Keep losing fish with no explanation. Help!

miaz

Member
HI guys
I hope someone out there can help me, I've spent countless hours online and have no answers yet.
I have 2 tanks both completely cycled and been running for about a year. They are very differnt set ups, one with gravel and live plants, one with sand substrate and silk plants. The live planted tank contains guppies and the sand tank contains plattties and baloon mollies. The are both 80l tanks, understocked (never more than 5 small fish in them). Both kept at 25 degrees, with GH around 15.
The issue is that I keep losing fish without explanation. NO signs of injury or obvious illness. In some cases they seem a little skinny and lethargic for a few days, in other cases they are just dead one morning. Sometimes I lose them within a few weeks of bringing them home, sometimes they last a few months. Currentlty I have 1 platty that has lasted the whole year but I have stopped buying new fish as they literally just keep dying.
Now my tap water comes out at pH 7 BUT if you leave it for a few hours it goes up to 7.6, so I thought that my water changes were causing too much of a pH shift (as I often lost fish the morning after a water change). So I switched from doing 30% once a week to 15% twice a week, including a section of gravel vac each time. I test ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH every week or 2 and I have only ever had an issue once, which was a weird random pH of 8 situation a couple of months ago in 1 of the tanks.
The really stange thing about my tap water is that despite going up to pH 7.6 when you let it sit it has very low Gh and Kh so I have to add those blue conditioning salts to new water to bring the water hardness up for the livebearers. For the past few months I have been adding easy-life conditioner tonic that the aquarium store told me would help ward off disease among livebearers.
2 days ago I came home to a dead baloon molly. I'd only had him for 1 month, so ok. But now this morning I have found one of my older mollies (he has been happy and energetic living in the tank for 4 months) lying on the bottom with clamped find breathing heavily. I did a water test, no ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. In fact I did my 5% water change last night.
We do not use any perfume or bleach like cleaning products at all in the house, and I wash my hands thoroughly before touching anyhting on the tanks so I doubt any chemicals have gone into the water. I also feed a variety of high protein foods, including frozen brine shrimp as well as slightly boiled spinach and once a eek I give them a fasting day followed by pea the next morning.
I am really quite devestated at this latest loss. I really love my fish, and as I stated before I have stopped replacing them as I feel that no matter what I do I'm bringing home a sweet little fish to its death.
Noting online gives me any understanding of what I'm doing wrong. Has anyone got any ideas?
 

JettsPapa

Member
I'm puzzled by you saying you have 0 nitrates. You should be seeing some, especially in the tank with silk plants.
 

crazycracker

Member
Did you let them get use to the water before putting them in? Did you buy them from the same store in the same tank? Maybe they're sick. I don't use tap water because I'm scared the conditioner might harm my plants and future fish. I just use spring water.
 

kallililly1973

Member
Doing a 5% Wc isn't going to remove anything. I would also stop using the other things your LFS suggested. All you need is a cycled tank, weekly 50-75% WC's a bottle of Prime water conditioner and an API liquid test kit.
 
  • Thread Starter

miaz

Member
Sorry that should read 15% water change, I have issues with y keyboard at the monent

Yes
crazycracker said:
Did you let them get use to the water before putting them in? Did you buy them from the same store in the same tank? Maybe they're sick. I don't use tap water because I'm scared the conditioner might harm my plants and future fish. I just use spring water.
. I dri[ acclimate for around 90 mins before adding them to the tank. And the little guy who is sick now has been happy in there for 4 months

I
kallililly1973 said:
Doing a 5% Wc isn't going to remove anything. I would also stop using the other things your LFS suggested. All you need is a cycled tank, weekly 50-75% WC's a bottle of Prime water conditioner and an API liquid test kit.
Id there were a buildup of nitrates wouldn't it show on my API test?

A
miaz said:
Yes
. I dri[ acclimate for around 90 mins before adding them to the tank. And the little guy who is sick now has been happy in there for 4 months
Also the mollies and guppies have come from many different stores over the past year. Like I said sometimes they last only a week or so and sometimes they are fine for several months before suddenly dying
 

kallililly1973

Member
The API nitrate test needs to be done exactly to a T or you csan get false readings...but nitrates are far less dangerous than nitrites and ammonia..
 
