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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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lessons learned this AM ....

Putting this up as my mistakesi may help someone down the road avoid them...

Last night I setup a new Fluval Spec 5. It was setup with 100% water from an established rank, filter medium from established tank, plants from said tank, some new spider driftwood and new CaribSea Eco Complete Black Planted Aquarium Substrate (no co2 yet). I put in a couple tiny fish in it and went to sleep looking at my new tank.

Woke up as usual around 5 am and turned the tank lights on. Fish were on top gasping for air. Immediately threw an airstone in as I tested water parameters.

Ammonia 0
Nitrite was off the charts.

I grabed the fish and tossed them back in the old tank. When I turned the lights on my 56gal, heavily planted, CO2 injected tank stocked with 50 or so fish I found everyone was also on top gasping for air. I ASSumed it was the same issue so I immediately tossed in some prime, moved over the air bubbler and checked for water parameters.

Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0

Obviously I now realized I treated with Prime in hopes of dropping nitrite before I knew what was going on. I should have not assumed and tested first.

I resolved my adding about 6 gallons of fresh tap water, redirecting the spray bar up, turning off CO2, leaving lights on, and keeping on the bubbler. Most fish were already back to normal with 20 minutes.

On the bright side the snails were mostly on the top of the glass as well making culling them easy this AM.

Lessons and changes on the 56g:

The slightest change to a tank may have drastic results. I slightly changed the flow direction of the spray bar the day before decreasing surface agitation.

Dont assume what's wrong with your tank. Always test before responding.

I will be adding a bubbler to the tank permanently scheduled to run only when light/co2 is off.

Lessons and changes on the Spec V:

I think I responded perfectly in this scenario. Now, I still have no idea what happened in that tank. Why was Ammonia at 0 and Nitrates so high on a tank that only 10 hours earlier was setup from an established community tank.

Anyone have any ideas on this?

Hope this experience can help another.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 02:36 PM
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You established that tank with old filter media, when you moved the media it stirred up all the debris and detritus that have sat untouched in your filter since it's last cleaning. When you put it in your spec it blew up into the water column and your tank spiraled.

The same thing happened in the large tank, stirred up the detritus.

I just want to add if you have fish gasping it is not a good idea to ever add prime. Prime removes oxygen. The best way to combat this is multiple small water changes (don't do large it could result in the fish going into shock) over the course of the day, and adding an air stone and repositioning the spray bar.

It was excellent that you moved the fish from the spec v though. I just would avoid the use of prime.

In general my advice to any fish stress or surprises such as the fish gasping for air is this. DON'T ADD ANYTHING! You should immediately add clean, temperature matched water with a water change and then observe closely. Adding any chemical incorrectly will often kill a fish that would have made it.

I keep a female apistogramma in a fully planted spec v by herself currently and I used to dose it very heavy with Excel for plant growth. I stopped dosing it for a few months because I was growing out apistogramma fry in it. When I pulled them all out I went to dose excel one day just as heavy as I used to. HUGE mistake. Within seconds my poor girl was gasping, she wasn't used to it any more. I immediately added an airstone, and did a small water change followed by another. Within minutes of the water change she was just fine again. I'm now slowly raising the excel amount each day up to what it used to be and she's doing fine.

In summary-
don't add anything to your water ever, except for new clean water, untill you know the exact reason you are adding it and why it will help. It can often kill the fish faster then save them. Observe first, think second, act last.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 03:21 PM
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Make changes slowly and watch carefully is always a good idea. This is one that often gets people during the winter. They have a power outage and the tank cools. They are stressed that the fish are cold so as soon as the power comes back they do everything possible to get the tank warmer, the sooner the better. And all the fish die! Let them warm slowly just as the tank cooled slowly and they live!
Or better yet is to have a plan so they don't get cold? Most of us do have warm water available and can do water changes during the power outage.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 04:12 PM
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At the normal dose dechlorinators do not lock up enough oxygen for it to be a problem.
If a test shows high ammonia or nitrite, I would add it. It is fast. Then set up for a water change.

Hydrogen peroxide can be added to a tank if you know the problem is low oxygen. Again, quick thing to do while working on fixing the cause.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
At the normal dose dechlorinators do not lock up enough oxygen for it to be a problem.
If a test shows high ammonia or nitrite, I would add it. It is fast. Then set up for a water change.

Hydrogen peroxide can be added to a tank if you know the problem is low oxygen
Did not know this. Ty
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErtyJr View Post
Observe first, think second, act last.
And that was the lesson I was trying to communicate. I incorrectly assumed that my large established tank had the same issue as the small Fluval I just set up. I should have tested and not assumed.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErtyJr View Post
The same thing happened in the large tank, stirred up the detritus.
There was no increase in anything in my large tank. The issue there was a lack of o2 because I had earlier redirected the spray bar and removed surface agitation.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2015, 12:39 AM
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Just to add to the spray bar comment...be careful when adjusting the spray bar on your canister filter to create more surface agitation. That's something I did on new years eve. Came home at 4am to the house having a tripped circuit breaker. Turned it back on, walked inside and found the spray bar using the power board for target practice at high flow (a 300gph canister on a short 8G tank). Sure enough, the breaker tripped again shortly after I saw it. The water had evaporated to a level where the jets of water from the spray bar were able to break the surface. Carpet soaked. Water everywhere.


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2015, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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Anyone have an idea why Ammonia was at 0 and Nitrates so high on a tank that only 10 hours earlier was setup from an established community tank?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2015, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
At the normal dose dechlorinators do not lock up enough oxygen for it to be a problem.
If a test shows high ammonia or nitrite, I would add it. It is fast. Then set up for a water change.

Hydrogen peroxide can be added to a tank if you know the problem is low oxygen. Again, quick thing to do while working on fixing the cause.
Thank you Diane for that bit of info. I never thought of it but it makes 100% sense that H2O2 + H2O ends up with H2O and extra O!
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