Mystery Of The Vanishing Water Changes!

Who dun it?!?

  • The cats jumping in and getting their own fishy drinks

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  • The window left open made for faster evaporation

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Crazycoryfishlady

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Skip to Butt if you want the butt of the post


So I've actually been doing a lot of nitrate tests and experiments, including avoiding water changes as well as avoiding testing until certain times.
This will eventually lead to a more professional post about deep sand beds and their affects on nitrates, as well as how to essentially make your tank a closed system, and affects of semI toxic sands and substrates such as certain woods, pavers sand and perhaps a few other things.
I'll also eventually go onto describing the best pests and insects to use for a food supply for your fish, and any possible precautions that should be taken.


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So today I came home after doing a water change a day ago, and I found my tank almost empty!
About 8 gallons just disappeared into nothingness!
I had only been really topping off this water, but I did do a nice deeper clean on tuesday.

20190418_064425.jpg

I have no idea how this happened, but figured it would be a weird interest to some, as well as a fun poll to try to solve as I test which theory it is.
The cats usually drink 1-2 gallons a week, and I usually only lose a max of 3-4 gallons weekly, and would probably get to this level after 2 1/2 weeks.

Has anyone else had water mysteriously disappear like this?
I'm surprised my heater didn't blow out! It was only half covered! Luckily my only fish in there is thin, so he fits perfectly in what's left.
 

bizaliz3

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so are you telling us that there is no water under or around the tank? that 8 gallons of water just disappeared into thin air??????? I don't even know how that is possible! No way can cats drink that much water in a day, and how would they get the water when it is lower in the tank without falling in? Or are you suggesting they DID go inside the tank to drink? Either way...that is more water than a cat could drink in 24 hours. And no way could 8 gallons of water evaporate in 24 hours. Window open or not.

The only logical explanation for 8 gallons of water to disappear in a day would be a leak in my opinion. But...if the tank is leaking....where did the water go? Leaks can also be caused by an HOB filter...if there is a crack or something on the filter. I had that happen once. I threw away the tank thinking it was leaking. Turned out it was the dang filter!!! Do you have an air stone in the tank? If so, are you using a check valve to prevent reverse siphoning through the airline tube? But even then, you would have water on the floor...so..

Ya, I am at a loss.
 

kallililly1973

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Is there a leak at the bottom where it is staying within the bottom of the tank did u try to lift it slightly while it so low to get a waterfall? That’s baffling
 

bizaliz3

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kallililly1973 said:
Is there a leak at the bottom where it is staying within the bottom of the tank did u try to lift it slightly while it so low to get a waterfall? That’s baffling
Water can definitely collect between the bottom of the tank and the stand it sits on. That is what happened with my tank I threw away that I thought was leaking. It was such a slow leak from the filter I never noticed it. One drip at a time, along the back of the tank and then under the tank. It was months of one drip at a time until the space between the tank and stand got so full of water it began to come out from under the bottom rI'm of the tank. This is why I thought for sure it was a seal on the bottom of the tank. The tank was so old and scratched up it wasn't worth repairing. (I thought it needed repair but didn't) So it ended up in the garbage.

But 8 gallons in 24 hours couldn't really be sitting between the tank and stand. Could it??? Depending on the material of the stand itself...some stands can soak up a lot of water though!!! Most specifically the partical board stands....
 
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Crazycoryfishlady

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That's what I thought about it all! They don't drink that much water so unless they fell in, I've got no idea! It doesn't seem like a leak, and there's no valve or bubble stone to siphon it out, (but I did have that happen when I put an old stone in my qt 15 gal tub, lost it all)

I'm going to fill it up in a bit when I get back home in about 20 minutes, and I'll check for leaks on the walls.
I felt the seal around the lowest point and didnt feel any wetness or see anything abnormal, and it's definitely not something on the very bottom, or all the water should be gone. It's going to suck so bad if my seal split, that's an 80 dollar tank! DX


Also for reference, this bookshelf tank is on my windowsill, it barely fits up there, and it usually gets muddy around the window when water collects from evaporation, and any water that would have leaked should have soaked my bed, I definitely don't think it would dry up in that 30 hours or so I was away either.

Unless it just skipped my bed and went straight to the floor....

I noticed it at 4 am this morning and checked my fin babies to make sure they were okay.
It's 10 now and I haven't filled it yet but the filter is barely running xD

(The walls are also solid concrete, no water hiding in there!)

Such madness!
 

bizaliz3

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Hmmmm...well, the leak could have stayed along the wall and gone down past your bed. I'd feel around down there for any dampness.

Is your windowsill wood? Could the windowsill itself be soaking in any water?

If it is on the windowsill and the window was open, maybe the water was dripping OUT the window??
 

kallililly1973

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Ide Lao check the stand like someone else said particle board can hold a lot of water if that’s what your stand is made of... maybe u can move your inhabitants out and fill the tank and add some food safe dye to try to pinpoint the leak just a thought
 

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...If it’s a leak it has to be just above the waterline, and it stopped when it had passed it? That’s my thinking. It might only trickle onto the floor and so only cover a small area..(?)
 

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LOL the way you spelled leak in the vote made me laugh. There's a giant onion (leek) hiding among us
that is super weird. To me it looks like there's some moisture around the bottom of the tank.
 
