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UGH. That's all I can say. I'm just letting off some steam. I recently did my water change and it was time to clean the canister filter as well. I've been noticing the clear hoses are getting a film around the inside of them but I didn't pay attention to how much I was bending the hoses and releasing this mulm into the output side of my filter. So I Rescaped and cleaned my tank and put everything back together. Flip the switch on the power strip and BOOM it was like brown snow all over the tank. It was like an explosion. I figured hey it might be beneficial bacteria in there so I let it go after trying to scoop the crap out. Fast forward to now...two corys, three otos, two black skirt tetras, and my SAE all dead. The rest of the inhabitants wouldn't eat and just laid in the corner all together...and my blood parrot went back to hiding in his cave. I was so mad. I tested the water and all of my parameters were in check. Idk what happened. So now I removed all of my plants and caves and washed them thoroughly and was able to vacuum up the scum that was left over. Now I'm taking a break because I just spent the last hour replanting all of my freshly cleaned Val's...there were only forty of them :angryfire. So I'm waiting for the water to settle again and I'm gonna vacuum the rest of the crap up then plant the remaining plants...I took out all my dwarf sag which was a carpet and threw it in my clippings tank. Ugh the humanity! What a pain. So be careful with the hoses! Take my advice.
 

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Taking the plants out to clean them and then replanting seems like a lot of unnecessary work? Why not just use a gravel vac to suck the chunks out and then top off? Add a partial water change if you feel the need. I've had the crud shoot into my tank also a time or two when I first started using a self priming canister but it never killed any fish (at the time I just left it to get sucked back into the filter. Now I just pull my hoses off whenever they turn solid brown and run a section of vinyl close line through them. Doesn't get them perfect but knocks most of it out.
 

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Question...
Why not just put the output hose in a bucket and turn on the canister? That way you dont dump all the junk in the tank, then you can top off.
 

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I agree with that is not what killed your fish. I have had that happen well over 100 times. Had to have been something else and besides, what it is that you think was hiding in this stuff?
 
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