Worst disaster in my 20+ years of fish keeping
I've been obsessed with aquatic life since I was a small child and have run many tanks with dozens of fish and invert species over the years. I've always been very careful to provide a proper environment for my little critters to thrive. As a kid, before the internet was available, I would go to the local library and spend many hours reading before ever filling a new tank. These days virtually limitless information is literally right at our fingertips and any question one might have can be quickly answered by browsing a forum such as this or by simply asking a search engine. When I finally made the transition to planted aquaria about a year ago I spent a tremendous amount of time on this site and most of what I know about the hobby came directly from this forum. Recently I've been studying up on DiY CO2 as the next step in my planted tank journey. I've found many very informative write-ups on this site including one about brewing your own wine while providing Co2 for your tank. So I took the plunge a couple weeks ago and set up a two liter soda bottle and connected it to the pump intake of my standard 55 gallon tank that has been running since February. I turned up the lights a bit was was delighted to see new growth throughout the tank in short order. Then, one day last week, I come home from work to find the tank so cloudy I could hardly see the back glass. And we all know how shallow 55's are front to back. Every breathing thing in the tank that was still alive was within a couple inches of the surface. Shrimp, snails and even the ottos, typically extremely reclusive as they are currently the only fish in the tank, were huddled in masses along the waterline on the glass or clinging to the floating plants. Horrified I dropped everything and started a water change as I searched for the cause. Didn't take long. This embarrasses me as someone who takes great care to provide for the little critters who depend on him. I set this tank up with low maintenance as a priority. The only thing that does require regular attention is the foam pre-filters on the canister filters intake. I must clean them often or they will become clogged and the flow from the pump is significantly reduced. I failed to check them the previous weekend and as they began to clog the pressure from the pump collapsed the plastic soda bottle sucking the CO2 solution into the tank. I lost a lot of shrimp but fortunately so far there have been no other casualties. A few of the ottos lost fins and some of the anubias leafs have yellowed a bit but overall I think I got off easy. I was really worried the alcohol would wipe out the bacteria colonies and the tank would experience a mini cycle but ammonia levels have remained at zero. The lessons here are obvious. Despite the low maintenance design of the tank complacency can be lethal. And I will be investing in glass bottles as an insurance policy in the near future.