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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The Tank That Was...Or Wasn't It?

So, now that all my fish have died at the hands of my little brother, I have to basically restart my aquarium.

I drained about 75% of the water (twice). The PH and KH are really low, otherwise everything is right on target. The water is mysteriously cloudy (white). I just cleaned the filter out again but it doesn't seem to be clearing up.

I did get all of the dead critters out. I added a bit of aquarium salt and baking soda to try and balance everything back. Right now my two concerns are 1) Why is it cloudy and how do I clear it up? 2) It's a bit smelly, why and how do I clear that up?

And of course, I'm wondering if I need to go through the Nitrogen cycle all over again because it's practically like setting up a new tank.

Thankfully, none of the plants have been harmed - but I did get to re-scape and it looks AWESOME! If I ever get a working camera I will show it off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The tank has still not cleared up, so since I'm still in 'disaster zone' I've decided to buckle down and make the big change I've been contemplating since day one....get rid of the gravel!

The tank just has regular aquarium gravel from Wal-Mart and it has the undergravel filter plates in it. I'm going to take a trip to PetSmart to buy either sand or some sort of nutrient rich substrate. I'll also be picking up some Prime.

Then I'm going to empty the tank, put the plants and some water in a safe container, rinse everything out, and re-build from scratch.

I like my current aquascape, so I'll just be recreating that with different substrate. Wish me luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Again, I only have a cell phone camera but...
The tank used to look like this:

Now it looks like this:
 

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Looks like a good time to do away with both the gravel and the undergravel filter.
Probably should clear up in time, but if it really stinks it is bad under there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well it's done! I took out all the water. By the time I removed the under gravel filter and the gravel itself, the water was black and the stench was *****-inducing!

I one bag of used all-purpose sand ($3.46/bag at Wal-Mart). After four rinses it loses the orange dust in it and turns a nice neutral beige color. The grain size is also nice, not too fine like bleached white beach sand.

Will post pictures after the water clears up a bit.

Also, PetSmart now carries Dwarf Baby Tears!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Still cloudy with sand, but here's the updated look

 

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That is terrible because it looked so good. I'm kinda going through the same thing myself, so I feel for you. I love Neon's and Cardinals...hate you lost yours...that is even more terrible.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The tank is still cloudy and the KH and PH and very low. I'm not sure what's going on in the chemistry here. Everything else is reading normally.

I'm thinking of upgrading the lighting. Someone recommended a retrofit kit, but I'm not sure. Right now there's a total of 30 watts of light and that would only bring me to 32 watts. The standard fluorescent tubes are only 15 watts each...the compact fluorescent is 30 I think, but that's like two bulbs next to one another.

1) am I understanding the lighting correctly?
2) how can I get more WPG on this tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
My tank size is 20 gallons and it has an Eclipse 2 hood on it.

I should also mention that I'm wanting my HC to form a carpet...that's the main reason I'm wondering if my lighting is adequate. Everything else is growing amazingly well.
 

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My tank size is 20 gallons and it has an Eclipse 2 hood on it.

I should also mention that I'm wanting my HC to form a carpet...that's the main reason I'm wondering if my lighting is adequate. Everything else is growing amazingly well.
IMO, around 60 watts should do it for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
*sigh*

The water is so cloudy now that I am just going to dump everything out and wash the sand again. That's my only guess. If that doesn't work, then I just give up.

I did switch my old 29 gal saltwater tank to freshwater. The exact same sand in there, but rinsed better and the water is crystal clear. The downside is that only one tube in the hood.

This whole lighting thing is really starting to be a bummer. I think I might just sit my tanks in the window or something!
 

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Let me tell you from a failure's point of view...do not give up. I've had the exact same problems your are having right now. Take everything back out and super wash everything you plan to stick in there. Everything that will have water touching it...you wash it real good. Was that tank too outside real good and dry it down with clean plain paper towels.

Put your sand back in there and concock some way to add your water without disturbing the sand. Put straight cold tap water in there do NOT use warm water or hot water. I know you know this stuff but I'm just trying to help you. Then if it's cloudy or whatever let it sit for awhile and then turn the filter on. Change the filter media before you start the pump back up. It will get clear it'll just take you some time and you have to make sure everything is clean.

Your lighting situation. I can tell you that I got ticked about lighting too when trying to grow live plants. Instead of buying a high dollar light fixture, make your own. If you can't do that buy a plant growth light that'll fit your current hood. I built a canopy out of 2x4's and bought my own ballast at Lowes and the things the lights fit into to wire to the ballast. This was for my 10 gallon tank and I put 3 18" 15w bulbs on it...way too much light. But I can control how many are on and when. Just one or all three. Two plant lights and one 10K to pick up the color some. All for around 40 bucks or so including the 2x4. So think about that before you give up.

You can work around your problems and you can fix that tank. I'm the worst person in the world with live plants, fish and tank problems. Just search my name out around forums..ahhaha. I've got a lot of my issues worked out and I DIY'd them.
 

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What filter are you using? Can you put a micro/micron pad in it? I got some mirco filter material from Dr. Smith and Foster.
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+4136+4353&pcatid=4353
I cut them to the shape I want and they really do a good job. I even have used it in my HOB. I cut it to fit either vertically or horizontally. It will trap the really small particulates that are making your water cloudy. You can also get some Seachem Clarity or like product. That will clump the small particles so your filter can clear them out.

Don't give up. This is not the most difficult thing that you will experience. Just think how great you will feel when you have conquered this and have a tank you are, once again, very proud of! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Phew.

I re-drained the tank. Rinsed EVERYTHING off, rewashed the sand for about thirty minutes and refilled the tank.

So far it's pretty clear, here's an updated shot...I really need a camera:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Almost forgot, here is the newly converted 29 gallon tank. It's only got decorations in it. I'm doing the DIY CO2 setup this weekend. The lousy hood it comes with is holding one 24" 6700 standard fluorescent tube...I've had brighter nightlights.

 

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Almost forgot, here is the newly converted 29 gallon tank. It's only got decorations in it. I'm doing the DIY CO2 setup this weekend. The lousy hood it comes with is holding one 24" 6700 standard fluorescent tube...I've had brighter nightlights.
LOL

Looking good! You must have had a lot of bacteria in that sand! Glad you solved your problem! GOOD JOB!:clap2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
New Problem...

I repopulated the tank after having a test fish.

All of my water parameters are fine, but the fish are dropping like flies now!

And both the tanks are starting to get cloudy.
 
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