When CO2 strikes: killing all my fish
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Old 04-28-2012, 12:12 AM   #1
green_valley
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When CO2 strikes: killing all my fish


Hello everyone,

It's been about 3 weeks now that this disastrous incident happened. I have finally "somewhat" moved on and am able to share the story. In the beginning of the month (April), I wanted to rescape my 50G tank (here is the journal: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ta...han-green.html). Even though the tank has been great since last year, I wanted something different.

Before:


After:



It was fun (getting all the stuff clean up). I was pretty happy with the new look. Then I started to adjust CO2. Also I am using the splitter to distribute 50G and 10G tanks. After a few days, I realized that I needed to do more tweaking as the CO2 wasn't coming up enough. After fixing it, I woke up in the morning, and I saw the CO2 didn't turned off. However, I didn't see any issue with my fish. They were still happy and looked healthy. Well, more tweaking needed obviously.

At this point, I am still trying to find out what's actually happened. I was basically trying to get all working together (timer, splitter, cylinder valve, regulators). Somewhere along the line, I made a huge mistake. I left the tanks for less than 3 hours, and when I got home, this is what I found:










I was shocked, sad, angry, pissed off, etc. It was a disaster. I tried to rescue some, but they didn't survive.

As I told you earlier, this CO2 was connected to another 10G tank. I lost all of my fish there as well. What's even more sad news, I was loosing a battle with brown algae on that tank.

Before:


After a month:


So yeah, it was painful. As far as the fish casualties from both tanks, I lost all these:

Neon Tetras (x 40)
ForkedTail Rainbow (x 4)
SAE (x 6)
Corry (x 4)
Bumble bee Gobi (x 2)
Pseudomugil gertrudae (x 4)
Rummy Nose (x6)
CPD (x 6)
Scarlet Badis (x 6)
Otto (x6)

RIP


So yeah, I was considering to drop out of this hobby. But guess what, if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger. I will comeback even better and I have learned hard way. I thought that CO2 disasters would never happen to me. Yes, it could happen to anyone. I just hope that this might be an eye opening for fellow hobbyist, since I do not want this to happen to anyone. Be careful on CO2.

LIFE GOES ON,
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Old 04-28-2012, 01:01 AM   #2
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Man i've been there. i thought the same thing. im too careful. it'll never happen to me

i've been gotten. lost all my fish. and one i particularly came to love as it would roll over in my hand if i set my hand in the water.

i feel your pain. if it helps i, as a grown man, cried when my fishies died.


i took about a 1 month hiatus. i let the tank go as it was. didn't change water. just added ferts occaisionally. after my month i felt better and started by tearing my tank down and starting over. i've learned much since then
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:03 AM   #3
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Just remember it's all about balance. In your last picture, it's obvious there was just too much lighting on as the plants were dense enough to make use of it + the CO2 = more algae. It happens... especially early on when the plants aren't established.

As for your large tank, just look at it as a new start. You have a large tank... going for cardinals isn't that exciting (at least not to me). Try a different breed... roseline sharks are beautiful for example.

What's alarming is that you said your CO2 didn't turn off... but people here leave their CO2 on all the time. Less is more in this case. Less = plants alive, fish alive. More = more algae, dead fish. So it wasn't that the CO2 didn't turn off, it's more like you just put turn it on too much and they suffocated. It should never be on so much that if the plants aren't producing O2 (at night for example) that the fish die immediately. But you're almost there and you have all the equipment so I hope you have better luck next time around.

The hardest part of this hobby is patience - "PLANTS AREN'T GROWING 10 INCHES A DAY? CRANK UP THAT CO2 AND PROFIT" is the wrong mindset. Patience patience patience.
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:18 AM   #4
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Ouch! I'd punch myself in the face if i ever did that to myself.
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:33 AM   #5
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Yup. I killed all of my amano shrimp that way. Cranked the CO2 up too much, say my rasboras huffing and puffing at the surface, turned CO2 down, then found all the shirmp dead later. :-/ It's definitely frustrating
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:43 AM   #6
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What kinda co2 setup was you using?

And that's ton of brown Algae my Otto will live happy with all that algae.
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:56 AM   #7
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That happen to me once when my solenoid was unplug but kept pumping Co2 overnight. I had to blast out the dirt in the solenoid, it got stuck somehow.

Never buy those cheapo asian style regulators you see on ebay for cheap, I think they pump out a couple of working units and mass produce the rest.

I think the OP is using an Aquatek but I only hear good things about those.
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:05 AM   #8
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I nag nag nag people about CO2, instead they fuss and heehaw over ferts......I've never seen anyone kill fish with ferts, in 15 years...........

CO2? Every week a story like this.

I think many simply have to learn the hardest way. Or they give up.
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:59 AM   #9
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Truth be told, I almost had this happen once but just before it was too late I discovered that I did in fact have cherry shrimp in my tank. I didn't know I had them in the tank (it was full of large rainbows) but when the co2 was too high they were the first to the surface, where I discovered them.

