Massive Die off after water change :( - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Massive Die off after water change :(

So, I just set up my new RO system using a Rubbermaid 44 Gal trash can as storage - The float valve didn't get here in time, so I just ran the system overnight and watched it this morning till it was about full. I used my pump I've been using to transport the water from a Home Depot 5 gal bucket into the tank to get some movement in the water so I could add my GH booster and baking soda and it would mix up. I also put the heater from my fish tank into the can to warm it up, as I noticed the water was quite chilly (can currently sits outside until float valve comes in).

After about 2 hours the water temp was about 72 ish; my tank is normally around 77, so I figured 5 F wasn't gunna harm much if anything...

PH, KH were a little higher than I wanted in the trash can: 8.1 PH and 6.5 dKH
GH was correct: about 4 dGh

my normal PH (degassed) is around 7.6-7.7
KH is 4-4.2
GH is 4.1-4.2

I had already started to drain water from the tank so I started to put the water from the trash can into the tank - using the sump pump and 20 feet of the same clear 16mm tubing I use for both my canister filters. 40 gallons worth.

As I put the water in, I was watching the tank making sure that the force of the water coming back in wasn't going to uproot anything. As the tank was over 75% full I turned on the CO2 and one of the circulators. The last 10 or so gallons the fish [that died] all started to swim around erratically and into each other/objects, up to the surface like they were out of breath, then dying - all within about 2 minutes. They all seemed fine and were swimming around the whole tank until those last few inches of aquarium top off. I didn't know what to do. I shut off the CO2, turned on both filters thinking they were gassing out and tried to get the surface to exchange some O2 ASAP.... but it was too late.

18 Neon Tetras
3 Harlequin Rasboras
2 Saimese Algae eaters
4 Otto cats
maybe 1-2 Amano Shrimp


I effing hate my life right now.... 6 months down the drain.
the only survivors (so far - it's been about 3 hours) are:
I see tons of amano shrimp still
4 Panda Corys
4 Starbae Corys
2 Albino Corys

Can someone give me some ideas as to what may have happened???
- Did I gas them out?
- Could it have been to much temp difference? ~ 5*F from Trash Can to tank
- Hardness too high?
- Toxins from new trash can/RODI system?
-> I did NOT thoroughly clean trash can before use, I just sprayed it down with my hose and dried it out before using
-> I DID run about 8 gallons through RODI system right into drain because I know it's new and may have some stuff - TDS meter (both my Pen and attached TDS meters) showed 0 ppm from RODI into trash can
- Trash can sat outside overnight with water in it and no water flow until this AM when I put sump pump and heater in it.

My girlfriend will be home in about 30 minutes - 1 hour.... I have no idea what to tell her... This tank has cost me quite a lot of money in the 6 months I've put it up.

____________________
Tank specs:
48L x 18W x 23H - 80 Gal/300L
1x Cascade 1500 Filter
1x Eheim Pro 3 Filter
1x hydor 425 circulation pump
CO2 diffuser under intake for Cascade, and within inches of Hydor pump too
- run around 3-4 bps
160# Eco complete black substrate
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 01:54 AM
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If you've never used the trash can OR the RODI system thats what I would assume.
Doubt it has anything to do with 5 degrees temp or a change in parameters, fish really do acclimate better than people give them credit.


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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 01:58 AM
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5* is alot for Neons and Cardinals and the smaller more sensitive fish at least in my experience. There are other possibilities too though, the containers, the RO system... even if I was using RO water I would add Prime. I killed an entire tank of African cichlids a few months ago. Turned out to be something related to the substrate being disturbed and no additive to detoxify it. Sorry man... we have all had large die offs with Neons and Cardinals. I lost 3 transferring them from QT to a 75 gallon... and I did it over a period of like an hour. I've just accepted that they are very delicate until they've been around for 6 months in a stable tank. I try to buy in groups of 20 now.
The other fish losses make a strong case for it being something in addition to the 5* temp change.

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Last edited by The Dude1; 11-22-2017 at 03:56 PM. Reason: Spelling
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 02:11 AM
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Did you notice bubbles from the substrate? Weird smell?? Ammonia build up in the substrate is highly lethal and it's easy to miss... and it would kill everything in minutes. Prime detoxifies it.
In the last couple of months I've lost 20+ cardinals, maybe 10 Neons, 4 - 5 Rummynose, and 3 female Apisto Caucatoides.

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 02:48 AM
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5 degrees colder sounds like gas bubble disease could be the culprit. I would think since the water was in the trash can for a while it would have time to gas off but maybe not. I always heat my water to the same or a degree above and I run an air stone on it just to be safe.

The symptoms and the fast death definitely sound like gas bubble disease (which sadly I have experienced a few times). This is why I no longer use a Python to run water straight from the tap to the tank.


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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 03:03 AM
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When you filled the tank did lots of bubbles form on the glass or other surfaces of the tank?

