General Aquaria Discussion • Restarting our tank

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Restarting our tank

Postby amydrossie » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:37 pm

My 3 year old dumped a ton of Cichlid magic into our 6 year old well established tank. We fished as much as we could out with a net because the pellets wouldn't vacuum up. The trickle filter must have clogged because the next day we woke up to a bunch of dead fish in our tank :(

The only survivor was our pleco so we need to get our tank up and running again and have new fish on the way. We have a 75 gallon setup with a trickle filter with the bio balls. Whats the best way to keep our bacteria colony alive until our new fish arrive? (We said not to deliver until Tuesday because we will be out of town for Labor Day.) Also, will there be too much bacteria since we had mature fish and we are getting a bunch of juvvies?

We have refilled and drained our tank 4 times and are trying to get all the debris out so we can start fresh, but aren't sure if we should run the tank or if the new water will kill our bacteria? Should I put a little ammonia in there? Will our pleco be ok?

I need to test everything but we are still flushing the tank with freshwater and vacuuming out the debris. It's been 6 years since we set up a tank so I need to look up how to do it all again and what parameters are best!

A
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Re: Restarting our tank

Postby DJRansome » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:55 pm

What are your test results for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates? What killed your fish?

The filter not running overnight should not be a problem.

Beneficial bacteria can live a month or more without fish in the tank...you should be fine.

I would take out everything in the tank...rinse with water and wash the substrate in buckets like it was new.

Same thing for filter media...wash with dechlorinated water to get the debris out.

New water will not kill your bacteria as long as you dechlorinate.
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Re: Restarting our tank

Postby amydrossie » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:16 am

Testing the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate now. Should we rinse the bio balls? We changed out the carbon bag already. Trickle filter is full of debris.
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Re: Restarting our tank

Postby joselepiu » Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:19 am

amydrossie wrote:Testing the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate now. Should we rinse the bio balls? We changed out the carbon bag already. Trickle filter is full of debris.


what kind of ""debris" are you talking about?...
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Re: Restarting our tank

Postby amydrossie » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:22 pm

OK, as of last testing Ammonia keeps going up, it is up to 3.0 now. Nitrite has dropped to 0 and nitrate is holding steady at 10.

Debris that has built up over time and then I'm sure a lot from the enormous amount of fish food my 3 year old poured in the tank. We did 4 100% water changes but the ammonia keeps going up so I think we have to take the tank apart. Our pleco was the only survivor so he is going to live in another tank while we stabilize this one. I ordered some Nite Out 2, Stability and Prime and they arrive tomorrow.

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Re: Restarting our tank

Postby Deeda » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:10 pm

A, yes you should rinse any media for this tank to remove as much leftover fish food and other gunk that has built up over the 6 years. The trickle filter bio-balls can also be rinsed using either tank water removed into a bucket or just sprayed with a hose sprayer in the sink. You should remove any and all media from the trickle filter so you can also get any 'debris', gunk or whatever else is in that filter.

If you think you still have 'debris' trapped in the substrate, you can temporarily move the pleco to a holding container such as a bucket or plastic tote and use the tank water to fill the container. He should be fine for a couple hours without filtration and moving him will give you an opportunity to clean the substrate better.

The tank, filter and substrate does NOT need to be squeaky clean, you are just looking to remove the majority of the leftover food and accumulated gunk in the tank.

To answer your earlier question regarding adding ammonia to the tank, do NOT add ammonia to any tank that has fish in it, that is only used when doing a fish-less cycle.

As to your current ammonia reading of 3.0, that level is too high to keep fish in the tank without causing damage to them so you can either continue doing daily water changes to reduce the ammonia or purchase and use Prime or a similar water conditioner that can temporarily bind the ammonia and reduce the harm it causes to fish.
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