did my new filter kill my fish

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by Taf281, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. Taf281New MemberMember

    I've had my tank running for 3 months now and have 4 harlequins. The tank had cycled before I put my fish in. My nitrites and ammonia went up to 0.25. I did everything the fish slop told me too. Did water changes every 2 weeks so the good bacteria had time to build-up as they thought I was keeping my tank too clean. I also tried reducing feeding them, every other day. I was not over feeding them as the fish shop told me exactly how much to feed them. Nothing was working - the nitrites and ammonia wasn't going down, but they weren't going up either. All 4 fish stayed alive through the 3months. The fish shop said the last thing to try is a new filter in case mine just wasn't working properly. The 10gallon tank came with a interpet pf1 filter. I bought a interpet pf2 filter as that is the next size filter up and also has a separate biological chamber. I kept the old filter in the tank and just added the new filter as I planned to run both filters for 6weeks then gradually reduce the media in the old filter over 2weeks (after the 6weeks) till I was left with no media in the old filler. 12 hours after putting my new filter in 1 of my fish just dies. Could my new filter have killed my fish and will it kill the rest of my fish?
  2. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    It may just be a amonia poisoning, imo your fish store just wrung you out for your cash. Weekly water changes, they wont hurt at all, its not easy to be too clean. Trust me you arnt. If you had amonia then the tank wasnt cycled, so something tells me there may have been an amonia build. What are your amonia readings via liquid test?
  3. OP

    Taf281New MemberMember

    My ammonia has been at 0.25 ever since I added my 4 fish in Jan. The levels never changed no matter what I did. The fish shop are very good. And I do trust them as they've tried everything with me since Jan but nothing seemed to bring the levels down. Which is why we thought my original filter just couldn't be doing its job properly. My tank did cycle before I put my fish in but once they were added the ammonia stayed at 0.25 and the nitrites stayed at 0.25. All 4 fishies survived threw the levels not being right. But as soon as I add a new filter with the hope to swap them over in 6weeks I lose 1 fish over night. I started changing my water every 2 weeks rather than once a week coz the fish shop said I didn't need to do weekly changes coz I only had 4 fish. When I was doing weekly water changes the levels stayed the same. Just as when I started doing water changes every 2 weeks the levels didn't change either. I've taken the new filter out for tonight coz I'm at work and can't watch what is happening. Until I decide what to do with the new filter. After I took my dead fish out I tested my levels and again the nitrites and ammonia were exactly the same, 0.25 for both. Something tells me I might just have to let my new filter do it's thing coz it seems obvious my old filter isn't doing its job anyway.

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  4. toosie

    toosieWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to Fishlore Taf 281. :D

    A lot of people have problems getting that last .25 ammonia taken care of. The fish store hasn't led you too far wrong. In fact they have the right idea. The first filter may not have adequate room for a good beneficial bacteria colony so adding that second filter could/should help you with that. Your plan for using both filters and slowly removing media is also good. You could remove all of the filter media in filter #1 and move it over to filter #2 so that you only had to run filter #2, but there is nothing wrong with the way you are planning to do it either.

    The second filter won't be responsible for your fish's death. I'm sure you probably rinsed the media well before using it and not rinsing it is really the only way a new filter could have an adverse effect on a tank.

    Weekly water changes are important and often daily water changes until the cycle is complete is necessary. The trick here is to only do water changes, not clean the tank or filter, or replace filter media. Syphon a portion of the gravel once or twice a week with a water change to prevent the amount of waste from accumulating too much but the rest of the time, just remove water. This will keep ammonia levels from escalating out of control in the water column but keep you from over cleaning the tank and filter.

    Because you do have a stubborn .25 ammonia/nitrite level, try testing your tap water to see if it is the source of your problem. It sometimes is.

    It sounds like you are doing everything basically right. People are often given poor information from fish stores but it sounds like your's is doing pretty good helping you. (Doing less frequent water changes is about the only thing most of us here would disagree with.) :happy0034:
  5. I keep fish

    I keep fishWell Known MemberMember

  6. Wendy Lubianetsky

    Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    I use an API complete test kit. It cost about 30.00. It tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, Ph, and High Ph. But, you can buy these tests individually. If you are having a hard time getting rid of the last of the ammonia, use Prime to condition your water so that you don't get ammonia or nitrite poisoning.:;z
  7. AlyeskaGirlFishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to Fishlore.

    How did you cycle the tank?

    I'd start doing 30-50% daily water changes with Prime to detox the toxins until you get 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and less then 20 nitrates.

