Tahitian moon sand killed my fish - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 56 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Tahitian moon sand killed my fish

Been in the hobby for 25 years. I've used Tahitian moon sand in the past with no problem. Over the past year I've used it in 3 different tanks with the sand coming from 3 different sources. The first time I thought it was a disease that killed my fish. The second time I suspected the sand. The 3rd time I know the fish were healthy. This last time I owned the fish for a year and they were completely healthy. I switched to TMS and my fish were dead in a week. I had a tank of six wild julidohromis transcriptus gombi that had bred 3 times prior to me switching the substrate out. I switched to TMS so I could see the fry better. On all 3 occasions my fish were dead within a week. My guess is since the stuff is slag or glass that it is contaminated with a chemical or something. Maybe they're using a different process to make it. It's more then a coincidence that I lost 3 tanks of fish with TMS from 3 different sources. I know for a fact my fish were healthy when I put them in.
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post #2 of 56 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 01:49 PM
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Swapping out a substrate can and will cause a mini cycle. Dying within a week and a mini cycle could be quite to coincidence.

Any parameter reading prior / post substrate change?

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post #3 of 56 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 01:50 PM
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Replacing a tanks substrate comes with its hazards - i.e. you're wiping out the tanks largest area of beneficial bacteria which can lead to ammonia spikes. Were you testing water params during this time to insure there wasn't a "mini cycle", or a not so mini cycle?

Bump: @Quagulator beat me to it haha
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post #4 of 56 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Swapping out a substrate can and will cause a mini cycle. Dying within a week and a mini cycle could be quite to coincidence.

Any parameter reading prior / post substrate change?
No I used an established filter and I didn't put the fish in for 2 weeks. They died within a week of being in the tank. 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites nitrates were at 10ppm.
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post #5 of 56 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 02:30 PM
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An established filter doesn't guarantee sufficient bio-filtration unfortunately, and if the tank went without an ammonia source for two weeks before fish introduction, then you're looking at beneficial bacteria dying off in the filter potentially.

Did you dose ammonia or add an ammonia source during this two week period and test to make sure all ammonia and nitrites were eliminated within 24 hours?
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post #6 of 56 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 02:30 PM
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did you "feed" the filter for those 2 weeks? Did you temp / pH acclimate the media or just dumped it onto the new tank?

Letting an established filter run for 2 weeks un-fed could cause a mini cycle, improperly acclimating the filter media could also cause large die offs of bacteria.


Any other water parameter differences from the old tank to the new tank?

Edit: @mgeorges beat me to it ahaha
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post #7 of 56 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 02:50 PM
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OP made near indentical post on 12/3/16.
Still making same mistakes(despite stated experience,parameter's) and still placing blame on substrate.
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post #8 of 56 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 03:02 PM
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I have Tahitian moon sand in 2 of my tanks and another color sand by CaribSea in another. The youngest tank is a month old, the oldest is 2+ years.

The sand, plants, and fish are doing fine.

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post #9 of 56 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 04:21 PM
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Unfortunately being experienced at most anything still does not guarantee our performance. It does improve our performance but we still are prone to making mistakes. One easy mistake to make is being over confident and not testing or watching carefully.
So the questions about the tests are correct to ask, but then also some info on the fish dying may be really important as most fish do not simply die. How they die is an important clue to why they die. Simply blaming a sand that so many others are using, is not really thinking it through. Big point, is that if the sand had changed and it was killing fish, why is it only one tank in one house which we hear about? I might guess there are dozens/hundreds of folks who have switched to TMS and look in on this forum.
Not used the product and not defending it but then logic says there are many ways to kill fish and the sand seems to be out as a suspect.
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post #10 of 56 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
Unfortunately being experienced at most anything still does not guarantee our performance. It does improve our performance but we still are prone to making mistakes. One easy mistake to make is being over confident and not testing or watching carefully.
So the questions about the tests are correct to ask, but then also some info on the fish dying may be really important as most fish do not simply die. How they die is an important clue to why they die. Simply blaming a sand that so many others are using, is not really thinking it through. Big point, is that if the sand had changed and it was killing fish, why is it only one tank in one house which we hear about? I might guess there are dozens/hundreds of folks who have switched to TMS and look in on this forum.
Not used the product and not defending it but then logic says there are many ways to kill fish and the sand seems to be out as a suspect.

