I fell asleep and my rosy barbs died

Rick bose

Last night before going to sleep as usual I switched off the air pump and gave food to my aquarium. I generally switch on the pumps again after 15-20 mins. I was severly exhausted yesterday and lied down to rest and fell asleep. I was very much tired. Before going to sleep I have thought that even if I rest for some time, I can switch on the pump late than usual. Sometimes if I have some work or busy in something or have to go out just after giving them food I have left the pump off for 4-5 hours without any issue. I never thought that I would completely fall asleep and woke after 8 hours only to find 3 of my rosy barbs died among 6. None of the other fishes were harmed in any way. There are many other fish species in the tank. This has happened once earlier too but that was not because of my mistake. The air pipe came out of my air pump during night when I was sleeping, so air was not going inside the tank, so no air bubbles or water movement and in the morning I found my rosy barbs had died. This happened several years ago. After that I use dual air pump with two pipes going inside 2 separate sponge filters so that both pipes can't come out the same day.

That time too only the rosy barbs died. I enquired a LFS and was told that rosy barbs requires more oxygen in water than other fish. I think it's true. Though I have searched and never found anything like this on the internet. Do you guys know about this? Since this happened for the 2nd time, I think it's true.

My tank is bit overstocked but it has plenty of plants. It's heavily planted and the light was on yesterday. So plants were doing photosynthesis and releasing oxygen in the water. Won't that should have helped? Or it didn't help because my tank is overstocked? I have lots of plants in the tank. I wanted to have several kinds of plants in the tank. Here the price of plants is double if I buy plants per piece than if I buy it in a bunch. So I ended up buying a bunch of variety of plants but later found that my tank even didn't have enough space to plant them. Also when I was just starting this hobby my tank was fairly planted with only low maintenance plants that won't require any ferts like dwarf lillies and aponogetons. But later I moved decided to yse ferts, so started to buy other plants. The earlier plants are still in the tank though I have to uproot them and placed them more closely to each other. So I ended up having several plants in the tank. My tank is overstocked in terms of plants too. So it's shocking to me when the light was on, the rosy barbs would still die in the presence of so many live plants. I live in India and the room temperature was 29°-30°C yesterday going by the thermometer in my dinning room. Don't know about the tank temperature. I have taken out both the thermometer and the heater from the tank couple of days ago when there was no more need for them as the temperature started to get warmer. I live in tropical region and only use heater and thermometer for 2 months during winter. Feeling extreme guilt and sad.
 

StarGirl

Don't beat yourself up, stuff happens. It does seem really crazy that they died in that short amount of time. Maybe someone else that knows rosy barbs better will have a better insight than me.
 
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BigManAquatics

The only part i don't get is why shut the pump off? Is it so the food doesn't kick around as much or something? Sorry about the fish
 
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Fisch

Sorry to hear about your loss. Maybe if you live in a warm area the oxygen is used up faster, beside Rosy Barbs being more sensitive.
 
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Alejandro

Oxygen and temperature are intertwined factors

As water warms it holds less oxygen - no matter how much you add air or pumps etc there is an upper oxygen saturation.

If you are on the limits due to stocking levels or temperature or both then lose an air line it can drop very quickly as the fish use it.

Fish adapted for colder water have less capacity to get oxygen from water- they simply had no need to evolve the tools to get oxygen from low oxygen water if they live in cold streams

I don't know the wild ecology of your fish but if you look it up you will find that fish from colder or more turbulent water are more susceptible to suffering with low oxygen but fish from warmer or stiller water often even have mechanisms or behaviours like gulping ait from the surface that allow them to survive less oxygenated water.

It might be those that died are less well adapted to low oxygen than the others
 
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Sanderguy777

I have never heard of that, but the fact that they died only when the air was shut off is pretty interesting (have any ever died before or since that first time? Other than these 3 I mean.)

You should keep the thermometer in there all the time because it can help to know the temp of the water.
 
