Help Fish Deaths

ALittleGoose

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So i'm new to community fish. I had a betta for about 2 years without issue and after he passed i decided to do a community tank. Intially, me and my roommate got 5 neon tetras, 3 guppies, a glass catfish, an algae eater, and a blue lobster (big mistake) for our old 10 gallon tank we had. after several issues with the lobster being very hungry and killing all the fish except a tetra and the glass catfish we got a 45 gallon tank kept the lobster in the 10 alone and moved the remaining fish to the 45. We got new fish (3 guppies, 5 zebra danios, an orange swordtail, and 5 neon tetras); however they all (except 1 zebra and some tetras, and the previous catfish) died. We don't know how they died. After that we got a live plant, gave up on keeping a variety and went solely on keeping a bunch of neon tetras and giving the catfish that had to go through all of this some friends. As of right now we have 3 glass catfish, an oto, a zebra, and about 25 tetras. The tetras though have been dying at a consistent rate of about one a day. The tank parameters were fine before the plant, but the plant made a ton of ammonia (we are putting some ammonia down stuff in the tank and cleaned out the bottom of any left over food. We also did about a 20% water change. The pH was also a little high so we put some pH down in. Any suggestions on why my tetras keep dying? Also any general advice is greatly appreciated. Sorry for the long post and thank you in advance!
 

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Crimson_687

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How long have the tetras been in the new tank and how did you acclimate them? Were they healthy when you got them and are they eating?

It sounds like your tank wasn’t cycled, or if it was you may have lost the cycle. Unless the plant died on the spot, rotted, and produced ammonia I don’t think one plant will spike the ammonia. The tank sounds new, so I don’t think you stirred up pockets when you put the plant in.

Did you rinse out the gravel thoroughly before using and use water conditioner? Did you check the expiration date on your water conditioner? What are your exact parameters? I understand the ammonia is up, but do you have nitrates at all? Nitrates May indicate the health of your cycle.

Also I would not recommend ammonia down as it makes your tank less stable. The pH may have raised due to that. Do not use pH down as it too will make your water less stable. The best thing to do is frequent water changes, an immediate 50% wc and try to get your cycle back. Do not use ammonia down, use seachem prime. It will detoxify ammonia for 48 hours without messing with your pH.

Another thing to consider is that ammonia kits read both NH3 (ammonia) and NH4+ (ammonium ion). Both are harmful, but ammonia more so than ammonium. Higher concentrations of ammonium are associated with higher pH, since ammonium is an ion.

If there is a need to lower pH, use natural methods. You can add peat moss to your tank.
 

FishGirl38

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Okay, there's a lot going on here. Firstly, it would help if you listed your water parameters instead of just noting them as 'fine'. It's not that we doubt that the water parameters were 'fine' but, depending on the concentrations, we could tell if something is, or isn't happening in the tank when it shouldn't or should be.

I hadn't considered what the post above me mentions too, I had assumed this tank was cycled. Lots of good information there. I agree with above, just with many more words. :).

"The tank parameters were fine before the plant, but the plant made a ton of ammonia (we are putting some ammonia down stuff in the tank and cleaned out the bottom of any left over food."

Plant's creating tons of ammonia doesn't make any sense to me, plants actually take in some ammonium. Did it melt and die right away? How many plants did you add and what kind was it (if you remember-I might be able to ID if you can describe it, I'm looking for lots of leaf litter or a little bit of leaf litter, which would give off some ammonia as it broke down)? If it was only 1 plant though, in a 45G, that typically wouldn't cause a massive ammonia spike - perhaps that was actually related to something else..

How large and what kind (what brand/model and I could tell how large..) of filter are you running?
What is your water change schedule - your water level looks a little low? Are you using Tap water? or purified water? Was that 20% w/c the last one you did? How much water do you typically remove? and How do you remove it - Gravel Hydro-vaccum or pitcher/container? When you do water changes, do you clean your filter too?

Around the time you noticed the ammonia spike, had you recently also done a water change? Cleaned the filter? or added a bunch of fish at one time?


