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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok where do I start on this. I had upgraded from a 30 gallon to a 110 gallon. I then used the 30 gallon for my parents setup. The 30 gallon was setup with a fluval 504 canister filter and a few decor items with an airstone. The tank had about 10 small juvi cichlids all african. All maintenance was done by me including feeding. I usually visit my parents every day ( the live right across the street ) so any thing related to the tank was done by me. The tank was properly cycled and used for about a year before the wipeout. All fish were healthy even the same day they died. I tested the water parameters and everything was good BEFORE they died. I did a 20% water change weekly the same day I did the water changes in my 110 gallon at my place. I always used the exact same water conditioner ( Prime ) and same food cichlid flakes and pellets ONLY. I did not however get a reading for the water after the wipeout since my parents took the dead livestock out and drained the tank.

I really dont know why and how the fish died however rumor has it my mothers maid may have cleaned the outside of the tank with some type of household cleaner or something. The water did smell a bit like ammonia so if that is the case it leads me to believe that may have been the cause. I was going to take everything out and clean the tank, decor and filter but was unsure on what methods to do this and or how to clean everything.

On the filter and lines what are the best way to clean them including the filter sponges? Am I better off simply discarding the sponges and bio rings and starting from scratch? I do not want to introduce anything bad into a new setup. I heard that using hot water is a good method of cleaning everything or can you guys give me any tips? I wll be resetting everything up again using the same filter, heater and decor if I can however this time I will be using PFS over the gravel that was in the tank. I also was thinking of introducing the canister filter in my tank to get some bacteria on the filter again on my 110 gallon but just scared of inducing something bad in my tank....I'm completely baffed at what or how all these fish died and scared to use anything that was in that tank again. :( :(

Any ideas and tips of this ladies and gentlemen :-?

I also forgot to add the tank was acrylic if that means or helps anything.
 

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Ouch.
Cannot be 100% positive but before you even got to the part of the maid cleaning I was going to ask you if anything like an aerosol cleaner or ammonia/bleach type cleaner was used near the tank.
Personally if this were me, I would discard all sponges, media and substrate and start from scratch.

Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply Fisch. How about the decorative decor what can I do about that? Could I use hot water to clean it and say let it air dry for about a week to kill any bacteria and or chemicals on it?
 

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I'd first try a 100% water change and some "experiment" fish to see if the toxins were removed. Maybe some guppies.

If they are fine, you have saved the hassle of cycling the tank. If they die, you always have the first option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
DJRansome said:
I'd first try a 100% water change and some "experiment" fish to see if the toxins were removed. Maybe some guppies.

If they are fine, you have saved the hassle of cycling the tank. If they die, you always have the first option.
Everything has been taken apart and drained the canister filter I took apart and cleaned it but thinking of new sponges and bio rings just to be safe. I wanted to do a full safe cleaning on the filter and hoses, tank, rock decor just to be safe. What is the best sure proof and safe way to do a complete cleaning on everything in your opinion DJ? My idea was to add the canister filter to my 110 so to get some bacteria back in that canister so when I do recycle the new setup I have a good filter with bacteria to use...
 

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I don't think you need to throw out your sponges and biomedia - just rinse them thoroughly.

After you rinse the media and the filter, you can put it on your 110 gallon to reseed it. Obviously just keep an eye on your fish.
 

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The problem with a guaranteed method of cleaning is you don't know what the toxin was. So all you can do is a "best chance" method of cleaning.

If the decor is porous that is riskier than if it is not. Bleach solution will probably solve the most problems.
 

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My feeling is better safe than sorry.
Why risk an entire setup when the chemical that could be inside of the sponge is unknown.
What's the cost to replace the sponge?
Ever hear the expression "soaks up like a sponge"? Take one of your dirtiest sponge filters and rinse it under the sink for 5 mins...10 mins...15 mins...there's still "stuff" inside of the sponge.
As for the idea of guppies, sorry DJ I will respectively disagree. There is always the chance that store bought guppies carry diseases...adding even more trouble to the tank.
 

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Oh, this makes me feel good. I have a maid coming by my house to clean today for the first time. She has very specific instructions to stay away from my tanks though.
 

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My advice would be to replace sponges, since they are so hard to get clean, and thoroughly rinse everything else. You can soak decor in bleach water but just be sure to remove the bleach with plenty of rinses and a soak in Prime water.

I would not use any of this stuff in your 110G tank. I would instead set up the small tank and fill it with water and maybe some substrate or filter sponges removed from your 110G to seed it. I have done this before and the new tank cycle goes quick. After the tank has settled for several days, put a couple of your least favorite fish in it from your 110G and go through a standard cycling for a few weeks.

