i need help!!!

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shaggy created the topic: i need help!!!

Hi I'm new to the forum so i don't know if I'm posting my questions in the right spot but here go's. I purchased a 55 gal tank and cycled it with 12 feeder fish for about two weeks. The water kinda got cloudy in the process but at the end of the two weeks it started clearing up. So I removed the feeders and purchased two Oscars and two red belly pacus (hopefully a good combo). Every thing was going great until decided to get a new food, Tetra Cichlid jumbo sticks. The Oscars proved to be very messy eaters. Shorty after a few feedings the water got really cloudy. So I decided to clean the tank. I've done a little research on how to best way to clean the tank. So I purchased a gravel vacuum that made more of a mess than anything. So I completely removed the gravel washed it off and put it back in. Still the water is cloudy. I don't know if it's the filters I have or if I'm doing something wrong. I have the filter system the hangs on the top of the tank.

I guess what I'm asking for is some advise on cleaning my tank. And also some advise on what kind of filter system would be the best for my fish.

My Oscars are only baby's approximately 2" long. What would be the best food for them? Really I'm at a loss because my pacus are out growing my Oscars and everyone I talk to say my Oscars should grow faster. And they have stopped messing with the floating pellets and are starting to leave the jumbo sticks alone. They still like the feeders though.

Something else what environment should i have for them? I have a dragon figurine that they seem to constantly hide behind. And they don't seem to come out a hole lot unless they are being fed. Do I need more in the tank? I have some live plants that haven't really bloomed yet.
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OFL replied the topic: Re:i need help!!!

Unfortunately cleaning your tank is the least of your worries at the moment. Even though the fish may seem small at the moment, they won't stay like that for very long. 55 gallons is only big enough for one Oscar. Before it's too late, I would seriously think about offloading three of your fish. There is no way you can keep the pacu, they normally reached 12 inches in captivity but have the potential to reach 3 feet. As the fish grow bigger, your problems with water quality will just get worse.

Regarding the filtration, a good canister filter is always worth getting. Bio-(wheel) filtration is also a good, although I haven't used it. I'm sure that Ken well have something to say about that, he loves the stuff.

The smaller the tank, the more it will have to be cleaned. You will have to do a large water change once a week and probably vac the gravel as well. When cleaning your filter media, never do it out under tap water, only in existing tank water.

But like I said, you have far too many fish in your tank at the moment.

I may not always be right, but I am always the BOSS :-)
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Joliet Jake replied the topic: Re:i need help!!!

Hi and welcome to the forum! You've come to the right place for helpful advice and answers.

Penn is 100% correct, you need to do the following:

Get your 55 down to just ONE Oscar, because one Oscar alone requires a tank of 55 or larger, with no tankmates.

Buy a large canister filter (I can recommend the New Marineland C-360 which is currently on good sale at www.petmountain.com ) I happen to also like bio wheel filters as good supplemental filtration but in any event you need a filter rated for at least 250-300 GPH at bare minimum and I would go higher still. Buy the biggest you can afford. (That C-360 would be good on a 55)

Get yourself a good liquid reagent master test kit and try to provide us with readings for PH, Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates too. (Clear water is not a reliable indicator that the water parameters are safe for fish.)

Putting too many "keeper" fish in (especially fast growing potentially big messy fish)after just two weeks would have really stressed it out and I would bet strongly you don't have a completely cycled tank there, which the water tests will confirm. Spikes in ammonia or nitrites alone will soon become a life threatening condition, never mind the potential growth overcrowding. Pulling and completely washing your gravel was not good as that probably destroyed the little good bacteria that was beginning to grow in the gravel bed. Even with starter feeder fish, your tank would require at least 4-5 weeks most likely to cycle, not just the 2 weeks you allowed.

First things first, get your fish load down to just one fish, return the others to the store etc. This all may not be what you were hoping to hear, but it's the plain simple truth and your fish could be at great risk. If you don't have a master test kit, buy one and get some valid readings. Don't rely on the LFS to give you accurate readings as you need to be able to do your own testing and to understand the results too.

What kind of filter do you have right now? (If you have a hang on "bio wheel" filter, by all means KEEP IT and add a big canister filter to supplement your filtration. If the hang on is not a bio wheel type, replace it when you can with better filtration starting with a big canister and adding a bio wheel type later as a supplement)

Lastly, don't feed your Oscars "feeder fish" at all, unless you bred and raised the feeders yourself and have had the feeders quarantined for several weeks to be sure they are disease and parasite free. Buying feeders from your LFS (local fish store) is like playing russian roulette with 4 bullets in a gun that holds six. (What those feeder fish could have or be infected with, you can't see)

We've all made mistakes, myself included and I dare say I am not done yet.. ;) :laugh:

Ken, 51, NJ-USA (2 Tiger Oscars)
Need to give away one healthy 1 year old Oscar if you know of anyone interested. See the adoption thread for photos. Thanks!
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Chowder replied the topic: Re:i need help!!!

