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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is going to be a long story with a fair bit of questions, so get settled in for the long haul...

So I had an established 10 gallon planted tank, with a huge writhing mass of Java Moss floating about. Then I lost my betta fish, who was living in the tank, to Fish tuberculosis (or whatever disease causes little white clusters of bumps to appear and effects the immune system.

Since it was a silver betta fish, and I had spent a fair chunk of change on it, I was disheartened and let the tank evaporate til it was dry, and left it like that, with everything unplugged, for about a month and a half. The MTS, the only residents in the tank, would have to either perish, or find a way to hibernate.

After weeks of looking at the dismal state of the empty tank, I decided not to let it remain empty anymore and purchased a couple of CPO crayfish from Elite Inverts, as well as some food for them and a cave to hide in.

I got the tank ready, buy simply adding water to it, and treating it with dechlorinator, and then noticed that the water was a milky color (I would have cleaned out everything, including the sand substrate, but I wanted to see if any MTS had survived and to my astonishment, some did) In other words the water is fairly cloudy. I did a 25% water change, and it had gotten a bit better, but not much. I surmised that the tank was cycling and the cloudiness was a result of an ammonia spike, which I later confirmed with testing. It was at 2.0 ppm. So then I did a 33% water change, and its somewhat better, but again, not by much.

I added some Tetra Aqua Water Clarifier, as per the instructions on the bottle, but I don't know if that's going to help. It wouldn't hurt, would it?

Anyways, I am wondering what course of action I should do next, and what I should do when the crayfish arrive. I am having them shipped via Fedex Overnight Priority, so they should get here Thursday morning. Should I set up a separate tank for them (I purchased 2) and keep them in there until I fix the situation with the 10 gallon?

Regarding the 10 gallon tank, should I continue water changes? I should add that I have some Java Moss in there that is half brown, half green and alive. Should I try and trim the brown stuff, or chuck the whole behemoth of moss?

One last thing that may be of help is that my tap water has a fairly high pH of 7.8, would that affect the clarity of the water?

EDIT: Here is a picture if it'll help:
 

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The dead snail's and or organic's from food/poop possibly left to rot on substrate as everything dried out = ammonia.
Would change 50 % of water daily until critter's arrive using dechlorinator such as PRIME which detoxifies ammonia/nitrites.
Will have to monitor the water for ammonia daily, and change out with fresh dechlorinated water should ammonia register anything but zero until the tank has developed bacterial colony once again(cycled).
Cloudy water can mean bacteria bloom but still need's time to develop bacterial colony to process ammonia ,nitrites.
In effect,,you have a tank that is cycling and critter's on the way = Iffy proposition for their survival which will entriely depend on water changes,sparse feeding's,and no more stock until the bacterial colony has been established.(week's).
You may get some relief by purchasing a couple handful's of fast growing plant like Watersprite or anacharis that will help keep ammonia in check, but letting the tank go to rot did not help anything.
 

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First off, 7.8 ph is not high.

Up your water change levels and the ammonia will go down. Forget 25% changes, they do nothing. The cloudy water is just a normal part of a cycling tank. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't. It will clear when it is over.
 

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The cloudy water could be from the resurgence of certain forms of bacteria that can survive being dried out completely for months. (Anaerobic heterotrophic, I believe, but that's sort of a general term, and I can't find the article now that addressed this.) Unfortunately, this is not the bacteria that you need to colonize your filter, and will compete with the bacteria you want. Best bet is to do multiple large water changes until the milkiness is eliminated.

More importantly, I am concerned that you say your betta succumbed to fish TB. That is an extraordinarily dangerous disease, which is easily transmitted and difficult to eradicate. Any tanks with TB should be completely broken down, and all equipment, substrate and plants sterilized or replaced before restocking. Humans can contract fish TB infections, so messing around with that disease is not something you want to do.

Fish Tuberculosis, Aquatic Community.

Should You Be Worried about Fish Tuberculosis, Practical Fishkeeping.
 

