- This topic has 2 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 15 years, 4 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
July 26, 2008 at 11:50 am #1503cajundolphin7Member
My protein skimmer makes tons of tiny micro bubbles really bad in my tank. It always does but especially after a water change. Is this harmful to seahorses
brand skimmer: Coralife Super Skimmer
Also, do you take the seahorses out of the tank while doing a water change? And do you actually vacuum the sand or cc when doing a water change or will this stir up too many bad things?
Post edited by: cajundolphin7, at: 2008/07/26 08:31
Post edited by: cajundolphin7, at: 2008/07/26 08:35July 27, 2008 at 1:37 am #4353Pete GiwojnaGuest
A few microbubbles in the aquarium are ordinarily not a cause for concern, but if your protein skimmer is releasing a ton of them, then you’ll need to address that problem. Such microbubbles are not directly harmful to seahorses and are generally only problematic when they contribute to gas supersaturation. If the aquarium water become supersaturated, gas emboli can form in the blood and tissues of the seahorses, resulting in various forms of gas bubble syndrome (GBS).
On small, closed-system aquariums, supersaturation is often due to the entraining of air on the intake side of a leaky pump, which then chops the air into fine microbubbles and injects it into the water (Cripe, Kowalski and Phipps, 1999). Water and air are thus mixed under high pressure and forced into the water column, which can result in gas supersaturation. An air leak in inflowing or recirculating water that enters the tank below the surface can cause the same thing (Cripe, Kowalski and Phipps, 1999).
Microbubbles in the aquarium can sometimes contribute to gas supersaturation in a similar fashion if they are sucked into the water pump and then pressurized as they pass through the filtration system. So you’ll want to eliminate the excess microbubbles that your protein skimmer is producing to reduce the chance of that happening. It sounds like it’s releasing a great deal of the microbubbles, which would increase the chances that some of them can be sucked into the aquarium filters and pressurized, which could contribute to gas supersaturation of the aquarium water.
With a relatively new protein skimmer, most likely the skimmer simply needs to be tweaked or adjusted properly in order to eliminate the excess microbubbles it is producing. For example, the water level inside the main chamber of the protein skimmer is a crucial factor for most units. If the water level is too low, it will inhibit foam production. On the other hand, if the water level is too high, it may result in excessive amounts of very wet foam and overflow the collection cup.
In your case, with the Coralife Super Skimmer, you may need to tweak the water level adjustment dial. Or you may need to adjust the red water flow valve, or perhaps the underwater water intake valve. Don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer for troubleshooting tips to help you eliminate the excess microbubbles that are being released. Some protein skimmers have bubble traps available to eliminate excess bubbles from the outflow of the skimmer. Ask the manufacturer if there is one for your Coralife Super Skimmer.
It is also very common for the bubble production in protein skimmers to change when additives are introduced to the aquarium water or during water changes or following heavy feedings. Water conditioners and other such additives may temporarily change the surface tension and surface active features of the bubbles in the water, causing a protein skimmer to go nuts and produce large amounts of wet foam that overflow the collection chamber. Normally that type of problem corrects itself after an hour or two, but sometimes it’s necessary to turn off the protein skimmer for a while following a water change or the use of an aquarium additive or a heavy feeding. As a rule, however, that’s undesirable and you want your protein skimmer to operate 24/7 around the clock…
In all likelihood, your new skimmer just needs a little longer break-in period and some further adjustments to overcome this problem, Cajun, and getting some support from the manufacturer regarding troubleshooting the unit should be very helpful in that regard.
Best of luck eliminating the excess microbubbles from your seahorse system, sir.
Pete GiwojnaJuly 27, 2008 at 2:46 am #4356Pete GiwojnaGuest
No, sir — it is standard operating procedure to leave seahorses in the aquarium while you are making partial water changes. It is less stressful for the seahorses to stay put that it is to handle them and temporarily relocate them while you are performing maintenance on the aquarium.
When you are siphoning out the water that will be replaced during a water change, most hobbyists find it beneficial to vacuum a portion of the substrate as they do so. This is helpful for removing fecal pellets and reducing the amount of detritus in the substrate. Often they will vacuum a different portion of the substrate each time they perform a water change, so that after several water changes, most all of the substrate has been vacuumed lightly at least once during that time. If you find the siphoning stirs up to much sediment or releases too much detritus, then you can use dip tubes for removing fecal pellets, uneaten food, etc., from the aquarium in lieu of a thorough vacuuming.
It’s normal for some detritus and sediment to be stirred up during a water change, or when siphoning over the bottom or vacuuming the substrate, but normally the mechanical filtration in the does a good job of filtering out the suspended particles within a matter of a few hours. If not, you can hook up a diatom filter on the aquarium and run it for an hour or so to remove suspended particles and polish the water. As long as you change the mechanical filtration media regularly to remove the sediment and detritus it has collected, this is generally beneficial for the aquarium.
