Bleeding Heart Tetras dying one by one

Andrea1138

Member
Hello! I am new to keeping fish, but I have a 29 gal tank, I got it on Dec. 28, 2011 with an albino pleco, an angelfish, 6 cherry barbs, and on this past Wednesday I was super excited to add 6 bleeding heart tetras. I have been testing the water every day since I got the tetras, and it has been consistently .50 ammonia, 0 nitrate, 30 nitrate (.25 ammonia right after water change, but by the next day it's back to .50). I have been changing 30% of the water every day, because my bleeding heart tetras are dying off one by one. I just can't figure out why. All my other fish are doing just fine. Are bleeding hearts super sensitive? In all my reading I read that they are hearty. Did I just get a "bad bunch?" The one thing that is making me sick is I didn't quarantine them first~my 10 gal tank is now in my daughter's room, with three guppies and a honey gourami. I don't have a quarantine tank anymore. I'm praying my angelfish comes out fine. But is there something else I can do to learn why my tetras are dying? One thing I did differently is I tried giving my fish frozen brine shrimp on Friday, then that evening they started dying~2 died Friday, one yesterday, and another swimming on his side right now And I also wonder if my ammonia test is bad (using the API kit) because the tank water and filter actually smell like ammonia. My 10 gal and 5 gal don't (but they are completely cycled, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite). Is it most likely the ammonia? They are just more sensitive than the others?
 

AlyeskaGirl

Member
I've read they need good water quality.

I'd do a 50% water change instead and with Prime water conditioner as it will detox the ammonia. Do this daily until ammonia is zero.

Have you tested your water source for ammonia?

I hope things calm down soon.

Welcome to Fishlore.
 
  • Thread Starter

Andrea1138

Member
Thank you so much for your quick reply~yes, my tap water is 0 ammonia. Also, I should add that I have an Aqueon Quietflow 50 for my filter. I hadn't changed the filter cartridge for 6 weeks, I read that it is best to not change that real often. So today, I cut out all the old filter material off the old cartridge, it's all brown with bacteria, and stuffed it in there with the new cartridge, (hoping that would help prevent a minI cycle) because it just bothered me that I could actually smell ammonia. I do use Prime, and also I should say that my 29 gal tank never completely got down to 0 ammonia, ever. It was always at .25, the guy at the store said that wasn't a big deal, that his tanks have .25 and his fish are fine. But I have read, and I know, that it's supposed to be at 0. Maybe it's my filter...I just hope none of my other fish get sick.
 

soltarianknight

Member
Bleeding hearts need an established tank, I wouldnt add them until a few months after the cycle, no ammonia what so ever. Of course there should never be any ammonia period. Did you quarantine any of these fish? The other problem is that Bleeding hearts have no place in a 29gal. Its just too small for them when they reach full size. Which is 3-4". With a angle, 6 cherries and a BN I think your stocked as far as space will allow.
 
  • Thread Starter

Andrea1138

Member
I did not quarantine them I will keep up with the water changes with Prime. How about my filter~Aqueon Quietflow 50, is that sufficient? The gph is 250. I have had the pleco and angelfish for two months, they have been doing great. Got the cherry barbs 3 weeks ago, and they are lively as ever. Did I just try to do to much too soon, plus overstocked my tank?~I'm wondering how reliableis, I followed that and it said my filtration was sufficient. I'm definitely not getting anymore fish.
 

AlyeskaGirl

Member
Since you've never had the tank at 0 ammonia, I'd say you need more filtration. Dose the cartridge gunk up quickly?

Aquadvisor should not be taken seriously.
 
  • Thread Starter

Andrea1138

Member
It does gunk up quickly if I don't get the zucchinI out before the pleco breaks it into pieces (feed zucchinI 2 days before water changes), but I just rinse off the chunks in the water when I do water changes. I do 30% water changes twice a week, but have been doing them every day since Friday, when the tetras started dying. I feel so bad about this, there is nothing I can do, and all three of the tetras that are still alive are swimming at 45 degree angles Should I put them in the 10 gal tank with the guppies and honey gourami? That tank is cycled, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite.
 
  • Thread Starter

Andrea1138

Member
I just can't thank you two enough for helping me with this.
 

AlyeskaGirl

Member
I'd say try it to see if they perk up. Are you sure there is nothing else wrong with them as you are putting them in another tank with healthy fish. I'd also turn the light off to help reduce stress.

I picked up 6 of these guys yesterday myself. I am really sorry that you are loosing them.
 
  • Thread Starter

Andrea1138

Member
I looked them over carefully at the store before I brought them home. They looked great. Now it looks like their fins are ragged, I haven't seen any fish nipping at them though. They don't look bloated, the last one that died had a red tummy. Right now there are three left, and they are swimming at 45 degree angles. I didn't feed the fish today because I was worried about the ammonia. Also, I forgot to mention that I created a baffle on my filter because the flow was pushing the angelfish around~I have a piece of AquaClear foam in the spot where the water comes out to have more beneficial bacteria build up (the Aqueon filter just has that blue plastic thing, and I wasn't seeing anything build up on that), and then I used a plastic water bottle to deflect the flow. But that has been in place for almost a month. Just now I turned the light off.
 

AlyeskaGirl

Member
When there is poor water quality ragged fins can happen. Stressed fish are an open door to sickness.

I know, they probably looked great when you brought them home.

Keep an eye on your other fish for any odd behavior.
 
  • Thread Starter

Andrea1138

Member
Thank you so much for all your help!
 

AlyeskaGirl

Member
Your welcome
 
  • Thread Starter

Andrea1138

Member
It's Monday morning, I'm so happy! All three remaining tetras look great~no one is swimming at an angle! Ammonia is still at .25 (0 nitrite) but I will keep up with water changes. I fed everyone this morning and even the tetras were eating, not spitting it out. They are swimming around, active. I had an old plastic plant (looks like a begonia) that I wasn't using, so I pulled it off its base and let it float around, to give them more cover from light. I'm really hopeful. Maybe, just maybe, they are going to make it
 

soltarianknight

Member
Now we need to work on the big tank and getting rid of the ammonia in it because the other fish are still in danger, prolonged subjection to ammonia will cause issues. As for the bleeding hearts, as ive stated unless you have a 55gal you WILL need to rehome them, they get way to big for the 29, and WAY to big for the 10gal for any periode of time.
 
  • Thread Starter

Andrea1138

Member
I didn't put them in the 10 gal, they stayed in the 29 gal. Also, I read all about quarantine tanks, so I'm going to work on that. I wish I didn't have to rehome the bleeding heart tetras, I love them, but I don't want them in a tank that's too small for them, so I totally understand rehoming them. Right now they are small, no bigger than an inch. With the ammonia, I can't tell if my filter is insufficient or if my tank just hasn't completely cycled?
 

AlyeskaGirl

Member
That's great to hear they are doing better. Keep up with the water changes.
 
  • Thread Starter

Andrea1138

Member
I lost another tetra I took my filter off and examined it to make sure there wasn't anything caught in there gunking it up. Now my filter won't turn back on at all! I am panicked. I want to get an Aqua Clear filter but my tank is too close to the wall and it won't fit I just can't believe this.

*Update* filter is working! I found a little black cap that had fallen off of the propeller thing, stuck it back on, filter's working.
 

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