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White Algae Stuuf in tank - total loss of life!

Discussion in 'Freshwater Newbie Forum' started by Mr Spock, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. Mr Spock

    Mr Spock AC Members

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    Hi, not been here in a while. Since my last visit I have a new tank 125L Juwel Lido and all associated equipment.
    I have also changed from Goldfish to freshwater tropical fish. This was about 18 months ago.

    The tank consisted of:

    Harlequin Raspboras
    Cardinal Tetras
    Colombian Tetras
    Rummynose Tetras
    5 Band Barbs
    Panda Corydoras.
    And a bristlenose pleco.

    It was a well planted aquarium and featured various caves and a piece of driftwood for the pleco.

    I have an automatic feeder, to which I attached an airline.
    We went away for a week, having set up the feeder.
    On our return the tank was absolutely riddled with a whitish grey Mold or algae and every single fish in it was dead. The aquarium stunk like there was a corpse in it.

    We totally emptied it and threw everything away. All that I have kept is the filter housing, the tank, the air generator thingy.

    What do you think could have caused this nightmare?
    Will I ever be able to use this tank again?
    How can I proceed?

    I would like to stress that before going away I had carried out various water tests, and all were good results.
    I would also like to stress, that in the 18 months that we have been keeping tropical fish, we have had a pretty healthy tank, sure the odd casualty, but generally, very good. I'd say 90% of the stock was original.
     
  2. smitty

    smitty AC Members

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    What was the level of food in the automatic feeder. They have been known to malfunction. If you were only leaving for a week, then you really would not have needed the feeder.
     
    fishorama and J@ckson like this.
  3. fishorama

    fishorama AC Members

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    I agree, likely an auto feeder malfunction, not unusual with them. I'd suggest vacuuming & a bit of scrubbing to remove the white algae/mold...then start over with cycling your tank for new fish. Make sure you remove all dead fish, funky food, etc. Check everywhere!!

    I'm sorry you've had this happen, it's time to restart from ground 0
     
  4. Mr Spock

    Mr Spock AC Members

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    Thanks Smitty and Fishorama. I'm sure you're right.
    Other things that I wondered about were the possibility that maybe the Pleco died and then polluted the water so that everything else died. Also I have read elsewhere that driftwood that is not properly seasoned can cause this problem.

    When we had goldfish I never fed them when we went away for 2 weeks even, but with the Pleco in the tank I thought maybe I should feed them. The auto feeder has never caused a problem before, but I'd be wary about using one again now.

    We had some JBL plastic balls in the filter designed to tackle algae, and then this happens!
    My wife said that the balls were absolutely riddled with this stuff. I never saw, I was elsewhere, trying not to be ill, she has a much stronger stomach than I do!
     
  5. fishorama

    fishorama AC Members

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    I don't think the plastic balls were the problem...but they don't fix algae issues either.

    Yep, sometimes things can go to vomit inducing icky, but fortunately not often.

    Change lots of water & clean off the yucky stuff as best you can, often.

    Yes, a dead pleco can send everything to heck...but the answer is the same, change lots of water, often! & scrub off any "stuff" you can.

    Test, test, test!!! Before adding any new animals.
     
  6. Mr Spock

    Mr Spock AC Members

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    Hi Fishorama. Algae is a really bad problem with the water in our area. Our lovely new tank was very badly affected by it, so my wife bought the pleco, but he could only do so much!

    When we went to the local shop, I saw a lovely clean tank, and said that I wanted mine to look like that. In the past they have suggested reverse osmosis water, but that costs quite a bit I think, and then you're stuck with it forever as far as I can tell. So they suggested the plastic balls. Most things that sound too good to be true probably are...

    The tank is totally empty now.
    I must get new filter media, and i must scrape everything off the tank, maybe with a razor tool?
    Is there any solution/chemical that I can use to treat the tank? I don't want to risk future fish from the deadly fungus/algae/mold, or from chemicals. I test regularly, and over the 18 month period our water quality has been good.

    Once the tank is sufficiently cleaned I will decide whether to get R/O water or not, and then get new substrate, some new plants, and let it cycle, and do lots of testing.

    I would then get about 10 Cardinals and see how they go before adding anything else. Personally I feel that a pleco would put too much of a load on the tank, and I will not get another, I always felt that it was a mistake.
     
  7. Rbishop

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    What specific numbers on quality..."I test regularly, and over the 18 month period our water quality has been good." ? I'd bleach the tank and complete operating system, drain and refill several times and start again. What is your tap readings? if the tank ran for 18 months without issues, your problem doesn't seem to indicate RO needed at all.
     
  8. FreshyFresh

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    It seems odd that even a malfunctioning auto feeder would cause this type of disaster and decay in such a small period of time - one week. I suppose it's possible if the water parameters were on edge from the get-go.

    Figure it would take a few days for things to even get that stinky.
     
  9. Mr Spock

    Mr Spock AC Members

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    I've not kept actual numbers, but they were all on the good end of the range. I thought RO was to prevent algae?
     
  10. Mr Spock

    Mr Spock AC Members

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    I agree with the first part, it does seem strange. Stranger still because I did the full range of tests in my kit just before we left and all results were excellent. This is why I suspect maybe dead pleco, or something to do with those plastic balls, but that has now been discounted.
     

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