Here are some additional water changing tips to keep in mind, sir:
If the tap water or well water in your town is of dubious quality, and you don’t mind lugging containers of water home from the pet store, then purchasing pre-mixed saltwater from your local fish store is often a good option. Many seahorse keepers purchase reverse osmosis/deinonized water (RO/DI) for their water changes. Most well-stocked pet shops that handle marine fish sell RO/DI water as a service for their customers for between 25 and 50 cents a gallon. For example, WalMart sell RO/DI water by the gallon for around 60 cents.
Natural seawater is another good option for a seahorse setup. Like RO/DI water, natural seawater can often be purchased at fish stores for around $1.00 a gallon, depending on where you live. It sounds expensive, but when you consider the alternative — paying for artificial salt mix and RO/DI water and mixing your own saltwater — then natural seawater is not a bad bargain at all. It has unsurpassed water quality and seahorses thrive in it.
Personally, I really like the convenience of mixing up a relatively large quantity of saltwater in a plastic garbage can, rather than mixing it by the bucket full on a weekly basis. A 30-40 gallon capacity plastic garbage can allows me to mix up enough saltwater for a whole month’s worth of weekly water changes at one time. Which assures that the freshly mixed saltwater will be well aged and thoroughly aerated, and that any chlorine or residual ammonia will have at plenty of time to have dissipated before it’s used. And it also allows you to preadjust the saltwater to match the exact conditions in your aquarium very accurately. It’s always a good idea to keep some premixed saltwater on hand in case of an emergency, when a quick water change becomes necessary. Here are some more suggestions for mixing your own saltwater and making regular partial water changes in your seahorse setup, Cajun:
Water Changing Tips
If you find that performing a major water change seems to cause your seahorses distress, try adjusting your water changing schedule so that you are performing smaller water changes more frequently rather than larger water changes less often. For instance, if you have been performing 25%-50% water changes monthly, switch to administering a 10% water changes every week or try making 5% water changes biweekly instead. You’ll find the smaller water changes are much less stressful on the aquarium inhabitants.
Be sure to observe all of the usual water changing precautions as well. For example, it’s an excellent idea to use Reverse Osmosis (RO) or Deionized (DI) or RO/DI water for your changes because it’s much more pure than tap water. However, water purified by such methods is very soft and must be buffered before it’s used so it won’t drop the pH in your aquarium when it’s added.
When mixing saltwater for your marine aquarium, it’s important to fill your container with all the water you will need BEFORE adding the salt mix. In other words, if you are mixing up 5 gallons of new saltwater, fill the mixing containing with 5 gallons of water and then add the salt. If you do it the other way around — dump the salt mix in the container and then start filling it with water, the water can become saturated with salt to the point that the calcium precipitates out. This calcium precipitation will turn the water milky and can also lower the pH to dangerous levels.
Water changes can also sometimes be a problem because of the supersaturation of gases in tap water. Tap water distribution systems are maintained under pressure at all times, both to insure adequate flow and to prevent polluted water from outside the pipes from entering in at leaks. Any additional gas introduced into these pipes (from a leaky manifold, for example) will be dissolved at these higher partial pressures, and will often be supersaturated when it emerges from the tap. Also, gases are more soluble in cold water than warm, so when gas-saturated cold water emerges from the tap and warms up in an aquarium, or is warmed up and preadjusted to aquarium temps prior to making a water change, the water can become supersaturated. This must be avoided at all costs because gas supersaturation is one of the contributing factors that can cause Gas Bubble Disease in seahorses and other fish. To prevent this, tap water should be allowed to sit for several days beforehand or gentle aeration can be used to remove gas supersaturation before a water change (just make sure your airstones are not be submerged greater than 18 inches while you’re aerating your freshly mixed water).
There are a few accessories you should keep on hand to make water changing easier: one or more large capacity plastic garbage cans or Rubbermaid vats for mixing up new saltwater; a small powerhead for stirring and circulating the water while it mixes; a submersible heater to adjust the temperature of the newly mixed water; a large diameter siphon hose; a couple of new plastic buckets that hold 3-5 gallons.
First use a clean plastic bucket to fill up the garbage can with 10, 20 or 30 gallons of water or however much you want to mix up at one time. Add the proper amount of artificial salt mix for that much water, and toss your small, cheap powerhead into the garbage can to stir it up. While it’s mixing, put the submersible heater in to adjust the water temp, and add dechlorinator or detox if using tap water (if using reverse osmosis deionized water, or another softened source, be sure to add a pH buffer to the new water). Let the new batch of water mix, aerate, and stabilize for 24-48 hours before you perform the water change and check to make sure the temperature and pH of the new water matches your aquarium. Some artificial salt mixes produce residual amounts of ammonia when newly mixed; aerating the freshly mixed saltwater for 24-48 hours will dissipate and remaining traces of chlorine or ammonia.
If you follow the steps outlined above when mixing up new saltwater prior to performing a water change, the water cannot become saturated with salts, the calcium will not precipitate out, the newly mixed saltwater will be crystal clear and the water exchange should go smoothly.
Best wishes with all your fishes, Cajun! Good luck working out a water changing regimen that is ideal for your needs and schedule, sir.
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