As far as adding 'ammonia down chemical' If it's called 'Ammo-lock by API' That actually will cause your ammonia to continually test high - higher than it might actually be. I would recommend instead, to add Prime by Seachem. Prime is a water conditioner (dechlor) but it also binds with ammonia and makes it non-toxic to fish, just like ammo-lock does. (neither will remove it from the tank, or even decrease it's concentrations, you'll have to either do water changes, add an ammonia removing pad to the filter, OR add a beneficial bacteria supplement to help 'eat' it - listed in best to worse remedy order). The difference between ammo-lock and Prime, is that prime keeps the ammonia bio-available for the bacteria to consume (so ammonia will decrease as the bacteria eat it and it's also not harming the fish) whereas Ammolock binds to the ammonia and locks it. Stopping beneficial bacteria from consuming it, and leaving it floating around in the tank until it's removed (so it's not decreasing, actually increasing as fish regularly create more and bacteria can't 'eat' it). (you'll have to do a water change if you're using ammo-lock). The only 'media' that you can add to your tank as a 'magic fix' to decrease your ammonia without doing a water change is an ammonia removing filter pad, there are no liquid chemicals that dissipate ammonia, only one's that bind to it (so it can't bind to your fish's gills and poison them instead, but it's only a temporary band aid).

Second is the PH. High ph simply means you have more minerals (calcium and magnesium for example) in your water. That could either be due to 1.) because your source water (faucet-my ph averages about 7.6-7.8) has naturally high PH or 2.) you've added a stone or piece of decoration to the tank that is breaking down and leeching calcium, and bi-carbonate (of which, I don't see any - sand is usually inert). That's not necessarily a bad thing at all. High PH and Low PH can both be very good things depending on the fish you're keeping. Tetra do like it lower, BUT the more important thing about PH is that it stays constant. No-matter the number, with captive bred community fish so long as it's somewhere between 6.8ish and 7.8ish-a huge range. That being said, typically, the PH will DECREASE over time because of a few variables. The big one being water changes to replenish heavy minerals from the tap (if we don't do water changes enough, the water Quality becomes saturated with waste acids that eat up all the minerals).

Your PH is increasing though??
If you haven't done a water change (as in, it's increasing without water changes) That would mean there must be something in the tank that is breaking down. Keeping any natural stones in the tank? IF on the other hand, you weren't doing water changes, then did a water change and noticed a higher PH, the water change is probably what did it, and your PH was probably slowly decreasing in actuality? -totally normal, but not a good thing, you'll need to keep up on water changes so the PH doesn't drop too low.

Instead of using PH down, I would recommend adding peat into your filter (fluval sells peat for aquariums), or adding catappa leaves to the tank (Caribsea sells em). This way, you're decreasing your PH naturally opposed to generically, BUT...that would depend on where it's sitting right now.

Where the PH was before it was testing 'high'? Where is it testing right now that it's 'high'? Have you added any chalky or crumbly stones to the tank?

Really gotta be careful using those 'magic fix' liquid products. They're almost like band-aids that treat the symptoms of a larger (usually more simple to fix) issue (I'm talkin algae chems, water quality chems [ammolock, easybalance] PH buffers). Usually when there is a problem, it's better to DILUTE your aquarium water (by doing a water change) instead of adding chemicals. It can be situationally dependant, when to use these products, but you can usually control things better with more natural/holistic remedies (like a water change).

So, I made a lot of assumptions above in terms of the advice I gave. I have a lot of questions. I'd be able to give more targeted, and accurate advice if you could answer those questions I've bolded. :).

I've been re-posting these threads all over this forum, this is probably the 5th time now, but I'm fairly happy with my synopsis of my understanding of some of these things. If you want to learn more about water chemistry in your aquarium, these threads might help you out a bit.

In this thread I explain Modifying HOB filters for real strong BB colonies, reading test kits to understand how much water to change out of the tank, Algae problems and how to remedy them (without chemicals), Ph ratio's - and how GH, KH, and PH relate to one another (and how to alter them w/o chemicals), and lastly, plant keeping and feeding.

Filter Replacement Cycle Issue Help - | 463892 | Filters and Filtration

This thread talks about fish disease, understanding what to look for in terms of diagnosing fungal, bacterial, parasitic, or viral. Understanding what to look for on medications and what they treat.

I think my fish has popeye, how do I fix it on a VERY tight budget? Help - | 461354 | Betta Fish

And in this thread, It's probably a little over the top with info you don't need, but somewhere in there, I mention what medications treat what, and which ones I recommend for which issues. Might give you a good idea of what's out there. I work in an aquarium store, so I'm exposed to this stuff, full time, every day. (for the past 5yrs).

Very sick Betta- urgent! Help - | 452862 | Freshwater Fish Disease and Fish Health

And lastly, I'm sorry if this is redundant, if you know most of all of this. I'm just trying to cover all my bases. I hope I helped some. Any questions just ask.
 

Crimson_687

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Just as the above said, liquid treatments are like bandaids. They mask a problem for awhile, but they eventually fall off and do nothing to aid the healing process.