    Do you have a nitrate reading?
  8. OP

    Taf281New MemberMember

    Thank you so much for your advice and help. It's good to know that I'm doing things right.
    I am using an api liquid testing kit.
    I will put my new filter back in the tank 2Moro morning as I feel better now knowing it's not that what made my 1st fish to die :-(
    I will also take on board your advice about cleaning the water and not the filter media as often. That may have been part of my problem coz I was changing the water and cleaning the gravel and the filter every 2 weeks. My fish shop did say that if my filter wasn't loosing its water pressure then it's obviously not dirty. But for some reason I still felt I should also clean the filter each time I did a water change. Mind you I have been doing that routine for 3 months and my fish were fine - just the levels weren't coming down. I just found it very strange and worrying that the only thing I changed was to add a 2nd filter and then 1 fish dies after roughly 15hours of putting it in. The other fish also didn't want to eat tonight, not sure if that was because they knew the other fish was dying?

    I also use api master complete testing kit. I can't remember my nitrates reading. I think it was 25ppm which my fish shop said is normal for our area. My ph is 8.2 which again is normal for our water area. When I cycled my tank I did 30% every day till it had cycled. When ever I add water I use interpet tap safe. When I was cycling my tank I was using interpet filter start. Once it had cycled and I had added my 4 fish I started adding API stress-zyme once a week. Like I've. Mentioned my 4 fish seemed fine until I added my 2nd filter. The nitrites and ammonia didn't seem to bother my little fish, even tho it wasn't right and I tried everything to get it right
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2012
  9. Wendy Lubianetsky

    Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    I made the same mistake by changing the filters in my tank when I did the tank maintenance. Every time I did it, the cycle in my tank went bonkers..... every time the cycle goes bonkers, you lose fish.... and I couldn't figure out why. Well now as we know when you through away the filter, you are throwing away the good bacteria in the filter. What I was told to do (and it works) is to rinse the filter in the water siphone from the tank when you to maintenance. Do not use tap water as that has chlorine in it and will kill the good bacteria.

    I hope that is helpful.

    By the way welcome to Fishlore.
  10. OP

    Taf281New MemberMember

    Do I use my normal API water testing kit to test my tap water for ammonia and nitrites or is there a different water testing kit I need to buy?
  11. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Ammonia doesn't always kill fish immeadiatly. But the effects of prolonged elevated ammonia levels will if not kill the fish, shorten it's lifespan. So I think it was just coincidence that your fish died the same days you put the new filter in.

    I cycled per the advice of the girl at PetSmart when I set up my first tank (beofre discovering FishLore). As instructed I put 4 danio's in and just waited for the tank to cycle. No water changes, no Prime, nothing. Two of the Danios died during the cycling process and two made it thru only to die a month or two later. I have no doubt that being exposed to elevated ammonia for three weeks and then elevated nitrite for 3 weeks shortened their lives substansialy.

    Your API kit will work just fine for testing your tap water.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2012
  12. OP

    Taf281New MemberMember

    Whenever I clean my filter and filter media I always clean it in the water I have just taken from the tank. But I think I was cleaning my filter and media to often. But that doesn't explain why my 1 fish died a few hours after putting a 2nd filter in my tank when the old filter was also still in the tank? Unless the new filter cycling has changed the chemistry in my water and that particular fish just didn't like it. But then I checked the levels after he died and they were the same. Strange!

    Thanks guys so much for your help and advice. I'll test my tap water 2Moro. And I'm starting to think that it might have just been a coincidence that my fish died when I put my new filter in. They had been exposed to high ammonia and nitrite levels - well not high but not right either. Fingers crossed my other 3 will make it. I've not heard of prime b4. What actually is it?
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2012
  13. Shine

    ShineWell Known MemberMember

    Prime is a water conditioner that both de-chlorinates tap water and has the additional benefit of being able to 'detox' ammonia and nitrite for 24 hours into less toxic forms... keeping the water conditions safer for your fish.
  14. toosie

    toosieWell Known MemberMember

    Yes Prime is a very good water conditioner because of the added capabilities of detoxing ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. I don't know if it is available to you in your stores. It seems to me that it's not but you may be able to order some online if they let you import it.

    I agree that the fish death is a coincidence and is likely due to ammonia and nitrites accumulating in it's body. It's not always a quick death for them and can be a slow ongoing poisoning effect until the fish isn't able to cope any longer.

    I would recommend discontinuing the StressZyme. It has bacteria in it that is suppose to help with the cycle but it seems to engage in a battle with the natural bacteria in the tank for available ammonia and nitrites, but doesn't establish a long term colony like the natural bacteria does. This can cause you to have a pretty constant level of ammonia/nitrite in the tank because the natural beneficial bacteria don't reproduce the way they should, and the other bacteria needs to be continually added so that there is always enough of them in the tank to do the job. In other words, it's a pain. I think there is a reasonable chance that cleaning your filters only when necessary, added water changes using your Interpet Tap Safe to condition the water and the discontinuation of StressZyme, maybe all you need to do to finish this cycle.

    jdhef gave you the correct info for testing the tap water.

