Losing fish?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Kwig, Jul 5, 2015.

  1. Kwig

    KwigWell Known MemberMember

    Hello all. I'm somewhere in between a newbie and experienced. I've had small tanks previously and worked at pet stores where I've learned a lot from people who are advanced. I recently set up a 29 gallon, and have a HOB filter with assorted media. I have Modano driftwood, Caribsea fluorite substrate, tank is kept at 80F, and I have a small assortment of live plants. Wisteria, anacharis, Java fern, dwarf hair grass. I have a few cherry barbs, harlequin rasboras, a dwarf gourami, corydora, ghost shrimp, and some platies.
    I use Seachem Flourish and Flourish excel. I do frequent water changes because the tannins from the driftwood. I remove about 13 gallons every 3 or 4 days. Have a 32 gallon trashcan I store dechlorinated water in, with power head and heater.
    My source water is very hard, but same parameters as store I got the fish from. (I work there so I'm sure of this.) I believe the chloramines in the tap water are very high so I try to use extra Seachem Prime.

    I have lost a few fish. One rasbora, which was very tiny. Netted it and tested my water and did a water change. I didn't think anything of it. A few days later I added 2 Julii corydoras, and then lost one. Thought maybe it was just sensitive to the environment change. Tested water, water change. Then I got home last night and had lost an albino cory and one of my 2 dwarf gourami.

    I believe my water is fine, honestly no matter what water I test with my API master kit I feel like I see between 0 and 0.25 ppm. I even ordered strip tests to confirm if I actually have ammonia or if I'm having difficulty reading my current kit. But no nitrites and very low nitrates, between 5-10 ppm.

    Fish appear normal and healthy until they're not.

  2. MtnTiger

    MtnTigerWell Known MemberMember

    The liquid API test kit is the best one to use. Unfortunately the instructions don't explain that you have vigorously shake the bottles (some even bang them on a hard surface) before adding the drops to the test tube and then you have to shake the tube hard as well.

    Also reading between the lines it appears that you may be overstocked and definitely not stocked with the correct amount of fish for the species you have chosen.

    Welcome to Fishlore and good luck!
  3. OP

    KwigWell Known MemberMember

    Hm. I'll have to try beating the test bottles into submission. I shake them, but I'll try doing it harder. Light green, light yellow, and light orange just kind of want to blur together for me sometimes, haha.
    I'm definitely overstocked. The platies started my cycle and as soon as the few fry I have in there are a little bigger I was going to return them. But I can go ahead and return the adult platy today. It's not worth waiting.
    So as far as numbers, what are the minimums for the following?
    Dwarf gourami
    Harlequin Rasbora
    Cherry Barb
    Ghost Shrimp
    I can definitely remove the platy but I'll be sad to see the Corydoras go. Maybe I can swap them for otocinclus since they don't get as big. What's the minimum school size for those? I'm also looking to add red cherry shrimp, should I remove the ghost shrimp?
    Not sure if it's worth noting but everyone in there is less than an inch, with the exception of the dwarf gourami. The cherry barbs (I have 6) and the rasboras (only have 3 right now, waiting for more to come in on next order) especially are tiny. 1/2" or less. I do have a 55 gallon that's not currently set up I was going to move everyone in later when they got bigger. But if I need to remove some now, that's what I'll do.
    So you don't think it's the Flourish Excel or something?
  4. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    All of those except the gourami and shrimps need to be in schools of 6+ of their own species.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  5. OP

    KwigWell Known MemberMember

    Okay, that's what I thought. So can I comfortably house one dwarf gourami, six rasbora, six cherry barbs, and red cherry shrimp? And I always heard oto's were 3+, is that not correct?
  6. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    The only bottle in the API test kit that needs to be shaken real hard is the nitrates #2 bottle. This bottle contains crystals suspended in liquid. If sitting, the crystals tend to drop out of the liquid and clump together at the bottom of the bottle. So you really need to shake the bottle well, and if it hasn't been shaken in a long while, you may need to bang it against the palm of your hand or a hard surface a few times to break up the clumps and get the crystals re-suspended.
  7. slayer5590

    slayer5590Well Known MemberMember

    My bet would be on the excel. I quit using it after losing several angels.
  8. LiterallyHydro

    LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

    I swear you need to run that thing over with a dump truck sometimes... ;D
  9. MtnTiger

    MtnTigerWell Known MemberMember

    Yep, had mine stop up today while dispensing drops and had to beat it real hard to loosen it up.
  10. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    One concern a always had after learning about the possibility of the crystals being clumped up at the bottom was, does this then throw the test results out of whack going forward. What I mean is say you were testing for quite a while before learning of the need to really shake it. You would then end up with a higher ratio of crystals to liquid than API intended.