Agree - very well stated.
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post #11 of 56 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 09:43 PM
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In August I was researching a tank upgrade, from my 20 gallon with Eco complete, some plants and a few platies and corydoras. To a 55 gallon and more plants and fish. I figured the cory's would like some sand so I chose to split my tank between eco compete and sand. My research lead me to Tahitian moon sand, but some of the reviews on amazon said it was killing fish.

I googled this and came upon this thread, where the logic here convinced me to purchase the sand, I think I followed the right steps in setting this up.
1) I carefully moved the 20 gallon to my counter top so there was room for the new tank, I did this by putting the fish in a bucket and draining the tank completely, moving and filling it, using the correct prime dosage, and put the fish back as soon as water temp was fine, I did this a week before the new tank showed up.

2) I carefully cleaned the new tank using bleach then letting it dry then using a few rinses with prime and water.
3) I rinsed the sand very well using a bucket and many washes until the water was clear.
4) I added the substrate and planted the tank
5) I seeded the new canister filter with media from the hob and added a bit of fish food to the tank
5) I let the tank chill for a week with the fish happy in the 20 and the plants happy in the new tank, at this point I bought a bunch more plants, and added them to the tank, My daily testing showed an amonia spike then 3 days of no amonia, no nitrite, and increasing nitrate. I decided the tank was cycled and ready.
6) I added my cory and platy, both tanks had identical PH and temp, but I used a bucket of the 20 gallon water and added water from the new tank every 5 minutes to acclimate anyhow.
7) within 2 days all 3 fish were dead, an amonia spike the day they died convinced me I was doing something wrong, the tank also had a bloom of brown diatome algae.

at this point I was devastated by my failure, but Confident you all were experts and I was the noob.
I went to the local fish store the "wet spot" and asked for advice, I was sent home with more fish, more plants (floating frogbits) and a bottle of stability.

I did an 80% water change, then followed the directions on the bottle, added the plants and the new fish, this time a few ottos to eat the algae and some white cloud minnows, and a few MTS as I enjoyed them in my previous tank.

within a week they all died.

I then tried antibiotics to restart the tank, along with 100 % water change, and new fish and another bottle of bacteria, and again all the fish and snails died.

The wet spot then had me go through and list every single thing in my tank, and when they got to the Tahitian moon sand they told me it was bad and they don't sell it anymore because it kills fish.... I argued but these guys on the forum and reddit and such say that can't be, Surely I am doing something wrong!

at this point I called Carib Sea to get some evidence, and got a call back from Judd Mcracken their head of sales. He told me that Tahitian moon sand is discontinued and that they had a large shipment 2 years ago kill fish, and any still being sold in the last 2 years, AKA late 2016, all 2017 to present are suspect and may be bad.

Carib Sea replaced my substrate with Eco Complete which they shipped to me at no cost, I spent a whole day cleaning out my tank, and now I have a happy tank with happy fish.

So yes, You guys may have been wrong, and the OP may really have had sand kill his fish, and your arguments caused me to buy sand that killed my fish.
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post #12 of 56 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 11:37 PM
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Owe. When it comes to forums you have to watch out for those who are “forum smart” compared to experience smart. You never know who is on forums. I target my questions on certain forums. If it’s about ferts or plants, I ask here. If it’s about fish disease I’ll ask in a general fish forum flowing with traffic for quick responses. If it’s about shrimp I’ll ask on a shrimp forum. Sometimes I’ll post the exact topic on 2-3 forums. Some will yeld absolutely stupid comments that would destroy any tank. Some comments will be spot on. I had someone on another forum trying to convince me that aquariums should have 0 kh and almost zero hardness and distilled water was the way to go. Which if he followed himself would obviously murder an aquarium. Ive has people say phosphates should be 0 for planted tanks, which is wrong. Point is don’t believe in everything anyone says unless they have years in the hobby and tanks to back it up. You never know, a forum mod on a random forum might know a ton of stuff they read from dozens of sources, but only have a half dead goldfish in a bowl in their office.

