Help How Do I Save My Bristlenose!

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Ken_Parr, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. Ken_ParrNew MemberMember

    The other day I was extremely dumb and decided I needed to change my sand bottom 20 gal aquarium into a rock bottom ( I washed all the rocks thoroughly with plain non chlorinated well water) so I took all the fish out and did a 100% water change in order to spray away all the sand at the bottom of my tank. 2 days later; all 3 of my guppies, my Molly and my angelfish turned up dead. My bristlenose pleco named Spirit is still alive though! I’m 99% sure from looking at some of these threads that I was not supposed to change all of the water so suddenly because it put them all into shock. I’m extremely scared for my bristlenose now because I don’t want him to get sick or die, I loved all of my fish very dearly because I had the privilege of having their moms before them as my companions, so they were all born in my tank. Is there anything I could do for my little guy so he doesn’t enter the same fate as the rest of my fish?
  2. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

  3. Ken_ParrNew MemberMember

    image.jpg [QUOTE="Rtessy, postIs he showing any symptoms?
    Did the others show symptoms before dying?
    Please list:

    He’s not showing any symptoms besides having a little bit of cloudy eyes, he’s out and about which is kind of unusual for him at this time of day, the temperature is always around 75-78
    I just did a strip test I’ll attach a picture of it here:

  4. DuaneVWell Known MemberMember

    Sorry to hear about your fish.

    A 100% water change is 100% harmless as long as the parameters are similar. If you go from 80 to 60 degrees or a PH of 6 to 8.4, then MAYBE you shocked and killed them, but Ive done 100% water changes too many times to count and Ive never had fish turn up dead.

    Id look for another reason (not that it matters now) like you accidentally cleaned the filter media, used bleach and didnt rinse it well, etc. Unless you had "old tank syndrome" where you werent doing water changes on schedule, the PH had fallen greatly, etc., a water change shouldnt kill fish. Water is water.

    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  5. Ken_ParrNew MemberMember

    I did not mention how long I went without changing the water, it was 3-4 months without any water changes, I feel like I neglected them because I was so busy so I’m fairly sure that that was the reason. I’m never going to be too busy to clean a tank again.
  6. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    If it was multiple months without a water change then a 100%, it could have shocked them. However, I don't see any nitrite or nitrate, so it's likely you have an ammonia spike. Any chance you can get that tested? Most pet stores will test for free, be sure to get them to tell you the exact readings parts per million (ppm)
  7. Ken_ParrNew MemberMember

    Today my bushy nose died, we went to pet smart to get the water tested yesterday and they said it must have been an excess of metals in our water, because everything seemed normal. We’re going to have our water tested now before we get anymore fish, but I doubt I will at this point, it’s heartbreaking to lose all of your fish like that.
  8. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    Sorry to hear that, since you did a 100%, any nitrates, ammonia, or nitrite would show up. Plus, they lie literally all the time, told me a tank with 4ppm ammonia and 6ppm nitrite was safe, that would have been lethal to anything.
    An you get the exact ammonia nitrite an nitrate readings?
  9. Ken_ParrNew MemberMember

    They said that I can’t get the exact readings there but I honestly think that they got lazy and didn’t want to deal with it, were going to get our water professionally tested somewhere else. Hopefully I get some answers soon.
  10. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    Yeah, they're being lazy. Either it'd xero or it isn't. If it's not zero, that's a problem (bar nitrates, over 40ppm is a problem), the numbers just tell you how much of a problem
  11. IslandvicWell Known MemberMember

    @Ken_Parr , My guess is a sudden change in pH was the issue, but that is only a hypothesis.

    Looking at the strip, your Total Hardness looks like it's zero.

    Do you know what your tap water pH is and what the tank's pH was before water change?

    I will also guess you have soft water.

    Water with zero hardness has very low buffering capability. That is the ability to stabilize pH.

    The 100% change of 3 month old water to new water may have caused a pH swing large enough to stress the fish and cause them to die.

    I live where the water is "hard" and pH runs 7.8-8.0. So the water had good buffering ability and I have no pH swings.

    I routinely do 40-60% water changes every 7-10 days without negative effect.

    If this hypothesis is correct about your water, you may want to look into using crushed coral as a substrate and possibly using a canister filter with a bag of crushed coral.

    The crushed coral helps buffer the water against pH swings. It is better than using chemicals to the water to chase the pH up or down.

    Here are some excellent videos on water hardness, pH and how it relates to our hobby. It is from Jason with Prime Time Aquatics on YouTube. He is one of the few YouTube resources that backs the info with scientific explanation. He has 3 degrees in fields directly related to our hobby and he is a university professor, so I take what he says more seriously versus other youtubers.....

    I recommend buying an API Freshwater Master Test Kit once your strips are finished. Online they can be found for $17-$20 and are good for 800 tests.

    Good luck and dont be discouraged.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  12. EpicozWell Known MemberMember

    Does your filter have good bb
  13. IslandvicWell Known MemberMember

    @Ken_Parr , to follow up on @Epicoz 's post, did you leave the media from filter out, replace the cartridge or make any other changes to the filtration?

    I re-read the thread, you mentioned having the water "professionally tested".

    Most fish stores use the strips like yours or the API test kit that I mentioned in my previous post. Nothing professional about it. After you factor in time driving back and forth to get water tested, cost of gas, and multiple that a couple of times to get it tested while the tank is cycling, you've paid for a $20 API test kit that you can do at home.

    Most fish stores who test water will tell you it's safe to add fish as long as ammonia and nitrites are not high, because they want to sell you fish that day.

    They have no idea about the history of the tank, and if it is cycled yet.

    You may want to start another thread in the forum, if you need guidance for a proper start of a nitrogen cycle and to get your beneficial bacteria colonized to support a healthy tank of fish.

    Here are videos on the nitrogen cycle from Jason and Cory, both their channels are excellent resources for the hobby