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Discussion Starter #1
Just this past week we had a MAJOR disaster in our 30 gallon well established tank.
My son did a 10 gallon water change as he typically does. He added 10 gallons of water from our faucet (also typical) with added Prime to the containers.
Within minutes of adding this water we noticed all of our fish dying. We managed to save about 10 put them in our quarantine tank and half of them died off in the next 2 days. The last 5 are doing well. They are swords, platys and mollies.
We then did a 100% water change and placed a few zebra danios in there as testers. So far so good other than the nitrites being elevated which we were told would happen.

Now I am noticing that all of our plants are dying off and they were BEAUTIFUL and FLOURISHING! The leaves are now see thru and some are browning. Its mostly the Amazon Swords and the Micro swords

We had removed a few "babies" from the Amazon Swords that were growing beautifully and put them in our 60 gallon and they are dying as well.

It seems the only thing that is so far surviving are our Java Ferns.

My question is, can these be saved or do I have to remove all of these plants from the 2 aquariums? I am sick over this as we worked so hard to keep them beautiful. I realize theres probably no real answer as to why this happened but I want to see what can be salvaged.
Thank you in Advance!!
Patti :)
 

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First off Welcome to tropical Fish keeping!

2nd sorry for the loses.

I have heard of such things from time to time. Have y'all been getting a lot of rain? Reason I ask I have things like this happening with lots of rain and the water treatment plants adding more then usual chemicals to treat the all the runoff water. The higher chlorine if there was some could be the reason for the death of the fish. Even with the prime if there was more in there then it could handle. Through I have no really answer just things I have heard.

For the plants are all the leaves turning transparent??? If there are some that are still looking good then they could bounce back.
 

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You mentioned that he added the prime to the "containers" used for the water change --- is it possible the containers had been contaminated? Example, I have a bucket I will use for aquarium purposes (use a water changing hose for regular water changes, but bucket for emergency situations or topping tanks off, etc) - recently I came home from work and found my daughter washing horses and using the "tank" bucket full of soapy water. Had I not seen her doing this I would not have realized that the bucket had been used for something other than tank use and could easily have introduced soap residue into the tank - or residue of pesticides given that the bucket was also exposed to fly spray, etc during that time.
 

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Oh, Patti! I am SO SORRY to hear such a heartbreaking story. . .

Don't give up hope, there is a good chance that these plants will rebound. In my experience with rooted plants and stems, leaves melting doesn't mean that the roots aren't okay, so they could rebound, though it will take time and patience. . .

Flux in TAP water parameter can often happen depending on a variety of factors. I've found that the params straight out of tap will shift depending on the time of year, and the amount of rainfall, ws Boredomb mentioned. Have you run tests on the TAP water, by any chance? It can happen from time to time that ammonia can be present in tap - some people deal with this on a regular basis, but for others it happens only from time to time. It's possible that something along these lines could have caused your fish issues, but. . . not very likely to affect the plants. . . Ziva has a really good point about the bucket that was used being contaminated. Soap of any kind is very toxic to fish. . .

That aside, do you know if he matched the temperature of the new water with the temp of the old? If temps change too drastically, it can have a negative effect on the entire system, cost lives, and damage plants. . . still 10g to 20 seems like a bit of a stretch. . .

As for the plants. . . can you clarify for me if the plants suddenly started having issues at the time of this water change, or if it was a process that may have been happening slowly, but that you noted because of the scrutiny you were giving the 30g? I ask, because you mention that some of the plants in your 60g are also showing similar signs - but didn't mention any problems with the animals in that tank.

Do you use fertilizers on these tanks? If so, would you mind letting us know what kind(s), and if you're using root tabs for your sword plants? Though they can store nutrients from the shop for a while, most rooted plants will require ferts at the roots, as this is where they draw nutrients from, so a liquid fertilizer added into the water column doesn't do them much good, though it WILL benefit the rhizome plants, like your ferns.

What sort of lights do you have over these tanks, and how recently were the bulbs changed? Sword-plants typically require higher lighting than Java Ferns - especially the low to the ground ones.

How long have these particular plants been in your home? Most plants will go through a transitional period in which the leaves that you bring them home with will fail, while new leaves regrow in their place. This is due to a variety of different reasons, but sword plants in particular, are often grown out of the water, and will have to shed their 'land leaves' to slip into their slightly different aquatic form. I've had some types of sword plants take MONTHS to finally get rid of their original leaves. If you can take a picture of the affected plants, we *may* be able to identify if they are in their emersed form for you.

