Help! Fish dying, and I don't know why!

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juanus_superbus

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Hi all,

My girlfriend and I inherited a 5 gallon tank from her former roommate, and since have fallen in love with our little fish. But we're having problems...

A few days ago she brought home a few extra fish, and since then we've been having problems. At the time we had 2 cherry barbs and 2 danios...she brought home 1 black mollie, and 3 more danios. All 4 of the new fish died, including one of our danios, within 48 hours! This made us very sad, to say the least.

We tested the water at the first sign of trouble (the fish were listless and hanging near the surface of the water), but all readings were normal. We also did a big water change, which seemed to remedy the problem temporarily.

We let the situation settle for a few days, and then decided to get 2 more danios. (This brings our tank up to 2 Cherry barbs and 3 danios). That was earlier today, and now we're seeing the same behaviour start up again--fish near the surface of the water and anxiousness.

We again tested the water, and again all readings are normal. The water temp is slightly elevated--around 80 F, but we've lowered it to about 75 with an ice cube in a ziplock bag. We did a small water change as well.

We don't what the problem is, and would appreciate any advice. We're worried that the water may be de-oxygenated, do we need an aerator? Right now we only have a back-mounted filter, but that's been fine before.

Sorry for the long post!
 

Lucy

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Welcome to FishLore!!
I'm really sorry about your fish
What are the exact readings for ammonia nitrites and nitrates?
Imo, you're over stocking your tank. Unfortunatly a 5g tank can't handle a lot of fish.
Your tank is more suitable for 1 betta or a couple of ADF's

You might want to consider getting a 20g if you want mollys, danios and cherry barbs.

I'm sorry I couldn't give you better news.
Good luck!
 

bass master

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Welcome to fishlore! Sorry to hear about the fish, things can sometimes be pretty difficult to manage in a 5 gallon tank.

an HOB is usually sufficient to oxygenate the tank as long as its stocked properly, so I dont really think thats the problem, what concerns me most is adding that many fish to such a small tank at once. Its hard to keep healthy bacteria populations in a 5 gallon tank, and Im fairly certain that adding a molly and 3 danios would cause a fairly large ammonia spike which could have killed off your fish. What were your exact readings when you tested the water? Also what test kit are you using, sometimes they can be inaccurate, unfortunately. Really a 5 gallon tank is too small and unstable to support a community type tank IMO, most people believe that the only fish suitable for a 5 gallon tank would be betta fish and maybe dwarf puffers, even then things are a bit tricky and theres always the chance your cycle will break down. Also, danios dont really belong in such a small tank IMO, theyre pretty tough fish and wont have as bad a reaction to ammonia in the tank, but really theyre such active little swimmers that they need a bit more space. Im sorry to give you such bad news, but Im afraid you might need to upgrade your aquarium or change the current stock in your tank.

Right now I would make sure youre keeping up the water changes, products like prime and amquel + will detoxify ammonia and nitrite for 24 hours between water changes, hopefully this will help the remaining fish.

edit: ninja'd maybe I should write shorter posts! ;D
 
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juanus_superbus

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We tested 3 days in a row, before and after water changes. Our ammonia readings have consistently been low (either 0 or at most 0.1), Ph around 7.1, nitrite around 0 or maybe .1 ppm, and nitrates around 20 ppm. Our test kit is called "API freshwater master test kit".

One thing I didn't mention before--we didn't know until earlier today about surface area disturbance and the effect it had on oxygebating the water. We had our water level too high, and the HOB wasn't causing any bubbles/disturbance. We've since lowered the water level a bit. Could that be enough to fix the problem?

Also, we've got our eye(s) on a 20 gallon tank...
 

Lucy

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Ammonia and nitrites are toxic to your fish. The nitrite level can have them gasping.
bass master gave some good info in his post. Water changes and Prime to detox will hopefully help your fish.
While enough oxygen is important to your fish, it won't change the over crowding situation.

Something to think about. You have 5g's of water with several fish creating waste along with left over food. The water can foul quickly.

Glad to hear you're looking at a bigger tank. You and your fish will enjoy it more
 
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TedsTank

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Welcome to Fishlore!!!!

Also, next time you buy some fish, please check the Ph of the water from your fish store...you may have to acclimate them slowly if there is a large Ph difference. If you are just floating the bag for a bit, and dumping in the fish, they could be getting shocked.

Acclimating slowly would be to remove a little water from the bag after the the temps are equal (dump it out) and adding a little water from the tank. Do this until you have done a complete change...can take an hour or 2, even more if the Ph difference is large.
 
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Kunsthure

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Welcome to Fish Lore!

I'm sorry to hear about the fish!

I agree with what everyone else has said but I see in your profile that you're using aquarium salt. Most people here advise against its use for various reasons, and really only the mollies are ok with salt, so that may have played a role.

How quickly did you drop the temperature? I think a 5 degree drop is pretty significant and would best be done over a period of several hours. At least it works the other way, when raising temps, so I'm assuming it's the same for lowering them.

I'd recommend daily water changes of at least 25% using a product that detoxes ammonia and nitrites, such as Prime or Amquel+ until you guys can get that 20g.

I hope things turn around soon!

-Lisa
 

jerilovesfrogs

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hi, welcome to the site! for a 5g, i would say take those fish to your lfs/lps and trade them for a betta. they are very fun to have a pets...such personality. a 5g is a great size for one. i swap at my lfs if something isn't working out.

i agree with lisa about the salt. plus, mollies produce a lot of waste...so waste, overstocking, food etc if probably why your tank isn't so great.
 
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