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Substrate changed - stressed fish


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So, I did something a little stupid. I decided that white sand in my 75gal goldfish tank just looks horrible and I decided to change it to black using the black diamond blasting sand. I rinsed the sand really well and basically broke my back removing old sand and adding new the new sand. 

I moved the goldfish in the 75 in with the goldfish in the 55 just overnight so things would have time to settle and I could test the water and everything....I'm thinking that was a huge mistake. I had just done a fresh water change and I didn't feed the fish at all to try and minimize waste during their overnight stay but now everyone is very stressed and I'm not sure how to fix it. I have done a water change on the 55 and moved the other fish back to the 75.. I have an air stone going in both to make sure there is enough oxygen for them... but outside of that... what can I do?

 

A few of the fish are sitting on the bottom not moving a ton, clamped fins, the works. HELP! 😞 

 

Edit: I have not seen a major cycle crash, and I treated with Fritzyme 7 to help make up for lost BB

 

UPDATE: Fish are now doing okay and relatively back to normal. After reading a bunch of y’all’s comments it is likely that I will be replacing the substrate again with something lower grit. I don’t think I will need to leave them in the second goldfish tank overnight again so I expect things to run much smoother on try #2!

 

UPDATE PT.2: Everything is alive and happy! Thanks to everyone for the advice!

 

E660890D-5936-4A14-9934-EDE82C2EA8DF.jpeg

Edited by EVoyager31
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On 1/6/2023 at 6:04 AM, EVoyager31 said:

So, I did something a little stupid. I decided that white sand in my 75gal goldfish tank just looks horrible and I decided to change it to black using the black diamond blasting sand. I rinsed the sand really well and basically broke my back removing old sand and adding new the new sand. 

I moved the goldfish in the 75 in with the goldfish in the 55 just overnight so things would have time to settle and I could test the water and everything....I'm thinking that was a huge mistake. I had just done a fresh water change and I didn't feed the fish at all to try and minimize waste during their overnight stay but now everyone is very stressed and I'm not sure how to fix it. I have done a water change on the 55 and moved the other fish back to the 75.. I have an air stone going in both to make sure there is enough oxygen for them... but outside of that... what can I do?

I had a similar issue, let me grab the post and video I took.  You might've had a similar batch issue as was my case and It's relatively easy to tell when you siphon and see the metal flakes.  To my hand it felt like rough sandpaper texture as opposed to the sand texture I'm (and fish) are used to.


https://forum.aquariumcoop.com/topic/5-what-did-you-get-done-today/?do=findComment&comment=238136

This was after about 36 hours on the BDBS and you can see how tore up the fish looks.

image.png.8b21514aa30bbdb7ffe8025a0ce85cb7.png

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On 1/6/2023 at 1:12 PM, Schuyler said:

Maybe messing with the sand kicked the bacteria up into the water column?

Do you have a way to turn up the filtration fur a while to help remove bacteria from the water?

Im running two canisters on it now, they ran all night after I swapped substrates..

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On 1/6/2023 at 2:48 PM, EVoyager31 said:

Im running two canisters on it now, they ran all night after I swapped substrates..

Changing substrate should not negatively impact a cycle in a tank.

If you're putting something that leeches ammonia, that's one thing, but swapping the substrate is something that's been done many, many times. Your cycle is safely kept in your filter and on other parts of the tank. They can adapt and recover as need be.

I very much doubt this is a cycle issue.

That being said, I would caution you with BDBS as mentioned above. It's a recycled medium and it's not sand. It can be blown around in high flow applications very easily and that can scratch the fish depending on what is in the tank. More stress means more ammonia. That's one thing to look at.

Common things for fish stress are air, temperature, and salt. Make sure the fish are comfortable, temp is right, equipment is working, and that oxygenation is there or added too.

Take your hand and stick it in the tank to check flow. Do you feel particles smashing against your hand from the BDBS being blown around?

Do the fish look scarred? Rapid breathing?

If the bag you had was mixed with some not nice things for fish, it's usually easy to tell visually (more metal flake in the substrate than normal) vs something that looks like powdered carbon.

Especially with bottom dwelling fish, check bellies and things like that.

