Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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aunt kymmie 08-12-2008 11:51 PM

The whys of tank crashing
I'm curious to know what tank crashing means. I've looked in past posts and I'm not sure I understand what it means or why a tank *crashes*. I know this may be an idiotic question but would like to know exactly what it means. Biological filter dies? Thanks in advance for educating a complete and total newbie- kym

CoolHandLu 08-13-2008 04:00 PM

I'll give this a shot. A tank "crashes" when the bio-load of a tank (bio-load = fish waste and uneaten food that decomposes) becomes too great and overwhelms the "good" bactria in the tank that was consuming the ammonia that's produced by this bio-load. When that happens, you get an ammonia spike that quickly kills off all your fish - thus, the term "crash". A tank can crash for a number of reasons, but I think the most likely culprit is adding too many fish too early in a new tank, before it's fully cycled - thus resulting in a crash and lots of floating fish.
Here are two EXCELLENT summaries of tank cycling that discusses in more detail these concepts:

Flashygrrl 08-13-2008 05:04 PM

It can also be caused by adding chemicals that shouldn't have been added (happens a lot with pH chemicals), and so what happens is when the chemical levels try to change back the massive swing usually kills off everything in the tank and makes a mess out of all the parameters. Main reason why you shouldn't use any of the chemicals the petstore sells besides dechlorinator unless you've got an excellent grip on what will happen.

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