Ember Tetra Help Urgent

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by mattdrink73, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. mattdrink73Valued MemberMember

    Hi there, new to the site!
    In real need of some help asap! My ember tetras were acting a bit lethargic this afternoon, my temps been 21c since I got the tank, though I only just got a thermometer and had wrongly assumed that it would actually keep the tank at 25c as advertised. I did a bit of research and saw that it could be due to low temps so I went and bought a new 50w heater. I put this in with the old one to get the temp up to about 24c. It's now the night here and 1 of my embers is clinging on for life, and another 2 are floating around out of control. One has gone missing and the rest are at the bottom being very still

    This is my first tank (in a while) set up about a month ago, which is a Biube 9.1g (no hate please). I cycled with Tetra Safestart and added 4 ember tetras from the advice of my local fish shop. Everything went very well for the first few weeks. I took some water to be tested after about 2 and a half weeks and the shop said not to add anything else yet. I waited another week and went back and they advised adding another 3 ember tetras which I did. They seemed to acclimatise well and were swimming and schooling up beautifully.That was on monday morning and it's now Wednesday night. I don't have any test kits and it's the middle of the night here so I can't get one any time soon. One of the ones at the bottom seems to have a twisted back, though I'm not sure if I've only just noticed that. Could this be a mini cycle? The shop didn't tell me my exact water readings though he said my Nitrates were still fairly low but so was everything else. I've not been feeding much to keep Ammonia down and up until today everything has been going great. The only other possibility I can think of is Neon Tetra disease, I must admit I didn't quarantine so is there a chance of a disease?
    Any help would be appreciated as I have no clue what to do
  2. KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    Do you have a picture of the one with the bent back?

  3. mattdrink73Valued MemberMember

    No sorry it's too dark too get one. It's not looking too discoloured and I can't see any spots or anything on it, they all seem to be kind of twitching and staying in the same place

  4. KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    This is why we need our own test kits. All I can suggest at this point is to do a 50% water change. Are you treating with Seachem Prime to bind ammonia and nitrite?

  5. mattdrink73Valued MemberMember

    I've not been treating with anything apart from a dechlorinator during water changes. Though I've only done a couple as Tetra don't recommend doing any for the first 2 weeks after using TSS. Like I said up until today everything has looked great and as of monday my water was good so I'm at a loss
  6. FishbeardValued MemberMember

    If the lights are out for the night, sometimes sleeping behavior can look odd, at least that's true in my experience with embers.

    Have you observed them at night before?
  7. mattdrink73Valued MemberMember

    That was my initial thought this afternoon as they were almost acting like it was night even though the lights were on, I've seen them at night but I've never seen them group at the very bottom like they did earlier. One is floating on its side at the top at the moment though and I only realised it was alive when I went to remove the body with a net and it started trying to swim so I think its days are numbered unfortunately
  8. KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    I'm going to say that the fish are dying of high ammonia or nitrite. I could never do a fish-in cycle without Prime.
  9. mattdrink73Valued MemberMember

    Is it possible that the addition of the 3 more fish caused it to cycle again? The tank had supposedly already mostly cycled on monday before I added them. Would the 2/3 day delay also be consistent with it being ammonia based? Thanks for all your help
  10. FanaticFishlore VIPMember

    I agree with Kimberly, Prime really helps control those levels, and makes it safer for fish.
  11. FishbeardValued MemberMember

    Agreed. A water change would be the best move here. Also, ordering Seachem Prime would be a good idea, best water conditioner on the market IMO. Seachem Safe also works, and you get more bang for your buck.

    I'd also check your temp. Small fish like this rely heavily on consistent temp, so the quick rise with the addition of the heater might be messing with them.

    The addition of more fish might mess with your cycle. I've had success with Seachem Stability, which you can add whenever you add new fish, just to boost your BB.

    If you are worried, do a partial water change, and then leave them be.
  12. mattdrink73Valued MemberMember

    I'll pick some prime up tomorrow cheers. My temp had been fairly consistent at 20c until Yesterday as I was relying on the heater's thermostat being accurate enough to keep it at the 25c quoted (lesson learnt). My new heater arrived yesterday along with a thermometer and I've gotten it to about 24c at the moment. However the strange behaviour started before the temp increase as I'd read that grouping near the bottom could be because the temp was too low so I turned the heater up to see if it would make any difference
  13. FishbeardValued MemberMember

    I wouldn't raise the temp. If you only changed it yesterday, give them some time to get used to what it's at now.

