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Old 06-23-2011, 04:42 PM   #1 
Punki
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Activated carbon/cycling questions

Well i went out and bought a 10 gallon fishtank for 26 dollars at petsmart, good deal actually, hood, light, conditioner, and filter. Ive decided to take the "risk" and slowely start working on my iron tap water. Will activated carbon in the filtration slowely catch all of that iron and remove it? Im using Prime and 10 drops of AP crystal clear. The crystal clear makes alots of gobs of iron sink to the bottom then get sucked up so far but overall after 2 hours the water is just orange tinted, and very cloudy. Im hoping that i can use the carbon filtration to make the water clear and then slowely add my male/female betta after a water test. I wanted to do a fishless cycle at first but my males tank has been a hazard for him twice now and ive torn it apart trying to fix the problem and now its pretty useless so i want him in a new tank asap. I dont mind water changes as long as they are pretty comfortable and the waters not looking disgusting like this. Long term after the tank has cycled ill buy spring water to mix with my tap as i do currently but as its cycling id like to just use tap since its alot of water. Any suggestions? Experiences? ideas? :) Also my males tank was semi cycled, it was a 3 gallon so not a stable cycle but a cycle nonetheless. Ive everything from his tank into the new tank and the items were in filtration the whole time, other then picking up and moving them. It used an undergravel filtration system so im hoping the gravel will carry some of the good bacteria to get things started. I have an amonia tester but no liquid kit. I just planned on doing 2-3 50% water changes a week with gravel vacuum once a week, is that enough for cycling a 10 gallon with two bettas?

Last edited by Punki; 06-23-2011 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:55 PM   #2 
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Hm ill give myself alittle bump, hopefully someone in my situation comes along.
Happy to say that as the day and night go on its getting clearer, slowely. Yellow tinted water now instead of cloudy brown rust. I will acclimate the fish VERY slowly since they are going from 75% spring water 25% tap to straight TAP. Im going to keep letting it run because when i got my three gallon i set it up, acclimated, put my male in and woke up to cloudy tank and a floating almost dead betta. Getting him out and into fresh water slowely helped but the only thing i think could have caused it was "New tank syndrome" so i want to avoid that, how long/ways to make that not happen in this?
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Old 06-24-2011, 11:09 AM   #3 
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I actually have a lot of suggestions. Forgive me if I come off as a blow hard. I've just had as much trouble with cycling and rusty water as you. XD

For starters, you can't use a betta for in fish cycling. He'll have to stay in the tank he has until you fix up the new tank. Did you read the sticky on cycling? Your fish nearly died because of the ammonia spikes that happen in the first few days (not to mention the fact that the water was still yellow-ish). You would have to make multiple 50-75% water changes a day to keep fish alive. I would only suggest fish in cycles to people who work from home. Fishless cycles don't endanger fish and give people with busy schedules room to make mistakes. Since you also have an iron problem, you're basically stuck with doing a fishless method. I would also get a liquid test since paper test strips are too inaccurate for tracking a cycling tank.

As for the clumps of iron, instead of relying on your filter, just pick the clumps up with a turkey baster or gravel vacuum. The iron is removed from the water and your filter doesn't have the extra stress of iron clumps to deal with. I looked up the products you say you use and I doubt the makers expected the number of clumps you're describing. You could easily overload your filter by accident.

I have a hardness issues in my new apartment and had to deal with my Grandma's rusty pipes while I lived with her. So I've had two different water problems in the past. I'll describe what I did at my grandma's house since that's more similar to your problem. But I will say that harder than usual water is much easier to deal with than old rusty pipes. So, I can feel your pain. >.<

My Grandma's house has 40 year old pipes, so I always had to wait until the water was frigid (colder water = less iron picked up), condition it, and then let it sit for about three days. If the water did come out brown, I would just dump it and then wait for it to clear up again. NovAqua & AmQuel combined with a good filter have always been enough for me and I never had brown water as long as I dumped the rust spikes I would see occasionally.

Brown cloudy water shouldn't be coming out of a faucet constantly. Are you using a tap you drink from? I always use the kitchen sink since I know the water comes out well enough for me to drink. If you are using a basement or outside tap, then you may have to switch to a kitchen or bathroom faucet. But in case you are using a good faucet, let your water run through a briter filter or something equivalent. Any filtered water I drank definitely tasted fresher than the water straight from the tap.

Now...for mean part of this response. >.<
You CANNOT acclimate a betta to unhealthy water. I don't know why you are in such a rush, but there is no way to put a betta in water you're describing without killing him. If the water isn't ready, then the water isn't ready. You can't rush water changes and acclimation when your water is screwed up. I don’t know what went wrong with your other tank, but that doesn’t mean you can rush your fish into a new home. Even with ideal water, cycling will take a while after the first ammonia spike since the nitrate step determines the pace. You're in for a 4-8 week wait if you’re lucky. You will not have a cycled tank in just a few evenings.

