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Old 06-08-2008, 08:03 AM   #1
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Unhappy Total Meltdown in 75 gal tank

Hi,

It's been several years since I've been on the forums. My tanks were going along fine, until this past Wednesday, when my fish started dying one by one in my 75 gallon. As of last night, 14 fish have died and the tank is now empty. I'm stunned and extremely sad and upset about this. It was a disease, either a true fungus or Columnaris, and I have no idea how or when it started. I was doing regular water changes, etc. The death of 14 fish in 4 days has left me completely exhausted and drained.

I guess I just need some moral support. I don't know if I'm going to start over or sell the tank. I'm going to take some time to get past this and think about it before I make any decisions.

I do have a question, though. I know I need to take everything out of the tank and disinfect everything thoroughly. Before I do that, I was wondering if I could run bleach or vinegar, or something else, through the filters while the tank is still full of water, and get a head start. I have a gravel substrate and some decorations. If that's a good idea, how much bleach or vinegar should I add to 75 gallons?

Thanks for any advice, all would be welcome.

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Old 06-08-2008, 08:44 AM   #2
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I am not good with fish diseases at all - I just wanted to offer my deepest sympathy and condolences to your loss - Hang tight and I am sure somebody can offer possible solutions to your tank
While you're waiting - take a deep breath and try to come to an understanding of what happened - I would hate to see you give up fish keeping - I don't have to tell you because you already know - deep inside you - how much joy they can bring you - Take some time to mourn then regroup - we will be here for you when you want to make the attempt again
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Old 06-08-2008, 09:49 AM   #3
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Thank you, warped1, I appreciate that very much.
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:03 AM   #4
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Wow - that stinks.

Could be a disease of some kind - or it may surprise you and wind up being water conditions anyway.

Did you ever test your water parameters during all this? Specifically - check nitrates, nitrites & ammonia. Just because you do regular water changes doesn't mean something hasn't gone haywire with your water chemistry. Believe me - it's happened to me too. Try losing a handful of $80 to $100 Discus. Yuk.

If you find that something is wrong with the water, you can use Prime or AmQuel to *temporarily* neutralize (not remove) the nitrate, nitrite, or ammonia while you do a huge water change.

Hope this helps for next time. (Betting you stay in the hobby )

Oh - what fish are you keeping and how often are your water changes?

And since I'm no super authority on disease either - what made you think it was a disease? Other than dead fish that is. Did the have marks on them, or all have similar symptoms or anything?

As far as bleach goes - I know a lot of people do that. I never have, so am probably not qualified to give too much advice there.

I'm really sorry that happened to you. Been there & it it really truly sucks.

Best of luck gettig re-set up.
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:25 AM   #5
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I'm so sorry for your losses.. I certainly understand

Don't give up yet! I know its really frustrating. I started out with 2 clowns no qt tank and ended up with 1 dead fish and one with ich on the first day of starting up my SW tank! that was enough to make me want to sell off everything even though I'd just started! But, after getting some help and support from these wonderful people on the forum, things are turning out to be ok. My little clown is in a QT tank being treated, but my main tank has to be fishless for 6-8 weeks still. At least i have some snails and shrimp in there now. Rule of thumb.. things do get tough, and being that we're dealing with sensitive animals with things we can't sometimes see, things do happen even with the best of efforts, but it doesnt mean it can't get better. Take a deep breath, relax, and have fun!
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:28 AM   #6
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Hi Vinny,

Well, the reason I think it was a disease is that all the fish developed white stringy material on their bodies, their fins started to fray, and their eyes clouded over. And the quick rate of death, one right after another.

I hadn't done any water tests in a while, I'm ashamed to admit. We moved into a new house in the middle of March, and I had a LFS move my fish & tanks (I also have a 10 gallon). They added back about half the original water and added half RO water after the move. They noticed a white spot at the base of a pectoral fin on one of the rainbowfish and added some fungal medication. The spot went away and everybody looked great until Wednesday, when all heck broke loose.

I had 3 pictus catfish, 3 clown loaches, 3 rainbowfish, 3 bala sharks, and 2 rubber lipped plecos. I did water changes in the 75 gal every two weeks, and added Amquel Plus every time. After the first fish died on Wednesday (a pictus cat), I thought it might be poor water quality, so I did a 50% change, cleaned out both filters and added carbon, threw away all the plastic plants but kept the decorations. After it became obvious it was a disease, I removed the carbon media and tried Maracyn. No luck, obviously.

But thanks for the encouraging words.
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:30 AM   #7
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And thank you, too, catmel. Yes, the people on this forum are great. I shouldn't have stayed away so long.
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And God said, "Let the waters swarm with fish and other life..." So God created great sea creatures and every sort of fish... And God saw that it was good. Then God blessed them, saying, "Let the fish multiply and fill the oceans..." Genesis 1:20-22
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Old 06-08-2008, 01:17 PM   #8
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So sorry to hear about your loss. Hang in there, I am betting you will start it all up again soon.

From what you said, it is likely a disease (and prob columlaris from the speed it killed). However, fish usu. get disease from stress of some kind, so there might also be some water parameter issues to start all of this off.