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More importantly, I am concerned that you say your betta succumbed to fish TB. That is an extraordinarily dangerous disease, which is easily transmitted and difficult to eradicate. Any tanks with TB should be completely broken down, and all equipment, substrate and plants sterilized or replaced before restocking. Humans can contract fish TB infections, so messing around with that disease is not something you want to do.

Fish Tuberculosis, Aquatic Community.

Should You Be Worried about Fish Tuberculosis, Practical Fishkeeping.
I 2nd that. A friend of mine (who is also a vet and a member on here) contracted fish TB a few years ago. She had to go on the same medication they use to treat "normal" human TB.

This is not something to fool around with.

I'd personally ditch everything in this tank, and bleach the bejeebers out of the tank before re-using it.

Then start over with this tank, add your Tetra SafeStart, and do daily water changes to keep the ammonia and nitrites down, since your crays will arrive tomorrow.
 

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Then I lost my betta fish, who was living in the tank, to Fish tuberculosis (or whatever disease causes little white clusters of bumps to appear and effects the immune system.

this sounds more like ick or possibly velvet. as far as i know "fish TB" will not show any signs beside rapid breathing and is next to impossible to diagnose without an autopsy on the fish and use of a high powered microscope.
 

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Then I lost my betta fish, who was living in the tank, to Fish tuberculosis (or whatever disease causes little white clusters of bumps to appear and effects the immune system.

this sounds more like ick or possibly velvet. as far as i know "fish TB" will not show any signs beside rapid breathing and is next to impossible to diagnose without an autopsy on the fish and use of a high powered microscope.
I thought fish TB could also be identified by curvature of the spine..? Definitely could be wrong though.
 

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First off, 7.8 ph is not high.

Up your water change levels and the ammonia will go down. Forget 25% changes, they do nothing. The cloudy water is just a normal part of a cycling tank. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't. It will clear when it is over.
Is it not a smidgen high? Not that it s a problem per se. As long as the rest of your params are fine, 7.8 shouldn't be a problem.

My tanks are somewhere near 7.4 to 7.6. A LFS complained about that as if it was a huge problem, and I was like "Um, no, it is not a problem".

I have even tried PH Down, which I think I am going to stop using because it seems to have no effect.
 

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Oh, he was a beauty. Sorry for your loss. :(

I'm not very good at diagnosing fish deseases so won't try, but the articles I linked include descriptions of syptoms that can occur with fish TB. Unfortunately, they are quite varied, so confirmation of the disease may be difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So I've done a 50% water change, and the water is looking clearer, though it has a strange yellowish tinge to it. It might be the lighting, it might be the organic debris tinting the water, I dunno.

The crayfish are coming around 10 AM today. Should I just go ahead and set up that 5 gallon tank for them?
 

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So I've done a 50% water change, and the water is looking clearer, though it has a strange yellowish tinge to it. It might be the lighting, it might be the organic debris tinting the water, I dunno.

The crayfish are coming around 10 AM today. Should I just go ahead and set up that 5 gallon tank for them?
Were it me,, I would put em in the tank that you have been doing 50% water changes in and continue to test the water daily .
If you have no test kit ,then change 50% every couple day's,feed every couple day's a small amount.
The crayfish will not be much of a bioload and with no overfeeding,no overstocking,water changes,the tank will mature slowly.
Have my doubt's that any bacterial pathogen's or parasites will have survived in a tank that has run dry for as long as you say your's has beenwithout host fish(s) to infect.
Might not hurt to run some freshh carbon in the filter for a week and see if this does not help with water clarity along with the water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've put some fresh carbon in the filter earlier this morning. In fact, I just changed the whole filter cartridge as the old one was falling apart. I have a Tetra whisper in tank filter, so there is also a bio scrubber, which I just rinsed in tank water to prevent killing whatever beneficial bacteria that's started in it
 

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If you are scared to lose your crayfish with the big water changes, you can always take a small amount of water from your tank and house the crayfish in before changing your water. When you feel like your tank water is stable from the water change you can then add the crayfish back into your tank. They are right and also wrong in my opinion. Massive amounts of water change everyday in a cycle will lower your ammonia but will it help your tank cycle faster? Maybe you can do 50% everyday until you see 0.00 and then switch back to 25% every other day.
 
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