Jump to content

Big move, big death

Recommended Posts

  • Regular Member


So I haven't been here in quite some time. Life has been crazy. Sadly, tragically my goldfish have died between last night and this morning. 

I'm not a rookie, I've done plenty of big fish moves. I was practically suicidal last night... 

So here is the story. Back in October i had to move and become homeless. It was only supposed to be for a couple weeks. Ended up being a couple months. When i moved i made plans for my fish between two people. One being my old downstairs neighbor. 

That neighbor or her husband tried stealing some things from me that she promised to look after, police were involved and for all intense and purpose she stole my fish, i had to let it go. 

Well i got a message on Tuesday of her in a panic saying she is moving, i got to come get these fish. She explained that she got a much bigger set up and more fish and i needed to come now. Told me to call never answered me back till the next day and said she was all done moving and i could just go through the open front door. 75 gallon tank, two goldfish, 12 other fish most tropical. Her apartment was raised, mine was on the second floor, it was a lot of work. Plus i had just finished emptying my storage unit the day before. 

I very slowly over the course of 6+ hours acclimated them to new water. I used plenty of prime. It was the same city water but her water was horrible. She couldn't have had that tank much longer then 8 months but it was a tea color, and smelled really really bad. She had a nice cannister filter too. The power was off, no idea how long it had been off, but there was non spoiled stuff in the fridge even though it was not cold. 

I emptied out all but the smallest amount substrate, which was mostly sand, didn't put it back in, wasn't sure if i was going to. There were ornaments i didn't put any back in, i did however put driftwood back. I rinsed everything down with city water only. I figure it doesn't need to be too clean, they are used to bad conditions. Too clean might be a shock. The tank was infested with snails. It was obvious there were many carcasses. This might have been the reason for the smell. They were all inside the filter too it's a marineland canister filter. I cleaned it out yesterday. I couldn't get it to work though and need help figuring it out. There were a ton of plants which was cool. 

So late Wednesday till Friday they went without a filter, however it's a 75g tank and it had been aerated to an extreme on set up. I figured it was the equivalent to a power outage and have lived through those with fish. 

Well, then i noticed yesterday my fish went belly up... I thought ok, maybe my daughters fed them too much. I've never used flake food and was all out of pellets i normally use. I figured I'll stop feeding, wait for him to upright himself i went to work last night came back and he was dead. His buddy i found dead this morning plus another tropical. 

I Havent tested the water but i noticed its milky which means the ammonia is on the rise. I have been making sure to put extra prime in to keep them protected while i figured out the stupid canister. 

I need to go back to work. I forced myself to stay home and write this but i really need to go. Any suggestions i get to this i may have to do tomorrow. Or the next day. 

Thanx for any insight. 

I plan on giving away the tropicals and getting new goldfish i guess. 

The canister i cant seem to get it to close properly. I think i got it to work once and it flooded out as it wasn't secure, then i got it to pump out but not in. I can only get the two clasps secured and not the other two. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Helper

Am I understanding you’re trying to preserve the cycle in that filter media?  

If so, use the dirty tank water in a bucket to absolutely wring, knock, shake, and scrub the living daylights out of any pads, bioballs, or ceramic rings.  If it wasn’t pumping for a few days you’ve had a huge die off of bacteria and those gasses and anaerobic bacterial colonies beginning to take hold are worsening the situation.  So you want to get as much debris and organics  off that media as humanly possible, without killing off your beneficial nitrifiers. So no city water or rinsing in the sink, because of the presence of chlorine.  Old, treated tank water from your water change is best for this task.

  Next, ditch as much substrate as you can.  A half cup of sand on the bottom is plenty to allow goldfish foraging and interest without allowing any icky, still pockets of anaerobes to form.  Our goal remains the same as the filter cleaning - remove as much organic matter as possible without totally nuking the tank.

It’s definitely possible her water became soft and very acidic with all those broken down mess and high waste load.  Unfortunately moving to new water meant the pH may have also increased and ammonia becomes much more toxic in alkaline water than more acidic.  So that could have exacerbated the issue (but it wasn’t the wrong choice to change it, just try to offgas it a bit and treat it with Prime first if you didn’t).

Even retaining some nitrifiers in the filter and on the tank surfaces, you’ll definitely have a mini cycle on your hands, at least partially.  Prepare yourself for daily water changes of 90-ish percent, or whenever your test kit shows .25 ppms ammonia or ANY nitrite.  Additionally, when nitrite develops you can add a teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon to mitigate some of the more toxic effects on the fish until the cycle finishes and the ammonia and nitrite are clearing to nitrate completely.

It’s basically a fish in cycle, albeit a bit faster if you’re not starting totally from zero with your bacterial colonies. You can totally do this! :)

It sounds like your situation has been very difficult. I’m so sorry for the awful year!  We are here for you however we can be, even if it’s just venting on the chat thread, and I hope these fish bring some joy back into your life as you rectify the poor care your neighbor gave them.

And please, if you’re struggling with thoughts of despair or self harm, call a suicide hot line and let them help.  It’s amazing how much of a difference it can make just to be heard and understood and have someone care enough to talk you through your emotions.

welcome back to the group ❤️

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Helper

Oh and if the canister is being a butt, seriously just ditch it and toss the media in a HOB filter or start over entirely with a sponge filter and air pump.  Those are so cheap and work just beautifully for goldfish!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...