It would be prudent to sterilize the tank before restarting. Bleach is an option. I would use a dilution of 1:10 of household bleach (5%) & wash/soak everything well. It is possible to just add bleach to the tank & let your filters circulate the water to disinfect everything (but that would use quite a bit of bleach in a 75 .... like 7 gallons!). Also, the filters won't circulate water well into the substrate, so you either have to throw the substrate out or wash/rinse that seperately.

After bleaching, you would need to rinse very well. I usu. take everthing out onto the lawn & hose everything down with LOTS of water. Finally, I ensure that all trace of bleach is gone by soaking in water with a heavy dose of dechlor (I use 5x the dose), rinse again, & then let the item air out for a few days after. <OK, this is probably overkill, most people say it is OK to use right after soaking with dechlor.> BTW - you can't rinse out bleach completely from filter media, so I'd chuck those.

Alternative to bleach would include salt (100% saturated - ie brine), boiling water, or simply letting everything dry out for a long period to kill all water borne diseases. Some people use these other methods because they don't like the idea of beach in their tanks. However, I've had no problem using bleach ... although I am paranoid with the rinsing & airing.
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Old 06-08-2008, 02:31 PM   #9
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Thanks for the advice, jsoong. Yeah, I figured I'd probably need gallons of bleach to add to the tank, so that's not really a good option. I just dread having to clean such a big, heavy tank. What a chore that's going to be! Oh well, it's got to be done.

Thanks again.
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And God said, "Let the waters swarm with fish and other life..." So God created great sea creatures and every sort of fish... And God saw that it was good. Then God blessed them, saying, "Let the fish multiply and fill the oceans..." Genesis 1:20-22
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Old 06-08-2008, 08:40 PM   #10
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wow really sorry to hearabout your loss! if it was me, I wouldn't put bleach or anything like that in your tank, it may some how get left over even after you disenfect everything. I've heard of it absorbing into the silicone seals when people clean a used tank they bought. I would play it safe and disenfect everything outside of the tank. once agian very sorry to hear about your tank and fish.
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:11 PM   #11
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i would NOT put bleach in your tank or use it to clean any of the equipment you'll be reusing [ie filters, gravel, plants etc.]. you can use bleach on things like the gravel and decor and filter [no media] if you afterwards neutralize the bleach with dechlorinated water [ie water with stress coat or other chemical]. to clean the tank i would use vinegar.

i'm am really sorry to hear about your loss! it always suck to have to watch your fish die and you feel helpless cause you dont know what to do for them. i work at a pet store and i have to go through that way too much. [i get easily attached haha]
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Old 06-10-2008, 05:22 AM   #12
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I really appreciate everyone's advice. I would rather use the vinegar method to clean everything, especially the tank. Should I use it undiluted? Should it be heated or room temp? The reason I ask that is I've read where heated vinegar is good at cleaning soap scum and mineral deposits, so I was wondering if it's more effective heated.

Thanks, all.
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And God said, "Let the waters swarm with fish and other life..." So God created great sea creatures and every sort of fish... And God saw that it was good. Then God blessed them, saying, "Let the fish multiply and fill the oceans..." Genesis 1:20-22
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Old 06-18-2008, 07:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cginflorida View Post
Hi,

It's been several years since I've been on the forums. My tanks were going along fine, until this past Wednesday, when my fish started dying one by one in my 75 gallon. As of last night, 14 fish have died and the tank is now empty. I'm stunned and extremely sad and upset about this. It was a disease, either a true fungus or Columnaris, and I have no idea how or when it started. I was doing regular water changes, etc. The death of 14 fish in 4 days has left me completely exhausted and drained.

I guess I just need some moral support. I don't know if I'm going to start over or sell the tank. I'm going to take some time to get past this and think about it before I make any decisions.

I do have a question, though. I know I need to take everything out of the tank and disinfect everything thoroughly. Before I do that, I was wondering if I could run bleach or vinegar, or something else, through the filters while the tank is still full of water, and get a head start. I have a gravel substrate and some decorations. If that's a good idea, how much bleach or vinegar should I add to 75 gallons?

Thanks for any advice, all would be welcome.
Can I just ask, to have so many fish die that fast. Did you check for a PH crash?
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Old 06-18-2008, 07:33 PM   #14
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I just wanted to post and say I'm so sorry for what happened to you. Something similar happened to me earlier this year, and now looking back (one poster mentioned a pH crash) I think that might have had something to do with my issue, in combination with a filter meltdown that heated up the tank to much hotter than is good for fish to be in. I have a 55 gallon tank, and some of the fish in there I'd had for 3 years. It sucks. Especially because it's impossible to replace fully grown fish like that. I didn't lose all my fish, only about half, but it was enough to make me HATE the tank for a while. I thought it would never look good again. That's the thing with aquariums, when you have them for a while, when your chemistry is good, when you've had the fish a while, you take pride in it. But, the good news is that now 3 months later my tank and my ego have fully recovered, and I love the hobby once again Hopefully you figure out what the problem is so it doesn't happen again, and I am truly sorry for what happened to your aquarium. Big disasters like that are awful.
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