2 Bala Sharks died

TimandMatty
  • #1
My son and I have had our 55 gallon tank set up for about 4 weeks. Our 3 bala sharks and a cat fish have been in the tank for about 3 years. Tonight my little guy came running to me screaming and crying that 2 of the sharks were dead. There did not appear to be any trauma. What should I be looking for? They seemed healthy earlier in the day.
 
lisamorie
  • #2
i'm assuming this was a used tank you bought? are you testing for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates? if so, what are they? and if not, you'll probably want to get an apI master test kit from the pet shop so that you can check those things before adding any more fish. make sure to get a liquid test kit and not the stips they sell.

from what you said, although you didn't give too many details, I am guessing you bought the tank used and just re-set it up in your house with what came with it? is that right? it says in your bio that you don't know about the nitrogen cycle and if you go to this link you can read up on it:
https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm

basically fish waste creates ammonia, and there is necessary bacteria in a cycled tank that will convert the ammonia to nitrites, and then to nitrates. nitrates are removed through periodic water changes. if this tank had been set up for 3 years previously, it would have been cycled BUT when you moved it, if it was cleaned out when emptied and the gravel and filter media was changed or not kept wet, the good bacteria that was there previously is probably gone. if that is the case, your ammonia levels are probably pretty high and the fish may have died from ammonia or nitrite poisoning.

again, I am just assuming all of this based on what you said, so more details could help us all help you better.
 
Chief_waterchanger
  • #3
I agree with Lisa.

Also, a 55 gallon is too small for 3 balas to really do well in by the time they're adults. Bala sharks really need a 125-150g to get decent amounts of space.
 
TimandMatty
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
thanks for the feedback. I actually bought the tank new from PetSmart, where they said 55 gal would be more than enough for the 3 balas + other fish. I am so new at this it I could probably be catergorized as "pre-novice". I did have the water tested after setting it up and will go grab the paperwork and give you the levels. After our disaster last night I planned on buying a test kit today. Can we use the 55 gal tank for now and then upgrade later? I never realized the expense involved with setting up a tank.
Thanks again
 
Shawnie
  • #5
gotta love LFS tryin to make a buck hey?? the best test kit is the apI master kit...well worth the money ...goodluck and let us know some of the readings!
 
lisamorie
  • #6
thanks for the feedback. I actually bought the tank new from PetSmart, where they said 55 gal would be more than enough for the 3 balas + other fish. I am so new at this it I could probably be catergorized as "pre-novice". I did have the water tested after setting it up and will go grab the paperwork and give you the levels. After our disaster last night I planned on buying a test kit today. Can we use the 55 gal tank for now and then upgrade later? I never realized the expense involved with setting up a tank.
Thanks again


didn't you say that the fish had been in the tank for three years? maybe you meant weeks?

even though you had the water tested at the beginning, it changes every day when it's a new tank. you'll need to get a large-ish siphon and a big bucket or trash can you use only for that tank-- or a python (automatic siphon/gravel vacuum) or something, because depending on how many fish you have in it now, you'll want to test daily for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates at the very least, and it's also a good idea to watch your ph and water hardness. and you said two died, right? or did they just look dead? regardless, it's most likely ammonia poisoning so until the tank is cycled, you'll have to do water 20-25% water changes every other day, maybe every day or twice a day depending on the ammonia and nitrate levels. also, when you are getting the test kit and siphon if you haven't already, I would pick up a bottle of prime if you don't have one. you can use it as a water conditioner when you add new water to remove the chlorine and chloramines, but it also changes the ammonia to something that won't be so damaging to the fish. the goal is to keep ammonia levels under 1 or so to keep your fish from dying, but unfortunately you do have to leave some in there to feed the good bacteria you are trying to grow. OR-- you can do like I do and buy Bio Spira, which cycles my tanks in about 3 days, and then it's done. if you're lucky your local pet store will carry it (has to be refrigerated, don't buy it if it's not) but if not, you can order it online at drs foster and smith and a couple other places and it'll run you about $45 or so cause it has to be overnighted.

and yes, you can use the tank you have now for a while while they grow, but keep in mind if you decide to keep them, they can each get about 14-16 inches long!
 
TimandMatty
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
oops. if I typed in 3 years it was an error I meant 3 weeks. I did get the water tested and it was the ammonia levels that were too high. I have purchased the test kit and have a syphon but will probably purchase the python. This is really confusing because so many people have so many different bits of advice. I do have to say the people on this site seem to be the most knowledgeable. thanks
 
Shawnie
  • #8
I didnt know what "cycle" your tank meant until I came here either..Ive had my tank and got new ones over a 5 year period..ppl here are amazing with knowledge and very willing to lend it out...goodluck!
 
lisamorie
  • #9
oops. if I typed in 3 years it was an error I meant 3 weeks. I did get the water tested and it was the ammonia levels that were too high. I have purchased the test kit and have a syphon but will probably purchase the python. This is really confusing because so many people have so many different bits of advice. I do have to say the people on this site seem to be the most knowledgeable. thanks


I know it's confusing, and everyone has their own way I guess, but often times the pet store employees have little or no training and some aren't actually allowed to advise you not to buy something! the stores want to make money, just keep that in mind. they try to sell stuff like Cycle (yeah, I bought it in the beginning) that does not work at all, and they tell you to go ahead and buy fish after only having the tank set up two days or less, never mention the nitro cycle and often times either do not tell the truth or are misinformed about how big a fish will actually get. there are several ways to cycle a tank without fish in it so that you don't harm the fish or waste your money when they die, but I have had two pet store employees tell me that's not possible... they say that you only have to do water changes every couple months, that bettas can live happily in those tiny bowls, etc, -- just a ton of misinformation!
 
susitna-flower
  • #10
:console: WELCOME TO FISHLORE TIM & MATTY! I don't know who needs the smily, but I do know that kids of all ages get attached to our fish!

As you found out the hard way, the new tank syndrome, - which simply is high ammonia, before bacteria have developed to convert it to nitrite, then to nitrate...is DEADLY.

Your remaining fish are still in danger. TWO things to do.

#1 IF you can get bio-spira (a bacteria culture which most fish stores DON'T carry) but you can order from you can add and not have to worry any more...... OR

#2 Start water changes 25-50% each day until your tests for ammonia and nitrite return to 0 and nitrates go up to 5 or above....this can take weeks...

Good Luck, and be sure to read the articles at the top of the page on starting a new tank for beginners and the nitrogen cycle....Just click on 'ARTICLES' then on the different links.....
 

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