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Thread: Activated carbon and an Oscar

  1. #1

    Default Activated carbon and an Oscar

    Hi

    I'm in the position of having to babysit an Oscar for an extended (permanent) time, my question is do I use activated carbon in the filter as I've some articles regarding hole in the head disease being associated with the use of carbon in a filter, I currently have a CF-1500 with filter wool, bio balls and sponges. It's a 4foot tank and the Oscar is about 6 inches long. Still have to purchase a heater so I wont have the Oscar for a couple more weeks, but I just want to have the tank setup and cycled properly before I re-house.

    Kind Regards
    Unimatrix013

  2. #2

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    Hole in the head disease is caused by poor water quality and lots of organic matter rotting in the tank and encouraging protozoan infections.

    Feed the fish once every couple of days and do 75% water changes each week. And do a complete gravel clean when you do the water changes. Make sure any new water going into the tank is free of chlorine/ chloramine and has a similar temperature to the tank water.

    Activated carbon is used to absorb chemicals from the water and is not necessary unless you have lots of chemicals to clean up.

    The best filter materials are sponges and Dacron/ filter floss. Bio-balls can be used instead of filter floss.

    You don't need an aquarium heater during summer in Australia. As long as the water temperature is above 22 degrees Celcius the fish will be fine.

  3. #3
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    Activated carbon is not required but if you did use it it would in no way cause HITH.

    Do not feed every couple of days. How often do you eat? Daily if not twice daily is fine.

    I also recommend against such a large water change. Keep it to 50% max IMO.

    A heater is still required to help keep the temperature from fluctuating to much. I would set it to 25C.

    Sponges and floss may not be the best choice on their own. They will clog very quickly and reduce the filter efficiency greatly. Try a good media like this https://www.eheim.com/en_GB/products...dia/biological for example.
    Whatever

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyAdo View Post
    Do not feed every couple of days. How often do you eat? Daily if not twice daily is fine.

    I also recommend against such a large water change. Keep it to 50% max IMO.

    A heater is still required to help keep the temperature from fluctuating to much. I would set it to 25C.
    Adult fish do not need to be fed every day. And large predatory fish like Oscars, definitely don't need feeding every day. Yes they will eat as often as you feed them but they do not need it.

    Just about every aquarium fish at people's houses are overweight. The food they eat goes into growth and muscle development, and movement through the water. Unlike terrestrial animals (people, dogs, cats, birds, etc), most fishes take their body temperature from the surrounding environment. They do not need to eat to keep warm. Most of what humans eat is simply used to keep our body temperature stabile.

    The main reason I suggest feeding large predatory fishes once every few days and doing huge water changes and complete gravel cleans, is to limit the amount of waste in the aquarium, and it is the waste matter (fish poop, etc) that encourages protozoan infections and subsequently diseases like hole in the head disease. Bigger water changes dilute the harmful pathogens a lot more than small water changes.
    eg: you change 20% of the water, you potentially remove 20% of the micro-organisms in the tank. However, if you remove 75% of the water, you potentially remove 75% of the mirco-organisms in the tank.

    Personally, I do 75-90% water changes on all tanks purely to reduce the soup of microscopic organisms in the tank. Most of these organisms will harm fish if left to build up in number. Big water changes dilute the pathogens more effectively.
    Just be sure to remove any chlorine/ chloramine from new water before it is added to the aquarium.

    In addition to this, fish (and virtually every animal) are opportunistic feeders and will eat whenever they find food. In the wild large predatory fish might not eat for weeks at a time. They don't get fed at 9am and 9pm. They eat when something swims past and they catch it.

    If you want to feed the fish every day that is fine. Just make sure you do lots of preferably big water changes and gravel cleans to keep the tank clean and to minimise the micro-organisms living in the water. The more food going into an aquarium, the more waste in the bottom of the aquarium, and the more micro-organisms that result from the rotting organic matter.

    --------------------
    If you want to run a heater during summer that is up to you. But in my experience, aquariums don't need heaters during summer in Australia, with maybe the exception of Tasmania. To test this simply put a bucket of water next to the aquarium and have a thermometer in it. Monitor the temperature in the bucket and see how warm or cold it is. Obviously don't put the bucket of water in front of an air conditioner or near a heat source, but you can get a rough idea of water temperature (without a heater), this way.

    In the wild, freshwater fishes don't live in water that has a constant temperature all year round. The Amazon River various in temperature throughout the year and on its location to the mountains. At the upper reaches of the Amazon the water temperature is just above freezing, it can be 5 degrees Celcius. As you move downstream the water warms up and in shallow lagoons during the dry season the water can reach 40 degrees Celcius. Rainfall at different times of the year will drop the water temperature. In deeper sections of the river, the water will also be cooler.

