Emergency: Unexplained Death & Behavior...

AussieCyka

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Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? 15 gallons.
How long has the tank been running? 1 Year, started stocking on April 15th.
Does it have a filter? External hanging filter.
Does it have a heater? Yes.
What is the water temperature? 24C
What is the entire stocking of this tank? 5 Serpae Tetra, 4 Lemon Tetra, 8 Kuhli Loaches and 1 Golden Panchax (now deceased).

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Once a week.
How much of the water do you change? 25%
What do you use to treat your water? API Tap Water Conditioner.
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? I sometimes vacuum the substrate.

Parameters
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes.
What do you use to test the water? API Test Strips (I know they aren't reliable, waiting on freshwater master kit to be delivered).
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Nitrate = 0 - 10
Nitrite = 0
pH = 6.0
KH = 0 - 30
GH = 0 - 30

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? Once, sometimes twice a day. I put in sinking pellets (too big for the Tetras to eat) at night for the Kuhlis.
How much do you feed your fish? A pinch (enough they can eat within 3-5 minutes).
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Fluval sinking pellets 1mm, Hikari Tropical Algae Wafers, Nutrafin flakes.
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? Panchax gets bloodworms once a week.

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? Panchax for 1 year, Kuhli Loaches, Lemon + Serpae Tetras for 3 weeks.
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? Since four days ago.
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Panchax was lethargic, gasping for air.
Have you started any treatment for the illness? No.
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No, but she did seem to have an underlying issue during egg periods. I don't own a male panchax and she'd be extremely plump for a few days and sometimes I'd see eggs escaping from her. I'm not sure if that is normal or not.
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? The end of the Panchax's tail fin has been nipped a little by the Serpae Tetras.

Explain your emergency situation in detail.
I had a very large female golden panchax in my 15-gallon rectangle tank. Four days ago when I was changing the water in the tank (25% weekly) I started noticing that she was lethargic and later was gasping for air. I turned the temperature down to 24 C, usually 26-30 C and put an air stone in. Unfortunately, I came home this evening to a stiff and very dead fish. She was an absolute tank of a fish, my prized trooper.

I checked the water and it hasn't changed since four days ago.
Nitrate = 0 - 10
Nitrite = 0
pH = 6.0
KH = 0 - 30
GH = 0 - 30
Temp = 23 C

My lemon and serpae tetras (the males are fighting a little) seem fine, but the kuhli loaches are going crazy, swimming up the length of the left end wall. They don't usually do this, not even when I change the water.

I'm worried that maybe I've accidentally overdosed on water conditioner, waste treatment or plant fertilizer? Please let me know if I have done anything wrong or if you think you might know what's going on? I think I'm having a tank emergency and the last thing I'd want is for more fish to die.
 
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KSo

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I’m sorry to hear about your fish and all you’re dealing with! It’s good to hear that you are waiting on the liquid test kit, knowing the ammonia levels will be really helpful in keeping the rest of your fish safe. I don’t know much about loaches, but if their behavior is off, start with a larger water change, assume maybe ammonia is an issue having had a larger dead fish in the tank for an unknown time. Or if you’re unsure about what you dosed. When in doubt, change it out lol
I’m sure other members with far more experience will jump in here. Good luck!
 

Lindsay83

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AussieCyka said:
Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? 15 gallons.
How long has the tank been running? 1 Year, started stocking on April 15th.
Does it have a filter? External hanging filter.
Does it have a heater? Yes.
What is the water temperature? 24C
What is the entire stocking of this tank? 5 Serpae Tetra, 4 Lemon Tetra, 8 Kuhli Loaches and 1 Golden Panchax (now deceased).

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Once a week.
How much of the water do you change? 25%
What do you use to treat your water? API Tap Water Conditioner.
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? I sometimes vacuum the substrate.