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GlennO

Rosy barbs are a subtropical fish that like cooler water so would be stressed already at near 30C. Any drop in oxygen might be enough to push them over the edge. Given your room temps you might be better off keeping more heat loving fish. In the meantime keep the air pump running all the time.
 
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emmykenzie

This does make sense. At night when there is less light for photosynthesis plants take oxygen out of the water. I run my air stones only at night to combat this in my heavily planted tanks.

Sorry for your loss!
 
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jinjerJOSH22

Another factor you mentioned is the addition of plants. While yes, will release oxygen while photosynthesizing under a source of light. In the dark they actually consume oxygen in a process called "cellular respiration".

Really sucks though
 
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Rick bose

The only part i don't get is why shut the pump off? Is it so the food doesn't kick around as much or something? Sorry about the fish
Really? Am I the only one who does this? I always switch off my pump while I feed my fish as you guessed it. I don't want to the food to kick around as much. With two sponge filters at two ends, they make much movement at the surface of the water. So I switch off the pump so that the fish can ear peacefully. Also there are lots of floating plants on top, so the food might get entangled in them if the water moves making it harder for the fish to eat. As I said I have too many fishes in the tank. All may not eat. If the water moves, the food will kick around & as I said I have too many plants, it just can enter enter somewhere in the plant jungle where the fish won't eat them. They can even enter the holes of my dragon stone & congo holey rocks. That will just increase the ammonia level of the water. Also even though I always use to plastic spoon to scatter away the plants & make an open space before putting the food, still I always find some pellets going above my dwarf lilly leaves and just rotting and turning into a paste there. Some because of fishes' movements and some because few pellets get entangled with the floating plants and when I switch on the pump, they get above the leaves due to the water movement. 95% of the pellets get eaten but some end up above leaves because so many floating plants and the floating leaves of lillies. So if the pump stays on while feeding, that will increase too. The fishes never eats from above the lilly leaves and it will just increase ammonia in water.
Sorry to hear about your loss. Maybe if you live in a warm area the oxygen is used up faster, beside Rosy Barbs being more sensitive.
Yeah, rosy barbs are definitely more sensitive when it comes to oxygen level in water.
Oxygen and temperature are intertwined factors

As water warms it holds less oxygen - no matter how much you add air or pumps etc there is an upper oxygen saturation.

If you are on the limits due to stocking levels or temperature or both then lose an air line it can drop very quickly as the fish use it.

Fish adapted for colder water have less capacity to get oxygen from water- they simply had no need to evolve the tools to get oxygen from low oxygen water if they live in cold streams

I don't know the wild ecology of your fish but if you look it up you will find that fish from colder or more turbulent water are more susceptible to suffering with low oxygen but fish from warmer or stiller water often even have mechanisms or behaviours like gulping ait from the surface that allow them to survive less oxygenated water.

It might be those that died are less well adapted to low oxygen than the others

Yes, that sounds right. Though I knew this thing that oxygen is more dissolved in cold water and less in warm water but this never came to my mind that as a result cold water fishes are less adapted to manage when there's shortage of oxygen. What you said makes sense. BTW, goldfish are coldwater fish too. Then how come they still able to live in a bowl for 1-2 days or even for more than a week sometimes without any aeration in the bowl but my rosy barbs died within only 8 hours? Or goldfish are specially adapted to gulp oxygen from surface and extend their lifespan for a few days?
I have never heard of that, but the fact that they died only when the air was shut off is pretty interesting (have any ever died before or since that first time? Other than these 3 I mean.)

You should keep the thermometer in there all the time because it can help to know the temp of the water.
No, after that none has died. As soon as I wake up I saw the rosy barbs gulping for air at the surface and I immediately switched on the pump. Then I found 3 has died. Almost 24 hours have passed. No one has died further. That's why I am sure it's because of oxygen level. Besides this has happened before 2 times also. One when my air pipe came out of the air pump and one during a 8 day long power cut.

