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Hypothetically Speaking...


whitner

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I'd have to say that it could be both and that it would just depend, but I would have to say that it would more likely be more quickly than really slowly.

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I was curious.

Oh Ok... :D

I think a tank usually has a drop in pH before it crashes(2 point drop/100X more acidic).

So it does give warnings. But when it does, it is quite sudden. A crash by definition is a 2 point drop in the pH in a very short time. The water becomes 100X more acidic and it can kill most fishes.

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Even though pH abberations are a VERY common cause for "Cycle Crash", there are many other reasons why a tank's cycle would not be working properly.

When you say "crash", it implies a quick catastrophic ceasing of function. That WOULD be, most commonly be a pH problem. Far more insidious - and more common to the average fish keeper is not the "crash", but the slow misfuntion of the cycle - until the time when it is no longer working well enough and the fish can no longer cope and adjust. That when you see sickness, opportunisitic parasites taking over, and swim bladder problems.

Sometimes filter cartridges/sponges/floss fills up with waste and is not properly cleaned. A cycle may or many not be able to work it's way all through the waste contained there. The filter slows in gph and the cycle is also compromised. A cannister filter is a common hidden source for cycle problems.

Sometimes, the gravel base of a tank holds sooooooo much waste that the cycle will start to struggle..... leading to a malfunction.

Sometimes medications or water treatments will cause a "hiccup" in the cycle. Some cycles can be adversely affected by the addition of salt. Some, on the other hand, being created in the presense of salt, can be equally adversely affected by the removal of salt.

In most cases, the cycle will bounce back quickly when the problem is resolved. The cycle is made up of living bacteria - and they multiply and grow and live given the slightest chance.

Because there are so many reasons why a cycle might cease to function properly, it is a good idea to test the whole chemistry of your tank on a regular basis. I generally try to test the nitrate values of a tank often. But every few weeks or so, I will also run ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, kH, gH and sometimes salt levels and other inclusions. Any time a tank does not respond as expected, it is time to test it. Any time a tank smells differently or I change feeding regiments or a fish comes or goes or whatever, the chemistry tests need to be preformed.

I have discovered tanks that have "slipped"..... having small amounts of ammonia or nitrite in the water. They need extra attention. I would never have guessed that they had a problem, though, without the occasional test.

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Another question. Is there any way to recover from a crash? Is there any way to stop it while it's happening? Or is there no helping it?

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Oh - absolutely! Even a "CRASH" where the pH is totally out of whack and the cycle has gone all to pieces can be recovered and reset within a matter of days to a week or so, depending on the reason for the crash.

Most "crashes" involve the beneficial bacteria that make up the biological filter not doing their job - or not doing their job WELL ENOUGH to keep the water parameters in line. It may mean the many of the BB have died off, or it may mean that, because of adverse conditions, they have all slowed in doing the job. It may be something as simple as a dirty filter - when the BB do not have access to enough water fast enough (slowed filter - less gph) they cannot do the job you want them to. It may be as simple as cleaning your filter and the cycle will bounce back.

In the case of a pH that is totally out of whack and it has gone, for example, so acidic that the fish are shedding slime coats and turning white and dying - enough BB will STILL be living - or surviving - in the filter such that if you remedy matters and give it a bit of time, they will grow and thrive and return to function very quickly. It is actually fairly hard to KILL the BB all the way.

Build a strong platform in your filter. Do not rely on gravel or deco, do not rely on just a biowheel or just a single "changeout" cartridge. Establish a healthy population of BB on a strong reliable platform and when a catastrophe occurs, you should be able to recover in relatively short order.

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I have one of those single "changeout" cartridges. I bought the Whisper before I knew anything about proper filters for gf. It does well enough - for now. If I rinse the cartridge every so often in tank water instead of replacing it, will that be okay? I've heard of people doing that so to keep good bacteria. And I've never changed out the foam piece of the filter. And every now and then I pull apart the filter and clean it (in tank water, of course ;) )

What do you consider a strong platform for BB?

I've never experienced any kind of crash, but I want to be prepared just in case, so I really appreciate everyone's advice. Especially you, Daryl. Thanks! :)

Edited by whitner
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Build a strong platform in your filter. Do not rely on gravel or deco, do not rely on just a biowheel or just a single "changeout" cartridge. Establish a healthy population of BB on a strong reliable platform and when a catastrophe occurs, you should be able to recover in relatively short order.

I am currently going through a bump in the cycle...lot of good thoughts here...and I am trying to figure out what exactly caused it...Carol's suggestion of sponge collecting extra gunk due to which the BB not able to keep up with all the ammonia and nitrites forming, sounded awesome to me...I think that was the problem with my filter...Recently I tried a fiber material cut into the shape of my filter...but I always found it difficult to keep it clean..So I guess it was due for a change in matter of just 2 weeks :( ...I have the normal carbon filter pad in it now, got rid of the fiber pad, cos it was really dirty and impossible to get cleaner...I have the Marineland 200 filter and a 20 gallon tank with 2 1 1/2 inches fish...The cycle sure is catching up...but I have been doing huge water changes every 16-24 hrs...My tank is bare bottom with just a small bag of gems...and no decor..just a biowheel and the filter pad to hold the cycle...Oh and I tested the water my pH was absolutely stable at 7.6...Ammonia read 0.25, Nitrites 0.25 and Nitrates really 0-5...these are the readings I have been getting every 24 hours for the past 3-4 days.. :(

Of course I would like to avoid this in future...Like Carol says establish BBs on a strong reliable platform...What could be a good platform...how can I ensure I dont face this problem in future...not in terms of filter pad...but a strong platform..Would adding another filter help??..or any media I can invest in that can help me keep the cycle intact..??? Any suggestions for future...??

Thank you very much all for the help.. :)

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