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Thread: Help please!!!
02-16-2013, 02:15 AM #1
I have a 50 gallon tank with a variety of aquarium fish. About three weeks ago, my med/largepleco died. I did not notice for a day or two. After I pulled him out, the tank developed algae strips hanging on the fake plastic plants and a white cotton substance was on the gravel floor as well. A few more fish died. I did a complete tank change right awayand threw out all plants and decos, as well as replaced the gravel with new gravel. I had saved eight fish while doing this. I got my system up and running again and the eight fish have survived and are happy (Two bala sharks, 4 neons, and 2-3 "I don't knows"). Now here is the part that is frustrating. I have attempted to add three plecos (small size), one the first time and two the second time, and all three have died within hours of entry. I purchased them in a typical water bag and set the bag on top of the water for 20-30 minutes so that the water temps would become close to one another. All my other fish are still alive and well but it seems I can't add any new fish. I am concerned not only because of not being able to add any more fish but in particular not being able to add a pleco to take care of the algae that will eventually build up!
Please help with any advice as this seems really odd! I live out in the country and have a Petsmart and Petco within 25 miles of my home.
Also, I always do my water changes with distilled water. I added about 50 one gallon bottles of distilled water to the tank re the full tank change . . .
02-16-2013, 02:29 AM #2
Do you have a liquid test kit to test your water parameters? Plecos, as bottom dwellers, are highly susceptible to ammonia and nitrite. You need to confirm that your tank is cycled before you go adding anything else. It is likely that the decaying body of the first dead pleco caused an ammonia spike that killed your other fish and I'm suspicious that you may have set your cycle off even more by cleaning the tank too thoroughly.
Did you wash or replace the filter media when you cleaned it? If you can post pictures of your unknown fish we can ID them for you.~Manna
120 gallon FW bowfront in progress
02-16-2013, 03:50 AM #3
02-16-2013, 04:20 AM #4
Essentially what you have done is reverted your tank to being uncycled. I would argue that a large portion of beneficial bacteria (BB) lives in the substrate, not just the filter. When you replaced everything in the tank, including substrate, and you replaced your filter media, then you removed all the BB that keeps the ammonia levels down and the cycle complete. Sound like you need to re-cycle your tank, no pun intended.
At a minimum I would recommend a liquid test kit for ammonia, and the test strips for pH, hardness, NO3 and NO4. Being able to monitor your water parameters is essential.
Now lets talk about what happened. I cant tell for sure without looking at pictures, but your white cotton sustance on the substrate sounds like fungus or mold. It the bottom of your tank is not maintained and cleaned (syphon substrate) then the buildup of funk will cause problems. Plecos are bottom feeders and would be the first to suffer. Also over feeding fish can cause extra food to gather on the botton of the tank and rot, which can also foul up the water and make fish more susceptable to diseases.
Typically in tanks its good to have a clean up crew to assist you in cleaning. Notice I said assist and not replace. Cory Cats and other bottom feeders help with excess food. Snails, ottos, and algae eaters help keep algae and diatoms at a minimum. Other wise you will need to be very carefuly about feeding and maintaining you tank. . . you should be careful about those things anyway, but I am sure you uinderstand what I am saying.
Hope this helps.55 Gallon Freshwater Tank (semi-planted) 48"x21"x13"
Video of 55GAL Tank - DEC 2012
02-16-2013, 04:33 AM #5
I do not think you lost your cycle by replacing the substrate as most of us here (including me) do run quarantine tanks for extended periods of time without any substrate at all and never experiance any problems with water parameters
But having said that, we would need to know your water parameters to be able to give you some good advice here (as others have already requested)If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
"Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL="http://saltwater.aquaticcommunity.com/"]
02-16-2013, 04:46 AM #6
Read this http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=36492.
Just replacing the substrate would have been okay, but you are starting from square one now that you have replaced your filter media.
You'll need to not add any fish for several weeks to a few months until you have cycled your tank. I would recommend purchasing an API master test kit (only $20 on amazon). I agree with ddavis' hypothesis about what may have caused your initial problem. I think the best step from here is to get the test kit and follow the link above to the letter. Once you are cycled and stable then you can think about adding in your bottom dwellers again safely.
Though it may be tempting to buy test strips for ammonia, nitrate and nitrite, try to resist that impulse because they are notoriously inaccurate. Here's a link to that test kit.
120 gallon FW bowfront in progress
02-16-2013, 04:53 AM #7
Thanks for the info - I will take some water into Petco tomorrow for a test . . .
02-16-2013, 04:56 AM #8
Let assume this is the issue and I hold off for a month or so on new fish. Besides doing my water change every couple of weeks, is there anything I should do about algae buildup? I have always had plecos and just assumed that they took care of the algae without any other intervention.
02-16-2013, 05:02 AM #9
Hey everyone! I re-read your posts (thanks again) and I am a bit confused on where you state "replaced filter media". When I first read this I thought it meant that you were asking if I had replaced the filters and carbon in the Power Whisper Filter system (which I did and do every water change). Was this to mean something else, i.e., the black sponge pieces that fit between the filters and the tank?
02-16-2013, 06:52 AM #10