Gas Bubble Disease


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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 03:08 AM
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5 degrees shouldn't have been a huge deal especially if it was a partial water change. Even if it was a 50% water change the average temp would be 75is degrees. RO/DI systems actually have preservatives that need to be washed out before using. That could have been the issue.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 03:16 AM
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Oh man that's horrible!

I had my first batch large batch of fish die about 4 months ago after a tank cleaning. The largest number of schooling fish to die were the neon tetras.

Those little guys don't do well with quick water quality changes...

I'm sorry bud... It sucks...

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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 04:21 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triport View Post
When you filled the tank did lots of bubbles form on the glass or other surfaces of the tank?

Gas Bubble Disease
Never heard of that before.

Yes, I did see tons of little bubbles on the inside of my glass nearest where the water was coming into the tank.

_________

Just read about GBD.
That's so terrible. I feel awful for my fish.

What surprises me is the Cory cats and Amano shrimp all lived. are they not as susceptible?

_________

notes:
it took about 18 hours to make all the 40 ish gallons of water.
I added the pump to circulate the water last night after the trash can had been full.
I added the heater this morning - the pump was going all night long
I used the pump to get water from the trash can to the fish tank - approx 15 feet away.

I'm assuming that this supersaturation was because I used the sump pump to circulate the water. should I use a circulation pump/powerhead instead? would that have made any difference?

how do I transport the water from the trash can to the fish tank with the sump pump without causing supersaturation?

Now that I think about it, I've noticed those bubbles lines every time that I've done a water change using this sump pump. Even when I was buying RO water, then dumping into a Home Depot bucket with the pump in it. Filling it up as it was slowly emptying.

Last edited by Joel Allen; 11-20-2017 at 04:39 AM. Reason: Added clarification
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 05:38 AM
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That's really awful, so sorry for your loss. Reading about GBD, I would say the issue was the water temperature. It's not that the water you added was supersaturated, but simply that the colder the water is, the more gasses can dissolve into it. So when you added it to the tank, it started outgassing as it warmed up.

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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 06:25 AM
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What I do now is fill my trash bin to the amount I want with tap water and heat it to within a degree of the temperature of the tank it is going in. Add prime and aerate with an air stone and leave it over night (if it is tap water). I fill the tanks with a pump connected to an Eheim outflow that sprays water horizontally across the tank and keeps the surface agitated as it is filling up.

If it is RO water (two of my tanks I use RO water the others tap) I sometimes will add the water later that day once it has warmed up enough. Room temperature is usually only a few degrees cooler than my tanks.

For me I kept losing fish randomly here and there after water changes using the Python and I just figured it was due to shock from my water being too high in Nitrates and the fresh water being too different. I did notice the bubbles over all the surfaces (and sometimes on the fish) but I didn't think too much of it. I never lost that many fish. It would often be weaker ones.

One time I lost 3 male yellow tail Congo tetras right after a water change but they tended to panic when the water was being drained for the tank so I assumed they had just rammed their heads into the glass.

But then on another occasion I lost about a dozen big Congo tetras. Like probably $250 worth of fish all at once. It was so awful. They were twitching and swimming upside down and most of them died really fast. I think within 36 hours 12 were dead. That was when I did some more researched and finally figured out what was happening.

It doesn't impact all the fish. Some are more prone to it than others. I suspect because the Corys are at the bottom of the tank and can take gulps of air they may not be as likely to die from it. Congos are super super sensitive to it.


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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 02:41 PM
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What kind of sump pump are you using?
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 03:00 PM
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Oh crap, that sucks. Sounds like it may have been something from the new container, but a 5 degree change is a bit of a difference (if it's sudden).

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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 10:39 PM
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I recently purchased some large Tupperware to store stuff in my closet and when I leave the lid on them the smell of toxic plastic when I open the lids are enough to make you second guess storing anything in them. I can imagine the garbage can being designed for garbage has something in that your fish didn't enjoy too much. Sorry for the loss of your fish I hope you can get to the bottom of this.

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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2017, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Allen View Post
it took about 18 hours to make all the 40 ish gallons of water.
I added the pump to circulate the water last night after the trash can had been full.
I added the heater this morning - the pump was going all night long
I used the pump to get water from the trash can to the fish tank - approx 15 feet away.

I'm assuming that this supersaturation was because I used the sump pump to circulate the water. should I use a circulation pump/powerhead instead? would that have made any difference?

how do I transport the water from the trash can to the fish tank with the sump pump without causing supersaturation?

Now that I think about it, I've noticed those bubbles lines every time that I've done a water change using this sump pump. Even when I was buying RO water, then dumping into a Home Depot bucket with the pump in it. Filling it up as it was slowly emptying.
I just use a little pump with an air stone. It breaks the surface of the water and helps the water gas off (at least that is what I have been led to believe).

But heating the water to the appropriate temperature will help as well. 5 degrees colder is too cold and I think that contributed. That was what happened when I had my worst episode of gas bubble. I filled the tank with colder water from the tap.


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