1.5g Nanotank 5 Weeks Old, Dead Fish Problem

Leoninhk

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Dear fishlore community,

I am relatively new to the hobby and have set myself up with a 1.5 gallon planted nanotank. I tried following what I learnt from the community so my tank evolves healthily but my most recently added fish died.. here’s how I have set up the tank

Week 1: substrate, hang back filter (only sponge), hardscape, only carpet plants. Started adding photosynthetic bacteria and fertilizing liquid. Started ghost feeding fish food to spike ammonium level for nitrifying bacteria to grow in the substrate

Week 2: more plants, continue ghost feeding fish food, adding photosynthetic bacteria and fertilizing liquid

Week 3: added first livestock - otocinclus, and 5 amano shrimps. All survived. Stopped ghost feeding, relying on the live stock to produce nitrogen waste. Started weekly water change

Week 4: added 10 mosquito rasborras, 2 died, the rest survived to date. Has some hair algae problem so I added one large amano, it absolutely killed those algae. Might return this amano to the shop because it doesn’t look that good.

Week 5: added 2 top layer focal point fish (my main characters), beautiful rainbows, a male and a female. (They look pretty big and dominant in my 1.5 gallon) but, both died within days. Also added two nerite snails

I keep track of my nitros, ammonium and nitrate sometimes are high, I water change and it becomes fine. Nitrites are never high tho, does this mean I don’t have nitrifying bacteria in the tank?

The rainbows has white and slightly broken lips before they died, is this some sort of infection? Or just physical injury? Could this imply why they died?

My water surface has some oil or biofilm looking substance which I try to scoop out. Is this something concerning? (Random hypothesis, these biofilm are bad bacteria and the rainbows feed from water surface, this infects their mouth?!?)

My amanos, Otto, and rasborras are doing fine it seems. So far.

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Thanks for any response, very much appreciated


Leon
 

Zoomo

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Did you really say 1.5 G as in one and a half gallons? Did you mean 15 gallons by any chance? So, if I am reading your post right, you have/had:

1 Oto
6 amano shrimp (1 large)
10 Mosquito Rasboras with 2 that died, so you are left with 8.
2 Rainbow fish that died.
2 Nerite snails.

So 1 + 6 + 8 + 2 = 17 creatures in a 1.5 gallon?

In a 1.5 gallon tank? I am a huge newbie, but that seems like a ton of fish for such a small tank and half of that space is taken up with plants and rocks. I have gotten yelled at other places for having a Betta in 2.5 gallons and that is 1 fish. I am probably wrong though and people will come along and say that is fine or you meant 15 gallons.

:muted: Me for now. LOL
 

Smalltownfishfriend

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Hi! Welcome to fish lore!! Ok.. so first of all.. you asked wether you should be seeing nitrites.. no.. in a cycled tank you should have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and 5 to 20 nitrates!! How are you testing you water?? What kind of rainbow fish did you get?? Also.. I hate to be the breaker of bad news but otto cats are best suited for at least a 20 gallon, rasbora's should also have a bigger tank.. honestly the best thing for that tank would be a shrimp colony.. they are very fun to watch!!! There really is no fish that can live in a 1.5 gallon tank.. unless you meant 15 gallons??
 

BReefer97

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No fish can live in a 1.5 gallon. The smallest tank for a fish would be a 3 gallon and that can only house a single Betta Fish.
 

FishGirl38

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I feel you're pain. I have a 2.6 gal that's cycled and sitting empty because I've been trying to find the right fish to add to that tank. On here I've been told that EVERYTHING fish wise I want to add is too big for my tank. I'll be honest, I know I can keep a couple fish in my little tank without it crashing. But I'm trying not to be cruel to the fish.

As others have said, if this is a 1.5 gallon...You have way too many fish in there....I would max my 2.6 spec at 3 fish. If I were to do what I wanted to do, I would have 3 guppy, pea puffer, white cloud, celestial danio, threadfin rainbow, ember tetra, or cory habrosa. (not all of those, just three of 1 species listed). I really wanted to do 1 ram or cactoides cichlid. But again, I haven't done that yet because I know that even that is really too much for the space that I have to provide them.

I tried the shrimp tank thing, and personally didn't have much luck. My shrimp died off quite fast. I think it had to do with the size of the tank +bioload.

In a small tank like that, it is TOO easy to have an ammonia spike, and with that many fish, you're asking for it. If it is a 15 gallon then I think you're fine. I get the biofilm on the surface of my 2.6 gal spec. I believe it has to do with lack of water movement on the surface of the water. It happens often in smaller tanks. It's nothing too bad.

If you plan on keeping all those fish in there, I would do weekly 20-30% water changes on it, dosing live bacteria when you do. If you keep up with maintenance and don't let the ammonia or nitrite get too high, then ur fish should be fine.
 

CloudTheFluffy

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As stated above the only thing that can live in a tank that’s that small is shrimp and smaller snails. Also most rainbow fish are schoolers if I’m ready right and need bigger tanks.
 

FishGirl38

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We (i work at a LFS) just recently got betta imbellis in stock. I thought about doing one of those...but I'm still not sure. lol.

A common symptom of high ammonia is your fish sitting at the top of the water. Occasionally you may notice them 'cough' or 'choke' at the top. This is a sign that the oxygen levels in the water are depleting rapidly and ammonia is running rampant/burning gills. I'm maybe 85% sure that the ammonia is what got to the rainbows. I'm not saying your tank is that bad off on ammonia, but, with that many fish it seems like the only explanation. Unless they were already pretty close to death when you purchased them.

The way you've cycled seems spot on. So the only problems I'm seeing with your tank is the number of fish, which can lead to ammonia spikes...which should be the only other cause of issues or unexplained death. Considering the fish died so soon after you purchased them, they could've passed from stress/discomfort? Not to say your tank is that bad off with ammonia, but it's possible that your tank has very different water parameters than the store tanks. If you acclimated them with care then this may not be it. But it's a possibility. I've seen fish die from stress of being moved from 1 water condition to another.
 
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