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Old 06-28-2007, 10:16 AM   #1
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Bacteria Bloom?

I set up a new office tank recently (about 2 weeks ago) and used BioSpira with a great deal of success. Using Ace Ammonia I tested to see if the BioSpira was a hit or miss and it turns out after 2 days the tank was fully cycled so I added a betta (after a good water change of course). Everything has been going great, 2 weeks and 1 20% pwc later I added a couple of small apple snails. I know they are going to get too big for this 2 gallon tank but I can relocate them to home.

I did a 20% PWC before acclimating the snails (it was about that time) and then after adding them into the tank I added 1 hikari algae wafer. My problem is when I got in the next morning the water was a cloudy white and the surface was sudsing from the whisper filter, this was not the betta's bubble nest as the bubbles were large. I see two possibilities, either the wafer is clouding the water or I have a bacteria bloom and do not know the cause. I did 2 50% water changes about 5 hours apart and here we are today. The Betta is still happy, the snails are moving about like they are happy but the water is still cloudy but the suds are nearly gone, asside from the Betta's bubble nest.

Whisper 2 Gallon tank w/ Air powered whisper filter, Whisper Heater. LED lighting, plastic & silk plants. Prime dechlorinator during PWCs.
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Old 06-28-2007, 11:55 AM   #2
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You didn't mention it but I assume you tested the water for ammonia/nitrIte/nitrAte after the water changes?

It's possible the addition of the snails and more importantly the algae wafer was enough overload your biological filter temporarily. The cloudiness is just the bloom as the bacteria try to overcome the food source.

I'd hold off on feeding for a day or two and keep an eye on the tank levels. If everything is fine you can go back to feeding.

I would personally avoid the algae wafers or use them very sparingly. They are quite messy and in such a small tank can really do more harm then good. A piece of lettuce would work much better since it won't break apart and rot in the tank, you can remove it at will, and I assume you are feeding the betta with pellets so everyone should have enough to eat.

If you are detecting levels of ammonia I'd suggest keepin the lights off.

HTH
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Old 06-28-2007, 01:00 PM   #3
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Well my test kits are at home and I forgot to bring them, I may grab them at lunch.

I can stop feeding for a few days, he doesn't get fed on weekends anyway.

This is an office tank, the only lights are LED that I can turn off or the room's diffused flourecents and I can't turn them off or I can't work, but they are off on weekends and at night.

I only put the wafer in because I was concerned there wasn't enough food for them in the tank and the wafers aren't perishable. I do feed betta pellets though.

Is there also a smell associated with Bacteria Blooms? the water smells nasty.
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Old 06-28-2007, 02:19 PM   #4
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The lights are fine (I'd keep the LED's off but I doubt they would cause problems). I just didn't know if you had a high powered CF or MH that would spell trouble when the GW and algae starts!

How is your circulation in the tank? Are you positive both snails are alive? Nasty smelling water is normally NOT associated with bacterial blooms unless the bacteria is blooming due to a rotting carcass (the algae wafer would not cause this IMO). I could easily see a snail rotting causing both the horrid smell and the bloom.

Definitely check your numbers, even better, just do a good size PWC to be safe! BTW what size tank is this? If its under 10 gallons you can easily change out most of the water in a couple minutes both ridding the tank of some of the smell and any possible toxins.

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Old 06-28-2007, 03:34 PM   #5
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Positive the snails are alive. They are both moving as I type this.

I went home and got my test kits, ammonia has indeed spiked. Despite the 2 50% PWC's yesterday I'm showing roughly 3ppm. The water source is the same as my home aquarium, I don't think it should be different but I am going to check it. It could have also been the wafers that spiked it. I doubt the snails produced that much bio waste.

It is a 2 gallon tank, just a small one. I know they are harder to maintain water parameters but I thought with my experience I could keep it under control. Plus, my company likes to play musical offices so I didn't want too big a tank. I don't want to change more than 50% at a time though.
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Old 06-28-2007, 09:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alshain
Positive the snails are alive. They are both moving as I type this.

