Re: NANFA-- large tank problem

Christopher Scharpf (
Tue, 20 Jun 2000 08:31:17 -0400


I showed your email to Stephanie Brough, a former aquarist at the Tennessee
Aquarium. Naturally, she had moe questions than advice, but here's what she had
to say:

1) What is the pH of the tank? The "fungus" you described could be the result of
low pH, which could be related to ammonia spikes (despite what your test kits

2) Is the tank chilled? Excessive heat (summer temps, lights) will stress the
fish and make them more susceptible to disease.

>PROBLEM - although the water tests OK, there is a lot of suspended matter in
>it and a lot of "crud" on the bottom.

Is there wood in the tank? Wood often dissolves leaving a brown crud.

Is the "crud" a slimy green mass? if so, it's cyanobacteria, a definite water
quality issue.

> It is difficult to do a good "gravel vacuum" because there are several braces
>across the tank that make working in it difficult - plus the fact that it's
>4 feet deep and another 4 feet off of the floor!

>SO- can anyone suggest-----
>1) a good thorough way to clean the bottom

Unfortunately, gravel vacuuming is the only way to stay on top of this.
Attaching the gravel vac to a long broomstick (duct tape is fine) will help get
the vac to the bottom. Stand on a ladder if you have to.

What is the quality of the make-up water? Sometimes the problem is not the water
in the tank, but with the water you're putting into the tank. As Lee Harper
asked, has it properly been dechlorinated?

>2) a filter that we can add for mechanical filtration (remember, there is no
>usable "rim" to hang a filter on).

Add a pleated canister filter, the bigger the better, to the sump.

>3) any meds that will KO the "Fungus" (yes, i know it's bacteria) without
>KOing the bacteria bed?

Well, we don't what it is. I like Lee Harper's suggestion that it's an ammonia
problem (I've had that happen to my fish). Improving water quality (including
temeprature) is always preferable to adding meds. Take out and quarnatine the
sickest looking fish, if you have to.

Hope this helps...and keep us posted. Good luck!

Chris Scharpf & Stephanie Brough

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