It looks like cherry shrimp can be somewhat early indicators.
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Old 04-28-2012, 06:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcgd View Post
Truth be told, I almost had this happen once but just before it was too late I discovered that I did in fact have cherry shrimp in my tank. I didn't know I had them in the tank (it was full of large rainbows) but when the co2 was too high they were the first to the surface, where I discovered them.

It looks like cherry shrimp can be somewhat early indicators.

My otos bite it before the cherry shrimp. Those are my indicators.

I added a second diffuser to my 50g last night, but cut the bubble rate to both in half. Woke up this morning to a dead oto and a bunch of surface breathing roselines. Pulled my outflow up immediately and turned the bubble rate down a little bit. ugh.

Cherry shrimp were fine though, all motoring away at the bottom of the tank as usual.


I think with some fish it's hard to tell when they're having a hard time breathing, so it's important when adjusting your CO2 to be around while it's adjusting. I usually do my adjusting on the weekend if my co2 is in need of adjusting for that reason.

Sorry about your loss.. it's tragic, but really no reason to quit the hobby!
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Old 04-28-2012, 12:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordalphus View Post
My otos bite it before the cherry shrimp. Those are my indicators.

I added a second diffuser to my 50g last night, but cut the bubble rate to both in half. Woke up this morning to a dead oto and a bunch of surface breathing roselines. Pulled my outflow up immediately and turned the bubble rate down a little bit. ugh.

Cherry shrimp were fine though, all motoring away at the bottom of the tank as usual.


I think with some fish it's hard to tell when they're having a hard time breathing, so it's important when adjusting your CO2 to be around while it's adjusting. I usually do my adjusting on the weekend if my co2 is in need of adjusting for that reason.

Sorry about your loss.. it's tragic, but really no reason to quit the hobby!

in these cases i find flow to usually be the culprit, but i do use my oto's as much of my gauge. none of my fish ever surface when the are stressed. they just hide, and stop being active. and for my ottos i judge them differently. usually they are breathign rapidly. if i see them sitting in one place breathing really slow. i know its too high
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Old 04-28-2012, 01:10 PM   #12
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Sorry about the losses green_valley

I nearly lost mine when I was in a hurry and unknowingly increased the co2 (quite a bit actually). When I realized it was too high, the diffuser was just pouring bubbles out - I've never seen that many before. And they were (mostly) being sucked in by my XP1's intake and mixed this way so much of it did get into the water

All my mid-swimmers were at the surface gasping and my cories were sitting frozen at the bottom. Interestingly, my ghost shrimp and snails seemed unaffected. Fortunately I had no casualties as I shut the co2 off overnight and turned the lights on to help the plants soak it up - they all began pearling almost immediately when lights went on. I realized this around 1230a and had to leave for work at 630a in the morning. I didn't sleep until about 145a so I can watch and see how they were doing. The mid-level fish (platies) calmed down pretty quickly but the cories still seemed stressed so I didn't sleep until I saw all cories beginning to swim around, even a little, again

I was running an ASA on/off with needle valve setup and within a couple of days (funds permitting) I ordered a regulator from maknwar. I currently have co2 off as I don't trust the asa on/off needle valve setup any more
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
Man i've been there. i thought the same thing. im too careful. it'll never happen to me

i've been gotten. lost all my fish. and one i particularly came to love as it would roll over in my hand if i set my hand in the water.

i feel your pain. if it helps i, as a grown man, cried when my fishies died.


i took about a 1 month hiatus. i let the tank go as it was. didn't change water. just added ferts occaisionally. after my month i felt better and started by tearing my tank down and starting over. i've learned much since then
Thanks Blazing for sharing your story too. It's tough mannn, specially if you somewhat attached to them. Sometimes I even fell asleep watching that tank. Now it's empty, but I already have some plans for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fusiongt View Post
Just remember it's all about balance. In your last picture, it's obvious there was just too much lighting on as the plants were dense enough to make use of it + the CO2 = more algae. It happens... especially early on when the plants aren't established.

As for your large tank, just look at it as a new start. You have a large tank... going for cardinals isn't that exciting (at least not to me). Try a different breed... roseline sharks are beautiful for example.

What's alarming is that you said your CO2 didn't turn off... but people here leave their CO2 on all the time. Less is more in this case. Less = plants alive, fish alive. More = more algae, dead fish. So it wasn't that the CO2 didn't turn off, it's more like you just put turn it on too much and they suffocated. It should never be on so much that if the plants aren't producing O2 (at night for example) that the fish die immediately. But you're almost there and you have all the equipment so I hope you have better luck next time around.