I went home and got my test kits, ammonia has indeed spiked. Despite the 2 50% PWC's yesterday I'm showing roughly 3ppm. The water source is the same as my home aquarium, I don't think it should be different but I am going to check it. It could have also been the wafers that spiked it. I doubt the snails produced that much bio waste.

It is a 2 gallon tank, just a small one. I know they are harder to maintain water parameters but I thought with my experience I could keep it under control. Plus, my company likes to play musical offices so I didn't want too big a tank. I don't want to change more than 50% at a time though.
Get filter media from your tank at home ASAP. Those numbers are extremely high and your nitrIte spike will likely kill the fish. I would remove the snails for the time being and vac up any visible food debris.

Oh and do a 50% PWC when you get in in the morning. And check your levels before you leave. If they are above 1.0ppm (personally 0.5ppm would have me worried leaving for the night) do another 50% PWC. At a level of 3ppm, I would do a 80-90% PWC or 2 back to back 50% changes. A 50% PWC will only bring you down to 1.5ppm temporarily which is still too high for the betta. I'd also temporarily double dose the Prime. This can help detoxify the ammonia so even if you are reading 3ppm at least less than 3ppm is actually toxic.
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Old 06-28-2007, 09:45 PM   #7
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Right, I did a 50% PWC before I left and the ammonia was gone. It seemed kind of odd that it was almost nothing after one water change, I'm wondering if I screwed up the test the first time, but I checked it twice before leaving. The water was still cloudy though.

Theres .25ppm in the source FYI, thats as much as I get at home too so I expected that. I think for now I am out of emergency mode. If it happens again in the morning, I will cup the betta (yeah I know, but its better than swimming in ammonia) and move the snails to my brothers tank (I have clowns in mine). Then I may consider moving to a 6 gallon eclipse. We will see how it goes.

BTW, is it possible to overdose Prime? For a 2 gallon tank, I can't measure small enough so I have been dosing for a 10 gallon.
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Old 06-29-2007, 08:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alshain
Right, I did a 50% PWC before I left and the ammonia was gone. It seemed kind of odd that it was almost nothing after one water change, I'm wondering if I screwed up the test the first time, but I checked it twice before leaving. The water was still cloudy though.

Theres .25ppm in the source FYI, thats as much as I get at home too so I expected that. I think for now I am out of emergency mode. If it happens again in the morning, I will cup the betta (yeah I know, but its better than swimming in ammonia) and move the snails to my brothers tank (I have clowns in mine). Then I may consider moving to a 6 gallon eclipse. We will see how it goes.

BTW, is it possible to overdose Prime? For a 2 gallon tank, I can't measure small enough so I have been dosing for a 10 gallon.
The ammonia test (if you're using the AP liquid test kit) is almost impossible to mess up. There is no shaking of the bottles or complicated instructions so I don't know how you went from 3ppm to zero with a single 50% PWC. At a minimum you should be reading 1ppm.

I'm assuming the 0.25ppm in your tap/source are chloramines which will show up as ammonia in your test. As long as you are using Prime you really have 0ppm ammonia in your starting material. Keep that in mind as you will never see 0ppm ammonia right after a PWC. Later in the day once your bacteria are booming, however, it should drop to zero.

I've never seen it happen but dosing 5X the amount of Prime IMO is not a good thing. I think the directions say you can double dose (which I'd recommend for now), but I wouldn't go much over that. You're basically concentrating it more and more at each PWC since you are only replacing 50% of the water. Either make up a stock solution (say 1/10th the strength in a small air/light-tight bottle), or get a baby medicine dropper that measures in 10th's of ml's. I'd recommend the latter.

