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Old 08-09-2011, 11:01 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Virginia
I have a small problem...

Well, actually it's a reasonably large problem. I just figured if I put that as the title I'd scare help away. I'm going to try and keep this brief, but there's a lot of information to cover, and I have a tendency to ramble on and on... So I apologize in advance!

I ordered a fish from aquabid a couple weeks ago and placed him in my heavily planted 10 gallon tank (See my other posts for a video.) - the only other inhabitants are 3 amano shrimp. He appeared perfectly healthy. Swam vigorously, made unbelievably large bubble nests... All that good stuff. What he did not like was my whisper EX20 filter. In my defense, I was not planning on keeping bettas when I purchased it. It seemed to really scare him, but he's a fighter and repeatedly swam into the strong output current. Not wanting my prized fish to be subjected to unnecessary stress, I swapped it out for a Hydro Sponge filter rated for 5-10 gallons. I figured the plants would not only hold enough beneficial bacteria to keep the tank cycled, but would also pick up the extra slack from the lesser filtration. Additionally, I diluted some Fluval Peat Granules in dechlorinated water to help with the hard water as recommended by another site. The water was slightly cloudy, but I figured I had triggered a mini-cycle.

Fast forward a few days... The chest I was using as a stand cracked and threatened to give out. I raced to the store and purchased an aquarium stand. To transfer the tank to it's new pedestal, I drained about 90 of the water in to buckets so I could pick up the tank (and also keep the amanos in there without trying to catch them). I transferred the water back in and wasn't surprised that it was a bit cloudier after some of the fluorite substrate was shaken up. Unfortunately, that cloudiness has not subsided after a week.

I figured the tank was re-cycling, and opted to pick up a liquid test kit, just to make sure it was safe for my baby. Surprisingly, everything read zero. Ammonia was fine, Nitrates were zero, and Nitrites might have been ever-so-slightly elevated, although after examining the test tube and getting a few second opinions, I was told I was paranoid and that the colors matched zero perfectly. If there were nitrates, it couldn't have been higher than .05ppm.

Today I noticed my betta's eyes are a bit cloudy. I watched him carefully and observed when I put the food in - He's definitely not blind. I scattered the pellets around the tank and he easily scoped each one out and devoured it. No other abnormalities that I can see -coloration is perfect, activity level is impressive and he even blew a monstrous bubble nest today; quite possibly the largest I've seen in my time betta keeping.

The only thing I could find out-of-whack in my tank was on the output of my C02. There was a thick white slime accumulating that I removed. It smelled strongly of sulfur. I also woke up today to find a super-thin layer of algae on every inch of the glass. I found that really odd, since there have been no changes in my lighting schedule.

So, I have a cloudy eyed betta, a cloudy tank and no idea what's causing it. I posted in this section because I assumed the cloudy eyes were a result of the mysteriously cloudy water. I'm inclined to believe that the C02 slime is not a leak from the system, as I read that if a yeast-sugar solution were entering the water that the levels would be elevated, which they are not.

Phew, that was an earful. Any help or suggestions would be so very appreciated. For the mean time, I moved the whisper filter back in and run it periodically. Figured the benefical bacteria and peat that's in it may help things out... Couldn't think of anything better.

Thank you so, so much in advance!
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Old 08-10-2011, 02:05 AM   #2 
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I have the flourite stuff and even after stirring it up my filter takes it out within a day. What is the GPH on the Whisper?

Also, do not just run the filter periodically. This is totally counterproductive. In fact, if you are leaving it off for more than a few hours, any good bacteria inside are dead or dieing. Meaning you are just dumping dead bacteria into the tank. A tank that is already going through puberty. lol.

Reduce the lights. Or increase them. I can't remember which you are supposed to do with algae....