Also I’m going to use this metaphor anytime someone is using one of the (betta, mela, pima) fixes as a medicine :happy:
 
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ALittleGoose

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Thank you so much! I will use your advice and stop using the chemicals. Also to clarify everything and i'm sorry i didn't clarify. Me and my roommate each take care of the fish but i'm out of the house most of the time. The tank itself we got about 2 weeks ago. The water parameters were tested before we got the plant were pretty level. pH was at about 7, nitrates was at 5 (according to the testing and i don't know the unit for it sorry). The nitrites were at about 7-10 and ammonia was at 5. I can't be entirely sure on the numbers it was awhile ago. We only added one plant (I'll add a picture that also has my shrimp in it). The plant does tear a bit. like some bits come off and fall to the floor. The lady at the store (Petco) said the ammonia might be because of the fish dying. The Filter name is "Hagen AquaClear 50 Aquarium Power Filter". We try to do a WC every week. The photos are old. We use water conditioner for water and we haven't added any rocks during the test; however, we did get a marble rock and put it in. Do i take it out? We use something like a gravel Hydro-vacuum. We did not change the filter. We had done a change after the test that read the ammonia was high. A little before the test we added about 27 tetras. The pH on the 1st test was around 7 and the 2nd test said it was around 7.6-7.8. Thank you for the advice! We had also cycled the tank for about 3 days but we had to move the fish faster than we anticipated. The lobster was stressing the fish out so we moved him into the 45 gal earlier and then moved the fish into the 45 gal but kept the lobster there but he was still killing the fish so we moved him immediately back to the 10 gal. This is kinda what the plant looks like. I could try to get a better pic if you need it :shame:
 

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FishGirl38

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That looks like hornwort to me. Does it let off 'needles'? Individual needles? It can be a very messy plant. BUT, it's usually recommended as a pond plant - it does a good job at eating nitrates, and it's usually fairly hearty. Often-times, with plants, when they first go into a new tank (especially an uncycled tank with no fertilizers) they literally 'melt' away. Usually, this is an acclimation thing, and the plant needs time to adjust to the new tank conditions (the growth rate is used to the old tanks conditions, so when those change, the growth rate of the plant changes too). Is that the plant that 'died' before, did it grow back? It looks fairly healthy now, again, they tend to be fairly hearty.

So, You've done some very good things, and you've done some no-no things. Let me explain.

The unit for testing is parts per million (ppm, it's a measure of concentration). Your tank wasn't cycled after 3 days, or 2 weeks. When you start a brand new tank, your tests will be 0ppm Ammonia, 0ppm nitrite, 0ppm nitrate (notice the order). When you add fish, your ammonia will be higher, with 0 nitrite, and 0 nitrate. At this point, you're waiting for your nitrosomonas bacteria colony to grow and start 'eating' the ammonia. The waste they produce is nitrite. NOW, ammonia and nitrite are BOTH toxic to fish at concentrations at or above .5ppm. And Nitrite is actually more toxic than ammonia. Once you grow a colony of ammonia 'eating' bacteria (nitrosomonas, typically after the first week and a half or so) you'll start to grow the nitrite eating colony (nitrobacter). These guys produce nitrate as their waste chemical, when these guys are growing, your ammonia will be close to 0 (or at least staying below .5 and going down slowly), and your nitrite will still be elevated but also going down. (usually in the 2.5-3.5 week mark). Once your tank has 5-40ppm nitRATES and ammonia and nitrite is testing below .5 (that's half of a whole number, nitrates can be whole numbers :), they're not very toxic) on a regular basis, that's when the tank has gone through it's 'initial' cycle.

Now, the cycle isn't initially done and its not infinite. As you add fish, you'll be increasing the ammonia strain on your bacteria, and they'll need to reproduce to account for this. This is why you don't want to add a lot of fish at one time. And this was one of your big no-no's, Even if they're small. Typically, when you're building your bacteria colony up to full strength (when you're stocking your tank to the 'end result') you want to go a few fish at a time (in a 45G, I would recommend 3-6 fish at a time) when you're stocking; to ensure you don't overwhelm your bacteria colony, there is only so many of them, and there is only so much they can eat - you gotta give them time to reproduce (literally make more bacterial mouths to eat more ammonia food at one time). If you notice your tank ever gets 'milky kind of cloudy', thats a bacterial bloom, and it's happening because the bacteria have sensed the need to multiply, and are in the water column doing so. Once that clears up (you do not, ever, want to do a water change during this) your bacteria has multiplied and settled.

