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Old 10-03-2021, 06:41 AM   #1
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Major disaster! Help needed!!

Hi
New to the forum, new (ish) to fish!

My son has had his 45L tank for about 6 weeks now and it has been great! Fish healthy, guppies breeding like wildfire all was going well.....until last night.

We had a party and my 2 year old nephew (also a fish tank in his house) slipped off upstairs and emptied a whole tub of flaked food into the tank. Truly, it looked like a snow globe!! I immediately got the tank hoover out and we sucked up all the surface food then cleaned down into the gravel but doing all that was emptying a considerable amount of water. I decided to then change 20 litres to new water but poured the other 25litres back into the tank filtering via 2 nets. This morning the tank was really cloudy still and it absolutely stinks. The fish were all floating on the top barely alive so I panicked and immediately did another 50% water change and have turned their bubbler right up. They are all a lot happier now swimming round the tank and breathing normally but the water is still cloudy and it still smells!
I pretty much think I need to take everything out including the gravel and start again having given it a good wash but when setting this tank up we cycled it for a month before putting fish in! How can I do a major overhaul, change all the water and keep the fish alive? I have a couple of quarantine tanks they would be OK in for a day or 2 but I am worried about stressing them to death! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:02 AM   #2
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Yeah. I would get the fish into the quarantine tanks ASAP.

Empty the tank, rinse the substrate in dechlorinated water. Rinse the filter media in dechlorinated water also. Set everything back up, get things running again. If you use dechlorinated water to rinse everything you will minimise the effect on your cycle. The bacteria responsible for your cycle lives on surfaces, like substrate, your glass any decorations, most importantly filter media. Chlorinated water will kill off this bacteria, dechlorinated water won't.

With a good rinse and basically a 100% water change you should be good to return the fish.

Don't be afraid of doing water changes. Its the right thing to do. If you arent able to monitor your water parameters i would change 50% of the water daily until you are sure things have settled down.
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Old 10-03-2021, 08:51 AM   #3
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Brilliant thank you, I did do a quick dip stick test this morning after the water change and that was all looking good but I need to do a proper test with the lab kit.

I am definitely going to move them out and get the gravel cleaned out properly so thanks for the affirmation that this is the best course of action! I have been checking the fish all morning and they seem pretty spritely now so hopefully minimal harm done!
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Old 10-03-2021, 09:04 AM   #4
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If in doubt, change some water. Always a good starting point.

Those 5 in 1 / 6 in 1 test strips dont normally include an ammonia test. Thats usually the first sign of waste in your tank. Testing after all the water changes wont tell you much though, except that the water is ok after the water change. Testing after 12/24 hours will tell you more about whether your cycle is still good.

But, you did all the right things. You probably wont have an issue. Rinsing substrate will lose you some beneficial bacteria and you may see some spikes in ammonia and/or nitrite in your test, so keep up with daily water changes for a few days after your emergency maintenance, and keep an eye on things for a short while to ensure everything is stable.

Dont allow your substrate or filter media to dry out. Keep them in a bucket of dechlorinated water if you cant get everything out, rinsed, and all reset up in one go. Beneficial bacteria will start to die off after a couple of hours of being dry. A few days if kept wet. A few weeks if kept wet and oxygenated with no ammonia for food.

I assume your QT isnt cycled. So if the fish are in there for longer than a day, change some water daily there too.

Keep us informed on how things go.
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Old 10-17-2021, 03:32 PM   #5
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Hi

Update as requested! Fish all alive and well, not a single casualty thankfully! Everything got taken out and cleaned so am now doing a fish in cycle but with a couple of water changes a week and some good add-ins from my local fish shop to help things get going a bit quicker, fingers crossed things will stay OK! The fish are all getting a full once over still every day to make sure no illnesses are creeping in but the Guppies are still reproducing so I figure it can't be that bad 😂

Thanks for your help and advice!
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Old 10-17-2021, 03:46 PM   #6
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Sounds like you are on top of everything. Great news that everything went well with no casualties.
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