New 125gallon Tank -i Need Some Serious Help...

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Mizzom, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. Mizzom

    MizzomValued MemberMember

    I'll try and make this as short as possible.
    I have had a 40G breeder tank set up for a year now, with an angelfish, 2 corys, 3 cardinal neons, 2 guppies, 6 ghost catfish, 2 norman lampeye's (size of a small guppy. This tank was filtered by two Aqua Clear 70 HOB filters, stuffed with matrix media in each filter for all that time.

    Last Friday, I got a 125G tank with an FX4 filter. I got the new tank all set up with sand substrate purchased from the fish store (that's all they had). I 'assumed' that moving the media from the two filters along with a whole bunch of rocks to the new tank, that the new tank would be cycled, so I brought home 6 clown loaches, 2 small-medium bala sharks, 10 rummy nose tetras (I just like them), and my son insisted I get a fire eel. I put all of the fish into the 40 gallon tank until we got the 125 set up, then moved all of the fish to the 125. I used prime, stress zyme and a bacteria starter from the fish store. All was well until the rummy nose tetras started losing their ability to swim - the water current would move them around, and they couldn't control themselves. Well, one by one, they started dying, and lost the two guppies from old tank. The fire eel started convulsing and died, and now it looks as though one of the bala sharks is going to go.

    I have checked the parameters of the tank twice, and it is ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 20ish. Temperature is 77-77.5 degrees. I decided to do a water change last night because I didn't know what else to do. I took out about 25% of the water. I added prime, stress zyme and TSS (8 oz bottle).
    I just now read where you shouldn't add prime and TSS at the same time - I didn't see it anywhere on the bottle not to.

    My angelfish and clown loaches seem fine. Apparently I have made a BIG mistake. I shouldn't have added the new fish to the tank, but felt it would be okay due to the test results being okay. I already feel horrible, and am hoping I can get some advice and a direction to go, as I'm just grasping at straws now. I am at work, but would be happy to test the water after work and post a pic of the results as well as the tank. Now that I've added the TSS last night, I'm wondering if I shouldn't add more tonight because I also added prime (more than just the recommended dose). I just really need to know how to proceed from this point. I don't want to lose any more fish if I can help it.

    Thanks in advance for all of your help.
  2. Donthemon

    DonthemonWell Known MemberMember

    Well doesn’t seem like an ammonia or nitrite nitrate issue. So that leaves possible brought home sick fish? The prime and Safestart isn’t a deadly combination. Fish immune system is lowered when stressed so moving tanks and possibly diseased new fish is my only thought.
  3. RSababady

    RSababadyWell Known MemberMember

    Do you still have the 40G tank running as it was?
    If so, move the fish into the old tank and let the new tank settle in. By that I mean let all the stuff in the new tank assimilate to the new tank and allow the water and filter (btw lovely filter !!). You have new stuff in the new tank, from piping, to substrate - and I am sure you have some plants/ornaments/driftwood......

    Allow the new tank to settle down and then add fish slowly - a few a week so that the bacteria build up based on the bioload and any leaching of "stuff" from the new tank and its plants, ornaments, substrate all settle down. I would leave the tank to mature for 2-3 weeks and do 75% water changes per week.

    If you don't have the old tank running, then I would do a 50% water change every too days to remove whatever is toxic in the tank. It doesn't sound like an illness - more of a toxic poisoning or different water conditions e.g. totally different pH
  4. OP

    MizzomValued MemberMember

    Yes, I left the 40G running - just took out the bio media and rocks. I left the plants ( a lot) in the tank. Tank running but no bio media. I also just learned that maybe the BB died due to no fish in it for several days?

    I think at this point, I would want to keep the fish in there and do water changes. I changed a good 25% of the water last night, but put prime and TSS in the tank as well as stress zyme.

    Should I do a 50% water change tonight? If so, what should I put in the tank, just TSS? I'll stop on the way home to get whatever I need.
    I do believe that this is totally due to toxic poisoning, as there are three new decorations in there. I washed them really well, however they were still new. Never thought of that, but sounds logical now.
  5. Islandvic

    IslandvicWell Known MemberMember

    I would throw those Aquaclear 70's you were using on the new 125g.

    Keep an eye on your Fire Eel.

    It will probably start eating the smaller fish as it grows larger.

    If you want eels in a community tank, I suggest peacock eels.

    I keep 2 of them. They are playful and have never messed with their tank mates.

