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Bb Overran My Tank, Filters Won't Work Smells Bad


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I went on vacation for a week, came back and my filters were completely clogged with BBs (stringing looking stuff). Smells like stagnant pond water. I am trying to changed the water, I can't unclog one of my filters and I don't know what to do. Please can someone help. I don't know what to do.

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Managed to get the filters unclogged and cleaned. the fish are eating all the floaties (bbs) Should I refrain from feeding them for a few days. I have never seen anything like this in my life....I walked in and the fish could barely swim the water was so thick with this stuff. My brother came by yesterday and said it was cloudy but it must have mulitipied extremely rapidly! What do I do?

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I would say try to do a sizeable waterchange (50% or more) and see if that helps. I've never heard of such stringy stuff before. Could you try to describe it in a little more deatil? Color, length, etc.? Maybe it's alage.... :idont

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What sort of filter do you have? What sort of media? Is it the floss that is clogged or a sponge or.....what?

In general, a filter will do several things. Mechanically, it will filter out all the crud that is in the water - large poos, leftover food, etc. This will stick to the mechanical filter - usually a sponge or a filter cartridge or floss of some nature - and clog it up so that the water does not flow through as efficiantly as it should. The greatly lowered gallons per hour turnover of the tank can cause further problems. If you have your tank being biologically filtered by the nitrogen cycle, it requires that you pass the ammonia laden water (and subsequently the nitrite laden water) past the platform where the beneficial bacteria live so they can "eat" the ammonia/nitrite. If your filter is mechanically clogged with waste, not enough water can be pumped past the beneficial bacteria and they cannot work on removing/processing the waste. The tank can become foul

Some filters are a bit less efficiant that others. Filters that are built such that the mechanical filtration and the biological filtration are both in the same media - such as a sponge or a bunch of floss - can have problems if the floss or sponge is not kept clean. This is accomplished by squeezing or rinsing the floss/sponge out in used fish water - the used fish water prevents the beneficial bacteria from being harmed during the rinse. (You will not rinse the BB away - it stays in the sponge/floss.)

I suspect that your filter got so clogged with waste (commonly called "mulm" - a slimey brown messy stuff that is a collection of fish waste, leftover food and partically processed yuck) that you did not get enough water pumped through the filter during the day - making the water less than clean. The beneficial bacteria did not get access to the waste laden water because of this - and failed to properly process the fish waste. The tank got foul. You do ont give water parameters, but if I had to guess, I would guess that your ammonia and/or nitrites are a bit out of whack - definately not zero. Instead of going crazy - your beneficial bacteria has probably died back just a bit. If you do not "feed" it, the population will die back to a number that is fed.

To address this, you do need to first clean the tank. Do a good water water change. Do not be afraid of doing a BIG one - 75% or more. Make sure the water you put back in is treated, properly heated/chilled, and of the same pH, temp, etc. Clean the filter out. If you have a cartridge, rinse it or bang it hard in a bucket of used fish water until the mulm comes off. IF you have a sponge - squeeze it repeatedly in used fish water until it is clean and porous. IF you have floss, rinse and squeeze it, HARD. Replace the old media back in the filter - for that is your beneficial bacteria population and you want to preserve that.

For the next few days, you may need to take that media out of the filter and rinse/squeeze/bang it clean every day or so. Keep it clean and it will pull the floating waste from the water. If you clean it, you will keep the proper gph going in the tank - and the beneficial bacteria will have a change to do their thing - process the waste.

Depending on what sort of filter you have - and the gph - you may wish to add a suplemental filter to your tank - upping the filteration - the gph. In many of my tanks I find that a simple 10X an hour is not sufficiant. Some tanks need far more - up to 20X on some tanks. A different type of filter adds to your ability to handle waste, too.

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I have an emperor 400 bio wheel with 2 bio plates plus an in tank filter on the other side of my 50 gallon tank. This gunk looked like a creature from the black lagoon landed. Stringy and brownish when removed. My nitrates were a bit high 20 last week before I left, but I did a big water change and had someone coming over 2 a day to check on tank/fish/feedings/ etc.... I didn't check my levels when I got home because it was like pea soup and scared the bejessus out of me! I did a 50% water change and then started over to a 75% water change. I figured getting some clean water in there was more important to the fish. My whole apartment smelled like rotten melon..not good.

I cleaned the filters out and added a small filter to help filter the gunk out (it is a whisper I had in my 20 gal tank before). I vacuumed and vacuumed but the water is still very cloudy.. I had a uv filter in there but it clogged to and in my haste to clean the tank have not checked to see if the bulb is broken. Before I got it I had constant cloudy water!

