Whisper filter killed glofish

catjacnat

For my daughter's elementary school graduation, I bought her a GloFish 3 gallon tank kit with a Whisper filter. After establishing the tank, we added five glofish, following the directions that came with the tank. On the third day I noticed that the smallest glofish looked like the scales had been scraped off his face and he wasn't doing well. He died that night and another died the next day. The remaining fish seemed to be fine except for fighting the current in tank. I thought turning the filter off would be worse. The next morning two more fish were dead, stuck to the filter and looked mangled. Then I remembered that I could lower the flow and I did for the last fish. I kept on checking on him and at one point I saw him get sucked into the filter, so I pulled the plug and he wiggled himself out. He died a few hours later. I am extremely angry that our family has been put through this and that they are selling a product that kills the fish it is meant for!
 

LyndaB



Usually, a healthy fish will be able to avoid being stuck to a filter. It's possible that because the tank was not cycled, the fish weakened and were drawn into the current.

What exactly were the instructions they gave you?
 

Kopeth

Welcome to Fishlore, I'm sorry for your troubles.

In your aquarium info you state you understand the nitrogen cycle?

Could you please post your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels?

I know losing fish can be frustrating but just because you see your fish stuck to the filter doesn't mean the filter is the problem.

From what I can understand you purchased an aquarium and added fish. If the tank is not established and doesn't have a bacteria colony to handle ammonia, the levels of ammonia will build up and can weaken and even kill your fish. The fish may have become stuck to the filter due to their already weakened state or from ammonia poisoning. Glofish are danios that have been genetically modified. If this practice wasn't done correctly or they could have defects that endangered their health.

Before we can fully diagnose your issue please post the requested information above so we know what state your nitrogen cycle was in.
 

Lucy

Welcome to FishLore!!

I'm so sorry about your daughter's fish. (
It sounds very similar to what happened when we first started.

Most likely, they succumbed to a cycling tank.
Which means, there were probably toxic levels of ammonia from fish waste and left over food.
It take 6-8 weeks to properly cycle a tank.
I know, right? The store doesn't tell you these things. They say (as do the directions on the tank) run the filter for a few days then add fish.

That's just so wrong and sadly, the fish and newbies to the hobby pay the price.

Please read up on the Nitrogen cycle

Get your self a good liquid test kit. Many of us use the API Master kit. It's very reliable.
The strips are inaccurate.

A couple more things:
1) 3 gallons is not big enough for glofish. Even a few little ones.
They really need at least a 10 gallon tank preferably a 20g.

2) A healthy fish will not get stuck to a filter.

A 3 gallon is more suitable for a betta (your daughter will adore a betta!) or 1 African Dwarf Frog.

Before deciding on restocking understand the nitrogen cycle and may I suggest to cycle the tank with out fish.
Here are:
https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/four-methods-of-fish-less-cycling.48446/

I'm sorry, I know that's a lot of info to digest.
Believe me, many of us have been in your shoes.
We managed to kill my daughter's guppies because we didn't know or understand the nitrogen cycle.

Good luck, if there's something you don't understand just ask.
The members are happy to help.

Wow, I typed slow! Good info from Lynda and Kopeth.
 
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Jaysee

Welcome to the forum!

Not much to add....
 

catjacnat

Thanks for your advice. I added benefitial bacteria and water conditioner. What I really wanted was to warn people about this filter. I actually saw the fish get SUCKED INTO the filter, not just stuck to it. Isn't this a problem for any fish, sick or healthy?
 

LyndaB

As indicated above, healthy fish do not get sucked into filters..... it just doesn't happen.

Which "bacteria" did you use?
 

e_watson09

I have one of those filters and have no problems with them being sucked into the filter. Mine is also a much higher powered one.

Like was said the only way fish should have problems with it would be if they were sick or stressed from a uncycled tank.

I agree that you should go for getting a betta I loved mine...
 

Lucy

Not with healthy fish. Not in my experience anyway.
I've used several whispers from 3I up to filters rated for 30 gallons and a few in between.
 

Jaysee

As was already said, filters don't kill fish, and are not dangerous.
 

Kopeth

I have the same/similar filter in a 3 gallon fry grow out tank. I've raised guppy and molly fry in this tank. I put pantyhose over the intake just in case but I never found any fish stuck to or struggling against the filter. Most of the fry actually hung out right under the filter most of the time.
 

J.M.S.

I have a whisper 10I in my 10 gallon tank and I love it and so does my Betta. I have it on the highest setting and never had any problems. In fact, I have two of them just in case one ever breaks down and have been using them for years without any problem.

I agree with the others, unhealthy fish may be unable to survive the current and the filter, but healthy fish should have no problem with it.

Which bacteria did you get?
 

LyndaB

What I really wanted was to warn people about this filter.

I just wanted to add that you might see this thread heading in an entirely different direction than you first planned, however, in fishkeeping, there are many factors that tie together to form the whole. We've picked up the thread that we believe we need to discuss, which is the cycling of this tank and the toxic environment that the fish are in.

Please bear with us as we try to help you through this.
 

ppate1977

Filters don't kill fish, as stated weakened fish get pull towards the filter. Welcome to the site! You will get a lot of helpful information here. I assure you that in your situation any filter would have done the same thing. I appreciate you trying to warn people though.
 