One great thing you did, was purchase an aquaclear. YASS. Okay, those ceramic rings on top? that's where all your BB is located. YOU CAN MOD YOUR FILTER...by removing the carbon pad (in the middle) and adding MORE ceramic rings instead. This is up to you, some use carbon, some dont (I dont-its good for removing chemical's and odors, not much else), but the amount of bacteria you CAN have (period) is relevant to the SIZE and amount of surface area you have in your filter for bacteria to literally grow on. The bigger or more bacterial media you have, the stronger (and subsequently more fish you can keep) your bacteria colonies will be.

Marble is usually inert - it's not a calciferous stone. It's not typically one that will break down by acids. If you're worried about it, You can test it by dropping a small dab of vinegar on it. If it sizzles, than that could be the cause. If it doesn't, than it's probably not affecting the PH.

It's also great, you're using a hydro-vacuum, you'll want to be careful though - it is true that the old food and fish poo that gets left on the bottom will break down into ammonia and nitrate, BUT by also gravel vacuuming the gravel, you risk removing some beneficial bacteria in the process (because it also resides in the gravel bed, just not as much) SO, for now, I would recommend to not over-feed if you can help it, only feed once a day (fish can go a maximum of about 2 weeks without any food at all before it starts to become an issue, I've actually had to do this in the past during a 2 week long power outage.) AND when you vacuum while doing water change, take the layer of gunk off the top of your gravel but don't go down into the gravel, just remove the water (this way, you're not disturbing your BB that's living down there at all - worry about the gunk inside the gravel once the tank is testing at healthy levels without your intervention).

Whatever water conditioner you're using now, I would look for Prime by Seachem the next time you run out and need to shop for more (if you don't grab some just because before hand). You can add it when you're adding fish, you can add it when you're having an ammonia spike (like right now), and it's a dechlor.

Those lobsters are actually (I'm pretty sure) genetically line bred crayfish. They're scavengers that will eat anything they can catch, it's just in their nature. :/. What're you feeding him? A sinking carnivore pellet (or shrimp pellet) is enjoyed. They'll pretty much eat anything you give them though. x.x

Honestly, I'm thinking the tank hasn't quite cycled yet, and you're going through an ammonia spike because of the 27 tetra. It's okay to have 50 fish in a 45 gallon tank. It's not okay to add half of those 50 all at one time. EDIT: 50 fish in a 45G tank with only an AC50 might be a stretch though. With additional bio-max, that'd help, but I'd say to either add another filter or get a bigger filter (like an AC 70 or 110) if you were going to stock that many. Just correcting myself - I overstock all of my tanks...

Right now, You'll need to do water changes to dilute your ammonia. To supplement (help you dilute the ammonia) you could add an ammonia remover pad to the filter (AC's are GREAT for this -i'm real excited you don't have to deal with filter pads...You can literally stick the ammonia remover pad right in the filter either on top or to replace your carbon). Aquaclear sells a filter insert called 'ZEOLITE' it looks like carbon except it's all white and slightly larger chips. (there's one that's just an ammonia remover, and another that is an ammonia remover and a carbon, I'd get just the ammonia remover). [though, more bang for your buck, seapora sells an ammonia remover 24x12in cut-to-size pad for a fair price considering a single use AC filter insert...puttin that out there].

I'd go ahead and start off with a 50% change. Any reading on Ammonia and Nitrite that is HIGHER than .5ppm and it's toxic towards your fish. (how it works, ammonia and nitrite bind to receptors in your fish's gills and gets into their bloodstream, this is okay in small amounts, still bad, but if ammonia isn't high, the receptor will recover and the fill will not succumb, but if there is too much ammonia and too many receptors are full/blocked, this fish won't get enough oxygen into their blood and will be nitrite/ammonia poisoned.) If your ammonia goes above 1.0, Prime can't even help you (it'll bind up to concentrations of 1.0). BUT, good thing, you'll fix this by diluting the amount in the tank with a water change. Simple and free.

I know I just said do a 50% water change - thats about the most you *can* do without harming/stressing fish too much. BUT...how much to actually change would depend in your test and where it's testing right now. These are mathematically relevant. (if you havent clicked on that first thread I posted, I stated this there too) SO, if your ammonia is testing at a whole number. 1.0 per se. a 50% water change would bring the concentration down to .5ppm. Which, is still toxic. (if you didn't know this, you might assume 1 50% water change was enough, when actually, you should do another 35-20% water change the next day to bring the .5 concentration down to about .4 ppm [Multiply your concentration X the percentage of water you want to remove {as a decimal} = the concentration you'll end up removing. Subtract that by your initial concentration and the result will be the theoretical concentration after your water change] and so on and so forth UNTIL your ammonia is naturally [without your intervention] testing below .5ppm).

