Outgassing, strange tank cycle, or bad luck? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-26-2012, 06:33 PM Thread Starter
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Outgassing, strange tank cycle, or bad luck?

This is my first thread start here so go easy on me! And please excuse me if this is long winded, I will try to give you as much info as possible.

I have just got back into fish tanks after an 8 year sabbatical and have been working on my tank for the past 2 months or so getting it up to snuff. Everything was going great up until last night.

Last night I had a very scary thing happen to my tank which resulted in the loss of 3 fish in less than 30 minutes. I will let you know the timeline of the week to better assist you in an answer, if you can make sense of everything.

Monday:
Tank Setup:
10 gal tank
Aqueon 10 filter
2 albino corys
4 gold tetras
1 swordtail (female)
3 small sword plants

Everything seemed fine though water had a yellowish hue.

Tuesday:
added 3 cardinal tetras (petco)
added 2 more sword plants and 1 bamboo (petco)

Wednesday:
30% Water change

Thursday:
Came home and filter was dead. Bought Fluval Nano filter. I added loose carbon and then custom cut a water polishing pad to the filter, so from the bottom up on the left hand side of the container there is black sponge, about 1 inch of loose carbon, and then about 1 inch of water polishing pad.

Saturday Morning:
30% Water change
Added pH Correct 7.0
Tank was clearing up nicely, meaning the problem with the yellowish color earlier in the week was likely the crappy filter dying on me.

Saturday Evening: (Here is when everything started to go to hell)
Went to That Fish Place and picked up a few more plants. Micro sword and 2 other plants (sorry can't remember the name off the top of my head). Got home, changed the water polishing pad as it was gross. Planted the three plants. Added about 1 ml of Seachem Flourish plant fert, then walked away. It was probably about 8:30pm by all this was completed.

About an hour later (9:30pm) I noticed that the entire tank was starting to turn milky white and millions of little bubbles were forming everywhere. I wasn't sure if this was a side-effect of the fert or the new polishing pad, so I dismissed it. I also noticed that a few fish where skimming the surface of the water, and dismissed it as them simply chasing around all the little surface bubbles. I turned off the hood light and sat down on the couch for about a half hour. I walked past the tank and noticed a few fish still skimming the surface of the tank, turned on the hood light, and found 3 dead fish!!! Immediately did another 30% change and added an AmmoniaSafe tablet assuming that there had been some random spike in ammonia. Today the tank looks almost as clear as it was on Friday evening, less than 24 hours later.

So, what the heck happened? Was it changing the polishing pad? Possible introduction of foreign water to the tank from the plants? An odd tank cycle? Or this thing I just learned about called "Outgassing"?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-26-2012, 07:47 PM
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sounds like allot fish for an uncycled tank.ammonia tab probably neutralized the ammonia is why it got better.Only temporary fix tho.i see allot of water changes coming your way.You could try to use one of the instant cycle products like tetra safe start.Do a google search on aquarium water cycle tons of info on that subject.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-26-2012, 09:34 PM
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Yes, way too many fish for that new of a tank. Also Seachem does say on their support site that if there is a healthy amount of CO2 in the water adding the Flourish can deplete oxygen. Possibly why your fish were skimming the top shortly after the addition of it.

And as mentioned previously you have a LOT of water changes in front of you. You have to keep the ammonia and then subsequently the nitrites as low as possible. This will require daily (sometimes 2 or 3 daily) water changes. Prime can also help that on a short-term basis as your water conditioner with water changes. Please note not as a substitute for water changes.

Now there is a product called Dr. Tim's One and Only (he actually invented Bio Spira, now called SafeStart, and the Bio wheel) that I have used with success to shorten the cycle. Still takes about a week and you have to have ammonia present for it to work. So instead of weeks to cycle completely it can be done in days, usually a week or so.

If you have a friend that has a cycled tank get some media or substrate (gravel in a nylon and hang in your filter) Sometimes your LFS will give you a cup of their gravel. It has to be something with the good bacteria on it. This will cycle your tank quickly.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-26-2012, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I should have mentioned that [Monday] was the setup I have had since September. This is not a new tank. I have only added the 3 cardinal tetras since then, that was on Wednesday.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-26-2012, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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But the information on Seachum Flourish is helpful. If I am depleting oxygen by fertilization, what other choices do I have to keep the plants healthy?
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-27-2012, 01:05 AM
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Well that does make a difference! You might look at the Seachem website. I found it on their help section when I was researching for my own plants. Seemed to depend on how many fish and plants you have as well as how much Seachem you're dosing. Good luck!
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-27-2012, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks TerriM, I apologize for the missing information. I guess in trying to supply enough information, I missed a little bit. I will take a look at the Seachem site to see what it might have to say.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-27-2012, 12:46 PM
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I'm stuck on the "pH correct" for some reason... is this something you do often to keep your pH at a stable level? I've read that if the pH changes more than 0.x in a day it can send your fish in a state of shock. Is it possible that with the 30% water change, the addition of pH correct, AND the fertilizing, it created an abnormal situation that was too much for the fish to handle?

Which are the fish that died? The new fish? If so, the stress of being relocated and thrown into a tank they weren't used to with water-parameters-altering chems added on top was simply too much for them?

I know I'm reaching but it does seem like a lot of stuff to put in the water in one day...

Just my two cents...