You should probably just baffle the filter. I have a filter that does 20 GPH on a 5 gallon tank and the surface of the water is almost perfectly still. I baffle with a Hagen filter sponge, so I actually get even more space for good bacteria. :)

I am sure someone like OFL will come by soon. She will know exactly what to do!
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:53 PM   #3 
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Cloudy eyes are usually a sign of some sorta bacterial infection brewing, unless its in his family to have clouded eyes.

For algae, reduce the nutrients and reduce the light, I'd say. Scrape off all that you can, too.

If its still cloudy, shove the original, stronger filter into the tank and let it run full blast with the other filter. Remove the betta to protect him, and put him in a spacious QT tank for the time. That's what Ive read to do about the kick-up, anyway.

Check to make sure his eyes dont begin to bulge or anything :o
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:05 PM   #4 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Sounds like a nutrient over load in the water column from disturbing the substrate.....manually remove as much of the algae and make a 50% water change for a couple of days...

If you are on a 10h photoperiod...stay with that or increase to help the plants out compete the algae for nutrients.......what kind of lights, kelvin, watts and age of bulbs....

Either leave the filter running or remove posted, death of nitrifying bacteria from limited oxygen and you can dump a bigger mess in the tank every time you turn it on.......the sponge filter should be fine for filtration especially in a planted tank.....

Be sure and shake, bang and shake some more in #2 reagent tends to settle and you can get skewed results, however, its not uncommon to not have nitrates in a heavy planted tank with low stocking.....

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 08-10-2011 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:39 PM   #5 
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Ky: I'm not sure of the exact GPH on the filter. It's very, very high though and can rocket a fish from the output into the adjacent aquarium glass very easily. Most fish are not strong enough to swim against it. Definitely not a good betta filter. And Flourite is a total mess, I agree. But mine has FINALLY reached a point where it doesn't cloud just from re-positioning a plant, so I don't think it's normal stir-up causing my cloudiness.

Pew: Good to know on the bacterial infections. His eyes aren't heavily clouded, but they are a little bit murky. I honestly can't recall if his eyes were like that when I got him. I don't think they were, though... I feel like that's something I would have noticed right away. I'm really hesitant to move him to a different tank. My options are limited to a divided 10 gallon with a track record of him jumping over and beating his sister up twice, or a 1.5 gallon conditioning tank that isn't cycled. Both make me nervous... I'm going to give it a day or so before I move him, just to avoid the stress, small living quarters and uncycled water. I'm watching him like a hawk though... Nothing is going to get worse without me noticing.

OFL: Yep, that sounds about right to me... From what I've read it matches my tank's symptoms perfectly. I will remove the algae and do a water change right after I post this. Upon further thought, I forgot to mention I dosed a bit too high on flourish comprehensive last time... May be the culprit.

I am on a 10 hour photoperiod. I'm using a NOVA Extreme HO T5 light with a 24 watt flora (pink) bulb and a daylight bulb also at 24 watts for my 10 gallon tank - 5 watts per gallon, roughly. Both are 10,000k and about... 2 months old.

I was unaware of nitrifying the bacteria... I actually had the filter idle for about two weeks and it cycled my second tank within a day and a half after I moved it. Perhaps because the filter media is submerged when the filter is off? Maybe I just got lucky...

Thank you for the tip on the nitrate test, I'm pretty sure I didn't shake any of the bottles before adding them to the vials. I will test again right now and post my results...

You guys are so great! Thank you so much for all the wonderful advice and help you've given me. I love this forum. :)
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:05 PM   #6 
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The whisper filter, you can put sponge or cloth over the intake without stopping its operation - this will slow down the flow some. I've got one of those and the only problem I've had is the motor fell off XD.

Tho the EX series aren't very good for betta they're awesome for surface agitation and functionality.

The EX20 is nominally 150gph, the trouble is it has a nice smooth slope-out on the return which produces a ribbon of very very fast water flow. As I said before you can almost completely block the intake without stalling it, one option is to get filter material and wrap it around the intake-strainer either with rubber bands or twist ties.

