16 days, no power, no food


Feeder Fish
Oct 20, 2017
To start I will admit that I've been keeping and breeding fish for nearly 30 years. So after reading about my recent trials you may say; you should have known better! I took a 16 year hiatus from the hobby after joining the Navy and 3 months ago I caught the bug again. I still had a 90 gallon aquarium that has been in a crate for the past 16 years and decided to on an African community setup. My initial purchase was a 2" strawberry peacock, introduced with the intentions of beginning the ammonia cycling process. Due to my lack of patience and temporary amnesia I introduced an additional 25 2" mixed haps and peacocks. All of this occurred during the initial 2 weeks of cycling. Completely oblivious to my mistakes, everything seemed fine, until I noticed some unusual behavior. A memory immediately sparked and a started testing my water parameters, surprisingly somehow my ammonia levels were 0, nitrite 0, and nitrate levels were less than 20ppm. My cycle seemed to have hit hyperdrive. Then I looked closely an noticed the dreaded white spot; Ich. I raised my temp to 86f and added 1tsp per gallon of salt. 3 weeks later no sign of Ich and only 1 fish lost. Then, Hurricane Irma! I live in Key West Florida and based on the storms predicted path, only expected to evacuate for 3 days max. I loaded my bettas into jars and turned off the lights on the cichlids assuming they would be okay for that short time. But nature in its unpredictability changed everything, the storm came through as a cat 4 directly over our home. When I finally received the authorization to return it was 16 days later and we still had no power, but thankfully we had a home. My first order of business was to start my tank cleanup and teardown, but to my surprise, the tank came to life upon my entrance. All of the little guys were at the top begging as usual, no doubt beyond hungry. I quickly did a count and found that I had 2 more fish than when I left. Not only did all but 2 survive but they allowed the fry that had been released to live. A few days later, power and water were restored, and my amnesia reared it's ugly head again. In my urgency to restore their environment to normal, I turned everything back on, including my canister filters that had been off for 16 days in 98 degree temperatures. Sulfur dioxide immediately began wafting throughout my home, nearly outcompeting the smell from my refrigerator that had suffered the same fate. I immediately shut everything down and did a 50% water change and completely changed out the entirety of media in my 2 canister filters. As a result the fry immediately perished and the rest of my fish went into hiding for the next 4 days. The usually cheery beggars wanted nothing to do with me, not even during feeding time. Eventually this shyness subsided and now 4 weeks later they are back to their boisterous selves and showing more colorful and vibrant than ever. With all of my mistakes and bad luck I was extremely lucky to have only lost 3 fish and 2 fry. Moral of the story; don't assume you know it all even if you once did.


Bronze Tier VIP
MFK Member
Jun 19, 2006
Datnoid Island
Interesting series of events and glad to see that things have turned out as well as they have.
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Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Aug 30, 2017
West Virginia
This rings to my post on adversaries. Perseverance is key to success, glad to hear it turned out as well as it has. Definitely understand no power and water keeping fish. Though i believe that you (and hopefully too, your fish) will be stronger for it


MFK Member
Nov 21, 2015
Interesting to know that, cichlid are durable. I am waiting for the inevitable ice storm, upper Midwest, that I lost a salt water setup in 1991.
I have been back in the hobby 3 years this month after, a long hiatus. Have Malwai cichlid
Welcome to mfk.
A great site, with alot of knowledgeable folks, willing to share.