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Possible Bacteria Bloom
Well having professed only two days ago in my inaugural post, my liking for
algae on behalf of my beloved SAE's, I cannot believe that today I am
having to report the death of all seven. I feel Awful that I didn't spot
what was happening and I want to get to the bottom of the problem and
correct it. Hopefully members of the list will be able to help me with a
diagnosis and that way, hopefully prevent others going through similar
Here's the synopsis.
Tank = 100 Gallons, 2 MH's 10 hrs per day, Eheim 2028 (peat & floss only),
Temp = 75 F, C02 = Sochting Carbonator, profile substrate with approx 10
jobes - half a stick under various plants.
Wednesday 7th November pH = 6.9, N02 = 0, N03 = 0, NH3 = 0, Fe = 0, GH =
120 ppm, KH = 30 ppm, P04 = <0.25. Added three new plants (tank well
stocked see previous post): Tropica Glossostigma elantinoides, Cryptocoryne
Wendtii Mi Oya & Liliaeopsis spec Mauritus, each with half a jobes
underneath roots. Also added 15mg TMG. Everything looks fine.
Thursday 8th November - water is starting to become cloudy (pH 6.8). Large
piece of mopani is covered in a white fungus. Took it out to scrub it and
a nasty smell emitted on removal (not like rotten eggs, but nasty just the
same). Scrubbed the wood clean (with tank water, then rinsed with tap
water). Did a 30% water change, added 15ml MarClor de-chlorinator (we
don't have chloramine in Calgary). Added another 15ml TMG.
Friday 8th November - all 7 SAE's dead (four on the floor), 2 guppies & 1
tetra dead. Otto's jumping for surface other fish hanging at surface,
showing signs of hypoxia. Water is now very cloudy. Action - turned out
the lights, added 2 airstones and set the power head to discharge at water
surface, cried a lot & got very angry with myself.
No further fatalities.
Saturday 10th November - pH = 6.5 with new Hagen wide range kit. Low range
measures between 7.0 & 7.2, NH3 = 0, N02 = 0, N03 = 0, GH = 120 ppm, KH =
40 ppm, P04 (Hagen) = 0.25, P04 with new Seachem kit = 1.0, Fe = Trace.
The water is not quite so cloudy. Ran Vortex diatom for eight hours on
the basis that it would clear an algae bloom, but not necessarily a
bacterial bloom (right?). Water almost clear by 11:00pm. Still haven't
turned the lights back on. Lowered powerhead and removed one of the
By this time I am trying to distinguish between an algae bloom (too much
P04?), although the water didn't appear to be really green, and a bacterial
bloom (cloudy water, smell etc.). I've searched the APD & Krib for help.
Can't find much info on bacterial blooms associated with NTS - my tank has
been up for approx 5 weeks. Read large chunks of Diana Walstead's book and
confirm my complete non-understanding of chemistry (in particular as it
applies to Aquariums). Feel dumb.
Sunday 11th November - pH - 7.0, NH3 = 0.2, N02 = 0.3, N03 = just short of
5.0 ppm, P04 = 0.3, Fe = Trace, GH = 120 ppm, KH = 40 ppm. Water remains
almost clear, light remains off, 1 airstone bubbling.
So suddenly I get a rise in amonia, nitrite and nitrate readings. This
leads me to thinking that my tank encountered some kind of bacteria bloom
that killed of the NH3, N02, N03 and sucked out all of the oxygen & killed
So, what I'd like is your opinions on whether or not I am on the right
track and what do I do next.
Thanks for your time
JC in Calgary