New Tank Conundrum

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Connor540, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. Connor540

    Connor540New MemberMember

    I recently decided to start a tank back up after having a 10 gallon Neon setup in high school. This time I wanted to go a little bigger and have a more diverse tank so I purchased a 29 gallon Aqueon "starter kit".

    The first fish I added were 4 Lemon Tetras and sadly none of them survived past the first night. The LFS replaced them since my water tested out fine but the second set didn't fare any better. At this point I was pretty frustrated, the LFS employees were stumped, and I didn't want to needlessly kill anymore fish.

    The manager gave me 3 Zebra Danios free of charge because he couldn't come up with an answer and wanted to see if anything would work in my setup. They have been in the tank for a little over 3 days and appear to be doing fine. The biggest difference I've been able to find online regarding these two species is that the Danios can handle slightly cooler water. My tank is setup in our basement (which stays cooler) and I'm wondering if the bundled 100 watt heater (preset to 78) just isn't sufficient. The tank has not been over 74 degrees and holds a little closer to 72 most days.

    I'm just wondering if the temperature alone would be enough to kill the tetras overnight or if there is something else potentially at play here. Are danios just that much "tougher" than the tetras? We are on well water so I have not added any dechlorinator. I have the API test kit and my best guess at reading ph is 6.6 or 6.8. Ammonia/nitrite/nitrate aren't reading anything yet.

    (I understand the nitrogen cycle and fishless cycling but at this point I'm locked into a fish-in cycle.)
  2. Daniel W

    Daniel WValued MemberMember

    There's zero possibility that the temperature killed your tetras. 72 is actually an okay temperature for lemon tetras. Same goes for zebra dainos. The tetras you got might have been sick. Either that or ammonia. Not sure though. I haven't ever done a fish-in cycle and I'm not sure if there's ammonia the first day. And yes, I noted that your petstore said your water was okay. Maybe they made a mistake. Better to do it yourself. The best thing to do right bow would probably be to the water and do a 50% water change.
  3. Skyy2112

    Skyy2112Valued MemberMember

    Even well water can contain chlorine!

    And it evaps within 24 hours, and a petstore uses teststrips (usually). If it had time to evap, i'm mostly clueless too. If the store doesnt use a drop test, its worth the investment. It will be self use, 30$, and last much longer than strips.

    Strips can be very inaccurate.

    Or the sun is needed to evap chlorine. Cant remember. But I know a member here has chlorine in their well water!

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2016
  4. OP

    Connor540New MemberMember

    My LFS uses the API Master Test (I watched them test the water) and that is what I bought to test at home with. I also have the GH/KH test set.

  5. Skyy2112

    Skyy2112Valued MemberMember

  6. ravioli

    ravioliNew MemberMember

    Im not sure but it may be something in the well water, chlorine or otherwise (heavy metals?) zebra dianos are relatively hardy and that may be the reason they havent died yet. We have to use bottled spring water in our tanks because even though we have well water, every fish we added to the well water filled tank ended up dying within hours. (Granted, they were horrible choices for the tank we had anyways because of classic beginner inexperience and a certain little brother who was more stubborn than a dwarf from lord of the rings, but thats a story for another day.) we didnt have a proper liquid test kit for the longest time, but when we finally got one, i tested and the only thing that showed a reading from the tap was nitrates at about 10 ppm. So its likely that you have something bad in your well water that you cant test for. I might consider switching to bottled spring water, at least until you can figure out whats going on with your water. At the very least, dose your tank with a water conditioner like Prime so you have a little less to worry about
  7. Daniel W

    Daniel WValued MemberMember

    I just noticed the well water part. Well, safe to bet that your well water is not safe for fish. Tap is probably the safest bet.
  8. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    When ever fish die that quickly after being added to a tank, the fist thing I think of is the fish not being acclimated properly. How did you acclimate your fish before putting them in your tank?
  9. OP

    Connor540New MemberMember

    I acclimated them all by floating the bags and slowly adding water over about an hour. Once the bags were full the first time I poured off half the water and continued to mix the water until the bags were full again. Then I netted them out of the bags and put them in the tank.

    I've read the product description for Prime and it says it can help with heavy metals. Is there a good chance that even if my water is chlorine free Prime would benefit me in that regard? I would think heavy metals would be a likely issue with well water.

