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Mother of all bacteria blooms

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Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Dalkanar on Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:03 pm

So the past couple weeks I've been dealing with a bad bacteria bloom, to the point that I had to pull my fish out of the 36g due to oxygen being low. When you wake up to see all your corys and other fish at the surface sucking air because the water has the feel of not-yet-done jello, it is bad. I had to split my fish up between my two other tanks while I completely drained the tank and partially refilled and continued the cleaning a couple times, I stopped short of dumping bleach into the tank. I even had to dump most of my plants due to them being stifled by the milky water and slime. This has unfortunately spread the bacteria bloom to the other two tanks I believe it may have clung to hitchhiked on my poor fish. Even with the major tear-down, the bloom returned. The only reason you can see the contents of the tank in the pics below is because I bought a self contained submersible uv sterilizer that seems to keep the bacteria in the water column in check for the most part. I also had to scrub the glass so you could see how it coats everything in wavy,slimy, strand-like clumps. It is not as bad in my 10g shrimp tank, most likely due to the lack of any real current, but it does have some slime and is cloudy. My 5g tank is a mess with milky water and slime, it burnt out the lil power filter in a day. I have to clean the 36g's aquaclear sponge 2+ time a day to keep from getting clogged and popping the filter's lid, not even gonna mention how many times I've had to clean the impeller chamber.

Anyone have an idea how to stop this madness?

P.S. Found 3 red wag platy babies in the process of catching all the fish out the 36g, momma is pictured below. Babies are living safely in the shrimp tank so they dont get eaten.






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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Doxiemom on Tue Apr 01, 2014 7:56 am

For this tank....I'd use bleach! Really! Most live plants can take a mild dip.  You want to soak everything submersible and wipe out every inch of the tank. spray it in places you can't dunk! (filter parts & all!!) And rinse, rinse, rinse. If you don't have a seeded filter media that doesn't have this...I can give you some! You'll have to start the cycle over.
Bleach solution 1/4 CUP to a gallon of water
Best of Luck!
PS...Are you SURE this is a bacterial issue? Cant tell from the pics. Uneaten food or a hidden dead fish can start fungus/mold growing like crazy!! That would deplete the oxygen levels rapidly,too.
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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Dalkanar on Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:36 pm

Yeah, It started as a white cloud and just took over everything. From what I understand, bacteria are the only things that can reproduce as fast as this stuff does. Any thoughts on what I can use to treat my fish/shrimp/snails so this crap does not hitchhike on them and contaminate newly cleaned tanks? I plan on tackling the deep cleaning this weekend. I am going to borrow a 10g from someone to use as a temp housing for fish and shrimp as I clean the tanks in rotation. I may remove all my live plants and fish and dump a gallon or two of bleach in the 36g with the filter running friday night to get a head start. I figure it would help knockout the sludge in the impeller housing. I'd tackle this sooner, but I have been working late this week.

I am contemplating changing my substrate from river rock gravel to possibly sand or flourite or a combination. I would like to have something to help maintain a ph in the 7's.

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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Amp2020 on Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:13 pm

Something is out of wack and needs to be addressed first before spending a lot of time cleaning and moving fish around. Please answer the following questions and we'll do our best to help out.

Tank parameters, what are the numbers?
Temperature?
Ammonia?
Nitrite?
Nitrate?
pH?

Water source. Well, municipal or other?

What foods are being fed, how much, and how often?
(Flake, pellet, cubes, frozen, freeze dried, or other?)

Filtration on the system. (Hang on the back, canister, or other)

What are all the chemicals that have been added to the tank?
(Dechlorinators, clarifiers, maintenance additives, pH buffers, fish medications, or anything else?)

What is you're regular maintenance schedule like; How often do you do water changes, what percentage or how many gallons do you remove, do you syphon the gravel, are you using any soaps or chemicals, any chance te tools you use may have residue from household chemicals used in the past such as antimicrobial soaps or detergents, and has there been any pesticides such as bug bombs or sprays used in the room where the tank is located at?


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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Dalkanar on Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:27 am

Tank temp stays around 77-78

Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 20ish

Since removing driftwood over a week ago, ph remains around 7.4.

