Nitrate/multiple deaths

Nickynack

Member
Hi

Over the last 1-2 days I've lost 2 corys and 2 tetra, (and a guppy who had a fungal infection)

I tested my tank water today after losing 3 today (2 neons and a cory) and I had very high nitrates. I'm not sure what happened there as I done a large wc yesterday...

Anyway is it possible that the ammonia spikes from the dead fish have been turned to nitrates and this is the reason?

I'm doing another large wc (roughly 75%) to lower nitrates.

Nitrites and ammonia 0. Using API liquid test kit.
240 UK litre (55-63g) tank
Filters: Fluval 205 & Tetratec ex1200
11 month old tank
No new additions
Housing:
1 dwarf gouramI
7 cherry barbs
1 molly
2 Molly juveniles
4 peppered corydora
5 X-ray tetra
1 f guppies
12 guppy fry
2 GBRs
1 betta f
2 zebra snails

Thanks!

EDIT: I didn't feed yesterday and today fed some frozen bloodworms, I have been conscious of over feeding the fish recently!
 

daunicorn

Member
that might be too much. like big changes in temp. or ph, huge changes in nitrate can shock the fish. a couple ten or twenty percent changes throughout the day would be safer.
 

Adam55

Member
It'd have to be a pretty elevated nitrate level, and it really should have been taken care of by the large WC. How high was the nitrate reading?

That's a really big WC. Was the water integrity consistent before and after the change?
 

Danjamesdixon

Member
I might add, your stocking is all over the place - that won't be helping. Stressed fish mean compromised Immune Systems.
 
  • Thread Starter

Nickynack

Member
daunicorn said:
that might be too much. like big changes in temp. or ph, huge changes in nitrate can shock the fish. a couple ten or twenty percent changes throughout the day would be safer.
It's almost 10pm here so that won't work, unfortunately. I've temp matched the water and ph matched it so hopefully it will be ok!

Adam55 said:
How high was the nitrate reading?
Was the water integrity consistent before and after the change?
To clarify: the wc yesterday morning was about 40%, the only reason I've done a 75% tonight is because of the high nitrates.

Nitrate was between 80-160ppm
Waters always been fine and pretty much stable since cycling, almost a year ago, bar the odd spike.

Danjamesdixon said:
I might add, your stocking is all over the place.
What are your issues/thoughts on this? Can you expand on what you mean, please?
 

alink

Member
What was the exact nitrate reading or was it off the charts (>160ppm)?

Do you have a small tank (2-5g) that you could put the betta in? I think that could be a cause of some of the deaths as they don't usually make good community tank mates.

You also have some temperature conflicts in your stocking. What temp do you keep the tank at? This could be another cause.
 

Danjamesdixon

Member
What are your issues/thoughts on this? Can you expand on what you mean, please?
Of course.

The issues I can see include...

You are keeping a Betta in this tank. Now, this is a large tank, so you would probably get away with it if you didn't already have fish from the Anabantoid Genus in there. Your Gouramis are of the same Genus as Bettas, and while they are generally less....boisterous, they will still act very aggressive towards other members of their species.

Neither your Cories or your Tetra are in big enough schools for a tank this size in my opinion.

There are quite big temperature conflicts as alink just mentioned.

Keeping GBRs on their own and healthy is tricky, let alone in a community like this - you ideally need to focus on the GBRS needs if you are keeping them, not try and juggle their rather specific demands with those of others (that might not really match).

Just my 2c.
 
  • Thread Starter

Nickynack

Member
Danjamesdixon said:
Of course.

The issues I can see include...

You are keeping a Betta in this tank. Now, this is a large tank, so you would probably get away with it if you didn't already have fish from the Anabantoid Genus in there. Your Gouramis are of the same Genus as Bettas, and while they are generally less....boisterous, they will still act very aggressive towards other members of their species.

Neither your Cories or your Tetra are in big enough schools for a tank this size in my opinion.

There are quite big temperature conflicts as alink just mentioned.

Keeping GBRs on their own and healthy is tricky, let alone in a community like this - you ideally need to focus on the GBRS needs if you are keeping them, not try and juggle their rather specific demands with those of others (that might not really match).

Just my 2c.
Thanks. Let me see if I can alleviate some of your concerns:

I was sold the betta (along with a male betta, sold as female) when I didn't know any better. The male is in a 6 gallon now, and in 11 months there has been no aggression whatsoever from the female. She lives in the right front corner, the gouramI in the back left. They haven't ever bothered each other.

The gouramI does fight with the Rams but only when they (Rams) are protecting their eggs, so they will chase everyone then.

There were 6 corys and 6 tetra originally, as you will see I've lost 2 corys this week so that why I'm at four; one tetra died a while back, and I had a livebearer baby boom so haven't replaced that one yet.

I'm aware of the temp requirements being - shall we say - challenging to meet for my stock, but I believe I've got it as good as I can at 78-79f. It's in range for all of the fish, but maxed out for the corys, minimum for the betta, but it seems to work.

Like most I listened to the pet shop when they said that Rams would be fine in my tank, with those already in it (everything except the X-ray/guppies). I *think* my Rams are happy and healthy - they spawn regularly and look/swI'm and act completely normally. But who knows! It's a shame fish can't tell us!

The problem I have is rectifying the pet shop's bad advice. I don't know anyone who has a tank, so I can't give them away. If I advertise them online I have no way of knowing if that person will take care of them, and most stores around me won't take fish in. One used to, but stopped in the early autumn.

