My Hobby-Fish Killing 55 Gallon Tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by citationjeff, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. citationjeffNew MemberMember

    Hey Everyone,

    I started my 55 gallon with Tetra safe start about month and a half ago. The safe start seemed to do what it was supposed to do. A rise in ammonia then a decrease to 0, and then a slow rise in nitrates. I have been monitoring the water with the API masters kit and since cycling the tank initially have not had any ammonia or nitrites.

    My first batch of fish was 6 zebra danios. After about a week, I noticed that one would not eat. It quickly went downhill, over the next few days he would just kindof float around the tank and then I noticed that his eyes were kindof enlarged. The LFS advised me to remove him from the tank right away so as to not infect the others. He would not try to run from the net or anything so I just euthanized him. I never saw any white fuzz, white spots, gills that stuck out. The only diagnosis I can come up with is a weekend immune system from the trip home, the ammonia from the initial cycle with Tetra safestart.

    3 weeks have passed. Feeling confident that my tank is cycled, I take some water to the LFS and they test it just to be sure. They report, 0,0,10,8.2 ph. Excited that I have made it to this point, I pick out 4 small koi angelfish to be the new tank mates to the danios. I acclimate them over the course of about 30 min and introduce them to the tank. They were a little shy at first, but ate the bloodworms dinner that night. I go out of town for a few days and on the second day, the wife calls and says that one of the angelfish is dead. She reported that it would not eat the night before and would kind of fall over on its side before getting a burst of energy and straightening up.Water 0,0,5, 8.2 ph

    I take the deceased to the LFS and am told that he must have not traveled well and was given another one. I was also told that I took to long to acclimate and to just let it float for 5 min, then add a couple shots of tank water, wait 5 minutes, and then put him in. I did just this. The next morning I am watching the new angel and he is just kindof listing around the tank, I call the LFS and the darn thing DIES right in front of my eyes while I am talking to the guy at the store!!! Water 0,0,5,8.2 ph

    All the while, one of the larger zebra danios, actually a green glo one, has been acting really weird. After eating he would dart around the tank, and I mean FAST, but would only do this for a few minutes. I go out of town for a few days, and the wife (who I should add, really does not want to have any part in my hobby) tells me that the big green one is flying through the tank like a corkscrew, up, down, left, right, right side up, upside down. Now more prepared, I set up the emer hospital tank with the AC 20 and move the poor guy in it. The only physical symptoms I can see on the guy, is the small pink area where I would guess is the brain (on top of the head, between the eyes) is swollen and protrudes more than the other danios. His eyes also seemed to be swollen. I treat with a bacterial medication, he makes no improvements, and the next day is just floating on the top upside down breathing hard. I make the decision to put him out of his pain as well.

    This one is my fault. I have been looking online at German Blue Rams, and thought they were really cool, so I was at the LFS and I finally saw one in person. It was the only one they have had in months says the sales rep. Knowing that they are kindof difficult to keep, I hesitated, but then thought to myself, my tank is cycled, my numbers are good, i have plenty of hiding places. Excited, I made the purchase. He was dead within 4 hours. I drip acclimated him over the course of any hour. The only sign he gave was that he was breathing very fast from the time I put him in, until he died.

    This morning i am looking though my tank and noticed I was missing a danio. Well, he is dead! Cause thats what I do to fish. He is mangled to the back of the Aqueon filter intake. No signs of fuzz, ich. Just dead. The only thing I can think of is that I had a Aqueon 55 and the Aquaclear 110 running as I wanted to seed the AC before removing the Aqueon. Maybe he couldn't take the current?

    I would say that overall my (living) fish just don't seem to "thrive".

    Current tank stats.
    Temp -77.5

    Aqueon 55, switching to an Aquaclear 110

    I feed omega one flakes in the morning, and bloodworms or brine shrimp in the evening.

    I am so sorry this is so long, and I appreciate everyone for their help.

    Jeff- The fish killer
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  2. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    aww im sorry jeff for your have done everything right but some fish just cannot handle the cycle process...even with tetra safestart...its very hard on them.....your diet is GREAT and I think about this time, things should start looking up ...also remember it could be the stock you are buying and they were stressed or sick when you got them...and the process of cycling just did them in ....dont loose faith and keep your spirits up!!!!!! now that you are completely cycled, it should be much better...MANY of us have been where you are and it DOES get better!
  3. Tigerfishy

    TigerfishyWell Known MemberMember

    I had the same probs with one of my tanks, you are not a fish killer, Shawnie's right. Numerous times I have come back with fish to a fully cycled tank, established etc etc, and the fish is dead in a week, just can't handle it. It will get easier, keep us posted and soon you will be sharing your success with us, promise :;hug2

  4. bolivianbaby

    bolivianbabyFishlore LegendMember

    I agree with Shawnie and Tigerfishy.

    Do you buy all of your fish from the same LFS? I've found one store that I really trust and several that I've had "mortality" issues with.

    Hang in there, though, it gets easier:;hug2

  5. OP

    citationjeffNew MemberMember

    Hey folks,

    Thanks for encoragement. That means a lot!

    I have two LFS that are just fish. I got the angels at 1 and the ram at the other. Just based on the condition of the tanks and the stock, I would say that they are pretty good.

    I got the glo danios at Petsmart and Petsupplies Plus. Both stores seem to keep the tanks maintained pretty well.

    I think the big box pet stores fish are probably the weakest, and I maybe just got unlucky with the angels. They do appear to be pretty young, the smallest has a body the size of a nickle, and the other the size of a quarter.


