What happened to my new community tank!

GlenD

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Yesterday we purchased 110 L aquarium to put half the fish from my old community tank into. These are the fish that are not going into my new planted set up.

We removed all the decoration from the old system, some of this was put in a bleach water solution with a 1 to 10 ratio, soaked for 10 minutes and then scrubbed rinsed and soaked in freshwater.

Meanwhile the fish were bagged up and floated in a barrel which had new water, heater and the external filter circulating.

I then drained all the water out of the old tank and collected all the substrate in a bucket, I washed the substrate for over 20 minutes until every bit of dirt had gone and it was completely clean and the water was running clear.

We then put the gravel, ornaments, heater , external filter and filled the tank with the pre-chlorinated heated water.

I then covered the surface of the water with the frogbit which was in the old system. The were added and settled in within 30 minutes and fed a little.

This was yesterday evening, this morning all was well. I come home from work at 5:30 pm, most of fish were at the surface and several dead fish on the substrate.

The external filter was from the old community tank and was circulating the whole time, and the fish were only bagged for about 60 minutes.

There was only approximately 15 tetra sized fish and a Bristolnose. When I come home I’ve done a 75% water change and added a second new internal filter which has some carbon inside.

What on earth happened?
 

GlenD

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There was very little surface movement, almost none and the majority of the surface was covered with floating plants as well. But I’m assuming this couldn’t have taken all the oxygen out of 110 L in less than 18 hours.

I’ve moved both filters to the waterline so now there is a lot of surface agitation and half the plants have been removed.

Quite annoyed, haven’t even got any test kits to test ammonia and nitrite!
 

alto

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Sad news :(

Was the 110 a new tank?

What did you use for dechlorinator?

I’m wondering if there was residual bleach?
(Though it should’ve been well diluted by then so doesn’t really seem that likely)

I’m somewhat confused that you bagged the fish and floated in the barrel - it sounds as if the barrel had suitable water and filter running so why not just place fish in the barrel?

When bagging fish, 1/3 water and 2/3 air is the “standard” (except with the special breathable bags (which seem to be rarely used these days by commercial shippers, I don’t know if this is simply cost or if the bags don’t work that well for longer shipping periods))

But if fish seemed fine in the bags, and came out of the bags OK, and were active and swimming shortly after, it seems unlikely that “bagging” was the issue - though I’d question what sort of bags were used?

(some bags may contain noticeable levels of the manufacturing components (an odd plastic organic solvent smell - not a great description but that’s what it make me think of) even when sold as “food safe” (eg, I’ve noticed these in several grocery shops for use in bulk bin and fruit and vegetable areas. In contrast, fish shop bags have no noticeable odour )

Water - how was the water preheated etc?
Straight from tap or stored in some sort of bin? then you might consider the bin as a source of some issue

I seldom run my tanks with noticeable surface ripple - as long as the filter is running, that does the trick in terms of sufficient oxygen in the water (unless there is some issue which has compromised fish gill efficiency or some component in the water that is removing/consuming the oxygen)

What were fish doing at surface - rapid respiration or slow expanded breaths?

How did the dead fish look?
Expanded gills? Dull colours? Curved body? etc
 

GlenD

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Hi, the barrel was 120 L food group blue barrel that are use my water changes couldn’t put fish in as it would be near on impossible to try to net them out of such a large deep barrel. The bags were floated in the barrel open, bags use the ones from the fish shop.

Water was prepared straight from the tap, using hot tap to match temperature, then heater placed in barrel to maintain it. Search Prime used in the barrel, and then a double dose added to the tank once everything was in.

TBH Not sure what the fish breathing rate was but they was face up with their mouths pointing up to the surface of the water. All the fish had lost colour.
 

GlenD

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Update, test kits just arrived and this is what ammonia and nitrite are reading 40 hours after the 75% water change (I did another 75% water change after testing).

The ammonia seems fine, however nitrites up? How unearth could this have happened with immature filter?

Problem is, I go on holiday for 10 days on Saturday! Hope it settles down :(
 

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ian_m

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Ammonia is quite toxic to fish, even in quite low levels.
Nitrite levels are quite toxic to fish, again in low levels.

Your ammonia and nitrite have come from disturbing the substrate, which as you have found, simple washing does not remove fully. Soaking 24-72 or more hours is better.

Your ammonia levels, coming from the substrate are sky high and are slowly being converted to nitrite (and will become nitrate) by your hopefully still mature filter.

You cannot use ammonia test kits anywhere near the presence of Prime dechlorinator (at least for 48 hours or more), as Prime can cause test kits to massively under read. See the Prime instructions as to why you can't.

Best solution I can offer is 50% daily water changes (+dechlorinator) + large doses of Prime to remove ammonia. Better still would be to use AmQuel (not the AmQuel +, as this will take out nitrates) as this permanently binds the ammonia, unlike Prime which slowly releases it over following 24-48 hours.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Sorry to hear this.
There was very little surface movement, almost none and the majority of the surface was covered with floating plants as well. But I’m assuming this couldn’t have taken all the oxygen out of 110 L in less than 18 hours.
I seldom run my tanks with noticeable surface ripple - as long as the filter is running, that does the trick in terms of sufficient oxygen in the water (unless there is some issue which has compromised fish gill efficiency or some component in the water that is removing/consuming the oxygen)
Problem is, I go on holiday for 10 days on Saturday! Hope it settles down
I'd definitely keep some surface ripple while you are away. As the floating plants grow back in they should mop up a lot of the nitrogen.

I'm not sure what has caused it, but it sounds like it was an oxygen issue.The high nitrite (NO2-) readings are a bit strange, it may have been that most of the bacteria that oxidise NO2- to nitrate (NO3-) were actually in the substrate, rather than the filter.

cheers Darrel
 
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except with the special breathable bags (which seem to be rarely used these days by commercial shippers, I don’t know if this is simply cost or if the bags don’t work that well for longer shipping periods)
Presumably because of ammonia toxicity? When in a sealed bag the ammonia in the water is less toxic as the pH is low due to more co2 from fish respiration. When we open the bag the pH rises and the ammonia become more toxic again. Hence the popularity of the 'plop and drop method of acclimation.
 

GlenD

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Quick update, after 50 hours following the last water change the results was zero and zero for ammonia and nitrite.

So I did another 70% water change, now I’m in Mauritius and have given instructions to feed the tank every other day only.
 

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