  • Thread Starter

miaz

Member
JettsPapa said:
I'm puzzled by you saying you have 0 nitrates. You should be seeing some, especially in the tank with silk plants.
I sometimes have 5ppm nitrates (A slight orange colour on the API master kit). But as I said my tanks are very understocked and I am religious about changing 15% water every 3 days so it just never builds up I guess.

I have taken water in to be checked in the shop and their readings were the same same as mine

A
miaz said:
I

Id there were a buildup of nitrates wouldn't it show on my API test?
Also, I oroginally used only this basic stuff you have listed (for the first 8-9 months) and had a lot of fish die after water changes. Whcih, as stated I suspect was because of the pH dropping when I add new water at a pH 7
 

kallililly1973

Member
My only other advice would be to check your source water to make sure you know what's going back into your tank.
 
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miaz

Member
kallililly1973 said:
My only other advice would be to check your source water to make sure you know what's going back into your tank.
That's my concern, my water source. I'm on mains water in inner suburban Melbourne, so the water source is ok but but I don't trust the old taps here (and there is no chance my landlord cares). That's why I started using easy-life conditioner tonic, it's supposed to neutralise any metals and things. I haven't been able to figure out why my water has low Kh and Gh but high pH. (Tested with and without water conditioner)
 

Dechi

Member
I wouldn’t do 2 WC per week, they can be stressful to fish and 15% isn’t enough. I would do 40%-50% every 7 to 10 days. I wouldn’t try to mess with GH and KH. Just buy the fish that suit your PH and they’ll be fine. And stop using this other product from the store.

Make sure you use water conditioner when you do your WC, enough for the whole 20 gallons, even if your only changing 50%.

Having stability in an aquarium should not be complicated.

How do you maintain your filters ?
 
  • Thread Starter

miaz

Member
I don't really mess with the filters a lot. They are double sponge filters (). I use a large airpump with 2 outlets to power both tanks. Every couple of months I rinse/squeeze one out in tank water I'm removing (I follow instructions from the aquarium co-op youtube video on maintaining sponge filters), and a few months later I do the other sponge.
The things is my aquariums both seem stable. Apart from the one time I had a ph of 8 instead of the normal 7.6, both the tanks always have the same readings (0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 0-5ppm nitrates, ph 7.6 and IF I don't use salts Kh and Gh around 3). I've taken water in to be tested at the shop several times and it's always the same. I don't have problems with algae or anything. The only thing people in the aquariums could suggest was a heavy metal or something in the tap water, hence the easy-life tonic I started using a few months ago.
 

PascalKrypt

Member
So if it takes that off your mind, your source water is nearly the same as mine in terms of the basic parameters (I have PH 7.8, GH 4 and KH 4, thereabouts). I have absolutely no trouble keeping even more sensitive fish with these parameters. I also have no trouble keeping livebearers (though I suspect they are a little more sensitive to problems).

What kind of feeding regime do you have? This is something that you haven't mentioned. Could you also provide us with an (approximate) timeline of all the fish that entered this tank - when did you add them, were they QT'd, were they treated for anything (what with and how long), when did they show symptoms and when did they die? Amounts of fish as well. That gives a better picture of what sort of thing we are dealing with.

First thing to rule out is a build-up of some kind of toxin or trace material. Start doing 75% water changes once a week, religiously. See if that solves the problem after a month or two (though you should get new fish to test this, as those living in your current water may already have been compromised). Do you ever vacuum your substrate? What kind decorations do you have? You may want to take out all the artificial decorations and vacuuming alternating halves of your substrate every WC and see if that changes anything.

There is always a possibility your water is contaminated with something slowly harming your fish. Could be some kind of substance the 'cleanser' is missing, perhaps some kind of mold in the pipes? Just spitballing, but is it possible for you to get a different water source (even if it means buying bottled water) for at least one of the tank and see if doing WCs with only that water for the next few months will make the problem go away?

Are you tanks second-hand? If they are, there is always the possibility the seals are contaminated with something by a previous owner.

Final thing I could think of is that there is some kind of illness in your tank (you don't seem to QT newly bought fish?) that kills quickly when it strikes but takes a toll with long intervals. It isn't impossible but this is the least likely of the explanations so try the above first, if that still doesn't work then wait till all fish are dead (they will all have been compromised), dismantle your tanks, let everything dry for no less than 30 days (kills absolutely every aquatic pathogen including myco), do a thorough rinse of everything and start anew.
 