  6. redlessi

    redlessiWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to the Forum:;balloons I wish it were under different circumstanes. At least the hard part should be over especially since your tank is now fully cycled. I have read that angels like an established tank so you may want to add them after a few months. Just take your time stocking and ask as many questions you need to. Good Luck, Hang in There......
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2009
  7. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    I actually think that acclimating them longer instead of shorter would be the way to go. Also, do you have a quarantine tank set up? I think you should. :)

    I'm so sorry for your losses. Hang in there!

    Oh, and I totally get the spouse-who-isn't-into-the-hobby thing - my husband hates my fish tank. :(
  8. platy ben

    platy benWell Known MemberMember

    I think your ram may have died due to the Ph, years ago I bought 2 golden rams and drip acclimated for 15 mins then let them go into the tank, they were dead in an hour, my ph was around 8.3 and rams like a ph or around 6-7, if the change in ph was extreme this may have caused their deaths. :(
  9. AlyeskaGirlFishlore VIPMember

    Awwww, I am sorry for your losses. It will get better. :)

    I agree with an above poster that you need to take more time to acclimate. I do an hour or little more when I get new fish. I also put 1 pump of Stress Coat into the bag before I poor in a 1/2 cup or little more of water after it floats for 10-15 min. in the tank for temp adjustment. I turn the tank light off before I float the bag. There after I add water every 10-15 min. I keep the light off after I add them for awhile longer. If I get sensitive fish I do the Drip Method, I did that with my Corys. You can also add Stress Coat to the tank too after you add your new fish.
  10. OP

    citationjeffNew MemberMember

    Thanks for the replies. I agree, being that half my losses have occured so quickly, that it must be an acclimation to my hard and high PH water problem.

    I will let them acclimate longer from now on.

    We have very hard water as well. Any water that is left in the shower, dishwasher, side of the tank, etc will leave behind a significant residue.

    I have been doing some research on RO water, and a RO/Tap mix may be a good way to go to bring the PH down to a more neurtral number and to not have such a high concentration of disolved solids.

    Thanks so much!!
  11. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    I have a water softener and RO unit in my house. So far, we've been doing a mix of the RO water and hard water from the garden tap - works well for us.

    Since you already know there's a problem, you may want to just do the drop method for any new fish, instead of floating the bag. Just take a couple of hours, do a drip, let them really take some time getting adjusted to the new water.

    It still surprises me that your fish store told you to take shorter to acclimate... I've never heard of anyone giving that advice before. :;sh
  12. iloveengl

    iloveenglWell Known MemberMember

    You could try adding driftwood to naturally lower the pH if you want. But if acclimated slowly (through drip), your fish should be fine in harder water.

    Your water is perfect for mystery snails, btw. :)

    I hope things go better next time around - hopefully it was just an acclimation issue.
  13. crazedACD

    crazedACDValued MemberMember

    My best guess, especially with the rams and angelfish, is probably your high PH. Unfortunately both of those species prefer soft, acidic water (recommended under 7.0). A lot of people say PH dosen't really matter, fish will adjust, but considering your levels are so high and their needs are more specific, this is probably why you are having trouble. Glad you are looking into the RO could also try some peat and driftwood to help lower the PH, but I'm not 100% on how stable that will be over time. Good luck with your tank.
  14. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Awwww, Jeff, I'm so sorry.
    Although I agree with a nice long acclimation time. Perhaps you should be looking at other things.
    Could any contaminates have gotten in the tank?
    Room Sprays, furniture polish?
    Clean but no soap residue on hands or arms while cleaning or feeding?
    Are all of the directions aquarium safe?
    Do you have small children who could have out something in the tank?
    Was it brand new when you bought it? Did you rinse it well? (I think this because the tanks could be in a warehouse where maybe pesticides are used).
    Maybe there's a problem with your water co.?

    Sorry, so many questions. Just trying to rule some things out..
    Hang in there, I hope things start to look up for you.
  15. rae64

    rae64Well Known MemberMember

    i agree with lucy. you may want to check to make sure there are no plastic plants/thermometers/other non aquarium safe items, especially cheap leaning sponges that may leach toxins into your aquarium. air sprays are another biggie to watch our for, as lucy said. water changes can be done (a series of smaller, maybe 30 percent) over a few days, maybe a week to dilute any toxins to very small amounts. during the time, just moniter any ways outside toxins could get into the tank. you may have LFS problems, though, too.
  16. OP

    citationjeffNew MemberMember

    yikes..that is a lot of variables to control.

    I always wash my hands before I put them in the tank. I do make sure I rinse really well.

    All of the decorations that I have in the tank were intended for aquarium use...whether that promises anything, I'm not so sure. I currently have some driftwood, tetra plastic plants, and a rock thing that i bought at petsmart.

    My wife does burns scented candles...??? I don't think she uses air sprays...

    My tank was new and I rinsed it with tap water

    I don't have a lot of faith in my local water. I have a water report somewhere, I would be more interested in knowing whats in it now.

    I think we are getting somewhere, I appreciate the input!
  17. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    I burn scented candle so I don't think that would be a problem. I don't see a water conditioner listed, which one are you using?
  18. OP

    citationjeffNew MemberMember

    I have a bottle of Prime, API Stress coat plus, and Tetra AquaSafe. I started with Stress coat, but then I read that you dont want to remove the ammonia because the benificial bacteria wouldnt have any to eat, so I got the Tetra Aquasafe since I was using the Tetra safe start, and then I bought the Prime, because I read that it would neutralize the ammonia but it would still be food for the bacteria. LOL!
  19. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Thanks for clarifying. :) Here I was hoping it was something simple like lack of conditioner.
  20. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Hello Citation. Sorry to hear about your losses.
    Here are 2 links on pH that you may find very helpful:
    and one on acclimation:
    Acclimating Tropical Fish to Your Fish Tank

    Great information, suggestions and thoughts from other members!
    Best of luck and hang in there. :)

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