Fish are dying off?

Healsfire524

Okay so I keep waking up/coming home to dying fish...and my water parameters are all normal!

First our female pineapple swordtail was wrapped around the filter intake, and was happily swimming around a few hours before. Then we woke up to the male pineapple lying dead on the bottom of the tank, again, he was swimming around perfectly fine the night before. Now, our Marble Eel is looking like he's about to kick the bucket and so is one of our Colombian Catfish. The catfish normally like to flip upside down and swim for a short period of time before flipping back over, but this one just isn't going back over. The eel was hiding and we hadn't seen him in a day or so, so I moved his hiding spot and he "spiral swam" out and did a crash landing. He'll move every once in a while, but it's never a graceful swim, and his breathing seems rather labored.

This is a 75 gallon planted tank. I just added two bubblers to the tank, thinking that MAYBE they weren't getting enough air? Any ideas what might be going on? (All the fish that are surviving this tank are petsmart fish. The ones that are dying are LFS...though the Pictus Catfish from the LFS are still going strong)


Catfish upside down

Eel's ragged breathing
 

Adam55

What are your water parameters? Is this a planted tank with co2? If so, is it new or was it in place for a while?
 

Healsfire524

There's no co2. The plants are all within the last few days (suspicious, I know)

I don't know the specific parameters, but I do know that I've taken the water to petsmart the past 3 days and been told that it's safe for the fish. I have an ammonia detector in the tank and it's registering safe. Since adding the bubblers, the catfish seems to have perked up a bit, but the eel still seems to not be doing so hot.
 

garikapc

What did the team at Petsmart say specifically about the water parameters? If they just said it was "safe" maybe go back and ask them to give you levels of ammonia, PH, nitrite, nitrates, etc. I'm not a pro but I do think the ones on this site could help if you give some more empirical measurements to the water parameters. They want you to keep coming for business so I am sure they can be pressed nicely to help out!
 

Healsfire524

What did the team at Petsmart say specifically about the water parameters? If they just said it was "safe" maybe go back and ask them to give you levels of ammonia, PH, nitrite, nitrates, etc. I'm not a pro but I do think the ones on this site could help if you give some more empirical measurements to the water parameters. They want you to keep coming for business so I am sure they can be pressed nicely to help out!

Haha I agree with you on them wanting me to come back, though they might be sick of me by now >.>


as far as I could tell the parameters (found the sheet they gave me last time!)
ammonia was at 1.0 (but like I said in my last post, I have an ammonia detector which is now reading safe. the last reading I got done was apparently 4 days ago)

nitrite 0.5
nitrate 0
ph 6.8
 

garikapc

Thanks! I think of one of the pros will be able to deduce more but if nitrites are present and no nitrate maybe you are the tail end of a minI cycle? Maybe adding the plants kicked one off. I just re-scaped my tank and am seeing the ammonia and nitrites go all wonky but I kept my old fish so they are handling it well.
 

Healsfire524

Update on the tank; took the water to petsmart and found out that the ammonia reader in the tank is apparently reading a bit lower than what it really is and that the nitrites are a tad bit high still. The bubblers seem to have all of the fish a LOT happier...except for my poor Ibram (the eel).

He's now breathing rather slowly....any ideas?

 

Thunder_o_b

Your tank is not cycled. You are showing ammonia and nitrites. In a cycled tank you should only be showing nitrates…No more than 40ppm. 1ppm ammonia is in the kill zone. How long has the tank been set up? How did you cycle it?
 

Healsfire524

So...we had to euthanize the eel. Upon closer inspection, he had some internal bleeding somehow and was suffering quite a bit. Along with him, we lost two of the three columbian sharks we had in there (the surviving one was trying to help nurse the other two back to health). It's sad, but we will push on and make sure that this tank gets stabilized.


ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1399783654.933341.jpg

Here are the test results of the water test I just did...everything is fine except for the ammonia...but I had added the ammonia "neutralizer" and it warns in the testing kit that it will still test positive, even though it has been detoxified.
 

poeticinjustices

So...we had to euthanize the eel. Upon closer inspection, he had some internal bleeding somehow and was suffering quite a bit. Along with him, we lost two of the three columbian sharks we had in there (the surviving one was trying to help nurse the other two back to health). It's sad, but we will push on and make sure that this tank gets stabilized.


ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1399783654.933341.jpg

Here are the test results of the water test I just did...everything is fine except for the ammonia...but I had added the ammonia "neutralizer" and it warns in the testing kit that it will still test positive, even though it has been detoxified.

Which ammonia neutralizer are you using?

Most only work temporarily and that reading looks to be close to 2ppm. Not even Prime will detoxify that much ammonia (I think up to 1ppm) and even then only for 24 hours. Your nitrites are pretty low and your nitrates are negative.

