new to fish ownership. unexplained fish death.

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by bbw_luverly, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. bbw_luverlyNew MemberMember

    About 3 weeks ago I got a new 29g tank, with an aqueon filter that came with the tank and a heater. I got blue tank gravel, 4 fake aquarium plants, an air pump with a fake clam that opens and closes with the bubbles.
    The guys at the local stores told me I could start adding fish after 24 hours. Well within a few days I had 2 guppys one a turquoise male, the other a yellow tail male, a balloon Molly, and an angel... Less then 72 hours later the angel was very sick and dying, that's when I found out about the cycle you should allow your tank to go through, so now I've been doing regular partial water changes daily.
    I have since been given a second Molly, this one black, a fancy cobra guppys, and a pleco algae eater... The turquoise guppys chases the cobra, who chases the yellow tail, who chases the balloon Molly, who chases the black Molly, while the pleco hides near plants. Everyone but the pleco is always nipping at the bottom fins, near where the poop comes out, of the fish its following, also pulling the poop right out or off.
    I also invested in an ammonia test kit (the angel died of ammonia poisoning I'm told) and a pj balance test kit, as well as "ammoniasafe" tablets made by "tetra" to detoxify dangerous ammonia, and "startzyme" tablets also by tetra, which is a complete water conditioner with beneficial Bacteria. Before that I used aqueon water conditioner. My ph balance is around 7.4 according to the test thing. But even after using the recommended amount of startzyme and doing 20-50% water changes my ammonia level stays near 0.05ppm which the test kit says is not good. I've been using the ammoniasafe tablets, and that lowers it to the safe level for a few hours.
    As I stated earlier its been about 3 weeks since tank set up, and in that time I've had a cloudy looking slime on the gravel, which I was told is to much bacteria, so I used a gravel vacuum thing to cle an the majority of it up.
    The ammonia test thing is one u stick in the tank and leave for up to a year, with it constantly testing. The oh one is the same, except lasts only up to six months. So last night before going to bed, as has become routine, I dropped a piece of an algae wafer in the tank for the pleco, gave the rest if them a lil punch of topfin tropical colour-enhancing flakes, checked the ph balance(was approx 7.4) and the ammonia level (was in the "safe" zone which the kit says is <0.02ppm, when I woke up the levels were approx the same though the ammonia one is starting to change colour to the "alert" level of 0.05ppm, but hadn't gone there yet. But the yellow tail(who was acting normal last night) was dead and stuck to the filter... The top of him, which was a silverish is now a brownish, and bluish right below that. I do not know why he died and am very sad.
    Any ideas? And why does my ammonia level keep rising to the alert level(0.05ppm) despite the startzyme and ammoniasafe and partial water changes?

  2. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to Fishlore!!!

    Unfortunately, the products you are using, arent very reliable. And most LFS give crappy advice to make a buck. Im not sure if you can find Tetra Safestart in Canada, but thats a true bacteria that will assist in the cycling of your tank. If you are able to find it, we have great information here on how to use it. If not, see if you can find some prime or amquel + and then you MUST follow this fish in cycle link, , to keep the fish safe and complete the cycle. Although I know its a ton of reading, its something that will help you enjoy your fish keeping hobby, and keep the fish safe. Good Luck

  3. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    I just want to add that those stick in the tank meters are unreliable. I high recommend the API liquid test kit. Additionally, the only "safe" level of ammonia and nitrite is 0ppm.

    Good luck and feel free to ask any additional questions. Everyone here wants to see you succeed!

  4. bbw_luverlyNew MemberMember

    What is the difference between tetra safe start and tetra startzyme? I was told by a friend with 6 tanks to try to use tetra brand products whenever that brand is available, which is why I got the startzyme and ammoniaSafe.
  5. Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    Hello and welcome to Fishlore. We like to see new people on-line.

    I bought one of those stick in warning devices to. It does not really work. When I tested my ammonia back then, it was really high and the indicator said it was a little high. The best thing to detoxify water is Prime or Amquel. The salesperson at the pet store should have told you this. They detoxify ammonia and nitrite so they do not poisson your fish. I have heard that fizz tabs aren't the best.

    You need to be testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate daily and make water changes to keep the ammonia and nitrite at 0. When the nitrates start rising and your ammonia and nitrite disappear you will be finally cycled. Then you will only have to make 1 -2 water changes per week instead of 7-10.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  6. Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    Tetra Startyme is a water conditioner that conditions the chlorine and metals from the water only. Tetra Amoniasafe only detoxifies ammonia and not nitrite which can be just as bad or worse even. Tetra Safe Start is a bottle of bacteria that helps instantly cycle your aquarium. You put it in add fish and wait 10 days and your tank is cycled. There is no fish loss and no water changes. Prime and Amquel detoxify the ammonia, and nitrite from cycling plus conditions your water by taking out the chlorine and hard metals.
  7. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    Start zyme is a water conditioner that wont do anything for the cycling of the tank, where as safestart is a bacteria, that if used properly, will give you the cycle you need. Many different products offer/say they do a certain thing. Many members have used safestart and had great success with it.