Ok, I will keep the thermometer in the tank all the time. Actually I don't keep it because I don't have a chiller or air-conditioned room to lower the temperature down if I see it's getting warmer. So it's useless as I can see the temperature but I can control it anyway. I have a room thermometer. Generally the tank temperature is just below the room temperature. Except winter since I don't have to use heater, I don't use thermometer too in the tank. But I get your point. It's better to keep a thermometer in the tank to exactly tell what the tank water temperature is to identify any cause of something like this or other.
Rosy barbs are a subtropical fish that like cooler water so would be stressed already at near 30C. Any drop in oxygen might be enough to push them over the edge. Given your room temps you might be better off keeping more heat loving fish. In the meantime keep the air pump running all the time.
The thing is rosy barbs are one of the first fish that I kept and the only fish that I still have now and had when I started the hobby too. Yes, I know now that rosy barbs are supposed to be in cooler temperatures but I didn't know that at that time. If I had known that, I might not have bought them. But now they have become my favourite fish and I don't want to part with them. But still if rosy barbs couldn't even survive in this temperature, if this was fish abuse I obviously would not continue keeping them. But I see rosy barbs only have problems when there's less oxygen in tanks. Otherwise they show no problem in this temperature. I have been keeping them for more than 4 years. I never seen anything that might suggest they aren't comfortable in this temperature. It's a pretty common fish here and are found in almost every store. It's an assumption but I think as these obviously aren't wild caught rosy barbs but are bred for this hobby in this temperature for decades, they mighy have adapted to this temperature well. I could be wrong, I am just saying this as I personally never have seen anything that might suggest they are not comfortable in this temperature unless there is deficiency of oxygen in water.

Yes none of my other tankmates are cool water fishes neither I buy any cold water fishes now as I don't buy fish without research now. During the winter months, I keep the temperature at 25°C, other times it just stays as the weather is.
And yeah I keep my pump running all the time except when I feed them.
This does make sense. At night when there is less light for photosynthesis plants take oxygen out of the water. I run my air stones only at night to combat this in my heavily planted tanks.

Sorry for your loss!

But my tank was not dark. The light was on the whole time. So the plants were weren't supposed to consume oxygen from water but instead they were supposed to provide oxygen to water.
Another factor you mentioned is the addition of plants. While yes, will release oxygen while photosynthesizing under a source of light. In the dark they actually consume oxygen in a process called "cellular respiration".

Really sucks though
I think you misunderstood what I wrote. I wrote that my light was on during the whole time when my pump was off as I obviously keep the lights on while feeding. So I fell asleep, I didn't go to switch on the pump, so naturally I didn't switch off the lights too. So the light was on the whole time. So why I wrote that my plants were supposed to photosynthesis during that time and release oxygen in the water. I too know that plants consume oxygen during dark but my tank was lit the whole time.
Don't beat yourself up, stuff happens. It does seem really crazy that they died in that short amount of time. Maybe someone else that knows rosy barbs better will have a better insight than me.
I have read about rosy barbs and their care on various places on internet. I have never read anything on about rosy barbs more sensitive to lower oxygen levels in tank. I even specifically searched for this after the 1st mishap due to air pipe coming out of the pump. Though the LFS guy said this to me, I never fully trusted him as they are often unreliable but turns out in this case he was right.

This is the 3rd time they died because of oxygen deficiency. The 2nd time it happened when there was a power cut for 8 days after a cyclone hit in mid 2020. I have inverter in my house that can give a back up for 8 hours, if used carefully even for 24 hours. I never thought we would lose power for 8 days, so I was not prepared with battery air pump. Lockdown was already going on here and then because of the cyclone I found no LFS opened nearby. Internet services stopped too for the first few days and delivery services was temporarily stopped too. I called some LFS, none of them had them as they were already sold. I finally bought one on 8th day just few hours before power came back.

