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Bubbles/foam on 10 gallon


Currier1
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Hi everyone, I am new here, but have been lazy keeping a 10 gallon tank for a few years. 

About 2-3 weeks ago, I transferred from a leaking 10 gallon to another 10 gallon.  Kept most tank water and filter mesh, but changed the gravel and carbon filter.  Added flourish tabs under the gravel and planted with corkscrew vallisineria and elodea.  Transferred 2 Otocinclus (3rd passed), 1 remaining elderly guppy (would like not to keep those any longer), 3 Harlequin rasboras, 1 assassin snail, and a few pond snails for him to eat (he may not have any left).  When I noticed the Otos sucking on the val, I tossed in a fistful to float - to my daughter's dismay.  She hates floaters.  Tank temp is in upper 70's.  Not sure temp strip or heater is very accurate.  Heater set to 75 but I think it is slightly warmer.  Had BBA in old tank and came along with the move.  Have Excel, but never used.

I was concerned about the Otos having enough to eat in the "new" tank, so had been adding pealed cucumber, fresh spinach, and recently fresh chopped Kale continually.  They eat the cucumber and spinach regularly, but the Kale took a day or two.

About 4 days a go we noticed the Otos had the zoomies.  Never noticed before and thought it odd they waited weeks after the move if it was just stress.  Tetra strips show less than 20 nitrate (still safe, but slightly pink).  Incoming tap water shows some nitrate here too.  No Nitrite, Very hard water, no chlorine, moderate to ideal alkalinity.  Neutral PH.  Read online that Otos sometimes behave this way, so did nothing.

I just recently watched the Aquarium Coop video about bubbles being an indication of medication or a problem in the tank.  About 3 days ago notices bubbles.  Test strips showed the same results as usual.  I changed only 1 gallon tank water for room temperature filtered water (filter removes chlorine).  Then added Top fin bacteria starter that I had no hand for good measure. The next day I ran out to PetSmart for an API test kit, but ammonia reads 0. 

This morning it seamed the foam was worse.  Otos still occasionally zoom, but have calm periods too.  I retested, nitrate and ammonia unchanged.  But foam seemed a little less after I removed the softening cucumber and final bits of spinach.  I left the kale as they just seemed to start eating it.  Later my husband noticed the entire water surface was covered with a thin layer of bubbles.  A little later still the bubbles had increased.  See attached photo.  I thought maybe the bubbles deceased after I opened the tank lid to take a picture, but I was not sure.

Have I just never noticed this? Does softening cucumber cause bubbles - not ammonia? What do I do? 

FYI  I have a 39 gallon, unheated, dirted aquarium growing plants (and pond snails), but I need to redo it because I did not use a sufficient sand cap and dirt is everywhere.  I plan to move the heater with the fish at some point.  I'm just dreading the drain, breakdown, addition of sand, rocks, wood, plants . . . Then do I still have sufficient bacteria?

 

 

20211213_105816.jpg

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Bubbles can be a sign of extra proteins in the water caused by waste. Either try the Poly-Filter as @Beardedbillygoat1975 recommended, or a water change.

Another question is whether the vegetables themselves may have had any pesticides. Also, I would not leave a veggie in there for more than a few hours as they decompose and can create problems.

Edited by eatyourpeas
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Thank you everyone.  I appreciate the advice.

Cory,

   The dirt (organic potting soil, sifted) is only in the bigger plant tank.  It has no fish yet, just plants and associated snails.  The fish are in the 10 gal with aquarium gravel and Flourish tabs.  Just trying to be thorough I tested again.  5 ml tank water, shake bottle 1, add 8 drops from verticle upside down, shake bottle 2, add 8 drops as before, cap and shake vile 5 seconds.  Set 5 minute timer.  Compare.  Results are lighter  than the chart, but look yellow to me.  Not quite as clear in photo attached.  But in person it still looks yellow not greenish.

Beardedbillygoat1975,

  Do you have a brand that you like for poly filter?  I searched Aquarium Coop for poly filter and just got fine poly pad. It looks like what my carbon is wrapped in (like a Bio-bag, but bulk from LFS). Is it just ordinary polyester fill like for pillows or am I looking for something chemically treated to cause the color change? Amazon had hundreds of hits.

    In the mean time, I've changed out my carbon bag.  Rinsed the filter mesh and the filter housing in filtered water (pond snails were hiding in the filter).  Then I used just enough cold, filtered water to get the filter started again.

In the process I bumped the air pump so it vibrated and made a huge racket. I wondered if that would freak out the Otos, but there were no zoomies. Maybe they were scared stiff 😉.  I really hope not.

Eatyourpeas,

  Thank you.  I never though of chemicals on the food.  Just got stuff from the store for people to eat.  The Kale and spinach were washed and ready to eat, but I did not get organic.  The cucumbers are the mini ones that come in a bag.  I pealed, cut lengthwise, and I used a rubber band to attach to a ceramic plant weight.  I would think pealing would have removed any contaminates. I feel a little guilty if I feed the fish better than my kids with organic 🤔🙃, but I will if fish are that sensitive.

    Can you define "few hours" (is it more like 3 or 24) to leave the veggies in?  For right now I removed the old Kale (it was getting soft) and added fresh.  Also added part of a regular cucumber I had in the fridge.  The Otos spend a lot of time on the cucumber.

Streetwise,

I got blackdiamond blasting sand because I was planning to get albino Cories - uniform color, nice contrast, and reportedly safe for their barbels.  Used only about an inch of dirt and about an inch of sand because I was worrying about anerobic bacteria.  The plants keep floating loose and I make a bigger mess trying to replant.  The dirt and sand are very mixed at this point.  I may just be uncoordinated but it is really frustrating.  I've kind-of given up.  I have about a 3 - 4 inch thick layer of elodia and val floating now.  They like living close to the light and I've just let them be.  I really dread trying to do better by the plants.  Do you think Gravel is still a better choice?

