Dr Tim's Waste Away killed 100% of my fish

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roshan_samuel

New member
I bought 'Waste-Away' and 'Refresh' on the recommendation of the algae guide that I bought at mrsaltwatertank.com. As per instructions, I dosed Refresh. Waited one week. Then dosed Waste away. The instruction said "If you are first time user, use 50% of the recommended dose." The following sentence said "Wait 24-48 hours before starting your skimmer. Wait several weeks to bring up to maximum dose". I did not comprehend that part that said "Wait several weeks". I thought I was supposed to wait 24-48 before getting to maximum dose. So on Tuesday I dosed 25% of the dose. Being careful right? On Thursday I dosed an additional 25%. On Saturday Morning I dosed 75%. So yes I overdosed 25%. Saturday evening all the fish are fine. Feeding Well. Sunday morning 8 hours later (today) ALL, I mean ALL, my fish are dead (minus 2 clown fish that somehow survived).
I have (HAD) a 185 gallon mixed reef. It has been stable for over 10 years. I have NEVER seen a product so efficient at killing fish. All I have to do was mis-read 1 sentence on the bottle. I trusted every other review saying this was a great product. Now all my beloved pets are dead. The brown slime algae I was trying to kill with this product are doing just fine.
Yes it is my fault mis-interpreting the instructions. But a product that deadly must be more emphatic in its warning labels. This post is not an attempt to slander Dr Tim's or anyone else. Rather, I posted as a warning to anyone else thinking of using this product. DO NOT, again, DO NOT exceed 50% of the dosage recommended on the bottle.
Right now I am emotionally devastated because of my mistake. I hope everyone else will read this post so that it is not repeated.
 
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GoldeneyeRet

New member
I am so sorry this happened to you. I hope you decide to continue on in the hobby rather than tearing down.

Best of luck to you.
 

vlapinta

New member
So sorry to hear this. Don't beat yourself up about it. Shake it off and keep going. Unfortunately sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes they are really bad ones, but we learn from our mistakes. Again so sorry to hear you are dealing with this.
 

ReefKeeper64

Wanna be a reefkeeper
Sorry to hear about your mishap. I haven't used this product before but doing a quick search I did see this mention.

*CAUTION: When initially using Waste-Away, we strongly recommend adding only a half a dose. For especially dirty tanks, this may temporarily cause cloudy water and a low ammonia value. DO NOT OVERDOSE as this may cause a drop in the oxygen level. http://www.drtimsaquatics .com/natural-aquarium-cleaner

It appears that the product likely dropped the oxygen level in your tank water. That may be good info for others to be aware of in case they find your thread and are thinking about trying it.
 

Reefvet

New member
Yes it is my fault mis-interpreting the instructions...

But a product that deadly must be more emphatic in its warning labels..

This post is not an attempt to slander Dr Tim's or anyone else...

I've talked to Dr. Tim a couple of times. He drops off his product to my LFS and is always interested in talking about his products and the proper techniques to use them.

He worked for one of the big brand names in the aquarium industry for many years. He knows his stuff as well as anyone.

I think his warning labels are pretty clear.

Perhaps you should re-title this thread if you're really not blaming him ?

Mistakes happen. That's part of the hobby, we learn by error.
 

snorvich

Team RC member
Team RC
There are a lot of products that, if misused, can cause great harm. it is very difficult to protect us from ourselves.
 

dkeller_nc

New member
I'm sorry for your losses, there's nothing quite like waking up to a tank full of dead fish.

But in all honesty, I rather doubt this product killed your fish. Assuming that the information on Dr. Tim's website is correct, Waste Away contains bacteria and that's all. A bottle of bacteria typically doesn't crash a tank.

However, a power outage overnight, particularly on a large tank that is running reactors, certainly has wiped out a fish population. The diagnostic criteria for this sort of issue is typically that all of the fish are killed, but the corals aren't.
 

Dapg8gt

New member
I agree it sucks that it happened but the title of the thread acts like the product is to blame.

I agree with above that the labels are pretty clear on what not to do and what happens.. And fwiw there is no where on the bottle that says to turn off your skimmer either. I think miss reading the instructions and overdosing while turning off the skimmer lead to the loss.

Good luck in the rebuild and we all screw up at one time or another and learn from our mistakes. I know I have =) .
 

roshan_samuel

New member
I agree it sucks that it happened but the title of the thread acts like the product is to blame.

I agree with above that the labels are pretty clear on what not to do and what happens.. And fwiw there is no where on the bottle that says to turn off your skimmer either. I think miss reading the instructions and overdosing while turning off the skimmer lead to the loss.

Good luck in the rebuild and we all screw up at one time or another and learn from our mistakes. I know I have =) .


Read the label again. It says "For best results turn off Skimmer and UV for 24-48 hours". The label also said "If you see cloudiness, start your skimmer". On Saturday night, 9 pm, 72 hours after the first dose, 12 hours after the last dose of 75%, there was NO cloudiness. On Sunday morning I have 100% fish loss with mildly cloudy water. The only part of the instruction I did not follow was dose over 96 hours instead of several weeks. That is because I mis-read the label and did not understand it. That was the ONLY part of the instruction I did not follow.

I stand by what I said. A small mistake with this product will kill your fish. I have kept mixed reefs for over 10 years. I am no amateur. I have tried many snake oil products and I learnt from my mistakes. Never once has any product wiped out my tank because I overlooked one small detail.
 
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roshan_samuel

New member
I'm sorry for your losses, there's nothing quite like waking up to a tank full of dead fish.

But in all honesty, I rather doubt this product killed your fish. Assuming that the information on Dr. Tim's website is correct, Waste Away contains bacteria and that's all. A bottle of bacteria typically doesn't crash a tank.

