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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 55 gallon tank, and used to have a TopFin 60 overhead filter...since i have a very interesting ecosystem (see below for wildlife) it became inefficient at cleaning the filth (had to change the filter bags every couple days) so i bought a Fluval 305, due to such high recommendation. it is a great filter, but due to the fact its intake and output are both submerged, it doesn't aerate. I had no idea this was going to cause a problem...until all my fish started swimming at the top of the tank, gasping for air...i knew i had to act fast. I did a 75% water change, added the water conditioner, I bought a TopFin 50 powerhead, and added two large, live water ferns. I also moved the output nozzle of the Fluval 305 closer to the top of the water, as to break even more surface tension. I do have a bottom aerator coming tommorow, but i have already lost 7 fish, and dont want any more casualties...the goldfish are back down to the normal swimming depth, but the 5 tiger barbs, and the 2 new angels are all at the top, displaying the same behavior. WHAT CAN I DO??

Wildlife:
1 Male Eastern Painted Turtle
1 Large Plecostamus
2 Large Goldfish
1 Small Comet
1 Chinese Algae Eater (Deceased)
1 Large Red Bellied Pacu (Deceased)
1 Juvenile Red Bellied Pacu (New)
5 Tiger Barbs (New)
2 Juvenile Veiled Angelfish (Deceased)
2 Infant Veiled Angelfish (New)
4 Minnows (Deceased)
2 Black Mystery Snail
2 Gold Mystery Snail
2 Large Water Fern

PLEASE HELP! *c/p*
 

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Discussion Starter #3
ive kept my turtle with amazonian tropicals for over a year with no problems. the turtle has even become vegetarian. (he was eating some of the smaller, slower, and dumber fish at first, but has since adopted a vegetarian and pellet diet, as turtles do when they mature. by the way, my problem i am talking about is occurring only over a less than 24 hour period.
 

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I dont think i have the knowledge to help you but there are tons of people on this forum who do. Wait for one of the to post a possiable soultion is my only answer. Sorry
 

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I dont believe the Fluval is the sole reason for the deaths and the surface chop from the cannister should be plenty for gas exchange. I feel you have too many fish and the wrong combination of fish. The lg pleco, goldfish and pacu's are dirty fish and can cause your water parameters to go bad very fast IMO. I would seriusly look at your stocking because the angels shouldnt be mixed with any of your other fish IMO and you have tropical and cold water fish mixed and that shouldnt be done IMO. We might be able to help more if you can give us your actuall test results and your water change schedule.
 

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Yikes! No offense but this is a disaster waiting to happen.

The Pacu is going to grow up fast and big and ... well ... an appetite to support it. Other fishes except for pleco aren't going to fare very well. Sry.

Changing the filters out shouldn't cause what you are seeing. Can you post any water parms? I'm suspecting something else going on here. Test your NH3.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have kept these types of fish together for over a year, and yielded great communal results. Every time i tell someone at PetSmart what my community is, they always say "thats an interesting combination"...I dont believe any of the opinonation that certain fish dont belong together if the energy is right. Obviously you would'nt mix an Oscar with Guppies...but thats a totally different scenario. I really don't need advice on fish neighboring, ive been experimenting, and found great results for a while now. What i need is advice on water quality control, and Oxygen synthesis. Please accept my apology if i came off wrong, but i am really looking for info on chemistry, so how would i go about finding NH3 levels? should i get a test kit? or just bring a cup of my water into PetSmart? also...how can i reduce my algae growth? i know aeration is essential for the reduction, but i have 6 animals that eat algae...4 snails and 2 fish...shouldn't that be enough?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
by the way, the tiger barbs have since taken to normal schooling depths and behavior, after a few solid hours of aeration with the powerhead. ive lost one of the angelfish, and the other one is still at the top with the strange breathing behavior. the new baby pacu is also doing just fine.
 

