Broken Heater Disaster!

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by sylviepld, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. sylviepld

    sylviepldValued MemberMember

    Ok so my heater in my 10 gallon tank malfunctioned and I almost had fish soup. The temperature got up into the 90's! I lost my two Peppered Cories but my Glowlight Danios are surviving so far. I brought the temperature down slowly by doing a big water change then got a new heater right away. Then I got two more Cories the next day. When I got up this morning to check on them one of my new Cories had died so I checked my parameters. My ammonia was up to 8ppm!! Yikes. What I didn't realize is that the heat killed off my beneficial bacteria as well and this caused a huge ammonia spike. My pH also went down to 6. I did a 50% water change right away and added some BB and some Seacham Prime. I'll keep my fingers crossed and check my levels again tomorrow. I may have to do more water changes for a few days. I hope my fish can hang in there until things settle down. Wish me luck. If you have any other suggestions to help solve this problem faster please let me know.
  2. mclemente06

    mclemente06Valued MemberMember

    Dang. What type of heater is it so I can steer clear?
  3. OP

    sylviepldValued MemberMember

    This was an ancient heater that you couldn't even set a specific temperature. You just turned the dial until the light just went off at the temperature you wanted. Somehow I think I may have accidentally turned the dial during a cleaning or it just died on it's own. I think it was an old Hagen.

  4. AllieSten

    AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    So sorry for your fish loss. I can just imagine the panic once you discovered it. Geesh.

    The increased temp should not have killed off your cycle. I have had my tanks up to 90 treating ich without a single issue. Your pH dropping to 6 is probably the cause. This is called a pH crash and is most likely caused by your tap water hardness level.

    I can help you resolve this if you want some help. The first thing you need to do is test your tap water pH straight out of the tap, and then leave a cup of water out for 24 hours and test the pH then. Then also test your tank pH. If there is a huge difference between tap and tank, you most likely have soft water. Which will eventually cause a pH crash. Since you are having to do a bunch of water changes right now, your tank pH isn't going to be too accurate. I would wait until after your tank stabilizes to address all this. You want tank water that has been in the tank at least a few days without being changed.

    You need to do a 75% water change. Right away. With a 50% water change you dropped your 8ppm to 4ppm. Seachem Prime only protects up to 1ppm. So doing a 75% will get you to 1ppm. You can even do another 50% change the same day to get it even lower. (This is probably what I would do)

    Good luck.
  5. FishFish221

    FishFish221Well Known MemberMember

    Guess I have to go replace my heater on my 5 gallon now. Its exactly the same thing you described, made by Hagen and has a knob but no temperature.
  6. TwoHedWlf

    TwoHedWlfWell Known MemberMember

    Given that the temp reading on heaters is almost always inaccurate most heaters should be treated like that anyway. You should be using a thermometer to read the temp. It's not a significant negative.
  7. OP

    sylviepldValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the great advice.

    Woo hoo! I just did another 50% water change (1st one a few hours earlier) and tested again after a little while. My pH is back at 7.4 and my ammonia is 0.25ppm! Now I just hope it stays that way.
    I definitely agree. I always calibrate my heaters. However, the problem with this one is that the knob turns so easily I could have done so accidentally.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2017
  8. darthyeojValued MemberMember

    Most likely the high temperature caused the bacteria to multiply exponentially and used the mineral content in your water which subsequently caused the pH drop. The drastic change in pH is probably what killed your fish.

    Good to hear your ammonia has dropped back down.
  9. jl_1005

    jl_1005Valued MemberMember

    Good to hear!
  10. smee82Fishlore VIPMember

    Sorry to hear about your fishies.

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