I really can't explain the PH...I think it might've been due to the water change but, if you've been doing that every week, that still wouldn't make sense, an increase of that much. I might agree with Crimson on the Ammonium concentrations affecting your PH then.

I'm sorry to say, but neon tetra also tend to be fairly finicky fish - you may continue to lose them while you're trying to stabilize the tank. In a way, this is a good thing...but I would let it happen for now...You can add some prime to help with the ammonia/nitrite toxicity. Maybe some methylene blue (to help with nitrite poisoning), but technically, when fish are ammonia poisoned, there isn't much you can do but remove the ammonia AND....when you do that...you end up changing their current water parameters which...seems like a good thing because it's going from bad to better, BUT...a change is a change and fish don't tolerate great change well...

Additionally, if the PH went from 7.0 up to 7.8 in the matter of a short span of time, that flip might be enough to stress them to fatality, not all fish are this way, but neon tetra can be, I would think this also plays a factor into them dropping off, some fish stress in a change of PH as low as .2 (PH is logarithmic, that means that for every whole number it goes up, it's actually 10x greater than the previous whole number). Unless you start to see physical symptoms of an illness presenting on them, I would specifically worry about diluting your ammonia and nitrite concentrations so they're below .5ppm. Your PH may fluctuate as you're doing water changes (if your source water is close to 7.6/7.8, than maybe not, which would be best case scenario), but...

I'm not sure what all this means for the current fish in your tank. Ideally, you doing a water change to bring their environment closer to safe levels will help them in the long-term (and immediately, technically) BUT that change may also stress them and be the 'straw that broke the camels back' if you will.

Essentially, if you had prime and the concentrations weren't too high, You could dose prime immediately to render the ammonia and nitrite non-toxic (if they're lower than 1.0 ppm - or do a w/c to get them to 1.0ppm). From there, You'd do consecutive, smaller, DAILY water changes until the ammonia is reading at .5 or lower. Then, you'll need to continue doing this to keep up with the ammonia that is being produced where...there isn't yet enough bacteria to consume. this should happen in the next 2 weeks, if not sooner. But what is going on here is basically 'new tank syndrome'.

Ooof, I know that last bit sounded bad but, it's not terrible. You just need to keep up on your ammonia concentrations, dilute them manually with water changes, (if you do this with smaller water changes over a longer period of time, it'll be safer for your fish in the short term, but who's to say you won't be wasting your time if the ammonia is just TOO high, it's hard to say...your test kit will help you) and wait for your natural BB to catch up to your fish's waste content.

Considering you only have 1 lobster in your 10G. (please tell me you're running an AC on that tank too :D), take the filter media (ceramic rings) from his tank, and move it over into the AC 50. This way, you're transferring some of the BB grown in the 10G over to the newer BB in the 45G. If you CAN do anything like this (if it's not an AC, but the 10 is established, replace his filter pad [if the tank is established and you don't clean it when you replace it, with just a single crayfish, you shouldn't have an ammonia spike] and cut up that old filter pad removing the carbon from the middle. Take that gunky (used to be white or blue) polyfoam and stick it underneath your ceramic stones in your aquaclear. that'll help boost your bacteria colony a bit in the mean time. (or for later too, without the carbon, you won't need to remove/replace it until it's falling apart).

Lastly, what kind of test kit do you have? do you have your own? I recommend the API master liquid test kit, if you don't have one, it's worth the investment x10.
 
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ALittleGoose

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Thank you:happy:! I’ll definitely get started on the water changes. We won’t get any more fish in the mean time. Sadly we don’t have the same kind of filter on the lobster tank. We have the little pad like things. If you could clarify on the polyfoam? Like taking out the pad of the 10 gal tank, cutting it open and talking out some of the stuff and put it under some of the rocks? Thank you in advance. Also my blue lobster eats the lobster pellets. During his “murder spree” he molted so he might have been a little extra hungry. When we separated him we had to like re-teach him that pellets are good and not fish that stubble into your cave lol.
 

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I actually LOL'd. He looks real healthy, got a nice pair of claws to him! x.x. oof. and that's good, If the brand is omega, it's also good quality, I personally use Omega, Hikari, and Fluval brands as my go-to's :). Keep up with the PH in his tank. There are 'shrimp' vitamins that *might* help this in the future but if his PH gets too low, he can have trouble molting properly. He'll need calcium and a few other trace minerals...So long as your PH isn't acidic in that tank he'll live happy as ever but I just want to note that just in case you're not aware. He looks real healthy anyway.