Parameters
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes.
What do you use to test the water? API Test Strips (I know they aren't reliable, waiting on freshwater master kit to be delivered).
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Nitrate = 0 - 10
Nitrite = 0
pH = 6.0
KH = 0 - 30
GH = 0 - 30

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? Once, sometimes twice a day. I put in sinking pellets (too big for the Tetras to eat) at night for the Kuhlis.
How much do you feed your fish? A pinch (enough they can eat within 3-5 minutes).
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Fluval sinking pellets 1mm, Hikari Tropical Algae Wafers, Nutrafin flakes.
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? Panchax gets bloodworms once a week.

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? Panchax for 1 year, Kuhli Loaches, Lemon + Serpae Tetras for 3 weeks.
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? Since four days ago.
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Panchax was lethargic, gasping for air.
Have you started any treatment for the illness? No.
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No, but she did seem to have an underlying issue during egg periods. I don't own a male panchax and she'd be extremely plump for a few days and sometimes I'd see eggs escaping from her. I'm not sure if that is normal or not.
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? The end of the Panchax's tail fin has been nipped a little by the Serpae Tetras.

Explain your emergency situation in detail.
I had a very large female golden panchax in my 15-gallon rectangle tank. Four days ago when I was changing the water in the tank (25% weekly) I started noticing that she was lethargic and later was gasping for air. I turned the temperature down to 24 C, usually 26-30 C and put an air stone in. Unfortunately, I came home this evening to a stiff and very dead fish. She was an absolute tank of a fish, my prized trooper.

I checked the water and it hasn't changed since four days ago.
Nitrate = 0 - 10
Nitrite = 0
pH = 6.0
KH = 0 - 30
GH = 0 - 30
Temp = 23 C

My lemon and serpae tetras (the males are fighting a little) seem fine, but the kuhli loaches are going crazy, swimming up the length of the left end wall. They don't usually do this, not even when I change the water.

I'm worried that maybe I've accidentally overdosed on water conditioner, waste treatment or plant fertilizer? Please let me know if I have done anything wrong or if you think you might know what's going on? I think I'm having a tank emergency and the last thing I'd want is for more fish to die.
Hi. :)

Sounds like there's a problem with oxygen levels - either low dissolved oxygen levels in the tank, toxin poisoning or something attacking the gills of the fish. That stocking does sound like a lot of fish for a small tank, and all added at the same time (all but the panchax added a year ago) could indicate an ammonia spike.

Carry out an emergency 50% water change, and keep doing daily water changes until you get the master test kit.

Hope that helps. :)
 

mattgirl

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The very first thing I reach for when I see anything off with my fish is my water changing equipment. The 25% a week may have been enough with just the fish you lost in there but once you added more fish it might have been better to change out more water each week.

I do have to ask what kind of waste treatment you are adding. The only waste treatment I feel any tank needs is proper filtration and water changes.
 

AvalancheDave

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pH of 6 is low. If your test kit only goes down to 6 it can actually be much lower.
 

Debbie1986

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"How long have you had this fish? Panchax for 1 year, Kuhli Loaches, Lemon + Serpae Tetras for 3 weeks. "

so the fish that died was original, but the rest were added?

I think it was a bit over stocked & tank wasn't cycled to handle the much of a bioload increase.

my 38 gallon is currently overstocked ( stupid mystery snails...lol.) , so I do 10 or 30 % water change every 2 to 3 days because the bioload is huge. my tank is heavily planted but too many aquatic animals = more poo , so more water changes.
 
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AussieCyka

AussieCyka

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Debbie1986 said:
"How long have you had this fish? Panchax for 1 year, Kuhli Loaches, Lemon + Serpae Tetras for 3 weeks. "

so the fish that died was original, but the rest were added?

I think it was a bit over stocked & tank wasn't cycled to handle the much of a bioload increase.

my 38 gallon is currently overstocked ( stupid mystery snails...lol.) , so I do 10 or 30 % water change every 2 to 3 days because the bioload is huge. my tank is heavily planted but too many aquatic animals = more poo , so more water changes.
Sorry, I should have mentioned that I've had other fish kept in this tank before. It is a pretty well-established tank, only stocked the current fish 3 weeks ago though so you could be right. I didn't add them all at the same time, my bad for not specifying.

Thank you for your advice, I'm going to start with larger water changes! Good luck with the snails :)
 
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AussieCyka

AussieCyka

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mattgirl said:
The very first thing I reach for when I see anything off with my fish is my water changing equipment. The 25% a week may have been enough with just the fish you lost in there but once you added more fish it might have been better to change out more water each week.

I do have to ask what kind of waste treatment you are adding. The only waste treatment I feel any tank needs is proper filtration and water changes.
Thanks for your help! I immediately changed out 50% of the water and I've been changing out a little each day while monitoring the situation. All the fishies seem okay for now.

As for the waste treatment I sometimes use Fluval Biological Cleaner Waste Control during my weekly water changes.
 

mattgirl

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AussieCyka said:
Sorry, I should have mentioned that I've had other fish kept in this tank before. It is a pretty well-established tank, only stocked the current fish 3 weeks ago though so you could be right. I didn't add them all at the same time, my bad for not specifying.

Thank you for your advice, I'm going to start with larger water changes! Good luck with the snails :)
The low pH is still a concern. What is the pH of your source water? Simple water changes may get and keep it up but we may have to address it if your tap pH is higher and it constantly drops in the tank. I have very soft water with a very low KH so run crushed coral in my filters and have seashell in my tanks to maintain my pH up to 7.2
AussieCyka said:
Thanks for your help! I immediately changed out 50% of the water and I've been changing out a little each day while monitoring the situation. All the fishies seem okay for now.

As for the waste treatment I sometimes use Fluval Biological Cleaner Waste Control during my weekly water changes.
I wouldn't think the waste treatment would be needed if large enough water changes along with gravel vacuuming was done on a regular basis. In my humble opinion the fewer things we add to our tanks the better off our fish will be.
 
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AussieCyka

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Lindsay83 said:
Hi. :)

Sounds like there's a problem with oxygen levels - either low dissolved oxygen levels in the tank, toxin poisoning or something attacking the gills of the fish. That stocking does sound like a lot of fish for a small tank, and all added at the same time (all but the panchax added a year ago) could indicate an ammonia spike.

Carry out an emergency 50% water change, and keep doing daily water changes until you get the master test kit.

Hope that helps. :)
I think you could be right about toxin poisoning or similar, I was away for two days and had guests in my bedroom. I'm worried that someone has sprayed deodorant or air freshener near my tank (it's low to the ground on a long bookcase). That's just a theory though.

Thank you for your help, I've done the 50% water change and the remaining fish still seem ok for now. Grazie!
 

Debbie1986

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mattgirl said:
The low pH is still a concern. What is the pH of your source water? Simple water changes may get and keep it up but we may have to address it if your tap pH is higher and it constantly drops in the tank. I have very soft water with a very low KH so run crushed coral in my filters and have seashell in my tanks to maintain my pH up to 7.2

I wouldn't think the waste treatment would be needed if large enough water changes along with gravel vacuuming was done on a regular basis. In my humble opinion the fewer things we add to our tanks the better off our fish will be.
I use seas shells too. They look nice, but do break down over time, so expect to replace them every 6-8 months. Not a huge expense.

I looked at crushed coarl a while ago, but i'm such a newbie, I had no idea what to get & some can be very expensive!
 

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Debbie1986 said:
I use seas shells too. They look nice, but do break down over time, so expect to replace them every 6-8 months. Not a huge expense.

I looked at crushed coarl a while ago, but i'm such a newbie, I had no idea what to get & some can be very expensive!
I bought my original CC on ebay. I was able to find coral chunks for a very reasonable price. I agree, The seashells do dissolve but do it pretty slow. The fact that they, like CC, dissolves is why they help to stabilize my pH.
 

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