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Well if you insist on keeping all those fish together in a 55 gallon then I think you will need to be doing close to 50% WC twice a week. I also think you need to pick up some tes kits
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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I don't see any possible way for us to help you with your combination. Even though it might be working for you now, it will eventually fail. Your filter isn't the problem. As long as there is good water movement from it there will be plenty of oxygenation to the tank. But may not be enough for the fish you keep. You can always add an HOB with your combination and the results will still be the same.
 

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I have kept these types of fish together for over a year, and yielded great communal results. Every time i tell someone at PetSmart what my community is, they always say "thats an interesting combination"...I dont believe any of the opinonation that certain fish dont belong together if the energy is right. Obviously you would'nt mix an Oscar with Guppies...but thats a totally different scenario. I really don't need advice on fish neighboring, ive been experimenting, and found great results for a while now. What i need is advice on water quality control, and Oxygen synthesis. Please accept my apology if i came off wrong, but i am really looking for info on chemistry, so how would i go about finding NH3 levels? should i get a test kit? or just bring a cup of my water into PetSmart? also...how can i reduce my algae growth? i know aeration is essential for the reduction, but i have 6 animals that eat algae...4 snails and 2 fish...shouldn't that be enough?
My apologies myself for questioning your stocking. I'll be honest and say that I very rarely question stocking of tanks. Only in extreme cases like this will I do. If I have or will offend you, then I apologize. What I am saying to you at this time, is that this is a recipe for disaster. Your Pacu(s) will in no way work in this setup. While they may now...it won't last. If you haven't done so now, I highly advise researching this species. They get huge and have an appetite that supports thier size. Most of what you have in here will be lunch meat. As you equated it....it's like putting in Guppies with Oscars. I can not stress this enough. And yes...I have much experience with this species.

Also, how long has it been since the canister has been in place? By removing the HOB, you have taken a big part of the BB (beneficial bacteria) that will combat the wastes that these fishies produce. Chances are, you probably have/had a big spike in your water parameters.

Anyway...my last comment on the stocking is I wish you (your fish) well. Your tank is way too small to support this "community". I just don't know what else to say on this one.

I'm not going to touch the algae issue at this time. Just because you have 4 snails and 2 fish doesn't mean they will keep the algae in check. Let's tackle one thing first. Let's see where your chemistry is first and we'll take one step at a time. I feel as if you have a lot going on here.

So....let's deal with your water chemistry issue. It sounds as if you do not have a test kit. I highly suggest that you get yourself an API Master test kit as soon as possible. You can take a sample to PS if you want but they use paper test strips and are not very accurate. Get the kit and please post up your results. What you really want to pay attention to is NH3 (ammonia), NO2 (nitrIte) and NO3 (nitrAte). I suspect these numbers are going to be very high.

One more thing...your water changes, are you treating the water with anything like Prime?

Let's start here and see what we can do to try and help you. I'll do my best to refrain from stocking comments. Let's try and save your fishies.
 

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i want to say thank you to James0816 for being so helpful, you were the only person to offer truely helpful advice and not just opinionated statements with no factual basis. James0816 you are very knowledgeable and i appreciate this. I am thinking about re-releasing my turtle into the wild(i rescued him from his dead mother on the side of the road as a juvenile over a year ago...he has grown much, and i love him dearly, but i cannot in good conscience keep him anymore. i want to find a beautiful spot here in the Catskill mountains and let him be free again. That said, lets get back to the fish subject, so the Pacu...he is a baby right now and only the size of a nickel. the one that died due to improper aeration with the filter change, was about the size of a dollar bill. he never messed with any of the small fish and was albeit a vivacious eater of lettuce and algae wafers, a good tankmate that would let me pet him. anyway, the two goldfish started out as feeder fish (29 cents apiece) for the turtle, i dropped them in the tank about 8 months ago and they were never eaten...and grew exponentially...now they are about half the size of a dollar bill. they are coldwater fish as i have heard, but i regulate my water temp at 82 degrees and they are energetic, great eaters, have a good slime coat, and look very healthy. i really love the tropical amazonian fish...and want to focus on them...after i get the water levels how do i maintain safe amounts of chemistry and pH? also what are good fish to keep together with a pleco and a pacu? i lvoe these tiger barbs...but if the pacu has to go(ive heard they grow to massive proportions) should i get rid of it? i had a tiger oscar before, but it was too violent and attacked the turtle so i gave it back to the store...but id love to have one once the turtle is back in the wild...oscars are great. but i also really love angelfish...will the angels do well with an oscar? they are both cochlid family...does that mean anything? i cant afford a bigger tank right now, i just dropped over 400 with this filter, aerator, powerhead, plants, and other ****....and by the way, yes i do use prime water conditioner....thanks again James0816!:fish5:
 

