Help! Fish Are Acting Lethargic After Water Change!

Orii Rae

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They've never acted like this after a water change, using my Corys are Tetras are just fine but the Corys are acting almost dead, with small bursts of movement occasionally. I just did about a 50% water change, went to dinner and now they're all acting weird. The temperature may not have been the same adding it, but the levels are awful now too! Ammonia is 2.0+ ppm, Nitrite is 1.0+ppm, and Nitrate is 40+ppm. The tank should be cycled, I've tested it multiple times before and the nitrite and ammonia levels were consistently low to 0!
Should I do an emergency water change, add a heater, leave it, what?
I don't want to lose my Corys, they're so special
 

finnipper59

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I use a heater in my tank and when I do water changes, I always seem to match that temperature by feel. If your perameters are off that bad, you definitely need a water change in a hurry. But first, go ahead and dose the whole tank with your water conditioner immediately if it hopefully has an ammonia detoxifier in it. Then check your tapwater as soon as possible. Water companies sometimes do an extra high chlorine treatment if their water source shows a rise in bacteria levels. But get the ammonia detoxifier and chlorine remover in there as soon as possible. What is the temperature of your water?
Orii Rae said:
They've never acted like this after a water change, using my Corys are Tetras are just fine but the Corys are acting almost dead, with small bursts of movement occasionally. I just did about a 50% water change, went to dinner and now they're all acting weird. The temperature may not have been the same adding it, but the levels are awful now too! Ammonia is 2.0+ ppm, Nitrite is 1.0+ppm, and Nitrate is 40+ppm. The tank should be cycled, I've tested it multiple times before and the nitrite and ammonia levels were consistently low to 0!
Should I do an emergency water change, add a heater, leave it, what?
I don't want to lose my Corys, they're so special
 
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Orii Rae

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I added in some extra de-chlorinator and the one Cory perked up within minutes. The other is still acting slow while the whole tank seems to be better. The tank temp is currently at 76 degrees. The tap water is testing with a pH of around 8.2 and ammonia levels of around .5ppm
 
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Orii Rae

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finnipper59 said:
I use a heater in my tank and when I do water changes, I always seem to match that temperature by feel. If your perameters are off that bad, you definitely need a water change in a hurry. But first, go ahead and dose the whole tank with your water conditioner immediately if it hopefully has an ammonia detoxifier in it. Then check your tapwater as soon as possible. Water companies sometimes do an extra high chlorine treatment if their water source shows a rise in bacteria levels. But get the ammonia detoxifier and chlorine remover in there as soon as possible. What is the temperature of your water?
Temp is 76 degrees. I added in extra dechlorinator and it seemed to help all but one fish perk up. my tapwater pH and ammonia levels were higher than normal. I don't think my conditioner has an ammonia detoxifier in it. I live in a small town and I don't think our petstore or Walmart carries one that does that I could run and get unfortunately.
 

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I'm glad you added more dechlorinator and that the fish are perking up. Tap water should not show ammonia at all. If the water company jacked up their chlorine high, it may be that their water source was high in oganics which would mean more bacteria which means more chlorine added. I hate to say this, but you could have gotten enough chlorine in your tank to have crashed your biofilter. That a worst case scenario, but it's possible. Does your chlorine remover also detoxify ammonia?
Orii Rae said:
I added in some extra de-chlorinator and the one Cory perked up within minutes. The other is still acting slow while the whole tank seems to be better. The tank temp is currently at 76 degrees. The tap water is testing with a pH of around 8.2 and ammonia levels of around .5ppm
 

finnipper59

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Orii Rae said:
Temp is 76 degrees. I added in extra dechlorinator and it seemed to help all but one fish perk up. my tapwater pH and ammonia levels were higher than normal. I don't think my conditioner has an ammonia detoxifier in it. I live in a small town and I don't think our petstore or Walmart carries one that does that I could run and get unfortunately.
The API Water conditioner, AmQuel, and Ammolock are 3 that detoxify ammonia. Walmart should carry at least one of those brands or something similar. You really need to get some. Especially since your tapwater is reading ammonia content aas well. Ammonia burns fishes gill cells. Also, do you know the before and after ph levels of the water change? They could be going through pH shock. Don't try to readjust it. They can recover from it if it's not radically changed again right away and never more than 0.2 at a time.
 
