10 Gallon Tank I used soap to clean my tank filter!

lotusfish

Member
Hi there,

I am new to aquarium life and to this forum. A bit of backstory to start: In December 2020 around Christmas, I bought a 10 gallon fish tank as I have been wanting some sort of responsibility during covid (I have been unemployed). I got my tank all set up, used water conditioner and water and waited a week to get my fish. I got 3 GloFish tetras from PetSmart and floated the bag for 30 minutes and then put them in my tank. I woke up next morning, 2 of them were dead and one hanging on. I was absolutely heartbroken. I flushed them down the toilet and wasn’t sure what went wrong. The last one died the next night and I flushed him too. For about a month after that happened, I left the dead fish water in the tank and left the filter running up until beginning of March 2021 (this month) and I decided finally that I was going to try again. I emptied the water from the tank and scrubbed the tank with water. I also rinsed the gravel and the plants. I unfortunately made the mistake of using soap on the plastic part of the filter because it was quite dirty. I knew that soap wasn’t good but I figured if I rinse it thoroughly, it would be fine. Right now, I have been cycling with a shrimp for about a week and a half and am worried that even though I rinsed my filter really well under hot water that it is still dangerous. Are there tests I can do to find this out? I feel like I’ve been waiting since Christmas to get fish friends and I would hate to start over a third time. Please help!! (Also should note that I am planning to get a school of neon tetras soon from a better store than PetSmart)
 

StarGirl

Member
Hello Welcome to Fishlore!

I think if the fish were going to die from soap they would have, since its been a week I think you are fine. Do you have a testing kit or do you bring the water into the pet store? Since you said you are cycling with shrimp Im assuming you know about the cycle and it will take at least a month or more before you can add fish.

We also like pictures of tanks too!
 

The2dCour

Member
Soap will often form bubbles or oily slick on top of your water if it is still there. As StarGirl said a week of toxic levels of soap would have done its work by now.
 
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lotusfish

Member
StarGirl said:
Hello Welcome to Fishlore!

I think if the fish were going to die from soap they would have, since its been a week I think you are fine. Do you have a testing kit or do you bring the water into the pet store? Since you said you are cycling with shrimp Im assuming you know about the cycle and it will take at least a month or more before you can add fish.

We also like pictures of tanks too!
I don’t actually have fish in it yet. I’m just cycling for right now. My fish tank is pretty lame looking right now but I am going to put live plants and more decorations in there when I get my fish. I also realize I need to add more water which I will do soon as well!
The2dCour said:
Soap will often form bubbles or oily slick on top of your water if it is still there. As StarGirl said a week of toxic levels of soap would have done its work by now.
There are no bubbles in it at all but after my other fish died, I’m just worried. I have read that soap residue can stay on the plastic even after rinsing.
 

StarGirl

Member
Now I see you literally meant a shrimp! :hilarious: Yeah unless you have jumping fish I would keep it as full as possible. The more water the more time it takes to go bad. In small tanks that is not long either.
 

The2dCour

Member
IF you wanted to add some nutrient rich substrate to to cap off your gravel when you add plants and before fish is a great time to think about it =)
 
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lotusfish

Member
StarGirl said:
Now I see you literally meant a shrimp! :hilarious: Yeah unless you have jumping fish I would keep it as full as possible. The more water the more time it takes to go bad. In small tanks that is not long either.
Yeah I went to the fish store close by and they said to cycle with a shrimp to build up ammonia and then create nitrate so I’ve been doing that for the last week and a half but I just have a looming fear that my fish will die because of me washing my filter with soap. I also did an ammonia test today and it is at a high level which I know is normal because it hasn’t turned to nitrate yet. So that process is going well. pH is normal (6.0-6.5). Is there a way to know if the soap residue is at a toxicity level to kill fish?
The2dCour said:
IF you wanted to add some nutrient rich substrate to to cap off your gravel when you add plants and before fish is a great time to think about it =)
Sorry but what do you mean cap off? Also I’ve read that there are plants that can grow in gravel, is that not the best option?
 

The2dCour

Member
lotusfish said:
Yeah I went to the fish store close by and they said to cycle with a shrimp to build up ammonia and then create nitrate so I’ve been doing that for the last week and a half but I just have a looming fear that my fish will die because of me washing my filter with soap. I also did an ammonia test today and it is at a high level which I know is normal because it hasn’t turned to nitrate yet. So that process is going well. pH is normal (6.0-6.5). Is there a way to know if the soap residue is at a toxicity level to kill fish?