Anyway, really appreciate your comments and I'm open to any suggestions to improve my tank. I'm enjoying learning about this hobby.
 
  • Thread Starter

Nickynack

Member
alink said:
What was the exact nitrate reading or was it off the charts (>160ppm)?
I'm not 100% sure, the colours are difficult for me to interpret sometimes. But a picture is always handy! True colour is the left hand side of the bottle, the right hand was shadowed.
 

alink

Member
I think the light in the room is distorting the colors. But from that I would say its 40ppm but I am a little bit color blind. 10/20 and 40/80 look very close and are hard for me to confidently say its one or the other. Bijou88 said a good idea in another thread today to use 2 tubes, 1 with 5mL of tank water and a 2nd tube with half tank and half tap water to get the 5mL. Then test them. If the one with half and half is 10/20 or 40/80 you know the other one with just tank water is double. If you have nitrates in tap water, use bottled instead.
 
  • Thread Starter

Nickynack

Member
It was a bright red, and the 40-80 are very similar but still a dark orange colour/almost red. As this was bright red I'd taken it to mean it was above 80. But not dark enough for 160, if you see what I mean. I may need to come up with a digital test, so much easier!
 

ricmcc

Member
This is just an observation or two, not really advise, except perhaps to look elsewhere for the problem.
If nitrogenous waste was a problem, I would expect that you would first see it in your Rams, yet they are thriving (I think that their looking well and spawning regularly is a pretty good sign that you are right in thinking them healthy); of all your stock, they are the most demanding about water quality.
Nitrate tests are notoriously difficult to perform, or the API ones are-how long have you noticed high nitrates, and also, have you nitrates in your source water?
The Rams defending their spawn or fry is nothing to worry over, and is to be expected-they are likely chasing off, rather than inflicting/incurring damage.
If there is little nitrate in your source water, and you do regular W/Cs and gravel cleaning, you might look at your feeding practices, as 80-160 is rather high.
So, sorry, but as I said, just observations and questions from me so far. best of luck, rick
 
  • Thread Starter

Nickynack

Member
ricmcc said:
This is just an observation or, not really advise, except perhaps to look elsewhere for the problem.
If nitrogenous waste was a problem, I would expect that you would first see it in your Rams, yet they are thriving (I think that their looking well and spawning regularly is a pretty good sign that you are right in thinking them healthy); of all your stock, they are the most demanding about water quality.
Nitrate tests are notoriously difficult to perform, or the API ones are-how long have you noticed high nitrates, and also, have you nitrates in your source water?
The Rams defending their spawn or fry is nothing to worry over, and is to be expected-they are likely chasing off, rather than inflicting/incurring damage.
So, sorry, but as I said, just observations and questions from me so far. best of luck, rick
I welcome all thoughts and suggestions. I'm still learning, so glad for the input.

There are no nitrates in the source water. The Tests expire various dates in 2019. I bang it off the counter and get my husband to shake it vigorously for a few mins so I get accurate readings. I have been getting regular readings of anywhere between 5-20/40 depending on how long since the last water change. This reading is abnormally high and - coupled with my fish loss - that's why I panicked a bit, I think.

I'm really glad to hear that you consider my Rams to be healthy and thriving. I think it's pretty cool how they protect their eggs, my only other experience with fry so far has been with livebearers and they are really just the worst parents!

Re: feeding - I probably was over feeding until the last week or two when I reigned it in. I've been feeding sparingly since. I'm just so confused as to why it's so high, and the fish dying is the only factor I can come up with. I have 2 pretty big canister filters - one 110gph and the other 315gph, so maybe it converts the ammonia quicker?
 

Jomolager

Member
Are you sure you don't have a parasite of some sort? I have high nitrates in tap water, and by the day 5 after my massive water change nitrates are through the roof, they are closer yo 80 than to 40, especially in the Goldie's tank.

In my experience, unlike ammonia and nitrites, nitrates don't kill fish, although in the long run they cause quite a bit of harm and should be dealt with decisively.
 

alink

Member
Rather than stating my opinion any further on this topic, I will suggest the following articles for review on the topic of nitrates and their effects on water and fish.





 
  • Thread Starter

Nickynack

Member
So this morning there were no casualties, and nitrate reading of 5ppm. I guess I'll put it down to a strange fishy phenomenon and closely monitor the readings for the next little while. Thanks everyone for your help!
 

Jomolager

Member
alink said:
Rather than stating my opinion any further on this topic, I will suggest the following articles for review on the topic of nitrates and their effects on water and fish.
alink,

Thanks for the links. Really appreciated them. Did not know that nitrates are bad for humans too.

It was interesting bed time reading last night. I thought The Tropical mag article was superb. I trust them explicitly.

Shirlie Sharpe's article about Nitrate death put God's fear into me, my tap has high nitrates. Never heard of her until now and never used information provided by About. After further reading of her articles I relaxed. I can't take seriously anyone who among other things recommends 10-15% "regular" water changes. I also disagree with her nitrogen cycle advice. I guess our hobby is filled with contradictions. Egressing in order not to highjack this thread....
 

alink

Member
Nickynack said:
So this morning there were no casualties, and nitrate reading of 5ppm. I guess I'll put it down to a strange fishy phenomenon and closely monitor the readings for the next little while. Thanks everyone for your help!
That's great news!
 

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