    I'll also try to reassure you your new filter didn't change your water chemistry in any way. Filters are incapable of doing this unless a special product of some sort is added to the filtration system. Standard filter foams/poly material/activated carbon and bio holsters will not affect the water chemistry. IF your filter came with some kind of specialized media, maybe... but normally they only come with standard filter media supplies.
  15. AlyeskaGirlFishlore VIPMember

    Nitrates - it sounds like you have nitrates in your water source the way you fish shop said 25ppm is normal for the area. You need to test your water source.

    Interpet Filter start - I wouldn't doubt that your tank wasn't "truly" cycled. Bacterial additives are not a true aquatic bacteria. They die off. Interpet Filter Start just sounds suspicious to me. Then you added your fish in which you got a low ammonia and nitrite reading. You then started adding Stress Zyme once a week.

    Stop using Stress Zyme once a week. It's not aquatic and dies off. Waste of money. Throw it away. Sounds like your cycle is stuck.

    Adding the second filter was a good idea. Like said leave the filters alone, ditch Stress Zyme, do daily water changes, be patient and will see what happens with the water parameters - ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

    Sorry about your fish. I doubt it was the new filter as you have toxins present in low numbers but still affects the fish. You may not notice it.

    You are doing great.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  16. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to Fishlore.

    Sounds like you've been struggling to stabilize your tank for some time now.

    I agree that using bacterial additives and StressZyme may have hindered the bacterial colony growing strong. Easily recoverable with increased water changes.

    Definitely run your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate tests against your untreated tap water. Many areas have measurable nitrogen compounds in the water. It is entirely possible that your tap has .25 ammonia and/or .25 nitrite. If it does, using a detoxing product, such as Seachem Prime or Kordon AmQuel+ with NovAqua+, will help the fish tolerate the waste until the bacterial colony can process that last little bit.

    The only time you need to clean the filter media is when there is reduced water flow going through the filter. Most of my tanks get monthly filter maintenance. Rinsing in a bucket of dirty tank water is the right thing to do to help preserve the bacteria.

    I also agree that the loss of the fish when adding the new filter was nothing more than a coincidence.

    Hopefully things will settle down i your tank so that you can start to enjoy your fish and stop worrying about them.

    Good luck.
  17. cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    Try doing regular water changes, and maybe using a gravel syphon (i think thats spelled wrong) to clean your gravel and see if their some stuck down their. Unless you didn't clean your new filter bag before putting it in it wasn't the filter.
  18. OP

    Taf281New MemberMember

    HI guys,
    Thank you so much for all your comments, they have been so helpful.

    Just to update you all. I came back from work this morning and another fish had died. I tested the water straight away and the ammonia had risen to 1.00ppm and the nitrites had also gone up to 0.50ppm. I did a 50% water change straight away, but whilst doing the water change I lost another fish, so now I only have 1 Harlequin left :-( I did add some Ammonia Remover to help the poor little thing and turned the light off while I went to bed for a few hours.
    I have just tested my water again (5 hours later) and the Ammonia has gone back down to 0.25ppm (same as it was before I started loosing my fish) and my last Harlequin is still alive - he's hanging in there.
    I have now taken the old filter out, and just have the new filter in the tank (to create a bit more room in there), but dont worry, I have done what Toosie suggested - I have taken the filter media from the old filter and put it into the new filter.

    I have also found Prime on the internet and ordered some, it should be here in 3 days. I will start using that as soon as it comes.

    I have checked my tap water and the nitrites are definitely 0. The ammonia i think is 0, but its not an exact colour match on the card, so it might have a very, very slight level of ammonia in it, but definitely not the same colour that comes out of my tank. Which does prove that my filter was not doing its job. Hopefully my new filter (with the old media in) will work this time and get my ammonia and nitrites down!

    I am still confused while all of a sudden my ammonia levels rose out of the blue. Maybe i'll never find out. All I can do now is try to keep my last fish alive, and hopefully in a few weeks my tank may have sorted its levels out and I'll be able to get some more fish.

    I will keep you all update.

    Thank you so much
  19. toosie

    toosieWell Known MemberMember

    Some bottled bacteria suppliments, (Tetra SafeStart being an exeption) don't contain the types of bacteria an aquarium requires to obtain an ongoing stable cycle. The addition of fish often create nitrogen spikes especially when using these products but if too many fish are added to an aquarium at the same time even with a natural stable cycle a spike can happen. The use of StressZyme can also continue to cause an unstable cycle. The larger spike you have just encountered can happen whenever there is a fish death. It doesn't take long for a fish to start to decompose especially in warm tank water. Decomposing matter whether it is a fish, plants, food, or anything else, start to break down the decomposing matter contributes to the nitrogen cycle and can cause nitrogen spikes.
  20. afwife07New MemberMember

    We have had a similar problem with a high ammonia reading. I did as suggested(testing straight from the tap). I was astonished to be honest. Ammonia was between .25 and .50ppm, and ph was at least 8.8(highest reading you could get). What do you suggest we use for water? Or is there even a fix for this?

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