Sorry but what do you mean cap off? Also I’ve read that there are plants that can grow in gravel, is that not the best option?
Shrimp are pretty darn good indicators that fish will survive. Snails not so much.
 
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lotusfish

Member
The2dCour said:
Shrimp are pretty darn good indicators that fish will survive. Snails not so much.
It’s a shrimp that you eat. He told me to put in a raw shrimp to cycle it.
 

The2dCour

Member
lotusfish said:
It’s a shrimp that you eat. He told me to put in a raw shrimp to cycle it.
OMG I totally didn't see that lol. I'd say with a pH of 6 your water certainly isn't "soapy" in the traditional sense, no visible rainbows or bubbles. If you fail to establish a bacteria colony that would indicate soap. Otherwise, bacteria wouldn't be growing right?
 

barbiespoodle

Member
First, sit back and take a deep breath. In this game we all make mistakes. This is coming from an old lady who has been keeping aquariums for 50 or so years and has and still is making mistakes, so don't beat yourself up over this.

The first thing I'm going to mention is that even dirty filter parts have beneficial bacteria on them but at the same time, do need cleaned from time to time to keep them running. Personally I keep a toothbrush that is only for this purpose, cleans the working parts so they work better, but not so much that you take off all the bacteria.

Second, a good rinsing often does take off anything harmful from the cleaning you did. I've had to use products not good for tanks from time to time for various reasons and I do make sure I rinse like crazy.

Third, you tank is far from lame! I can see where you are going and while not my personal taste, will end up being a lovely tank. And in the end, it's all a matter of personal taste.

And in the end, you might have just got some bad fish to start with. I'm dealing with the fact that I put some new fish in a well established tanks ( some in a 10 gallon, some in a 20 gallon) and even though the tanks have healthy populations of the same fish, they did not survive, it happens and sometimes it doesn't matter what you do.

Side note, take care of those shrimp. I'm a shrimpaholic, now have 3 tanks of them and now cycling a 20 long to move the cull shrimp, aka, the ones not good enough to be in the breeding population of the other 2 tanks but still too cool to be fish food, from the 10 gallon which also has white cloud mountain minnows. And like you, I also plan to add some neon's.

Just please, don't give up and keep asking questions as you need to.
 

StarGirl

Member
barbiespoodle said:
First, sit back and take a deep breath. In this game we all make mistakes. This is coming from an old lady who has been keeping aquariums for 50 or so years and has and still is making mistakes, so don't beat yourself up over this.

The first thing I'm going to mention is that even dirty filter parts have beneficial bacteria on them but at the same time, do need cleaned from time to time to keep them running. Personally I keep a toothbrush that is only for this purpose, cleans the working parts so they work better, but not so much that you take off all the bacteria.

Second, a good rinsing often does take off anything harmful from the cleaning you did. I've had to use products not good for tanks from time to time for various reasons and I do make sure I rinse like crazy.

Third, you tank is far from lame! I can see where you are going and while not my personal taste, will end up being a lovely tank. And in the end, it's all a matter of personal taste.

And in the end, you might have just got some bad fish to start with. I'm dealing with the fact that I put some new fish in a well established tanks ( some in a 10 gallon, some in a 20 gallon) and even though the tanks have healthy populations of the same fish, they did not survive, it happens and sometimes it doesn't matter what you do.

Side note, take care of those shrimp. I'm a shrimpaholic, now have 3 tanks of them and now cycling a 20 long to move the cull shrimp, aka, the ones not good enough to be in the breeding population of the other 2 tanks but still too cool to be fish food, from the 10 gallon which also has white cloud mountain minnows. And like you, I also plan to add some neon's.

Just please, don't give up and keep asking questions as you need to.
The shrimp is a food shrimp to cycle!
 
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lotusfish

Member
The2dCour said:
OMG I totally didn't see that lol. I'd say with a pH of 6 your water certainly isn't "soapy" in the traditional sense, no visible rainbows or bubbles. If you fail to establish a bacteria colony that would indicate soap. Otherwise, bacteria wouldn't be growing right?
That’s true, never thought of it that way.
 

StarGirl

Member
If your pH is 6.0 you may have to boost it up or your cycle could stall or take foooorrever. Do you know all of the readings of your tap water?
 