This comment wasn’t directed at anyone nor do I know anything about anyone in the original post the op is referring to.
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post #13 of 56 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxrox View Post
In August I was researching a tank upgrade, from my 20 gallon with Eco complete, some plants and a few platies and corydoras. To a 55 gallon and more plants and fish. I figured the cory's would like some sand so I chose to split my tank between eco compete and sand. My research lead me to Tahitian moon sand, but some of the reviews on amazon said it was killing fish.

I googled this and came upon this thread, where the logic here convinced me to purchase the sand, I think I followed the right steps in setting this up.
1) I carefully moved the 20 gallon to my counter top so there was room for the new tank, I did this by putting the fish in a bucket and draining the tank completely, moving and filling it, using the correct prime dosage, and put the fish back as soon as water temp was fine, I did this a week before the new tank showed up.

2) I carefully cleaned the new tank using bleach then letting it dry then using a few rinses with prime and water.
3) I rinsed the sand very well using a bucket and many washes until the water was clear.
4) I added the substrate and planted the tank
5) I seeded the new canister filter with media from the hob and added a bit of fish food to the tank
5) I let the tank chill for a week with the fish happy in the 20 and the plants happy in the new tank, at this point I bought a bunch more plants, and added them to the tank, My daily testing showed an amonia spike then 3 days of no amonia, no nitrite, and increasing nitrate. I decided the tank was cycled and ready.
6) I added my cory and platy, both tanks had identical PH and temp, but I used a bucket of the 20 gallon water and added water from the new tank every 5 minutes to acclimate anyhow.
7) within 2 days all 3 fish were dead, an amonia spike the day they died convinced me I was doing something wrong, the tank also had a bloom of brown diatome algae.

at this point I was devastated by my failure, but Confident you all were experts and I was the noob.
I went to the local fish store the "wet spot" and asked for advice, I was sent home with more fish, more plants (floating frogbits) and a bottle of stability.

I did an 80% water change, then followed the directions on the bottle, added the plants and the new fish, this time a few ottos to eat the algae and some white cloud minnows, and a few MTS as I enjoyed them in my previous tank.

within a week they all died.

I then tried antibiotics to restart the tank, along with 100 % water change, and new fish and another bottle of bacteria, and again all the fish and snails died.

The wet spot then had me go through and list every single thing in my tank, and when they got to the Tahitian moon sand they told me it was bad and they don't sell it anymore because it kills fish.... I argued but these guys on the forum and reddit and such say that can't be, Surely I am doing something wrong!

at this point I called Carib Sea to get some evidence, and got a call back from Judd Mcracken their head of sales. He told me that Tahitian moon sand is discontinued and that they had a large shipment 2 years ago kill fish, and any still being sold in the last 2 years, AKA late 2016, all 2017 to present are suspect and may be bad.

Carib Sea replaced my substrate with Eco Complete which they shipped to me at no cost, I spent a whole day cleaning out my tank, and now I have a happy tank with happy fish.

So yes, You guys may have been wrong, and the OP may really have had sand kill his fish, and your arguments caused me to buy sand that killed my fish.
Thanks for confirming what I suspected.
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post #14 of 56 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 11:49 PM
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Thanks for confirming what I suspected.
I just hope others can avoid this sand which is known by Carib Sea to be poison.
Amazon is still selling it and just yesterday another person had fish die as they referenced in their review, 45+ people had fish die because of this sand.

how many never figured out it was the sand? how many quit the hobby because of bullying from the "Experts"? I know I almost did, I dropped a thousand dollars on this tank setup and lost 30 fish despite the fact that I did everything I knew right, followed the steps layed out by the experts, my fish still died.

now I am doing the EXACT same steps but with Eco Complete and nothing is dying, maybe I am a noob, or maybe I did what Carib Sea told me and removed every spec of the sand they have stopped selling since late 2016.

I am sorry if this reads as if I am angry, ... I am not yet over the fish that died in my care.
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post #15 of 56 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 12:14 AM
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Wow, I would've never thought there would be an issue like this. Kind of blows away the arguments about not using BDBS because it isn't sold for aquarium use.
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