However, a power outage overnight, particularly on a large tank that is running reactors, certainly has wiped out a fish population. The diagnostic criteria for this sort of issue is typically that all of the fish are killed, but the corals aren't.

No, there was no power outage. All the clocks in my house would blink if there was.

I stand by what I said. I had a 185 gallon reef. Including sump, I have 200+ gallons. The label said "10ml per 10 gallon". I added a TOTAL of 225 ml spread out over 96 hours. That is a VERY SMALL amount over the recommended dose. The mistake was adding it over 96 hours instead of several weeks.
 

roshan_samuel

New member
There are a lot of products that, if misused, can cause great harm. it is very difficult to protect us from ourselves.

No there aren't many products that I have seen that cause this kind of harm. The only mistake I made was dose over 96 hours instead of several weeks. I have a 200+ gallon tank including sump. The recommended dose is 1 ml per gallon. I dosed 225 ml.

I understand how it is easy for you to be condescending. I have kept mixed reefs over 10 years. But a product that can cause 100% fish loss because of one small detail is dangerous. People deserve to know about it.
 

roshan_samuel

New member
I've talked to Dr. Tim a couple of times. He drops off his product to my LFS and is always interested in talking about his products and the proper techniques to use them.

He worked for one of the big brand names in the aquarium industry for many years. He knows his stuff as well as anyone.

I think his warning labels are pretty clear.

Perhaps you should re-title this thread if you're really not blaming him ?

Mistakes happen. That's part of the hobby, we learn by error.

The only warning on the label is "DO NOT OVERDOSE". I have 200+ gallons including sump. the label says "10 ml per 10 gallons". I would not call 225ml, which I added, a gross overdose.
He needs to change label to half the recommended dosage. Until then I stand by what I said.
 

ReefKeeper64

Wanna be a reefkeeper
He needs to change label to half the recommended dosage.

"*CAUTION: When initially using Waste-Away, we strongly recommend adding only a half a dose".

Sure, its not on the label of the bottles that are already on store shelves today but who knows if they have or haven't updated the labels on the product they are currently bottling for next months store shelves.

The website is pretty clear about going with a half dose in the beginning. Such a big caution statement suggests that you are not the first reefer to have such a mishap while just trying to do a good thing for your tank.

I do feel for your loss and know (as we all do) what its like to see some seemingly minor change cause a huge loss of life to your inhabitants. Moving forward is all you can do and if this thread gives you a sounding board then that is a good thing.
 

roshan_samuel

New member
"*CAUTION: When initially using Waste-Away, we strongly recommend adding only a half a dose".

Sure, its not on the label of the bottles that are already on store shelves today but who knows if they have or haven't updated the labels on the product they are currently bottling for next months store shelves.

The website is pretty clear about going with a half dose in the beginning. Such a big caution statement suggests that you are not the first reefer to have such a mishap while just trying to do a good thing for your tank.

I do feel for your loss and know (as we all do) what its like to see some seemingly minor change cause a huge loss of life to your inhabitants. Moving forward is all you can do and if this thread gives you a sounding board then that is a good thing.

Yes I did not read the web site. I followed the instructions on the bottle, which seemed like a reasonable thing to do. But anyhow thanks to all who sounded off on this, for and against. This was one product that only had positive reviews everywhere. I felt it was important to raise awareness for anyone thinking about using for the first time, it DOES have a big downside. I have said my bit and do not want to engage in any flame wars.

I am still curious about why my Maroon clown pair survived. 9 other species died in one night. The clowns not only survived, they did not even slow down. Surely an oxygen crash, as claimed in the DR Tim web site would have killed them also? They live in a colony of 10 or so RBTA at the bottom of the tank. They never left their home, and they are fine.
 

Reefvet

New member
This hobby is trying for everyone. We've all had losses and it sucks.

Recognizing where things went wrong is typically the most important step to avoiding repeating it.

I hope you have years of fun and rewarding experiences in the hobby to balance out the frustration of this experience.

Best of luck to you !
 

TylerHaworth

New member
First of all, I don't really know what this product is supposed to do, intact I've never heard of it until today, however I did just find a picture of the label and there is no ambiguity in the warning or instructions for use.

If I dump too much of a lot of things that I use regularly it will kill off all of my livestock…

I understand your frustration, however you need to place the blame squarely where it lies instead of digging for a scapegoat.

Blaming the product because you used it improperly is unfair.
 

tmz

ReefKeeping Mag staff
Premium Member
No there aren't many products that I have seen that cause this kind of harm. ................... I have kept mixed reefs over 10 years. But a product that can cause 100% fish loss because of one small detail is dangerous. People deserve to know about it.

I agree and thanks for sharing your experience. It's important for folks to know what can happen. You're not the only reefer who had fish losses when using it,btw:

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2217612

Personally, I would not risk using a product that caused cloudy water ,oxygen depletion , bacterial blooms and added ammonia.
 
roshan_samuel,

Curious as to whether your water turned cloudy white after you applied the dosage? In other words you experienced a bacterial bloom?

Reading the website, Waste Away is a combination of bacteria, no other mention of other additives. Certainly if you experience a bacterial bloom, you would want to keep the skimmer going IMHO. Personally I've never heard anyone experience a bacterial bloom when adding bacteria to a tank. They're some potent bacteria if you did experience a bloom.

Sorry to hear about your fish loss. :(
 

tmz

ReefKeeping Mag staff
Premium Member
From the directions:


When initially using Waste-Away manufacturer strongly recommends adding only a half a dose. For especially dirty tanks this may temporarily cause cloudy water and a low ammonia value
 
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