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lotusfish

Member
StarGirl said:
If your pH is 6.0 you may have to boost it up or your cycle could stall or take foooorrever. Do you know all of the readings of your tap water?
Oh really? How do you boost it? I don’t know the readings right now but I could definitely get a read on them today and get back to you
 

StarGirl

Member
They have something called crushed coral. Its little stones/chunks that are made of coral. It raise the pH naturally and keeps it more stable. You just rinse it (make SURE you rinse it) and add some to the tank and it will gradually bring it up without using chemicals. Usually you put it in the filter in a media bag but you can put it in the substrate too. It lasts for quite a while without having to add it. You just do your normal water changes and add more only when the pH starts to go down again. It will also only buffer to a certain pH and will not go any higher so you cant use too much.

When you do the pH test do one right then then leave a glass of water out and test it tomorrow night. The over night test is your waters true pH. The instant one is what your city puts in the water.
 
  • Thread Starter

lotusfish

Member
Oh I could
StarGirl said:
They have something called crushed coral. Its little stones/chunks that are made of coral. It raise the pH naturally and keeps it more stable. You just rinse it (make SURE you rinse it) and add some to the tank and it will gradually bring it up without using chemicals. Usually you put it in the filter in a media bag but you can put it in the substrate too. It lasts for quite a while without having to add it. You just do your normal water changes and add more only when the pH starts to go down again. It will also only buffer to a certain pH and will not go any higher so you cant use too much.

When you do the pH test do one right then then leave a glass of water out and test it tomorrow night. The over night test is your waters true pH. The instant one is what your city puts in the water.
Oh I could totally buy that, they have small media bags at PetSmart as well as the crushed coral. How much should I put in the bag for my 10 gallon?
StarGirl said:
They have something called crushed coral. Its little stones/chunks that are made of coral. It raise the pH naturally and keeps it more stable. You just rinse it (make SURE you rinse it) and add some to the tank and it will gradually bring it up without using chemicals. Usually you put it in the filter in a media bag but you can put it in the substrate too. It lasts for quite a while without having to add it. You just do your normal water changes and add more only when the pH starts to go down again. It will also only buffer to a certain pH and will not go any higher so you cant use too much.

When you do the pH test do one right then then leave a glass of water out and test it tomorrow night. The over night test is your waters true pH. The instant one is what your city puts in the water.
Also this may be a silly question but why should I measure the city’s water pH if it will change in my tank anyways?
 

StarGirl

Member
Try a small handful then if you need more add more. Just like I said remember to rinse it. The dust on it will make your pH spike really fast at first. That is really bad for fish, it can kill them. Thats why chemicals are bad you can miss a dose or put in too much and it messes it up real fast. This way is just waaaay easier.
 
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lotusfish

Member
StarGirl said:
Try a small handful then if you need more add more. Just like I said remember to rinse it. The dust on it will make your pH spike really fast at first. That is really bad for fish, it can kill them. Thats why chemicals are bad you can miss a dose or put in too much and it messes it up real fast. This way is just waaaay easier.
Oh okay I see. I was also wondering something else. So I was recommended to use this shrimp to cycle my tank and build up the bacteria. The ammonia levels are very high but I understand that is to be expected with this method. I called my local fish store (not PetSmart) and they informed me that I have to wait until the shrimp completely decays into the water. They said this can take 4-6 weeks. Now that the ammonia is up, is there a speedier way I can get the good bacteria in there and hopefully have good water in like another week from now? I just can’t wait to get fish but I obviously want them to be healthy and happy when I get them.
 

StarGirl

Member
lotusfish said:
Oh okay I see. I was also wondering something else. So I was recommended to use this shrimp to cycle my tank and build up the bacteria. The ammonia levels are very high but I understand that is to be expected with this method. I called my local fish store (not PetSmart) and they informed me that I have to wait until the shrimp completely decays into the water. They said this can take 4-6 weeks. Now that the ammonia is up, is there a speedier way I can get the good bacteria in there and hopefully have good water in like another week from now? I just can’t wait to get fish but I obviously want them to be healthy and happy when I get them.
Sorry they are right. You can look up A Fish in cycle which involves a lot of water changes to keep the Ammonia and then Nitrites down as low as possible before you get Nitrates. Takes as long but you can get fish sooner. You just have to do the water change whenever the ammonia goes up. No matter what.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
10 gallon is way too small for a school of neons unfortunately....
 
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lotusfish

Member
I’ve done a lot of research and a lot of sources say otherwise
Cherryshrimp420 said:
10 gallon is way too small for a school of neons unfortunately....
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
Well it is up to you what source to believe. I wouldn't recommend neons in 10 gal that's all. I would be very surprised if you manage to keep a school alive for more than a month...best of luck.
 

barbiespoodle

Member
StarGirl said:
The shrimp is a food shrimp to cycle!
Yikes, missed that one, being a shrimpaholic I automatically thought of the live sort. I work in the seafood department of a VERY busy store, while I do think of eating shrimp, I never heard of or thought of using them to cycle a tank. I guess being an old lady, I just tend to do it the old fashion way.
 

StarGirl

Member
barbiespoodle said:
Yikes, missed that one, being a shrimpaholic I automatically thought of the live sort. I work in the seafood department of a VERY busy store, while I do think of eating shrimp, I never heard of or thought of using them to cycle a tank. I guess being an old lady, I just tend to do it the old fashion way.
Yeah I think everyone so far missed it...lol I have heard of that to cycle but it can get pretty stinky so people dont like to do it that way.
 

barbiespoodle

Member
Cherryshrimp420 said:
10 gallon is way too small for a school of neons unfortunately....
In your opinion, what do you think of a school of neon's in a 20 long which will also house 8 white cloud mountain minnows and a lot of shrimp? It's cycling now to move the wcmm's and shrimp from a way too successful 10. Will be planted with a dirted bottom, sand over lay, and driftwood, rocks, all that natural looking stuff.

I'm asking because it is something I am considering as far as the finished look of the tank, but in the end, the present wcmm's and shrimp are the most important, the neon's are only a thought because I thought they would look pretty.
StarGirl said:
Yeah I think everyone so far missed it...lol I have heard of that to cycle but it can get pretty stinky so people dont like to do it that way.
LOL, seeing as that I have a small house with not only my tanks, but two large, hairy, dogs and a couple old cats, my oldest being 18( believe me, old cats stink!), adding their own smells, won't even go into the hubby, I tend to do anything possible not to add to the smell. And working in the seafood department, I know how bad shrimp can smell when they go off, big time yew!
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
barbiespoodle said:
In your opinion, what do you think of a school of neon's in a 20 long which will also house 8 white cloud mountain minnows and a lot of shrimp? It's cycling now to move the wcmm's and shrimp from a way too successful 10. Will be planted with a dirted bottom, sand over lay, and driftwood, rocks, all that natural looking stuff.

I'm asking because it is something I am considering as far as the finished look of the tank, but in the end, the present wcmm's and shrimp are the most important, the neon's are only a thought because I thought they would look pretty.
Neons can be quite persistent chasers so there needs to be areas where they can hide completely from other neons. They also have 10 year long life spans if kept in good conditions....so it is a much longer commitment than a lot of other aquarium fish.

A neon at 8 years is a GIANT compared to a neon from the LFS, so when factoring in the tank size you have to take into consideration that your neon may become significantly bigger than what you see now.

All these reasons make me personally not want to keep neons in anything smaller than 75 gallons. Of course, no one on here likes to hear that....
 

barbiespoodle

Member
Cherryshrimp420 said:
Neons can be quite persistent chasers so there needs to be areas where they can hide completely from other neons. They also have 10 year long life spans if kept in good conditions....so it is a much longer commitment than a lot of other aquarium fish.

A neon at 8 years is a GIANT compared to a neon from the LFS, so when factoring in the tank size you have to take into consideration that your neon may become significantly bigger than what you see now.

All these reasons make me personally not want to keep neons in anything smaller than 75 gallons. Of course, no one on here likes to hear that....
Hey, it's all cool, I asked and you gave me your opinion.

The tank I have in mind will have plenty of hiding places, my planted tanks tend to get overgrown.

But with what you have said, I'm also perfectly happy with keeping with my wcmm's, in the short time I've kept them, I have become perfectly charmed by them. They are pretty, active, and don't seem to hurt my shrimp, or at least not in anyway that has stopped them from being very prolific, thus the need for a larger tank.

Such a shame, I do like the look of the neon's. I consider my tanks my own personal works of art, but in the end, it's all about the well being of the fish.
 

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