Help- tank crash - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-03-2008, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Help- tank crash

I have a 3 gallon planted tank on my desk at work. Last week on Wednesday, my DIY CO2 bottle (yeast and sugar water) got tipped over somehow and went unnoticed. When I came in Thursday morning the tank water was cloudy, there was a horrible smell in the office and fish were stressed and there had been about a 50% die off of the cherry shrimp. Apparently the bottle being tipped over allowed the sugar water to be pumped into the tank overnight. I did a 50% water change (all I had available at work) Thursday and took the fish home. Friday morning the tank was even cloudier, lots more dead shrimp, and worse smell. I did another 50% water change Friday morning. I took the tank home Friday and emptied it out. I rinsed it out for about 15 minutes with pond water ( so as not to kill any bacteria) and let it sit empty outside for the weekend. I brought it in to work Monday and filled it with water than I had sitting out on my desk all weekend. Unbelievably, after all that, I spotted a couple of shrimp in there swimming around. But the water remains cloudy and foul smelling despite another 50% water change yesterday. Wha't going on?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone???
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 11:27 PM
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Does it smell yeasty? Or like something rotting?

The acidic and sugar/alcohol-filled CO2 bottle may have killed most of the bacteria in your tank. This new cloudiness is probably a huge bacterial bloom. Id be more worried about your substrate and filter at this point than anything. Make sure your substrate is rinsed out very very well. And are you testing for ammonia/nitrite? Your biofilter may be completely gone.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 11:54 PM
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by letting it sit outside without any water, you probably killed all the bacteria and hence the cloudiness from the bacterial bloom now
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm. Well there was enough water to keep a couple of shrimp alive. I'd say the smell is yeasty. The cloudiness improved after the water changes as you would expect from diluting cloudy water with new water but it would soon be just as cloudy as before or more so. A bacteria bloom, huh? Also, I noticed a slimyness on the glass and on the inside of the filter. What do you recommend I do? No animals in the tank presently except the 2 surviving shrimp. The plants seem no worse for wear.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 02:22 AM
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You need to drain the tank completely. Start over from scratch. That happened to me in my 29 gallon, adn the only way I could get things strait again, was to completely drain it and start from scratch.

65 gallon low tech planted
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 02:42 AM
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Given all you've said (sliminess, smell, etc.), I'd strongly recommend a thorough cleaning. Forget the bacteria. It's gone anyway. While it's not ideal, you can cycle the tank with your fish by doing daily water changes. I do it all the time with my Q/T tanks.

I suggest you rinse everything out as best as you can using regular tap water. Make sure you clean the sides of the tank. Remove the substrate to clean it in a bucket. Clean the filter. Change the filter media if it's one of those pre-made cartridge kinds.

Once you've given it all a thorough rinsing, fill it with water and add some plain white vinegar. Run the filter without the filter cartridge.

Rinse the substrate just as you do with brand new substrate. When it appears clean, add water and vinegar, and stir that around. Let it sit for a couple of minutes.

Rinse everything out again and smell it. The sliminess and smell should both be gone. If it is not, clean it again, always running vinegar at the end before the final rinse. Vinegar is not harmful to the tank or fish so a simple rinsing will do fine.

Once you finally get the smell and sliminess out, put everything back together without plants or fish. Let it run overnight. See if all the symptoms are still gone. If all is okay, then add plants, fish and inverts.

Get a Seachem Alert for ammonia. Keep it in plain sight so you won't miss it. Watch for ammonia and do water changes as needed. The plants will probably have bacteria left on them to seed the tank, but if not, you can seed it with some mulm from another tank (make sure it's a healthy tank).

I'd also suggest using carbon for the first week to help clean out anything carried over on the plants.

If your tank was a large one, this would be hell, but with a 3 gallon size tank, I think you're better off just cleaning it all out and starting over. Water changes for ammonia and cycling are easy with such a small tank. Keep it at home until you feel it's safe to leave it at work for a weekend. You should have everything back to normal pretty fast.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-06-2008, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Vicki. Anxious to see what the tank looks like tomorrow morning.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-06-2008, 03:29 AM
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Keep us updated on how it goes. I hope the fish are okay.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-06-2008, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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Will do. The fish are at home in the 20L and are fine.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-06-2008, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Update: The tank looked better than I expected but it's still not totally over this crash. I'm going to take it home and wash it with tap water and vinegar and just recycle it.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-06-2008, 07:59 PM
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Sorry it didn't clear up on its own. Hopefully, it'll bounce back quickly after it's cleaned.

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