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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-14-2014, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Help

Okay, so I ended up having to get rid of my 60 gallon that I had really just bought as it had a chip in the corner. I just don't trust it.

I got a 90 gallon with stand and a Magnum 350 filter with 9 African Cichlids and 1 pleco. After an all day event of moving it, we put as much water and their fake plants and fake driftwood in a big cooler with them as we could. Then we drained it and I took it all home. I rinsed it out really well in the yard and scraped the algae off. Gave it another rinse and then set it all up. I put the Magnum 350 filter on it and I had a brand new Eheim 2217 Filter I put on as well.

I kept the old filter in the Magnum for The bacteria, I then put in 5 20lb bags of Eco-Complete, it said not to wash it beforehand so I didn't, but now my tank is super cloudy (When will this clear up?), Filled the tank up and put in the Prime solution. Put in all their fake plants and driftwood and put them in there.

The 9 African Cichlids died after an hour, were fine in the cooler. The pleco was starting to look like it, so I grabbed him out and stuck him in my 30g tank with my Huge Oscar, Little nervous the Oscar will eat him, but it was that or he dies in the 90g tank. Looks to be doing really well now, and the Oscar is so far leaving him alone, (been about 2 hours now). The pleco is now stuck to the front glass on the 30g, and looks content.

Big day
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-14-2014, 11:59 PM
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So sorry to hear about all your fish losses!

Fish don't do well with quick changes. I suspect it was just too much for them all at once.

There are quite a few possibilities and no way to know 100% sure which were the actual COD, but going forward, if you ever face anything like this again, here are a few things I'd do differently:

When you go to replace substrate, drain most of the water out of the tank but leave a few inches in the bottom. Then do a really deep gravel vacuuming- sucking as much mulm (brown gunk) out of the substrate as possible. KEEP IT and lay this back down in the tank right before adding the new substrate. This mulm is FULL of N-bacteria and can really help the new substrate cycle quickly. A LARGE portion of any cycled tank's N-bacteria population is actually found in the substrate, as that has the highest surface area of any other portion of the tank- including the filter.

Any time you're making massive changes in a tank, keep as much old water as possible. This will help minimize all the chemistry changes (many of which we don't have hobby-grade tools to even measure) that the fish experience going into the new environment.

Be really careful with Prime dosing. Do NOT overdo dosing, as the way Prime works also strips O2 from the water, and this can be a problem- especially for larger, oxygen-demanding fish like cichlids.

Eco Complete has experienced several quality control issues over the years and people have ended up with batches where the liquid has gone toxic. I don't know if that is what actually happened in this particular case, I haven't heard of any issues recently, but it is a possibility.

At this point- I'd probably do at least one or two large water changes on the 90gal (at least 75% each time) just to try and make sure there's nothing funky going on with the water chemistry, and then start over. A single pleco in a 90gal tank shouldn't produce enough ammonia to even register on a test kit, so I'd probably go ahead and move him back in there and plant the tank. Then just stock really slowly from here on out, maybe a few fish every week, to slowly build up your N-bacteria colony. As long as the tank is well planted and the plants are growing, and you don't stock too quickly, you shouldn't experience any ammonia spikes.





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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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Well I'm afraid to stick the pleco back in there. Its still cloudy, But I've got both filters running well now, also got a air stone, big long one in the back going, I didn't have that going at the time of the cichlids.

I did do an API test on the water. Came back with these results, PH - 7.6ish (water was bluer than the chart). Ammonia - .25, Nitrite- .25, Nitrates - 20-40

I'm getting an active sponge from angelplus probably tomorrow or Tuesday that I was going to stick in there to help it cycle. But with the old filter and the new filter running, its got plenty of filtration and the old bacteria from the old filter.

I'm hoping this cloudiness goes away im assuming from the substrate.

Also I didn't actually get the prime in there until after they had died, was only an hour, and I was messing with the second filter, when I noticed they were dying, I quickly put in the dose, it said 1 capful per 50 gallons and if its a big change, you could do a double dose, which I did, 4 capfuls. But the cichlids were already dead.

Think I should put the pleco back in there?

Bump: Oh and the previous substrate was just pure gravel, not any nutrient gravel either. He also had already removed it when I came to get the tank, so I didn't have a choice in that.

Bump: Oh and I don't get my plants until this coming Friday.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 12:19 AM
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I'd do at least 2 really big water changes before putting anything else in there. Make sure you bottom out all the ammonia and nitrites. It's really concerning that your levels are that high now with the fish in the tank only a few hours? However that happened, big water changes should take care of them, especially if there are no other fish in the tank to produce more.

Whether to move the pleco now or later is a judgment call and probably depends on how well you trust the Oscar to leave him alone. I'd probably go ahead and move him (after the water changes) to be on the safe side.

The tank is going to be cloudy probably for at least a week or two as it goes through the normal bacteria bloom. Just leave that alone, it will level out and clear up all on its own as the tank stabilizes.





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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, when should I do the water changes? I was going to get some fish in there after I got the sponge in there for a day or 2, so probably Wednesday or Thursday I'd get some fish in there, I'm still trying to decide really all what im wanting anyways.

Then Friday I get my plants and I'll get them all planted.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 01:25 AM
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Water changes are to remove things that could harm the fish.

1) POSSIBLE, not proven. Stuff from bag of EC.
KNOWN from testing: traces of ammonia and nitrite.
KNOWN: Chlorine or chloramine from tap water can kill fish in an hour or less. Must treat before adding fish, and circulate the treated water so the Prime is sure to come into contact with all the chloramine. If you have a chlorine or chloramine test, then you can customize the dose of dechlor to act on that amount of chlorine, ammonia or chloramine. Otherwise, standard dose is geared to handling the average amount in most drinking water. Double dose is usually safe.

2) Water changes will remove the cloudy stuff, probably from the new substrate. Drain the tank, stirring the substrate as much as you can. Deliberately make it worse. Repeat the partial fill and drain several times. Essentially you are rinsing the substrate in the tank. Never mind the instructions that say not to rinse it. The correct species of nitrifying bacteria cannot live under those conditions.

3) Refill:
a) rearrange the substrate into hills and valleys, add driftwood and rock.
b) Plant. Mist the plants to keep them damp while the tank is empty of water.
c) refill, but lay a plate or plastic bag over the substrate and pour the water in slowly so it seeps over the edge of the bag. This will minimize clouding.

If the pleco is OK in the tank with the Oscar, then I would do the fishless cycle in this tank to keep the existing bacteria alive, and increase the population.
When the fishless cycle is complete you will probably have to do another water change to remove nitrates. Then add the fish. It is OK to add a full tank of fish at one time, when you know the bacteria is up to handling it.
Will you be coming back with Rift Lake Cichlids? Many of them are quite hard on plants. Nibbling, uprooting.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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No I haven't decided fully on what to stock it with yet
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 02:31 AM
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So in the first post you said you added the Prime before adding the fish, and then in the next post you said you added the Prime after the fish were dead. So which was it? Cause if you didn't put any water conditioner in before you added the fish then that is probably why they died.
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