catfish sudden death

  1. gooby Initiate Member

    So here's the thing, I had recently bought 3 small catfish (I'm gonna be honestly I forgot the breed) not too long ago and put them with my two Danios. They were enjoying themselves quite nicely until today. I brought home 4 kuli loaches and put them in the tank (I have a 10 gal). Everything was fine, and I noticed the tank was a bit dirty, so I did about a 40% water change. And to my probably lethal mistake, I accidentally put about 2 gallons of water back in the tank without putting any de-chlorifier (sorry for my spelling) in it first. I assumed the fish would be fine since that had happened a long time ago with my old tank and everything was fine. So I finished putting the last 2 gallons in, remembering the de-chlorifier this time. Everything seemed okay for about 20 minutes, but then I looked back at my tank and the three catfish were swimming around very helpless looking. One kept it's nose to the top while the other two struggled around and barley moving at the bottom... A friend told me it could be the chlorine so I put some de-chlorifier in (the kind you don't need to let sit or mix; ie it was safe) and just hoped for the best. It was only a matter of 20 more minutes till the 3 catfish passed away all at once.... possibly the strangest thing I've ever seen. The other fish are completely fine. Now I'm very new to catfish and I feel awful about what has happend, so more or less I'm asking for an explanation of what may have happened? Was it the chlorine? Thanks so much,
  2. ricmcc Well Known Member Member

    Because of the suddenness of the deaths, I would think that chlorine would be the likely thing, as it damages on contact, much like WW1 Mustard gas.
    The trick here is to learn from a mistake, after all, we all have made them, and go on.
    But please pay close attention to your stocking levels, and the number of schooling fish needed to make a proper school (2 danios will not quite do).
    All the best, and do remember that everyone does make mistakes, so don't be hard on yourself, just learn from them.--best to you, rick

  3. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    Welcome to FishLore! I'm sorry for your loss.

    From what you've described, it sounds like it must have been the lack of dechlorinator that killed your fish. If that ever happens again and you need to add dechlorinator directly to the tank, add enough to thread the entire tank and not just the amount of new water you had put in (you may have done that, but you didn't say).

    I do not know of any dechlorinator that you need to let sit. All dechlorinators that I'm aware of act instantly, so that isn't something you need to worry about.

    But almost as important, other than pygmy cory catfish, I do not think there is any catfish (or any loach for that matter) than are suitable for a 10 gallon tank. For cory cats you need 20 (long) minimum and all other catfish would need even more. And I think the kuhli loaches need at least a 20 (long) also.