Can't seem to keep neon alive :(

  • #1
I bought 8 neon tetra last Sunday. By Monday, 4 had already died. I bought 4 more on Monday morning, 4 more died by Monday night. I bought 4 more on Monday night, by Tuesday afternoon 3 more died! Tonight, 2 more died. That's 13 neons in 4 days!

I checked my water and it seemed fine: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and about 10 ppm nitrate. I changed my water twice during that time. I kept the water temperature around 76 but cranked it up a bit today 'cause some of them were flashing. I also started Rid-Fungus last night due to the diseased signs. No sure if there'd be much point continuing with the medication...

They must didn't stay alive very long for me. I bought them from 2 different stores. In the same tank, 10G, I have 4 danios and a handful of glass shrimps. I found 1 dead shrimp on the 2nd day but since then, no casualties. The danios seemed ok as well. They were speeding around chasing each other, sometimes they chase the neons as well. I read on that shrimps are very sensitive to water parameters. I'd figure if the water was bad, they'd be the first to go.

Any idea why my neons keep dying?I want to have some neons for my shrimp only tank. But I can't seem to keep them alive.
  • #2
Due to the intense popuarity of neons they are often inbred and have very poor gene pools, this might be what is causing yours to die
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
My neon's seem to be dying of the Neon Disease. I see most of the symptoms. I found another dead body this morning.

I'm down to 2 now. Since neon's need to be kept in schools, should I buy more or should I just let the last 2 pass on and get some other fish instead?
  • #4
If I were you, I'd wait it out to see if the last two neons show symptoms...

Don't risk passing it to other fish you get! From what I've heard of the disease, it's not treatable...

It's possible that your last fish are infected, and if you get new neons, they could become infected too. (it travels through spores in the tank...) If they are infected, I'd take them out of the tank.

Do frequent water changes and watch those fish!

Good luck!!
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
It's been 2 days since the last neon died. The remaining tetras seem aggressive toward each other though. I have 9 in a 10G with 5 glass shrimps. They'd be floating around and then all of a sudden one would chase another around the tank for a few seconds. Is that normal?

Also, the shrimps are hiding most of the time. Not sure if it's because the tetras are bothering them. Is it a bad idea to keep the shrimps in with the tetras?
  • #6
I don't about shrimp, but 9 neons and 5 shrimp in a 10g, it sounds like you may be over stocked. If I'm not mistaken neons will grow to 1.5" if not more.
Did you cycle your tank before adding your fish?
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
The 10G has been going on for over 2 months. The readings are fine. Sometimes there's a small ammonia spike but nothing big. The neons are only about 1" each right now and I've heard that shrimps contribute to negligible bioload.

I only wanted 6 neons but they keep dying on me, so I kept buying more to anticipate the deaths. Now I have 9. A couple of them are showing signs of distress, swimming alone in a corner. I expect a couple of them to not make it in the next few days. When the count is down to 6 and steady, that'll be my ideal fish count.
  • #8
maybe your buying poor quality fish look in the tank in the place you buy them at.
  • #9
It is normal for neons to chase each other ...I have 8 in a 29 gal with a bunch of breeding guppies , 2 amano shrimp and 2 snails. They will swim as a loose school and then dart around after each other doing loops around each other so fast that you can't follow them with you eye...I think that is the males showing each other who is boss...they don't nip or hurt each other or bother any one else. I bought mine without relizing my tank was still cycling and never had any problem with them. I never had any sick and never lost any ( I did do almost daily 50% water changes when I found out my tank was still cycling tho)....good luck.
  • #10
i've never had a problem with neons, ive only been in the hobby a few months. maybe its the store your buying it from? they may have a disease already.
  • #11
Well, neon were the first ever fish I bought and yes I had some casualties, not as many as you had though. they are just not as hardy as other fish, water quality is one factor so as food quality but if you really have a disease going on in your tank, the best tactic is to be patient, keep on top of your maintenance and see how the remnants are doing. schooling fish do better in group but will still live if left down to a couple. and yes they do chase each other but without harm, just a game!!
  • #12
I have one that is really deformed...his bottom lip juts out! he has a hard time eating.
  • #13
Hey I got that too!!! has anyone got any ideas where that comes from???
  • #14
How long do you acclimate your fish? I am a neon newbie but I have not had any neon causalities yet. I read before I bought them that people were having a lot of problems so I acclimated mine extremely long due to the high Ph I have in my area. I think it took around 4 hours or so. I waited 30min. then added a little water and I kept adding a little water every half hour. By the time I was done and added them to the tank they were fine and even ate that night when it was feeding time. I am no expert but this is what has worked for me they have been doing very well for over 4 months. Hope you find out what is causing your fish to become ill!!!!
  • #15
Looking at your aquarium stats it seems to me that your pH is a little high to be keeping neons. They prefer an acidic pH, around 6, which is difficult to get if you're not trying. I bought some neons last week and added them to my German Ram tank, they perked right up once I had acclimated them for about 30 minutes. I wouldn't suggest trying to keep neons unless you want a tank set up with a low pH. If you're interested in that, try adding some (unboiled) driftwood and peat extract to your tank to naturally lower the pH. Good luck!
  • #16
I would have to disagree with you. I've only had a tank for about 2.5 months, so I'm a beginner. I bought 8 neon tetras over a month ago and not one of them has died yet. My tap water is very hard, my pH is around 7.8-7.9, and my neons are just fine. I think it's far more important to have clean water and a steady pH, rather than trying to achieve a specific pH for your neons. I do a 30% water change and thorough vacuuming of my gravel every week and I think this is what's keeping my neons healthy. In the end, if your water is dirty, your neons will die no matter what your pH level is. Just my $0.02

