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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Help.. what happened?

    This is strange, and I am totaly lost.

    Not sure where to start, so will just start from the begining. First off, tonight I tried to feed my fish some dried food that they would not eat. It would just sink to the bottom and rot, so I decided to soak it in water(from the tank) then try to feed it to them, and all this ended up doing was cloud the water.

    This did not harm the fish, and it was already due for a cleaning, so I decided to vacume the gravel(Actualy coral chips I belive) and do a partial water change. Here is where I will go though what I did step by step.

    I syphoned off 20% of the tank, cleaning away all the food that I had just fed them, and also cleaning most of the bottom of the tank. Then I replaced the water with treated tap water, that I had mixed the right amout of salt into.(I set the ph and temp of the new water to exactly what the tanks water was at.. 1.024 salt, 8.3ph(I belive, used a ph balancer), and temp was just shy of 81 f. After this I watched the fish for about 20-30 min and I noticed that the intaks for both pumps were slightly clogged.(So far had no tank cloudyness, or aparent problems with the fish, they were spunky as always) I then cleaned both intake valves, and the water almost doubled in flow(the pumps were not working full before I cleaned this gunk away) I then sat and watched them again for 20 min or so, and the water was by this time, crystal clear, and te fish were fine.

    I got up this morn(like at 4am) to get a snack, and I noticed that the tank was really really cloudy, and I went to see what was up. Ever single fish in the tank was dead and on the bottom of the tank, and when I looked closer, all over the sides of the tanks(inside the glass) there are tiny worm like things that could be surviving blood worms that lived inside the pumps, and a bunch of brine shrimp. Neither of these were present before I did the cleaning, or even afterwads(I knwo cuz I am ALWAYS trying to spot the tiny crabs that are inside the tank, so would have noticed something)

    I don't know what happened here, but could definalty use some insite as to weither it was my fault, and what I can do to prevent it. Unfourtantly it is my sisters tank, and I was just watching it. I have done this same routine many times before(the tank has been pretty stable for over 6 months, and I had cleaned it before, and also cleaned the pumps)

    I can't give a ammonia reading because I don't know where the tester is, or if there is even one.

    What I want to know is how to avoid this next time, what can I do about the worms, etc, and is the water safe for new fish?

    Fishes were 2 butterflyies, 1 yellow tang, 2 (dora's -- sorry not sure name, dora from findin gnemo, lol) and a clownfish.

    I am really lost here.. they were perfectly fine before I left to go to bed, and only a couple hours later the water was milky white and al the fish were dead... what did I do?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Flame*Angel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    How old is this tank? What size? What kind of food and how much?

    I suspect an ammonia spike but need more information.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Tank.. over 1 1/2 years, fish(the ones in it) most recent was added 2 weeks ago(the butterflys) and the tang was from about 2 mo ago. The food was I am guessing freeze dried brine shrimp(was from a big bin, wanted to try cheap alternatave to the frozen stuff) but I sucked as much as I could of that out.. when I was done I could not see the clouding from the food(the water was clear when I was finished) the water now is very cloudy, as if I am having a huge bactirea explosion or something, but it came in less than 5 hours(1am to 4 am, 3 hours tops I am guessing)

    The thing is, I was thinking that if something got into the pump and died, and The intakes were cloged, therefore limiting the flow, and I removed the clog and hte flow went back to 100% could there possibly been something inside the pump which was not bothering the tank?

    I am right now as we speak, empting most of the water.. I need to keep enough to cover the live rock, but other than that, I am guessing that I posioned it big time.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    sorry abut missing info...

    I don't know ammonia or nitrates, but as for overfeeding, I always cleaned out the stuff left over(or what I could see) and we have plenty of hermets, snails, etc around(Had a huge shrmp too but he dissapeard)

    Either way, the tank is empty, and the liverock is in a bucket with all the snails and crabs I could save. Plan is now, since the fish are all dead, is to replace the coral chips with sand.

    Here is whree I ask more help. How should we go about setting the tank up? plan to move it, and problay won't be fish ready for another 6 months(damn, when it rains, it pours) so going to take the time to make sure it is done right this time.

    As it i snow the tank is not reef ready(no hole at bottom, and no sump/protine skimmer)

    I was told that there is a way to drill a hole into the side of the tank(back) an dinstall a sump/skimmer that way. Is this advisable?

    2Nd question, about testers.. what testers should we have, and what type of salt is best? When do we add more snails, hermits, etc.

