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Fish die off 55 Gallon Tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by JennDFK, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. JennDFK Valued Member Member

    It started two months ago.... We had abundant hair algae in our 55 gallon rainbow tank. We cheated and used algaefix. I know now that it is evil and someone will undoubtedly blame everything else that has happened on this event. The algae did disappear.
    ...but then we put a new fish in the tank (blue ram) about a week after treatment. Within a week we had lost 3 fish to ick including the ram. We used ick medicine for two courses following directions regarding carbon, water changes, etc.. religiously. We saw a small ammonia spike which we treated with water changes and prime.
    A week or so later, we noticed that some of our rainbows looked a little beat up around the fins. We did a course of metafix. We did water changes. Several fish still had fin rot (one more had died). We tried a course of mardel. Things looked a little better... for a while.
    Over the last two weeks, fish have been dying. They look fine. Then one day they have a little tatter on fins (rainbows) or no symptoms (sae). One of my three dead Celebes rainbows swam strangely for an hour. Then they are dead. I have lost 1 pleco, 1 sae, two big rainbows, and three celebes rainbows. There was another ammonia spike today. I changed water (20%).
    We have been doing weekly water changes and tests with no spikes except for the two mentioned.
    A guy at the lfs thinks there is bullying going on... hmmm. There are only 4 fish left... 3 rainbows and a flagfish. One rainbow is dominant for sure, but a cold blooded murder (genocidist?)!?
    Any thoughts?.....

  2. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    im sorry for your losses jenn :( thats got to be so heartbreaking
    but sounds like it could be a combo of too much medication and mini cycles.....your tank was plenty big enough for the type of fish and a nip here or there shouldnt have killed them ...i hope the rest do ok!!!!
  3. _Fried_Bettas_ Well Known Member Member

    That sounds awful, I've never had such a largescale die-off. Logically one must assume that there was some trigger event that stressed, weakened, all of your fish so that they started falling ill. Things like ick and other infective parasites are always in the environment waiting for your fishes defenses to fall (actually it works the same way for people). The key is to find the original trigger, I don't know enough about algaefix to know what effects it has on fish. It could have been whatever water chemistry imbalance that originally caused the algae, or it could be entirely unrelated, but I would consider any possible changes that happened before the outbreak.
  4. JennDFK Valued Member Member

    I don't know much about algaefix either.... but right after we used it, I started reading posts about algae killers here and other places on the internet. There are many folks who really feel strongly against using algae killers and herbicides, favoring more natural approaches... like algae eaters. I don't know if that is what started it all. I wish I knew how to restore equilibrium (or something like it) to the tank. We don't want to add anything else if we can help it. Probably we will just do more water changes and watch the cycle more closely.
  5. JennDFK Valued Member Member


    Well we ended up trading in our rainbows. I saw the Bosmani (the one we suspected of bullying) kill one of our last 3 rainbows. He bit his tail off in two quick bites. He died shortly after. That was 2 weeks ago soon after my husband posted this thread.:mad:

    So we decided that we want to go another direction with the tank. I don't want to start from scratch with rainbows again (they take so long to grow to full size)... and I didn't want to spend the money to buy big ones that could hold their own with the aggressive guy in the tank... so we decided to start over and do something new.
    We've been doing weekly water changes and keeping an eye on the water... and so far all looks good in that department.

    We took the rainbows in and got credit (yes... we did warn the store about the aggression)... and now we've got a cleaning crew in there. We are going to starve the tank for a while and let the algea eaters, otos, and flag fish take make the tank sparkle before we embark on a new journey. Wish us luck.