And ohh, If you use tetra small size 'bio-bags', if it's an internal HOB filter, it'll be harder to get the polyfoam out. I mean the stuff that looks like 'cotton' on the filter pads. It's polyester...:D. lol. But...If you'll have to rip it out of a frame, it might not work so great. ACTUALLY *lightbulb* if the pad is small enough to be laid down in the AC 50, that'd work just fine too. The only down-side, is that you might end up testing nitrates BEFORE your bacteria are actually producing them...If the carbon is 'old' It's possible it could leech anything it's bound with in the past back into the tank. Some have said this is a myth, I honestly don't know, but it's worth mentioning just in case you're testing really high nitrates for no apparent reason in the future (which, isn't a bad thing, least, nitrates are really only good for growing algae, they can be toxic at 180ppm for a prolonged period, but that shouldn't happen unless you stop doing water changes for awhile.)

This is what I was talking about in the above.


If it's not bound/woven in a frame like the above pads, and just has a plastic frame around the perimeters, than you can cut it open at the top (or bottom) shake the carbon out, and yes, use the foam-y stuff in your old filter.

Now, when you do this, you'll be taking away the lobsters tanks main BB colony. You'll need to at least replace the bio-media with clean, new media so bacteria can begin to re-seed it. I believe this will be safe to do because you have a low stocking in that tank (1 crayfish won't put off a TON of waste in a 10G). and there is already established bacteria clinging to the walls of your filter and inside your gravel bed. I think you could remove that main BB stock, and let it regrow in the 10G without having a major issue. Worse case scenario is you have an bacterial bloom, you may have a small ammonia spike (of which you'd remedy with an ammonia remover pad/zeolite or by doing a small water change) and waiting for the colony to multiply again. And too, crayfish tend to be hearty, I think that would work fine.

And you'll want to be sure to place it underneath your bio-max ceramic rings in the AC50. You want it as close to your rings as possible (next to), and if you put it on top, the filter will just keep shooting it out of the basket into the tank (I've tried...lol). Don't clean the polyfoam before you add it. Or if you do, just take some tank water and swish it a bit to get rid of any slimy gunk that would restrict flow.

When you do start adding fish again, just remember, 3-6 at a time at intervals of about every week and a half or 2 weeks. Always test your water before heading to the fish store, if you're testing ammonia or nitrite, than you shouldn't add fish just yet, if not, you're good to challenge your bacteria some more. (OR if you're still testing with ammonia/nitrite, you can add another filter or more bio-max and wait a bit...the bacteria will spread out and multiply to fit, then you could add a few more, though at this point, I'd say 2-4 at a time).
 
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ALittleGoose

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This is kinda what the pads in the filter look like. We have some specifically for ammonia if that would work a bit?

glad to hear my homicidal lobster looks super healthy lol. I hated him after he killed about 6 of our fish but he’s growing on me now. He molted recently when he looked a bit stuck under his gazebo. When he was smaller he would burrow under there. He mostly spends his time going around the tank and trying to climb the ornaments.

I’ll do a 50% water change in the big tank and keep doing diminishing WC and water tests until the bacteria is fully grown and the parameters are lowered. I’ll also take the filter pad and get some of the polyfoam out and replace the lobster pad. Then after everything is stable I’ll add a couple fish. Thank you so much for the help. I never expected taking care of fish would be this hard.
 

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Yup, crayfish will grab anything they can get their claws on. I keep dwarf crawfish, and have had both a failure and a success with keeping them alongside fish. I just don’t see it working with a regular crawfish tho, given they’re bigger and more predatory.

From the picture, it looks like your media is filter floss. Personally this is my favorite type of media as (at least for me) it seems to grow the most beneficial bacteria. One very important thing is to NEVER change your media. You should rinse it off in tank water to clear off debris and detritus. Detritus naturally occurs and is a sign your tank is healthy, but excess of it, when accumulated on your filter, can be released back into the tank and cause parameter spikes. When you rinse your media, you’ll notice it has a slimy coating. This is the protective layer that your beneficial bacteria form. It is important to rinse and squeeze your media gently so you remove detritus without disturbing the beneficial bacteria. As always, rinse your hands before handling anything fish-related and avoid contact between anything tank related and food, oils, soaps, scents, etc. I usually do WCs and maintenance in the morning so I haven’t handled anything else prior to handling the tank.

Fish care is easy once everything is settled, it’s just a commitment. Once your tank is established you’ll be on a weekly WC schedule. Right now it’s just a lot as the tank is unstable due to it not being cycled
 

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Everyone Says That!