If you're using carbon injection I'd not use the sponge filter with air-stone or the EX20 wide open. Carbon injection usually runs better with canister/submerged type filtration. You CAN use a sponge filter with a low flow power head stuck in the top.

Generally I've heard to simply turn off and clean the carbon injection system and leave it out of the tank until any blooms, debris or other abnormal conditions are resolved. The CO2 can cause live anaerobic bacteria blooms IN the water column. The gas can also bind to the surface of particulate and keep it boyant when it would otherwise settle.

But, more so than all these concerns the white stuff is fungus.

Whatever may be in the tank, I'd put in some Jungle Fungus Cure/Furan-2. In deference to the plants and the other habitants I'd not immediately add salt or hardness. (the furans are beautiful wide-spectrum multi-life single cell inhibitors, always have some on hand).

(Elevated retained CO2 levels will always grow fungus. Brother and I did his Jr High science project using five closed greenhouses: The plants in the elevated and high CO2 units were eaten by fungus even as they grew rapidly.)

The only modification I've seen reliably work with the EX20 is to cut slits 3mm wide with 5mm solid between about 3cm deep into the output shelf. A sponge placed on top would likely work but I'm betting it'd need to be below water surface to work well.

Turn off CO2 injection, remove and clean the apparatus.
Mount EX20 with new non carbon filled filter media and use to clean water column.
Treat for fungal/anaerobic tank infection (aeration and furan-2).
Allow debris to settle then clean substrate with agitation-siphoning.


Buy a new 10g tank body, set up, catch and transfer fish and plants, treat for fungus and bake the old substrate at 190 degrees for about an hour on a steel cookie sheet. (let substrate cool off in oven, hard to get flourite out of linoleum flooring)
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:09 PM   #7 
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Originally Posted by Thunderloon View Post
(let substrate cool off in oven, hard to get flourite out of linoleum flooring)
Oh, Thunder-- did I ever giggle when I read this. I really did.

Good luck, Nex :)

btw- the betta should be fine in an uncycled tank. Really- it will,so long as its acclimated well and for a good length of time. If you're going to treat it with medicines or salt, it will need frequent changes and no filter (or not carbon, at least), so a cycled tank isnt a good option anyway :D
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:04 PM   #8 
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Okay... I have an update on the tank...

After posting last night I noticed that there was a fine, super thin white ring around my betta's eye, which I have yet to identify. I moved him to the 1.5 gallon after putting new water in it. He seems to be handling it fine, although he seems a bit bored. Aquarium salt was added to aid in the recovery process.

I scrubbed the algae off the tank last night, and turned on the whisper filter along with the sponge filter that had been in the tank. I didn't test the levels... I feared I'd drop a vial in my half-asleep state. I woke up this morning and the water was perfectly clear. Tested the levels and got similar results. 0 Nitrate, 0 Ammonia, .10 Nitrites and a 7.4 PH.

Those conditions are livable for a betta (PH is a oddly high) but I'm still a bit skeptical about putting him back in there given that I got identical test results and still have no idea what gave him the cloudy eyes.

So what do you guys recommend from here? Should I go ahead with those water changes, or leave it be since it cleared up? Until I hear otherwise I'm going to let the filter run a bit longer (has peat in the filter media) to help with the PH and continue battling whatever was afflicting my tank.

Thunder: C02 will do that... In concentrated doses that my system could never provide. There could have been inadequate surface agitation when the sponge filter was added, perhaps the levels built up too much and resulted in the cloudiness. Regardless, thank you so much for the advice! I'm thinking I'm going to hold off on the fungus treatment for the time being though. They're expensive and I really have nothing to lose in the tank now that my betta has been moved. Worst comes to worst, I pick up a few amanos at work...
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:28 PM   #9 
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Let it run a while longer... just to let it figure itself out. Keep your little fella in QT for a bit longer.

Can you get a picture of those eyes? :O
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