So I would highly recommend getting some filter media from your established tank at home (with the clowns), getting the baby dropper, adding in the proper amount of Prime (or at most 2X), and doing a large PWC to clear out some of the sulfates from the Prime (I do not know whether these break down under light or over time). I would just hesitate to continue dosing 5X.

HTH
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Old 06-29-2007, 09:27 AM   #9
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Hmm, well I may just stop using prime on this tank then. The other declors aren't concentrated so they are easier to measure. I have a dropper, but its not measured and even if it were, its still hard to get that little of a liquid into it. Although the bottle I have actually mentions using 5x to detoxify a nitrite emergency.

I got in this morning and the Ammonia was at 1ppm. Not near as bad as it was showing yesterday. I'm going to keep up the water changes.
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Old 06-29-2007, 10:31 AM   #10
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Make up a 1:5 dilution and use that to add to the water (RO or distilled water is the best bet to prevent the Prime from going bad/less effective over time).

1 capful of Prime to 4 capfuls of water is a 1:5 dilution. You then would use 1ml of this for your PWC (which is 2X recommended dosage).

After you get the ammonia/nitrIte under control you should make up a 1:10 dilution (1 capful of prime to 9 capfuls of water) and dose 1ml at your water change (recommended dosage).

Very simple to do and relatively accurate.
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Old 06-30-2007, 03:24 PM   #11
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Alright, so I've been doing daily water changes to keep the ammonia levels down. I started using a "betta" water treatment but really I think its just a dilute normal water treatment. No offense Seven, but this is an office tank and I really don't want to have lots of different solutions lying around my office. I'll just use the prime at home. This stuff I add half a cap full for 1 gallon, easy to measure.

I put 3 ceramic rings and 2 stars from my XP2 in the tank, the stars are kinda floating but I stuffed the rings into the whisper filter. The water is clearing up but the ammonia is still spiking quite a bit. I'm hoping the filter media will help that pretty quick. I think part of the problem is that the whisper in-tank filters have no non-replaceable media, so evertime I change the cartridge I am relying on the bacteria on the tank inhabitance to pick up the slack. Maybe the rings will help that.
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Old 06-30-2007, 05:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alshain
Alright, so I've been doing daily water changes to keep the ammonia levels down. I started using a "betta" water treatment but really I think its just a dilute normal water treatment. No offense Seven, but this is an office tank and I really don't want to have lots of different solutions lying around my office. I'll just use the prime at home. This stuff I add half a cap full for 1 gallon, easy to measure.

I put 3 ceramic rings and 2 stars from my XP2 in the tank, the stars are kinda floating but I stuffed the rings into the whisper filter. The water is clearing up but the ammonia is still spiking quite a bit. I'm hoping the filter media will help that pretty quick. I think part of the problem is that the whisper in-tank filters have no non-replaceable media, so evertime I change the cartridge I am relying on the bacteria on the tank inhabitance to pick up the slack. Maybe the rings will help that.
No need to replace the whisper filter inserts. Just clean them in used tank water and they are good as new. I had a Whisper mini on my 10 gallon QT/snail tank and used it for over a year with monthly cleanings. You'll just have mini-cycles every time you replace them since your tank is so small.
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Old 07-02-2007, 02:23 PM   #13
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Ok, I came in this morning and ammonia is at 0 and so is nitrites. PH is 6.6 and I left my nitrate color card at home by mistake but It can't be that high after all these water changes. The water is sill slightly cloudy, though not near as much as before. Will this go away now that the water parameters are back to normal?
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:49 PM   #14
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Alright, so I finally found out that the cloudy water in the tanks is actually a microorganism that is secreted by the snail. (thanks to applesnail.net) It said it is usually common in tanks with many snails. Unfortunately, the black snail died after I got the water under control. The gold snail is happy as can be though.

Petsmart gives 14 days to bring back their aquatic life. I may take him back and get another for my brothers 12 gallon tank to go with his gold one, but I think I'm going to leave the one snail and betta alone in this tank.
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