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how do i maintain safe amounts of chemistry and pH?
You need a liquid test kit to determine the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate levels. I dont think the O2 level of the tank is causing the deaths because I inject my tank with CO2 for plants and keep my CO2 concentration at a high level with no deaths. I think your issue is the water quality, but we cant be sure until you get a test kit.

You dont need to worry about the pH. Most fish adapt to your current pH and its too hard and fustrating to make the pH adjust to the fish. If the pH is nowhere in the extremes, I wouldnt worry about it.

You maintain your safe water chemistry level by doing water changes. Depending on your fish, and trial and errors, you yourself determine the amount of water changed weekly. I keep my nitrates below 10ppm because I have sensitive inverts, I think you should keep yours under 20ppm, or under 30ppm. But the closer to 0ppm, the better. Not a lot of people can maintain a 0ppm nitrate, you would need a ton of live plants and a low bioload.
 
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I have done African, Asian and South American tanks and it is usually best not to mix them too much or at least IMO. I feel that coldwater fish do best at between 68-74 degrees, most tropicals at 78-82 degrees and then some will do best at 82-86 degrees mainly Discus.

I hope you can understand that we are just trying to help you and your fish as most of us have seen this or have raised some of the fish you have and most of us take this hobby VERY SERIOUS. I am not saying that you are not serious but might just lack the long term expierience that some of us have.

I hope you can pick up an API Master Test Kit that way when a problem comes up and trust me they can for all of us you can do your testing and post the results up here for a hopefully quick diagnosis from us. Then try to put yourself on a regular maintenance schedule because that will make things so much easier.

I see you like the Amazonian (SA) fish as I do. I would like to ask you to decide on the 1 fish that you would like for your center piece fish and then let us know what that one is. I know we can all give you some ideas on what would be compatible with that fish. I will say this that when you have a nice stocking of compatible fish you will enjoy your tank so much more. I was also wondering if you would like to try doing a planted tank if so let us know that also because that might help us with stocking suggestions.

I hope I didnt upset you with this post as that was not my intent and if I did I am sorry.

I am posting a couple pics of my tank to let you see what I have done, it hasnt matured yet and is still a work in progress.





This is one of the better pics of one of my Angels

 

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the turtle is the least of your problems. you basically did every bad thing i tell my customers not to do you mixed cold water and tropical fish. your way over populated. you mixed small peaceful fish with a Tankbuster. and you have a predatory turtle thrown in the mix. thats a bad idea lasagna. pick your favorite and post what it is then preform triage on your tank. and get rid of that Pacu or you'll be regreting it in 6 months if not sooner
 

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Sometimes over-stocked aquariums can do just fine for a year or so, but then, BOOM. Something changes and it's tipped over the edge and suddenly it doesn't work anymore. I've had this happen before, so I know how mystifying it is and you think it can't possibly be that because everything was fine. In your case, you've had several juvenile fish grow up, so they would naturally more resources as adults.

