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 A Word For Newbies!!!

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Passionweed
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PostSubject: A Word For Newbies!!!   Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:20 pm

I'm fairly new with aquariums...started last December and FINALLY...through much trial and error I got my tank cycled and my
guppies were doing wonderfully for 4 months.

My aquarium is in the basement of my home....where my office is.  I like to watch them while I work.  Since it's been so humid
lately it has really gotten stuffy and musty smelling in the basement and I did something (so innocently)...and it wiped out my
tank within 8 hours.

I took a can of fabreeze air freshener and sprayed about 3/4's of the can all over the basement to get rid of the musty smell.  My
tank has a fairly large opening in the top of it.  I had no idea that this was a deadly chemical to fish.  I noticed within a couple
hours of spraying it (I had yet to make the correlation between the spray and the fish's reaction), the fish started hanging at the
top of the tank and swimming listlessly.  One by one, they darted upside down, all around the tank....and died.

I quickly did a partial water change (50%) and tested my water (all parameters were perfect).  It was too little, too late.  By the
next morning every single fish was gone.

I did some online research and found several references to paint fume poisoning, bug spray poisoning, and air freshener spray poisoning.  

Just passing on my experience and hopefully someone else may see this and avoid this tragedy.  I feel REALLY stupid!  I just didn't
realize how something so simple as spraying air freshener could be so toxic to fish.

I've changed out another 50% of the water, also replaced the carbon in the filter.  I wonder if anyone can make any suggestions as to how long I should wait (or anything else I should do) before putting new fish into the tank.  I believe the biological filter is probably OK???  Any advice would be appreciate.

Dave
Orange County, VA
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Ron
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PostSubject: Re: A Word For Newbies!!!   Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:48 pm

Oh Noooo Dave Sad  ,
So sorry to hear about your losses. Just a brief additional note to all the Newbies don't spray any cleaners, air fresheners, aerosols, and on and on in the same room as the aquariums. If you must use any of these products remember to spray on a rag away from the tanks and be VERY careful where you wipe so that no particles of rag fall in water or especially any part of the rag.
Make sure always to also rinse your hands and arms thoroughly before putting them in the water when maintenancing/cleaning and etc. There is nearly always a soap residue on our skins that they too are very toxic to fish.
Again so sorry to hear. Hope this will not discourage you to start again. A lot of Guppy owners out there who might be able to help you get started again.
Make sure you completely rinse any item in your tank if your going to try and reuse and recycle again. If you ask there are probably some members near you that may be able to give you some "seed material" to help speed up your cycling time.
Good Luck

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Liz
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PostSubject: Re: A Word For Newbies!!!   Wed Jul 29, 2015 6:34 am

Dave, this is such a shame!! More importantly, I wonder what it does to us humans as we spray our sofas and curtains, if it can kill the fish that quickly! Yikes Shocked

Thank you so much for sharing this, at a time when you likely don't feel much like telling anyone about anything. I'm sure we've all done similar things and never put two and two together.

(I have moved the topic over to General Freshwater - the Suggestions and Questions forum is meant more for suggestions for how the forum itself is run, so you'll get more views and responses in the FW section)

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Passionweed
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PostSubject: Re: A Word For Newbies!!!   Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:13 am

Thank's Liz, for moving this to the appropriate place Smile

OK...I've changed out another 50% of the tank water (this makes 3 50% water changes) so I feel I've gotten (hopefully) all toxins out.  I took every plant (plastic) and ornament out of the tank and scrubbed well in hot water.  I've done a VERY thorough vacuuming of the gravel, and all the sides of the tank have been wiped down clean.  The filter was replaced with new carbon, but not bio balls.  I did not replace the filter sponge either.

My water parameters are:  (however I know this will not show any toxins in the water).

Ph 6.8, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate a little under 5.0.  

   What I don't want to have to do is to replace the sponge filter and have to start over with building up the bacterial filter.  Do you think the tank is safe, considering the massive water
changes...or could those toxins still be lurking in the sponge filter?  Not sure what to do next...

