20 Gallon Tank just added new tank mates and they are all dying, why?

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wastmke316

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So i started my 20 gallon aquarium in April of this year with 3 black skirt tetras, 3 red wagtail platys, and one spotted pleco. All of them made it through the nitrogen cycle and were doing very well. I thought that it would be a good time to add a couple new tank mates so i went to petco and purchased 1 dwarf neon gourami, 5 neon tetras and two more black skirts because everything i read said they should be kept in a bigger school. Within twelve hours, I'd already lost three neons. I was even careful about acclimating them slowly. The next day, i lost one of my black skirts too! Now even my peaceful hardy platys are acting funny. Could it be shock from new tank mates? Or were the new fish sick? I've tested my water repeatedly and it's within all the normal levels. I'm scared of losing the rest of my new fish and the original ones too. Is there anything i can do to help them now, or at least avoid tragedy in the future? Thankyou
 

Kunsthure

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Welcome to Fish Lore!

I'm sorry about the losses! It's so frustrating.

Neon tetras are notoriously fragile, so unfortunately I'm not really surprised that they didn't make it in a young tank.

What test kit are you using? Strips are often inaccurate, which makes it difficult to know what's really going on. What are the actual numbers you got?

My feeling is that adding 8 fish at once overwhelmed your beneficial bacteria. The first thing to try is a water change, I'd say at least 25%.

The new fish could be sick, it could be an acclimating problem even though you did it slowly (how did you do it, btw?), it could also be the temp, since I think 82 is a bit high.

Just about everyone here recommends quarantining new fish for at least 2 weeks, sometimes up to a month to watch for signs of illness and to prevent the existing fish from getting sick. I have a hard time digging up links on my iPod but you'll find lots of good info on quarantine tanks if you do a search, including a quick and dirty version made from a Rubbermaid-type tub (that's what I've got going right now, actually )

I'm sure other members will offer more ideas and advice soon.

-Lisa
 

ryanr

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Ooohhh, sorry to hear you're having problems.

Welcome to fishlore, and great advice from Lisa.

When you say 'within normal levels', what are readings for pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate?
And if you have the test, hardness (General Hardness)?

If you have any ammonia, I would suggest dosing with Seachem Prime, and start with daily water changes.

As suggested by Lisa, Neon Tetras are very particular about water parameters, and generally I wouldn't try and add neons to a new tank. A well established (at least 3mths, 6mths or more is better).

I also agree that it might have been too many, too quick. As long as your tank is cycled, I would only recommend adding a few fish at a time, waiting 3-4 weeks in between additions.

And a last note on Neon Tetras, given their intolerance of parameters, you might want to consider Cardinal Tetras, they look almost identical, and the Cardinal is a lot more resiliant.
 

Aquarist

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Hello Wastmke and Welcome to Fish Lore!

Some great information above. You stated that your original fish made it through the nitrogen cycle. Keep in mind that any amount of ammonia can be fatal to your fish. You may not see the effects of it right away as they can suffer long term side effects of it too. That is one reason it's best to cycle a tank fish-less. Many new members to the hobby have made this mistake (cycling with fish).

Quarantine, I can't stress the importance of this enough. Without Quarantine, and adding new fish puts every fish in the tank at risk for disease. Even though the fish we purchase may appear to be healthy in the fish store, doesn't mean that they are. Here is a link or two to a Quarantine set up that you may find helpful:
https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/quick-and-dirty-quarantine-setup.34328/
https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/how-to-set-up-a-quarantine-tank.69685/

I see in your Aquarium Profile Information that you use pH balance tablets. I suggest that you not use any chemicals (powders, liquids, tablets) to alter your pH levels. Most fish for the home aquarium can adapt to the pH that we have to offer right from the tap. pH adjusters are unstable and can lead to a pH crash leading to fish loss.

Here is a link on pH and natural ways to alter your pH levels:
http://www.ratemyfishtank.com/articles/107

Best wishes for you fish. Please keep us posted.

Ken
 
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wastmke316

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Thankyou so much more all the good advice. I will look at the links on ph and quarantine for sure. I've been doing a 25% water change daily to keep ammonia levels down, and I haven't lost any more fish. That's a relief. I really appreciate the help. Thanks,
Nina
 

Kupcake

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Thankyou so much more all the good advice. I will look at the links on ph and quarantine for sure. I've been doing a 25% water change daily to keep ammonia levels down, and I haven't lost any more fish. That's a relief. I really appreciate the help. Thanks,
Nina
If your tank was finished cycling then you shouldnt have ammonia problems. I would not get any more fish right now and just watch your tank untill your readings are 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. That is when it is fully cycled.

Also, when you do decide to add more fish, go with what others have said. Only a few at a time, and very slowly, and only AFTER a quarenteen. My quarenteen tank is a 2gal kritter keeper. You just have to keep them there and make sure they dont die or look weird for 2 weeks...ofcourse I have to change the water every 3 days. Alot of people go with 2 weeks (I do) but some even go up to 6 weeks.

Good luck! Sorry for your losses
 
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