I used create motion in the tank with a large spatula whenever I can during that time. Many fishes died but the rosy barbs took the worst hit. 6 among 7 of them died. Only 1 or 2 of the other species died like the zebra danios, red eye tetras. 50% of the dwarf peacrox rainbowfish died. Black skirt tetras were the most hardiest as none of them died. So I think it's clear that whenever oxygen deficiency occurs rosy barbs are the first to take the hit. Surprisingly, no website tells this even though I specifically searched for it. Unfortunately the sole survivor of that power cut died yesterday. I could tell as it was the largest one. That rosy barb is with me for more than 3 years. All others were bought just 6 months ago.
 
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Sanderguy777

I would leave the pump running the whole time. If nothing else, get some valves and turn the flow down on the sponge filter just a bit to create less flow, but still have gas exchange and filtration.

Also, know that your fish are eating a LOT of food when you aren't feeding.
I have an angelfish that I dont think has eaten food since I got it like 4 or 5 weeks ago, but it is doing fine and healthy. It eats algae and stuff off the logs in the tank. It isn't growing as fast as the other ones that IS eating, but it isn't dead, and it is acting normal (other than not eating). So your fish are most likely fine without getting food for a feeding or two...
 
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V1K

I only turn off a filter if I'm treating my fish with live grindal worms, because they get sucked into the filter too fast, such a waste. With other foods I don't bother. I really think you should stop this practice, it's too risky. As for the worries that some food will get stuck somewhere and fish won't eat it and it would create an ammonia spike - hello, you have rosy barbs, those voracious little monsters alone will get food from anywhere, anytime, no matter how much effort it will take . They go under plants, between rocks, anywhere they can squeeze in for food. Also, to reduce the mess and floating particles you can use sinking foods, like algae wafers and pleco tabs. The barbs will definitely go for it, I don't know about your other fish, you can try and see, and then only give enough floating foods for those fish that really don't like it or it's not suitable for them.

Oh and you keep refering to the cause of death as oxygen deficiency, when I believe in an overstocked tank the real problem would have been ammonia/nitrite spike due to the filters not running. Explains why your plants didn't do much to solve the problem.
 
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jinjerJOSH22

“I think you misunderstood what I wrote. I wrote that my light was on during the whole time when my pump was off as I obviously keep the lights on while feeding. So I fell asleep, I didn't go to switch on the pump, so naturally I didn't switch off the lights too. So the light was on the whole time. So why I wrote that my plants were supposed to photosynthesis during that time and release oxygen in the water. I too know that plants consume oxygen during dark but my tank was lit the whole time.”

Ah I see, I did misunderstand

Like others have said I would leave the pump on during feeding. The Barbs at least should have no trouble with their food being blown around and if you’re worried about fish getting enough food this also shouldn’t make much of a difference. As for the worry of uneaten food, I wouldn’t worry too much. In an established tank the bacteria should have no problem dealing with a bit of uneaten food and regular maintenance should keep it safe long term

I suppose this situation is another reason why fish like Gourami are so good. I once put my canister output too far under the surface, in that tank it was the only form of aeration along with plants. The next day I came to a tank of very stressed Tetra and my two biggest Cardinals dead. However the Gourami and Corydoras where completely fine.
This was how I learned about cellular respiration
(Obviously not the case here).

Anyway once again it really sucks to lose fish you are fond of
 
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Alejandro

BTW, goldfish are coldwater fish too. Then how come they still able to live in a bowl for 1-2 days or even for more than a week sometimes without any aeration in the bowl but my rosy barbs died within only 8 hours? Or goldfish are specially adapted to gulp oxygen from surface and extend their lifespan for a few days?

To clarify - there are several factors effecting oxygenation, the abiotic ones include temperature and surface mixing

A 15C mountain stream has higher oxygen than a still pool at 15C and a 20C stream has much less than a 15C stream

Next comes biotic factors- in essence how much oxygen is being used by the living things (animsls, plants, as well as fungal and bacterial decomposers) and how much if any is being made by other living things (plants)

And a big one to factor in - everything in your tank has body temperature and therefore metabolic rate linked to water temperature. When they get hotter their metabolism increases and they need more oxygen just when the oxygen is going down- they get a double whammy - that's why things can spiral so quickly.


