• Hello guest! Are you an Apistogramma enthusiast? If so we invite you to join our community and see what it has to offer. Our site is specifically designed for you and it's a great place for Apisto enthusiasts to meet online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your fish and tanks and have a great time with other Apisto enthusiasts. Sign up today!

help with tank.

martink

New Member
Messages
23
my substrate was 30%peat 60% sand. i just left the tank for three months with no fish in it. unfortunately a week before I got my fish one of the tubing for the filter folded over and i added seed pods which absolutely crashed the tank. I fixed it got the water tested and bought fish. there was some aggression so i bought a few pencil fish. i believe some died the first night and i didnt notice and their corpses basically poisoned the tank. ive been doing water changes at about 30% daily since but most of my adoketa died. The stronger pair of fish have survived but the female is not happy. the male is completley fine actually having the time of his life but i see that listless swimming in the female and gill scratching which tells me there is a water problem. I bought a second filter after the first crash so ive got 2x 1000l p/hr on a 165 litre tank. all that is in there is sand peat and wood with some waterlettuce and oak leaves. I have the tank well aerated because the fish were gasping at the surface first night but stopped completely when i let the outlets drop from height. i have to add, before i added the pencil fish all the fish were fine. since adding its been a complete disaster. im now trying to tackle the black sand problem as that might be whats causing issues over and above the aftermath of the dead pencil fish. how do i go about this black sand, do i move the sand around? - internet says yes and no. do i buy more substrate and just trap the black sand underneath more sand or steadily replace? any help will be good. one more thing is that even though my tank water is 80ppm tds, the tank is 200. only wood and leaves. i also add rainwater because of this high number but only getting 10litres a week. could the black sand be causing this spike? i feel like im in a husbandry nightmare and cant wake up. please help if you can. thanks
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
10,760
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
I may have missed it but is the sand black or is it the mix of peat/sand that is black? Or could it be anaerobic decomposition of the organics (peat) causing H2S to form? If you stir a black spot and you smell a rotten egg oder, then it's the latter. I'm old school so I don't mix peat with sand. If the water needs to be modified with peat I do it in a separate tank and add it with water changes. You also don't mention the size or lay-out of the tank which can be important when keeping rowdy fish like N. adoketa. I think we need more information.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,548
Location
Germany
got the water tested
You can't do this without testing yourself. That is risky AF.

I agree with Mike, maybe give us the following information, then we can hopefully help you:
- Numbers for all values, not just TDS.
- some good pictures of the tank
 

martink

New Member
Messages
23
yeah i think its anearobic decomposition as it is increasingly black, but i dont smell rotten egg. i hoovered up some of the sand and it doesnt smell so bad, but when disturbed there are bubbles, but i dont really get a smell of sulpher from them. The tank is a metre long by 60cm wide and deep. it had so much vines and woodscape that there was a lot of complexity for the 7 juveniles i got. Although the largest male was hounding it was easy to hide for the rest. On that note, there was a murdered pencil fish this morning though it was not killed by water conditions as it was not discoloured at all and missed back and side fins. I got rid of a lot of the woodscape since there is now only a pair but it still has alot of vine complex and hiding spots. the female can escape still quite easily as there are many hiding places and oakleaves across which ive seen her hide under. The male is absolutely fine through everything which is suspicious. He has a lot of colour and is considerabley larger than the female. 2x length and swimming with a lot of vigor through the roots and around the tank. she is coloured up dark black stripes and he is swimming up to her and posing but then leaving her alone again. i dont know. she is pacing back and forth then gill scraping on the wood. but doesnt seem too bad, but im still nervous after so many problems. both are eating earthworm chopped and high protein pellets. she is still looking for food when she stops pacing.
 

martink

New Member
Messages
23
You can't do this without testing yourself. That is risky AF.

I agree with Mike, maybe give us the following information, then we can hopefully help you:
- Numbers for all values, not just TDS.
- some good pictures of the tank
ok ill post tomorrow.
 

anewbie

Active Member
Messages
673
yeah i think its anearobic decomposition as it is increasingly black, but i dont smell rotten egg.
I forget the details but i looked it up without fully understanding it; you can get different types of anearobic decomposition as well as other reasons for gasses to build up below the supstrate; in my experience the ones that produce sulfur (rotten egg smell) is the one that is dangerous to both plants and fishes. I had one like that (nothing was funky with the substrate but it repeated had this issue so i stopped using it); but i have also had anearobic reactions that produce nitrogen by products (bubble and very low nitrate levels with very high stocking) but no health issues. With the tank that had the 'bad' stuff the odor was quite strong and obvious.