    Since you only got the new ones 2 days ago, they are still acclimating. Raising the temp after that probably messed with this process a bit too.
  14. AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    Do you have an air stone in there? Sometimes with raising temps it affects the level of oxygen in the water. Definitely suggest 50% water changes every day for the next few days. I would do one as soon as you can. And then a second one in the morning first thing. I also suspect it is Ammonia and/or nitrates being too high.
  15. mattdrink73Valued MemberMember

    Okay thanks I'll leave the temp alone. I don't have an airstone but being a biorb design it does have the air column in the middle and I do have a fair few live plants so I hadn't foreseen oxygen being an issue. I'll keep up with the water changes and see how it goes. Thanks everyone for your help, keeping a few fish alive is harder than it seems apparently!
  16. FishbeardValued MemberMember

    Plants won't help with oxygen levels at night, they aren't photosynthesizing without the light. That's why when you run CO2, it shouldn't be on at night.

    I've heard that the biorb filter mostly runs on carbon, and less on BB. Have you altered any of the filter media? If you've been using the carbon for awhile, it may be releasing toxins back into the water column.
  17. mattdrink73Valued MemberMember

    Very good point! Yeah I believe the filter media is mainly carbon, would it be worth adding some better media to the carbon that's currently in there then?

    Unfortunately there was a few casualties last night as I feared, aside from the prime what would you recommend going forward?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2017
  18. AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    You can open your media (biobag) and just dump the carbon out. You don't really need it. It is more of a water polisher. It works the best when you are trying to remove meds or other added chemicals from the tank. You can add several things to your filter. I would do some searches on YouTube for build your own filter media. Lots of info and you can search by your filter type. I would keep the bag that the carbon is in, and add that back to your filter with some sponges or ceramic rings. Just don't throw away the bag itself. It has the good stuff you have been trying to grow on the outside of it. You can stick it back into your filter without the carbon temporarily until you get more supplies.

    After you have deaths in your tank the first thing you need to do is test your water parameters. I would follow this formula. Since you are having issues with your chemistries and cycle.

    Ammonia + Nitrites = 1ppm or higher, do a 50% water change and dose Prime & Stability for full tank volume (dechlorinator & bottled bacteria). If your Ammonia + Nitrites = less than 1ppm, dose Prime and Stability for full tank volume. Test tank in 24 hours and repeat process daily until you have 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites, & 5-20 nitrates. Anytime your nitrates get above 20 once you are cycled, you need to do a 50% water change at least.

    I again recommend using Seachem Prime as your dechlorinator. It also serves as a stress coat and detoxifies Ammonia up to 1ppm for 24-48 hours. Seachem Stability is made to be used with Prime, so you can use at the same time. If you use Tetra Safe Start you have to wait 24 hours after the Prime to add the TSS, so it's a bit of an adjustment.

    Also have you tested your gh/kH to see what those levels are? You would need to test your tap water and your tank water to see if there is a significant difference. It is about water hardness or softness and mineral content. It's just an added bit of information to see if we can figure out what is going on in your tank.

    So sorry about your fish losses. Hopefully you can get things sorted out. Don't add any more fish until you are fully cycled and illness free. We will be able to get you going on the right track.
  19. mattdrink73Valued MemberMember

    Looking into the filter, it seems to be based around the ceramic media which is porous rocks on the bottom of the tank which the water is pulled through before going through a foam filter and then into a carbon section before being aerated and pushed back up the tube into the tank. Would putting some ceramic media in with the carbon be my better option as it's not set up as a conventional filter would be?

    I've ordered some Prime and some Ammonia test strips which should hopefully arrive tomorrow, and I did a 50% water change a few hours ago. I've not tested the water myself yet but the local shop did a fair amount of testing for me and didn't say anything about hardness being an issue.

    I think it must've been a spike from the new fish that caused it, because I was turned away from the shop twice when I took in water to be tested as they said it wasn't quite cycled, and as of monday it supposedly was. Is it likely that 3 more ember tetras could've had such a big effect on the bioload? Up until Yesterday everything was looking great and I hadn't noticed any signs of stress until yesterday afternoon and within a matter of hours the whole tank deteriorated quickly.
    After the water change this morning the remaining fish still look stressed but seem to be in much better shape than last night, I'll keep up with the water changes until the Prime arrives and then go from there
  20. AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    Ohhhh that sounds like Seachem Matrix (the rocks). Are the rocks greyish white? If so That is perfect media to be using. I would leave it alone for now then. If you can get the carbon out, I would do that, but leave everything else. I would possibly add filter floss, but it really isn't necessary.

    Yes, any new fish can stress your tank. It's why they suggest quarantining fish for 3-4 weeks before adding to your main tank. I've always just added them straight in, and have messed things up more than once, with lots of fish deaths. I am setting up a quarantine tank this weekend, with plans to start adding stock to my 29 gallon. It will be a long process for me, but I don't want to mess up again. I think your plans sound just fine. Keep up with the water changes and see if everything settles back down.

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