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I think my wife broke the nitrogen cycle!!

2290 Views 11 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Joels fish
A little background, I was out of town for work two weeks ago and as a surprise my wife cleaned our 220 gallon tank (I normally maintain the tank). Problem is, she did about a 75% water change and cleaned all of our filter media with tap water. I now have high levels of ammonia, no nitrites and and no nitrates. I can only assume that she killed all of our beneficial bacteria in her aggressive water change and filter cleaning. Which I still find strange, it seems like some bacteria would have survived in the gravel?!

What do I do now?! I have a fully stocked 220 gallon aquarium that has been running for over a year now and I do not want to lose any of my beauties (full list of tank dwellers below).

I have been doing 20% water changes every other day and doubling the dose of Prime. I have also been adding "cycle" to expedite the cycling process. Is there any other action I can take?

My little guys all seem to be doing fine, but I want to make sure I am doing everything possible to help them get through my wives brutal cleaning effort. Any ideas on how long it will take to get the tank cycled again?

Tank Dwellers
1 Large Green Severum
1 Keyhole Cichlid
1 Convict Cichlid
1 Firemouth Cichlid
2 Blood Parrots
1 Bala Shark
6 Clown Loaches
5 Giant Danios
4 Australian Rainbow Fish
1 Pleco
2 Corys
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Ouch!! First off, I think you are doing everything you can at the moment to re-colonize your bacteria without stressing your fish too much.

As for no bacteria surviving, I'd imagine some did. However, if any of the gravel was vacuumed that could have played a little part. I vacuum half my gravel every other water change, so roughly gravel vac'd once per month. I always vac gravel on days I dont do filter maintenance.

I'd say that you probably have some bacteria just not enough for the stocking level of the tank. Based on that I'd say a couple weeks and things should be back to normal.

Is this the only tank you have?? If not seed the tank with filter media from another tank if you have one....if not maybe a friend or neighbor with an established tank. That should speed things up.

I'd also give the wife a class on how to do tank maintenance. I had to do this when I went to Iraq for a year. I usually do all maintenance, but when I left my wife had to pick it up. She did good though, with only a minimal amount of fish lost over the year.

Hope everything works out. Keep us updated.
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Yeah, I don't really have any fish buddies to borrow filter medial from. I have a 14 gallon salt water biocube, but I only have mechanical filtration in that tank. Live rock, plants, and weekly water changes take care of the rest.

My wife already got the lecture on proper care. You'd think after 6 years of watching me keep aquariums she would have realized i never drain that much water or rinse all the filter media with tap water. Oh well, she meant well and feels really bad about it.

Any other tips or comments are appreciated.

dude...that sucks.

I wish you were I'm close to dallas.

How about some bio spira? Are there any retailers in the area that would spare some bio media for an emergency like this?
hey at least your wife likes your hobby :thumb:

I agree with everybody else...keep changing the water and try to find some bio-spira.

good luck
Stop feeding. The fish won't suffer from not getting fed for a week, but it'll give your filter a chance to take care of what's there without new waste being added.
Ouch, don't let your wife see this post or she might feel really bad.
Adrnalnrsh said:
Ouch, don't let your wife see this post or she might feel really bad.
Best advice.
Once my wife try to help me by cleaning inside of my tank with a sponge and A SOAP :roll: Luckly, I found it early and did a 100% complete water change, and I didn't lose any fish.
add some of the cycle to a bio filter to put some of it on the spining thing :fish:
Add Bio-Spira. It works miracles in a tank that must be cycled quickly.
Wow , it's cool your wife's not afraid to jump in there and help out. Wish I could get mine to do that :? . I wouldn't worry about putting anymore cycle in the tank cause it doesn't do much anyway.If you can get it , I would get some Bio-spira or a product called Stability. Both are exellent for quickly establishing you Bio-filtration.
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