Looking at your aquarium stats it seems to me that your pH is a little high to be keeping neons. They prefer an acidic pH, around 6, which is difficult to get if you're not trying. I bought some neons last week and added them to my German Ram tank, they perked right up once I had acclimated them for about 30 minutes. I wouldn't suggest trying to keep neons unless you want a tank set up with a low pH. If you're interested in that, try adding some (unboiled) driftwood and peat extract to your tank to naturally lower the pH. Good luck!
  • #17
Kashim, I agree that clean water is more is most important, I was just saying that the idea conditions for neons are low pH. Seeing that their tank stats say that the water conditions are good, I think that the problem is prolly a combo of poorly bred fish and unideal water conditions for the specific fish. I hope your fish aren't too stressed out by the high pH. I guess you can always keep fish outside their ideal conditions if you keep the water clean enough. IMO it is really important to keep fish in their ideal conditions, but that's just my little soap box issue.
  • #18
All I can tell you is that my neons seem very happy. They're healthy and energetic. The relatively high pH doesn't seem to bother them at all. I tried controlling my pH before, which did far more harm than good. As I mentioned, my tap water is very hard, which makes it hard to lower the pH. Even after I managed to lower my pH to around 7.2, it would slowly rise back to 7.8 over the course of several days. This effect, coupled with the weekly water changes, would create a roller coaster effect on my pH. This is why I believe it's better to focus on keeping your water clean and pH steady, even if the pH is not the most ideal for the fish. I think it's far less stressful on my neons to have them in water with a constant pH of 7.8, rather than having them in water where the pH is always changing up or down. Still, I'm only a beginner so anyone can feel free to correct me on that (although I would think most people will agree with this).
  • #19
I see this is an older subject,and hopefully the tetra problem is a non-issue,but here are a few ideas that would help reduce the stress of the fish,lower your PH levels and place the tetras in a more comfortable,natural habitat.

Hard water is difficult to control the PH levels in,as you all stated. There are several ways to lower the PH,that are quite effective,but do take a little time.To get softer water,you need to remove excess amounts of dissolved minerals in the water.

The easiest and fastest way to soften water is to boil it, let it cool to room temp,then filter it through peat. That will soften the water remarkably.Then it will be easier to maintain a stable,lower PH.( Be aware that water that's too soft loses it's buffering ability and could lead to PH crashes.)

To reduce PH you can also remove your filter (leave the pump on and circulating) and let the phosphates and waste build up.As the phosphates increase,the PH will decrease.This can safely be done over a short period of time,without worrying too much about ammonia build up as well,especially if you have live plants. Stuff some clean charcoal into a sock or panty hose and drop it into the filter temporarily,the charcoal will absorb the ammonia,while allowing the phosphates to build up. Keep in mind,the higher the phosphates get,the more chances you have of an algae bloom.That's not bad if you have a hungry pleco or other algae-eating species.