    My friend has both a tire track and fire eel. His smaller fish go missing a lot......
  6. SaltyPhone

    SaltyPhoneWell Known MemberMember

    You live and learn. Quarantine quarantine and quarantine that’s the only thing it sounds like you didn’t do.
  7. RSababady

    RSababadyWell Known MemberMember

    If you water tests show no ammonia, then you do not need TSS. No ammonia, no nitrites and some nitrates are the best indication that the tank is cycled.
    I would do a 50% water change every two days using prime to ensure the water is tank safe. In this way any toxic substances in the water will get neutralised. It would be good to find the source of the toxic substance ...... did you wash the gravel and dry it in the oven? That is usually the best way to sterilize gravel.
  8. hanra85

    hanra85Valued MemberMember

    Agree, I don't know if I think it was a cycle issue as much as a stress issue. However, going forward though, I know you feel bad about this loss, we've all been there, it really sucks, but do yourself a big favor and avoid the fire eel when you restock. They're different, they're neat but they get way too large for the rest of your community, and they're predatory so they'll just go to work night after night on picking things off once the lights go off until your left with a couple Angels and the Balas if they're lucky enough to be too big to be on the menu... and eels hide all the time.
    Rummynose Tetras are absolutely amazing schoolers, if I didn't have Ropefish in my bigger tank I'd put a school of about 40 in there... So don't feel like you need justify that pick at all.
  9. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    Fred -the
    What kit are you using to test your water? I think if you are just using test strips, you'd be better off getting an API Master test kit. It tests pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. It's less expensive per test than strips, (the kit does 640 individual tests or 160 complete sets of the 4 tests) and is more accurate and more reliable than strips.
    I don't know what toxins could possibly be in the tank. It sounds like the only things you put in there were items made specifically for aquariums.
    I completely agree with @Donthemon, I think it more likely that you brought home some already overstressed and/or sick fish.
    Rummynose tetras are sensitive to pH, water hardness, temperature and general water conditions. Rather than moving the fish that are doing well and stressing them even further, I'd be inclined to just watch and wait. Get a better test kit, test all water parameters every couple of days for a week or two. I also recommend that you test your tap water parameters and compare them to your tank parameters-especially pH and let them acclimate. Keep lights off and activity around the tank at a minimum for 3-4 days. You can use your 40 gallon tank as a quarantine tank for new fish, and once you are sure the fish in the 125 are doing well, you can start introducing new fish gradually, one species at a time. Be sure to research compatibility and water parameter preferences (pH, temperature) between species and select species that are tolerant of the water parameters your water source (tap) provides. That's just my 2 cents-good luck!
  10. OP

    MizzomValued MemberMember

    UPDATE -
    New 125gallon Tank -i Need Some Serious Help...
    Thank you everyone who replied to my situation. I learned a lot and appreciate your help.
    So, my angelfish started showing signs of distress, so I scooped it up and put it in the old 40G tank. It is doing fine now. I love that fish and am so glad it's okay now. I've decided to leave all other fish in the new tank and only move them to the old if they start to show any signs of distress. So far, fingers crossed, everyone is doing well. I did lose one of the bala shark, but the other is doing well. I have in the new tank 9 clown fish, 2 rummy nose tetras, 5 cory cats, 5 ghost catfish , 1 bushy nose pleco, 1 neon, 1 rainbow.

    I did a 50% water change Thursday night and will do one again today, putting prime and stability in the tank only. Agree that the tank is cycled and doesn't need anything else added. Q: Should I stir up the sand a bit?

    I tested my new tank water and my tap water last night and have posted them. I have also posted a pic of my old 40G and new 125. It is definitely my plan to use the 40 as a hospital tank, however don't I have to have fish in it to keep the bacteria alive?

    Now I know what you're thinking, my PH is really high. I don't really grasp the water readings, but this is what I have been able to successfully keep in my tank: angelfish, clown loaches, cory cats, rainbow fish, guppies, neons, tetras, and three years ago a tire track eel. (If I get another eel, I'll check out the peacock eel as recommended).
    Things that just won't live in my tank are gouramis, snails and other kinds of loaches, like yo yo, zebra, etc.


    Attached Files:

  11. kallililly1973

    kallililly1973Well Known MemberMember

    Aside from bringing home ill fish adding all those fish could still have caused an ammonia spike that you didnt catch right away and thats what caused the weaker fish to die off. seeing you added the established media from your 40 i believe it only had enough BB to handle the bioload of the 40B and when you added the filters to 3 times the size it needed time to catch up to your new much larger stock. just my thoughts. sorry for your losses and hope everyone else pulls through and does well. Side note is that the 125 kit from petsmart i was looking at that last week. Very nice set up!!
  12. OP

    MizzomValued MemberMember

    Thank you for your input, it makes PERFECT sense. I hope that's all it is. The FX4 was on sale for $199 - I really lucked out on that one.
  13. Burnout1620

    Burnout1620Valued MemberMember

    A while back I read a thread here where the member installed a new filter in an established tank. If I recall they switched over the bio media and fired it up, and not long after had a massive fish loss.

