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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I have kind of a newbie question. I've had various aquariums over the years and thought I knew most of the basics, but I'm humble enough to admit that I don't know it all.....

I've recently set up a 55 gal community tank (approx three months ago), and thought I would try a canister filter on this tank. I have an Eheim 2217. I've always used HOB type filters in the past. My basic question is how do I quietly achieve proper aeration using a canister filter with a spray bar?

A bit of history: I've been running the Eheim with the spray bar submerged below the water, aiming slightly downward, I seem to have pretty good circulation - every plant in the tank sways in the current a little bit. I also have an under gravel filter and two 12" bubble wands powered by a tetra whipser 60 air pump. Water quality seems pretty good for what I've tested - 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite, 10 to 15 ppm nitrate, 7.4 PH - using API liquid tests. Also had the LFS guy test water for me to confirm my results and he said all looked well to him. I do about a 15% to 25% water change weekly.

My fish have all seemed happy and healthy until we decided to try and quiet down the noise of the bubbles in the tank a little bit. I shut off the air to the two bubble wands and diverted the full flow of the air pump to the two under gravel filter air stones, and redirected the spray bar to ripple the surface of the water slightly. My assumption was that the bubbles from the UG filter and the rippling from the spray bar would cause enough surface agitation to allow for proper O2/CO2 exchange. About 24 hours after I made this change I found one of my Gouramis dead. Not really sure, so I turned the bubblers back on and no other fish died. About a week later I tried the same thing with turning the bubblers off, sure enough, I lost Spike - my favorite Plec. Bubblers are now back on until I can figure out the best way to get enough surface agitation without using the air pump.

Any suggestions would be great!!


Tank stocked as follows:
5 3" Gouramis
1 3" Plec
1 2-1/2" Clown Loach
1 3" Rainbow Shark
11 1-1/2" Danios
couple of live plants
 

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I guess the question is, what caused the death? What did the Gourami look like, was it bloated like it was full of eggs? I have 2 G's in my 55 and neither lasted more than a couple months, one was a Dwarf Flame and other an Opaline. The Dwarf flame bloated up and slowly became less and less interested in eating, and eventually I had to put him down, he bloated up like he had a marble inside him. The Opaline just kind of withered away. No other fish had any issues.

What about the Plec?

Just could've been bad fish, stress causing a disease to take over (just like in humans) I seriously wouldn't think that just shutting off a bubble wand would cause the death. If the fish are O2 starved, they would be at the surface constantly gasping for air. All you need is a little surface agitation for exchange. BTW if you have a Eheim canister, why bother with the UGF anyways?

FYI shutting the bubble wand may have caused a drop in O2 that, if enough, could have caused a shift in pH. Higher pH=low CO2 and vice versa. But it shouldn't happen that fast really, especially if the UGF bubblers are agitating the surface.

Just aiming the spray bar up to cause some chop is plenty enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, thanks for the reply.

It's been about 3 days since the Plec died and no other fish show any signs of anything unusual - that I can tell.

I didn't really notice any odd behavior from the Gourami (it was an Opaline) before he died, he was just dead on the bottom when I found him. I looked him over pretty well and didn't see anything that looked odd. But I did notice the Gouramis biting at the surface after I found the dead one.

I watched the Plec die. (that sucked). He was very lethargic, he would swim a bit then end up on his back for a while, swim a little more, end up on his back, etc. Looked like he was "breathing" pretty hard - kind of like he was gasping for air. I did restore all the bubblers when I first noticed him having probs, but it was apparently too late - if that was indeed the problem. Didn't see any signs of any disease, or anything unusual on the Plec when I pulled him out either.

Running the UGF because it's there, basically. I had a real noisy HOB filter when I started the aquarium, the Eheim is part of my attempt to quiet things down. The UGF was in and running so I left it. It may come out some time, but I don't figure it's really hurting anything being in there for now.

Thanks again for the help!
 

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I personally like having dual filtration systems in a tank. I run sponge filters and canisters in some of them. Nothing wrong with haveing more filtration.

I don't know what to tell you one the situation. The only thing that comes to mind is how the undergravel filter operation might change with the extra air flow or power behind the pump with you turning off the bubblers.

I don't know a thing about ugf, so I can't tell you if maybe the increased flow was blowing more of what was in the filter into the water.
 

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I don't know a thing about ugf, so I can't tell you if maybe the increased flow was blowing more of what was in the filter into the water.
I've been using strictly UGFs on and off for 20 years. Adjusting the airflow rate in the stand tubes on a UGF in operation for only 3 months should not cause a problem. If it had been running for 2 years and had never been flushed out, then it might cause a problem. You can suck all the mulm built up under the plates out.

Also, a UGF running on bubblers will have more problems down the line than one running on power heads. I've always ran mine that way, at least for the last 20 years that is. The consensus now is pretty much run it on power heads or run a ton of air through it, otherwise your flow through the gravel gets slower and slower, and you get anaerobic pockets that are supposedly bad. Plus you HAVE to vaccuum the gravel frequently to keep it from compacting.

That's why I asked why run both, the UGF can cause issues if not maintained, just run the Eheim and pull the UGF, if you want multiple filtration, get an HOB.

I am personally working on saving up for a canister and gonna pull my UGF. I have a lot of fish and plants this time around (set up 1/1/9) and it's becoming a maintenance thing.
 

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This might be out there, since it has been a while since I used UGF, but maybe you had build up of something toxic under there (ex. hydrogen sulfide) and when you turned up the UGF both times it was strong enough to draw the poisonous gas or toxin up?

Usually a good water ripple at the surface is plenty aeration. Did you ever see your pleco and other fish swim to the surface to get air (more than usual)? I assume you water temp is average (74-78)? Higher temps have less O2.
 

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You know, Dmaaaaaax might have a good point, especially in conjunction with what budcarlson wrote.

I know that an aquarium needs oxygen (aerobic) in order to complete the Nitrogen Cycle. Without oxygen, things break down anaerobically. In nature, we see bubbles rise to the surface of a pond and upon busting they can smell. This is usually methane gas CH4, a product of anaerobic decomposition. Any number of odd anaerobic compounds could occur, depending only upon the elements present in the system.

Not saying this is the issue, but it's certainly something to consider.
 

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I had the same problem. I had an old filter from my sisters golf fish tank so i put in there becaulse it had a breather line to it to help put air into the water after i put that in no more died pluse it acts as a power head to help move the water more. you can buy a little filter like that a petco for like 8 bucks.
 
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