Any advice is greatly appreciated Smile

Dave
Orange Co., VA
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Deb
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PostSubject: Re: A Word For Newbies!!!   Wed Jul 29, 2015 10:44 am

Dave, you've done a lot already to make sure the tank is safe for new fish.  I'm sure you will have a successful recovery from this disaster.  

The biological bacteria in your filter will begin to die off after 24-48 hours unless it has something to eat.  Therefore, add a couple of flakes of fish food daily, until you begin restocking.  Is this the 5 gallon tank?  If so, just two or three flakes will do it.  

If this were my tank this is what I'd do at this point:
- Make sure all of the water has been changed to fresh at least twice.
- Wait a day, then plunge the bioballs into some fresh aquarium water for a very quick rinse.  
- Wait a day, then quick-rinse the sponge filter.  Squeeze it out once or twice in some fresh aquarium water.  

Keep feeding the couple of flakes to the tank.  By next week you should be able to add one guppy to get things started again.

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Passionweed
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PostSubject: Re: A Word For Newbies!!!   Wed Jul 29, 2015 10:54 am

Hi Deb,

  THANK YOU so much for your advice Smile  Yes, this is the same 5.6 gallon fluval tank I started with.  I have plans to get a bigger tank, but I first wanted to go some time with this small one and see what problems I might encounter before investing in a large tank (I just learned a HUGE lesson)...and although the loss was minimal, it's still a loss and I feel terrible about it!  At least it wasn't a 30 or 55 gallon tank full of fish that I poisoned...

   OK...I'll do exactly what you said...I'll continue to feed the tank a couple of flakes a day and I'll rinse out the bio balls and squeeze the sponge filter.  Will move forward to getting 1 new fish next week.

   I'll keep ya posted Wink

Dave
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gerald
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PostSubject: Re: A Word For Newbies!!!   Wed Jul 29, 2015 1:28 pm

You could try some Daphina or grass shrimp first as "canaries" to see if there's anything toxic remaining.  I have no idea what the toxic ingredients might be, how long they persist, or whether they've harmed your nitrifying bacteria.  Can you find a MSDS sheet (manufacturer's safety data) for this product?  

Here it is:
https://www.pg.com/productsafety/msds/professional_line/professional_line/Febreze.pdf
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PostSubject: Re: A Word For Newbies!!!   Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:57 pm

Thank's Gerald for the suggestion.  OK....I waited five days, did several large water changes, squeezed out my filter sponge and rinsed my bio balls in fresh water (I'm on a well, so no chlorine
in my water).....  I took your suggestion and got two ghost shrimp at Petsmart in C'ville (only 35 cents each)....and they lived so I figured the water was back to normal.  I've introduced three guppies and all are fine.  I've been checking my water parameters and everything is:

pH 6.8, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate under 5.0 (figuring all the water changes knocked it wayyy down).

It looks like everything is back to normal now.  A hard lesson learned!  

Thank's everyone for the suggestions and help, I really appreciate it Smile

Dave,
Orange Co., VA
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PostSubject: Re: A Word For Newbies!!!   Sat Aug 15, 2015 12:39 am

@Passionweed
I'm happy to hear that your tank is recovering. It must have been traumatic. You are not the first person to experience such an event and won't be the last. Thanks for reminding us all about the dangers of spraying chemicals around our homes and tanks...Cool

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PostSubject: Re: A Word For Newbies!!!   Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:49 am

You might send a letter to P&G explaining what happened, with a suggestion to include "do not spray near aquariums" on their label. Makes me wonder if it might also be hazardous to pet birds, frogs, reptiles ...
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PostSubject: Re: A Word For Newbies!!!   Sun Aug 16, 2015 3:02 pm

@gerald That's a good idea. Idea  

Another choice for @Passionweed might be to skip the aerosol can and use the Febreze pump spray.  Use it sparingly to spray the contents of a trash can, or other objects which will absorb the spray.  The results will be the same as far as freshening, and there is little chance of the spray entering the water if you are careful to direct the spray downwards.

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