    On the other hand, the liquid could just reach the saturation point and any additional crystals would not re-suspend, which would lead to accurate results.
  11. OP

    KwigWell Known MemberMember

    Did a strip test at work just out of curiosity and ammonia was zero. I read of someone else having a bad kit. I wonder if that's what's going on with mine. My water should be pretty perfect minus the high pH but it's the same as the tanks I purchased from. I'm gonna try not using the Excel because it's basically liquid CO2 and I'm side eyeing it so hard right now. I know I'm overstocked but I don't have anyone fighting and good water quality. Excuse me as I pull all my hair out.
  12. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

  13. Et tu

    Et tuValued MemberMember

    Sorry if i missed it but just how new is this set up? If this tank is < than 3 months old that could be the issue ( new tank syndrome ). While you are ageing the replacement water you mention that you treat it with Prime, is the prime added right b4 the water change or is it added at the start of the ageing process . Good for you for researching.

    I loath the API nitrate reagent # 2 so I now roll the bottle in a few socks & toss in the the dryer on air fluff for 5-10 min.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2015
  14. OP

    KwigWell Known MemberMember

    It's definitely only a few weeks old. Had ammonia spike and then nitrite spike. I was doing daily water changes to help with that. Now I do a pretty large water change every few days and I always test beforehand. I've had zero nitrites. Low (5-10) nitrates. But my test kit has always read 0.25ppm ammonia. Going to test a sample of bottled distilled water tomorrow and see if my kit is faulty.
    It's been a few years since my last tanks so I was just using it at the beginning of the ageing process for fear of forgetting to treat the water before I put it in. Then I remembered that Prime only binds chlorine/ammonia for so long. Last water change this morning was treated both at the beginning and right before adding the water. I came home and no one had died but my last dwarf gourami is looking like he's going to kick the bucket.
    Stupidly, I did not quarantine. All fish came from the store I work at. The trouble all started after I added the dwarf gouramis which happened to be fish that I had special ordered because we normally only stock the neon blue and the sun fire or whatever they're called. Upon close inspection of remaining gourami, he's got a white bump near his mouth that looks slightly red at the base. His coloring is pale and he was sideways at the top of the tank floating on the plants. I went to pull him thinking he was dead.

    I so dread the idea of this. Parasites? :/
  15. bettamars

    bettamarsValued MemberMember

    I'm no fish disease expert but sounds like either ich or a fungus. Can't really diagnose without pictures (I don't think I could diagnose with pictures either, but I'm sure professionals would ;)) Sorry to hear that you Dwarf Gourami isn't doing well though :(
  16. Bijou88

    Bijou88Well Known MemberMember

    A picture would definitely help. ..

    I thought my test kit was faulty because it always read .25 ammonia. Started reading the tests in a different room with different lighting and it looks more yellow now. I tested bottled water and everything, always .25.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
  17. MtnTiger

    MtnTigerWell Known MemberMember

    Could very well be. The final statement on the bottles instructions says "Do not over apply" or something close to that. Sitting on the back porch drinking coffee and I'm too lazy to go inside and type the exact statement.
  18. OP

    KwigWell Known MemberMember

    Well, last dwarf gourami died. I was going to take a picture of the bump he had near his lip but now that he died it's not very visible. Gills and fins normal. This is really frustrating. Should I just start treatments? I don't even know what to do right now.

    I've tried the ammonia kit in many different rooms and lighting and it always looks very lightly green. I've read they pick up ammonium though. Our tap water is horrid so I'm sure they treat it with everything. Wish I could use RO water.
  19. MtnTiger

    MtnTigerWell Known MemberMember

    Whoa you can't start treatment until you know what you need to treat for.

    There is just a very good chance that your new purchases were bad and they did not infect your other fish.
  20. OP

    KwigWell Known MemberMember

    You're right. I'm just scared to lose more and want to get ahead of this but the possibilities are pretty limitless. However, I know treatments are stressful to fish, so I need to be sure before I even go down that road. I got a timer for the lights. Other members of my household aren't reliable in turning lights off for me when I work late. Hopefully that will reduce stress some. My tank is also at 82F. In the past I always used aquarium salt and that really helped keep everyone happy but I worry with the live plants. I read someone else here saying in their experience dwarf gourami can be kind of unhealthy sometimes and I wonder if I got a bad batch. Noticed one swimming sideways the other day at work. Both of the new Julii cories I added had passed which could have been stress from moving tanks. Doesn't explain the rasbora but then it was tiny.
    Send good vibes my way.

    Is it too late to help the tank out with Tetra Safe Start or is that useless at this point?