Advice On Debris; Do I Need A Filter Upgrade, Alter Flow Rates Or Just Feed Less

Author Topic: Advice on debris; do I need a filter upgrade, alter flow rates or just feed less  (Read 811 times)

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Offline Alwyn

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Hi,
I have a love fish 64L tank currently running with the internal filter that came with it. I have 9 penguin tetras. Its not a planted tank, but I have 2 java ferns, 2 anubias and hornwort floating. Its a relatively new tank, I moved the fish in at the beginning of Feb once the tank was fully cycled after doing a fishless cycle (from Dec-Feb). Its been running fine with ammonia and nitrites always zero.

I've been doing at least weekly water changes for the last month, initially I was doing them more frequently, as I'm finding I'm getting a lot of debris on the sand at the bottom of the tank and the water starts to turn brownish/green within the week. I suspect I'm over feeding, I definitely was initially, but I've tried to reign it in a bit. I'm feeding flaked food. I tried frozen bloodworms, the fish mostly ignored them and they just sank to the bottom!  (I tried different ways of feeding them to the fish, but it just seems they werent keen on them). They love the flaked food, when I put a pinch it theres a feeding frenzy - but once it falls more than 3 inches from the water surface they ignore it and it falls to the bottom. I am just giving a small pinch once a day to them, but I'm still finding a lot falls to the bottom through the feeding frenzy.

I am wondering is this just a feeding issue? (advice please, if so!!)
Or maybe if I had a better flow rate and/or filter would less fall to the bottom and maybe more would get sucked up and dealt with in the filter
Do I need to look at my circulation/dead zones, again to possibly move more of the debris into the filter? 
I'm wanting to upgrade my filter anyway I think, as apparently the internal ones arent very good, but at the moment mine does seem to be OK in terms of water chemistry - its really just the debris/look of the tank that seems to be affected.

It would be great if I could get the tank needing a less intensive maintenance schedule, the hoovering and water changes have got to be stressful on the fish to a certain degree (they certainly dart about when it happens anyway).

Thanks in advance for any advice!!!

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Offline Sue

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Unfortunately, filters don't suck up the heavy stuff; that just falls to the bottom and stays there until the fishkeeper removes it. At least with sand you can see it; with gravel, it drops out of sight between the particles and decomposes, doing horrible things to the nitrate level.
What filter is in the tank now? A lot of tank manufacturers include the minimum filters and heaters that they can get away with.

One alternative might be to add something that will eat some of the food on the bottom of the tank. Not necessarily fish, but perhaps shrimps. Penguin tetras (whether true penguins or false penguins) might eat the smaller shrimp species but you might get away with amanos.

There are other frozen food besides bloodworm which your fish might eat - daphnia and brine shrimp are the most common.

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Offline Alwyn

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Its a bit of a shame the big stuff just drops (!) We need robot vacuums for the bottom of our tanks!

Yes, I get the impression the filter is the minimum option. Its didnt have a name/manufacturer - just came with the tank from LoveFish - its got a white sponge matt and a coarser green sponge matt and sits inside at the back of the tank - so not much to speak of. I was thinking of saving up for a Fluval 106 canister, or similar, but I was a bit worried that it might be more filter than my tank needs and the flow rate will blow my fish all over the tank.

I ended up with more of the (fake) penguin tetras than I originally planned for as some of my original shoal died/disappeared and the rest started really turning on each other - after fearing they'd all eat each other I went and got more to try and even out the pack (which thankfully worked!). In my ignorance I assumed I'd loose more when I bought/introduced more, but all survived and seem to be thriving  :) But its got me worried that I'm expecting a lot from a smallish tank with the 9 I have left - which is why I wondered if a better filter might be a good idea.

I'd love to go for some shrimp - I'm a bit worried that they will be eaten! But just picking big ones is a good idea.     

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Offline Littlefish

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I have 6 amano shrimp in with my penguin tetras, glass bloodfins, and hatchets in the 125L tank. I have a pile of wood that the shrimp usually congregate under, but they also come out, wander around the tank, and keep the plants trimmed. I've not had any problems with the tetras going for the shrimp, if that's any help. The penguins even had a special feed when one of the female shrimp climbed to the top of a plant and released her eggs. The tetra gathered around and scoffed the lot.
I will also point out that these were the same penguin tetras/false penguins that nipped at my bristlenose, which was why I removed him from the tank, but they don't seem to mind the shrimp.

Offline Alwyn

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Ow, thanks! Thats reassuring. I was nearby Pets at Home today so I popped in to have a look at the amano shrimp. I might give it a go this weekend. Thanks!

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Offline Littlefish

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Keep an eye on things just in case any problems develop, but I've been very lucky with mine, so I hope that you have the same experience.  :)

Offline MarquisMirage

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Filters that come as part of a kit are usually overpowered for the tank size.  That's not the case here though.  The filter that's in the Love Fish 64 l set is basically a Interpet CF1 filter that isn't very good that's recommended for a 36-68 l aquarium.  As Sue says the filter itself won't clean the mess off the sand but a new one will address the flow rate concerns you have.  If you do get a new one (and for your peace of mind I would) don't forget to put the old filter material into the new filter when swapping over.

The brownish/green water is likely to be an algae blown as the tank is full of nutrients.  Amano shrimp are really interesting.  I have some in two tanks now.  They'd definitely eat the larger bits and are great cleaners.  If you're not adverse to snails I would also recommend Malayasian Trumpet Snails as an option as they will churn the sand for you.

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Offline Matt

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I also own this tank and from my research I'm not sure I agree with this. The love fish 64 litre tank comes with a cf2 filter rated up to 90l, however, quite stupidly whilst the love fish kit is essentially just knock off interpet kit, pets at home fail to include the biological media cartridge for the filter and these cannot be bought separately.  I have neither the carbon filter nor the algaway pad in my filter anymore, just biological media I bought cheaply online.  Have found the filter to be quite reliable operating in this way.
Please also note that these filters now come with a little hood when bought separately as fish are prone to jumping in them  :isay:

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