Fish Dying - What Can I Do?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by ktgruner, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. ktgruner

    ktgrunerValued MemberMember

    Hi all -
    I “adopted” a group of fish from a friend about a week ago. Below is what I took from her:

    - 1 BN Pleco
    - 5 green lantern platys
    - 9 zebra danios (mix of long and short finned)
    - 3 dwarf honey gouramis

    I have them in a 20 gal quarantine tank and I’ve so far lost 1 gourami, 3 platys, and 2 danios. The tank has a filter I took from an established tank and should be cycled - established tank is cycled and the fish are thriving in that one. I’ve been testing the quarantine tank daily since I took the fish in and readings have been consistent:

    Ammonia: 0-.25
    Nitrites: 0
    Nitrates: 0

    Since I have the established filter material in there shouldn’t I be seeing some Nitrates by now? It almost seems like it’s re-cycling...

    And is that .25 ammonia reading enough to blame the deaths on? The fish all appeared to be healthy when I took them, and in the case of the ones that have died I’ve noticed a very sharp decline in health - normal and swimming around at bedtime, then hanging out on the bottom of the tank (but still alive) in the morning, then dead within a few hours at most.

    I just want to do everything I can to keep the remainder alive but who knows what they may have been exposed to prior to me taking them.

    Edited to add: I also added a bottle of Safe Start to the tank before I took in the fish for good measure and have been using Prime as well.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  2. FLDawna

    FLDawnaValued MemberMember

    Lots of water changes is the only thing I can suggest. The parameters suggest the tank is not cycled. Usually seeding the tank with established media or filter just helps to cycle the tank faster.
  3. endlercollector

    endlercollectorFishlore VIPMember

    How much seeding material did you use from the old filter? You did add quite a lot of fish into the quarantine tank, so you'd have to use as much material from the old one as possible. If you're not in a position to do a lot of water changes, you can add a bit of Amquel Plus (not the full dose) to take the edge off the numbers. You can also put in plants to help absorb toxins (hornwort and duckweed do wonders).

    So how hard is your water and what is the temperature? I ask because Honey gouramis can be difficult--they really are picky about their water, and it needs to be soft, acidic, and well-aged. The platies are at the opposite end, needing hard, alkaline water. Then the danios do better in cooler water. So you're in a touch position about trying to keep all of them happy in the same tank. So if you lose a bunch, I would say that you shouldn't be too hard on yourself because a lot of things could go wrong here.
  4. OP

    ktgrunerValued MemberMember

    I don’t typically keep my QT set up when it’s not being used, but have never had an issue before with using the filter medium from my established tank before - I keep extra filter medium for the QT in my established tank when it isn’t in use.

    If the tank is cycling, wouldn’t I be seeing a high ammonia spike with that number of fish (especially since there’s a messy pleco and platys)?
  5. MissRuthless

    MissRuthlessWell Known MemberMember

    If the ammonia were being processed you would see at least some nitrate, do my guess is no, tank is not cycled. Ammonia just hasn't gone sky high yet. Safe start will give you inaccurate readings which is why it's advised to use for fishless cycles, so you can avoid testing and water changes for the two weeks it takes. Have you been doing any water changes?

    If I were you I would stop feeding them entirely for right now - they won't starve, and any food you add becomes ammonia one way or another. I would also be changing water daily as long as the tank is cycling, as well as dosing with prime. That is a lot of fish; platies and plecos are both poop machines, and honeys are just delicate and not easy to keep in a tank that isn't well established. So I'd say just water change, water change, water change, feed sparingly or not at all, and cross your fingers that the tank cycles quickly.
  6. OP

    ktgrunerValued MemberMember

    As far as the seeding material:
    I have multiple HOB filters on my established tank. When I run my QT I take all the filter material from one of the Tetra Whisper EX30’s and put it all in HOB on the QT.

    I haven’t been doing daily water changes but I definitely could. I don’t have any Amquel Plus but can pick some up - I’ve also been adding Prime if there’s any ammonia when I test. I’m not sure about water hardness - I know we don’t have “hard” water in our area but am not sure of the exact hardness.

    Temp on the tank is currently set to 78 degrees.
  7. OP

    ktgrunerValued MemberMember

    I’ve done two water changes - approx 25-30%.

    I’ve fed a small amount of frozen food once since getting them. What they didn’t eat I sucked out of the tank so it wasn’t just sitting there.

    I’ll start up with daily water changes and keep my fingers crossed.
  8. endlercollector

    endlercollectorFishlore VIPMember

    Can you get the temperature down to 74 degrees? It could just reduce some of the stress on the fish.

    It does sound like you should have enough seeded material, and so I'd think that the ammonia you're seeing is due to the number of fish in there. I myself like to use zeolite. That should take out the excess ammonia, and you can refresh it in a salt water solution.

    Best of luck!
  9. OP

    ktgrunerValued MemberMember

    Yup I can turn down the temperature for sure!