View Full Version : Sand and water problems

03-22-2004, 01:28 PM
This is probably a stupid question... but how the heck do you clean your tank with sand in it? Doesn't the syphening hose suck up all the sand?

I have an oscar and ever since she killed the two other oscars, i have not been able to get the water clear. The tank is terrible. The water is not green, its more like yellow/white. I dont know what to do. I have large river rocks in the bottom and the waste build up from the fish is incredible. It is hard enough to keep it clean WITHOUT anything in the bottom, let alone with sand if you cant syphen.

I have one large oscar (about 8 inches), two big tinfoil barbs (about 5 inches), and a pleco (about 10 inches) in my 55 gal tank. I have a 30-60 filter plus TWO 5-15 filters going with carbon cartridges. I've tried partial water changes as well as treatments with water clearing chemicals and ammonia neutralizing drops. Nothing helps.

If you can explain the sand thing or if you have any advice for me and my murky tank.. please HELP!! I'm about ready to just put them in my smaller tanks and completely wash out and re-do the big tank. I'm just scared that they will die in the smaller tanks, even if they are only in there for a few days. *so frustrated* I just want to be able to take pictures of them, but the water is so cloudy they turn out terrible. Maybe i will sell my two tinfoils, leaving only the oscar and pleco in my 55gal.

Do you think I have too large/too many fish for my tank? Or do i just have a major chemical imbalance? Also, how often should i be changing my filters? I heard that too often can keep neccessary bacteria from growing, but not often enough ends up in filter pumps barely trickling out water. Someone who really knows what they are talking about, please help me! I've been waiting several weeks for the ph balance and bacteria levels in my tank to sort themselves out and nothing has changed. My fish are living in filth! Please help!!

03-22-2004, 02:44 PM
Hi Avie,
For the cloudiness, get yourself a polyfilter. I love them.. It will help to get out the fine particles that your regular sponges or filter pads aren't catching. That and water changes are the only things I can think of that will get the stuff out.. The cloudiness is most likely from pieces of the fish & waste decaying in the water causing a bacterial bloom. You may not see them, but whenever fish fight, scales, pieces of the mouth, fins, etc wind up floating around until they are processed by your filter and biofilter or changed out with cleaning. It sounds like you might have a lot of proteinaceous (sp?) debris that is overwhelming your bioload. I would definately recommend picking a polyfilter up. You can cut it to fit your filter.

Also, when cleaning, you will always suck up a little sand. I always do, but if you keep the siphon about 1/2 - 3/4 inch from the sand the waste will float up and the sand (most of it) will stay put depending on the force of your siphon.. A lot of waste may be contributing to your problem too. If you can, move the river rocks and give the bottom a good siphon. You'll really stir it up, but it will be worth it. For that size tank, both the oscar and the pleco are messy fish and will clutter up the tank with poop rather quickly. I just scoop up the large poop with a net & it makes the regular maintenance much easier.

I don't regularly clean my filters. I wouldn't recommend cleaning yours until the water clears up. What I do is rinse the sponges and remove the intake and impellors and clean those out. That usually covers it for me. If it gets REALLY bad, I'll rinse them with old tank water and wipe them out and leave the old filter media in the filters for a while so the bacteria can catch up.

Does your oscar leave the tinfoil barbs alone? It sounds to me like she won't share the tank with anyone - I have one like that. She'd probably be happier by herself (with the pleco). If they all get along you could leave it as it is... But that one is up to you & your best judgement!

I hope this has helped you... Good luck!

03-22-2004, 02:49 PM
oh yeah... Once you rid the tank of all the waste, check your ammonia and nitrite levels daily, if there is no danger, leave the tank alone for a full week with the polyfilter in place. Feed VERY lightly. It should clear up easily in that time...

03-22-2004, 04:03 PM
Usually, a tank of 75 gallons or more is recommended for 1 oscar to make sure that when they are fully grown they can turn around.
In your case you also have the tinfoil barbs that will grow to be large fish in their own right, and need alot of swimming room.
To keep the fish you have I would recommend going up to a 120 gal tank. If you don't have room/$ & want to stick w/ the tank you have...if you are able to return/sell the tinfoil barbs I would do it.
Once the waste load in your tank is reduced & you start siphoning your sand as cichgirl described your water should clear up.
You will probably suck up some of the sand, but having clear water will be worth it. Don't be afraid to stir things up a little bit :)

03-22-2004, 08:23 PM
If your running 2 filters and doing water changes weekly clean just 1 filter a week in tank water on a rotation schedule.

03-24-2004, 08:18 AM
Well, last night i finally gave in. I took water from the big tank anf filled my 5 and 10 gal tanks. Then it was time to catch the fish. I knew my oscar was big and strong but i had no idea. She jumped 2-3 feet in the air!!! :eek: It scared me to death! I finally got her in the 5 gal and the other three fish (pleco and two barbs) in the 10 gal. I realize that the tanks are way too small for them, but it is only temporary.
I got the 55 gal completely empty and sparking clean. I started it up again with the old filters to introduce the bacteria, and I used some new water conditioner that also has stress coat and amonia control. I plan on letting it run for at least 3 days before I try to reintroduce the oscar with some of the water she is currently in. I'm just trying to think of a bag that would be big enough that I can float her and equalize the temp; :uh: maybe a grocery bag.. hehe.
I've heard mixed stories about how long you should wait before putting fish into a new tank.. I've heard anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks. I can't wait too long with my fish in such small temporary tanks.
I plan on keeping the tinfoils in the ten gal until I can sell them. I hate to see them go, but I have noticed my oscar being agressive towards them and chasing them away during feeding time. I'm keeping the pleco around for cleaning purposes. I have seen her fight with him before, but I think he can hold his own.
Anyways, thanks for the help everyone. I will look into that polyfilter, cichgirl, and I think that the filter changing rotation is a great idea, Thanks entombed. :) I will be getting rid of the tinfoils, going to put up flyers at the pet store. You helped back up my decision, crazyfishlady. Thanks again all. If you have any more advice for me, please post. :D

03-24-2004, 11:38 AM
Avie, unless you put some fish back in there, the bacteria will die with no ammonia or nitrite to process and you will have to start all over again! Get that temp stabile and put a couple fish in there...