Also, with Swords, how deep you plant them does have an effect on their overall health. If you plant them too deeply into the substrate, they'll have trouble. . . You want the roots covered, but don't want to cover the area where the stalks come together - which is called the crown. . .

Forgive me for asking these fairly basic questions. As you have a 30, 60, and a QT tank, I assume you're not a beginner in the hobby - but I don't know how much knowledge you have already. Just throwing out a few common issues that crop up here all the time on the off-chance that I hit on something that can help. . . for now, don't pull the plants from the tank - but DO prune off any obviously dying leaves and discard them. They will only pollute the water, and possibly make things worse. If the leaves are yellowed, but not dead/dying, leave them - they may rebound.

Again, I'm terribly sorry to hear of your losses, but glad that you were able to act quickly enough, and had a QT up and running, so that you were able to save at least some of your babies! Great job for quick thinking on your part!

And, of course - welcome to TFK. Very glad to have you, though sorry that you had to find us as a result of such a sad situation. Hopefully we can work together and figure this out. *hugs*
 

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Discussion Starter #5
First off Welcome to tropical Fish keeping!

2nd sorry for the loses.

I have heard of such things from time to time. Have y'all been getting a lot of rain? Reason I ask I have things like this happening with lots of rain and the water treatment plants adding more then usual chemicals to treat the all the runoff water. The higher chlorine if there was some could be the reason for the death of the fish. Even with the prime if there was more in there then it could handle. Through I have no really answer just things I have heard.

For the plants are all the leaves turning transparent??? If there are some that are still looking good then they could bounce back.
Thanks for your reply!! Most of the leaves are transparent, I will post pics below.
As far as rain, we have had a great deal of rain as we live in SW Florida. Your comment made me curious and I will make some calls to inquire!
Thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You mentioned that he added the prime to the "containers" used for the water change --- is it possible the containers had been contaminated? Example, I have a bucket I will use for aquarium purposes (use a water changing hose for regular water changes, but bucket for emergency situations or topping tanks off, etc) - recently I came home from work and found my daughter washing horses and using the "tank" bucket full of soapy water. Had I not seen her doing this I would not have realized that the bucket had been used for something other than tank use and could easily have introduced soap residue into the tank - or residue of pesticides given that the bucket was also exposed to fly spray, etc during that time.
Thanks for the reply
The containers are capped water jugs and are never used for anything we keep them in a closed tote and we only use them for this :-?
 

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Hi Chesh!

"That aside, do you know if he matched the temperature of the new water with the temp of the old? If temps change too drastically, it can have a negative effect on the entire system, cost lives, and damage plants. . . still 10g to 20 seems like a bit of a stretch. . . "

We do check the temp of the water, our 30g is kept at 76-78 and our tap also is at 76 during this time of year.

We've had this tank up and running since December 2012. All of the plants are in there since that time and went through the initial transition stage (as nerve wracking as that was for me) This was our first real planted tank. Since then our Amazons have sprouted many babies that we have planted in another 10g that we have and they are doing beautifully still.

As far as the plants in the 60g, they were taken from the 30g when we did the 100% water change after the disaster. The 60g is a new setup that had no fish in it at the time. We cycled it with a HOB filter that we ran on the 30g for 6-8 weeks prior to setup. So the only thing in the tank other than the plants are the playsand substrate, rocks and driftwood.

We do fertilize approx twice a week, sometimes only once if my son is off his game. I am typically the person that cares for the plants though so I prune and fertilize every weekend and then once during the week we will also fertilize.

We use API Leaf Zone in this tank which has blacl sand substrate. In our 10g I use Eco-Complete and was told not to fertilize so I dont and the plants are great. I've never used a root tab, sadly I never heard of them. This is our first go at a planted aquarium.

Prior to the disaster the plants were fantastic, we were amazed at how big and full they all were which was why we took the snippings and added them to the 60g. Each piece of it had beautiful roots. We definitely would have noticed if they were starting to weaken because we are total "fish nerds" and spend probably too much time looking in the tanks LOL

"Forgive me for asking these fairly basic questions. As you have a 30, 60, and a QT tank, I assume you're not a beginner in the hobby - but I don't know how much knowledge you have already. Just throwing out a few common issues that crop up here all the time on the off-chance that I hit on something that can help. . . for now, don't pull the plants from the tank - but DO prune off any obviously dying leaves and discard them. They will only pollute the water, and possibly make things worse. If the leaves are yellowed, but not dead/dying, leave them - they may rebound."