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On 1/6/2023 at 4:08 PM, nabokovfan87 said:

I had a similar issue, let me grab the post and video I took.  You might've had a similar batch issue as was my case and It's relatively easy to tell when you siphon and see the metal flakes.  To my hand it felt like rough sandpaper texture as opposed to the sand texture I'm (and fish) are used to.


https://forum.aquariumcoop.com/topic/5-what-did-you-get-done-today/?do=findComment&comment=238136

This was after about 36 hours on the BDBS and you can see how tore up the fish looks.

image.png.8b21514aa30bbdb7ffe8025a0ce85cb7.png

I wish I had seen this before I bought the BDBS.. I have seen both experienced and novice aquarists mention it as a great cheaper option for substrate. After reading this I went out and bought a magnet..I am pulling up a lot more than I expected... However my fish have improved exponentially over the last several hours and the turbostart I bought has helped a ton too.... but now I am concerned about the magnetic material I am pulling up with the magnet. I haven't seen any mention of it but on the post you linked...hard to believe so many people have used it with "zero issues" as I have read..

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I think the fish will settle down after the lights are off ,,just test your water  best wishes please keep us posted 

I use Black Diamond sand love it  have in all my tanks i found it is best to clean to use hot water instead of cold  and do not clean the whole bag at one time  better to  clean a little at a time a    bucket at time it gets cleaner and clearer faster 

allot of people try to clean the whole bag at one time and it harder to clean more dust 

i used the video below when i first bought  to how to clean i even used a magnet like he mentioned in the video mine did not have metal ,,  
i turn off the lights afterwards when i was done 

for that  evening and aa couple days afterwards I  did a daily  testing for ammonia and nitrites and nitrates & daily water changes if needed till the readings and water was clear ,,  

plus the day after i check clean the filter ‘s filter-pad in  bucket with tank water if need ,, mine was dusty  from the sand  

my cories, shrimp, snails, bristolnose , and plants  do fine and on the sand with root tabs for plants

 

 

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On 1/6/2023 at 7:14 PM, Bev C said:

I think the fish will settle down after the lights are off ,,just test your water  best wishes please keep us posted 

I use Black Diamond sand love it  have in all my tanks i found it is best to clean to use hot water instead of cold  and do not clean the whole bag at one time  better to  clean a little at a time a    bucket at time it gets cleaner and clearer faster 

allot of people try to clean the whole bag at one time and it harder to clean more dust 

i used the video below when i first bought  to how to clean i even used a magnet like he mentioned in the video mine did not have metal ,,  
i turn off the lights afterwards when i was done 

for that  evening and aa couple days afterwards I  did a daily  testing for ammonia and nitrites and nitrates & daily water changes if needed till the readings and water was clear ,,  

plus the day after i check clean the filter ‘s filter-pad in  bucket with tank water if need ,, mine was dusty  from the sand  

my cories, shrimp, snails, bristolnose , and plants  do fine and on the sand with root tabs for plants

 

 

Interesting.. more conflicting info! I’m a nervous wreck right now so I plan to replace with traditional sand tomorrow.. but maybe I will see how they do.. I don’t know.. lol

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I'm a fancy goldfish keeper and started a new 40g tank with pool sand Sept. '22. I loved the look, but my calico ranchu's mostly black body faded to light brown! Decided to switch to BDBS a few weeks ago. Left fish in tank, siphoned out the sand over 2 days 'til bottom was bare.  Lightly rinsed the BDBS and scooped it in over a couple hours (I'm no kid) and tank is on 2nd floor!  Water parameters didn't change and no one acted stress. Maybe it was putting your fish in a different tank with other fish or slightly different parameters/temps that stressed them? As a couple others have said, maybe doing nothing and letting them settle would be the best approach? I don't think it's the substrate that caused this as I just did the same thing. I kept tank level full, didn't change anything but the substrate. Filters running entire time, etc.

Edited by Torbay
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BDBS is perfectly safe. The majority of bacteria is in your substrate. Swapping it just reduces the bacterial count in the aquarium. Just monitor for ammonia and nitrites and just be ready for a water change if you see either. Relax, it's going to be fine.

