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Tank Disaster :(

Posted By: Ed Averill <eaverill@rabidgames.com>
Date: Thursday, 12 October 2000, at 12:43 p.m.

Last night all was fine in my 50gal. clown tank - pH 7.0, ammonia 0, nitrites 0. This morning I get up and discover six dead clowns (including my boss loach), three dying, and one fine (little loach): ammonia .1, nitrite off the scale, pH 7.0, nitrate 5. I've managed to get the three still-alive ones out (one of which is actually up and moving under his own power as of 10 minutes ago), as well as Attitude Fish and the five morletis...

Once I stopped crying (I'm very attached to my little friends) I've been trying to discover what happened. The fact that the morletis, little loach (he's about 2in. long) and Attitude Fish the angelfish are fine is strange, as is the fact that water conditions deteriorated so quickly. I pulled my filters and discovered that my Fluval was partially clogged, although not stopped - the HOT Magnum was running full throttle, though. I had removed all driftwood, slate, etc. from the tank when I got everyone else out (I keep all my tanks at the same pH and general condition so I can pull this kind of thing if I need to) and stirred the gravel - while mostly nothing happened, under the places where I hadn't moved the driftwood in some time I saw small bubbles rise to the surface.

I'm wondering if I managed to get some anaerobic buildup in a gravel pocket under a place I didn't vaccuum? I don't move everything in the tank every time I vaccuum, and in places the gravel pushes 2in. deep - I'm wondering if it didn't get packed down and somehow release toxins into the water down where the largest loaches tend to congegrate. I've heard/read about how this can happen, and it would explain why many of the fish appeared to have no ill effects (the morletis and little loach tended to hang out together away from Loach Central, as did Tude). I didn't keep plants in the tank as I figured the clowns would eat them and tear them up, I wonder if I should have gone ahead and put up with that as the plant roots would have helped keep the gravel from completely packing down...

Regardless, if anything is to be learned from this it's that I should go ahead and disturb the heck out of the fish and move everything, plus take care to be sure the gravel never packs down (I do this in my smaller tanks, the corys and modestas never seem to mind as much as the loaches did).



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