Using the methods above,I am able to maintain a stable PH at 6.8 for my gudgeons (Morgunda Adspersa) without using chemicals.
  • #20
All great ideas! And your are right about the algae bloom due to higher phosphates. The poster can also just add a piece of peat to the filter media to help lower the Ph without having to boil the water etc etc.
  • #21
I'd rather keep them in a high pH than a fluctuating pH, absolutely. Especially if you are having to add chemicals to get your pH down, forget that. I love how we turned this thread into a completely different discussion, haha!
  • #22
Sorry for all the confusion

I was not actually asking for advice but giving it LOL. I did not notice that this thread was so old until after I wrote what I did. I was asking Shanya B. how long she was acculmating her fish sorry for the confusion. My 5 neons are doing extremely well with PH around 8.5 or so. Most fish out there at least there profile says you need a neutral Ph around 7 or so. When I first started this hobby I was so worried about my PH. Now all I care about is that it is stable which it is, it never changes in all four of my tanks it is the same. The PH never changes it does not matter how many plants I have or how much driftwood that I use it is the same in all four tanks. Not to sound like I know it all but all my fish are healthy and seem very happy. The colors of my neons are eyepoping which have pretty much grown I think to the max size. My Emperor tetras are another prime example they have eye poping color and have done very well. This is just my opinion (which I will probably get a lot of heat for) PH unless you are breeding and is stable is one factor that people should be worried about less. If you have a high PH which I do just acculmate them for a really long time. Now if your PH is really low for some reason being acidic that might be more of a problem which I do not really know about.
Also I have read a lot of test strip bashing and that you should only really use Liquid testing kits. I disagree with this as well. I think when your tank is cycling this is a must but once your tank is done test strips are fine. I mean when your readings are 0 they are 0. If anything shows up on the test strip then maybe use the liquid to get a accurate reading. Why take 45min to test everything this is of course for 4 tanks when you could do it in 5min. My point is we should be telling people how to make chores easier and more fun not that they are testing for PH and doing this and that and using the liquid tests adding a little bit of this and alittle bit of that. My personal opinion is make sure water quality good and if everything else is happy don't mess with it. Your fish will probably be happier and you will be happier and you will have more fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

Granted all fish tanks are different and what works for one may or may not work for others. I love the test strips they save me a lot of time and encourage others to use them as well once your tank is done cycling that is.

I have read multiply times in other threads about the test strips so as people do not get confused sorry I went off on a tangent there LOL.....
  • #23
Razimith I appreciate the tangent,it gives me an excuse to put in my .02 cents worth.

The test strip method for me is useless.You know when you dunk those strips into your water(most people dunk them into their aquariums) you are dunking toxins in at the same time? There's also a good chance the strips don't work. I bought some a long while back,and the strips were telling me my ammonia was 0 (color comparison) but it was getting to the point that you could start smelling it.My friend brought over a liquid kit,and the readings were way out of wack. I started using the liquid kit. Then my nephew decided to add the liquid to the aquarium to make it pretty,yeah he dumped the whole bottle of chemicals into the aquarium (needless to say NO fish survived) So I looked around and acquired some electronic probes.Today,the probes are all I use;just hang them in a portion of the aquarium,and at a glance you get constant readings,more accurate than the chemicals,and strips combined. The probes cost the same as a master test kit,and there's no chemicals to worry about,and there's no need to replace supplies.

I bring that up 1st to make another point.If the strips you use say that the PH level NEVER fluctuates,then there's a good possibility you may want to consider another test method.Especially saying that with plants and driftwood present. Dissolved oxygen in an aquarium changes the PH levels quite regularly.Up or down,depending on the amount of oxygen in the water.During the day Plants produce oxygen,by taking in carbon dioxide. At night plants produce carbon dioxide by taking in oxygen (albeit it in lesser amounts) Those 2 acts alone will change the water PH by as much as .08 in a 16 hour cycle.(16 hrs of low level light to bright full day level,with 8 hr of darkness (I could go on and on,but I am just giving an example)

For a lot of people,Such as myself; Taking care of the aquarium,doing the chores such as testing water,cleaning,maintenance,decorating,etc is part of the enjoyment of keeping fish.I never look at it like it's a waste of time,or redundant. It's more about the care of the fish that depend on you. It's relaxing to sit and watch them play,eat,etc. It's also satisfying to know you are doing the best you can for them.Like it says in my signature,MY FISH KEEP ME SANE There's others who see the aquarium as a piece of furniture that looks pretty in a corner. My fish don't mind me messing with the aquarium.I hand feed most,I keep my hands inside,and they will swim around and brush against my hands (My oscars will try to take off my fingers). They're more than just to watch.They will interact with you and look forward to seeing you. It's more than a hobby me (as you can tell) For a lot of others,well;I have seen people that make me irate.
  • #24
Whoops sorry Razimith! Didn't know you were talking directly to me!

