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Fish crisis 2
John Shepard ( - Sat Oct 23, 2010 07:13:29 GMT - 1127
''Also known as: when methylene blue goes horribly wrong. ''
The tank crisis continues.

Hydrogen sulfide is nasty stuff. The Permian-Triassic Extinction Event, the largest mass extinction known to have ever occurred on this planet, killing something like 98% of all the biomass on the planet, even bigger in scale than the one that killed the dinosaurs, was probably caused by hydrogen sulfide. The stuff is lethal to humans as well, although to die from it you'd have to stick your face in the bottom corner of a room full of the stuff with no ventilation and wait for it to collect along the floor.

What it does to fish is usually kill them in 24 hours.

What it does to the tank however is to kill off the beneficial bacteria, and otherwise wreck the water chemistry.

So I've done another water change, vacuumed the tank out real good, and cleaned the sand. Recall that the reason I went with sand is to avoid this exact scenario - because I lost a lot of fish to a sulfide layer that had built up from rotten food down in the gravel - well, it does still happen with sand, it will still build up a layer of nasty underneath, but it's harder to disturb. If it occurs in gravel, water currents and casual tank cleanings are enough to distribute concentrated fish poison through the tank. In sand, you generally only get the Cloud when you uproot big plants or something.

Anyway. The day I did that, I was in there with the siphon in about a minute - but maybe that wasn't fast enough. I'm guessing it kills bacteria in seconds. The killing of bacteria has two immediate effects: one, it drastically truncates the tank's ability to rid itself of ammonia, and two, the dead bacteria decompose in the water and add to the bad situation.

So after yet another day of everybody acting strange, of barbs with faded stripes gasping for air at the surface, I did a massive water change and vacuuming - and noticed bubbles rising from the sand anywhere the surface layer was broken - and I think I got the worst of it out.

Following that, the fish in general seemed to improve, except one tiger barb that continued to gasp at the surface.

Says I, I'd rather say "I wish I hadn't put him in the methylene blue" than, as I say now about the algae eater, "I wish I'd put him in the methylene blue." So I put him in the methylene blue.

Whereupon the tiger barb thrashed around, gasped at the surface with its face completely out of the water, and fell to the bottom of the tank - in the matter of about eight seconds.

I wish I hadn't put him in the methylene blue.

That's not supposed to happen. But they do say, when you use methylene blue, watch for signs of distress and if you see the fish reacting poorly, get it the fuck out of there.

Which I did, and put it back in the main tank - and watched it fall to the bottom where it lay gasping.

I had just enough presence of mind to think - it's been gasping for air, now it's on the bottom of a 20 gallon tank with no ability to swim to the surface. What it needs is oxygen. What it needs is the surface. So I netted it again and put it in the clear-plastic breeder basket, so it is never more than a few inches from the surface - and put an airstone in there with it to help boost its oxygen supply.

For now, that barb is alive - but is definitely not in good shape. However, it's upright and ambulatory, it's no longer lying down. It might recover. Might.

When I cleaned the tank I found the empty shell of my favorite snail. So that's another casualty. There are very few snails left. And I notice, no algae.

But for right now all the fish are alive.

There's even an Amano shrimp in there, although those have a tendency to conk out after water changes. The next 24 hours will tell the tale.

How ya like the new icon? That's Hose, by the way, picture taken sometime in June. At some point I ought to do a pic dump.

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