    Thing is, since the fish all died so suddenly, I want to avoid this ever happening again. I want to know why, after a good cleaning(And the water was so clear, and 3 hrs later it was so murky) this happened? Was it possibly the pumps? did hte fish overeat(and die 4 hours later?) what happened?

    I have sorta been a fish hobbiest ever since I was 10, but this is the first time I had any experince with salt water fish. (BTW the tank is 130 gal)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    What did you use to adjust the ph, and what were you testing the ph with?

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Unfortunately, from all you've given, only guesses and presumptions can be made. It's too bad you can't meaure all the parameters. INO, those little critters could possibly have been living in the filters and wi5th the increase in flow, caused them to all blow out into the main tank. Were they moving/alive when you saw them? If they had died ( perhaps from going through the pump/impeller), then this could have caused an Ammonia spike. ALTHOUGH!!! in a 130 gal. tank, it takes a really big spike to cause that much harm..., you'd have to throw a dead PERSON in there to do that much damage!!! This is very strange indeed.
    Lastly, I'll go out on a limb and say that at least it's good timing for if you had wanted to drill the tank and change out the substrate and such.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Any possibility that someone used a household cleaner (like Windex) around the tank? That rapid and extensive a die-off suggests some type of chemical cause to me *unless my newbie ignorance is showing :-))

  8. #8
    Senior Member tang_man_montreal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Maybe the link here is the new "cheap" food that you tried in combination with not testing water parameters?
    Do you know what the water params were before the crash?
    I am Homer of BORG... Prepare to be..OOOO!! DONUT!!!!!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    mmmmm, when you say intake are you talking canister filters?? If so, a lot of old food and crap can log in there and by cleaning the intakes in the tank maybe you flushed out alot of crap with the new flow of water.
    also, treated tap water... how long did you let it sit? IMO I have no trust in ''tapwater conditioners'' water plants adjust chemicals throughout the year so sometimes they spike! the water with chemicals [usually CHLORIMINE or CHLORINE] and apperently CHLORIMINE does not break down or''bind'' to easy so maybe the fish died from the water. seems logical as they died right after the water change unless the bucket was contaminated.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004


    I am terribly sorry if I can't provide any more data, no ph known(the bottle I used says right on it raises ph to 8.3, and never any higher, it is totaly safe to use and u can NOT overdose. I only sprinkeled a little of that into the water.

    The treatment stuff(Aqua Plus) covers both Chlorine and Chloramine, etc(also neutralizes heavy metals)

    I left the water for 30 min(and have always done this before without any problems) but from now on I think I may let it sit overnight, just incase.

    The food Is unknow....really. It is red, dried, and sorta looks like hampster pellets(but it is fish food, bought at a bulk bin from a wholesale pet supplier, so I trusted it) It was dry and the fish were not intrested in it so I soaked it in the water from the tank before giving it to them(I think I overfed, but read on) When the fish still did not show any intrest in it, I decided to vacume it out and at the same time, replace the top 5th of the tank(20% or so give or take)

    I then mixed up the water and added 2 25 gal pails every 45 min, making sure that the temp and SG was both right.(82 deg, and 1.024) Unfourtantly, I could not test for nitrates, ammonia, etc, becase we atm lack those testing kits.

    After I finished the change and the tank was clean, it was quite clear(I was able to see though the tank as I scrubbed the back wall off to restick the intake for the filters, this is when I cleared off the intakes and the filters just started to go, like double what they were. About 1/2 hour after this I went to bed, and my sister later went to sleep, and saw nothign wrong, and then later, her husband came home(At around 2 am) and he said there was nothing wrong with it, as in it looked normal.

    Then, at 4:02 am I got up to eat, and I noticed the tank was milky white.. could not see further than 3-4 inches into the tank. I also saw all the fish, dead, and some tiny shrimp and worm like things floating around, alive. The crabs and snails are alive now, and are in a bucket with all the live rock.

    Fish that were in it, were 1 yellow tang, 2 dora's(Not sure name, from finding nemo) 2 butterflies and one big ass clownfish. Also about 2 months ago a fire golby dissapeard without a trace, and slightly after that our shrimp dissapeard. (

    I wish I could give the levels of ph, nitrates, etc, but that I do not know. All I want to know is how this happened, and how to avoid it in the future(for one I am not going to use this crap the food)

    My question, is at 130 gal, is it possible that food superfast rotted(?) or that somethign was in the pumps and when i cleard it it posioned the tank, and another thing..why were they fine for hours(from 10:30 when I finished the cleaning, to around 2-2:30 am no problems, when I saw them, the tank was white white, and all the fish were dead, at 4 am. I don't get it)...

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