Pet store said my weekley water changes killed my fish??

Big Al Fishkeeper
  • #1
Hi, Had my tank for about 1 month and was doing weekly water changes of about 15%. I bought some fish on Saturday- most have already died and when I took them back to the store, the manager told me that I should instead do a 50% water change 1x a month instead of my weekly changes. My thought was that the 50% change would be harder on the fish than the smaller water changes. Also, she said that is why my Ph is still on the high side--I"m taking out too much of the beneficial bacteria. I'm very confused. I also wonder if I am not cleaning my filter enough (whisper power 30)-- I've only cleaned the white flossy filter cartridge once (in my bucket of fish water I took from the tank). Can someone help me? I won't be adding in any more fish until my problem is resolved. I still have 1 molly, 5 danios, 1 neon, 1 mickey-mouse platy. I just 7 fish yesterday and I lost my albino frog today. Any thoughts?
 
Howeyg
  • #2
Re: Pet store said my weekley water changes killed my fill??

I don't think your lfs manager knows what hes chatting about. have you tested the water for ammonia or nitrite?
 
Big Al Fishkeeper
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Howeyg, I had my water tested on Saturday, and my nitrates and ammonia levels were fine. I had my water tested yesterday and my ammonia level was between acceptable and stressed-- nitrate level was fine-- pH was up almost 8.0 (up from 7.5 on Saturday). Between the water tests I cleaned my tank once and I cleaned my filter with that water change.

Also, I did not buy any test kits. I just take my water to the pet store that is 5 minutes away. I thought this would be one way to put out a little less money.
 
cress10
  • #4
I don't know but it may be there are too many fish to early. You said that you have had the tank for only a month. It is a good idea not to add anymore fish until you notice that you have kept your fish healthy for about a month. I had the same problem when I got my tank. I over stocked it, and even though I did my small water changes, I lost all of them eventually and had to start over. I took my time the next time adding fish to my tank, and I have not lost a fish since. Good luck with yours!
 
Big Al Fishkeeper
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
You are probably right (that I added in fish too soon)-- the pet store that helped me originally told me to just wait 2 weeks, then come back to buy fish, and I had never even tested my water before that point. I think that is good advice--I won't add any more for until my fish stay healthy for at least a month.

In that time, do you think I should cut back on how often I clean the tank? How often do you clean your's (and what size is your tank?). I'm so glad to hear your fish are healthy now!
 
Luniyn
  • #6
Just making sure I understand how you went about building your tank here. If I'm missing anything or missunderstood what you said, then please let me know. Now you built your tank and had it running for 2 weeks before you added any fish. During that 2 weeks what did you do in the tank? Did you just let it run or did you add pure ammonia drops or fish food or anything to the tank? If you did nothing but let it run, then your tank has never cycled (if you aren't familiar with the term "cycled" then please read this). I'm assuming that you didn't add any source of ammonia to the tank and when you added the fish after 2 weeks that was your tanks first introduction to ammonia. At which point the cycle was able to start, but with fish in the tank. When you took the water to the pet store and they said your levels were "fine" did they say what the reading actually was? Unless ammonia and nitrite are at 0, they are not "fine". Being that you were just starting the cycle with the fish, not only did you not do enough water changes, but needed to do more (like once a day). In a tank with a pH of 7.5 or even 8.0, a great deal of the ammonia in the tank is VERY toxic to the fish, and unless you are doing 20% water changes daily, the level will get too high and that is what most likely killed your fish (yes that pet store manager has absolutely no clue about fish keeping... in fact please offer this invitation to come to this site and learn a thing or three about fish keeping before giving out "expert" advise). If you no longer have any living fish in the tank, then take this opportunity to cycle the tank fishless. In order to do that, just follow the instructions given on that link I posted above. The best way is Option 3 using Pure ammonia... i.e. in the ingredients it says only Pure Ammonia, 100% Ammonia (or Ammonium), Clear Ammonia, or something along those lines. If it says surfactants, dyes, or anything else then it isn't what you want. If you can't find any pure ammonia, then fish food is the next best thing. Follow the directions given there and you will be off to a great start. After that, if you have any questions please feel free to ask here. This is a great community with a lot of knowledgeable people.
 
Big Al Fishkeeper
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Oh, yes I did add some water stabilizer for new tanks during the first 2 weeks. After 2 weeks I added in fish. Few days later, most died. At that point I had my first water test-- high nitrates (I was overfeeding them). Now another 2 weeks has gone by, and this is where I added the new fish this past Saturday. I do still have fish living (my original fish: 1 dalmation molly, 1 neon; and fish from this weekend: 5 zebra danios, 1 mickey-mouse platy). Hopefully when I get home from work tonight all those fish will still be swimming around!

So, I take it my tank is still cycling then? Given the information I clarified above, what should I do? As I said, I won't add any new fish in until my tank is healthy. If you could let me know how often to change the water and how often I should be cleaning my filter (wispher power 30).

You guys are great!
 
sirdarksol
  • #8
I am a firm believer in the power of frequent water changes (I need to start practicing what I preach :;z). 15% weekly will not kill your fish. When I'm on top of my game, I do 50% weekly. Usually, it ends up being about 25% weekly. Doing more frequent, smaller changes does, as you suspect, lessen the amount of stress you place on the fish. One 50% change a month creates a larger drop in toxins, which your fish can get used to. Surprisingly, a sudden drop in ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates can be almost as stressful as a sudden rise.

The following info is from "A Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums" by David Boruchowitz. It's a very informative book. Italics are my notes.
The only limit on how much water you change and how often you do it is your willingness to perform the task. And the amount you want to spend on water conditioners
No amount of filtration can make up for a deficiency in water changes, but water changes can make up for deficiencies in filtration.
You should remove and replace a minimum of one-quarter of the water every week. If you follow this regimen faithfully, almost 45 percent of the water in your aquarium at any given time will have been there two weeks or less.
...if you could manage an even greater rate of change, say half of the water each week...close to 90 percent of the water will always have been added in the last three weeks. New water means toxin-free water(hopefully). 3 weeks of nitrogen buildup isn't all that much, and is even less if you've got plants. Which brings me to another good point. If you live in a place with a watering ban due to lack of water, you might be able to sidestep this ban a bit by using old tank water to water your plants. The nitrogen in the water is excellent for the plants. The garden right next to my front door is a whole bunch greener than the rest of my gardens, because it gets the largest percentage of my tank water.
 
Luniyn
  • #9
Oh, yes I did add some water stabilizer for new tanks during the first 2 weeks. After 2 weeks I added in fish. Few days later, most died. At that point I had my first water test-- high nitrates (I was overfeeding them). Now another 2 weeks has gone by, and this is where I added the new fish this past Saturday. I do still have fish living (my original fish: 1 dalmation molly, 1 neon; and fish from this weekend: 5 zebra danios, 1 mickey-mouse platy). Hopefully when I get home from work tonight all those fish will still be swimming around!

So, I take it my tank is still cycling then? Given the information I clarified above, what should I do? As I said, I won't add any new fish in until my tank is healthy. If you could let me know how often to change the water and how often I should be cleaning my filter (wispher power 30).

You guys are great!
Yes your tank is still cycling. The stabilizer you added doesn't add any ammonia (well I'm guessing as you didn't mention which one it was ) so it didn't actually do much of anything at that point. With your new fish in the tank, you really need to be testing your water at least every 3 days if not more often (I was testing mine every day, ). This will tell you how much water you need to be changing every day or every other day, or whatever. If you have a reading of 0.5ppm ammonia or higher in your tank, at your pH you must do a 20%-25% water change daily until it gets under control. After that you can slow down a bit until the nitrites start to go up. At that point I was actually doing 20% water changes twice a day because it kept going up to 1ppm to 2ppm in my tank. So I adjusted my water changes as I saw I needed to. Same thing goes to once the cycle is over. You want to keep the ammonia at 0, the nitrite at 0, and the nitrate at 10-20ppm. So a 25% water change once a week might work to keep it things under control or you might need to do more (or less) but again it depends on what the tests say. As for your filter, for right now... don't do anything. Until you are done cycling the tank, just leave it be (unless you notice the water flow is lessened, then just wash it in used tank water like you did). Also you might want to consider a product like or considering your high pH. What these products do is actually detoxify the toxic parts of the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate so your fish have less stress to deal with during the cycle. They also get rid of the chlorine/chloramines in your tap water, so they are good all around for your tank (use one or the other, not both). Good Luck!
 
sgould
  • #10
You are getting good advise. The only other thing I would add at this point is...your lfs has demonstrated an extremely flawed knowledge of very basic fishkeeping. If I were you, I would take anything else they have to say with a grain of salt and come verify what they are telling you on the boards here before spending any money or following any recommendations they may give in the future.
 
Butterfly
  • #11
Big Al Fishkeeper your getting all good advice This link is all I can add. It's a list of things beginning fishkeepers need to know.

