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selena685

Cleaning Hollow Ornaments

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I know that having a hollow ornament in your tank can cause a bacterial infection in the tank. I have 4 fancies in a 55 gal and do a 40 - 50% water change each month. If I take out the hollow ornament, give it a scrub, will that help with preventing a bacterial infection? Will it help if I soak the ornament in say 'Melafix' for a few hours?

My fish really love their log and I would like to keep it in the tank for them, but if nothing will help with preventing a bacterial infection from having the ornament in the tank, I will take it out.

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I have a couple of different hollow ornaments. When I do my weekly water change, I swap the current one for a different one. This way, the ornament always has fresh water in it and the GF get a change of scenery.

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First - doing a 40-50% water change once a month will not, in the long run, be a healthy situation for your fish. In a cycled tank, the nitrates and such will build to amazing levels - lowering the fish's immunities as well as having other, detrimental effects. More frequent water changes are very important. Even with a heavily planted tank - processing most of the nitrates, the water still will carry many problems - and needs to be changed out.

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/...showtopic=41152

Next - the beneficial bacteria that make up your biological cycle use oxygen in their processing of the ammonia/nitrites. They break the ammonia/nitrite up and, combining it with oxygen, process it into nitrate. Without oxygen, these bacteria cannot process the waste into the final products we expect - nitrates.

When you have a hollow ornament, the water in the ornament will sit - stagnant. It does not get any flow of water through it - water that brings oxygen and such. In that environment of oxygen deprived water, another type of bacteria sets up camp. This bacteria, in and of itself is not necessarily harmful to the fish. It does not infect them or cause disease, but it will process the waste of the tank in a different fashion from what you wish. It takes the ammonia and breaks it apart and the final product is H2S, Hydrogen sulfide as well as possibly some other nasties. If a fish were to get a shootful of this, as it pokes into the ornament or as you lift the thing out, releasing the gasses into the tank, it could injure or kill the fish.

The best way to prevent this from happening is simply not to have a hollow ornament. I know that is easier said than done, though, for so many are really pretty. So - you can place a small airstone into the bottom of the ornament and run air bubbles up through the ornament. This will move the water through the ornament, preventing any stagnant water from collecting.

Another way is to fill the ornament. Many lend themselves to filling - if the majority of the ornament is closed off - and has only a few holes, you can fill the ornament. The best way I have found it to use aquaium sealant to fill all or most of the holes. Then pour in small gravel or sand into the ornament to fill it. I then seal the sand/gravel into the ornament by meltin food grade wax and pouring that into the ornament. The wax holds the sand/gravel securely, adds weight and fills in all the air pockets - your ornament will not float! When the wax has cooled and solidified, I then use more aquaruim sealant to seal over any exposed wax. This ornament will not harbor toxic gasses or bacteria, will not float and works well.

:)

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First - doing a 40-50% water change once a month will not, in the long run, be a healthy situation for your fish. In a cycled tank, the nitrates and such will build to amazing levels - lowering the fish's immunities as well as having other, detrimental effects. More frequent water changes are very important. Even with a heavily planted tank - processing most of the nitrates, the water still will carry many problems - and needs to be changed out.

Thank you so much for the information Daryl. I used to do my water changes every fortnight, but where I live in regional Victoria, we currently have a water shortage :( I came up with an idea though after reading your reply; next time it rains I'll put out my buckets and try and get the extra water to do more frequent water changes. I dont want my fish to get sick, cause I love them heaps :wub:

I am going to take your advise and remove the hollow ornamnet and replace it with some driftwood. Driftwood should be ok do you think? :idont

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Driftwood has it own particular set of problems that you need to address. Driftwood, being an organic thing, breaks down. It is natural for organic things, when they die, to break down and be processed into other forms that other life can utilize. This is true of the wood, too.

As the wood breaks down, it will have the natural effect to lower the pH in your tank. If you do not have a very good, solid kH - on the higher side - it is possible that your tank's pH can drop. Some have found that it can drop precipitously.

If you are going to have real driftwood in your tank, you must keep a close eye on pH. You also need to watch that you are not getting molds/fungus/bacteria that are the normal vectors for this process.

Many types of wood have something called "tanin" in them. This is a natural thing - but it is releasedinto the water (also affecting your pH) as the wood is soaked. Have you ever seen the water in the swamps in Florida? It is very reddish brown - the color of tea. This is the tanins that are released into the water from the driftwood that has sunk. This same reddish brown color can be released into your tank - coloring the water a brownish orange. It is not harmful in any way, but can be very unsightly.

Many pieces of wood that you can buy in pet stores are not made for fish tanks. There is a whole line of beautiful pieces of wood that have been processed for use with lizards and such. They have been treated with an antibiotic and some other chemicals to help keep them clean for the lizards. They are NOT meant to be submerged in water, though. These chemicals can leech out of the wood and harm the fish. You must carefully read all the tags that are on any wood you buy in a pet/fish store to make sure that it is judged safe to be submerged in a fish tank.

If you have a piece of wood you wish to use, you can boil it in a pot on the stove - with salt is even better - for a while. This will help release the tanins and will kill off any pests and problems that may be hiding in the wood. Keep an eye on the wood as you boil it though. Boiling it too long can make it break down very quickly. Boiling it too short a time will not do the job. 10 minutes of rolling boil is enough to sterilize most things, but not enough to remove all tanins. I have soaked wood for as long as 12 weeks in attempts to remove all tanins - an the only thing that solved that was to leave it out in the rain and weather for several years - true "drift" wood. This made it OK.

:)

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:krazy: There is just so much that I didn't know about driftwood. What about the driftwood that have plants grafted onto them like this:

dw071.jpg

They are sold at my LFS and I have a couple in my tank already.

Is that driftwood ok to use in a tank? Would the driftwood have been treated so it doesn't harm the PH?

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oooo - that is pretty!!!! I LIKE that!

If you did not have your water turn orangy-brown within hours of putting the wood in water, the tanins are either not there or have been removed. No worries there.

If the wood has been planted and the water plants are growing that well and healthy, it is obvious that the wood is well soaked and will not float and has no "outside" parasites on it. No worries there.

If the wood is planted and submerged, then it either was never made for reptiles or anything it had is long gone now. No worried there.

Over time, the wood will decay. It is a natural process. In a tank with very low kH, you may see some pH issues. These can be dealt with with minimum problems. Just stay aware of what your pH is and all is good.

Keep an eye on the wood -and realize that it has a definate life span - of several years. You will start to see chunks of it fall apart - it will get "spongy" looking and will squish and fall apart as it is reaching final decomposition. Some types of wood take MANY years to get to this stage. Others are more short lived. As long as you are aware of it, all is good.

Enjoy. That is truly a beautiful thing! :)

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Thank you very much for all of you help and advice Daryl :bighug

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