The fish seem ok...but they ate a lot of that goop. Should I give them some peas or wait a couple days?

It took me 3 hours to get to where it is now, I figure I can do more in the morning if I need to. I have had some wacky readings of late...we were contemplating a cycle bump???? Could that have caused the craziness? Usually I do a 30 % water change mid week and then about a 70% water change once a week....I have some big fish and two too many fish for my tank....I am moving in less than a month and wanted to wait to set up the other tank until we got moved. UGH!

I freak out too easy! But they are my babies. Let me know what you think when you get a chance. Thanks Daryl!

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by the way the intakes of both filters clogged, the entire out take over run and had to change all filters, rinsed media but I am expecting a big crash with multiple water changes for ammonia. what do you expect? this stuff was nasty! stringy white floating star looking globs in the water but pinkish/tannish when removed. I did that huge water change and it still smells, not nearly as bad as when I walked in to pea soup but not good either.

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I am completely dumbfounded! I woke up this morning...guess what? Water looks great! and the fish look hungry (what is new?) Any ideas here? The only truly big difference would be the temperature in the house. I live in Arizona. Normally when I am home I keep the AC around 76. While I was away it was probably around 82...which it does get to while I am at work but I chill it down when I get home???????

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The stuff you are decribing sounds mostly like mulm - a slimy mess of left over fish waste, food and algae. It is possible that in a very warm tank this could have grown out of control. A good water change and a cleaning of the filter cartridges is in order - as you did. I would suggest that you may wish to check your filter cartridges somewhere halfway between water changes. Pound them out. Your media in the clam shells and the biowheels hold your beneificial bacteria - so do not be afraid to really blast those blue cartridges clean - they are only mechanical.

I also suspect that when you have an overabundance of waste, you get some extra growth of algae/mold, etc. The fact that the fish were eating it is probably not a big deal, though, as long as they are healthy and the water has been fixed.

Any chance that your tank was "accidentally" over fed?

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Being that I had my brother babysitting the fish while I was gone....could be the fish were overfed?????? I left some serious instructions but one never knows????????

How much should they be fed. If I go by the "enough for them to consume in 3 minutes" I think they could eat the likes of the Loch Ness Monster! Thank you by the way!

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Hi newbiefishgirl -- Are you seeing the replies to your questions from Daryl? She is the guru that you are looking for and it looks like she's given some pretty specific answers to your questions.

Generally it is best when you are out of town and someone else is feeding your fish that you either fast your fish or leave several baggies with a day's worth of food in each. Instructing someone to feed as much as the fish will eat in three minutes will almost certainly lead to overfeeding by a non fish person.

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In my personal opinion, less is usually best. When ever I leave my fish, I pre-measure all the food into plastic pill minders. They are those things that have a different little compartment for each day marked with the day on the compartment. I load up eah compartment and the HIDE the rest of the food. That way, no matter how hard the fish beg, they cannot be overfed and foul the water.

I rarely even feed them every day. The big fish get fed once during the week when I am gone. Smaller guys get food every few days - little guys get a reduced amount every other day or every day depending on age - or what I am doing with them.

I think I would have to guess that your brother was a bit too generous with the food.

:)

I am glad all is good again.

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Thanks, for all your help. Just FYI I did not tell my brother to feed them the "3 minute" rule....I actually gave him pretty specific instructions, and he had goldfish for a very long time. He had never seen the "strings" before either. I wish I would have taken a picture now...oh well. Hopefully I will never see it again.

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If the fish had eggs could that have been the issue. I did have a serious warm up here and my two shubies are (mating) attacking my orandas and I have no idea of the sex of these crazy fish. How do i stop the chasing and tag team on my fish :stars:stars

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Separate out the girls from the boys. Just a divider will not work, though, for when the boys "smell" the girls, they will chase anything with a tail! :rolleyes:

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I know I AM a pain, sorry. Is there a picture somewhere of the backsides of boys and girls? While, I think that Artemis & Einstein are girls, I am not sure about the rest. OR I guess I could just move the chasers and leave the rest for the time being. Do you think a tank seperator would work? Thanks. Gee you must spend a lot of your free time answering crazy questions like mine. You are seriously appreciated, trust me!!

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No, you're not a pain at all! That's what this message board is about, asking questions and getting answers!

I would try a tank divider first, and see if that works.

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