Dechi

Member
What’s the longest time you’ve been without using salt and did you have deaths also when not using any for a long period ?

Do you know of a fish store or someone who successfully keeps fish on the same water supply you use ?
 

GlennO

Member
You said your GH is low, how low exactly? Livebearers can be more susceptible to illness if kept in very soft water.

Edit...I think you said GH of 15...is that ppm?
 
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miaz

Member
GlennO said:
You said your GH is low, how low exactly? Livebearers can be more susceptible to illness if kept in very soft water.

Edit...I think you said GH of 15...is that ppm?
Yes, when I add the blue crystals to make it 15. Out of the tap it's 3 and since I was losing a lot of livebearers I started using the cru=ystals about 4 months ago. Unfortunately it has made no difference

I
Dechi said:
What’s the longest time you’ve been without using salt and did you have deaths also when not using any for a long period ?

Do you know of a fish store or someone who successfully keeps fish on the same water supply you use ?
I don't know anyone who keeps fish (none of my neighbours do). I never used to use salts, I only started using the blue crystals about 4 months ago as I thought that lack of salt and minerals with the livebeaers was the problem

PascalKrypt said:
So if it takes that off your mind, your source water is nearly the same as mine in terms of the basic parameters (I have PH 7.8, GH 4 and KH 4, thereabouts). I have absolutely no trouble keeping even more sensitive fish with these parameters. I also have no trouble keeping livebearers (though I suspect they are a little more sensitive to problems).

What kind of feeding regime do you have? This is something that you haven't mentioned. Could you also provide us with an (approximate) timeline of all the fish that entered this tank - when did you add them, were they QT'd, were they treated for anything (what with and how long), when did they show symptoms and when did they die? Amounts of fish as well. That gives a better picture of what sort of thing we are dealing with.

First thing to rule out is a build-up of some kind of toxin or trace material. Start doing 75% water changes once a week, religiously. See if that solves the problem after a month or two (though you should get new fish to test this, as those living in your current water may already have been compromised). Do you ever vacuum your substrate? What kind decorations do you have? You may want to take out all the artificial decorations and vacuuming alternating halves of your substrate every WC and see if that changes anything.

There is always a possibility your water is contaminated with something slowly harming your fish. Could be some kind of substance the 'cleanser' is missing, perhaps some kind of mold in the pipes? Just spitballing, but is it possible for you to get a different water source (even if it means buying bottled water) for at least one of the tank and see if doing WCs with only that water for the next few months will make the problem go away?

Are you tanks second-hand? If they are, there is always the possibility the seals are contaminated with something by a previous owner.

Final thing I could think of is that there is some kind of illness in your tank (you don't seem to QT newly bought fish?) that kills quickly when it strikes but takes a toll with long intervals. It isn't impossible but this is the least likely of the explanations so try the above first, if that still doesn't work then wait till all fish are dead (they will all have been compromised), dismantle your tanks, let everything dry for no less than 30 days (kills absolutely every aquatic pathogen including myco), do a thorough rinse of everything and start anew.
1. Cleaning- I vacuum a section of substrate with every water change (about a quarter of the tank) so that the hole thing is vacuumed about every 2 weeks. Ornaments are silk plants and a half terracacotta pot thing in 1 tank (baloon mollies and platies) and live plants, and driftwood the other tank (guppies).
2.Feeding- twice per day for 6 days a week Then a day of fasting followed by slightly boiled pea to ensure no constipation (as I thought maybe that was the problem). Food is varied, of 12 feedings per week I feed frozen brine shrimp twice and frozen blood worm twice a week, boiled spinach twice a week and the rest of the time small nutrafin pellets. All fish eat enough (noone is bullied and misses out).
3. I do use a 30l quarantine tank, I leave new fish in there for 3 weeks before they enter the main tank. Occasionally I lose them straight away in the QT, usually they seem absolutely fine but they only survive a few weeks or a few months in the main tank. Once I bought 4 guppies and they all died in the QT within the first few days so I never purchased from that shop again. Early on when I had my first mollies they clearly had worms (very long white strings hanging out) and I used 'blue planet fluke and tapeworm',dosed twice as per instructions and the worms cleared up. Those mollies have long gone now though.
A few months ago when I noticed a fish getting slow and lethargic and he was looking quite thin even though he was eating. I put him in the QT and treated him with API general cure for wasting disease as the symptoms seemed to match what I read online and everyone raves about that stuff (I had to buy it from the US as it's technically not legal here). He seemed to get better and after a few weeks I put him back in the main tank where he then suddenly died a week later.
It would be impossible for me to remember all of the others, when 1 dies my bf gets me another one to cheer me up (even though I keep telling him not to) and so the cycle continues. Although I have now made it clear that I don't want to bring any more fish to their death.
4. The tanks: 1 was brand new and 1 was second hand and I cleaned it with vinegar and dried it outside before using it. Both were cycled for around 6 weeks using ammonia and quickstart a year ago.

