Returned From Vacation To Dying Fish

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by Keian, Sep 1, 2018.

  1. Keian

    KeianNew MemberMember

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    So recently I was on vacation for 5 days, thought that would be okay. (I have a 60 Gallon (long and tall tank) properly equipped with heaters and air stones , some plants , driftwood, sand/rock substrate + other decor and filter). I had bought a 14 day foodblock to be safe . I only had 11 fish. 2 Bala Sharks 2.5” , 2 rosy barbs 1”, 3 Tinfoil Barbs, 2”, 1 khuli loach, and 3 Australian rainbows 1.5”. I came back to both Balas dead, 1 tinfoil dead, 1 rosy barb dead. I ran nitrite , nitrate, ammonia , and a high range PH test, all came back with perfect , regular results . I’ve never had fights in the tank before . I figure since I didn’t have a light timer , that could’ve caused stress to the fish as I only let them have natural light for 5 days. 4 hours later, the other rosy barb is dead on the bottom of the tank. Could someone please tell me why this is happening ? There’s no damage to the fish , no fin problems , no scale issues , I did make a 20 gallon water change after removing the first wave of dead fish, yet the last (2nd) rosy still died hours later .
     
  2. Crazycoryfishlady

    CrazycoryfishladyWell Known MemberMember

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    What all happened when you were on vacation? Were there other people or animals in the home while you were away?
    Too much light can indeed cause a bit of stress but generally it doesn't lead to dead fish unless it's burning them, in that case you would probably see signs of some kind of damage on the fish.

    While I'm not saying this is the case,
    I've heard reports of simply smoke or other smells in the air causing fish to die.

    Sometimes problems can be caused by more than just ammonia and nitrite or nitrates, there are multiple chemicals put into water to treat it for drinking and human usage including chlorine and fluoride, chlorine however also burns the fish, but in their gills rather than their scales. You would see a redish tint in live fish and possibly in deceased.

    Another good thing to note is your current live fish behavior, are they sluggish or are they more active, are they hiding or refusing to eat? Do they seem stressed in any way?
    Are you sure your heater is working correctly and maintaining a near constant tank temperature?

    I know after I did a water change in one of my tanks I lost a julli cory just due to it being sensitive in general, haven't lost any since then.

    With some fish dying it seems obvious there is at least a cause of stress, so I would personally recommended smaller more frequent water changes for the next few days rather than a larger one.

    I hope we can find out more and maybe find a cause to this unexpected event! I wish you luck.
     
  3. GuppyDazzle

    GuppyDazzleWell Known MemberMember

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    Nobody can say for sure why your tank crashed. There might be some clues, some possibilities, puzzle pieces.

    One thing is that I've never heard a successful story about vacation feeders. There's another thread today about someone who used a vacation feeder and came back to a tank nightmare. Most fish can go weeks without eating. If you're just going to be gone a week or so, you're usually much better off just not feeding the fish. Same goes for putting someone else in charge of feeding while you're gone. In most cases, the person feeding the fish wants to do a good job and ends up way overfeeding, causing the water to foul.

    You say your water testing results are perfect. To be honest, there really is no perfect. There are acceptable ranges, and some readings that could offer clues as to what happened. What are your actual water readings?

    Natural light is not going to kill your fish. The worst it could do is cause an algae bloom.

    Did anyone else have access to your aquarium while you were gone? If your water readings did not change from the time you left to the time you came back and found dead fish, the only feasible explanation would be something toxic got into the water.

    There's probably a missing piece to the puzzler here somewhere.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Keian

    KeianNew MemberMember

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    So Ph came in at 7.6 . Ammonia from what I can see is at 0 ppm to 0.02 ppm at the most. NO2 was 0 ppm and NO3 was also 0 ppm. I do use aquarium salts usually , and try to not over feed, usually every 2nd day normally myself . Unfortunately no one was able to watch my fish and that was a big concern for me .

    It has been very Smokey in southern Alberta here, due to the wildfires so that’s a possibility . My bad here, but I said I used natural light , my tank room is not very bright on its own, being in the basement there is only one small window I had half covered with blinds, I’ve seen the horrific conditions of tanks left near windows so I was cautious about sunlight . Think it was too dark?

    I do condition my water, although in southern Alberta we have very hard water, but I’ve never had a problem with that in my previous tanks .

    I did check my fluval canister filter for any gunk , I wasn’t sure how long the fish had been dead for, and it was surprisingly “clean”.

    My fish were also fairly active , they are all quite friendly and firmiliar with eachother so before I left, although when I got back, the only fish that was alone and seemed lathargic was the last rosy barb . The others haven’t slowed down.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2018
  5. GuppyDazzle

    GuppyDazzleWell Known MemberMember

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    Your water readings don't make sense. How long has your tank been set up? A cycled tank will usually show zero ammonia, zero nitrites, and nitrates as the only thing showing up. Zero nitrates are usually only going to happen with a new tank before it is cycled, or if you're doing 100% water changes every day. The only other way for zero nitrates would be a very heavily planted tank where all the nitrates are absorbed.

    Are you using test strips by any chance? Test strips have a reputation for being unreliable. Most folks use an API Master Test Kit.

    When you say you use aquarium salts, what exactly does that mean? How often and how much are you dosing? I'm also curious how long your tank's been set up and what your water change schedule is.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Keian

    KeianNew MemberMember

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    This 60 gallon was been set up for about 4 months after 6 weeks of cycling as it was a brand new set up. I do use the API master kit , with the water tests. Sorry about the nitrate confusion, there, it’s not zero , it’s a colour on the scale between 5.0 ppm and 10.0 ppm.

    My water changes are usually 5-7 gallons every 8-10 days .

    The salts I use are the API aquarium salt. I don’t use them often, once a week to once every 2 weeks , about 12 teaspoons everytime .
     
  7. Crazycoryfishlady

    CrazycoryfishladyWell Known MemberMember

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    I have never used vacation feeders as I have never had the need, but reading other people's posts and reviews elsewhere, people have reported a loss of fish simply using the feeders with no other seemingly possible problems.

    As mentioned before we can't know the exact cause of death without a very expensive chemist testing the waters and fish, but from everything I've read, it's generally better to buy either a timed vacation feeder that feeds their normal food, or just don't feed them at all if it's a short enough period of time. A lot of fish can withstand not eating for a week or so.

    Supposedly the reason vacation feeders aren't good, is due to food constantly in the water, it can rot just like any uneaten food, and just like uneaten food it can release toxins that harm some fish but leave others looking healthy with no problems.
     
  8. GuppyDazzle

    GuppyDazzleWell Known MemberMember

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    You might have a salt problem. The API recommended dosage is 1 tablespoon per five gallons. For the sake of discussion lets say you put in three tablespoons of salt every water change (8-10 days roughly equals once a week to once every two weeks). You're adding two tablespoons above the recommended dosage every water change. Salt doesn't evaporate, it builds up, so your salinity has been increasing steadily. You might want to take a water sample into the fish shop and see if they have a salinity meter.

    I personally don't use salt, but I know many people who do. It's fine as long as you make sure to you don't let it build up.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Keian

    KeianNew MemberMember

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    Okay, well thank you for the support here. I am brand new , a little unsure what I’m doing . But I do appreciate the help. It’s a sad night for sure but thanks for the advice !
     
  10. GuppyDazzle

    GuppyDazzleWell Known MemberMember

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    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
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    Don't get down. Everybody I know who has kept fish for any length of time has gone through unexplained fish deaths and it's depressing. Most have gone through times when they want to just give it up, too much grief. If you work through it you'll be glad you did.
     








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