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camperjen 09-30-2014 12:58 PM

why is my fish tank icky?
The boys each won a really cheap goldfish at the fair in July, so we got a 10 gallon fish tank. It's been just fine EXCEPT it's impossible for me to keep clean. I watch the amount of food (I actually end up feeding them half the time, you know) so I know it's not over-feeding... we have a good filter - I thought it was supposed to last a month or so, but it's dirty within a week or two and I end up changing it anyway.

The water gets cloudy in an orange-y kind of way. It looks like dirt vs. just cloudy. We have a well and I use the two things to condition it for the fish that were recommended at the pet store - the slime coat stuff and another thing to clean the water. Obviously something isn't working!

Any guesses or suggestions to keep the tank cleaner? I did nearly a 100% clean 15 days ago and wouldn't expect it to look this gross already.

domesticzookeeper 09-30-2014 01:10 PM

Re: why is my fish tank icky?
I would actually resist the urge to "clean 100%" and definitely don't change your filter too often. Work instead on cycling the tank:

You'll still be cleaning it, maybe even more often in the beginning, but in the long run the tank will help to clean itself :)

forty-two 09-30-2014 01:21 PM

Re: why is my fish tank icky?
Could you post a picture? And what are the specs for your filter? And how deep is your gravel? And are there any live plants in the tank?

(Dh doesn't recommend cycling the tank - he says it's hard on the fish. His first guess is that it's too many goldfish for the size tank - that goldfish need 10 gallons *each* (they are really dirty fish :shifty;)) - but you could probably get by with a bigger filter. But seeing the tank and knowing exactly what sort of filter and such will help pinpoint the issue.)

camperjen 09-30-2014 01:32 PM

Re: why is my fish tank icky?
The filter mechanism is the one that came with the tank - it was a package deal. When I say I cleaned it that well, I didn't rinse off the plastic plants (no live ones) and didn't rinse the rocks but vacuumed under them pretty well. It was disgusting.

forty-two 09-30-2014 01:37 PM

Re: why is my fish tank icky?

Originally Posted by camperjen (Post 5832577)
The filter mechanism is the one that came with the tank - it was a package deal.

Do you know the brand?

---------- Post added at 03:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:35 PM ----------

And how much gravel do you have? It's pertinent because if there's not enough, the bacteria has nowhere to live and floats in the water, which can make it cloudy. Although the orange color suggests something else :think.

domesticzookeeper 09-30-2014 01:42 PM

Re: why is my fish tank icky?
Figuring out the filtration and such is good :yes I don't want to derail that part of the discussion, but...

Do you have a tank light? Is the tank exposed to direct sunlight? Because there is such a thing as orange algae, and it tends to bloom when A) fish are being overfed, and B) the tank is lit for extended amounts of time :think Just a thought.

forty-two 09-30-2014 01:47 PM

Re: why is my fish tank icky?
Another thought - is there a high iron content in your water? Because that might account for the orange-y dirt :think.

camperjen 09-30-2014 02:04 PM

Re: why is my fish tank icky?
Forgot to mention that we have about an inch of rocks - not too many.


---------- Post added at 05:04 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:56 PM ----------

I think the first picture is most indicative of what it looks like. We have a lot of plastic plants and an inch or so of rocks, so that would give the good bacteria places to thrive.

As far as iron-rich, we're not too bad. We do not have any iron spots in the toilets or sinks in the house.

We have a tank light, but it is LED if that makes any difference. It's in a spot of the counter between windows so we keep the lights on - otherwise, it almost looks like nighttime in there.

forty-two 09-30-2014 02:12 PM

Re: why is my fish tank icky?

Originally Posted by camperjen (Post 5832591)
Forgot to mention that we have about an inch of rocks - not too many.


That should be enough gravel.

Let me see if I'm understanding you right: 15 days ago you cleaned the tank by vacuuming around, including under the gravel, and added new water to top off the tank. And that took care of the problem? But now, two weeks later, it looks icky again?

If that's accurate, the cheapest solution is to vacuum the tank every week. Goldfish produce a lot of waste and are hard on a filter - it's sounds pretty typical to need to vacuum a 10 gal tank with two goldfish every week.

---------- Post added at 04:12 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:07 PM ----------

From the pictures it looked pretty cloudy (as opposed to something growing on the sides) - getting a bigger filter would also help, but more frequent cleaning (removing no more than 10% of the water, because more than that is hard on the fish) is cheaper and effective.

Rivendell Raven 09-30-2014 10:50 PM

Re: why is my fish tank icky?
I agree with getting a more powerful filter. Goldfish are really messy fish. We have two aquariums and the one that has the goldfish is a 30 gallon with a 65 gallon filter and crayfish to keep the bottom clean. You don't have to go that over the top (maybe a 25 gallon filter? )
but to give an idea, the tank we keep them in was already cycled from when we kept African cichlids ( who love to dig and make a dirty tank) and the water slowly became murky. Now it's crystal clear with the more powerful filter.

Lady TS 10-12-2014 11:05 AM

Re: why is my fish tank icky?
My guess is the well water has high iron content. That's how our well water is, and I've resorted to using purchased gallons of water for the 2 gallon tank we have...

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