I'm really sorry. I know how hard it is to have to give up some of your beloved pets, even if they are fish. Fish DO have personalities, and they inspire us in so many ways. I'll try to help your questions.

also what are good fish to keep together with a pleco and a pacu?
A pleco and a Pacu (depending on the species) you are going to have to take into account that they both get very large. The larger a fish gets, the less fish you can keep with them because they take up resources whole schools of fish could use.

Pacu are solitary in nature when they grow up. They eat vegetables and small fish, so they will end up eating anything smaller than they are. They can get incredibly large, and 55 gallons is really too small for one.


i lvoe these tiger barbs...but if the pacu has to go(ive heard they grow to massive proportions) should i get rid of it?
The Pacu as it gets older will likely see your tiger barbs as a snack.

i had a tiger oscar before, but it was too violent and attacked the turtle so i gave it back to the store...but id love to have one once the turtle is back in the wild...oscars are great. but i also really love angelfish...will the angels do well with an oscar? they are both cochlid family...does that mean anything?
Oscars are extremely territorial, and so are angel fish. They will shred each other. Angels though are more peaceful and you can keep in a community tank.
 

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thanks again James0816!:fish5:
You're most welcome. There are some great folks out here and welcome the opportunity to help fellow hobbysts out.

Let's stay on the water chemistry at this point. Have you had the opportunity to get the test kit yet? Again, this is critical to know what the values are.

Now that you mentioned the temp of the tank, this becomes even more critical to know what your NH3 reading is. High ammonia combined with high temps are lethal.

To answer your fishy questions...man I hate telling anyone to get rid of fish...the Pacu is definately a big concern. The 55 just won't support him. And Mudpup brought up another thing about these guys.....tankbusters. They have been known to literally bust an aquarium! They can be very fun loving and friendly to you as they grow up as well. Easily trained to be hand fed and believe it or not...they do like to be handled. I haven't seen one yet that didn't. This of course depends on the owner though. Anyway...yes...he will get large. And they have a long life span too.

As for Oscars and Angels...wouldn't advise it. Oscars are mental. Not sure how they are wired but highly aggressive. While some are really beautiful...I think some people get them for thier temperment....like a pit bull if you will.

But definately get that test kit and post some numbers up.

P.S. Kudos on the turtle rescue too! We always help the little buggers out when we find them in the road. Hate when people see them as speed bumps.
 

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thanks again...i spent a bunch of money on the filter and some aeration supplies so itll be a while before i can get the test kit. how much do they retail for and what is a good one? also i can tell you right now my temp...i have a submersible core heater that maintains an 81-82 degree temp and 2 overhead 5.0 UVB fluorescent 18" T5 lamps. they do provide a little ambient heat. Not a single fish, even the goldfish, are in any way sluggish, have poor appetites, or display poor coloring, in fact quite the opposite...they are all good tankmates, they eat with a great appetite, play and have lots of energy, and display fantastic, vibrant colors. the 02 problem has been solved and everyone seems so much happier...but i feel i need to tackle another problem. the tank has no backing as i prefer an open glass 360 degrees, and its next to a window with some sun...the water is a little green(even with all the movement) im assuming this is algae. i have my large pleco(hes about 7-8 inches) and 4 snails, all at work...but still green. i will replace the chinese algae eater with another one(i miss that guy) but will this be enough to control the algae? what should i do? test kit is next...but i want to tackle both these issues as it seems i am rapidly approaching a happy medium.

as far as the pacu goes...i will keep him until he is about 5-6 inches around again...then i will donate him back to petsmart. i really like him for now and he is schooling with the 3 goldfish. the goldfish will probably be replaced as well...any ideas? i really like eels and swords...is this a good idea? i am thinking i will post pics soon. my tank is a lot better off than many of you are probably envisioning, as i get constant compliments from everyone who sees it.

once again, thanks to all who have been so kind and offered great advice! and to the ones who are sarcastic and have a ****ty attitude....piss off.*w3
 
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