This way, you don't risk your 110G, and you don't introduce more new variables than necessary.
 

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Fischfan13 said:
My feeling is better safe than sorry.
Why risk an entire setup when the chemical that could be inside of the sponge is unknown.
What's the cost to replace the sponge?
Ever hear the expression "soaks up like a sponge"? Take one of your dirtiest sponge filters and rinse it under the sink for 5 mins...10 mins...15 mins...there's still "stuff" inside of the sponge.
As for the idea of guppies, sorry DJ I will respectively disagree. There is always the chance that store bought guppies carry diseases...adding even more trouble to the tank.
There's always a chance any fish you put in the tank will be carrying disease. In fact, you're breathing in disease (bacteria, virus's, etc), but you have a healthy immune system so you're fine. The same thing goes in in fish tanks. You can't keep them completely sterile.

TBH, I don't think what you're doing is any safer than doing a few >90% water changes to dilute any toxins in the water and then letting it run empty for a month (feed with ammonia to keep your bacterial filtration alive) to kill off any parasites that need a host to survive, and then reintroduce healthy fish.

Sounds like ammonia cleaner from the maid is what did them in. If there were no symptoms as you describe, its probably the only thing that could do them in that quickly. If thats the case, the ammonia would be processed by the bio filtration, but you'd still need to dilute out whatever other soaps or chemicals were in the ammonia cleaner. All that takes is a few big water changes to get rid of them.
 

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Rhinox said:
Fischfan13 said:
My feeling is better safe than sorry.
Why risk an entire setup when the chemical that could be inside of the sponge is unknown.
What's the cost to replace the sponge?
Ever hear the expression "soaks up like a sponge"? Take one of your dirtiest sponge filters and rinse it under the sink for 5 mins...10 mins...15 mins...there's still "stuff" inside of the sponge.
As for the idea of guppies, sorry DJ I will respectively disagree. There is always the chance that store bought guppies carry diseases...adding even more trouble to the tank.
There's always a chance any fish you put in the tank will be carrying disease. In fact, you're breathing in disease (bacteria, virus's, etc), but you have a healthy immune system so you're fine. The same thing goes in in fish tanks. You can't keep them completely sterile.

TBH, I don't think what you're doing is any safer than doing a few >90% water changes to dilute any toxins in the water and then letting it run empty for a month (feed with ammonia to keep your bacterial filtration alive) to kill off any parasites that need a host to survive, and then reintroduce healthy fish.

Sounds like ammonia cleaner from the maid is what did them in. If there were no symptoms as you describe, its probably the only thing that could do them in that quickly. If thats the case, the ammonia would be processed by the bio filtration, but you'd still need to dilute out whatever other soaps or chemicals were in the ammonia cleaner. All that takes is a few big water changes to get rid of them.
Sterile?
Sterile would be void of bacteria, and we all know that bacteria has to be present in our aquaria for fish to live.

Breathing disease?...LMAO
Ok, so instead of us comparing Guppies in a tank to Cichlids and me breathing in NJ air lets get back to water.

No one here knows what types of solvents went into this tank. Therefore no one can say what solvents will be gone, if any, after a few water changes. If you took 32 ounces of drinking water and placed two drops of "Xyz" brand cleanser in it, and then changed 28 ounces of that water several times would you feel safe drinking from that glass?

Better safe than sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think I'm gonna go the route of discarding the sponges as posted those are cheap. I will not take a chance and use anything from the dead tank into my 110 and risk anything ( Better safe than sorry ). What I am going to do is clean and rise, clean and rise, clean and rise and then clean and rise everything I used in the tank. I may even use new bio rings also and toss the old ones. The gravel will also be tossed and I will do PFS for them. It just really sucks to see all those fish die in one shot and not know exactly what killed them. As for now I made sure anyone who comes to clean my place or my parents is very aware not to clean or dust anywhere near ANY tanks whatsoever at all. Any aerosol sprays are not be sprayed anywhere also ( fragrance sprays ). I would have lost my mind if this happened to my 110 tank.
 

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Fischfan13 said:
DJ I will respectively disagree. There is always the chance that store bought guppies carry diseases...adding even more trouble to the tank.
Ya got me there Bill. It would just kill me to start from scratch, LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
newforestrob said:
I vote upgrading to a 75 gallon setup-your stocking options would increase-what cichlids were in the 30
10 small fry juvi cichlids....Electric yellow and red zebras
 
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