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Old 03-19-2008, 11:14 PM   #1
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Filter disaster - sulfur smell?

I got a phone call from my dad at around noon today. I had been at work and school all morning, and the night before stayed at a friends house, so I hadn't been home since the night before. I had noticed the water was a little warm when I left, so I turned the heaters down, thinking I had bumped the dial somehow. At noon, the water was so cloudy he couldn't see into the tank, and he said the water felt hot (he didn't look at the temperature). He spent the next 3 hours (I wouldn't be done with work/school untill 9 this evening) taking the surviving fish and putting them in buckets and doing a 75% water change. He couldn't catch a few of the fish, so they stayed in the big tank.

My aquarium is 55 gallons by the way, and is planted.

Anyway, he said when he turned the filter back on the water got hot again. So it wasn't a heater malfunction as I thought. I did another 75% water change because the water was still cloudy when I got home tonight. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrates are all 0 though, before the 75% water change.

3 of my yoyo loaches (of 6) hung on. But all 3 were floating when I got home. They're panting, upside down, when you touch them they swim quickly but end up back near the surface panting again. I had 5 congo tetras, all died except for the 1 female. She's swimming fine and seems energetic, but she can't stay down. I had a few gold barbs, only one lived.

Anyway, when I did the 75% water change this evening, I noticed the water had a faint sulfur smell. Could anything with the filter cause this? And why would the water be so cloudy with no nitrates, nitrites or ammonia? The filter is a Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Filter.

I don't know what to do. Obviously the filter isn't running, and won't be for a few days untill I can get a new one. I have to find the money somewhere. I just bought the canister a few months ago, and that was a huge purchase for me. I'm in shock. I've never had an issue like this in 4 years of keeping fish. All of my favorite fish died. The only fish that are left are the hardiest fish who I've had forever. I have a weather loach who lived, and a new albino longfin bushynose pleco who lived and seem to be doing extremely well, so that's good news. I guess I don't have anything else to say about it. Any advice or ideas would be appreciated.
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Old 03-20-2008, 12:55 AM   #2
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I had a similar experience recently and although I couldn't pinpoint the cause, I added an airstone to the tank as well as water change. I believe there was gas pockets that got released.

How old is your tank? It is cycled?
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Old 03-20-2008, 03:16 AM   #3
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The tank is over a year old, and has been set up where it is now since May of last year, so it's been almost a year. I had actually just done a water change the day before. So the smell could have been from that, but the temperature change was definitely the stupid filter. It's very strange. Weird combination of events. I do gravel vac on a regular basis though.
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Old 03-20-2008, 07:51 AM   #4
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Sorry to hear about your troubles. Cloudy water usually means either an algae bloom or bacteria bloom (if a whitish colour). I have no idea what the cause might be. Best of luck finding it.
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Old 03-20-2008, 07:32 PM   #5
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It's cloudy white. Slightly better today, but still cloudy. Even without the filter running ammonia, nitrates, nitrites are all still zero (probably because it's a basically empty 55 gallon tank with plants). I bought a powerhead today to move the water untill I figure out the filter situation. The water doesn't smell at all anymore, but like I said, still cloudy. So I'm not sure what the deal is there. And all of my yoyo loaches were dead this morning. None of them made it through the night.
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Old 03-20-2008, 11:07 PM   #6
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Sorry about your losses.
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Old 03-20-2008, 11:35 PM   #7
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Yeah. Me too. I looked into the tank after a major clean up today. I think the filter may just have been clogged. It's my first time with a canister. I don't think I cleaned it well enough the past few times I've cleaned it. I've done it about once every month. The filter smelled awful when I cleaned it. I don't know if maybe some dead plants got in there and decayed in the filter, if that would have caused it.. but the filter is back up and running. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the overheating was due to my negligence and not the filter being broke. I'm sad about the fish, but, I looked into the tank and thought to myself.... "it's a blank canvas"... there's a lot of different things I could do with a 55 gallon aquarium. I definitely want to get Congo Tetras again though, those fish are beautiful as they get bigger.
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