I'm not being harsh at this point to be mean. I'm just being honest. If you continue to rush, your fish will only get hurt again. I hope he’s feeling better. You may have to monitor him for a few days to make sure. : /
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:44 PM   #4 
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I think im being misunderstood and im sorry if i worded things wrongly. I have ferrous iron in my well source water, ( 1.5 mg/L )when it comes out of the faucet its mostly clear, only a minor yellow tint if its a glass held up to light, but as oxygen gets into it the color starts to appear. It doesnt come out red. We dont drink/eat from any water at our home, nor do any of our neighbors unless they bought a water softener, we all buy bottled water for everything. Ive read many times on the forums of people doing a fish-in cycle safely with bettas as long as the needed water changes are made. I also have live plants as well. Ive bought the best conditioner, and i plan on taking my water to be tested before putting any fish in. But i did plan on a fish in cycle because leaving my male in a 1gal and my female in a 1.5 for another 4-6 weeks seems like itd do more damage then a constant water change schedule in a 10 gallon. Ive also seen a few people say that the cycle sticky was to vague and not 100% right. Ive also heard quite a few times that its best to use tap water. I just started out using spring water because its clear and didnt need chemicals (other then conditioner), but since im upgrading, id like to use my tap if possible. If not, then id be fine with syphoning my water out and adding spring, i just wanted to give my tap a chance. I gravel vac the clumps of iron that sink from the clearing drops.
The time that my male got sick, it was a 3 gallon acrylic tank that had been rinsed very well, and filled with 100% spring water and water conditioner, temp was good as well, and im not sure if ammonia can spike up to a lethal level in 12 hours with one betta in 100% spring water 3 gallon. Im not exactly sure what made him sick, i initially thought "New tank syndrome" but reading further into it, youd need alot more then a single betta fish to cause ammonia to shoot up to lethal level in a 3 gallon overnight, Maybe it was a gravel issue even though i rinsed it for an hour to make the black stop inking out.. But removing him, and doing a couple of 50% water changes cleared it up and then he was added back a few days later with no problems Just 3-4 water changes a week as needed. He has lived in it for 4 months since with 75% spring water 25% tap water treated and sat for 2 days. I took his water in and it had established a cycle, but in a 3 gallon a cycle isnt exactly stable so i still do frequent water changes just in case. I know a liquid test kit is recommended but with the price id rather just take my water in here and there and use other means at home. I dont work so i have the time anyways. I use this product to keep a general eye on ammonia levels, some may not like it,but it does change color and as it does i do changes as needed. I planned to move it to the 10 gal as a general idea of ammonia levels and just keep with the water changes for 10 weeks/until i take the water in and see a cycle showing, then cut the water changes down to the recommended amount for a 10gal.
http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...uctId=11147371
My mind tends to jump around alot so i can understand that id possibly be misunderstood, but i have read many people do fish-in cycle with a betta and as long as the water is changed OFTEN it should work i figured. Im not in such a hurry that id purposely injure my fish, i was just saying id like to make the transition as soon as possible, possible being safe of course.

Last edited by Punki; 06-24-2011 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 06-24-2011, 01:26 PM   #5 
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Yeah. I did misunderstand were the iron was coming from. Ferrous iron from well water and the plumbing iron (that probably had some copper as well) are too different problems. Also, letting it sit for two days is about the same thing I do. It just seemed like you toss him in the next day or something since you posted a few hours later. I thought your second tank disaster happened just before you posted the first time and you freaked out or something. Now that I know you took your time over a period of days and the story was 4 months old, it's obvious you aren't rushing like I feared earlier. :)

The sticky also seemed incomplete to me as well, but it does answer some basic questions. So, that's why I suggested it as a starting put. Now it seems like you have more experience with tanks than I do. I have a job that keeps me kind of busy, so I picked a fishless cycling method so I could miss some changes and not hurt my fish. My bettas are still in there 1gal tanks since I have an apartment and can only have so many big tanks. The Ammonia Alert could be nice for my 1 gallons since the levels can creep up pretty fast in the smaller tanks. So I may be getting a few stares along with you if I see it at petsmart or petco tomorrow. >.>