With only two weeks cycling - you may have more than filtration problems. Sometimes if you have all new stuff (new tank new filters new gravel) cycling can take up to six weeks.

A long time ago, I had a cloudy water issue because I rushed a cycle. It could be a bacterial bloom. Check out this google search & see if any of these articles describe what you're seeing.

And yeah - get yourself a BIG honkin' tank.

Good luck.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=cloudy+bacterial+bloom
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shaggy replied the topic: Re:i need help!!!

Thanks for all the info. I failed to mention that i do have a twenty gallon tank that the feeders go into "quarintine" before they go into the 55gal tank.

Could you guys give me some ideas on how to lower amonia and nitrite levels.

What size tank would you recomend for my fish because I really don't want to get ride of them.
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OFL replied the topic: Re:i need help!!!

Making sure that your tank is cycled will certainly help to keep ammonia and nitrite at an absolute minimum. Unfortunately if you have too many fish, you are very likely to have ammonia and nitrite present. If your biological filtration (the media inside your filters) cannot keep up with the amount of waste, ammonia will start building up in the main tank water. There is absolutely no way around it. You have either got to reduce the amount of fish you've got, or get a much larger tank. Like I said, for all the fish you've got, you are looking at around 600 plus gallons. That's a tank well over 10 feet long. Not only would you have to do the tank, you would have to get filtration for that. It would be a massive expensive job. I should know, I have got a 300 gallon tank on order and that is not cheap by any means.

So there you have it, not good news really. It really is up to you whether you take our advice. If you don't take it, your fish will die in the end, that I can guarantee

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Joliet Jake replied the topic: Re:i need help!!!

A few questions:

What are your readings for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?
PH reading is?
(I'll let Penn suggest the new tank size)

Regarding those feeders,
Every time you go to the LFS to buy more feeders,(even though you have them in a seperate 20) you risk introducing parasites or disease all over again to ALL the fish in that 20. That's why I advocate NOT feeding live feeders at all, unless you yourself have been breeding them at home and have complete control over their conditions and care. I don't know your circumstances and maybe you are doing that but it was worth mentioning. Nothing worse then raising an Oscar into adulthood and then causing his demise quickly with feeders that made him die.

Like I said in the earlier post, Even if it wasn't overstocked, the fact the tank is probably not cycled is very bad for all and any of your fish anyway. There is no magic bullet to fix this situation. You can't rush Mother Nature and her Bilogical Cycle either. (The magic bullet only worked once and that was in the Kennedy assasination because it was professionally orchestrated by a bunch of Gov't backed Hollywood producers called the Warren Commission.) :laugh:

Ken, 51, NJ-USA (2 Tiger Oscars)
Need to give away one healthy 1 year old Oscar if you know of anyone interested. See the adoption thread for photos. Thanks!
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OFL replied the topic: Re:i need help!!!


If you wanted to keep two Oscars and two pacu, you would really need to be looking for a huge tank. Pacu do have the potential to reach 3 feet. However I understand that 12 inches is an average in captivity. You would be well advised to seek advice from an expert on pacu, they would tell you exactly how often they exceed 12 inches. Oscars average around 11 or 12 inches in captivity although they do have the potential to reach 16 inches. If I was planning on keeping these fish together, I don't think I would go anything less than 500 gallons. That will be a little over 100 gallons for the Oscars, and near enough 400 gallons for the two pacu. That well may seem excessive. Problem is, you are dealing with fish that grow very big indeed. Nobody can guarantee that they won't get to their full size. You do occasionally come across a 16 inch Oscar, not very often, but they do pop up occasionally.

Personally speaking, I think it's far too much trouble and expense just for one species of fish. You could make for a much nicer aquarium with a much more variety of fish rather than just two pacu.

I may not always be right, but I am always the BOSS :-)
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shaggy replied the topic: Re:i need help!!!

Thanks for all the advise you guys. I think I'm gonna get a 200 gal. Acrylic tank and let it cycle a lot longer before I transfer my fish. I really appreciate it.:)
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pooky_84 replied the topic: Re:i need help!!!

Hey. Welcome to the site! I just recently set up my new tank, it's only 130 litre but my Oshie is still smallish. He looks so funny in his tank. When I set it up, I didn't let it cycle for very long as I was impatient and the levels of everything were a little off. But luckily now, three weeks later, things are going well. I hope things go better for you. And your oscars will love you for it. :)


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