    I don’t think there was ever a conclusion as to what happened, and the thought occurred to me that perhaps the brand new filter had some contamination from manufacturing that killed the fish.

    I have a brand new FX4 standing by waiting to replace my Fluval 405 in my 75 gallon, but based on that thread and this one I think I will actually cycle the filter separately in an empty tank out of an abundance of caution.
  14. OP

    MizzomValued MemberMember

    Wow! Very interesting! I was wondering myself if it could have had something to do with the filter being new. For sure, cycle your new filter in an empty tank. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through losing so many fish in such a short time as I did in less than a week. I really shouldn’t have added any new fish at all, but I thought because I had so much cycled media and beneficial bacteria to move to the new tank it would be okay. I was wrong.

    Thank you for this info. I lost the fire eel. I will definitely get a peacock eel next time after I’m sure my tank settles in. Do you keep your two eels in the same tank?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2019
  15. RSababady

    RSababadyWell Known MemberMember

    Seems to be a lot happening! I am going to address a couple of items separately below:

    Your pH is not extremely high. It is on the high-ish side, but as long as it is stable, you should be ok. Swings in pH affect fish in the short term more that having a slight higher that normative pH values for any specific type of fish. Don't worry about it.

    I have a hospital tank that I use for sick and new fish. I keep it dry until required. When I need it, I pour water from the main tank into the hospital tank, so sick fish don't stress out due to a change in water conditions and new fish get acclimatised to my main tank water conditions.

    For water changes in the hospital tank, I take out water from the hospital tank and replace it with more water from the main tank. I replenish the water in the main tank with conditioned tap water and do my regular WC in the main tank.You really don't want the burden of keeping a hospital tank going constantly for a "just in case" situation. That would be like building a second house and maintaining it fully equipped just in case you lost the key to the main house :)

    Brilliant. Slow down on the stability though. You really only need prime at this stage.

    I envy you. The FX4 is such a brilliant filter. I love the additional features it has to make WC and filter cleaning easier. This is going to be my next choice of filter!
  16. Islandvic

    IslandvicWell Known MemberMember

    I remember the thread that @Burnout1620 mentioned. I cant recall the model filter, it was possibly a Rena/API XP Filstar series ?

    Burnoit1620 is right, I'm not sure either if the member ever concluded what the actual culprit was.

    When I set up our new 55g Mbuna tank a few weeks ago, I moved over a canister filter from a 75g to it.

    In its place, the 75g got a new canister filter, loaded with a 1/3 of the cycled bio-media from the previous canister.

    I thoroughly rinsed off everything, canister body, hoses, new media valves, baskets etc with the garden house outside. I hate letting perfectly good water go down the drain, when my plants and grass need it the most !

    Luckily the transfer to a new filter on an established tank went smooth with zero issues.

    @Mizzom , you have a great looking 125g!

    And yes, both of my Peacock eels live in the same tank. I bought them at the same time. I put them in quarantine for 2-3 weeks before dropping them into the 75g. I am fairly sure they are wild caught and not farm raised domestically, so I didnt want to take chances with them having a parasite or other issues.

    I should have bought 3 though. The two eels I have act like best friends. Half the time they are next to each other. Although mainly nocturnal, they come out during the day a lot since they dont feel threatened.

    Other bottom dwellers include 12 peppered and 4 albino Cory's, and around 8 java kuhli loaches. The peacocks leave them all alone. They will even lay right next to the kuhli's in their pvc tube or on the sand.

    My eels will also lay in/on the plants, both the live and fake ones, and on the suction cups of the heater. They are hilarious to watch when they start swimming back in forth. With you having a 6ft tank, you could easy have 3-4 peacock eels happily living with their tanks mates in my opinion.

    My peacock eels seem to mainly eat frozen blood worms and brine shrimp. I only feed the tank frozen cubes 2x a week.

    From what I read online about them, they dont need to eat everyday. They don't constantly swim like almost all other fish, so they conserve energy. They like to lay around a lot.

    I found a trick that helps keep the water from clouding up some when I feed frozen food. I defrost the frozen cubes in a cup of tank water first, then drain off the water using a paper towel as a sort of sieve or filter to keep the bloodworms/brine shrimp in the cup. Next I fill the cup up again with tank water and pour it all back in.

    Draining off the first cup of water after the food thaws helps get rid of the food particulates that cloud up the water.

    Pics of my peacock Eels...

    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  17. SaltyPhone

    SaltyPhoneWell Known MemberMember

    What I do for my qt/ hospital tanks is keep them dry as said by a previous post. I run a sponge filter in all my other tanks so that when I need to set up a hospital/qt I have a filter ready to go. That being said it’s wise to check ammonia in both tanks to be sure you don’t cause an ammonia spike by moving filters around.
  18. OP

    MizzomValued MemberMember

    Thanks so much for your reply/input. I've always known my pH is on the high side, but it is consistent, as I don't add anything to try and lower it. I learned it's best to leave it alone. But, I can't keep gouramis alive at all! I love them! I also can't keep any kind of loach except a clown loach alive in my tank. I love the clowns, but also yo yo and zebra loaches. They just die, relatively quickly, too. And snails - they don't live to see a new day!!! I like mystery snails, and the nerites too.

