Bacterial Bloom Temp Fix

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Bacterial Bloom Temp Fix

Post by LoachOrgy » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:46 pm

Short story: several years ago I lost half my clown loach tank from a bit of a bacterial bloom. After a few days the fish started bloating and getting coated in a white film and even looking a little iridescent.

From the diagnosis here it was determined that it may have been oodinium disease. however, I don't believe that is what it was.

We had an office tank emergency today. When i came in the fish tank had a bacterial bloom and the fish were all laying on the gravel covered in white and iridescent.

I checked the parameters and the alkalinity and acidity were way out of line.

I spoked with the office tank guy and he said that I could temporarily add baking soda to the tank to get the acid/ alkalinity parameters in check.

This all started due to a cichlid jumping into the intake of the overflow system in this tank. He clogged the pump and by the time I found out he was stuck in it, the fish had already passed. A day later a bloom started probably due to some internal parts being sucked out of the fish into the filter. I pulled the fish out whole and it appeared that he had no visual damage. But his anus was a little red. The fish was dead but I could see no visible scars.

I did a small water change after the bloom last night before I left the office, but this morning the fish looked just like my loach tank when I had the last bacterial bloom. I tested this out by adding about one cup of baking soda mixed into tank water in a separate pitcher. I slowly poured it into the tank and then tested the parameters again. I could see the water was less acid. So I figured out I needed about 1.5 more cups to get things in the correct parameters. Fortunately, within minutes the fish were swimming around and eating compared to minutes before when they were laying on the bottom of the tank. These are red parrot cichlids we are talking about.

I know this is just a temp fix but I wish I had known this years ago when I lost half my big clown loaches. At first I thought the fish had ich all over them. It was white, filmy, almost looked like ich and even the fins looked frayed.

Later in the day, the slime coat looked normal and the white spots and muck were gone off the fish. They were all swimming around normal until the aquarium guy can make it to the office. He suggested coral but I had none available and at work I can't just leave the office when I have work to work on. So, the baking soda temp fix worked wonders.

FYI. I am not suggesting this as a cure, but just as a temporary relief if this happens to you when you have no other options.

The symptoms were cloudy smelly water, you could not even see through it. Also, the fish were gasping for air at the top and then in the morning they were laying on the bottom covered in white specs, white fin rot look and iridescent almost like gasoline on water look like a rainbow shime to the scales.

I know the baking soda raised or lowered the ph i have to look at the chart again to remember but that is all it did. I am sure someone can chime in and give a better explanation as to why this temporarily helped. I know the fish guy still needs to get the tank in check but it bought a little time because he couldn't make it right away.

If I hadn't done this, the fish would be goners by tomorrow.
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Location: Central Florida

Re: Bacterial Bloom Temp Fix

Post by UVvis » Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:20 am

Pretty much all bacteria blooms in established systems are caused by excess nutrients in the system. Overfeeding, lack of water changes, dead things not removed...

This will rapidly trash the chemistry profile of a tank. The pH will drop as the bacteria are respiring and consume oxygen, and release CO2. So the fish get a double whammy of low oxygen combined with a dropping pH. The Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) will help buffer this, by raising pH and also making the dissolved CO2 as carbonic acid, try to shift the chemical equilibrium towards the bicarbonate and carbonate side. There are some bacteria that can be autotrophic and consume the CO2.

Increasing aeration (purge CO2 and add O2) and adding baking soda can help, but a series of water changes are going to be the most effective way to combat a bloom. Micron filters that pull the bacteria out of the water are only partially effective. While the filter can catch the bacteria, it isn't always immediately exporting the excess nutrients in the form of the bacteria.

You are also adding some salts into the water as well with the bicarbonate. Those ions can be helpful at times.

UV sterilizers can also help keep the water column bacteria at bay, but this should be thought of as a safety system, not always a treatment, in my opinion.

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