So Much For the Fishless Cycle

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FranM
Posts: 482
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:43 pm
Location: Rhode Island USA

So Much For the Fishless Cycle

Post by FranM » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:47 am

Apparently the clear ammonia I bought has surfactants meaning it foamed when I shook it. Too bad I didn’t revisit types of ammonia to use BEFORE adding it to an aquarium.

So the old time ma and pa store are old fashioned and fatalists. They never heard of using ammonia in a fish tank to cycle it. And from what I have read I should just throw everything out and start over. The fish place said I’m doomed. And the fact I used sand is even worse so I’m told.

So I’m pretty disgusted today. Any suggestions other than the ones I was already given? Even if I remove all the water, won’t the bad stuff of the ammonia be embedded in filter media and sand? I’m regretting this whole new tank. And yes, I’m definitely feeling sorry for myself!

Since I can’t find anything definitive on how to remove surfactants, and, without throwing away all this brand new filter media, I’m going to boil it and hope that a quick boil annihilates the surfactant. The sand, however, is the biggest issue. Thinking of boiling that too.

Bas Pels
Posts: 303
Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:08 am

Re: So Much For the Fishless Cycle

Post by Bas Pels » Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:26 am

A surfactant is a compound which helps making other compounds, such as fat, solve in water.

These compounds have one end which dissolves in wate,r while the othjer dissolves in fat. What happens is, the fat dissolving part will enter the fat, leaving the water dissolvable part on the outside. With enough of these molecules the fat sil lbe surrounded, and able to enter the water.

For now the main thing is, this kinds of compounds do dissolve in water.

If I were you, I would drain the water from the tank, all of it. Then, with a hose, anabling to have a jet of water, I would rinse the sides of the tank, and any wood or stone.

This will leave a few centimeters of water, whiuch I would drain again, and I would repat this once

Then, I would just will the tank again and start cycling again.

The filter media are rather easy to rinse - put the hase into the canister and the one coming from it into a bucket with claen water and let it flow for a few minutes. Than stop it, and replace the water a few times. Alternatively, you could also let 5 ties the content of the canister flow through the canister

I would, most certainly, not boil anything.

FranM
Posts: 482
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:43 pm
Location: Rhode Island USA

Re: So Much For the Fishless Cycle

Post by FranM » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:56 am

Thanks, Bas.

I wish I could get a jet of water into the tank but I’m on a second floor condo and no access to outdoor hoses and the faucets we have cannot unscrew to attach a hose. The best I can do it let the python water which I fill from a bucket with a water pump run along the sides and over plants and decorations.

I should also stir up the sand that’s in there too, shouldn’t I? It’s pool filter sand, 20 grade. I also figured I’d refill the tank and pack the canister with carbon and drain again after a couple days. I figured if I cover all the plants and decoration with fresh water eventually the contaminant would filter through the carbon. After this couple days I’d empty one last time and refill.

Then, as what was suggested to me the first time, take the whole HOB filter with me, ugly as it is and it has to hang on the front of the tank and get the fish from home in there so I can be done with it OR, get two dozen tetras and dump another thing of bacteria with it. I can’t say now if the Tetra Safestart was a dud or not because I had the wrong ammonia in it. I don’t know if two dozen tetras are going to make near enough ammonia. I should also squeeze all the filter media from my established filter into a bucket and pour that into the new tank.......

Diana
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Location: Near San Franciso

Re: So Much For the Fishless Cycle

Post by Diana » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:19 pm

Several rinsings with the water as aggressive as you can manage is a good start. You can try this with the sand, too. Aim the water stream into the sand, and stir it well by hand. The friction of sand particles rubbing against each other should help to break loose the surfactants.