What i do not understand is why one tank produce what we believe was nitrogen - we did have a small patch of cyano that fed off the nitrogen but adding a slight current prevented that. I can't actually verify it was nitrogen as i did not test the gas in other fashion but based it off others explanation of what was happening iwth the cyano. What i can say is after 3 months the nitrate never went above 1ppm (with no water changes) - the tank was on the floor and i eventually purchased a pump to get water out to do water changes - but i couldnt' understand for a while why the nitrate level stayed around 1ppm (but other aquariums with less stocking were much higher). Anyway it still bothers me as to why one produced sulfur and was killing stuff and the other didn't.
 

martink

New Member
Messages
23
ok so i had the water tested and im testing my tap water now.

PH 6.4
KH0
GH3
nitrate 10
nitrite 0
ammonia 0
again my tds meter reads 190ppm and tap 80ppm

the black sand that i hoovered up has turn yellow again overnight which im presuming is an algae.
My female is dead in the water, now still swimming but listless and i can easily catch her. im so pissed off I did this wrong, I tried so hard to do everything right. but that fkn pencilfish finding some way into the filter and me being a bit lazy about water testing the day after their introduction may have cost me everything.
 

martink

New Member
Messages
23
Here are the tank pics, I could get a pic of the sand better but ive since moved it around and its kind of gone. the day pic is best to see it really.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20220923_193802893_MFNR~2.jpg
    IMG_20220923_193802893_MFNR~2.jpg
    666 KB · Views: 45
  • IMG_20220923_193827498_MFNR.jpg
    IMG_20220923_193827498_MFNR.jpg
    2 MB · Views: 40
  • IMG_20220923_121858148.jpg
    IMG_20220923_121858148.jpg
    1.7 MB · Views: 42

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
10,760
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
To me it seems that what you write indicates that the tank has anaerobic decomposition occurring in the substrate. One of the many bits of information I learned getting a hazardous materials management degree was that H2S at low levels smells like rotten eggs, but as levels increase the gas overpowers one's sense of smell and the odor disappears. I can't imagine the levels getting that high in an aquarium however. I hate to say it, but if this was my tank I would break the tank down to bare glass, replace the substrate with sand only (under 1"/2.5cm) and start over.
 

anewbie

Active Member
Messages
673
To me it seems that what you write indicates that the tank has anaerobic decomposition occurring in the substrate. One of the many bits of information I learned getting a hazardous materials management degree was that H2S at low levels smells like rotten eggs, but as levels increase the gas overpowers one's sense of smell and the odor disappears. I can't imagine the levels getting that high in an aquarium however. I hate to say it, but if this was my tank I would break the tank down to bare glass, replace the substrate with sand only (under 1"/2.5cm) and start over.
Given your expertise in the area can you explain why different types of anaerobic bacteria develop (ones with different by products) or if this is a fallacy of explanation i've heard in the past.
 

martink

New Member
Messages
23
To me it seems that what you write indicates that the tank has anaerobic decomposition occurring in the substrate. One of the many bits of information I learned getting a hazardous materials management degree was that H2S at low levels smells like rotten eggs, but as levels increase the gas overpowers one's sense of smell and the odor disappears. I can't imagine the levels getting that high in an aquarium however. I hate to say it, but if this was my tank I would break the tank down to bare glass, replace the substrate with sand only (under 1"/2.5cm) and start over.
ok thanks ill replace the sand asap
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
10,760
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
Given your expertise in the area can you explain why different types of anaerobic bacteria develop (ones with different by products) or if this is a fallacy of explanation i've heard in the past.
Basically the amount of oxygen compounds available and the species of bacteria that can exist in the environment determines the end product. Those that cause denitrification of NO3 to N2 seem to occur where oxygen from organics (mostly NO3) is sufficient to be metabolized and N2 and O2 are waste products. Different bacteria decompose organics where little or no oxygen is available. In these cases the anaerobic bacteria metabolize sulfur compounds and produce H2S as a waste product. Does this make sense?
 

anewbie

Active Member
Messages
673
Basically the amount of oxygen compounds available and the species of bacteria that can exist in the environment determines the end product. Those that cause denitrification of NO3 to N2 seem to occur where oxygen from organics (mostly NO3) is sufficient to be metabolized and N2 and O2 are waste products. Different bacteria decompose organics where little or no oxygen is available. In these cases the anaerobic bacteria metabolize sulfur compounds and produce H2S as a waste product. Does this make sense?
It makes sense but it is hard for me to understand exactly why one would form in one aquarium and the other in the other (both had same substrate); but to speculate that perhaps the second tank has more current allowing more oxygen into the substrate. The substrate by the way was caribsea moonlight which is powder fine but unfortunately i've had 3 tanks now produce sulfur output the third was a 5 and it only took a few months.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
10,760
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
Could the substrate in one be deeper than the other? Even a fraction of an inch can explain the difference. "Powder fine" substrate doesn't allow water (and O2) to flow through the substrate readily, causing anaerobic condition to develop. Melanesian Burrowing Snails will help turn over the substrate and help keep it aerated if not too deep.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,564
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
.......Different bacteria decompose organics where little or no oxygen is available. In these cases the anaerobic bacteria metabolize sulfur compounds and produce H2S as a waste product..........
What Mike says, @anewbie have a look at <"Winogradsky column"> it will give you schematic for the electron acceptors after you've run out of oxygen.