I TRULY appreciate your common questions, as I said we have quite a few tanks 2/10g planted tanks with eco complete 1/10g fry tank as we raise guppies, swordtails and mollies and 1/10g QT for new or sick fish, 1/30g planted 1/60g newly aquired, 1/2.5g 5 way split betta tank, 1/3 gallon...I think thats it! But we are still considered newbies. We had a few small tanks a few years ago and did everything wrong. My 17 yr old son spent all of this time researching freshwater aquariums and learned a ton so we waited until he was ready and committed and jumped in with both feet...the plants are more my thing being the daughter of a landscaper and fish hobbyist :)
I am going to upload a few pics pf the plants and maybe that can better tell me story.

THANK YOU to everyone for the advice and great welcome!! I have been lurking here for a very long time and have learned so much which is why I decided to finally register and come to all of you for help!
 

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Hit add née post, then look at the bottom of the page. You will see a button that says manage attachments push it and you can attach a pic
 

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I am no plant expert by no means!!

So with that said I just read your last post where you answered Chesh questions. You mentioned you use API leaf zone. If I am not mistaken that has very little nutrients for plants. There is something like 17 different nutrients they need. You really should use a well rounded fertilizer such as Sechems Flourish Comprehensive plant supplement there is another one as well um Brightwell aquatics florinmulti. Both of those have what is needed for the plants. I personally use Flourish as that's what I can get locally. Also heavy root feeders do best with a root tab as mentioned. Swords, crypts, and Vals are some examples of heavy root feeders.

Second Eco complete if I am not mistaken doesn't have very much nutrients but it does have a high Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), which is basically the ability for a substrate to take nutrients out of the water column and supply them to plant roots. So over time you will need to add fertilizer. I had this substrate once and still had to dose liquid fertilizer.

So to your question can they be saved???
I don't know. If it was me and I was in your shoes. I would trim off all the dead leaves. Get a well rounded fertilizer and hope for the best. Oh and maybe ask some ones else opinion as that never hurts.


PS. What kind of lights do you have?? How old are the bulbs??
 

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It's happened to others so you are not alone, but it's disappointing to say the least. Are you on town or well water? I'm assuming town since you're using Prime. One cause could be a sudden change in the tap water parameters. Any another possibility is your son grab a bottle that looked similar to the Prime bottle and used that. I speak from personal experience with the possibility. Imagine my self directed anger when I realized I was treating tap water with plant fertilizer!!
 

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*HUGS* They were so beautiful, oh I KNOW how heartbroken you are! I wish I had something to add here, but BDM and Chuck pretty much covered all I can think of, too! I'm no pro, either. . .

Leave any leaf that you think looks like it stands a chance of rebounding, but prune off all the dead leaves *cries*- you want to get them out of the tank, they aren't doing any good in there :cry:

I also use
liquid ferts by Seachem, so second that recommendation - its good stuff, and has everything the plants need in a good balance. The same company also makes root tabs. I linked to Amazon so you can see an image of what we're talking about, but both of these should be really easy to find anywhere - PetSmart carries both, as does almost every fish shop I've ever been in. . .

These are great products, but since your plants have been doing so well up until this point, I have to assume that you've managed to find a good balance in your tank, and that the ferts you have been using, along with the substrate, and fish waste has been sufficient to get the plants what they need. Which is FANTASTIC! Except that it doesn't help us figure out what went wrong.

I've seen similar looking leaves on one of my swords when the lights in that tank needed to be replaced. Even though they aren't burned out, tank lights start to lose power after about 9-12 months or so (I shoot for 9 months on my tanks, but everyone has their own way). If the lights haven't been changed since start-up in December of last year, they're probably due . . . but with my sword, it was a gradual process, and not nearly so extreme! So. . . more good advice, but if this happened all of the sudden after one water change, and everything was perfect until then - lighting doesn't explain such a sudden and dramatic decline in their health, either!

