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Discussion Starter #1
I have been having problems with my 18 gal freshwater aquarium for 2 months. My filter broke and I had to get a new filter and it has been down hill ever since. This aquarium was quite stable until the new filter.

The first thing that happened was my water turned green. I figure out it was an algae bloom (first time experience here for me and the tank) and immediately took measures to clean up the algae, covered the tank in blankets, increased the oxygen, turned off the light and slowed down on the food.

Two weeks later - still pea soup. I bought some chemicals Tetra Algae Control, administered them according to the directions (took out the charcoal filter afterwards for 8 hours, etc) and have been doing this for 6 weeks now and the tank is still pea soup. I should also mention that 3 weeks ago I moved the tank to my basement where it is dark and the light in the tank is only on for 3 hours a day.

Today I look in the tank to count the fish (they look like shadows) and I see one of the silver dollars has ich I think (white spots/globs on fins). It is hard to even see these fish.

During this entire time I have been doing 25% water changes too. This whole thing is wearing me out.

My water chemistry is normal by the way.

Question: what can I do to help this tank? Do I need a better filter? do I need to get rid of the gravel (which has algae on it), I know I need to treat my fish with ich medicine (I think????) and have some at home.

I don't know where to start so any help for all of you enthusiasts would really help this novice out.

Lauren
 

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Ich doesnt show up on fins first if at all.

Ich is on the body due to food source.

The best Ich medicine is salt and heat.

Id get rid of the gravel. What filter are you using?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The filter I am using is a Marine Penguin Biowheel 150.

Anything I should know about getting rid of the gravel? Do I just scoop it out and put new gravel in?

Any idea what the white spots on the fins are?
 

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Well, the white spots sound like ich to me. They might be on the body too, but you just can't see them because of the pea soup water. Another possibility is velvet (Oodinium), thought ich sounds more plausible.
-The environment the fish are living in is probably stressing them out, hence the ich. I'd set up a little hospital tank for them and treat with salt and increased temperature for a couple weeks like WhiteDevil said.
-Next step is to get rid of your gravel. Siphon it all out, boil the gravel or get new stuff, and then put it back in. While the gravel is out of the tank, replace all or most of the water with fresh stuff.
-Since your fish will be in a different tank for a couple weeks, it's the perfect opportunity to let your gravel reseed itself with beneficial bacteria and hopefully get the tank back on track.
At least that's what I would do if it were my tank. It's strange though that changing the filter brought about this massive algal bloom. I personally don't like Penguins and recommend AquaClear filters for HOBs all the time. Are you currently running carbon in your filter?
 

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The green water is algae (or cyano bacteria) which will die off with a black out. You just didn't wait long enough.

I would seriously consider a planted setup. I have no green water and no ich by using live plants to maintain the system.

I suggest you try anacharis and vals which are fast growing and should rapidily turn this system around.

my .02
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for your kind and informative responses everyone. It is nice to post on a forum for the first time and not get flamed.

I don't know if a new filter caused the algae bloom ....it just happened right after I got it. This tank has been in the same place for 5 years and all of sudden it crashed.

I have been reading about setting up a hospital tank - do I need a separate glass/acrylic aquarium with a filter setup etc? This is getting expensive! I have (1) 3" fancy tail goldfish with (3) 1" to 1 1/2" silver dollar fish. What size do I need? Do I use the water from the tank to set up the hospital tank?

I have put plants in my tank before and my fish devour them - I am on a budget at the moment because I lost my job and putting plants in is so expensive at $6.00 a pop.

Lauren
 

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I would recommend you partition your tank to seperate the fish from the plants.

I understand completey. Plants are not a "free" options unless you have locals who are tossing some away each month. But if you use plants instead of filters you should "break even".

Best tank ever.

my .02
 
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Get a good uv sterilizer it will help with the green water and also kill ich parasites. The green water is probably caused by removing the old filter and adding a new one so your levels went out of whack. The ich was probably due to the fish being stressed from all the changes.

You don't need to remove the gravel, just vac it a couple of times a week a section at a time to help remove any cysts that maybe hidden in the gravel. With silver dollars, any plants that you put in there will become a salad for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well I went to my local fish store, instead of pestmart (tee hee), and purchased a new Eheim Filter, 3 vals and 2 achacaris plants, I also bought this thing that increases the flow at the bottom of the tank. I put my heater in the tank and turned it on low to medium, gave it some aquarium salt and did a 30% water change and vaccumed the gravel (which I haven't done in 3 weeks).

I am going to return my Marineland filter to pestmart tomorrow for a store credit. I don't think i worked properly.

The ph is a little high around 8.4 (or higher that is all my strip goes up to) so I put some water conditioner in the tank.

I hope they survive my ignorance.

Lauren
 

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That sounds like a good plan. Where are you located? I have lots of plants that I don't want and would be more than happy to give to you
 
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