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On 1/6/2023 at 7:38 PM, Torbay said:

I'm a fancy goldfish keeper and started a new 40g tank with pool sand Sept. '22. I loved the look, but my calico ranchu's mostly black body faded to light brown! Decided to switch to BDBS a few weeks ago. Left fish in tank, siphoned out the sand over 2 days 'til bottom was bare.  Lightly rinsed the BDBS and scooped it in over 1 a couple hours (I'm no kid) and tank is on 2nd floor!  Water parameters didn't change and no one acted stress. Maybe it was putting them in a different tank with other fish, different parameters that stressed them? As a couple others have said, maybe doing nothing and letting them settle would be the best approach? I don't think it's the substrate that stressed them.

Well they’ve improved remarkably since this morning.. so I am not so worried about their stress anymore! Question, what grit BDBS did you use? Apparently there are different grits and I have extra fine.. the 30/60 I believe. 

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I used the medium grit. It's in the white/black bag, 20/40 I think.

 

My BDBS is NOT as fine as the pool filter sand was. But I think some people have used the fine grit ok...

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@EVoyager31 best wishes  

 I could be wrong  everyone has  different experience 

but i am just stating  with my own experience with the Black Diamond  have has 2-3 years  now ,, 

I use to have gravel but wanted black sand and my fish store guy  told me of Black Diamond. plus i did my internet research      my fish guy been in business 40 years  and use it and i do not think he would stir me wrong  he just told to use a magnet and clean it good  I got mine at  tractor supply store 

 i also used this article he did his own research too and wrote  this article 

https://aquanswers.com/black-diamond-blasting-sand-aquarium-safety/

 and I use the video i listed in my last post  to clean it 

There is different grits of the sand  there is one that is more powder i think that is 30/60  

.  but i was told from my fish guy and the article i listed above grit  20/40 is best 

so i have use 20/40  grit in all my 3 tanks 

after it settles it is easy clean with a siphon  after i planted my plants i do just top siphon   

Any sand or gravel will have allot of dust if you take your hand and rake it .. i think the Black Diamond is easier to clean .. but that is my option 

When i did my main  tank i had very old fish biggest 3-4 inch  and they did fine 

Edited by Bev C
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On 1/6/2023 at 4:02 PM, EVoyager31 said:

I wish I had seen this before I bought the BDBS.. I have seen both experienced and novice aquarists mention it as a great cheaper option for substrate. After reading this I went out and bought a magnet..I am pulling up a lot more than I expected... However my fish have improved exponentially over the last several hours and the turbostart I bought has helped a ton too.... but now I am concerned about the magnetic material I am pulling up with the magnet. I haven't seen any mention of it but on the post you linked...hard to believe so many people have used it with "zero issues" as I have read..

The main thing for me, if you look into it, was that I had to wear a mask + gloves due to my own health risks just to rinse it.... Which, given the intended use I understand, but when I rinsed mine I was legitimately pouring out metallic foam for a solid 30 minutes.  I had a really, really bad batch.  If you want to use it, go for it, but I highly recommend trying to siphon off those copper / bronze flakes I showed in the video at the end there.  Those are definitely not helping anything in your tank.

image.png.8a390554c42bdd4bb8eeef9126cdf6c9.png

I highly recommend the CaribSea Crystal River sand.  Second to that is likely pool filter sand or even tumbled gravel.  I have Seachem flourite black in my main tank, have had a bit of issues, but I do enjoy the look.  It does not hold plants well, but it does impact and compress similar to sand, which is good once they do grow a bit of roots.

@Odd Duck has been running it for a long time and had really good success with it.  Perhaps there is a technique or something in terms of maintenance or even initial setup that could be beneficial.  Beautiful tanks OD shows off!

Edited by nabokovfan87
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On 1/7/2023 at 12:18 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

The main thing for me, if you look into it, was that I had to wear a mask + gloves due to my own health risks just to rinse it.... Which, given the intended use I understand, but when I rinsed mine I was legitimately pouring out metallic foam for a solid 30 minutes.  I had a really, really bad batch.  If you want to use it, go for it, but I highly recommend trying to siphon off those copper / bronze flakes I showed in the video at the end there.  Those are definitely not helping anything in your tank.

image.png.8a390554c42bdd4bb8eeef9126cdf6c9.png

I highly recommend the CaribSea Crystal River sand.  Second to that is likely pool filter sand or even tumbled gravel.  I have Seachem flourite black in my main tank, have had a bit of issues, but I do enjoy the look.  It does not hold plants well, but it does impact and compress similar to sand, which is good once they do grow a bit of roots.