I promise you, it's not 'hard'...it's just A **** TON to learn all at once, right off the bat - which absolutely can be overwhelming. But It could've been worse! At least you didn't get a hermit crab. :). Many people assume those are real easy but, actually, they need at least 6In of soil to burrow in, misted at least 2x a day to keep humidity at or above 60%, they need fresh greens and fruits for food, They need fresh and saltwater for molting and minerals, they need a ceramic heat lamp or a heat matt...They need so much, but they're sold at fairs in plastic containers with crushed cheerios in a bottle cap as their food. :emoji_upside_down:

Believe me, once you get this tank established, Which will be sooner than later, your ammonia and nitrite will normally be at .25 or lower on a regular basis (My tanks usually test with a tinsy bit of ammonia, no nitrite, and a moderate (40-60) amount of nitrate when I need to do a water change). AND, it's a good thing you have a bigger tank, bigger tanks are actually easier to maintain than smaller ones (contrary to popular belief) Because the water volume is more, so there is greater room for error. Once you get the ammonia from the 27 tetra's under control, you'll find the whole endeavor much easier. With fish tanks, less is more when it comes to adding things. :). Any things.

And yes! absolutely use that filter pad! OMG. lol...If you're able to look through it, into it. You'll probably find something that looks like carbon but is all white. Its zeolite. If there is anyway you can put that in the AC50, that will help too. Thats exactly the ammonia removing media stuff I'm talking about. If it won't fit....if you have some kind of mesh filter bag laying around, (when you set up your AC50, you had to open the ceramic rings and put them inside a...filter bag, and seal them with the red clippy thing.) You could...open up your ceramic rings (the clip will come off and re-seal, just don't break the plastic teeth) and put the ammonia removing chips in there? if the mesh isn't too large for them to crumble through. I don't THINK it would affect your BB. And that'd be one way to get them in that AC50 filter (if this is a 'filter pad' for the 10G tank and the zeolite is in the pad, if it won't fit, you could either remove the frame and somehow seal where/ever you pulled the frame from (sewing kit anywhere?, cotton string won't bother your fish, but it will degrade/fall apart over time) and leave the cotton pad with the zeolite inside in the ac50? if you don't have a mesh bag to just, strip the zeolite into from the pad?

The reason you want to contain the chips, They won't hurt anything if they get into the tank, but if they fall down by the filter intake (when you move the tube that sucks the water up and look down into the filter on the left side, you'll see the spinning impeller) they could get inside the impeller well with the spinning impeller and jam the motor. This is no good and you'll probably have to replace the filter if this happens.
 
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ALittleGoose

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Thank you!!! I did a 50% WC and I did some testing and as of right now the ammonia is at 1 ppm! I know it’s not optimal but I got it down from like 8 so I’m pretty happy. Most of the tetras died over the course of the week sadly. But hopefully I won’t have any more bad issues like the ammonia being like a plague. They did get a bit stressed from the change so I’m giving them some space. I wasn’t able to put the lobster filter into the AC50. We got a bunch of brown algae in his tank so we had to change it out and I didn’t want to get any of the brown algae in the gigantic tank that is already a bit hard to clean. Good to know that hermit crabs are hard to care for. I updated my parameters on my account so you can see how everyone is doing :happy:
 

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Plants don't make a ton of ammonia - i suspect the tank wasn't cycled and the ammonia slow grew but it is hard to judge a time line - also some ammonia might have formed from excess feeding.
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To give advice we need to understand the time line better. How long has the 45 been set up and what sort of filter do you have on it. Do you leave the filter alone or do you clean it and if you clean it how do you clean ti (bad cleaning and result in massive increase in ammonia).
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Last but least there might be a temp. issue what temp is the tank?

neon can be a bit delicate and catfishes tend to be more durable (though bad conditions are not good for their longevity).

ALittleGoose said:
So i'm new to community fish. I had a betta for about 2 years without issue and after he passed i decided to do a community tank. Intially, me and my roommate got 5 neon tetras, 3 guppies, a glass catfish, an algae eater, and a blue lobster (big mistake) for our old 10 gallon tank we had. after several issues with the lobster being very hungry and killing all the fish except a tetra and the glass catfish we got a 45 gallon tank kept the lobster in the 10 alone and moved the remaining fish to the 45. We got new fish (3 guppies, 5 zebra danios, an orange swordtail, and 5 neon tetras); however they all (except 1 zebra and some tetras, and the previous catfish) died. We don't know how they died. After that we got a live plant, gave up on keeping a variety and went solely on keeping a bunch of neon tetras and giving the catfish that had to go through all of this some friends. As of right now we have 3 glass catfish, an oto, a zebra, and about 25 tetras. The tetras though have been dying at a consistent rate of about one a day. The tank parameters were fine before the plant, but the plant made a ton of ammonia (we are putting some ammonia down stuff in the tank and cleaned out the bottom of any left over food. We also did about a 20% water change. The pH was also a little high so we put some pH down in. Any suggestions on why my tetras keep dying? Also any general advice is greatly appreciated. Sorry for the long post and thank you in advance!
 