Temps are fine, the plants are established (I'm with you! HATE that acclimatization process!), buckets kept clean. . . I'm leaning toward Chuck's theory here - I know I've grabbed the wrong bottle by mistake before, and also have come *THIS CLOSE* to forgetting to de-chlorinate altogether! :oops: We all make mistakes. If your son accidentally didn't dechlorinate at all, that would effect the fish - but the plants would probably have been fine - chlorine doesn't bother them (crypts would maybe be a different story, but I doubt you'd see melting from swords) UNLESS he somehow grabbed a bottle of something else. I hate to suggest that such a thing happened, but it could fit - depending on what might have been added to the system.

Otherwise. . . *grasps at straws* was anything done around the house that day? Any unusual chemicals sprayed? Maybe carpets were being washed, the house bombed for insects, or any painting/construction projects going on? Even perfumes or hair sprays? A bit of a stretch, I'm just trying to think of anything. . .

I'm going to see if I can point some other members in this direction in the hopes that we can get some new thoughts on what could have caused this. I'm really sorry I can't be of much help. I just. . .can't think of what it could have been! Whatever it was, I hope most sincerely that it never happens again! Hopefully we can figure SOMETHING out!


P.S. I'm also a sucker for black sand, the 60 looks like it's on its way to being gorgeous. I know I'm not alone when I say we'd LOVE to see pics of your tanks! Now that you've decided to come out of hiding you should share! We're not going to let a fellow fish geek go back into hiding without a fight!!! ^.^
 

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I'm stumped, too. The only thing I can recommend would be to call the water company and see if something's up with the water (I live in FL too and have also been getting torrents of rain, but haven't noticed anything in the tap...*fingers crossed*).

If the company says the tap hasn't changed, I'd do lots of water changes, just in case something else my have gotten into the system.

Agree with pruning dead leaves, and then I guess it's just a wait and see :( So sorry this happened to you!

Do you have the API Liquid Test kit? Are you able to test the numbers in the tank?

Also, in the first pic...what plant is that?
 

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Just did a bit of brainstorming...have any meds been used in the tank? Anything that could have accidentally been introduced? Has AQ salt ever been used in the tank?
 

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I have a couple questions for you.
Do you live where you have a municipal water supply? (city water) If so, when the weather gets hot municipalities will add chloramine A combination of chlorine, and ammonia. It takes a little more water conditioner to break the bond between the two, and detoxify. This could explain the fish deaths. I don't believe your sudden fish loss, and plant degrade are connected. The plants are starving. First thing you might want to do is trim all dead, or dying leaves off. This will let the plant try to feed the existing good leaves, and not waste energy on the dying leaves. You need some Seachem root tabs for the Swords. It will take a bit for the plant to start uptaking the nutrients, Also I would recommend getting Seachem Flourish Comprehensive. It is a decent fert for most plants. Once you gain more experience you might think about checking into PPS Pro dry fetrs. You get way more for your money with them, as you are not paying for 95%water. Also I would recommend startind to dose Seachem Excel. If you have Anacharis, Valeseneria, or Cabomba then the Excel is out, it will melt the named plants down. It will take time, but the plants should be salvageable.
You have a lot of info now from all the posters to get you on the road to recovery for your plants.
We will all try to help you out!!
 

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I think you've heard most of the possibilities for what happened. I suspect elevated chlorine, but I've never had my plants impacted like that! The only time I've seen anything similar was when I dipped every plant from a tank in a 5% bleach solution due to horrible BBA.

It's ok to leave the dying leaves on the plants. Dead leaves are ok to remove but won't hurt the plant at all, they just look messy. Plants can recover some nutrients from dying (but not dead) leaves sometimes. Disrupt the plants as little as possible, add some root tabs if you don't already (swords really feed heavily from the roots), and add a good balanced fertilizer. From what little I've read the Leaf Zone may not have as much phosphate/phosphorus as Flourish comprehensive. I'm not certain exactly what's in the Leaf Zone, but if it's been working for you, it's probably fine.

The swords may recover, or you may lose some. Give them some time and TLC via fertilizers and root tabs.
Using Excel (Glutaraldehyde) will make the recovery faster, but as already mentioned, Excel will "take out" certain plants! Other Excel-sensitive plants include Dwarf Sag and Java moss.

Good Luck!
 
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Can the chlorine level really get elevated that much? I would think that anything that "makes tap water safe for fish" would be able to handle any level that's legal in tap water. :X Scary that this could happen at random, if this is the case. :/
 
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