On average it takes me maybe an hour to acclimate most fish. I let the bag sit in the aquarium for about 20 minutes then pour a little water in 3 or 4 times over the rest of the hour.

For me, it depends on the fish.

It's never taken me 4 hours, though. The only fish I've ever lost due to acclimation are ones that I could tell were stressed in the bag. I have pretty good results with my method...

Ok, there's my 2 cents!
  • #25
That is great advice soldier

I started with the API liquid test kits including PH and love them in fact I still use them. I too enjoyed at least for the first 4 months checking my water parameters using this method but it took 45min and everyday I would check my parameters. I was looking for a more efficient way of checking them that is why I started using the test strips. I knew from reading here and other sources of information on the internet that they were inaccurate. I wanted to see for myself so I used the test strips in conjunction with the liquid test kits and they seemed pretty accurate. At least the ones I am using I feel are accurate enough even at low levels for they did indeed detect small amounts of ammonia and nitrites. I have read if they get old they become inaccurate or maybe I got lucky with the canister of test strips that I have I don’t know this for sure. I am not sure for I am still on my first can of test strips. At any rate I feel confident when using in conjunction with liquid test kits that this is a safe and practical method. Meaning I use the test strips and once a week now I use the liquid unless of course I detect a small amount of ammonia or nitrites.
I have not considered probes that is a great idea do you have any links or recommendations on what to use. This would be the best alternative by far so thank you so much for giving me that idea. Although I looked on dr. foster and smith and some probes run about 300 dollars that is way out of my price range.
As far as the PH thing goes I wish I could give you an answer and yes from what I have read you are absolutey right. My PH you would think should change I have a 60gal hex which I have used jungle ph balance adjuster dropped 6 of them in there 1 for every 10 gallons did nothing for me. I have tried adding a huge piece of drift wood with a bunch of smaller pieces that did nothing either. I have tried API ph down and added the recommended amount and it did drop from 8.6-8.7 down to around 8.3-8.4. Then my PH went back up in a matter of hours. This is a planted tank and the way I test it was by using API liquid ph test kit. Also the test strips that I use say pretty much the same thing. I have tried peat moss in my canister filter which did not do anything either. I am using well water with a high PH which I think as a huge buffer against acids LOL!!!!!!
My 70 gal bow tank which I did not even try to adjust my ph but is a complete planted tank does not change either this tank as a couple of huge Amazon sword plants in it so you think that it would. My 30gal goldfish tank and my 10 gal quarantine tank is exactly the same. All my tanks read around 8.6-8.7 all the time I have checked it the last 5 months just about every day maybe every other would be more honest and I have to say it has not changed in any of my 4 tanks. In this time I have not lost any fish except for one rest his soul due to the fact that I was a newb and bought an African butterfly fish before my tank was cycled and I did have ammonia in my tank which ultimately killed him. I LFS guy said it should not have been a problem great!!!!!
Thanks ShaynaB for replying to such a old post that is amazing again I apologize for even posting on this thread and sorry it got so far off base.
Also thank you Solider for all your great info.
  • #26
All my probes are from Pinpoint,and they can be a little pricey. It's a 1 time expense,and you don't have to buy supplies for them. I get most of my equipment second hand,so that saves me quite a bit of money.

If you want to bring down the PH,keep the pete in the filter. Boil your water for about 10-15 minutes.LET IT COOL,that will remove a lot of the minerals dissolved in the well water. I know I posted this somewhere else,I will try to find the link.
  • #27
I think you are right Kashim, a slightly high but stable ph is definitely better than ever changing conditions. The less you stress the fish the better, just make sure you take extra time to acclimate your new fish and you are good.
Another problem could be how badly the fish has been handled in the shop, I witnessed so bad practice once that the fish died of stress within hours!!! I was really furious about that girl who clearly did not give a s**t.

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