Tank is located center of the house, away from windows
Filter is a aquaclear 50 HOB.

food is NLS thera for my middle to upper fish, hikari bottomfeeder pellets for the corys, sometimes a algae wafer
I use prime for water changes and vac about 1/3 the gravel. I do 15-20% waterchanges once a week. I use flourish excel for the plants every week. I use alcohol to wash my hands. I bought one of those grabber/pruner things for most of my physical contact with the tank. no bug bombs or such.
Whatever this is, it seems contagious as far as hitting other tanks, my small 5g got it as bad as the 36g inside of two days and my shrimp tank (always perfect conditions) has just started to get the slime on the plants but the cloudiness is not as bad.

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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Amp2020 on Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:36 am

Look up dosing instructions for hydrogen peroxide. It should help clear things up.

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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Dalkanar on Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:40 pm

Trying the peroxide now, had to do a double waterchange as soon as I got home since all the fish were at the surface gulping air and the water was full of clumps. Already noticing a change. The fish seem to be breathing better and a "scum" is slowly forming at the surface, Which I figure are dying/dead bacteria. I know doing a double w/c usually is not a good idea, but things were bad and I think making the water a bit cleaner is a priority at this point. It is still nasty, but less than it was.

Thanks for the help and I'll keep y'all updated


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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Dalkanar on Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:49 pm

Ok, this is insane... I dosed with peroxide, the only thing it improved was the O2 lvls so this fish were not struggling so much, but the slime continued to intensify. So I broke out a couple buckets, prepped some water and relocated the fish. I cleaned everything with hot water and bleach, even filled up the tank fully and ran the filter without media. The big tank sat for 3 hours with bleach water, the plants were wiped and dipped in a mild bleach solution and the decor still has not been added. I added peroxide to the buckets with fish to try and rid and of it on them.I also did my other two smaller tanks the same way. I even got seeded filter material from Rama at skoolz in preparation. All this was done sunday and the slime/cloudiness has already returned. I can only theorize that I may have to get rid of my stock because this crap is somehow surviving on them. I would hate to lose my otherwise healthy lil aquatic buddies because of this stuff. I'm debating collecting water and slime samples to see if someone could identify this stuff.....

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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Amp2020 on Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:15 pm

Only other thing I can suggest is get some cyano remover. Try chemiclean cyano remover. Be sure not to release any of that into local waterways.

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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  verbal on Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:03 am

Very strange. I would think the plants would be more likely than the fish to be harboring the source of the slime. The only other thing I can think of would be something in the substrate.

I would start with a new bare tank and a seeded filter, even a 20 or 10 with a sponge filter should be ok temporarily. I would not feed for a couple days and see if you have any cloudiness issues. Then I would start feeding very lightly.

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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Doxiemom on Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:20 am

Ok....WHERE did it return FIRST?? Plants, fish, bottom? I'm still thinking this isn't a bacterial bloom.....
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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Dalkanar on Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:16 pm

Unfortunately, I came home today to find all six of my corys dead along with my emperor tetras and the siamese algae eater, they were covered in the slime.I went nuts with the cleaning as far as substrate goes,stirred the gravel up when the tank was full of bleach water. I have the plants from the shrimp tank still in a lil 1.5g from where I bleached them and there is some of the slime floating at the surface (Guessing it came off the plants) but no sign of it regrowing on anything.

Dox, it starts as cloudy water, not too unusual for a cycling tank, and then you start seeing the slime appear simultaneously on things,I even had a uv filter from the start this time.

I may try purigen to see if it can knock the organics down, would'nt think there'd be any left from the bleaching.
I was tempted to just get rid of everything, but now that it has claimed my precious corys, especially "nubby", I will find a way to beat this crap.

If someone knows anyone with access to a lab, I'll happily give samples.

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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Doxiemom on Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:34 pm

What are water parameters now?? Were the fish ok this morning?
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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Dalkanar on Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:31 pm

I did a 60% change yesterday and it has not gotten much worse than it was, the water is clearer. The readings on everything were zero, aside from a barely detectable ammonia reading on the API master test kit.No further losses in the big tank. I've lost just about all my shrimp in the 10g shrimp tank, I had 2 airstones and a bubble filter rated for 20g in that tank to try and keep O2 levels up  Sad . The 3 pygmy corys and 3 red wag platy fry are still kicking, as are my nerites in that tank.

