New tank, disaster or at least it is to me

Tykey

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Hi folks, I've just joined your group.
I've had a 200 litre freshwater community tank for about 30 years. It's been happy plodding on all this time with not much more than regular water changes.
That's until it sprung a leak a week or so ago. I rushed out and bought a similar second hand tank and set off swapping them over. I temporary put the fish in a bucket with the original water.
Sadly, the change took a bit longer than I hoped for, and the fish probably got a bit cold and stressed, and a few didn't make it. The ones which made it seemed quite happy when I went to bed, but the next morning most others were dead, and after another couple of days I was down to one pearl gourami.
Over the next day or 3 it became very cloudy with a grey scum, which I put down to a bacterial bloom. I keep clea ING off the scum.
Water tests were OK, so I just added 6 small black ruby barbs. That was an hour ago, and I've already found 2 dead ones.

What on earth am I doing wrong, and what to do next?

Any advice, gratefully received.
 
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Tykey

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I bought it second hand, and it was already cleaned, so I never gave it another thought.
I'll have to check back with the seller. I'll get back to you. I used the old internal filter which came with it. I'll check on that as well.
Thanks.

PS I bought a sack of new gravel, and washed that
 
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Tykey

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Initially I used the filter which came with the tank. It seemed to be used a bit, but didn't want to wash it. I'm checking how long it had been out of the tank, or if it had been cleaned.
As soon as the bloom became evident, I put in my original filter as well. I hadn't cleaned it, but it was outside for a couple of days, and the nights were cold!!
So there's double the amount of recommended filtration, volume-wise, but not sure if biologically they are any use at this time.
 
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Tykey

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After a couple of days, yes. But it had been outside in the cold for those days, so the good guys in there might be dead. I had added a bottle of Fluval biological enhancer when I filled the tank.
I could understand (just) what is happening, except for the fish dying so quickly.
Maybe I'll finish up emptying the thing, giving everything a very thorough cleaning and starting again. Not giving up though.
Can you tell I'm getting frustrated? ??
 
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Tykey

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I have an answer about the old tank and filter. The filter was just allowed to drain and not cleaned, but stood for a few days. The tank was just rinsed out with water. So nothing toxic was able to contaminate it.
What I'm beginning to understand from everybodies very helpful comments is that the biological cycle just isn't ready to support fish, or even clean water. I didn't understand how sensitive to change these systems are.
So how should get back to a healthy tank, starting from where I am today?

Thanks for your support
 

Retired Viking

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I would read about cycling your tank and the start the cycling process from scratch. Tetra safe start plus can be used to jump start your tank. It had the correct bacteria. Sorry about your fish.
 

mrsjoannh13

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I'd say your fish were stressed from the move and possible big swing in temperature change during the moves from one tank into a holding bucket then into their new home. I understand your frustration. I tried to help my daughter's fish by upgrading them from a 10 gallon tank to a 20g. During the process, 2 of them did not make it. It was very disheartening. But you are doing the best for your fish that you can. Unfortunately in this hobby there are losses. I'm sure you've learned something from this whole process that will make you a better fish keeper.

In terns of jump starting the tank to get it ready (or safe) for fish, I've had very good luck with Tetra Safe Start Plus (bacteria in a bottle). I had nitrates immediately and it quickly controlled the ammonia level in the tank. Dr. Tim's has a similar product but I did not personally have luck with that one. I've heard it can depend a lot on what happened to the bottles in transit and storage. If the temps were too high or too low it could destroy the bacteria. I wound up buying a couple of different bottles with different expiration dates and lot numbers just in case one bottle was a dud. Luckily the first bottle of Safe Start I used worked a charm.

Good luck and keep posting so we know how you are doing!
 
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Tykey

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Decision made, I actually did start cycling properly, but inadvertently stressed out the fish en route, and that's confused the situation. You've all been great in helping me sort out my thoughts - THANKS
So I'm going to leave it alone to settle down, although I'll buy some test strips to keep watch on it. The few remaining fish have been through a lot, and any further changes will almost certainly finish them off, so they will have to battle on.
I think I'll remove one of the filters, and return it to a normal set up. I'd already added some Fluval Cycle Bio enhancer about 3 days ago. Would adding a bit extra with the Tetra stuff do any harm?
 
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Tykey

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I've slept on it, and I'm certain that you are all correct in that I didnt cycle the system properly. There are lots of things I could have done better.
Firstly, I could/should have treated the tap water as I filled the tank. My local aquarium specialist has supplied me with some Aquadip to treat any top up water in the future.
Secondly, I really suspect most of the balance problems/scum/bloom have been caused by using a bottle of Fluval cycle. That is now on my blacklist. He sold me some Startup nano, from Prodibio, which appears to be a cultured mix as described by Tetra startup plus(which they didn't stock). This stuff says I can add new fish immediately, but I'm not confident enough to do that. So my pearl gourami will be lonely this Xmas.
So I'm off to skim off some scum and change a bit of water, then in with the startup stuff.
Wish me luck????
 
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the_lock_man

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The bacteria in the filter are remarkably hardy. Even without an ammonia source, they will go dormant for quite some time, even if the media has dried out. If the media has stayed wet, then they will spring back to life quite quickly.

However, if you've put untreated tap water in there, then yeah, you'll likely have killed them.
 

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