Help Loosing 1 Fish Per Day

ForceTen

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I'm going to try and make this post as simple as I can. Here goes. 20 gallon tank with AguaClear 50 filter. Double sponge and biomax. Tank temp set at 78F degrees.

1) Changed substrate (gravel) with fish present.
2) Added one new fake plant. Fish present.
3) Rearranged rocks. Fish present.

Basically a new hardscape. The new gravel was washed (clean tap water) several times over and run (small filter) in a clean bucket with "Prime" treated water for several days. I put the new rinsed fake plant in the treated water with the soaking gravel. Rinsed one final time and treated with Prime again.
Carefully removed everything. Removed all gravel and replaced with new. Rearranged rocks and topped off tank with Prime treated water. About 40% total new water. Bio filter not disturbed.

Day one, seriously hazy water. Did a WC at 40% with Prime treated water. Found 3 dead tiger barbs the following morning. Did another 50% WC with Prime treated water. Next morning 2 more casualties. Did another 50% treated water change.
Tested water each day and it looked as if I caused a major recycle.
Today I removed another dead fish which brings my total loss to 7 healthy beautiful barbs.

I did not touch my biological filter (AquaClear 50) until the deaths started. I was concerned that something may have been in the gravel and could have fouled the filter.
It was dirtier than any other time I have cleaned it. I have two sponges stacked and on top the biomax material.

So here's where I'm at and fully expect the remaining two fish to die within a day or so. Using the API Master Freshwater test kit:

PH - 6.4
Ammonia - 0.25
Nitrites - 0.00
Nitrates - 0.00

Like I said, I expect a total loss of fish. I want to be certain what I did wrong and I personally see several things that I am responsible for. I want to make sure this does not happen again.
I need HELP.
I thought I had a handle on this and did until the major renovations to the hardscape.
Please advise me on how to proceed and how to know WHEN the tank will be ready for new fish.

Thanks John
 

Donthemon

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What is the readings from your tap water supply? Maybe low ph effects bb growth. How long ago and how did you cycle your tank?
 

Burnout1620

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Based on your parameters my first suspicion wouldn’t be a minI cycle. Even if it was, barbs are fairly hardy fish. However, it is quite unusual to see 0 nitrates in a cycled tank (or tap water for that matter.)

Please answer the member above, tell us what you used for a substrate, and if you noticed any signs of stress or unusual behavior in your fish before they passed.
 

DIYhack

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Probably had a big bb colony in the substrate. Removing it probably crashed the tank.
 
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ForceTen

ForceTen

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Tap water PH runs at 7.5.
The substrate is black Top Fin gravel purchased at Petsmart.

My fish were in excellent health. I had forgotten to mention they have also stopped eating.
They have zero interest in food ( have not eaten in 5 days) and have been hiding.
Their behavior has taken a 180 degree turn from healthy vibrant fish to unsure and no appetite.
The last two will be gone by morning. I’m certain

DIYhack said:
Probably had a big bb colony in the substrate. Removing it probably crashed the tank.
Agree. How to correct this. Should I remove the 2 remaining fish and start all over?
There is little doubt that the major changes to the substrate was the problem. The shock of a totally new tank for the established fish. The tank was well established and healthy until I made the changes.

My concerns now are to remedy my mistakes and get my tank healthy once again. I have never changed substrate in an existing tank. And I now see the damage done.
Since these fish are doomed, should I just take care of things now?
At least I will not need to vacuum up the gravel of food they are not eating.
 

DIYhack

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ForceTen said:
Agree. How to correct this. Should I remove the 2 remaining fish and start all over?
There is little doubt that the major changes to the substrate was the problem. The shock of a totally new tank for the established fish. The tank was well established and healthy until I made the changes.

My concerns now are to remedy my mistakes and get my tank healthy once again. I have never changed substrate in an existing tank. And I now see the damage done.
Since these fish are doomed, should I just take care of things now?
At least I will not need to vacuum up the gravel of food they are not eating.
I’d treat it as a fish in cycle. Quick start w/prime or whatever water conditioner. Then just a lot of water changes for a month.
 
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ForceTen

ForceTen

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DIYhack said:
I’d treat it as a fish in cycle. Quick start w/prime or whatever water conditioner. Then just a lot of water changes for a month.
I did not do a water change today, but have done three in the last three days.
I only have "Prime" that I use to treat water during changes. I have always changed water once per week.
Do I need another product?

What about the two fish left. They are distressed for sure. Should I end it now?
 

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