not prepared for the worst.... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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not prepared for the worst....

I suddenly had to leave to help take care of a very sick relative for about 2 weeks. I did do a water change before I left, used 'Prime" with the water change and asked my son's (18 yr old) friend to house-sit while I was gone. I just got back, it looks like I lost about 50% of my fish. I don't know the water quality before the water change, just did an emergency change. 2 of the fish where rather old, snake-skinned gourami, very peaceful pair. Also a large black angel fish among the missing. I have a 75 gallon simple planted tank that has been running for about 5-6 years. Never anything like this. My remaining gold angelfish has a big wound next to her gill, near the top. I guess I will lose her too. The rest of the fish hide in the back of the tank. Any suggestions on how to get a grip on to what went so horribly wrong, and stop any more fish loss. It has been a very stable tank with no problems for a very long, long time. Please help....I am so depressed at losing so many of my friends in my tank....
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 02:57 PM
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Ah that's distressing. I would question the caretaker. Did something unusual happen? Did something come up and they couldn't come by? I've left fish alone for two weeks before with no water changes and a vacation feeder and they are fine when I get back. Something drastic must have happened here.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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The same person has taken care of my house and cats, dogs, and fish many times before, never had any problems. The worst that ever happened was a forgotten house plant died from lack of water. He has fed the fish and even remembers to reset the GFCI after a power-outage. I don't even know what to look for at this point with my tank. My husband joked that the cat ate the fish.....no, no the tank is covered, not funny. Any clues to look for or to watch for? My angels were even breeding a week or two before I left, they were so happy and healthy......
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 03:48 PM
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Could it be the temperature increased too much in the house while you were away? Another possibility is that your water parameters were drastically different after the water change. Perhaps a huge change in pH or hardness? Do you change the water on a regular basis? I'm sorry about your fish. I had a similar loss after a few days away, but only with plants, and that was bad enough. I can only imagine losing fish, too.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 04:25 PM
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did too much food get put in? causing an older fish to pass with a little ammonia poisoning?

after one fish did pass the resulting ammonia probbaly kicked one or more of the others and is causing the other's to be stressed. change some water!!!

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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I did do a water change! Before I left and another when I came home!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 09:08 PM
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What are the parameters NOW? Ammonia? Nitrite? Nitrate? ph? We're guessing and making a ton of assumptions if we don't have some sort of clues....
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Right now, after the emergency water change, the water tests......NO2 - 0. NH3,NH4 - 0. I also just plugged in my UV light that is in-line with my Ehiem ecco 2236. I also use Penn Plax 1200 and an Emperor 400 on this tank too. Over filtered? Maybe. I had also instructed my house-sitter to underfeed while I was gone. Feed very little every 2 days. The plants....look OK. The lights are on a timer.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 11:42 PM
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Not sure what happened, although when you say "feed a little" it can mean very different things to different people. When I have someone care for my tanks (fish feeding only), I prepare portions of frozen food wrapped in aluminum foil, and leave exactly the amount of little wrapped balls in the freezer that is needed to bridge my absence.

That said, I have left tanks along for 3+ weeks, and came back to happy and healthy fish, and a totally overgrown tank. No problem with normally stocked planted tanks and fairly mature fish.


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 12:04 AM
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Given your current water parameters, I wonder if the test kits are working right.
Ammonia and nitrite ought to test zero in a healthy tank, and perhaps (after the water change and Prime) they really do test zero even after this disaster.
But it is really odd for zero nitrate to show. Not impossible, plants do use all three forms of nitrogen, so yes, NO3 might indeed be zero.
Just odd after all those dead fish that there is not a spike first of ammonia, followed by nitrite, then nitrate. Higher than what the plants could use up.

When I have had a disaster like this I usually do a much more massive water change, like 200% (a constant in/constant out change) that includes thoroughly vacuuming the floor of the tank, and cleaning the filter. Then I put activated carbon in the filter.
I pre-treat the new water in a garbage can so the mineral levels are the same as in the tank, so no fish stress from that source.

Last edited by Diana; 08-18-2012 at 10:38 PM. Reason: spelling- thanks sphack
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 12:36 AM
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Have you asked the guy taking care of them? He should have noticed something going on if you came home to such a disaster.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
But it is really odd for zero nitrite to show. Not impossible, plants do use all three forms of nitrogen, so yes, NO3 might indeed be zero.
I believe Diana meant to say nitrates.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I think I was just so lucky to have a 'perfect Storm' of sorts. My guess is one of the old fish died, and we did have a T-storm and the power went out over night. My house sitter did come back over as soon as the power came on and reset the GFCI that my filters are on. So with the power out all night and a large dead fish, things went bad from there. In the past I have had no power for days, and I really had no problems because there were no dead fish sitting in the tank. I just guessing. Right now....its damage control. I'll keep testing the water and do another water change. Anything I can add or do to help the surviving fish to recuperate ?
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2012, 06:58 PM
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just kee the water clean. that's what fish need more than anything

a good diet does't hurt either

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