While some deaths I can possibly attribute to bullying, the bullies themselves have long ago died. The few fish I have left now all get along really well, yet the deaths continue.

I'll try removing the terracotta pot and try some large water changes. If I Use bottled water should I be adding more crytals/salt? I'll try that in 1 tank, but it's gonna be tough economically but also logistically to carry all that water home (don't have a car as I live in inner Melbourne) but I'll see if it helps.

Oh but as mentioned in my original post I do have a platty which has survived almost from the beginning without ever gettting sick. So whatever it is he isn't impacted.
 

GlennO

Member
miaz said:
Yes, when I add the blue crystals to make it 15. Out of the tap it's 3 and since I was losing a lot of livebearers I started using the cru=ystals about 4 months ago. Unfortunately it has made no difference
hmm..I'm thinking it must be dH. I doubt that Melbourne's water would be that soft. 3ppm is almost RO water and 15ppm is still very soft. You need to get it over 60ppm (3.4 dH) at least.
 
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miaz

Member
I use the API Gh and Kh test kit where u count the drops until the vial changes colour. I've read that livebearers prefer 12-20 hence the use of the salts. that came about because when I took my water for a full spectrum test they told me I only had a 3 on hardness and I purchased the test kit and salt then. To me it seems strange to have soft water but a high pH, I can't find any explanation online.
 

GlennO

Member
How many drops before it changes colour? 3 drops = 54ppm (3 dGH).
A pH of 7 or even 7.6 is not 'high' in my view. My tap water is around 7.4 with a GH of about 80ppm.
 
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miaz

Member
As I said earlier 3 Gh (3 drops) without salts, and now that I use the salts I keep it around 15, as everywhere online says that that livebearers should be kept at 12 at least, and I had thought that was the problem. Some people on such forums said their immune systems would be weak if kept in water with too low Gh. However, I now doubt this has anything to do since the deaths haven't stopped, including with fish I bought since including the crystals.
 

GlennO

Member
Ok I agree the GH shouldn't be an issue. Neither should the pH.
 
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miaz

Member
No I don't think so either and liveberaers should be great with a pH of 7.6 (that's why I have them and not small tetras) . What I'm concerned about is that there is something else going on with the water that the dechlorinator and easy-life aren't neutralizing. The aquarium has told me it would be impossible to test for other issues with the water, as they have exactly the same water test kits I already have.
 

JettsPapa

Member
Dechi said:
I wouldn’t do 2 WC per week, they can be stressful to fish and 15% isn’t enough. I would do 40%-50% every 7 to 10 days. I wouldn’t try to mess with GH and KH. Just buy the fish that suit your PH and they’ll be fine. And stop using this other product from the store.

Make sure you use water conditioner when you do your WC, enough for the whole 20 gallons, even if your only changing 50%.

Having stability in an aquarium should not be complicated.

How do you maintain your filters ?
Please explain how one big water change per week is less stressful to fish than two small ones.
 

Dechi

Member
JettsPapa said:
Please explain how one big water change per week is less stressful to fish than two small ones.
You’re only disrupting their habitat once.
 

JettsPapa

Member
Dechi said:
You’re only disrupting their habitat once.
That's true, but if you're removing twice the amount of water you're disrupting it to a greater degree. I'm not saying you're wrong, but I'm not convinced yet.
 

GlennO

Member
My own view, just from observing my fish, is that they love a water change. The bigger the better. My Rainbowfish get especially excited after a water change, chasing and displaying. Doesn't seem disruptive at all.
 