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Crazycoryfishlady

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Yeah definitely has to have just stopped just above the water line if my seal split, otherwise more would be gone, and no, the tank has no stand, and there's no boards underneath it, just all concrete.

The window has a lip about a half inch up where it sits in the sil, so doubtful water spilled out that way, but possible that it did just drip along the wall, so I'll have to check the floor below my bed for wetness.

The dye is a good idea I think, it should make the spot where the water is coming out darker than the rest.

There may be some dampness around the base, I didn't check the base so much as my walls since the seal is low profile, but it's also naturally muddy from the cats and just dirty in general lol!

I'm headed home right now so we'll see soon I guess!
 

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No airstone/airline tubing in there that it siphoned out of? Something must have sopped up the water. Is the concrete sealed? Even concrete can absorb quite a bit of water. You should still be able to feel or see moisture though. It should still look wet. The stand could certainly absorb some too. Eight gallons is a little much, but maybe it's a combo.
 
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Crazycoryfishlady

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Photos at the bottom

It could have been more like 6, but I definitely filled this tank up and did not forget to put water in when I last did a change.
I know because my boyfriend was here while I did it, and he saw me fill the tank too, it's always the last one I do because I have to carry my water bucket over my bed each time, and I do it in sets to ease the crays into acclimating to the new water instead of dumping about 8 gallons fresh water on top of them at once.

It's been filled for about 20 minutes.... No leak, no streams down the wall, no wetness where my clothes between the wall and bed are, the floor isn't even wet, and my electronics would likely be wet too.

The water isn't traveling upwards on a cord for my filter, and there's absolutely no tubing, just a whisper filter and a heater. The area around the tank isn't wet, and neither is any of the dirt crumbs or soil bits surrounding the tank, the concrete sill it's on is sealed between the window and the sill, and painted twice, the tank is fully flat on the sirface and has no brace or stand of any sort.
There is no bubbling near the seals, no wetness on them (thankfully honestly, would hate to have a broken seal..) No water build up anywhere and I'm totally lost as to how all that much water vanished...
I put in 5 gallons, started with two at first just to see if anything bubbled out right away.

This is absolutely the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me.

Seal 1, main suspect
20190418_120655.jpg
Seal 2, secondary suspect
20190418_120708.jpg
Seal 3 and 4, least concern, yet most plausible due to lack of wetness near my side of the bed
20190418_120738.jpg
Here is how the tank sits in the window, (bed and trash out of view )
20190418_120803.jpg
And the lip between the tank and the sealed window...
20190418_122134.jpg

I'm so baffled I don't even know what to say????
I told a friend at work today and she said something similar happened to a guy she knew, where he magically list water too.
You know those little jugs of water that they use to dispense in the paper and wax cups at businesses?
Her friend had a jug and a stand and somehow the whole jug emptied over night, but there was no water in the stand or anywhere around it, no one touched it or drank his 15 or so gallons of water, so they simply went with the house was haunted.

There are weird things that happen hear, but I don't think this was a case of a trickster haunting me.
But there honestly isn't any other explanation...
 
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Crazycoryfishlady

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Ronniethewitch said:
could you have been very forgetful and did the empty but forgot to replace the wc? lol its something I haven't done yet but not outside the realms of possibility...
I discussed that slightly in the post above, I know it's remotely possible, but I don't ever really lower the tank water that much (I know I have maybe once before, (I usually leave about 4 gallons a bit less than half) so again a remote possibility I did..) when I do water changes, and even my boyfriend remembers it being filled up to the top just this tuesday...
I always use two buckets so him remebering me make two trips to the tank I feel is unlikely if it didn't happen while he was here.

I spent all day at his house yesterday, and did the change tuesday evening, I did all my tanks.

We either both imagined me filling it, (twice!) or my fish drank it all!
 

nikm128

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How warm is the water compared to the room temperature? I know the tanks in my basement evaporate way faster than the rest since it's cold down there
 
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Crazycoryfishlady

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It's supposed to be at 76 or so, but I know sometimes it gets down to about 74, or even lower depending on the temp outside, it wasn't super cold last night, but it was the night before, but there's usually a lot of water on my window when it's both open and closed from the evaporation, I keep a blanket covering my window and it covers the tank too, so the water gets trapped between them.
For reference, I also have a small shrimp jar sitting right next to this tank which I filled up a bit during the last change as well.

It was at this level when I left for the day and a half, and now it's where it is.
15556182919852055630690.jpg

So it's definitely not all window related, but still the weirdest thing ever!
Still no leaking too... Lol!
 

Skullkong101

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Did you drink the water??? Because you shouldn't blame you poor... Innocent... Cats... Wait my cat stole a pregnant guppy from me once so yeah cats are guilty but still I bet you drank it.
 
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Crazycoryfishlady

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Skullkong101 said:
Did you drink the water??? Because you shouldn't blame you poor... Innocent... Cats... Wait my cat stole a pregnant guppy from me once so yeah cats are guilty but still I bet you drank it.
Nooooooo I only drink betta water!
(Darn siphons....)
 

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Crazycoryfishlady said:
Nooooooo I only drink betta water!
(Darn siphons....)
Lol what?!?!?!? I can actually drink my fish water though... I have a lifestraw.
 

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First picture with seal one looks to have been wet at base for some time ?
That would be my first suspect.
I would place paper towel around or under its edges and then fill and look for wet spot ..
 

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