    Thanks for all the help so far. This seems like a great place for me to grow in the hobby.
  10. JGombs99Well Known MemberMember

    Although I'm still a beginner, several things come to mind when I read your post, as I compare your experience to my own. First is to get and list your exact parameters as PH was all you listed so far. But, with a PH as low as your's, I'd wonder if you have a KH issue. So, find out and list your KH, too. Also, as the post above me suggests, your acclamation may have been faulty.

    Most likely, though, my thoughts are that you probably got a bad batch of fish. That's exactly what happened to me on my start up. Two groups of fish died on me almost immediately just like what happened with you. After I lost my second group, the LFS lost what they had left of the same batch, and they admitted to getting a bad batch, and of course, replaced them free of charge. I wouldn't worry that you did something wrong unless your parameters don't check out well.

    Lastly, although it wouldn't have caused your fish to die, it's my experience that the preset heaters don't work well. I, too, purchased an Aqueon kit, which came with a preset heater, and I was having the same temperature issues. I'm now running the preset heater along with an adjustable one, and the temperature is holding where it should be.
  11. OP

    Connor540New MemberMember

    I'll do a full test of the water when I get home tonight and post back. I don't remember exactly what number I got for hardness when I checked a few nights ago. The LFS did tell me the water around here is usually on the softer side.

    I'm already planning to replace the heater with something that gives me more control. I just want to pinpoint the actual problem first.

    A couple of the tetras were breathing a little hard when I went to bed. I didn't know if it was stress related or a sign of something more.
  12. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    It sounds like you did a good job acclimating, so that shouldn't have been your problem. But you may be on to something with the heavy metals. I think if it were me, I would be using Prime.
  13. OP

    Connor540New MemberMember

    I just bought some Prime on my break. Is there anything I need to worry about if I use it like overdosing or mixing it with other products? I started the tank with Dr Tim's All in One but I'm wondering if that did anything at all since the fish were never in the tank long enough to "feed" the bacteria.
  14. beau

    beauWell Known MemberMember

    Prime is safe up to 5x the recommended dose.
  15. Skyy2112

    Skyy2112Valued MemberMember

    How much oxygen is in your tank? If your fish are breathing heavy you may need to add a second filter, or bubbler, or sponge filter etc to promote the surface agitation, and oxygen exchange.

    (I personally run filters twice my tank size (110 AquaClear for a 40breeder)

    Or adding a bubbler can be cool too! (Volcanoes, waterfalls, or bubblers shapes like starfish etc. )
  16. OP

    Connor540New MemberMember

    I have the bundled HOB filter and an air wand the length of the tank running at about medium output. The surface looks like it is getting decent agitation.
  17. Skyy2112

    Skyy2112Valued MemberMember

    TexasDomer , Aquaphobia

    Perhaps you have an idea? Params look good, sounds like good water agitation, I'll be happy to hear your input.
  18. OP

    Connor540New MemberMember

    Bad news, one of the danios was about gone when I got home. So down to 2 in the tank.

    Here's outdoor/sunlit pictures of my test results:

    PH- [​IMG]

    Ammonia- appears to be first day with a reading [​IMG]

    Nitrite- [​IMG]

    Nitrate- [​IMG]

    I'm slightly confused by the conversions for hardness but...

    KH- took 2 drops to turn

    GH- looked almost like it turned after 2 but definitely after 3 drops

    It's getting hot here again in VA so the air is running. I have the vents closed in that room but temperature is reading at ~71.5/72. A heater upgrade is looking like a definite now. "Preset to 78" isn't exactly accurate for all situations I'm seeing.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016
  19. Aquaphobia

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    I'm with with jdhef on using Prime in case it is heavy metals.

    We're those tests done on the well water?
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2016
  20. Skyy2112

    Skyy2112Valued MemberMember

    I think those were tank water.

    Personally I dont think Prime would takeout heavy metals. Atleast not that much. But my suggestion, if using a bucket, fill it before work, set it infront of a window, primed. Maybe extra dosed, then vac your gravel and water daily.

    I would definitely recommend a more precise heater.

    Eheim Jager's are really nice, or maybe a Fluval?

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice