Our New Aquarium

  1. B

    Baxter New Member Member


    My husband and I are new at owning an aquarium.  We have a 10 gallon which is home to 1 Betta, 2 catfish, 2 orange tetras and 3 neon tetras.  Our aquarium was doing OK until we got an infestation of snails after we purchased live plants.  We decided to do a thorough cleaning of the aquarium and changed out everything - the decoration rock, the live plants were replaced by soft fake ones and we changed the gravel.  When we returned the fish to the newly cleaned aquarium, the 2 orange fish and 2 neon tetras died within an hour.  They swam around funny - almost gliding (upside down).  We are very distraught.  Now our aquarium is extremely cloudy and tonight we have lost another neon.  We are so unhappy and think we may have caused this situation ourselves but don't know what we have done or why they have died.  I'm so upset and came on-line tonight trying to find information and found this awesome, very informative website and after reading some of the other topics I felt that someone may be able to help us.  We would appreciate any advice you can offer us amateurs. 

    Using Quick Dip 5-N-1 Test Strip:
    Nitrate: 20
    Nitrite: .5
    Total Hardness: 300 (Very Hard)
    Total Alkalinity: 120 (Ideal Level)
    PH: 7.2
  2. J

    Jason Well Known Member Member

    Welcome to Fishlore!

    If you don't have an ammonia test kit you might want to get one ASAP. Is your tank new, How long have you had it??? Your tank is probably going through the Cycling Process.https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm

    Take a look at that link it has essential info. I have never used those test strips and am not sure how reliable they are. But may of us here use the Aquarium Pharmeceuticals Test Kit. All new tanks go through this process and you need to eventually get ammonia and nitrite levels down to zero.
  3. 0morrokh

    0morrokh Fishlore VIP Member

    Put simply, when fish produce waste, bacteria has to grow to "eat" the toxins--Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates. This is the Nitrogen Cycle--read up on it! By raplacing the stuff in your tank, you removed a lot of the bacteria, and so the fish were poisoned by the Ammonia. You need to buy a test kit for Ammonia, which is the most poisonous toxin. The cloudiness is a bloom of organisms that are feasting on the excess waste, which is common when a tank is cycling, or building up the beneficial bacteria. You will need to test the tank for the 3 toxins daily, and make amall water changes if they get too high, but remember that the bacteria won't grow if you don't leave a little "food" for it. There is no guarantee that your fish will survive, but closely monitering the cycle will improve their chances. (Don't even think about adding more fish!--it may be over a month before it will be safe to do so.)
    My advise to you: read, read, read everything you can get your hands on about fish! And don't trust what pet stores say about fish--they're there to sell stuff, and their employees don't know anything about fish. If you have a question, ask us here.
    Oh, how many gallons is your aquarium? And how long have you had it?
  4. Isabella

    Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    Your fish were probably poisoned by high levels of ammonia, as J-Man and Omorrokh said. I would say that 0.5 nitrite alone would kill fish as well. Nitrate levels of 20 should not be the cause however. It is ammonia and nitrite that are deadly. As long as nitrate is kept below 40, it is relatively safe. However, one should strive to keep nitrate as low as possible; of course zero at best. And ammonia and nitrite should always be zero, otherwise they will cause your fish to get sick and to die. Well, the best thing right now is to get very familiar with the nitrogen cycle and to buy a really good test kit that includes at least the tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH.
  5. G

    Gunnie Well Known Member Member

    Welcome to FishLore! You have been given very good suggestions so far. I'm curious as to what you used to clean your tank. I'm thinking maybe the bleach or soap residue (depending on what you cleaned with) could have done them in?
  6. Butterfly

    Butterfly Moderator Moderator Member

    Sounds like initially the tank was cycled and when it was cleaned so thoroughly and Decor changed to get rid of the snails all of the beneficial bacteria was killed off/disposed of. Also live plants provide oxygen for your fish and help if its a little overloaded.
    Welcome to FishLore :D and sorry for your losses :'(