New Tank! Fish Are Dying, Help Needed!

  1. J

    JeanTheGeek New Member Member

    Hi everyone! I currently have a 5 gallon tank. I've had it a little over 2 months now. I purchased it at my LFS with all the essentials needed. Per the LFS, I bought 5 tiger barbs to cycle my tank. After further research, would have opted for fishless cycling. The tank took about a month to fully cycle. At which point pH was between 7.4-7.6, ammonia and nitrite were at 0 and nitrate between 10 to 20. In the process I slowly planted my tank. All my tiger stopped eating within that first week and one by one started to die while cycling, as the store advised me it would happen. Only one made it to the end of cycling but then died off. Once he did I bought 10 ghost shrimps. They were doing well for the first few days. Eating everything and keeping the tank clean. Then slowly one by one started dying and/or the bigger ones would eat the smaller ones until there were no more. I then bought 10 more and three fancy guppies and then same thing happened to the shrimp. They slowly started dying. All throughout the water parameters were fine. I kept and record of all my levels as I do one every other day. Then one by one my guppies started dying and I only have one left and 3 ghost shrimps. I have no idea what to do. One of my plants is starting to die off too while others are growing very nicely. Really discouraging to see all your hard work and patience not pay off. My current levels are:
    pH 7.4, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 20. Temp between 76-78° F. I have a filter with a gentle flow, light aeration by an air pump, heater and led light. I always treat my water when doing changes, which I do once a week to keep nitrates at 20 or less.

    What could I be doing wrong? If you have any questions, I'm more than happy to answer them. Thanks!
     
  2. kettlekorn13

    kettlekorn13 Valued Member Member

    what decorations do you have in the tank??? Is there anything that wasn't meant to be in an aquarium that could be leaching things into the water??
     
  3. OP
    OP
    J

    JeanTheGeek New Member Member

    Hi there! I only have a few live plants and a rock. The rock came attached with one of the plants but I ended up untying it and placed it in the center of the tank and planted the plant in the substrate. Aside from that, I only have a small airstone and tubing going into the tank. But nothing that shouldn't be there.
     
  4. Belladonna

    Belladonna Valued Member Member

    how large of water changes are they each week and did you also gravel vac the tank? and how often were you feeding the fish and the shrimps? it's possible feeding them too much which also messes with the tank cycle since your tank is only a few months old your tank was having a hard time keeping up with your bio-load fish and shrimp. I also had a very hard time cycling my tank, it took a good 4 months. so understand your loss I am sorry :( I ended up being able to finally cycle my tank using a mix between safe start and stability, those are beneficial bacteria in a bottle. but that also takes time to finally set in and adding too many fish at once might also be an issue that has caused your tank some trouble. do you plan to go fish-less or fish cycle? I also just saw your last post, so your tank didn't have a filter just an air stone? unless you plan to do large weekly water changes you might want to consider what you want o keep in your tank and possibly add a filter to help out a little while you cycle your tank.
     
  5. shiv234

    shiv234 Well Known Member Member

    did you quarantine your fish?
    What did you feed the shrimp?
    Do you add calcium to your tank?
     
  6. OP
    OP
    J

    JeanTheGeek New Member Member

    Hi Belladonna, As far as the water changes I used to do about 20% every other day while cycling. Now I do 20 % once a week to keep Nitrates below 20, since I havent had Ammonia or Nitrite above 0 for a while now. I feed my fish ones a day, mostly flakes, as much as they would eat in a minute or two. The shrimp would normally eat the left overs and plants, but I would sometimes supplement their diet by adding algae wafers. Even when I feed them and I test the water parameters, I always have the same readings. Nothing changes. When my first set of fishes died and did a water change, I added ammonia to 2.0 ppm to see if it would stay, but within 24 hrs it was back down to 0 and so would the nitrite. That was my indication that it was properly cycled. I do have a filter, it came with the Fluval tank. Its embedded on the side and uses a 3 layered filtration.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    J

    JeanTheGeek New Member Member

    I do not have a QT tank as this is my first tank. I do expect to get one as I get more experience. I also didn't add calcium to my shrimps, although I noted that they did molt a few times. They mainly ate the left over flakes and plants and I would occasionally through in a algae wafer. What's the best source of Calcium for a ghost shrimp?
     
  8. Belladonna

    Belladonna Valued Member Member

    okay understand now. that's odd :( and since the 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites, have you seen any nitrates when you've tested the water? also which test type are you using?
     
  9. OP
    OP
    J

    JeanTheGeek New Member Member

    I do see Nitare. It ranges from 10 to 20ppm nitrates. I use the API freshwater master test kit.
     
  10. Belladonna

    Belladonna Valued Member Member

    I have a few things I can suggest that has helped me, try to feed a pinch every other day, and keep up on water changes keep nitrates below 20, and if you see ammonia to keep below 1 ppm. gravel vac when doing pwc, if any dead plant pieces in tank to remove them as that can mess up your water too, I gravel vac one side of my tank every week when I do a 30% pwc with my current tank. and (optional) maybe picking up stability as might help the tank get the good bacteria, you can dose it for a week a little cap full and it helps cycle the tank a little faster. I also use it every water change or filter replacement, also try not to mess with the filter media too much if you have replaceable types depending on the type try to keep it in there, don't let a pet store tell you need to change it weekly or monthly.. I hope this helps. I am only a year almost 2 years in the hobby and it does get easier as the tank matures