AHHH - I killed my bio filter - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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AHHH - I killed my bio filter

I am not sure how. Pretty much the only projects I have been working on are the CO2 for my tank.

However today I went and tested my water and found Nitrites!!! 1ppm! Thought okay - that was a test strip, lets makes sure - two brands of test strips, and a chemical test all concluded the same.

Nitrates are almost nothing - I am beginning to wonder if I had too much water going into the tank so changing too much. 50g tank 6g a day drip system.

Either that or my filter went bad and Chloramine is in my tank

Any advice from anyone to what I can do to help my fish - I don't have another safe tank to put them in right now
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 04:56 PM
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Water changes. just make sure to treat new water with Prime or some other dechlor that covers chlorine and chloramines.

As for how it happened, it could have been a number of things. Did you stir up the substrate? Are you sure the tank was cycled beforehand (no ammonia or nitrite readings)? Did you rinse out the filter media? Are you treating with any chemicals at all? Did a lot of decaying organic matter suddenly get introduced (big die-off)? Did you add a lot of fish at once?

Check for ammonia, too.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kevmo911 View Post
Water changes. just make sure to treat new water with Prime or some other dechlor that covers chlorine and chloramines.

As for how it happened, it could have been a number of things. Did you stir up the substrate? Are you sure the tank was cycled beforehand (no ammonia or nitrite readings)? Did you rinse out the filter media? Are you treating with any chemicals at all? Did a lot of decaying organic matter suddenly get introduced (big die-off)? Did you add a lot of fish at once?

Check for ammonia, too.
Ammonia is 0 so I am good on that.

A lot actually happened. I cleaned out my filter, but I never rinse my bio-stars. My one power head fell and kicked up a ton of the gravel. I am using Tetra Aqua Safe Plus for treatment. No extra decaying organic material. Tank has tested perfectly fine for last 2 years (I test once per week). No new fish were added compared to what were in there for last 2 years.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by RSidetrack View Post
Ammonia is 0 so I am good on that.

A lot actually happened. I cleaned out my filter, but I never rinse my bio-stars. My one power head fell and kicked up a ton of the gravel. I am using Tetra Aqua Safe Plus for treatment. No extra decaying organic material. Tank has tested perfectly fine for last 2 years (I test once per week). No new fish were added compared to what were in there for last 2 years.
It looks like a temporary mini-cycle if there's no ammonia. Do the water changes and my guess is it'll be back to normal in a few days.

One other thought - a heavy plant mass will reduce or eliminate any mini-cycle issues.

Oh, and when you rinse your filter media, make sure to do it in tank water, and don't be too vicious with it. a couple squeezes and a swish should do it. There's probably as much bacteria in the sponge/foam/floss as there is in the bioballs. Or more.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 05:46 PM
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Local water can have a small amount of nitrites in it, as well as some water treaters that remove chloramine can give a false positive on readings.

Give it a day after doing all your changes, etc and test again.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevmo911 View Post
It looks like a temporary mini-cycle if there's no ammonia. Do the water changes and my guess is it'll be back to normal in a few days.

One other thought - a heavy plant mass will reduce or eliminate any mini-cycle issues.

Oh, and when you rinse your filter media, make sure to do it in tank water, and don't be too vicious with it. a couple squeezes and a swish should do it. There's probably as much bacteria in the sponge/foam/floss as there is in the bioballs. Or more.

Yes people under-estimate the amount of bacteria that build up in their sponges and rinse them under tap water and figure its fine when that could be as much as 50% of your bacteria. I run a sponge prefilter on my intake, so I rinse that good under tap water with my showerhead and leave my filter along.

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