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Hi guys,

I have a 54 bowfront natural tank that's been up and running for... wow, about 2 years now, I think. I had a crypt melt a few months ago but the tank has rebounded even better. About a month ago, I had a bacterial bloom from a small dwarf cory that died and I didn't see it right away. I used a UV light filter and it cleared up in about a week. The last week or so I've noticed some of my bottom dwellers hanging out closer to the top of the water column in the mornings, particularly. For example, my dwarf chain loaches would normally hang out on the rocks at the bottom 3rd. They're hanging out more on the anubias in the top 3rd. I also see my kuhli loaches resting against the glass at the bottom of the tank but with their bodies aimed up and gilling real quick. I have 2 powerheads for circulation that often need a lot of cleaning because of the mulm. I'm using a fluval 3.0 that runs a siesta mode (7AM - 12PM on, off, on again from 4PM to 10PM, with an hour of softer blue light). I just checked my parameters and everything is fine, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0-5ppm nitrate (closer to 0 in that yellower range). Temp is at 78 degrees F.
I admit, my tank is a tad overstocked for a natural tank. However I have done no significant changes recently except for that bloom, no new fish, no new plants, no plants taken out. I've cut back on my floaters because they grow like crazy but I do that every week or so.
Any suggestions? I don't want to add an airstone because that's one more electrical outlet, plus I have to buy a pump as I don't have one for that size tank. I've moved one of the powerheads to near the top of the water to try to get a bit of water movement on top.
Thanks!
Christina
 

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Sounds like a 'lack of oxygen' problem. The substrate may have started going severely anaerobic what with the Crypt melt, dead fish, excess mulm, overstocking, etc. Once it starts, it can feed on itself into a full substrate meltdown with toxin release from dying bacteria, etc in substrate that will kill fish. Substrate poking, moving the powerhead up, water changes, charcoal filtration are advised.

A picture would help.
 
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