Carol
 
Cody
  • #12
if you continue the 1 a week I would recommend changeing the fliter every 2 week I find clean my tank ever two weeks and runing the fliter under water at the end of the week and changing it once a month works...my LFS owner said that having bacteria in the filter helps get the freshwater cycled...but its really what you prefer.......what size is your tank
 
sirdarksol
  • #13
Running your filter under tap water every two weeks will kill off an unnecessary amount of the bacteria colony. Swishing it in a bucket of tank water is better for the filter.
Your LFS owner is correct. The tank's bacteria colony will have to breed like crazy to try to catch up with the suddenly missing ability to "eat" the ammonia your fish produce.
 
timg
  • #14
Re: Pet store said my weekley water changes killed my fish??

I only have one question for you. What size of tank are we talking about?

It would help everyone to ensure that the advice given is accurate to know how big the tank is, and there is no mention of it thus far!

I am assuming that your filter is , so I would assume that we are looking at a reasonable size of tank, but it would be helpful to know exactly!
 
Tom
  • #15
Re: Pet store said my weekley water changes killed my fish??

The only thing I can think of that killed your fish after a water change is if you forgot to add chlorine/chloromine to the water. If it is already said, I am sorry, I am too tired to read it all.
Tom
 
bhcaaron
  • #16
Re: Pet store said my weekley water changes killed my fish??

Big Al, thanks for posting your problems here. I too am a newbie, only newer than you since, I still haven't yet started my tank. As a matter of fact, I don't even have a tank yet lol. But, all these scenarios I keep reading truely help to prepare me. I have been taught, and truely believe, that one can learn, not just from personal experience, but, from the experience of others too.
 
Isabella
  • #17
The manager of that fish store should be FIRED. Period. He's giving out misleading information about fish keeping.
 
sirdarksol
  • #18
Big Al, thanks for posting your problems here. I too am a newbie, only newer than you since, I still haven't yet started my tank. As a matter of fact, I don't even have a tank yet lol. But, all these scenarios I keep reading truely help to prepare me. I have been taught, and truely believe, that one can learn, not just from personal experience, but, from the experience of others too.

You should be given a free aquarium for going about this the right way. I was moderately lucky, in that only one of my fish paid for my beginning mistakes, and that was only because I had one fragile fish and a bunch of hardy fish in the tank, so the fragile fish died and I went online to figure out what killed it.
 
bhcaaron
  • #19
Thanks! I'm ready to give out my mailing address to whom ever will provide it! lol

As for doing this right... well... that's usually not me. I'm usually the typical modern American, you know... Me, Me, Me, Now, Now, NOW! lol, but, I bumped into this forum (while playing Tycoon hehe) before revisiting my previous wants in the fish department. But, yeah, I'm very appreciative of this site. I'm glad tha even though it has such great and advanced info, it is presented as something for everyone to understand. Had I bumped into a site that was oriented fot the experienced enthusiast, I would have felt out of place and not bothered with the site. Here I feel so at home with everyone being so patient and kind. We're like a school of fishies. Some new fish, some older fish and a few that take the lead, but, we're all headed in the same direction.
 
sirdarksol
  • #20
As for doing this right... well... that's usually not me. I'm usually the typical modern American, you know... Me, Me, Me, Now, Now, NOW!

Nope, you're not the typical American. The difference is that you recognize that you often think in terms of "me" and "now".

I'm the same way. Often, even when I know about the potentially awful consequences, I take shortcuts.
 
bhcaaron
  • #21
Nope, you're not the typical American. The difference is that you recognize that you often think in terms of "me" and "now".

I'm the same way. Often, even when I know about the potentially awful consequences, I take shortcuts.

Hahahaha SOOO true!
 
Tayful
  • #22
In my opinion, the store manager doesn't know much what he's talking about. It's commonly known that fish aren't good at dealing with big changes all at once, and over a month's time without cleaning the tank would get rather dirty. Weekly or bi-weekly water changes are recommended, 15-25%, more if you have a disease in the tank.
 
armadillo
  • #23
If you had to fire every incompetent fishstore manager, there wouldn't be a shop left to do business, LOL.
The manager of that fish store should be FIRED. Period. He's giving out misleading information about fish keeping.
 
armadillo
  • #24
Tom means Chlorine/Chloramine remover. Basically, tap water often (in most places it does) contains chlorine and/or chloramine, and that can be toxic to the fish. So that is why we all use what is called water conditionners and treat tap water with it during water changes.

Good brands are EasyLife Crystal, Seachem Prime, and Amquel +.
The only thing I can think of that killed your fish after a water change is if you forgot to add chlorine/chloromine to the water. If it is already said, I am sorry, I am too tired to read it all.
Tom
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
24
Views
353
Wendybrass
  • Locked
Replies
17
Views
2K
Arijana
  • Locked
Replies
24
Views
654
eduh
Replies
175
Views
4K
BigManAquatics
Replies
18
Views
447
MacZ
Top Bottom