Vortex cleaning killing fish? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-02-2005, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Vortex cleaning killing fish?

Ok, I wasn't sure which category to post this in, so here it goes.

Simply put, the past two times I have used my Vortex filter, I have awoken the next morning to find dead fish.

A couple weeks ago, I tore up some of the plants, and (because of the mess) did some Vortex filtering after my usual 50% water change. I probably ran the Vortex for about 3-4 hours on my 50 gallon in the evening hours. Shut it off, went to bed. In the morning, I awoke to most fish cruising and gasping at the surface. Most of my Amano shrimp had gathered very close to the top of the tank. 1 Amano was dead. I quickly changed 50% of the water, all the fish calmed down and no one else died. ph, CO2 (monitored by a pH meter), temperature were all the same.

Yesterday, I did another cleaning. Tore up yet another section of plants. 50% water change. Again, I did the Vortex for about 3-4 hours. I finished in the evening. I awoke, this time later in the morning, to find both of my SAE dead, 2 Amanos dead, 1 Rummy dead. My other fish (Rainbows, Cardinals, Rasboras, Ottos, other Rummies) seemed healthy enough, not hanging at the surface too much. But most of my other Amanos were groggy at the surface again. ph, Co2, temp still consistent.

I'm stumped. Any ideas? Or similar experiences? Just a few notes:

- I use a Python to change water. I always put Prime into the tank before refilling. I've never had any deaths when using the Python only.
- I use Vortex brand diatom powder. No pool stuff.
- Both times, I tore up some plants that disturbed some Jobes plant sticks. I was pretty good about sucking them up, but was wondering if this somehow contaminated the water. A Lamote Nitrate test did not show abnormally high nitrate levels.
- Long shot: Plants didn't receive a lot of light on cleaning day, due to the hood cover being open or partially open. I finish at nighttime. Even though ph/CO2 reads consistent, is it possible the tank has a low oxygen count when I shut the lights off for the night? I always keep my CO2 pretty high, too, with a pH of 6.2, but this never presents a problem. Not enough photosynthesis in the tank that day?

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-02-2005, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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PS -- I did run my UVS as well all night, which I usually do also after a big cleaning to kill any "bugs" I might have raised from the subtrate.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-02-2005, 09:09 PM
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Do you have a high bio-load in the tank? If so removing a lot of plant mass might cause an O2 shortage.

The Jobes contain Urea. Did you check for ammonia?

My guess is either low O2 or ammonia.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-02-2005, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Rex --

I think you might have hit it. My bio load is within reason. But I did test a sample of the tank water I collected prior to changing the water this morning. Indeed, I had a reading of .5-1ppm Ammonia.

Perhaps my Prime wasn't enough to knock it out, or the ammonia kept leeching. I changed the water this morning, and conditioned the water with Ammo Lock and Stress Coat.

I should have said I have used the Vortex in the past a few times, at a time when I wasn't usnig Jobes sticks, and I didn't have an issue.
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