If goldfish evolved in slow water or pools that were cold but dirty or full of decomposing materials they may well have regularly experienced low oxygen - I don't know what they do but if what you say is right I suspect they must have evolved in low oxygen cold water- probably ponds with lots of decomposing plants / leaves etc. Maybe they lived with deciduous trees and dealt with seasonal increases in decomp driven oxygen reduction.

But the premise is the same- look at natural ecology of a fish and you can likely predict it's needs or what limits it might have.

I like predictions based on biology - if they prove right they support your hypothesis. If all the above is correct about goldfish then I'd predict they can handle hotter water if it's well mixed and aerated. Can anyone tell us if that's right?
 
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JettsPapa

Have you considered making a ring with air line to float on the surface of the water, then put the food inside it, instead of turning the pump off? I have that in one tank, and it works well. I bent a plant weight and hung it on the side of the tank to keep the ring in place.
 
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emmykenzie

Have you considered making a ring with air line to float on the surface of the water, then put the food inside it, instead of turning the pump off? I have that in one tank, and it works well. I bent a plant weight and hung it on the side of the tank to keep the ring in place.
I was going to suggest this exact thing.


 
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Deku-Cory

I'd actually encourage letting the food be scattered around, as long as it isn't getting ignored and rotting away. It encourages them to search around for their food, which gives everyone a chance to get a fair portion, and they aren't able to stuff themselves as quickly.
 
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BigManAquatics

Really? Am I the only one who does this? I always switch off my pump while I feed my fish as you guessed it. I don't want to the food to kick around as much. With two sponge filters at two ends, they make much movement at the surface of the water. So I switch off the pump so that the fish can ear peacefully. Also there are lots of floating plants on top, so the food might get entangled in them if the water moves making it harder for the fish to eat. As I said I have too many fishes in the tank. All may not eat. If the water moves, the food will kick around & as I said I have too many plants, it just can enter enter somewhere in the plant jungle where the fish won't eat them. They can even enter the holes of my dragon stone & congo holey rocks. That will just increase the ammonia level of the water. Also even though I always use to plastic spoon to scatter away the plants & make an open space before putting the food, still I always find some pellets going above my dwarf lilly leaves and just rotting and turning into a paste there. Some because of fishes' movements and some because few pellets get entangled with the floating plants and when I switch on the pump, they get above the leaves due to the water movement. 95% of the pellets get eaten but some end up above leaves because so many floating plants and the floating leaves of lillies. So if the pump stays on while feeding, that will increase too. The fishes never eats from above the lilly leaves and it will just increase ammonia in water.

Yeah, rosy barbs are definitely more sensitive when it comes to oxygen level in water.


Yes, that sounds right. Though I knew this thing that oxygen is more dissolved in cold water and less in warm water but this never came to my mind that as a result cold water fishes are less adapted to manage when there's shortage of oxygen. What you said makes sense. BTW, goldfish are coldwater fish too. Then how come they still able to live in a bowl for 1-2 days or even for more than a week sometimes without any aeration in the bowl but my rosy barbs died within only 8 hours? Or goldfish are specially adapted to gulp oxygen from surface and extend their lifespan for a few days?

No, after that none has died. As soon as I wake up I saw the rosy barbs gulping for air at the surface and I immediately switched on the pump. Then I found 3 has died. Almost 24 hours have passed. No one has died further. That's why I am sure it's because of oxygen level. Besides this has happened before 2 times also. One when my air pipe came out of the air pump and one during a 8 day long power cut.

