Female Dwarfs Keep Dying! Help

Discussion in 'Rainbowfish' started by LynnwoodFishDad, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. LynnwoodFishDad

    LynnwoodFishDadValued MemberMember

    I had a school of 6-7 dwarf rainbows. I have 3 males and have had as many as 4 females. 2 of the original 3 females died and I’ve now lost a total of 4 females in the past month. The latest was found float this morning. Nothing to show any trauma or signs of disease.

    Everyone else in the tank seems happy but the females in question(one living one showing similar behavior oic attached) never really got with the group and spent the majority of their time at the surface just sitting there.

    Water is 79-80 degrees 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 5-10 nitrates, GH and KH read 0, pH between 6.5 and 7 per my API 5 in 1 strips (brand new set good to 11/2020).

    Any thoughts?
     

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  2. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    What is your water source? If you are using RO or Distilled water and not replacing minerals and trace elements in it, that is probably the cause of the fish deaths. Your water tests indicate that (neutral/acidic and zero GH/KH). Fish need minerals, certain elements and electrolytes in their water to survive, particularly calcium, magnesium, potassium etc.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    LynnwoodFishDad

    LynnwoodFishDadValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the quick reply @Momgoose56! My LFS recommended a low does of aquarium salts. I’m hesitant to salt my fresh water tank. Are there fish vitamins, water treatments, or something I can use? Is salt the best option???

    The water is from my tap. One of the benefits of Western Washington, there is almost nothing in our water.
     
  4. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    I don't think salt is a good idea for your issue. All that is, is sodium and chloride. Are you SURE about the GH/KH? Test strips aren't very reliable....
    You could try adding some Seachem Replenish or another mineral additive (at half dose typ start with) for RO/DI water which adds the minerals I listed and a little sodium and see how your fish respond.
    Because you're water is so unique, I'd recommend getting liquid test kits. I use the API Freshwater Master test kit and the API GH/KH test kit because my water is so darn alkaline and HARD (Arizona desert rock water)! It's more time consuming and involved than test strips (which are still good for quick spot-checking) and seem more expensive but are really much less expensive over time if you check water regularly. The test kit will do 160 sets of tests (high and low pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates) and averages around $25 +/- $8 depending on where you buy it. Are the Rainbow fish new to the tank? A quarantine tank on standby and quarantining new fish before adding them to the tank is always a good idea. I keep a 10 gallon tank and filter in my garage as a spare for that purpose.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    LynnwoodFishDad

    LynnwoodFishDadValued MemberMember

    The first two deaths were part of my original load in. I don’t have a quarantine tank as the two I have take all the space, but I could probably set up a 10-20 gallon in my office. The girlfriend would love me getting another tank...said no one ever! LOL

    I’ll look into the test kit and grab some replenish today. I’ve had my water checked at 2 LFS and they got the same readings I did (one by strip one liquid test). By the way, what is RO/DI water?
     
  6. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    RO = reverse osmosis DI = Distilled. They're pretty much the same thing except true distilled water is condensed steam from heated water and RO water is stripped of dissolved impurities through multistage fine filtration rather than distillation.
    * Note the quarantine tank idea was just for future reference in case you get more fish. No point in quarantining the fish you have in there now. :)
    Also, why don't you ask your lfs, or wherever you got your fish, what their pH, GH/KH are from their source, and see if they augment their water with anything. Another more permanent source of calcium carbonate for a tank with a low pH and GH/KH is crushed coral, aragonite, sea shells, snail shells (you can get discarded snail shells sometimes from restaurants that serve escargot a lot), Texas holey rock, or limestone chips. My guess is that the rainbowfish came from a breeder with much harder water and just don't tolerate the soft acidic water you have. In their natural habitat they live in very hard water with a pH around 8.0. Rainbow Fish bred in captivity are acclimated to a pH of ~ 7.5 and KH (Carbonate hardness) of 5° and 20° (90 ppm to 360 ppm). Yours is 0! Many rainbowfish are still caught wild and imported so don't tolerate drastic changes in pH or hardness.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  7. BillCNC

    BillCNCValued MemberMember

    Mollies are highly adaptable but generally they like hard water and they can even live a full saltwater tank if acclimated slowly. Your GH and KH still need to be found.

