Fish bowl issues...

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nycman

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Mar 12, 2017
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I am very experienced – decades of keeping reef tanks, planted tanks, all sorts. Currently have three 200G+ tanks – full reef, planted discus, african cichlid. All doing well. A couple years ago I established a 3 gallon fish bowl with no filtration, heater, or even an air stone. I set it up in my kitchen and did weekly water changes from my planted discus tank with zero nitrates. There is no bio filtration in the bowl, yet the five white cloud minnows (that live at room temp) have all thrived over the years and have bred – there is now a sixth. With this success, I set up another bowl, but at my office in another town – too far for water changes from the established tanks. Instead, I use tap water (100ppm) treated with Prime. Everything else is the same, including yet even more frequent water changes. Yet these fish keep dying. It must be either 1) over dosing Prime or 2) the used fish tank water from the established tanks has bio/bacteria in the water column. Since the water is generally fresh tap treated with Prime, there can't be any ammonia in it. I have read that overdosing Prime starves the water column of oxygen, which seem like it may be a cause there. My next step is to stop using Prime and instead use tap water that has been left out for a couple of days such that chlorine is eliminated and temp equalized. Does this make sense?
 

nycman

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Original poster
Mar 12, 2017
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So a couple of weeks have gone by and I have further experimented, isolating variables and parameters. I have come to the conclusion that used aquarium water from an established fully cycled tank has sufficient bacteria to sustain a fish bowl. In this regard, conditioned tap is not as effective as aquarium water harvested from a healthy tank - as measured by the ability to control ammonia. My fish bowl water harvested from a healthy tank has zero ammonia, zero nitrite, and a trace of nitrate, whereas the original tank water had zero nitrates. This to me proves that there is bacteria in the water column moved from the tank to the bowl that is producing nitrate from ammonia.
 

FreshyFresh

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Jan 11, 2013
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Joel
Little to none of the beneficial bacteria you need lives in the water column. It forms and lives on surfaces in the water. I'm sure with some agitation, some gets disturbed and mixed into the water though..

In terms of the "need" for fancy filtration and heaters, I've experienced much the same. Depending on what you keep, feed, etc. a setup can thrive with only regular water changes.
 
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