    The Ammoniasafe detoxifys the ammonia, but im not sure if it keeps it in the ammonium state (safer form) to feed the bacteria during the cycle process. But it does nothing for the nitrites, which are deadly also.

    :;nin2 wendy LOL ....gosh I type slow tonite
  8. bbw_luverlyNew MemberMember

    Thank you for the help, I have 2 other questions. Why do all my fish hang out in the same corner by the heater? I have a thermometer on the side furthest from the heater and it stays between 78 & 80 at all times, but yet they all group around the heater.
    And second, I'm going to be moving, when I do I'm going to have to restart the cycle, unfortunately. But I've been thinking of getting an undergravel filtration system as well as my aqueon filter that hangs on the side of the tank. Would that be a bad idea to do? The aqueon filter doesn't get the poop that is beginning to build up...
  9. mikegipNew MemberMember

    Hello and welcome to Fishlore
    I am a beginner too.
    thx for your share .
    I have got much info.
  10. cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    I don't like under gravel filters. You can clean poop using a gravel vac.
  11. SquirrelmanajhValued MemberMember

    When you move you don't actually have to start your cycle over. there are some good threads on here about moving, but the idea is as long as you keep your filter media and gravel wet (in ziploc bags in a cooler usually) with tank water, the bacteria will still be good to go.

    Also, about the poop, as cp said, buy a gravel vac to clean stuff out of the gravel, and it also helps with water changes.
  12. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    The problem with undergravel filters is that over time the get a pretty large build up of some pretty disgusting "gunk". So you have to periododically pull out all the gravel, remove the plates and clean that "gunk" out. And BTW that "gunk" smells horrible! Also if you ever want live plants, they do not work real well with undergravel filters.

    Additionally an undergravel filter will not eliminate fish poop. It would still lay on the surface of the gravel until it breaks down.
  13. bbw_luverlyNew MemberMember

    Again I want to say thanks for the help. I did not find tetra safe start but the store I went to was running low on many fish products, (apparently fish have become very popular this month in my town, one person working at the store confided the sale of fish and the needed equipment has drastically increased in the last month) but I did manage to find the last bottle of prime that they had, so when I got home I immediately did a partial water change(somewhere between 25 & 50%), and added some prime to the water.
    Also, I decided against the under gravel filter, and found a gravel vacuum that I hope will work great when go to use it.
  14. imperessNew MemberMember


    sounds like all good advice.
    I just wanted to say about your guppies, the chasing behavior sounds like they are trying to do a mainting thing. not sure if you have all males or females or both..
    I have all males, mine constantly harrass each other and try to mate with everything in the tank.

    I have heard guppies can mate with mollies but i have never had mollies so i donno if it is true. If you have female mollies i am sure guppies would try. Mine even harrass my male swordtail lol.
    If you had all females ( guppies and mollies) my guess is they wouldn't harras each other as much.

    oh and if you do have boy and girl guppies, you may see baby guppies soon.

    what kind of pleco do you have?
  15. bbw_luverlyNew MemberMember

    I have all male guppies, one male balloon Molly, and apparently my black Molly is female. I'm not sure what type of pleco I have, I'm told it is the most comment type, black and tan, about 3 inches long... Don't know if Its male or female either.
  16. JoannaBWell Known MemberMember

    If the pleco is a so called "common pleco" then it will outgrow your tank eventually, and thus you will need to find it a new home when it grows too big. However, bristlenose pleco is pretty "common" too, and the bristlenose plecos do not grow more than 5 inches in size and thus are a good size for your aquarium (or mine - I have a 30 gallon, and am planning to get a bristlenose pleco). I think though that unfortunately unless you got it specifically as a bristlenose pleco, it is much more likely that your pleco is one of those that will eventually grow too big and will need to be moved to a much bigger aquarium. PS: I am a newbie myself, but plecos happen to be something I just finished researching extensively, since I am planning to buy a bristlenose pleco this week. I have no clue how fast the common pleco will outgrow your tank - from what I read people regularly get common plecos and then find it a new home once it gets too big. However, one thing to consider is that if yours is the kind of pleco that does grow too big, you should probably start figuring out now what you can do with it later, since once it already is too big it may be too late to find a good home without advance research.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  17. bbw_luverlyNew MemberMember

    IMAG1000.jpg my pleco.
  18. imperessNew MemberMember

    looks like common plec to me.. but i am not a plec expert.

    i guess BN come in that coloring as well if he is one he should start getting some " bristles" on his nose.

    Common plec( i have one) can get 24in. i was told at a local pet shop they had a pleco who got 27 in!! ( monster pleco i guess LOL)

    yup sounds like your male guppies are chasing that molly to me in fact , every one is probably chasing the female to try and mate. Thats what the guppies do in my tank, they are the riff-raff of my aquarium LOL

    Maybe some one with more knowladge will post on this, but if you have room you might want to get another female so she dosen't get stressed or swap her for a male?

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