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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi--I am writing this in the the voice of Zed, but the problem is that I can't figure out why my tank water is turning black!
I will let Zed tell you our story:

My name is Zed and my owner just got me a new 5 gallon tank! It has all my favorite things from my old tank such as: my black pebbles, and silk plants--plus she has added other goodies as well, once they were properly rinsed off and panty hose tested for damaging corners that might cut my fins! It also has some really great new features like a 25 watt water heater made for small tanks like mine from Hydor. A Fluval SPEC foam filter block, activated carbon insert and BIOMAX insert--which my owner hasn't put in because I came home sick with minor fin rot and she has been treating me with: Tetrocycline and Jungle Fungus Clear. (Honestly, I put the foam filter in with the BIOMAX without the activated carbon in for a night and that is when I first noticed the change in the water because the point of getting a tank with a filter was to not have to clean the water as much because it scared Zed a lot--he turns half white! )

This is all great! Except...she had to change my water yesterday because it turned black! I am not sure what was worse, the water change or the black water! She cleaned everything, put everything back and put clean water in. It was GREAT! BUT the water is turning blacker and blacker as we speak AGAIN!! My owner doesn't know what to do! She had to put panty hose around the circulation output nozzle so that it wouldn't create too much of a current for me... she is thinking it might be that but was wondering if it could be the heater or the circulation pump itself?
Can anyone help her? She can't even see me it is so dark!
She has since taken the panty hose out and is testing it in a glass of water over night to see. However, she has noticed that a bluish black substance is staining the piece of white fabric she is using now.

Any ideas of what it could be?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
P.S. PH is within normal range, no Nitrates or Nitrites, Hard water conditions. I know that the fungal cure turns the water green but this is black not green. He has been on this treatment since before his new tank so I know it isn't the cause of the water change. He has not had the filter in since the last water change. I immediately suspected the foam block to be the culprit in the beginning but it has been 24 hours since that has been in the tank.
 

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Is it possible it's the water source? Although I'm not sure what would cause it. How long does it take the water to turn black? Honestly if my water was turning black and it wasn't the water itself I would move him to another tank until you can figure out what's going on. If you can't do that I would take everything new and unnecessary out to try and figure out if one of them is doing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for your reply. He's lived in the water source now for a good month and a half without this issue, it is only since the new tank. The water is from an artisan well and is quite good if a bit on the hard side. It takes about 12 hours for it to start changing--over night. It has stayed clear in the gallon tank I had him in previously (I changed it every 3-4 days). I've tested the water for everything and just tonight I treated it with Stresszyme and Stresscoat+.

I'll put him back into his old 1 gal tank I guess until I can figure out what is causing the issue. He has been through so much stress that I want to give him a break from all of this. I thought getting a bigger tank with a filter would mean taking him out of the water less and stressing him out less... *sigh*. And the poor guy ripped some of his fins and he was just starting to heal from fin rot! :-/ *frustration* Thank you again for your reply. I'll do it scientifically and track down the culprit. :)
 

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It does look like something is tinting it. Poor guy, I'd hate to cause him stress, but I definitely wouldn't want to keep him in water that turns black overnight. Good luck finding the culprit. Can you post what it was when you find it? I'm curious as to what could do this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'll be sure to do that! I am letting the water sit so it gets to room temperature and getting him out of that water as fast as I can! It seems to be dying the clear plastic suction cups on some of my things blue; this can't be good.
 

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Is the filter with activated carbon running? That would be my first guess. Also, you mentioned that you also got him some other goodies. Are they décor and silk plants? Are any of them dark, especially if there are any new silk plants, I believe the colors can run. That's a drastic change for running colors, though. :/ I would think that you would've noticed when rinsing them off, but who knows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
moved back to his old tank

I thought it was the activated carbon at first, so I took it out and did that first full water change, washed everything but didn't run the pump. The second time the water changed color though, the activated carbon --indeed no filter--was in the tank. Other than the possibility that it was still in the water pump--I didn't run the pump to see if it was cleaned out-- I can't think of anything else. My money is on the water pump still having activated carbon sediment.

I work from home so I would like to think I would have noticed colors from the plant running. Ever since he got fin rot I have been watching him like a hawk.

But I am not ruling it out, there was one new plant I was using that had a blue and green dye in the fabric. I am not going to use that plant again. I think after this I am just going to go natural.



Other possible culprits are:
the nylon I put over the spigot to reduce water flow, it had a brown hue to it.
the fungus clear turning a weird shade? the plastic on my thermometer has been dyed blue.

The heater. not sure why but not ruling it out.

Right now, I am isolating and testing everything over night. I have the fungus clear in a glass cup with water. The nylon in a glass cup with water and even the heater is in a glass cup with water (off not on). I plan to run the pump tomorrow once I finally drain the tank what ever it is, it is definitely being pushed through the pump-- I put a white piece of cloth in front of the nozzle to slow the flow of the water just incase it was the nylon and it is dyed a dark blue now. But that doesn't tell us much.


Anyway, just got Zed in a safe home with properly treated and heated water. He is angry. lol But at least he isn't in that water! I'll keep you posted.
 

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The pump does seem a likely culprit. Isolation and overnight testing is a great idea, I hope you find the culprit or at least rule out suspects. Lol, I sound like a police drama. Zed being in clear water is great news!
 

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My guess is Col. Mustard in the ... wait, Nylons in the dining room with Tetracycline.

Anyway, that's what I'd do, change out the water, put the filter in the tank and run it, then add all your known variables (the old decorations), then start adding back the unknowns. You can speed it up by adding two unknowns at a time if there's a lot of them. You could also add a dose of the meds with the water to see if they're reacting with anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Hahaha It does feel a bit like a crime/clue game --who poisoned the water? haha

Official hypothesis: The carbon dust got onto the foam filter block, I think (although don't remember and for the life of me can't figure out WHY I would do this) had foolishly left the foam block on the bottom of the sink while I was rinsing the activated carbon filter for the first time. If the activated carbon got into the foam block it could then be redistributed by the pump which then got into the tank. When I did a water change I left about 1/2 inch of water on the bottom. I believe the carbon settled to the bottom and then was agitated by Zed/ sucked up by the pump which then redistributed it slowly over night.

I am leaving the water filter and pump going over night to see if they are causing any issues. Then I'll slowly add the rest and once I am convinced the problem is over I'll reintroduce Zed to the mix.

Meanwhile, Zed seems rather unaffected by the whole thing because this afternoon I came home to a bubble nest!
 

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Tetracycline isn't in the clear yet, his alibi might not hold water. The investigation continues, just make sure he doesn't leave town until this is solved.

Glad Zed is being a trooper about this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Mystery SOLVED!

Update: It was the meds! The mixture of tetracycline and Jungle brand Fungus Clear apparently, after a short time turns the water a brackish dark brown/black. My fish's bowl is now that color and there is nothing in there but a water thermometer.

Thank you everyone for your help! Zed thanks you too!
 

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They were clever, using each other as alibis, but in the end justice prevails and the duo of Tetracycline and Fungus Clear have been apprehended.

I'm glad the mystery is solved and Zed is fine. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
They tried to frame Activated Carbon but what they didn't plan on was scientific empiricism (and the help of chat rooms)! Sherlock Holmes has nothing on us. ;-).
 
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