JettsPapa

Member
GlennO said:
My own view, just from observing my fish, is that they love a water change. The bigger the better. My Rainbowfish get especially excited after a water change, chasing and displaying. Doesn't seem disruptive at all.
Mine certainly don't seen traumatized by it. They'll swim right up to, and occasionally into, the siphon intake tube.
 
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miaz

Member
My guppies seem to love it. Everything I have read says it's very important to keep a stable pH, so in my situation where the water from my tap has a lower pH than the water in the tanks and after it sits it makes WAY more sense to me to do smaller water changes that cause minimal disruption to the pH. These smaller water changes don't seem to bother my fish at all, but I did use to lose some when I was doing 30-40% changes, also the dropping water level seemed to stress them out.
As suggested I did change about 70% water in one of the tanks last night. I don't know if it's connected but I woke up to another fish dead this morning. A platty I'd had for about 4 months who was perfectly fine at dinner time last night.
There are, as usual, no signs of illness or injury, no discolouration, and as I said he was his usual active self in the evening, dead in the morning.
I only have small baloon molly and platty left in that tank no, so I'm thinking of moving those into the planted tank with the 4 guppies and shutting that tank down.
 

Dechi

Member
miaz said:
My guppies seem to love it. Everything I have read says it's very important to keep a stable pH, so in my situation where the water from my tap has a lower pH than the water in the tanks
Then it’s possible the PH variation is the culprit. Can you do this test ? Since your population has decreased, put them all in the same tank and with the second one, buy a few hardy fishes that will thrive with your water PH. And stop playing with the PH.
 
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miaz

Member
Once again. The water is 7 from the tap, but after about 24 hours it becomes 7.6, which it is in both my tanks. Therefore when I add water at a pH of 7 during water, it decreases the pH. I'm not playing with it, it's basic science that when you add large quatities of a liquid with a different pH to another liquid, the pH changes. You actually advised me to change at least 50% of the water, that will bring down the pH and make it unstable. This is why I switched to smaller more regular water changes. and NO leaving 10 buckets of water over night around my small apartment is not an answer, not to me or my roommate.
Also you say 'buy a few hardy fishes that will thrive with your water PH. ' What type of fish do I have? What pH do they need?
All of this is answered above. In my original post and a further discussion when I said the reason I have livebearers and not the small tetras I originally wanted is because they as they are the only fish available that suit my pH and tank size.
I actually spent a long time on that post to make everything as clear as possible. Also, everything I have done to try to fix this issue over the past year has been with careful consideration, lots of research and a reasonable understanding of science. I posted on here in the water parametres section expecting to get input from people with knowledge or experience to help save the last of my fish.
 

rhyan

Member
Maybe try to have a different fish? or buy a smaller tank and see if the problem is the tank because if the water is fine maybe there's something leaking inside the tank. Decorations perhaps?
 
  • Thread Starter

miaz

Member
Yeah I've now taken the terracotta pots out, they are the only thing that was the same between the 2 tanks and both have the problem. I'll see how that goes. My poor little platty 'pennywise' didn't show any signs anything was wrong, and I retested the water after finding him and still nothing out of the ordinary (pH 7.6, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and a slight light orange on nitrates, not dark enough to read 5ppm).
It's been quite upsetting since these are my pets (as a renter I'm not allowed other pets) and I spend a lot of time with them since I study at the table in the loungeroom next to them. I've tried so hard for so many months to figure out what's happening and tried so many different strategies and nothing works. It's extremely distressing, and not particularly helpful to have people who clearly haven't even read my post make random comments that don't make sense when I'm trying to find someone knowledgeable that can actually help.
I really don't want to lose any more of my fish, especially 'Annie' the platty I've had for almost a year who is super friendly and sweet.
 
  • Moderator

ryanr

Moderator
Member
OK, OK, OK - let's all take a breath. There's no need for inflammatory and antagonising posts. Everybody is here to try and help.

GlennO said:
hmm..I'm thinking it must be dH. I doubt that Melbourne's water would be that soft. 3ppm is almost RO water and 15ppm is still very soft. You need to get it over 60ppm (3.4 dH) at least.
Actually, Melbourne (Aus, not FL/USA) water is that soft 2-3dKH is not uncommon, especially in metro areas. My tap runs 2-3 (but I do buffer to about 5).