    Many fishes actually require this temperature variation to come into breeding condition. Water temperature fluctuations and changes in barometric pressure regularly encourage/ induce fish to breed.

    In the home aquarium, most tropical fishes are generally fine with temperatures between 20 & 30 degrees Celcius. In summer the temperature might naturally go up to or even exceed 30degrees C. If you set the aquarium heater to 22 or 24C then it can rise during summer and drop as the weather cools down in autumn.

    In cooler water fish will not eat as much and micro-organisms in the water will not grow as quickly, compared to those in warmer water. Subsequently in cooler water you feed the fish less often. In warmer water you do more water changes to reduce the organic matter that is breaking down faster due to the warmth.

    In really hot weather you might need to add extra dechlorintating agent to tap water because most water companies increase the chlorine/ chloramine levels in hot weather to compensate for the faster growth rate of potentially harmful pathogens in the mains water.

    -----------------------
    Sponges are used in filters to mechanically trap particles. If you clean the filter once a month, they are fine to use. They also have lots of surface area, which is good for holding beneficial bacteria that runs the nitrite cycle.
    Last edited by Colin_T; 10-03-18 at 12:47 PM.

  5. #5
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    Let me know when your post comes out in paper back..........
    Whatever

  6. #6

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    Hi Everyone, I appreciate all the replies with your advice and I'm sorry to advise we are no longer baby sitting the Oscar, circumstances have dictated a change so a community tank is now on the cards. Initial thoughts are some mollies, silver sharks, neon tetras, a couple of bristlenose and maybe a pleco. Again sorry for misleading everyone

  7. #7

    Default

    You didn't mislead anyone

    Silversharks can get big (14inches) and big ones will eat neons. However, the neons will probably die of old age well before the silver sharks get big enough to do any damage to them.

    Mollies do better in hard alkaline water, which is fine for bristlenose and plecos (assuming they are captive bred). But neons prefer neutral to slightly acidic water. If you keep the pH of the tank water around 7.0 - 7.4 they should all be ok together. Just be sure to keep the neons in a decent sized group consisting of 10 or more individuals. And keep female or male mollies rather than both sexes. Male livebearers (mollies, sword, guppies, platies) will constantly harass females. Having either male or females only, will prevent this. Female livebearers are normally pregnant when you buy them so males are not needed for a long time.

  8. #8
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    We all have a different take on best fish keeping methods....

    Given you are in Melbourne your tap water will be soft.....so best species to keep with minimum maintenance are soft water species

    Rams, Neons, most tetras. Many "community tanks" are a compromise....livebearers(mollies,platies,endlers) go better in harder water (Brisbane)
    but if you add chemicals to make it more suitable for them....the soft water fish are compromised and you are adding work(and risk) to the process

    I'd highly recommend not worrying too much about pH....it will start out 7+ because local authorities add chemicals to make water alkaline to reduce corrosion in pipes....over time pH will drop....if you add lots of plants pH will change between morning and night

    Personally I'd focus on soft water fish......South American's...they will go very well in treated tap water.....
    Lots of water changes are Good....30% 3 times a week is better than 90% once a week

    I Love plenty of fauna and flora in a tank....life is a balance....if you have Good water conditions the Good will outweigh the Bad and visa versa
    the concept that culling everything is Good doesn't seem logical to me. I like to add pro biotic bacteria....add more Good bacteria rather than trying to kill the bad....because you usually don't just kill the bad....you kill everything....and that doesn't necessarily give the Good bacteria a head start as the system rights itself. Aquazonic BioAid (ProBac) is worth consideration.

    Activation carbon is Good for removing medication....but I'd never use it 24-7
    You can add livebearers....but don't expect them to thrive

  9. #9

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    There is some evidence that fine carbon dust can agravate HITH disease. Hence why its so important to rinse it before use. Better quality carbon, needs less rinsing

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ageofaquariums View Post
    There is some evidence that fine carbon dust can agravate HITH disease. Hence why its so important to rinse it before use. Better quality carbon, needs less rinsing
    That's interesting. I would like to know the science behind it.

    Do you have a link or source?
    Whatever

  11. #11

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    Heres the gist.
    https://reefbuilders.com/2011/05/06/...sion-in-fish/#
    The end conclusion was "rinse your carbon before use".

  12. #12

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    .. or don't use carbon at all unless for specific reason (e.g. to remove a toxicant from the water)

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...11.608608/full

    nice to see the reversal

    The results of this study indicate extruded coconut shell activated carbon filtering at full-stream rates can cause HLLES-type lesions in ocean surgeons. The HLLES developed exponentially over 15 d, beginning in the chin region. This was followed by pitting in the cheek region, which expanded until erosions coalesced. Once the carbon was discontinued, the processes reversed in a mean time of 49 d. As the lesions healed, they reverted from the coalesced to the pitted stage and then darkened before returning to normal.

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