How long has this tank been set up and how did you cycle it?

Many of the symptoms you are describing sound like those associated with toxicosis from ammonia/nitrite poisoning. But then again I'm not a pro.

I looks like to me like you may need a big ole water change and a bottle of SafeStart asap.

I'm sorry for your fishy losses
 

Healsfire524

Well the tank has been set up for a couple of weeks now. I used the API ammonia neutralizer. It was essentially everything (water, gravel, filter with old media, etc) transferred from the 40 over to the 75. I added a giant bottle of SafeStart and let it sit for a few days, took the water in and they tested it and told me it was good to go. I see now that the girl was a tad bit off :-/ I've added a whole bunch of live plants and switched filters since then, so I'm thinking that that might have something to do with it. Guess only time will tell.
poeticinjustices
I hope Motley gets better soon, as well...
 

poeticinjustices

Well the tank has been set up for a couple of weeks now. I used the API ammonia neutralizer. It was essentially everything (water, gravel, filter with old media, etc) transferred from the 40 over to the 75. I added a giant bottle of SafeStart and let it sit for a few days, took the water in and they tested it and told me it was good to go. I see now that the girl was a tad bit off :-/ I've added a whole bunch of live plants and switched filters since then, so I'm thinking that that might have something to do with it. Guess only time will tell.
poeticinjustices
I hope Motley gets better soon, as well...

Thank you for the kind words I hope she'll be okay too. I want so much to check on her now but she is asleep and I don't want to disrupt healing rest.

I'm not terribly familiar with Ammo-Lock, I assume that's what you're referring to. So I can't speak to it's impact on your readings or its mechanism of action. Most people here use SeaChem Prime and Kordon Amquel Plus.

However, how did you prepare for the application of SafeStart? Did you follow the steps give here or did you just follow the bottle instructions, which, unfortunately, are vague. You are supposed to wait 24 hours after adding any water conditioners to your tank before adding TSS, most especially those that detoxify ammonia but certainly any regular conditioner as well. If you don't, the conditioners either directly kill or starve the bacteria included in SafeStart.

I see you also mentioned that you switched filters since the addition of SafeStart. DId you save any, preferably all, of the filter media and transfer to the new filter? Since that's where your bacteria grows most of all, it's possible that, if you didn't save the media, your tank was cycling well but you've lost much of your bacteria in the filter switch and the person at the store wasn't necessarily wrong in saying that your levels were good at the time. Switching filters without transferring the media will absolutely re-start your cycling process.

If you did save the filter media, then maybe these are the whacky ammonia readings purported to happen during a TSS cycle. However, since your fish are dying with symptoms that (by my inexperienced observation hah) sound a lot like water chemistry toxicosis, I'm inclined to think it's related to your ammonia levels. Occam's razor kind of deduction.

At any rate, it looks like you still have some bacteria, based on the nitrite reading, but not enough to handle your bio-load. If you didn't transfer your filter media (spongers, biological media, biowheels if you had one, etc) then I'd definitely say you're recycling and may be well served by a very large water change, waiting 24 hours, and adding more TSS.

Also, did you add anymore stock to the tank when you upgraded?

Like I said, I'm not terribly experienced here and I am sorry if I'm telling you things you already know as your profile suggests you've been doing this far longer than I have, but at the very least answering these questions will allow the people who have helped me to help you save your fishies.
 

Healsfire524

Your information is extremely helpful! No, unfortunately I didn't transfer any of the old media when I changed filters, though I did let it run for another 6 hours after setting up the new filter (talk about over filtering!). Luckily, the only stock I added to the tank were 3 mollies and 4 swordtails (2 of which didn't look so hot when I acquired them a few weeks ago for my 36 gallon, and those are the two that died).

I'd be willing to bet you're right about killing off the bacteria and needing a big water change/another bottle of the safestart. I'll probably go pick that up today. Everyone (including the remaining columbian shark, named Hoover) in the tank seems to be doing fine this morning. The velvet swordtails and the 3 mollies have shown literally no problems whatsoever since being in this tank.

I'm hoping that all of the new plants will help with the levels and bring them down. I'll get some pictures up soon of how it's planted.

Thank you again for the information!
 

poeticinjustices

No prob. Glad I can help. Sounds like that's the problem. The bacteria we need for cycling are slow growing and can take up to 24 hrs just to double in size, so 6 hours won't do much.

Your plants will help with your nitrates, I don't think they make much use ammonia and nitrite.

I'm glad everyone is doing well and I hope Hoover (haha) and all his buds stay okay. Remember with the SafeStart, wait 24 hours after adding any conditioners via water change and then 14 days of nothing except feeding your fishies.

Looking forward to seeing the photos
 

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