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ALittleGoose

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jake37 said:
Plants don't make a ton of ammonia - i suspect the tank wasn't cycled and the ammonia slow grew but it is hard to judge a time line - also some ammonia might have formed from excess feeding.
-
To give advice we need to understand the time line better. How long has the 45 been set up and what sort of filter do you have on it. Do you leave the filter alone or do you clean it and if you clean it how do you clean ti (bad cleaning and result in massive increase in ammonia).
-
Last but least there might be a temp. issue what temp is the tank?

neon can be a bit delicate and catfishes tend to be more durable (though bad conditions are not good for their longevity).
I had only had the large tank for about 3 weeks now. We moved the crayfish to the big tank really early because it kept mudering all the other fish. We kinda had to move the fish into the big tank a little fast because they were getting really stressed so it hadn’t been as cycled as we would have wanted. Everything seemed fine for about the first week.The 2nd batch of fish we got all died in the span of about a week. Then we added a plant and added a bunch of tetras. We did over feed a bit so we cut their servings. The filter is an AquaClear 50 and we haven’t cleaned it at all. And the temp is kept at 76. Today we did a 50% water change (FishGirl38’s advice) and we were able to lower the ammonia
 
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ALittleGoose

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jake37 said:
How high is the ammonia ?
Used to be at a very scary 8 ppm but I’ve been able to lower it to 1 ppm. My aquarium details have all the updated details. Thank you for your help!
 

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You can use a little sachem prime to control the ammonia poisoning but at 8ppm a lot of the fishes were probably seriously damanged. I'd put in about 1/2 a capful in a 45 gallon tank while the ammonia is above .25. and a 1/4 capful until it is 0.

ALittleGoose said:
Used to be at a very scary 8 ppm but I’ve been able to lower it to 1 ppm. My aquarium details have all the updated details. Thank you for your help!
 
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ALittleGoose

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jake37 said:
You can use a little sachem prime to control the ammonia poisoning but at 8ppm a lot of the fishes were probably seriously damanged. I'd put in about 1/2 a capful in a 45 gallon tank while the ammonia is above .25. and a 1/4 capful until it is 0.
Thank you! I will definitely get some Seachem Prime. It’s been highly recommended by everybody on this thread so I’ll get some and treat the tank :D
 

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ALittleGoose said:
Thank you!!! I did a 50% WC and I did some testing and as of right now the ammonia is at 1 ppm! I know it’s not optimal but I got it down from like 8 so I’m pretty happy. Most of the tetras died over the course of the week sadly. But hopefully I won’t have any more bad issues like the ammonia being like a plague. They did get a bit stressed from the change so I’m giving them some space. I wasn’t able to put the lobster filter into the AC50. We got a bunch of brown algae in his tank so we had to change it out and I didn’t want to get any of the brown algae in the gigantic tank that is already a bit hard to clean. Good to know that hermit crabs are hard to care for. I updated my parameters on my account so you can see how everyone is doing :happy:
By brown algae do you mean diatoms? Diatoms are perfectly normal and a sign your tank is healthy. An excess of them may mean you have excess nutrients, either due to the tank being new, or the tank being very old. You can easily wipe them off, and with water changes and gravel vacuuming you should be able to get rid of them.

You should put some of the filter media from the crayfish tank because this will help get your new tank cycled and keep the ammonia down
 
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Crimson_687 said:
By brown algae do you mean diatoms? Diatoms are perfectly normal and a sign your tank is healthy. An excess of them may mean you have excess nutrients, either due to the tank being new, or the tank being very old. You can easily wipe them off, and with water changes and gravel vacuuming you should be able to get rid of them.

You should put some of the filter media from the crayfish tank because this will help get your new tank cycled and keep the ammonia down
Yes it was diatoms. I didn’t know they signified a healthy tank though. Googling it said in excess it could harm any of the fish. So I panicked I guess. The algae was covering all the ornaments and was starting to cover the tank wall. I have already thrown the filter away. My roommate wanted to throw it away so I just went with it. The 10 gallon tank is fairly old. It’s about 3 ish years old. I kept my old betta in it. We had put in some stress-zyme in the big tank to help the bacteria a little bit. :(
 

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