Lost My First Fish :(

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Slaphammer, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. SlaphammerNew MemberMember

    I've had fish in my aquarium for 3-4 weeks now. Yesterday morning I did a water change which turned out to a much bigger change than I expected - it was around 80% since the Python sucks up so much water while you're trying to vacuum the sand. I moved decorations to clean under and around, which scared some of the fish so they were all in a corner. Got it filled back up and de-chlorinated, but I noticed a few of my bloodfin tetra were just laying perfectly still as if in shock from the changes. But eventually everybody seemed back to normal again.

    Everything was fine again during morning feeding, but when I checked about 3 hours later I found one of the bloodfin tetra dead against the filter intake. :(

    I removed him and tested all my levels and everything seemed normal. I did detect a hint of ammonia so I put some Tetra SafeStart in. I don't know if I did something wrong with the water change yesterday or if these are circumstances out of my control, but I still feel a little guilty.

  2. DiscusluvWell Known MemberMember

    If you are detecting ammonia you may be going through a mini-cycle. I am thinking this because in a cycled tank, you would not detect ammonia. What was your nitrates?

  3. Justkeepswimming01Well Known MemberMember

  4. _IceFyre_Well Known MemberMember

    Nope, in a cycled tank the ammonia would convert into nitrate right away.
  5. XanderWell Known MemberMember

    It is possible for a decaying body to produce more ammonia than can be converted, yeah, but I don't believe the body had enough time to decay to that degree in less than 3 hours.
  6. SlaphammerNew MemberMember

    I added fish about 3 days ago, could that have caused a temporary spike?
  7. DiscusluvWell Known MemberMember

  8. SlaphammerNew MemberMember

    Also, recently changed both filter and filter pad (upgraded to larger filter) so maybe that lowered my bacteria count? Ammonia reading was 0.5 ppm which I don't think is huge (but I'm still a noob), but not the ideal zero.
  9. XanderWell Known MemberMember

    Did you keep any of the original cycled filter media in there?
  10. DiscusluvWell Known MemberMember

    I would do frequent water changes to keep ammonia from building in tank and add product like Stability with each water change. If you have a high ph flux in your tank in a twenty four hour period, age your water ( in a barrel) and heat to approximate temp of tank. If no extreme swing, can just add to tank at proper temp. In order to cut down on micro-bubbles which can stress fish, I stuff filter floss at end of python .

    Yes, this put you into a mini-cycle. Don't feel bad, this is a common mistake.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2017
  11. SlaphammerNew MemberMember

    I know people say to keep a filter pad until it starts falling apart, but if you follow the manufacturer suggestion and change them roughly once a month, wouldn't that put you into a mini-cycle all the time? I put the old pad into the new filter briefly, but then just swapped it out with a new one. The new one has already turned brown, not sure if that indicates bacteria or is just miscellaneous gunk.

    This new filter also runs through an ammonia reducer pad right before returning - I stole it from my Aqueon Quietflow 30 because the new 50 just has a diffuser with no slot for a specialty pad. So the ammonia pad is still old media, if that counts.
  12. DiscusluvWell Known MemberMember

    You should change your mechanical media ( filter pads) as often as manufacturer suggests. However, is there any bio media also included in your filter: a bio- wheel, balls, or?? I am not familiar with this filter, but it must have some kind of biological media. This media is what you want to not change as it holds the good bacteria. Not that you can't ever change it, you would, if it needed to be changed, not replace the mechanical at the same time so that it would seed your new biological media. The idea being that you change one at a time so the other can reseed itself with good bacteria.

    So, no changing your mechanical monthly will not put you into a mini- cycle. The amount of fish you put into your tank was too much for the good bacteria to handle ( this is referred to as bioload).
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2017
  13. SlaphammerNew MemberMember

    These filters have a plastic grid which the pad fits in, called a bio-holster. I thought it was just a thing to hold the filter pad, but maybe it is actually the biological part of the filter? If so, I should have re-used the holster from my 30 since the 30 and 50 are the same size (the 50 just has a larger motor so higher gph). The old bio-holster has been out of the tank for a couple days, I'm assuming it's too late to stick it into the new one? I added some Tetra SafeStart Plus to the tank this morning, which should give the tank an injection of the good bacteria.

    I've been using aqadvisor.com to figure out what my tank can hold, and it says I'm at 91% capacity after the latest addition of fish.
  14. DiscusluvWell Known MemberMember

    Yes, optimally, with beneficial bacteria to match the extra bio -load of the fish added you are at 91% capacity. Unfortunately, with the loss of some of your beneficial bacteria through filter and media change there was an upset to this balance. But, all is not lost!! Test your water for ammonia, change water frequently, watch your ph swing in 24 hour period to see if you need to age water, eliminate microbubbles and be patient for your nitrifying bacteria to match the waste output of added fish.

    Yes, any good bacteria from this bio-holster is lost. But, now you know
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2017
  15. Justkeepswimming01Well Known MemberMember

    I have a regular filter with just pads- it has two pads per filter and I just switch one at a time. I also add in a new pad for a few days before removing the old one. However I have two filters on my tank as well so it's helpful. Not sure if that's the kind you have.

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