For the OP, welcome to Fishlore.
IMHO - 15d GH is a bit high. In my experience, most fish do fine around the 5-6 GH and 4-5 KH marks.
What LFS are you using (I might know it); but I would ask them about their tanks, and parameters. pH is not so much of a concern, and those blue salts (if they're the ones my mum has) also affect KH. We found this out when I couldn't understand why her KH was sky-high.

I'm not saying you need to swap, just something to be aware of.

Increasing KH increases pH. I have green crystals for GH that don't touch KH, and specific KH buffers.

Also, are you using hot/warm or cold water for water changes? If you're using hot/warm, and leaving it sit, then a pH change can be expected. In so much that water will increase in pH as temperature drops. My 'cold' tap water is about 7.2 (ish), but after leaving it sit and pre-heat, comes to about 7.0, and that's when I buffer, when the water is at 'tank temperature'.

The other thing, have you double checked your temperature reading is correct? don't rely on the heater to be accurate, always double check with one (or more) thermometers. Cold water and tropical fish could be an answer.

And lastly, make sure you've got adequate surface agitation to promote gas exchange.
 

Burnout1620

Member
OP, haven't seen this mentioned so far, but if you think a pH swing is what may be causing you problems, is there any way you can collect the water for WCs a day or two early to let the water off gas and the pH come up before doing WCs?

I know it’d be tough to keep the water at your ideal temperature but it would eliminate pH from your list of culprits.
 
  • Thread Starter

miaz

Member
I
Burnout1620 said:
OP, haven't seen this mentioned so far, but if you think a pH swing is what may be causing you problems, is there any way you can collect the water for WCs a day or two early to let the water off gas and the pH come up before doing WCs?

I know it’d be tough to keep the water at your ideal temperature but it would eliminate pH from your list of culprits.
I don't think it has anything to do with pH since I started doing smaller water changes. my 15% changes every 3 days don't alter the pH, but when I used to do 30-40% changes each week it did drop it down from 7.6 to about 7.4.
I suspect it's something far more complicated than this, since nothing I have tried thus far has made a difference.

ryanr said:
OK, OK, OK - let's all take a breath. There's no need for inflammatory and antagonising posts. Everybody is here to try and help.


Actually, Melbourne (Aus, not FL/USA) water is that soft 2-3dKH is not uncommon, especially in metro areas. My tap runs 2-3 (but I do buffer to about 5).

For the OP, welcome to Fishlore.
IMHO - 15d GH is a bit high. In my experience, most fish do fine around the 5-6 GH and 4-5 KH marks.
What LFS are you using (I might know it); but I would ask them about their tanks, and parameters. pH is not so much of a concern, and those blue salts (if they're the ones my mum has) also affect KH. We found this out when I couldn't understand why her KH was sky-high.

I'm not saying you need to swap, just something to be aware of.

Increasing KH increases pH. I have green crystals for GH that don't touch KH, and specific KH buffers.

Also, are you using hot/warm or cold water for water changes? If you're using hot/warm, and leaving it sit, then a pH change can be expected. In so much that water will increase in pH as temperature drops. My 'cold' tap water is about 7.2 (ish), but after leaving it sit and pre-heat, comes to about 7.0, and that's when I buffer, when the water is at 'tank temperature'.

The other thing, have you double checked your temperature reading is correct? don't rely on the heater to be accurate, always double check with one (or more) thermometers. Cold water and tropical fish could be an answer.

And lastly, make sure you've got adequate surface agitation to promote gas exchange.
HI Ryan
The crystals haven't impacted my pH since I started using them, it's been 7.6 the whole way through. I purchase fish from the aquarium place opposite Queen Vic market, from Bentleigh East, Mentone and Oakleigh aquariums. I also buy equipment and get advice from Mont Albert. I've asked Bentleigh East and Queen Vic market about their water conditions and they keep their livebearers in a hardness of 15 at Benteligh East and 18 at Vic market. Bentleigh East has a pH of 7.2, I can't remember Vic market.