The hardest part of this hobby is patience - "PLANTS AREN'T GROWING 10 INCHES A DAY? CRANK UP THAT CO2 AND PROFIT" is the wrong mindset. Patience patience patience.
Thank you for your suggestion. Please be advice that I wasn't blaming "CO2 didn't turn off". But could that be affecting the whole situation? possibly. Like I said, fish seem ok at that time. I think I did a big mistake (which not sure what), before I left. But Mannnn, that's gotta be a huge since it takes less than 3 hours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremyTR View Post
Ouch! I'd punch myself in the face if i ever did that to myself.
I hope that it would never happen to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AUvet14 View Post
Yup. I killed all of my amano shrimp that way. Cranked the CO2 up too much, say my rasboras huffing and puffing at the surface, turned CO2 down, then found all the shirmp dead later. :-/ It's definitely frustrating
Frustrating indeed. I wish that I came back when they're still huffing and puffing instead of floating around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by In.a.Box View Post
What kinda co2 setup was you using?

And that's ton of brown Algae my Otto will live happy with all that algae.
It's pressurized CO2. As for Otto on that algae, he only cleans up the rocks, but not on substrates and plants.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingHellFish View Post
That happen to me once when my solenoid was unplug but kept pumping Co2 overnight. I had to blast out the dirt in the solenoid, it got stuck somehow.

Never buy those cheapo asian style regulators you see on ebay for cheap, I think they pump out a couple of working units and mass produce the rest.

I think the OP is using an Aquatek but I only hear good things about those.
Yup, that's what i was thinking. The solenoid probably stuck at night, but not sure how. Yes, indeed it is Aquatek, but honestly, I am not blaming on the reg. It's been working fine. It's probably my own fault.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
I nag nag nag people about CO2, instead they fuss and heehaw over ferts......I've never seen anyone kill fish with ferts, in 15 years...........

CO2? Every week a story like this.

I think many simply have to learn the hardest way. Or they give up.
The hardest way probably is the best way sometimes. As for "giving up", that word is not in my dictionary.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jcgd View Post
Truth be told, I almost had this happen once but just before it was too late I discovered that I did in fact have cherry shrimp in my tank. I didn't know I had them in the tank (it was full of large rainbows) but when the co2 was too high they were the first to the surface, where I discovered them.

It looks like cherry shrimp can be somewhat early indicators.
You know, I had some RCS in there few months ago. They didn't last, but fish had been the happiest ever. I love that tank. It's like a complete eco-system. No issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mordalphus View Post

I think with some fish it's hard to tell when they're having a hard time breathing, so it's important when adjusting your CO2 to be around while it's adjusting. I usually do my adjusting on the weekend if my co2 is in need of adjusting for that reason.
Yup, that's exactly what I have learned the most. I was too OVERconfident that the whole setup would work perfectly fine. And I thought 3 hours wouldn't do anything. But man oh mannnnnnnnnnnnnnn, I was wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by josolanes View Post
Sorry about the losses green_valley

I nearly lost mine when I was in a hurry and unknowingly increased the co2 (quite a bit actually). When I realized it was too high, the diffuser was just pouring bubbles out - I've never seen that many before. And they were (mostly) being sucked in by my XP1's intake and mixed this way so much of it did get into the water

All my mid-swimmers were at the surface gasping and my cories were sitting frozen at the bottom. Interestingly, my ghost shrimp and snails seemed unaffected. Fortunately I had no casualties as I shut the co2 off overnight and turned the lights on to help the plants soak it up - they all began pearling almost immediately when lights went on. I realized this around 1230a and had to leave for work at 630a in the morning. I didn't sleep until about 145a so I can watch and see how they were doing. The mid-level fish (platies) calmed down pretty quickly but the cories still seemed stressed so I didn't sleep until I saw all cories beginning to swim around, even a little, again

I was running an ASA on/off with needle valve setup and within a couple of days (funds permitting) I ordered a regulator from maknwar. I currently have co2 off as I don't trust the asa on/off needle valve setup any more
Great thing there was no casualties. Good for you. Yeah, I probably did it in hurry. The thing is that I tested before I left. It was doing perfectly fine. Now, before I left, I had the timer on. So I had no idea what happened when it's on. I assumed that what I tested, was the output. I guess it wasn't.
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
I nag nag nag people about CO2, instead they fuss and heehaw over ferts......I've never seen anyone kill fish with ferts, in 15 years...........

CO2? Every week a story like this.

I think many simply have to learn the hardest way. Or they give up.
I hear ya on this, however I cannot seem to be able to get good ferts where I am, I have tried 4 times to get ferts shipped to me, and each time they where confiscated by Canada Customs, and yes I had a disaster with CO2, but now i have a PH Controller to monitor my CO2, and so far so good, I would never ever use CO2 again without a controller. The only ferts I can get are Fluval Root Tabs.
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:09 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by chevyguy86 View Post
I hear ya on this, however I cannot seem to be able to get good ferts where I am, I have tried 4 times to get ferts shipped to me, and each time they where confiscated by Canada Customs, and yes I had a disaster with CO2, but now i have a PH Controller to monitor my CO2, and so far so good, I would never ever use CO2 again without a controller. The only ferts I can get are Fluval Root Tabs.
Hydroponics stores have powered ferts, but you have to ask specially for kno3 since some regulation prevents them from having it on the shelves.
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