Sorry my post didn't help since we had two different iron issues. I'm glad your fish is doing well. I'm also glad you were using well water, because I couldn't figure out how you were using plumbing with that much industrial iron leeched into your water. I had an image of yellowish-brown water coming out of all your faucets on a daily basis. XD
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Old 06-24-2011, 03:08 PM   #6 
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Its so easy for me to jump from thing to thing and make things confusing sorry XD Im still letting it run through the carbon activated filter. I called and asked my stepmom about her water since she had it tested not long ago and shes my neighbor and apparently not only is there iron but theres alot of tannins. That may explain why its a deep yellow color despite vaccuming all of the iron out. I guess our water wouldnt kill us to drink but it has a taste so we stick with bottled for eating, still bath in it, but use a few drops of iron out in the laundry and it keeps things nice and white. I know the type of iron your talking about though, when i lived at another place when id turn the water on itd sort of "cough" and all this nasty orange stuff would come out before gonig clear (yuck!) but nah this is relatively clear at first, just deepens color and settles as it oxygenates. Im so fearful to try it on my fish though :)) Im collecting rainwater right now as a backup but i read rainwaters Acid is a bit too high so ill research that was well. Maybe 50% rainwater 50% tap treated and aged. I use oak leaves for tannins already so if its just tannins discoloring my water now then i dont mind so much :)) I guess i have alot more testing/research to do XD
I do have a toddler and she can keep me pretty busy but other then her the fish are my fun time :) That ammonia alert does work though, i do reccomend it, i put it in my 1g kritter keeper with my girl and the next day it registered ammonia, and the second day rose a bit more so i knew it was time :) Thanks for your responses though. :)
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:44 PM   #7 
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Well we had a good rain, the buckets were all away from the house and i just gathered the rain and its orangy tinted as well. All i can figure is that since im covered by oak trees/palm trees/pine trees and live in the middle of a forest basically that the rain hits the trees first and the orange is tannins/pollen?
lol, taps orange after sitting and rains a rusty tint by the time it gets to the ground. -shakes head-

Last edited by Punki; 06-24-2011 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 06-26-2011, 12:08 AM   #8 
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Orange lightbulb?

Iron in the water: API sells ion exchange resin bags, that's the material in water softeners.

You can get a one half cup bag for about five bucks and it will last more than a thousand cycles and draw ten gallons down by six degrees of iron hardness.

liiinkie: http://www.bigalsonline.com/Fish_Fil...tml?tc=default
other: http://www.petsolutions.com/storefro...nerPillow.html

So you take this and whack it around in a pint of water that has two flat tablespoons of aquarium salt in it for about... 30 seconds new and 2 minutes used. You then give it a quick douse of water from the tap to knock the free salt off and stick it in your bucket. Fill the bucket with straight tap water. (doesn't matter, chlorinated or well are both fine)

If your iron is wicked bad let it settle in a bucket then siphon the clearer water off to another bucket.

Then swirl the pouch around in the clearer bucket OR put it in a filter in the bucket OR you can wedge it in a funnel and slowly pour the water through it when filling the bucket.

If you use a filter, I use a cascade 300 submersible, you can let it cook the bucket down to about 1.8 degrees or 32 actual hardness in about 15 minutes for the first one. It will take longer each time and when you've done ten gallons-ish just bonk it back in the bowl with the salt water and poke it around a bit. You'll SEE the iron come off and smell chlorine.

Its ok, really!, to use these pouches in chlorinated and chloriminated water. They actually take the sodium off the salt to kick the iron and calcium back into the water so exposure to chlorine is A-OK!

Just toss the brine cup water and then store it in fresh brine for the next use.

If you get the bottle container you use that bottle for the brine, if you get the ones in the rip-open envelope just go to wallyworld and buy a pint container made of plastics.

The one in the screw top cup is a very soft bag so be careful with it.

Long term solution for the fishes is either a $200.00 RO unit or you can get a closed can in-line water softener kit for about $100.00. They used to sell them as a big spray wand for cleaning RV's.

Honestly the bags work fine. Remember that dropping the hardness takes both the iron and the calcium out so don't cook it below the hardness you need.
OHAH... you'll need a Kh/Gh kit. When using the Gh test sight down the inside of the tube to check the color change.

For the tannins I THINK a pouch of Purigen will take care of them. Purigen is a fairly heavy user of chlorine and Prime to maintain and you MUST use only Prime to treat the water in the tank, anything with any kind of biological oils including Pimafix Melafix and Bettafix will gum up the Purigen. http://www.seachem.com/Products/prod...s/Purigen.html You can e-mail seachem and ask about tannins.

Last edited by Thunderloon; 06-26-2011 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:33 AM   #9 
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Very informative post Thunderloon, Thank you so much, that is awesome. I will definitely look into this and eventually try it out. We picked up a master test kit today, my fathers gf is doing a koi pond outside at their house and they use the same well water as i do and we were trying to figure things out. For now a gas station up the road said they didnt mind if we hosed jugs from the store so were doing that until we can be 100% sure we got our well water under control. Ive got a big big bottle of prime so no worries there, i trust it :) Thanks again!
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Old 06-26-2011, 02:40 PM   #10 
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NO GARDEN HOSES, take it straight from the tap

Only the blue with white stripe hoses manufactured for drinking water supply are safe. Everything else has antifungals in it that leach out and kill fish.
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