Hawkian

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-27-2012, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MangyMoose77 View Post
Thanks TerriM, I apologize for the missing information. I guess in trying to supply enough information, I missed a little bit. I will take a look at the Seachem site to see what it might have to say.
No problem, you gave so many great details it's perfectly understandable to miss something, especially when it's so obvious to you.

Very good points Hawkian.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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I do a Correct pH every Saturday with my 30% change, I guess out of habit and paranoia more than anything. So this isn't anything new to the tank system. 2 of the fish who died were gold tetras (the acclimated fish) and 1 was a cardinal tetra (a new fish) so again, not so sure what happened there.

However, I do understand where you are coming from Hawkian, I have a habit of having peaks and valleys of excitement with the tank. It is very possible I did too much in one day as far as adjustments and additions. I guess I need guidance in the scheduling department because I certainly do not want this to happen again, and at this point I'm afraid to add any more fertilizer to the tank until I can figure out what happened.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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I also forgot to mention to TerriM, I searched the Seachem site and didn't find any information on oxygen depletion when using their product. Could you point me in a better direction?
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 02:47 AM
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I'm stuck on the pH bit as well. What is your normal pH and what are you correcting it to? What are your reasons for doing so? A simply stable pH is highly important, arguably more so than trying to chemically alter it, unless something is very wrong.

You also didn't mention the specific Seachem Flourish product that you used. There are many different products under that brand. Excel, comprehensive, iron, potassium, so on and so forth.

The fish that you added... did you quarantine them properly? Always quarantine your new fauna! You never know what can be introduced to your tank when you add new inhabitants. Better safe than sorry.

Also, you use the word "dismissed" frequently. Never dismiss the goings-on in your tank! The devil is in the details. Suddenly milky water should have been your first sign to do an immediate 50% or more water change. Fish lingering at the surface usually means a depletion in the oxygen supply, so that is never something to brush off. Keep an air stone on hand for this, or a power head to increase surface agitation.

Do you have a liquid test kit to test your water parameters with? Specifics help to identify problems like this so that they don't happen again. If you don't already, keep a detailed log of your tank, including water changes, parameters, additions, and all other details.

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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You also didn't mention the specific Seachem Flourish product that you used. There are many different products under that brand. Excel, comprehensive, iron, potassium, so on and so forth.
I am using Seachem Flouish Comprehensive

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcartwright856 View Post
The fish that you added... did you quarantine them properly? Always quarantine your new fauna! You never know what can be introduced to your tank when you add new inhabitants. Better safe than sorry.
I have talked to a new found local fish friend and he asked me the same question, and I have to unfortunately tell him and you no. He talked me through various aspects of this and have come up with a plan for this in the future. First of which is, get a quarantine tank!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcartwright856 View Post
Also, you use the word "dismissed" frequently. Never dismiss the goings-on in your tank! The devil is in the details. Suddenly milky water should have been your first sign to do an immediate 50% or more water change. Fish lingering at the surface usually means a depletion in the oxygen supply, so that is never something to brush off.

Do you have a liquid test kit to test your water parameters with?
I had aquariums for years back in my college days, and was mildly successful at it. It has been a while though, and I am having to re-learn a lot of things as I hear there are various changes in this hobby in the last 5-10 years. I am trying to learn these changes as quickly as possible, but as you know, there are so many angles, it would be difficult to learn them all. I now know that the cloudy water was bad, but I had never added fertilizer to a tank before, and figured this could have been a natural response, and really did think that it would clear up.

Finally, no I do not have a liquid test kit, mostly because they are expensive, I'm not sure if I know how to use them properly (frequency, adjustments, when and what to test for), and I don't know which ones I need. Help in this area would be greatly appreciated.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 12:50 PM
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You are exactly right about the angles and just how many there are of them. That's why it's so hard to diagnose something like this. It almost could have been anything, you know?

But, that's what's wonderful about this forum, and life in general. Now you know! And knowing is half the battle.

As for the test kits, put a jar on the counter and empty change into it, or save up a little bit of cash at a time in some other fashion. It's an incredible investment. Also, check Amazon frequently for the test kits. In pet stores, they can run over 30 dollars, but they are often 18 dollars on Amazon. They sometimes spike to 23 dollars, depending on the day, but you can snag it at 18 if you check often.

As for the usage... there is a sticky on the water parameters board, I believe, about calibrating your test kit. Other than that, you really just want to check your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates frequently. Frequently as in... I would say once a week as a habit, once a day after making any changes in the tank, and immediately if you see something amiss.

There will be a pH test in the master kits as well, so that you can test that. Like I said before, it's more important to keep that stable for your fish than it is to alter it, unless you're really far off! But, that's hard to say without the kit.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 01:18 PM
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for your ph.. you should test ph right out of tap.. and then let some sit 24 hrs while aerating it.. then test that.. it will i give you idea of ph changes..
ph swings up.. are tolerable..
ph swings down.. not good.. hurts fish..

you have a 10gal.. you easily have a 5g bucket to store the water.. for water changes.. then there would be no need to add chemicals for ph.. i am not a fan if changing water chemistry.. since consistency & stability are key..

if you had only 3 tetras in there.. to cycle your tank.. thats ok..

but you increase the BIO Load when you added all those new fish.. and it caused your tank to Cycle again.. Since.. there was more waste then the bacteria were ready to receive..

keep up the water changes..
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