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Old 10-02-2010, 05:04 PM   #1 
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Exclamation What's happening to my tanks?

I have two tanks and each is having it's own problem.

The first tank is a 2.g gal heated, non-cycled with reg. water changes. It had a deep gravel with plastic and silk plants and a fake drift wood cave thing. It was up for three weeks and after the first water change it started having problems. The week after the first water change (weekly) my betta got very sick, wouldn't swim or eat, just floated in a corner. So I changed it again and he didn't get better. The had a very foul smell, but looked clean. Then a couple days before I did this last change I found what i'm sure is the problem. Coming up from the rocks was a brown foggy looking "chemical". I didn't notice it before but I wasn't looking for anything. I had thought it was just the fish. I just got him. So I cleaned the tank again today, threw the rocks out and now he has a sand bottom. But he's so sick that I don't know if he'll pull through it. Does anyone know what the brown murk could've been? I cleaned the rocks throughly before putting it in the tank, and clean it just as well with each water change. The rock is the same kind as the second tank, but from a different bag bought on a different day.

The second tank is a 12 gal. community with female bettas, tetras, and corys. It's cycled with water changes as needed. I just lost the second betta with the same "problem". They get kinda suicidal and will get stuck on the filters, and I'll get them off when I see them stuck on it but they go right back to it and get stuck again. They do that for a couple days and then bury themselves under a plant and die. Could there be something going on with them?
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Old 10-02-2010, 05:18 PM   #2 
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It sounds like toxic gas is building up in the substrate in the tanks. When you do water changes, it doesn't mater if the tank is cycled or not, you need to move the gravel or sand around to make sure bubbles of the toxic gas doesn't build up. When it does, the gas (brown murky "chemical") will start despersing in your tank and slowly killing fish. If you don't gravel vacuum, you need to start doing that.

with your new sand bottom, every time before you do a water change, take your gravel vac or a turkey baster and try to suck up the mulm (gross stuff) from the sand surface and then swirl your hand through the sand to move it around. Make sure all of the sand is well moved and turned over that way the toxic gas won't build up, and the mulm (gross stuff) will be stirred up so when you do a water change, you can get all the mulm and stuff out.
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Old 10-02-2010, 05:32 PM   #3 
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one side not on the sand if it is play sand or some other dense or sand that can get packed down you have a little easier time caring for it. basically if you have a packing sand you just siphon or vacum up the waste as it will for quite some time sit on top of it you don't need to stir it more than every few months if at all.

with soft fine fine grade swallowing sand you need to sift the sand every few weeks to prevent a return of your sulfites *brown eggs smelling stuff*

above all if you don't have the experiance *ment nicely* to care for gravel be wary of sand. perhaps changing from flakes to pellets would help.

also it is advisable to unless you have a sand sifting animal in your tank keep the depth of the sand to less than 1 inch preferably for a fish only no live plants just enough sand to cover the glass. if you want plants try keeping them potted.
if you need a deeper sand for plants then again try to keep under 1 inch and preferably just build up where the roots will be to the depth they need. so as to not hurt your fish.

basically that brown stuff and egg smell mean your tank is producing sulfites which could cause your ph to drop down to an extreemly acidic condition. and is a very large problem in salt water and deep sand beds. for more info on the sulfuric acid situation google "deep sand beds" it will give way way indepth info on how to set up maintain sand substrate.
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Old 10-02-2010, 08:58 PM   #4 
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Thanks for the insite!

So was the gas caused by having too much gravel? The gas is only in the small tank. The big tank is just fine other than my girls getting stuck on the filters and dieing under a plant.

When I clean the small tank I always take it apart and clean the gravel little by little so it gets a very thorough cleaning. And he's fed pellets. For the big tank I do flakes at the moment because my cories will not eat the algae waffers, but will eat the flakes that fall down. I haven't found a better alternate for that yet. When doing a water change for the big tank I usually stir up the gravel and get as much as I can up. Then every couple weeks I take out the decor and stir it up really well and get all I can out.
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Old 10-02-2010, 11:56 PM   #5 
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Concerning the Bettas getting stuck on the filter, it is likely the inlet current is just too strong for them, and for some reason they just like to hang in the spot where the filter is. Bettas are not the best swimmers, and while female fins are relatively small, they are still larger than many fish and susceptible to currents. If you can, turn down the current on your filter. Otherwise maybe set up some decorations around the filter inlet so they can't get into close proximity to it. Wrapping a filter sponger around the inlet might help as well.
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