@Odd Duck has been running it for a long time and had really good success with it.  Perhaps there is a technique or something in terms of maintenance or even initial setup that could be beneficial.  Beautiful tanks OD shows off!

Wow!  I knew you had trouble with your batch, but I had no idea you had that much trouble before you even got it in your tank.  It takes me about 10, maybe 15 minutes tops, to rinse an entire bag and I get zero foam other than a tiny trace of foam at first that’s gone in seconds just like when I rinse the pool filter sand.  I must have been very lucky so far because I’ve had no issues at all after probably, 8-9 bags all together?  I’ve bought BDBS from, I’m certain at least 3 different shipments, because a couple times they were out of sand when we go to get it.  After the first time, we call to make sure they have some of the right grade before we go to pick some up.

I put half the bag into a 3 gallon bucket and run the hose fairly high and start rinsing by cramming the hose down to the bottom and letting the water flow.  It fluidizes the sand and I just stir it around until the water runs off clear, which takes 5-7 minutes in the bucket.  Then I do the same thing directly in the bag with the remaining sand. I drain both and plop it in the tank.  Done.

I guess we need to caution people that if they get more than a trace of foam, they should discard the bag and get some from a different source or try something else in their area.

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It's it just the fish in the new substrate that are stressed ?

I had a goldfish that would sulk if I took it's ugly ornament out of the tank (would just sit on the bottom until it was returned). 

Keep the lights out and feeding normal and they should relax. The fish don't know that are back in there old tank they are somewhere new and they don't know yet that there isn't a giant pike in there about to eat them. Once they realise they are safe they will relax again. They had a very confusing day they might also be wondering where those other fish they met have gone. 

Did you put the same fish back in the 55?

Assuming of course all parameters are kept good.

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On 1/7/2023 at 12:42 AM, Odd Duck said:

Wow!  I knew you had trouble with your batch, but I had no idea you had that much trouble before you even got it in your tank.  It takes me about 10, maybe 15 minutes tops, to rinse an entire bag and I get zero foam other than a tiny trace of foam at first that’s gone in seconds just like when I rinse the pool filter sand.  I must have been very lucky so far because I’ve had no issues at all after probably, 8-9 bags all together?  I’ve bought BDBS from, I’m certain at least 3 different shipments, because a couple times they were out of sand when we go to get it.  After the first time, we call to make sure they have some of the right grade before we go to pick some up.

Yeah.... I watched the video above of the bathtub method.  Night and day.  Looks like normal "dusty sand" as opposed to anything I saw.  Really, really weird.  And yep.... BDBS in a high manufacturing environment from Tractor Supply and it was the course grade, same as everyone.

It happens.  I am very thankful the fish are doing well and recovered from the issues.

On 1/7/2023 at 12:42 AM, Odd Duck said:

I guess we need to caution people that if they get more than a trace of foam, they should discard the bag and get some from a different source or try something else in their area.

Yeah, definitely.  We need to make it clear.  This is a recycled medium and there are variations.  I think we are past the days of "it happened once or twice" and "someone got a few flakes of metal".  Mine was mostly that bronze and brass coloration as opposed to mostly black with a little bit of flakes.  The siphon showing the silt, you can see all those flakes coming out.  I'm used to seeing those in beach sand, especially in oceanside, but that's more of a brown silt vs. actual bits of metal.

No idea what that foam was, I rinsed it until it looked like normal substrate, but just yeah.... caution advised.

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@nabokovfan87 so sorry you got a bad batch  i was very lucky then i bought 2 bags  I went through both bags  before and after cleaning  with my magnet  and mine did not  have any foam like yours ,, mind had allot dust ,, but it got very clean  very clear   i mixed with seachem’s black fluorite sand  for the plants   only reason i used was my fish store guy  told me of it i like the black over the natural look 

Edited by Bev C
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