When you refill I would also add whatever pumps, powerheads or other equipment that will keep the water moving as much as possible.
Carbon is a very good way to help remove the surfactants. Change out the carbon a couple of times.
When you refill the tank you can use ammonia that does not foam. If you see more foaming in the tank while ammonia is present that does not mean that there are still surfactants present. Aquarium water with ammonia will foam a bit.
I agree with Bas, no need to boil anything.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

FranM
Posts: 482
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:43 pm
Location: Rhode Island USA

Re: So Much For the Fishless Cycle

Post by FranM » Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:35 pm

Well I already boiled sponge stuff and Matrix. The stuff is supposedly super- porous. Perhaps I should just chuck it.

I’m going to pass on the ammonia and take the filter media from other tank. Is there some product, even a household item to use in place of Matrix that should be as effective? I’ve seen on YouTube people using plastic dish-washing sponges.

Thank you, Diana. I didn’t know the ammonia contained a surfactant. I didn’t shake first.

Bas Pels
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Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:08 am

Re: So Much For the Fishless Cycle

Post by Bas Pels » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:05 am

There was only 1 reason why I did not suggest stirring the sand - I assumed some fertilizer would be mixed into it.

Apparently this is not the case. However, do remember, waterdoes not flow mucht through sand, so I would assume most of the sand did not come into contact with the surfactant.

That is, most of the sand will have remained clean.

FranM
Posts: 482
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:43 pm
Location: Rhode Island USA

Re: So Much For the Fishless Cycle

Post by FranM » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:43 am

My fiancé suggested the same—the sand is compact enough that only the surface is probably infected. I’m bound to kick up some sand during the refill. I just worry about the sand because loaches will be burrowing in it.

Thank you again. And right, no real plants, no fertilizer.

loachnoob
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:37 pm

Re: So Much For the Fishless Cycle

Post by loachnoob » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:29 pm

My loaches dont burrow on my sand at all and ive got a bunch of them. My best guess is the surfactants will degrade in a few days ... week at most

NancyD
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Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: SF bay area,US

Re: So Much For the Fishless Cycle

Post by NancyD » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:48 pm

I'm going with the paranoid approach. Several water changes with sand stirring & new carbon every few days.

You can get beyond this, Fran, don't panic! This is fixable...although this is 1 mistake (surfactants) I haven't made (yet, lol)...there's still time for both of us to move on from a near disaster. I have several times, you can too!! But it's going to take some work...
Image

FranM
Posts: 482
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:43 pm
Location: Rhode Island USA

Re: So Much For the Fishless Cycle

Post by FranM » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:51 pm

Thank you.

I’ve been running clear water through filter comprised only of carbon packets. Going to drain another half of the tank then begin getting it ready for fish (with no fishless cycling).

FranM
Posts: 482
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:43 pm
Location: Rhode Island USA

Re: So Much For the Fishless Cycle

Post by FranM » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:57 pm

Nancy D, thanks.

I’m going to change more water and run fresh carbon. I think I should be ok. I may take the contents of the smaller HOB and put it in the canister. Then I’d like to get a couple dozen tetras and see how they fare for a couple weeks.

Bas Pels
Posts: 303
Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:08 am

Re: So Much For the Fishless Cycle

Post by Bas Pels » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:45 am

While the idea of starting with some easy fishes is a good one, take care of selecting a species you would want in your tank

I´ve read about people starting with a few guppies. Obviously, this few became more and more, and a long story short, they had to take out every last bit of decoration in order of netting all the guppies.

FranM
Posts: 482
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:43 pm
Location: Rhode Island USA

Re: So Much For the Fishless Cycle

Post by FranM » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:48 am

I seem to be taking a liking to white skirt and serpae tetras.

loachnoob
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:37 pm

Re: So Much For the Fishless Cycle

Post by loachnoob » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:43 pm

Did ya start putting some fish in Fran?

Would love to see some pictures!

FranM
Posts: 482
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:43 pm
Location: Rhode Island USA

Re: So Much For the Fishless Cycle

Post by FranM » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:47 pm

No. I’m dragging my feet and losing my nerve. I haven’t drained and refilled. I’m dreading taking the filter apart again, and worrying about the bacteria and blah blah. lol.

My mother would like the old tank out of the house now. She is being patient. Lol

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