Dying Danios!

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Kief

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Hi there, I'm hoping you can help me out...

I've had a fairly small (30L) aquarium set up since about October last year. The most fish I've had in it at any point was 17 a couple of weeks ago:

6 Zebra Danios (2 long-finned and 4 normal)
6 Neon Tetras
3 Guppies
2 Plecs (I really can't remember the type, Pat- something?)

However, since then I've had 2 of the Danios die and 1 previous to that with one more on the way out by the look of it. They've all gone the same way, one after the other which leads me to think it's possibly an infection in the tank. The symptoms include drooping of the tail (possibly a downward bending spine), fins clamped tight to the body, paling in colour and an empty, "inverted" stomach (as in instead of buldging out the underside actually goes in slightly) until eventually becoming too weak to swim. One had been struggling at the bottom for a couple of days so I put it out of it's misery, the other 2 have just disappeared, presumably eaten by the other fish. The three seemingly healthy remaining ones are larger and I'm guessing stronger and more able to fight the infection.

I'm unable to give you test results of the tank at the moment since I don't have a kit, but will get one this weekend and post up the results. I do a partial water change (about 1/3 of the water), clean the tank and change the filter every 3 weeks and use Stress Zyme and Stress Coat after re-filling it. I feed the guys every other day, flakes and a sinking pellet for the plecs (which the other's always end up nibbling at anyway!) The rest of the fish seem healthy, the guppies and one Danio being the longest survivors.

Any ideas what might be causing the illness? I hope you can help even without the test results. Thanks!
 

jetajockey

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Welcome to FL!

Your issue likely stems from overstocking. With a 30L (8G) tank your bioload shouldn't be more than 2 or 3 of any of the first 3 that you listed, though ideally they should all be in a larger tank. I'm afraid that you don't have room to adequately house any type of pleco in this current setup.

Your water parameters are likely going all over the place due to the bioload. Think of a closed elevator with 2 people in it, compared to a closed elevator with 18 people in it. Consider how quickly the conditions will deteriorate in the elevator with many in it compared to the one with just a few.

How many of the fish are still alive?
 

Nick G

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Hi Kief, Welcome to Fishlore! Sorry to tell you this but the cause of the fish dying could well be that the tank is overstocked. 30ltrs really isn't a big enough tank for that many fish, especially the Plecs which produce a lot of waste.

The problem could well be ammonia poisoning caused by the waste produced by the fish. This article on the nitrogen cycle will help explain.
I'd strongly suggest rehoming the Plecs if possible, or looking to upgrade to a bigger tank if you can. This is a great site with lots of friendly knowledgable people who will be more than happy to help. Good Luck
 

Kief

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Thanks for the quick replies!
It's strange because both pet shops I go to have said that 30L should be able to hold between 15 and 20 fish and just that the more I have in there the more maintenance I'll have to carry out, so I didn't think I would be overstocking with 18 (I made a mistake earlier saying the most we had was 17 - we had an extra pleco in there which somehow managed to escape and I found it dried up on the side by the tank the day after introducing it!). The plecs are the tiny ones by the way, 3 inches long max.

I'm looking to upgrade to a bigger tank in the very near future anyway, possibly to a 60L. Another thing I forgot to mention is I had one pet shop demonstrate a water test to me about a month ago and the results were apparently perfect, which is why I decided to add a few extra fish.

Jetajockey - there are now 15 fish but it looks like it'll soon be 14:

4 Zebra Danios (2 long-finned, 2 normal)
6 Neon Tetras
3 Guppies
2 Plecs

I'll get looking into a bigger tank and buy one as soon as I can. Cheers!
 

LyndaB

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We've all been given bad information at some point or another by LFS employees who simply don't know what they're doing. Then we learn hard lessons, and we revisit the store to smack them upside the head for the pain and suffering we and our fish have gone through because of them.

You might want to try doing more frequent water changes. Even in a perfectly stocked tank, 3 weeks is a little long (in my personal opinion). I do 50% water changes weekly.

See if you can upgrade to at least a 30 gallon (not sure what that is in liters.... 114?).
 

ariolex

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Hey Kief, Welcome!!
Just wanted to say that until you get a bigger tank you should probably want to do much more water changes that what you are doing now. IMO, 1/3 WC every 3 weeks is not enough even for a lightly stocked tank which in your actual scenario would be 1 or 2 small fish. So I guess that it will be helpful to do WC twice a week or so. For instance, my tank which is slightly overstocked (but nothign close to yours) ATM i do 1/3 wc (20 gallons) weekly.
About the pet stores, keep in mind that most of them will say anything to make a quid. It is always better to look for adivce here.
Best wishes mate

LOL LindaB is a faster typer than me!
 

Meenu

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Hello, Kief,
You've gotten good advice above. I must admit the my jaw dropped when I read your stock list in an 8 gallon tank. Yikes! Horrible advice from your LFS.
Anyway, you seem to be pretty well-informed by everyone, so I just wanted to give you a big Welcome to Fishlore!
 

Kief

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Thanks for all the welcomes and advice!

Here's a photo of my current tank setup (click to enlarge), you can just about make out a few of the inhabitants:

http://img532.imageshack.us/i/img4590i.jpg/

I really didn't think I was overstocking it at all as I always followed the advice of the people I bought the fish from (mostly Maidenhead Aquatics if anyone in England knows them, they seemed very helpful and knowledgeable). I'll report back once I've bought a new tank and have it all set up.
 

Kief

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Ok I did a water test today - everything was fine other than the nitrates which were a bit high which I thought was weird. Aren't the nitrates the final result, which would surely mean the ammonia and nitrites would have to be higher to begin with?

Been looking at larger (65 and 90 litre) tanks today, just measuring up and finding space. Should have a new one soon!
 

AlyeskaGirl

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Ok I did a water test today - everything was fine other than the nitrates which were a bit high which I thought was weird. Aren't the nitrates the final result, which would surely mean the ammonia and nitrites would have to be higher to begin with?

Been looking at larger (65 and 90 litre) tanks today, just measuring up and finding space. Should have a new one soon!

Since your tank is overstocked, that means more waste so nitrAtes rise faster. High nitrate readings can cause health issues. What exactly is your nitrate reading?

I would start doing partial daily water changes with Stress Coat for your water conditioner and see if you see any improvement and a gravel vac to pickup excess food and waste. Make sure you are not overfeeding. Clean water can do wonders.

Good luck with everything!
 

Kief

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The nitrate reading is about 50mg/l. Thanks for the advice! I'll raise the frequency of partial water changes and do another test in a week or two to see if there's an improvement. Hopefully by then we'll have a new tank setup.
 
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