I use those stick on vial thermometres in the tanks and I have a digital thermometre I use when doing water changes, so no problem there. I use a combo of hot and cold from the tap to match the water temp in the tanks (25 degrees). I put in the API water conditioner and leave it for a few mins. For the last 4 months or so I've also been adding a teaspoon of the crysyals and a a splash of the easy-life tonic. I was recommended the easy-life from Bentleigh East after discussing my situation with them and we had a theory there may be trace amounts of heavy metals from the plumbing. I've never tested the pH of the taps separartely, I've always just done the cold/warm mix. But I have let the water sit overnight both with and without water conditioner and it always arrives at 7.6-7.7 in the morning.
I bought 12l of spring water today, to try for water change but I don't think it's gonna be viable in the long run. I might try using cold only and heating it by boiling a little when I want to use it. My bf has suggested that maybe the hot water system has some mental/chemical in it since it's old and never serviced by the landlord.
 
  • Moderator

ryanr

Moderator
Member
Hi,
I would stop using the hot water, and heat from cold.
Many an aquarist has suffered using hot water, the theory is that especially in older houses, and older hot water services, that the hot water travelling through copper pipes picks up more than it does from cold. So the heavy metal theory could be correct. (Newer houses don't tend to be as much of a problem owing to them mainly using plastic tubes/pipes now).

I've been to Mentone and Oakleigh (actually bought my percula clowns from Oakleigh), they're both pretty good. Haven't been to the other two so can't comment.

For heating the cold water, I use a spare heater in the bucket. I'm not keen on heating water by boiling, again there's a risk of heavy metal contamination, and in the case of a saucepan/pot, you've probably got trace amounts of dish-washing liquid, and in a kettle, there'll be limescale etc.
 
  • Thread Starter

miaz

Member
OK I'll start doing that. Roughly how long does it take to heat a bucket of water to about 25 degrees? Are we talking a couple of hours?
 

AquaBaby

Member
So I read through the thread. And one thing came to mind that might help if it shows there is indeed something like copper in the water...

Can you get Poly Filter there? It might be a somewhat inexpensive, yet simple way and decently quick way to tell if there's something in the water it can indicate. For example, I think it turns blue if it absorbs copper. Here in the US you can get a small amount for about $7 or so.



Okay, so I grabbed my bag and took a pic of the back where it says what colors it can turn. My phone wouldnt focus well on it so it's a little blurry.



If you want me to try and get a better pic I will.
 
  • Moderator

ryanr

Moderator
Member
miaz said:
OK I'll start doing that. Roughly how long does it take to heat a bucket of water to about 25 degrees? Are we talking a couple of hours?
Depends on the starting temperature and wattage of the heater, but generally a few hours. I generally fill my buckets about midday, then do the water change around 5-6pm.
 

GlennO

Member
I thought recently that I might have copper in my tap water. I had been adding hot tap water to cold water during water changes over winter and my fish were scratching a lot. However it turned out to be some type of parasite that I was able to eradicate with medication. Additionally, I purchased a copper test kit which showed nil copper levels in my tap and tank water. Purchasing a copper test kit might be worth the expense for you too. It would allow you to rule out copper and avoid the expense of additional water treatment products.
 
  • Thread Starter

miaz

Member
GlennO said:
I thought recently that I might have copper in my tap water. I had been adding hot tap water to cold water during water changes over winter and my fish were scratching a lot. However it turned out to be some type of parasite that I was able to eradicate with medication. Additionally, I purchased a copper test kit which showed nil copper levels in my tap and tank water. Purchasing a copper test kit might be worth the expense for you too. It would allow you to rule out copper and avoid the expense of additional water treatment products.
Thanks.
I might call around and see if there's somewhere I can get a copper test done to my tank water before buying more products , since we do have polly filter here but it's pretty expensive ($28 for the smallest pack).
I have also considered the possibility of parasites, although the dewormer stuff and apI general cure didn't seem to help.
I'll start with the copper test and see what that says.
Thanks
 
  • Thread Starter

miaz

Member
Just an update. I lost my baloon molly very suddenly. As in he looked fine when I fed them in the morning, when I came back to say hI about 5 hours later he was stiff on the floor. I tested my water immediately-seemed fine. I took water to Coburg Aquarium over the other side of the city (if you're in Melbourne you'd probably know it). They tested everything, including copper, and told me they can't find anything wrong with the water and that it's perfect parametres for livebearers.
At this point I think it's some kind of pathogen. Parasites or fish TB maybe?
Coburg Aquarium advised me to freeze the next fish that dies and bring it in to be cut open and looked at under their microscope. I only have a couple of guppies left now, and my old platty who seems unaffected. But I plan to do just that and I'll update on here with what I find out.
 

Amaracalle

Member
Could it be a insect getting into the tank? I had sudden death in my tanks before and it turned out to be a bug getting into my tank then eaten and as the insect was very toxic to fish (can’t rember the name of said bug, I call them turtles as that is what it looks like to me) And so the bugs would get In, fish eat the bugs, fish die within a week or two depending when the bug got in.
 

AvalancheDave

Member
Are you using a liquid carbon product...Excel or similar?
 

GlennO

Member
It’s very odd. With pathogens you would ordinarily see behavioural or physical symptoms prior to death - spots, excess slime, scratching, gasping, hiding etc. Even with TB typical symptoms are external growths, lesions and bloating prior to death. I hope you get to the bottom of it and I’m very interested to know what the issue is.
 
  • Thread Starter

miaz

Member
AvalancheDave said:
Are you using a liquid carbon product...Excel or similar?
Nope
 
  • Thread Starter

miaz

Member
Amaracalle said:
Could it be a insect getting into the tank? I had sudden death in my tanks before and it turned out to be a bug getting into my tank then eaten and as the insect was very toxic to fish (can’t rember the name of said bug, I call them turtles as that is what it looks like to me) And so the bugs would get In, fish eat the bugs, fish die within a week or two depending when the bug got in.
It's not impossible. We do get bugs n the house owing to the large trees down the side of the apartment building, and it is Australia. I've never seen any in the tank but I'll be sure to keep an eye out. Were they small bugs you had a problem with?
 
  • Thread Starter

miaz

Member
GlennO said:
It’s very odd. With pathogens you would ordinarily see behavioural or physical symptoms prior to death - spots, excess slime, scratching, gasping, hiding etc. Even with TB typical symptoms are external growths, lesions and bloating prior to death. I hope you get to the bottom of it and I’m very interested to know what the issue is.
Yeah, I haven't found any obvious signs, except that some of the fish did exhibit wasting. I tried treating them for 'wasting disease' using API general cure in a QT but never managed to save any.
 

Amaracalle

Member
miaz said:
It's not impossible. We do get bugs n the house owing to the large trees down the side of the apartment building, and it is Australia. I've never seen any in the tank but I'll be sure to keep an eye out. Were they small bugs you had a problem with?
Yes and no I had a problem with both flies and “turtles” as flys can carry things into your tank ( or so I’m told) but the “turtles” are a bit bigger then flies about twice the size of a common house fly and as I feed Live or frozen food to my fish I never noticed until I spent a week away and returned to a tank of 15 dead tetras and so many dead “turtles”. The tetras tore apart the insect so it would be in pieces and not the best condition to identify among the other Debris. I suggest putting a towel over the life to block off any thing from getting in, That was the only way I was able to stop them from getting in.
 

Amaracalle

Member
Amaracalle said:
Yes and no I had a problem with both flies and “turtles” as flys can carry things into your tank ( or so I’m told) but the “turtles” are a bit bigger then flies about twice the size of a common house fly and as I feed Live or frozen food to my fish I never noticed until I spent a week away and returned to a tank of 15 dead tetras and so many dead “turtles”. The tetras tore apart the insect so it would be in pieces and not the best condition to identify among the other Debris. I suggest putting a towel over the life to block off any thing from getting in, That was the only way I was able to stop them from getting in.
[/QUOTE
STINK BUGS! IT WAS STINK BUGS! THEY WILL KILL YOUR FISH! They effect water quailty and just mess everything up. They are very common in my area Its like as common as the house flies here.(do not believe the whole fish don’t eat stink bugs becuz mine where stupid enough to do it)
 

AvalancheDave

Member
miaz said:
I haven't been able to figure out why my water has low Kh and Gh but high pH. (Tested with and without water conditioner)
Water treatment plants sometimes increase pH so lead/copper/iron pipes don't corrode and put lead/copper/iron in your water. They typically use something like sodium hydroxide which increases pH without increasing kH.

I would double check that your water conditioner is actually a dechlorinator.

Lastly, I would recommend consulting a vet. He has a now popular Youtube channel.
 

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