Need Help With Fish Deaths.

RandomGuy

New Member
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Experience
2 years
Hey all. I'm having some problems with fish death really badly lately. Before we begin, I'll state that I'm not new to the hobby, have been in roughly 10 years, and have 4 tanks running currently, 3 successful.

The tank in question is around 1 month old. Cycled properly and seemingly completely with media from another tank of mine.

Current tank parameters are:
Ammonia .25 PPM (I assume this to be zero ammonia, my tanks all test at .25, tap water tests at .25 as well)
Nitrite 0 PPM
Nitrate 5.0 PPM
PH 7.6
Temp 80 degrees
Fulval spec 16, 16 gallon tank built in sump.

This is my first planted tank. I wanted a beautiful planted tank with small schooling fish, a couple of showpiece fish to sit on my desk to enjoy while I am on my PC.
The plants are not thriving, but they are alive, I attribute this to a lack of proper lighting, to be solved in the near future, but it is heavily planted regardless.
Soil is CaribSea Eco Complete. The only decoration is a piece of fake driftwood that I cleaned well before it went in the tank. I dose the tank with Flourish, Flourish complete, Flourish excel according to directions on the bottle, but have backed off the dosage because brown algea exploded in my tank.

I set the tank up, planted it with no decorations, and cycled it with old media. I went to the store and picked out what I wanted. A school of 12 small tetras, and 2 blue rams. The fish were not happy, they just sat on the bottom. I attributed this to a flow issue, and picked up the fake driftwood to give them a place to hide out. The second night, I lost a tetra. Every other fish seemed fine, attributed to fish in bad shape. The next day, same thing. Tetra loss. I was cautious at this point. The third day, no fish loss. Fourth, I lost a ram. I stopped losing tetras, but the other ram also died. I got 2 more rams. One lasted 2 days, one lasted a week. None of the fish showed any signs of distress. One day normal, one day dead. All other fish seemingly completely fine after each death. No body losses, dead fish always removed upon discovering them. I decided maybe the tank online of sudden ram death were true, decided to go another route. Picked up 6 beautiful guppies, and a small rubber lip pleco to help out with some algae issues. Since then, I've lost 1 fish every day. At this time, the pleco is dead (lasted a week), 3 guppies dead, the latest today, and I'm down to 5 tetras. Again, all other fish seem completely normal. The last guppy to go displayed signs, but I don't know what the signs point to. It floated around lifelessly, then would swim frantically seemingly in no direction, almost as a reflex, then floated some more, repeat. I am at a loss. I do not believe this to be a parasite, fungal, or bacterial infection. It is just seemingly repeated sudden fish loss, and I am at a total loss as to why. I really want to enjoy this tank, but does anybody have any clue as to what could be killing my fish?

Sorry for the novel, and thanks for any help.
 

maggie thecat

Well Known Member
Messages
2,457
Reaction score
593
Points
158
Experience
More than 10 years
Hey, sorry you are having issues.

The first thing I noticed out the gate is the number of fish being stocked. Two rams plus 12 tetras? Six guppies and a pleco? Those numbers would work in a 20 gallon tank or better, but in a 16 gallon, it would be crowded.

Second thing jumping out is the ammonia. Your more established tanks might be able to process ammonia coming out of the tap (and that does happen sometimes.) Maybe try adding Ammolock (sp). It will still register, but the form is no longer toxic.

I'd also not dose fertilizers while dealing with water quality issues. That seems like an unecessary complication.

This must be frustrating. Good luck!
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #3

RandomGuy

New Member
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Experience
2 years
Hey thanks for the response. All fish are very young and small, the neons were stocked in 12 in order to account for possible losses, I wanted 8 neon tetras in the end. The guppies were added once the majority of the neons were gone, and the pleco was temporary. He was meant to go into one of my other tanks once I got the plant balance correct and the algae cleared up. I will say he did a good job on the algae when he was alive. Physical crowding was non existent, as I said fish were very small. Bioload was also very small. Monitoring daily, it takes about a week, maybe week and a half to reach 5 ppm nitrates with the amount of plants in the tank.

The ammonia is also a non issue. As I said my more established and year old tanks also always show .25 ppm ammonia. I believe it is just my test kit. When ammonia is high it always reads accurately, but when ammonia is 0, it always reads .25. It's a common issue with the API liquid test kits as I've seen online.

I agree with you about the ferts, I believe I will hold off on any further dosing for now.
 

maggie thecat

Well Known Member
Messages
2,457
Reaction score
593
Points
158
Experience
More than 10 years
A couple other random thoughts.

80F is on the high side for neon tetras. They generally prefer cool/ ambient temperature water. The other thing with neons is, unlike year's past, they aren't nearly as hardy as they used to be. For warmer tanks Cardinal tetras are considered the 'go to' fish.

Rams, and this is strictly heresay on my part, aren't recommended for new tanks. They need settled parameters, and a reasonable build up of biofilm. Their demise might have been a timing issue.

Guppies, like neons, are so mass produced, they have got a bit iffy. It's not uncommon around here for there to be reports of mass deaths despite excellent care. It's frustrating , because they used to be THE beginner fish.

I dunno about the pleco. Were you feeding a bottom feeder formula? It could be it cleared up the algae and then got starved out by the more assertive tankmates.

Hang in there.
 

Trott

New Member
Messages
8
Reaction score
7
Points
3
Bit of a random thought but was there a pattern in time of deaths? Were they showing up each morning or throughout the day. The reason I ask (this is a longshot but a possiblity), your plants may be releasing CO2 at night and no longer producing oxygen. It may be upsetting your balance from when the light is on. It's a longshot but it's a pretty heavily stocked tank and if its heavily planted you may see an influx of CO2 at night.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #6

RandomGuy

New Member
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Experience
2 years
Yeah, maybe the temp is a little bit high. I'mm lower that a couple degrees and see if that helps anything. The pleco had wafers to snack on. Very convenient that all of the fish had bad genes, though I suppose not impossible.

Thanks for the ideas, so far we have slightly lower temps, lay off the ferts. Worth a shot.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #7

RandomGuy

New Member
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Experience
2 years
Just saw your comment Trott. The majority of the deaths happen overnight, though the 3 guppy deaths happened randomly during the day. Very interesting theory, though this tank is barely stocked currently. 3 small guppies, 5 small neon tetras in 16 gallons of water, decent flow and good surface agitation. Certainly something to think about though that I hadn't considered.
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom