the water in the tank. Sounds like you're not overfeeding. Don't worry about parasites - it sounds like it might be related to the vegetables. Don't worry and don't fix what ain't broke. Enjoy your tank.

MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2014, 09:55 PM
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How big is your tank?

What filter are you using?

How many fishies/inhabitants?

Is this high tech or low tech?

What type of firts do you use?

How much do you feed?

Then we can give you a better idea of whats going on.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-17-2014, 11:53 PM
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What species of fish have the stringy feces?

Wild caught bottom feeders often have parasites. I treat them while they are in the quarantine tank for internal parasites.

A fish that has been thin for a while might indeed just be stressed, or the 'low fish on the totem pole' so is getting less to eat. But it sure could have parasites.
I would treat them, just to be sure.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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I think there's good circulation? when occasionally stuff gets stirred up from the gravel the filter clears it in less than 20 min.

It's a 20 gallon long. Marineland Penguin 170 biowheel.

I have 12 fish (7 cherry barb, 1 plakat betta, 2 kuhli loaches, 2 platyfish) 1 nerite snail, a bunch of malaysian trumpet snails.

Low tech, low light- "daylight spectrum" T12 20 watt bulb on 6 hrs per day

I try to feed a variety, and several months ditched the low quality flake food for new stuff that doesn't have fillers- I have mostly omega-one brands. I give them two kinds of flake, spirulina wafer, shrimp pellet, betta micropellets, betta flake, freeze-dried bloodworms, zucchini, peas, occasionally fruit flies I catch in the house. Feed once a day, once a week fast, day after that give the pea. On days they get flake (every other day, or every third day) I feed twice a day, but very small pinch. They go crazy for it. Gone in less than a minute.There's usually not much left over for the kuhlis to find, sometimes I try to put a bit of shrimp pellet or spirulina wafer straight into their cave where the other fish don't go so easy. Maybe that sounds complicated, but I just alternate what they get- this week they haven't got zucchini yet, so that's why I worried the lighter poo was parasite not food-related.

I wasn't giving any ferts for a long time but some of my plants were turning yellow, or melting away so I put in 1 root tab broken up (per the whole tank- did not want at all to overdo it) and 4-5 drops of seachem flourish, once a week (the root tab I did once 2 weeks ago have not added more yet). I'm seeing better plant color and root growth since, but think maybe they don't need the flourish and more iron from the root tabs instead? Not sure. I was thinking of next week foregoing the flourish and putting in another root tab... any advice on that is helpful, thanks. I'm still new to plants!

Oh, I thought it was too much nutrients because although the plants are growing better now, there's still have black and dark green splotches on many older leaves- it doesn't rub off- I assumed this was the plant having some deficiency, not algae.

~
It's the platyfish that had stringy pale poo. Today one had normal poo, the other one stringy white, almost clear. They both came from online fish dealer. The one that died recently was platyfish too.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 04:14 AM
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I hope your platyfishes stay in good shape.

Seachem Root Tabs are meant to be installed deep under the roots of heavy root feeders like swords, for example. If your method is giving you good results I would keep on doing it.

Seachem Flourish Comprehensive, which I think you were talking about, has the same stuff as the Root Tabs but it's liquid for the water column, for plants that don't primarily get their nourishment through the roots. I don't think they have much macronutrients, which is supposed to be provided by the fish poo and the nitrogen in the water.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I put the root tabs in the substrate, shoved in deep with a finger. I meant for the flourish to feed the java fern- but they do have long threadlike roots that go down into the substrate, so I suppose they pull up nutrients that way too? I didn't think of it before.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 01:58 PM
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The Java Fern feeds from its leaves - the "roots" don't contribute, so tabs aren't necessary and they use ferts from the water column.

MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Ok. I have other plants too though- amazon sword, anubias, crypt wendtii, water sprite (that one's doing terrible- the stems always rot away), aponogenton, vallisneria and rotalia.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 02:25 PM
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My filters aren't filled with black stuff. It the prefilter that is full of that I have to clean those out with every water change. If your filter is that clean you can probably clean it little less often. Sounds to me that your like me, a clean freak that just hates a dirty filter.

As far as root tabs I do my vals , crypt's & amazon swords. Every other month and have seen good growth .
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