fig5702p56a-jpg.92634


I have a <"90% thin silica sand substrate">, but I don't vacuum it etc. so over time it becomes more soil like. Dr Stephan Tanner explains the processes involved in <"Aquarium Biolfiltration">

I think a thicker substrate can work, but you need some rooted, and ideally emergent, plants. Echinodorus bleheri or similar will work.

<"Plant roots are leaky structures"> and <"Radial Oxygen Loss"> (ROL) <"create zones of fluctuating"> REDOX values within the substrate. This is a transverse section through a Cyperus petiole and you can see its internal plumbing.

aerenchyma2-jpg.161594


cheers Darrel
 

anewbie

Active Member
Messages
673
I typically make my substrate between 2 and 3 inches deep as i lean toward densely planted aquariums - but between the two tanks it is quite possible one was a little deeper than the other but the 5 was more shallow. Of course it takes time for the plants to grow. For reasons i do not fully understand the sword plants tend to do better in coarser substrate and i never had much luck with various species of sword plants bleheri or otherwise. I have a small bleheri i moved into my 29 a couple of years ago (the 120 has a rather large plant that puts out runners every week so i always have a few small ones waiting to be removed); and the one in the 29 has managed to well not die in that period but i think it has gone from maybe 2 inches to 1 inch tall ;) It is behind a piece of drift wood next to the left sponge filter; not that you can see it.
-
As for snails - this was a while ago and i don't remember what was there or not there; i have some trumpet snails in some of my aquarium but i think in the large aquarium the loaches finally found them all and in the small one the assassin snails seem to be hunting them... as for the rumour assassin snails dont' spread like rabbits - well that is false.
--

w29_sep_2022.jpg
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,564
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
The tank looks lovely, I don't see why your Aponogeton spp. can't perform the same role. I'm also a Ceratophyllum fan
As for snails - this was a while ago and i don't remember what was there or not there; i have some trumpet snails in some of my aquarium but i think in the large aquarium the loaches finally found them all and in the small one the assassin snails seem to be hunting them... as for the rumour assassin snails dont' spread like rabbits - well that is false.
... and a snail fan, I have Malaysian Trumpet Snails (Melanoides tuberculata), in most of my tanks, but they never get very big before shell attrition gets them and one of two of the tanks have water that is soft enough to preclude keeping them successfully.

cheers Darrel
 

anewbie

Active Member
Messages
673
I don't see why your Aponogeton spp. can't perform the same role. I'm also a Ceratophyllum fan
Not sure but have my doubts; they don't seem to develop the same large root systems that I find with the various sword plants... Of course there are many species of aponogeton with many different behavior surrounding hibernation et all.
 

martink

New Member
Messages
23
To me it seems that what you write indicates that the tank has anaerobic decomposition occurring in the substrate. One of the many bits of information I learned getting a hazardous materials management degree was that H2S at low levels smells like rotten eggs, but as levels increase the gas overpowers one's sense of smell and the odor disappears. I can't imagine the levels getting that high in an aquarium however. I hate to say it, but if this was my tank I would break the tank down to bare glass, replace the substrate with sand only (under 1"/2.5cm) and start over.
hi Mike you were right. when i got in there to remove the sand there was a lot of bubbles and with many i could smell the sulphur better.
 

Members online

No members online now.

Forum statistics

Threads
17,207
Messages
109,449
Members
12,556
Latest member
Boserup

Latest profile posts

mikishuhoo wrote on Apistoguy52's profile.
Hi,

Do you still have Apistogramma diplotaenia pairs available to sell? Please advise. Thanks.

Kenny
I'm clueless. If I say something you can safely ignore it.
Apistomaster wrote on anewbie's profile.
I see that The Wet Spot Tropical Fish currently has the fire red A. agassizi you are looking for. Here is the link:
I've always had good experiences buying from them on line.
Hallo,
I am Hanzle from Holland and keep apistoos for 40 years. Had my own aquarium shop from 1984 till 1988. Always s great fan from apistoos and hyphessobrycon which is s great combination in a Community Aquarium. Perhaps.....in the near future I start breeding apistoos again. Have a 400 liters Community aquarium for hyphessobrycon wadai and apistogramma biteaniata.
I want to get a 55 gallon slightly planted tank with many caves and I am thinking of getting 2 electric blue acaras, 3 blue rams, a apistogramma, 3 angelfish, and some corrydoras. Will that work if I keep the temperature at about and 80 or less?
Top