Ok, I will keep the thermometer in the tank all the time. Actually I don't keep it because I don't have a chiller or air-conditioned room to lower the temperature down if I see it's getting warmer. So it's useless as I can see the temperature but I can control it anyway. I have a room thermometer. Generally the tank temperature is just below the room temperature. Except winter since I don't have to use heater, I don't use thermometer too in the tank. But I get your point. It's better to keep a thermometer in the tank to exactly tell what the tank water temperature is to identify any cause of something like this or other.

The thing is rosy barbs are one of the first fish that I kept and the only fish that I still have now and had when I started the hobby too. Yes, I know now that rosy barbs are supposed to be in cooler temperatures but I didn't know that at that time. If I had known that, I might not have bought them. But now they have become my favourite fish and I don't want to part with them. But still if rosy barbs couldn't even survive in this temperature, if this was fish abuse I obviously would not continue keeping them. But I see rosy barbs only have problems when there's less oxygen in tanks. Otherwise they show no problem in this temperature. I have been keeping them for more than 4 years. I never seen anything that might suggest they aren't comfortable in this temperature. It's a pretty common fish here and are found in almost every store. It's an assumption but I think as these obviously aren't wild caught rosy barbs but are bred for this hobby in this temperature for decades, they mighy have adapted to this temperature well. I could be wrong, I am just saying this as I personally never have seen anything that might suggest they are not comfortable in this temperature unless there is deficiency of oxygen in water.

Yes none of my other tankmates are cool water fishes neither I buy any cold water fishes now as I don't buy fish without research now. During the winter months, I keep the temperature at 25°C, other times it just stays as the weather is.
And yeah I keep my pump running all the time except when I feed them.


But my tank was not dark. The light was on the whole time. So the plants were weren't supposed to consume oxygen from water but instead they were supposed to provide oxygen to water.

I think you misunderstood what I wrote. I wrote that my light was on during the whole time when my pump was off as I obviously keep the lights on while feeding. So I fell asleep, I didn't go to switch on the pump, so naturally I didn't switch off the lights too. So the light was on the whole time. So why I wrote that my plants were supposed to photosynthesis during that time and release oxygen in the water. I too know that plants consume oxygen during dark but my tank was lit the whole time.

I have read about rosy barbs and their care on various places on internet. I have never read anything on about rosy barbs more sensitive to lower oxygen levels in tank. I even specifically searched for this after the 1st mishap due to air pipe coming out of the pump. Though the LFS guy said this to me, I never fully trusted him as they are often unreliable but turns out in this case he was right.

This is the 3rd time they died because of oxygen deficiency. The 2nd time it happened when there was a power cut for 8 days after a cyclone hit in mid 2020. I have inverter in my house that can give a back up for 8 hours, if used carefully even for 24 hours. I never thought we would lose power for 8 days, so I was not prepared with battery air pump. Lockdown was already going on here and then because of the cyclone I found no LFS opened nearby. Internet services stopped too for the first few days and delivery services was temporarily stopped too. I called some LFS, none of them had them as they were already sold. I finally bought one on 8th day just few hours before power came back.

I used create motion in the tank with a large spatula whenever I can during that time. Many fishes died but the rosy barbs took the worst hit. 6 among 7 of them died. Only 1 or 2 of the other species died like the zebra danios, red eye tetras. 50% of the dwarf peacrox rainbowfish died. Black skirt tetras were the most hardiest as none of them died. So I think it's clear that whenever oxygen deficiency occurs rosy barbs are the first to take the hit. Surprisingly, no website tells this even though I specifically searched for it. Unfortunately the sole survivor of that power cut died yesterday. I could tell as it was the largest one. That rosy barb is with me for more than 3 years. All others were bought just 6 months ago.
No you aren't the only one. It's just so foreign to my way of thinking is all. The less stuff a person messes with, the less you can forget! That's my philosophy, anyway.
 
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JettsPapa

No you aren't the only one. It's just so foreign to my way of thinking is all. The less stuff a person messes with, the less you can forget! That's my philosophy, anyway.

I agree. That's why all the heaters in my tanks are low enough that I don't need to turn them off when I do water changes.
 
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