    As far as a hospital tank goes, I've never had one before. (I know, I know) The 40 gallon tank was my only tank and it's in our main TV room. I really can't move it anywhere but where it's at, so leaving it dry wouldn't look good. I thought about keeping 2-3 fish in it to keep it going. I'm so glad it was still running when my angelfish started going south. I put it in the 40G and it's doing fine now. I guess I should wait another week or so before putting it in the new tank, just to be sure everyone is doing fine. I get what your saying about the water being the same water though. Both tanks are kept at the same temperature and have water changes every week. How big does a hospital tank need to be?

    Yeah, I really really lucked out on the FX4 at $199. It was really $299, but if you were signed up with your phone number, you get $100 off! I couldn't believe it!

    Thanks for the compliment on my tank. I can't believe I have one!
    I'm definitely going to check them out and when my tank is stable, I will get two. How big are your eels? Are they in your 75G tank? I'll definitely let you know when I get them. :happy:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2019
  19. !poogs!

    !poogs!Valued MemberMember

    I have one question, just looking to rule out a possible poisoning situation in your tank.

    Sometimes a poster may forget to mention something or thinks it’s not relevant to their problem.

    Are you using Seachem Purigen in your filter? If your not, never mind. If your are then there is a contradiction happening with your water conditioners.

    My side thoughts,

    Even though you used an established filter from 40 gallon tanks, and then increased your fish volume substantially and the volume of water by 3 times, it was not enough to compensate for the changes in volume of water and fish population.

    A quick fix at the time would have been to add a 7 day treatment of Seachem stability to the tank. This would kick start you beneficial bacteria in your FX4 instead of waiting for transference RO occur.

    Re hospital tanks and quarantine tanks, they are a great idea. I use them. But where you are now, your 125 gallon tank just became your hospital and quarantine tank, so I wouldn’t bother with them at the moment and I would just treat the entire tank.

    I keep big aquariums and own multiple fx filters.

    Some suggestions.

    Don’t use the manufacturer set up for your FX filters. On the inside of the bottom basket fill it with fluval biomax and use the red tray if you want it good to have some separation in the filter media instead of having it packed full. On the bottom of the top basket use the ceramic rings that came with your filter. Consider through A packet of Seachem purigen in there, they come already packaged for a one hundred gallon tank. Buy two so you can use one and recycle the other and keep changing them out every month when you maintenance the filter. In the top of the tray with the red basket purchase and use a blue course filter pad and a white filter polishing pad. There are lots of ideas on how the filter should be packed, but this is what works for me. Any of the foams or carbon that came with your FX filter, toss them out, their garbage.

    Do a 50 percent water change. Use prime. Toss out your stress guard and other conditioning products. Save them for a quarantine tank down the line, don’t use them in the main tank. Save your money.

    Do a 7 day treatment of Seachem stability, and does once a month on filter maintenance.

    Consider investing in a suitable sponge filter and a larger HOB like a 110 and moving both of the hob back to your 40 gallon. . You can never have too much biological filtration.

    My 125 is an FX6 full of biomax and same set up I suggested to you, a Seachem Tidal 110 with 2 sponges and biomax, and a sponge filter.

    I think if you do this, your tank will bounce back in a week or two and stabilize in a few couple of months. Be patient. It takes a long time to completely a 125 gallon even with established beneficial bacteria from an other source.
  20. OP

    MizzomValued MemberMember

    Poogs - I’m sorry,I’m just now seeing your message. Regarding setting up the filter, my son did it for me. As I haven’t opened it up yet, not sure about the order of things, but I did put a polishing pad and Purigen in the filter along with the Seachem Matrix media from my two aqua clear 70s. Do you think I shouldn’t have put the purigen in the filter right away? I’ll have to get the blue course filter pads to use with the polishing pad. I watched a YouTube video on how to your fx4 (haha) and the guy put Eheim Tech (?) all around the perimeter in the base of the fx4. In hindsight, I agree with you and a few others that it just wasn’t enough media from the smaller tank going in the larger tank and a whole lot more water. I think the tank has leveled out now, as the fish I have left are doing well. I even put my angelfish back in the big tank and it’s doing well.
    I did use a lot of prime and stability the first few weeks and did water changes every other day to get out what was causing the problem. I’ll also look into a large sponge filter. I used to use one in my first tank.
    Thanks so much for your input,I appreciate it very much.