    Regards
    Bill
     
  8. OP
    OP
    LynnwoodFishDad

    LynnwoodFishDadValued MemberMember

    @Momgoose56 stopped by the LFS and they add crushed coral to all their substrates. Recommend I put 1/2 - 1lbs in a mesh bag and add to my HOB filter. Said it’s less material but need to change it every 3-4 months.
     
  9. BillCNC

    BillCNCValued MemberMember

    Just something to think about:

    When tweaking one's water with Coral or Water Pillow's, keep in mind that your water changes now become a little more critical because the GH, KH and PH will more than likely be different. Some folk's age their already tweaked water for water changes. If not, be-mindful of the % of water being changed. If you need to change a large amount consider splitting it over 2 water changes 6 hours or so apart.

    I myself have been caught up in the roller-coaster ride of trying to keep thing's level and safe during water changes with tweaked water.

    Regards
    Bill
     
  10. OP
    OP
    LynnwoodFishDad

    LynnwoodFishDadValued MemberMember

    @BillCNC the LFS was pretty laid back about it. As our GH and KH are both 0, they felt half a pound in my HOB should be fine. Worst part of this is I have a fish sitter for the week how doesn’t know much.
    Just hoping I come home to live fish!
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  11. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    Lol! Hard to find good fish sitters these days!
    @BillCNC is right about the pH/KH teeter when adding a calcium carbonate (CaCO3) rock to the mix. Just for a few water changes, check your pH before and after your water change. Once the CaCO3 has raised your pH and stabilizes, you'll want to make sure water changes don't lower it too much all at once. A pH drop of more than .4 is tolerated by most fish. Any more might be dangerous for some more sensitive fish. As @BillCNC suggested, you can alleviate that problem by 'aging' all the water you're going to put in the tank by putting it in a tub or big trash can with some crushed coral a couple days before adding it to the tank. OR you can do that with just a portion of the replacement water if it just needs a little tweak.
    It sounds like your lfs guy knows something about fish. Is it a local store or one of the chains? Did they also think the water (soft, low mineral) might be part of the problem with your rainbow fish?
     
  12. OP
    OP
    LynnwoodFishDad

    LynnwoodFishDadValued MemberMember

    They are local and the best I’ve found in the area. He said our water is so soft they add coral to almost every tank. They quarantine everything their for 3 days before it goes on sale and almost everything they’ve told me has been seconded or thrided (is that a word?) here.

    Not sure how I’m going to handle the water changes. I have to do it by bucket and my typical change in that tank is +/- 25% or 2 buckets (Home Depot style). Any thoughts? Are there chemicals I can use for the PH or just buy another bucket?
     
  13. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    25% probably won't change the pH too much. Just monitor it at first. You may not need to age the water with the rock. Do you live in a house or apartment? My tanks are near doors so I siphon water via a long (1/2" ID) tubing to the yardand refill my tank with a garden hose and python hook.

    20190607_115033.jpg
    20190607_115521.jpg
     
  14. OP
    OP
    LynnwoodFishDad

    LynnwoodFishDadValued MemberMember

    It’s a condo. Sink is my best option short of putting a hose from the outside directly into the tank. Keeping in mind our water is real cold!
     
  15. Adam Pacio

    Adam PacioNew MemberMember

    Dwarf Neon Praecox have been overbred in recent years and frequently carry genetic defects straight from the breeders which lead to sudden deaths. It's actually a 'known issue' for the Dwarf Praecox, I found out, when I was researching my own Rainbow tank livestock.

    You might actually be doing nothing wrong. Keep troubleshooting just in case, but everything else being equal, it could just be poor genetic stock from rapid interbreeding to keep up with industry demand.