Fishplanet,

I presume you mean the BBA?  In the 39 gal plant tank it appears to have been replaced with a green stringy algie.  I wondered if it escaped from my moss ball (purchased long before the warnings on Zebra mussels).  I have since removed the moss ball and keep trying to pull out the green strings (Cladophora?).  I think I may be making progress.  Hoped Excel might work without killing all of my val.  Especially since I have a backup reserve of the val now with two tanks.  Haven't had the nerve to try it yet.

Thanks again everyone. I am open to all suggestions.  The bubbles were definitely less after reaching in the water and changing the food. Just used my washed and well rinsed hand not a net.

I'll keep looking for the polyfilter and will change out some water once I get more up to room temperature.


 


 

 

20211213_152137.jpg

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 Thank you everyone.  I appreciate the advice.

Cory,

   The dirt (organic potting soil, sifted) is only in the bigger plant tank.  It has no fish yet, just plants and associated snails.  The fish are in the 10 gal with aquarium gravel and Flourish tabs.  Just trying to be thorough I tested again.  5 ml tank water, shake bottle 1, add 8 drops from vertical upside down, shake bottle 2, add 8 drops as before, cap and shake vile 5 seconds.  Set 5 minute timer.  Compare.  Results are lighter  than the chart, but look yellow to me.  Not quite as clear in photo attached.  But in person it still looks yellow not greenish.

Beardedbillygoat1975,

    I found and ordered Poly-Filter on Amazon.  It looks like great stuff, although expensive.

    In the mean time, I've changed out my carbon bag.  Rinsed the filter mesh and the filter housing in filtered water (pond snails were hiding in the filter).  Then I used just enough cold, filtered water to get the filter started again.

In the process I bumped the air pump so it vibrated and made a huge racket. I wondered if that would freak out the Otos, but there were no zoomies. Maybe they were scared stiff ?image.gif.ba1db78ce6c3e0df99de6b4ee01a55c2.gif.  I really hope not.

Eatyourpeas,

  I changed nearly 1/2 of the water in the tank today.  All but the last gallon was purchased spring water.  That last gallon was filtered tap water brought up to room temp.  I think the only water parameter that it changed was temperature.  No matter how hard I try I can't seem to get rid of that last little bit of nitrate.

Streetwise,

I got black diamond blasting sand because I was planning to get albino Cories - uniform color, nice contrast, and reportedly safe for their barbels.  Used only about an inch of dirt and about an inch of sand because I was worrying about anaerobic bacteria.  The plants keep floating loose and I make a bigger mess trying to replant.  The dirt and sand are very mixed at this point.  I may just be uncoordinated but it is really frustrating. 

Do you think it would help to put a layer of gravel over the dirt and then another layer of sand? I thought maybe the gravel would hold the plants better and then cushion it with sand for the catfish?  Or would the sand just fall through the gravel?

Fishplanet,

I presume you mean the BBA?  In the 39 gal plant tank it appears to have been replaced with a green stringy algae.  I wondered if it escaped from my moss ball (purchased long before the warnings on Zebra mussels).  I have since removed the moss ball and keep trying to pull out the green strings (Cladophora?).  I think I may be making progress.  Hoped Excel might work without killing all of my val.  Especially since I have a backup reserve of the val now with two tanks.  Haven't had the nerve to try it yet.

1moretank,

Thank you for the advice on how long to leave fresh foods for the Otos. 

 

Thanks again everyone. I am open to all suggestions.  The bubbles were definitely less after reaching in the water and changing the food. Just used my washed and well rinsed hand not a net.  They came back though. 

After changing nearly 1/2 of my water today and raising the water level, we'll see if things improve.

 

Edited by Currier1
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I just bought new gravel and was rinsing today. And thought of this thread. I use cheap big box. Rinse well but then swish vigorously in really really hot water because it get foamy several times. Then dump boiling water in to dissolve the rest of whatever is on it. A long while ago I did not rinse thoroughly enough and it appeared to change the viscosity of the water and the bubbles would not pop. This would cause less dissolved oxygen I believe and stress fish as well as cause foam. Could this be the foam. How well did you rinse?

Edited by Guppysnail
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Guppysnail

You may have solved it . . . Thank You!  Just a quick rinse with the garden hose (very cold this time of year).  I just did a big water change today, and so far the bubbles are less, but still there.   I run an air stone and have plants, so I hope the fish will not suffer from lack of O2.  They are not gasping or hanging around the top.  They are all willing to eat. 

I'll make sure to change a bunch more water in 2 - 3 days.

Again Thank You!

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@Currier1, I have removed some sand from aquariums where I used it as a cap, but I obviously can’t get it all out. Stirring it into the organic soil can help break up any barrier layer. I try to use the most minimal caps that I can get away with, since it is easier to add than subtract.

I just moved all inhabitants out of my oldest tank, and will have to decide if I can improve the layering, or if I will have to start over.

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Do you have depth recommendations for soil and gravel.  I'm worried that the cory catfish will try to forage in between the gravel pieces and hurt themselves.  That is why I chose sand, but I can't say I'm too impressed with how it holds the plants.  Is Cory (Aquarium Coop not the fish😃) right, will we regret the dirt so much we give up?

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@Currier1, @Cory has debunked myths about gravel and risk to bottom feeders.

He doesn’t talk much about organic soil tanks, because the practitioners represent such a tiny slice of the hobby.

I try to help others who keep organic soil tanks. The forum is great for this!

I recommend 1-1.5 inches of organic soil, with a minimal gravel cap. My reference is Diana Walstad.

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