Beginner Bio Overload - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-06-2014, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
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Beginner Bio Overload

Hi Fish Friends,

Just inherited a 20 gallon long tank from a friend. Put in a bunch of sturdy plants and a DIY CO2 pump. I've been cycling with 3 neon tetras for a week. At the behest of my aquarium retailer, I've also been using a product called Stability, which I've also been using for about a week, as per the instructions. Almost immediately the water got cloudy, the surface started bubbling, and white strands of an algae-like substance grew all over everything. Now a couple plants are decomposing, bubbles are coming up from the substrate and my fish are breathing at the surface. Also, my biofilter sponge became so engorged that water started spilling out the back onto the floor.

I squeezed out the sponge this morning. Did a couple 25% water changes and removed the CO2 filter. Fish are still breathing at the surface. Nothing's changed.

Inherited chem set missing chemicals so ammonia/nitrate/nitrate readings coming tomorrow.

Any advice? Is my tank doomed?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-06-2014, 11:57 PM
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Photos of dieing plants and the white threads algae

What are your lights? (Watt, kelvin, cfl led etc etc)
How long are they on each day?
How high above substrate are the lights?

What are the plants you started with?
What is the substrate? (Gravel, sand, ecocomplete, Amazonia, etc)
Is the substrate new or came with the tank?

Are you using a dechlorinator?
Have your tested your taps ph and tanks pH? (check tap ph often to make sure it doesn't change)

Do you turn off co2 when lights are off?
Do you have an airstone and pump to run while lights /co2 are off?

No experience with the product your lfs is selling you. I'd recommend buying Seachem Prime, it's a dechlorinator that also safely binds ammonia and nitrite for 48 hours (in 5x dose) which is helpful when cycling as it make the otherwise harmful levels of ammonia/nitrite safe for fish but plants and beneficial bacteria can still consume them the same way. I use this for a filter-less bin I keep like blackworms in (aquatic worms) so they don't die of ammonia toxicity, they get a bath and 100% water change every 48 hours.

If your substrate is old and you did not thoroughly clean it before starting your setup (especially sand or very fine/small grain) you may have trapped gases caused from decomposing food/waste, they escape as the substrate gets disturbed and get effect fish badly, even kill them.
If they are having breathing problems turning of co2 is a good idea. Running an airstone to add more oxygen to the water may help too.

Due to photobuckets new bs cost for use of images on forums I have deleted all photobucket accounts. I apologize if you enjoyed or found my photos helpful.
Starting to update these threads

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Last edited by AquaAurora; 08-06-2014 at 11:59 PM. Reason: Typo
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 12:20 AM
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Was this one of those soda bottle CO2 reactors?
First thing I'd do right now is an 80% water change (with dechlorinater added of course)
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 01:33 AM
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Sounds like your gasing your tank and fish

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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Gasing tank

Do you know of what would help? I've already removed CO2 soda bottle and am in the process of 80% water change.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 12:03 PM
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I would be doing PWC every 2-3 days for now at around 20-30% until everyone in the tank is doing good.

No more diy co2. Add a air stone, and provide good surface agitation.

Keep us posted.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice!

Got the chemical readings. Ammonia 0.25 ppm, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, PH 6.6.

I think that means cycling is on track, so I did indeed gas my tank. Which in retrospect, considering my ballooning sponge, makes a lot of sense.

What do you think? Will my tetras survive? They're still breathing at the surface. Tank is unbelievably cloudy.

Was considering returning the fish, draining the tank, and just starting over with the same plants after giving the substrate a good rinse.

Bump: Do over may be doubly necessary as I'm going on vacation week after next.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 09:47 PM
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Returning the fish at this point would be killing those fish. They won't make the trek back I am almost certain.

Keep changing water frequently in small amounts like I said and feed lightly once a day. They can still bounce back. I hope they do. Make sure you have surface agitation

Bump: Don't allow ammonia to go much higher than that. This is why you want to very lightly feed, even skipping a day here and there. At this point water quality has to be great for these fish to recover quickly and not continue to be stressed.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Wish I'd read your post a few hours ago. Fish returned to pet store alive and well, I hope. Rebooting fish tank. Thanks for your help!
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annie fish View Post
Wish I'd read your post a few hours ago. Fish returned to pet store alive and well, I hope. Rebooting fish tank. Thanks for your help!
If that's the case I'd suggest waiting until you return from vacation so you can monitor what is happening in the tank as things get going.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
Returning the fish at this point would be killing those fish. They won't make the trek back I am almost certain.

Keep changing water frequently in small amounts like I said and feed lightly once a day. They can still bounce back. I hope they do. Make sure you have surface agitation

Bump: Don't allow ammonia to go much higher than that. This is why you want to very lightly feed, even skipping a day here and there. At this point water quality has to be great for these fish to recover quickly and not continue to be stressed.
Sorry Phillip, not responding to your quote. Annie, I think your cycle is just beginning and you could not have picked worse fish to do it with. They will surely be dead within a few days if not sooner. A black molly (1 per ten gallons) would be your best bet. Do not rinse the soil, just change the water above it.

The fastest way to success is patience.

Best,

Joe

Last edited by Aquadawg; 08-08-2014 at 07:20 AM. Reason: wrong quote
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 01:45 PM
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Just wanted to add that I cycled with 13 cardinal tetras and still have all of em almost 5 months later.

75 Gallon Low Tech w/ Green Terror Pair
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
Just wanted to add that I cycled with 13 cardinal tetras and still have all of em almost 5 months later.
They must grow em hardy where you live.

The fastest way to success is patience.

Best,

Joe
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 09:56 PM
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I don't really know, what I do know is how to maintain a healthy tank. Its all about keeping pristine water quality and providing plants to such up harmful toxins. Its really easy.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-09-2014, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, here's a funny thing.

I restarted the tank. Cleaned the tank itself, the substrate, all the tech, the wires, everything.

Now water's back in the tank and it's still cloudy and bubbles are still coming up constantly from the substrate. This is with entirely new water.

Wondering what to do. Perhaps there was so much CO2 in the substrate it got inside the gravel. Can't think what else is going on.

New water didn't help. Do I mess up the substrate? Is it just a matter of letting the bubbles rise over time? If I put my plants back in would they absorb the CO2?

Much weirdness. Any advice?
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bacteria bloom, doomed tank, gassed tank, neon tetras, stability

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