Aquarium at my new job is in a terrible state and is not filtering at all. Tropical fish but with a marine type setup (sump, protein skimmer etc)

wellayeman

New Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Location
Newcastle
I started a new job in a school last week and noticed the aquarium on the first day. I believe it's a Aqua One 275 with a sump and protein skimmer underneath but the water is no longer being filtered for some reason. There is no water entering the sump and none being pumped up into the aquarium. There's one large 4" fish in there and some smaller ones but I can't see how many due to the condition of the glass and plants. I want to help so bad but I'm not sure where to start with this kind of setup and the person who used to care for the fish doesn't work here anymore. I did a water test today and the nitrite, nitrate and ammonia levels are really bad. Only thing that was OK was the pH.

Apparently it was all working OK until recently but I'm surprised the fish are still alive. I have never dealt with a sump system before so I don't know where to begin looking for problems or what to DO and NOT DO to ensure the problem isn't made worse. Can I take out the none essential things within the sump such as the protein skimmer and just strip it down to basics? E.G keep the layers of filter media in one section and remove everything else other than the submersible pump and heater?

I'm not sure what is wrong with the pump but I'm hoping it is just blocked with snail shells or something and will work as normal once I've cleaned it all out.

Can anyone give me a breakdown of what I should do in order to try and get this aquarium sorted out? Obviously removing the fish to a large container and getting rid of the trumpet snails is crucial but I need to know what I'm doing to get the aquarium clean, refilled and have a working filter system in place gaily quickly.

Ps. I have no money to go towards this so buying a new filter is not an option unfortunately.

Thanks!
 

ClownLurch

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
2,079
Reaction score
2,374
Location
Snorbens, Just North Of London
I know next to nowt but I’ve read the more knowledgeable on here recommend a series of small water changes over one huge one. Each using water conditioner obviously.
Id try that first.
Tell us the size of the tank measurements etc
 
OP
OP
W

wellayeman

New Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Location
Newcastle
I know next to nowt but I’ve read the more knowledgeable on here recommend a series of small water changes over one huge one. Each using water conditioner obviously.
Id try that first.
Tell us the size of the tank measurements etc
I believe its the Aqua One 275, so 275 litres.

The water changes aren't the main issue here to be honest it's understanding what I need to do to get the filtration system up and running again. On Monday I'm going to disconnect the pump and hose and see if I can get that working again and if so, hopefully I can clean out the sump and get things going.

After further research last night I think I am OK to remove everything other than the filter media's, pump and heater from the sump but hoping someone here can give me a bit more information.

Thanks
 

Naughts

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Jun 2, 2019
Messages
2,664
Reaction score
2,259
Location
UK
The water changes aren't the main issue
Look up Old Tank Syndrome. If you don't follow Clownlurches advice you will inadvertently kill the fish.

Removing the fish (and equipment to a lesser degree) can also be detrimental.

We need photos (tank, sump, filter...) and parameters (numbers and units) to see what you are tackling.
 
OP
OP
W

wellayeman

New Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Location
Newcastle
Look up Old Tank Syndrome. If you don't follow Clownlurches advice you will inadvertently kill the fish.

Removing the fish (and equipment to a lesser degree) can also be detrimental.

We need photos (tank, sump, filter...) and parameters (numbers and units) to see what you are tackling.
Thanks for the reply. I can do some small water changes over x amount of time to avoid any sudden changes but I still have the main issue with the sump not running. Like I say this is not my aquarium and I don't have the time or resources to treat it like mine. Ideally I need it to start filtering again as I am doing these water changes otherwise the water is going to remain in a constant state of decline.

I can get some photos on Monday.
Here is a photo of the water test I did.

Thanks
 

Attachments

  • 20220930_191602.jpg
    20220930_191602.jpg
    224.5 KB · Views: 20

Naughts

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Jun 2, 2019
Messages
2,664
Reaction score
2,259
Location
UK
Wow. With readings that high the pH will be artificially low and any large water change will swing the pH (although you haven't told us the pH of the source water?). If the pH goes above 7 the ammonium will convert to highly toxic ammonia.

I'll try to give general advice although I'm not clear on the componants of your filtration system (I've never worked with a sump). Clean the filter material and filter housing in a bucket of tank water (which should then be discarded on a garden lawn). A small bottle brush can be used to gently clean the impeller to try and get it going. A similar brush with a long flexible handle can be used to clean the inlet/outlet tubes and down pipes of the sump.

If you can't get the filter working after that it would be best to rehome the fish so that you can start again with this tank.
 
OP
OP
W

wellayeman

New Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Location
Newcastle
Wow. With readings that high the pH will be artificially low and any large water change will swing the pH (although you haven't told us the pH of the source water?). If the pH goes above 7 the ammonium will convert to highly toxic ammonia.

I'll try to give general advice although I'm not clear on the componants of your filtration system (I've never worked with a sump). Clean the filter material and filter housing in a bucket of tank water (which should then be discarded on a garden lawn). A small bottle brush can be used to gently clean the impeller to try and get it going. A similar brush with a long flexible handle can be used to clean the inlet/outlet tubes and down pipes of the sump.

If you can't get the filter working after that it would be best to rehome the fish so that you can start again with this tank.
Yeah it's in a pretty bad state. I have tropical fish of my own but can't take in anymore unfortunately. I'm hoping I can keep it as simple as possible by getting the sump pump working again, removing the skimmer and scrubbing out the entire sump, cleaning and replacing the filter media as required and then just having the sump with nothing more than the media, pump and heater in it. If that works then I can look ad adding the skimmer at a later date once I know it works OK.
I will do a small water change on Monday just as a start but it's going to be tricky finding the time to do what needs to be done here.
 

ClownLurch

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
2,079
Reaction score
2,374
Location
Snorbens, Just North Of London
Changing a bucket of water a day while trying to sort the filter will help.
Do you know what fish are in the tank? I’m originally from up that way and there’s a few regulars on here live in the area, maybe some would give you a hand? Or if the worst comes to the worst take some fish off your hands?
 
OP
OP
W

wellayeman

New Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Location
Newcastle
I've been in today and I've taken the sump pump apart and it's clearly broken and needs replaced but they said someone was supposed to have been dropping a new one off today. Also I have taken out all the filter media in the sump and cleaned it all in a container of tank water. It was for the most part dred out with a load of muck and dead snails in it. I've removed the protein skimmer which appears to be broken because it was left turned on at the plug but it wasn't running.

Emptied out as much of the water from the sump as I could and I will rinse it out and clean it up a bit tomorrow. It was mucky with sludge settled in the bottom so it all had to go.

As for the tank with the fish in, I have added an internal filter that I had spare, taken out about 20L of water and added 20l of clean conditioned water.

I still have to find out what the big fish is in there. There are 2 small catfish but I can't identify the big one and couldn't get a picture as it was hiding in the shadows.
 

Attachments

  • 20221003_104615.jpg
    20221003_104615.jpg
    416.9 KB · Views: 21
  • 20221003_104657.jpg
    20221003_104657.jpg
    333.7 KB · Views: 22
  • 20221003_104624.jpg
    20221003_104624.jpg
    239.8 KB · Views: 21

lnsaneM

Fish Crazy
Joined
Sep 22, 2022
Messages
263
Reaction score
151
Location
houston
That looks like a freshwater eel of some sort, and the tank has a serious snail infestation
 
OP
OP
W

wellayeman

New Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Location
Newcastle
That looks like a freshwater eel of some sort, and the tank has a serious snail infestation
There's no eel. I don't think you can see the fish in those images I was only taking photos for reference because someone asked to see photos.

It looks similar to a piranha.
 

Most reactions

trending

Top