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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  chiclidlover on Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:01 am

I had this same problem when I first started it last for about a week before it killed all my fish I lost track of the water changes an beneficail bacteria supplement bottles I went threw.. When all it was was my filter was actually cycleing at a slower rate causing a huge bloom no matter how many changes it only help when I switch from the whisper to a fluval hob from my fish guru advice if you decide to keep the filter set up I would run a complete day with no dechlorinated chemicals this will kill all bacteria even in the substrate do a fifty percent water change double dose with water treatment run for two days filter seed from an established clean tank from a friend or lfs don't seed from any of your current tanks sterilize any ornaments plants net airline stones heater suction cups you'll see the difference believe me thanks to the guru I would've just have given up but I bought some more fish an watch out for the milky white around suction cups or on airlines the front glass .. I usely add seachem flourish when I'm out I do a water change an clean with h202... Chemicals will only make it worst believe me..
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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Dalkanar on Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:39 pm

Ok, I completely tore down all the tanks. I figured I might as well do so since the lone survivor of my big tank is one of the chocolate gouramis. I managed to save 1 male cherry shrimp, the 3 red wag platy fry and the 3 pygmy corys. I have all of them in a 5g bucket with a bubble filter and a heater. I dumped 1/2 gallon of bleach (only had that much) in the 36g with hot water. I plan on picking up a few more jugs of bleach to clean the tanks. The other two tanks are empty and outside for the moment. I'm going to give the 36g refills with hot bleach water for the next two days and then let it sit empty for the next two to dry it out and hopefully set it up saturday. The 10g and 5g will get wiped with pure bleach.

I at least want to get the 10 going in the next couple days so I can see if this crap is transferring via the fish. I will also set the 36g up without fish and see if it truly survives bleach without any other life in the tank. Wish me luck.

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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Amp2020 on Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:27 pm

Run one of the tanks with no fish for a couple of weeks and see if dies off on its o

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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Dalkanar on Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:55 pm

Amp, a little late for that. I rescued my few remaining fish and 1 (out of 26)shrimp and have them in a 5g bucket with a new sponge filter and a cleaned (bleach) heater and torn all the tanks down completely. I tossed out all the substrate and have the 36g full of water with half a gallon of bleach, the other two tank will get a thorough bleaching tomorrow. The 5g was kinda my test to see if it could survive without any fish/plants/etc. , it did continue to "regenerate" even with water changes/gravel vacs all the way up to 90%. The shrimp tank was the worst, probably due to there being not much of a current. When I tore that one down, the water was turning yellowish. I suspect this stuff consumes massive amounts of O2 and cannot survive once it consumes it to the point that the demand surpasses production, hence the yellowing. As I mentioned before, I have a tiny 1.5g that contains the plants from my first try at cleaning (two weeks ago) and there is no sign of this evil stuff on anything. The plants received the typical mild bleach solution treatment

As for my remaining fish, they seem to be recovering well in the bucket. I was worried that my choco gourami was'nt going to make it, but he's perked up quite a bit now and all my fish ate today. If this stuff survives the bleaching I'm giving the tanks and decorations, I'm setting it all on fire. Twisted Evil 

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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  williemcd on Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:12 pm

Hang in there guy.... We all suffer major setbacks in the hobby from time to time....Bill

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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Dalkanar on Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:53 pm

Ok, so it seems that it does migrate via fish since it has appeared in the 10g after I thoroughly bleached it left it for a few days and then rinsed and added my remaining fish.The 10g only has a log ornament that was heavily bleached and a filter that spent a few days running in the 36g bleach water, no substrate.It is at the cloudy water stage after only a couple days.

My 36g spent most of the week soaking in a heavy bleach mix and I added fluorite and a few plants I picked up at Ramas. I did pick up a few feeder platys to kick off a cycle and to see if new fish will fare better.

I may try an antibiotic bath for the 10g fish to rid them of this stuff inside and out. Any recommendations on kind?

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Re: Mother of all bacteria blooms

Post  Doxiemom on Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:49 am

Tea Tree oil...(Melafix). Wal Mart carries pharmaceutical grade tea tree oil in the vitamins section. One bottle of that is enough to last a LONG time. I've posted this a lot on here but Melafix is tea tree oil & water...that's it!!
This will serve as an antibiotic and an antifungal agent. If you'd prefer to go a more chemical route I'd get LIFE GUARD. It is a broad spectrum cure.
As Bill said...we all have setbacks in this hobby. Try to keep your head up and we are here to offer what help we can. This issue has us stumped for sure!! Please let everyone know how it's going!! HAPPY EASTER.
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