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Orii Rae

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finnipper59 said:
The API Water conditioner, AmQuel, and Ammolock are 3 that detoxify ammonia. Walmart should carry at least one of those brands or something similar. You really need to get some. Especially since your tapwater is reading ammonia content aas well. Ammonia burns fishes gill cells. Also, do you know the before and after ph levels of the water change? They could be going through pH shock. Don't try to readjust it. They can recover from it if it's not radically changed again right away and never more than 0.2 at a time.
Looking through my Walmart's stock, I'm not finding anything that says it detoxifies ammonia. I'm gonna go ahead and order Seachem Prime and start using that as a dechlorinator and I'll overnight it or something. It's been about 30 min since I added extra dechlorinator and all the fish are acting normal and the one Cory is now getting small bursts of energy while still mostly laying there. I don't feel like doing a water change would help if my water source isn't good to begin with. I could use the untreated well water, but I would need to find a water to soften it because it's some pretty **** hard water.
 

finnipper59

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Orii Rae said:
Looking through my Walmart's stock, I'm not finding anything that says it detoxifies ammonia. I'm gonna go ahead and order Seachem Prime and start using that as a dechlorinator and I'll overnight it or something. It's been about 30 min since I added extra dechlorinator and all the fish are acting normal and the one Cory is now getting small bursts of energy while still mostly laying there. I don't feel like doing a water change would help if my water source isn't good to begin with. I could use the untreated well water, but I would need to find a water to soften it because it's some pretty hard water.
Many of the antichemical hobbyist will suggest adding crushed coral to the filter to increase the hardness and buffer the warer to hold the pH steady. I always get natural alternatives posted to my posts. But if you get soft water to put in the tank, I recommend Seachem mineral supplements. The give you a specified dosage amount rather than adding some coral and it not doing good at that amount an so they add more crushed coral to see where that takes the water hardness and so on just fill with the soft water. Take hardness levels, then add the SeaChem dosage according to the package directions and let the aquarium chemical haters go wash their clothes on a rock in a nearby stream.
 

finnipper59

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finnipper59 said:
Many of the antichemical hobbyist will suggest adding crushed coral to the filter to increase the hardness and buffer the warer to hold the pH steady. I always get natural alternatives posted to my posts. But if you get soft water to put in the tank, I recommend Seachem mineral supplements. The give you a specified dosage amount rather than adding some coral and it not doing good at that amount an so they add more crushed coral to see where that takes the water hardness and so on just fill with the soft water. Take hardness levels, then add the SeaChem dosage according to the package directions and let the aquarium chemical haters go wash their clothes on a rock in a nearby stream.
What is the size of your tank?
 
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Orii Rae

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Just wanted to add that the fish are FINALLY all acting like their usual selfs! The tetras are active and swimming together, and my corys are finally playing and chasing eachother like they do! I'm so happy they got better. I was heartbroken seeing them like that. I'm definitely gonna get a water conditioner that detoxifies ammonia, and look into a different water source for water changes.
 

finnipper59

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Orii Rae said:
Just wanted to add that the fish are FINALLY all acting like their usual selfs! The tetras are active and swimming together, and my corys are finally playing and chasing eachother like they do! I'm so happy they got better. I was heartbroken seeing them like that. I'm definitely gonna get a water conditioner that detoxifies ammonia, and look into a different water source for water changes.
I'm glad to find out they are doing better. Please remember that the ammonia will still be there and show up on your test until the biological system changes it. But it will be simply be detoxified so it won't harm the fish before the bacteria change it.
 

finnipper59

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finnipper59 said:
I'm glad to find out they are doing better. Please remember that the ammonia will still be there and show up on your test until the biological system changes it. But it will be simply be detoxified so it won't harm the fish before the bacteria change it.
The reason I asked what your tank size is, is because I was siggesting that you buy a few gallons of DISTILLED water from your grocery store. It's usually less than a dollar a jug. I would recommend you replacing some...perhaps about 10 percent, but slowly. So if your tank is 30 gallons, replace 3 gallons of it with distilled water. It contains nothing but water, so it will lower all of the chemicals in the tank. But just scoop out abd replace about a half a gallon every 20 or 30 minutes. It will be room temperature and it may even drop the pH so thats why i suggest changing only 1/2 gallon at a time.
 
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