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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Maybe about a week ago two of my synodontis petricolas were found floating at the top of the tank. It had clearly been a day or two. I tend to forget about the tank sometimes other than tossing in food.

I was particularly intrigued when I heard thrashing at the water's surface and whipped out a nice 1.5w LED flashlight and to my dismay, all 8 of my petricolas are at the top gasping for air, along with my two SAE. Otos, rams, and all but one cardinal seemed to be okay :icon_sad:

Two of the petricolas along with one of the cardinals were lifeless at the top. The cardinal had some sort of disease and was pretty much pineconing up until his death. Could it have been this one fish that got my two petricolas killed? I was in no position to think, the wretched smell was one that would make anyone run to grab the python. 2:30am and I'm doing an emergency water change on a tank that hasn't had one for nearly? half a year.

Over the course of two days and 4 water changes (starting from 30% and gradually increasing to a final one of about 65%) and some new fresh NLS food since I ran out, everyone is delighted. But I am still stuck with this swampy smell. Does carbon really work well? Should I keep changing water?





On a side note, things really do come in threes. My NLS food ran out, one of my cheapo t5ho lights burnt out, rendering my fixture useless, AND three deaths
:icon_evil
 

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Best guess I have is a crash in KH which I've enjoyed once with an NPT.
Bio is going to take time to balance again but carbon does work removing odors.
Sorry to read of your hassle.

Dirt tanks are a set it and forget it type of tanking,,, but not for too long, this reads like too long.
 

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There are many different variables. What is your ammonia level? nitrate/nitrite level? Is the tank cycled? If they are gasping at the water surface they need oxygen. Is the tank well oxygenated? How often do you change the water? What have you been putting in the tank other than fish food? Too much decaying organic material could cause this.
 

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There are many different variables. What is your ammonia level? nitrate/nitrite level? Is the tank cycled? If they are gasping at the water surface they need oxygen. Is the tank well oxygenated? How often do you change the water? What have you been putting in the tank other than fish food? Too much decaying organic material could cause this.
did you read his post?
 

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Your soil has gone anaerobic. H2S is released and is toxic. Ammonia could also be a factor. Do lots of water changes and poke the soil to release the gas. Add lots of plants from the start and trumpet snails to aerate the soil.
 

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believe this is the tank he setup in November 2010. Case of neglect NOT new. :icon_frow
 

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I feel you on this, I swear half the people on here only read the first sentence of the OP before giving irrelevant advice, or ignorantly repeating advice someone in the same thread has already posted.
LOL careful,
while reading the details of a topic is not required before posting a reply hostile replies are indeed frowned upon. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
wkndracer: Would a KH crash result in a pH drop? Right before I last topped off the tank I tested the water which read pH 7.6 (7.7-7.8 from tap), and about 5ppm nitrates

mistergreen: just did that and barely anything came up ;) Most places without plants have about 1-2mm of sand covering the soil, allowing plenty of diffusion to take place and bubbles to rise. It feels quite spongy, but water-wise

Right before this happened I remember I also dumped in 5g of fresh clean water to raise the level back up, and submerged the spray bar which was previously creating a lot of disturbance. The thing is that the tank ran like that for months and nothing happened.


I certainly have much more sensitive fish than these guys. And before dumping in the 5 gallons they were all active, up to the deaths, and even after not noticing the corpses for a few days. Maybe it was the organic carbon buildup, who's to tell.


I'm going to throw a really good sized amount of carbon in the filter soon here :icon_twis

Thanks for the helpful input
And the not so helpful ;)
 

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Without injecting CO2 (just a fry grow out tank) I tested 7.2 -7.4 pH and the following day my wife said 'honey all the fish are at the top of the tank',,, it was full of lfabn at about 1" long (about 50 of them). I got concerned as they never come up. KH was zero on a chemical drop test and the pH had crashed overnight. Plants ate the carbonates :eek: that's my story and I'm sticking to it LOL.

After a dirt tank has settled in the only thing taking one out here has been a crash as described. I hope you figure out what's happened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
^^ you can't deny the swamp smell. That's H2S.
Okay, water changes it is then. Can having full coverage over the tank, other than what's needed for heaters and hoses to stick out also cause a buildup? My hypothesis is that because the H2S gets trapped under the lids it slowly mixes in with the water rather than airing out. Along with the old water + new tank (in relative terms)

Should I lower the water level enough so the spray bar is disturbing the surface? I've currently gone ahead and done so ever since that day.

Without injecting CO2 (just a fry grow out tank) I tested 7.2 -7.4 pH and the following day my wife said 'honey all the fish are at the top of the tank',,, it was full of lfabn at about 1" long (about 50 of them). I got concerned as they never come up. KH was zero on a chemical drop test and the pH had crashed overnight. Plants ate the carbonates :eek: that's my story and I'm sticking to it LOL.

After a dirt tank has settled in the only thing taking one out here has been a crash as described. I hope you figure out what's happened.
I don't have any test kits for hardness and didn't even bother testing the pH before changing the water. I like mistergreen's theory more so than a kH crash, and I hope I never experience another one LOL. But I was also told in another thread that the pH dropping even down in the 6's was normal because at one point I tested and my tank was somewhere in that range.

I hate losing fishies. Especially the petricolas. I'll be damned if it was the rams or oto's though :icon_lol:
 
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