Lucy

I just wanted to add that you might see this thread heading in an entirely different direction


Unless the OP returns to this thread with further questions it needs to stop here.

Enough opinions and suggestions have been given for the OP to make a decision to do further research should they choose to do so.

Thank you everyone
 

catjacnat

What do you suggest doing with the filter for sick fish then? Turn off the filter? Won't that make them more sick?
It was Tetra's bacteria.
 

J.M.S.

You could put a sick fish in a quarantine tank with no filter and an aerator and do large water changes every day. I did that when I had a sick corydora and after 2 weeks the fish was back to his old self again. Lived for a good 1 1/2 years after.
 

Jaysee

Unfortunately, many times when a fish is at the point that it cannot escape the filter, it is too far gone for treatment. Even sick fish can avoid the filter. It's dying fish that can't.

A sponge filter is what people use for delicate/small fish in small tanks (quarantine).
 

justatank

curious what store's instructions were?

Sorry for the stress to you, and your child
Don't giveup, it only gets better
 
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Lexi03

Your filter was fine, and Tetra safe start is a good product so I would say it was because the tank was overcrowded, or you were sold sick fish to begin with for it to die that fast, most likely a combonation of the two factors.
 

claudicles

You have been given great info above but I just wanted to add a story of my own. Some time back I knocked the intake strainer off an Aquaclear filter while cleaning a tank without noticing it. I had 4 harlequin rasbora sucked into it and I didn't notice for anywhere up to 24 hours. I got the fish out of the filter and 3 of the 4 survived. They had fin damage but they regrew. I use a sponge over my filter intakes in fry tanks and it works well.
 

Ked31

I also had several GloFish sucked into a whisper filter. And I also had GloFish that became ill after I used Tetra SafeStart. I would recommend not using the TSS with GloFish since it seems unsafe for them. And I would get a hang in the back filter with a pre-filter sponge to prevent smaller fish from being sucked into the filter. I use a Marina SlI'm S10 filter and it keeps my 5 gallon clean. Also, a 3 gallon is too small for GloFish. I would say a minimum of 5 gallons, but 10 is better. If you do get a 5 gallon for them, you will have a lot of work to do to maintain it. I would use the 3 gallon as a betta tank. Bettas are low maintenance and very fun too watch.
 

Lexi03

I also had several GloFish sucked into a whisper filter. And I also had GloFish that became ill after I used Tetra SafeStart. I would recommend not using the TSS with GloFish since it seems unsafe for them. And I would get a hang in the back filter with a pre-filter sponge to prevent smaller fish from being sucked into the filter. I use a Marina SlI'm S10 filter and it keeps my 5 gallon clean. Also, a 3 gallon is too small for GloFish. I would say a minimum of 5 gallons, but 10 is better. If you do get a 5 gallon for them, you will have a lot of work to do to maintain it. I would use the 3 gallon as a betta tank. Bettas are low maintenance and very fun too watch.

Tetra safe Start contains the same bacteria that would naturally( with time) inhabit your tank, so I can see no reason why it could make a fish ill. And zebra danios need more room then 5 or 10 gal. (Which is what glofish are)
 

Jaysee

I agree with lexI - I think the conditions that required the use of TSS were responsible......
 

Ked31

Another thought, you had just gotten your fish. I have had many sick fish from the pet stores. It could have been the TSS, it could have been the pet store. With mine, I had had them for quite a while, so I was able to rule out anything from the pet store. You can't really do that with yours because they were new fish. Also, even though GloFish kits are becoming common, they are really just death traps for GloFish. They are way undersized. Buy a large enough tank and all the equipment and put in a blue lightbulb.

Lexi- I kept a school of 5 GloFish in a 5 gallon without I problem. But, I used a 10 gallon size filter, did 40-50% water change weekly, and checked my water parameters 1-2 times a week to avoid problems. Any problems that showed up, I was able to correct pretty quickly. Also, TSS has other things in it than just bacteria. That is how the bacteria are kept alive. If it was not properly handled, harmful bacteria could easily develop. And even good bacteria are bad when there are too many.
 

Lexi03

I didn't recommend a larger tank because of bio filter worries, danios are hyper fish and enjoy zipping around, which is hard to do in a small tank. As far as too much benifcal bactria, to my knowledge, there can't be too much. The bacteria will repoduce to the size of the bioload, any extra would starve out because of a lack of food source. I only mentioned those things to help the OP, I have never heard or experianced any fish dieing or becoming ill because of TSS, and I didn't want the OP to get the impression that they did something wrong by using it.
 
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Jaysee

Again, I agree with lexI - active, hyper fish do not belong in tiny tanks. And I too have never heard of TSS killing off a tank. She is also right that there can't be too much beneficial bacteria.
 

Ked31

There can be too much good bacteria. There are many illnesses caused by too much good bacteria. I learned that in my basic biology class a few years ago. Too many bacteria can also attract other things that will cause disease. So just one small bad bacteria(or parasite or whatever killed the fish) that was in the tank could have quickly grown into many with the addition of so many bacteria at one time, instead of dying off from the lack of food(aka good bacteria). Also, my 5 gallon was longer than a regular 5 gallon because of it's shape. I have seen 10 gallon tanks that were only 1-2 inches longer. It's really dependent on length of the tank, rather than just how much water it holds. And at this point, we aren't even really discussing the topic of the thread.
 

Jaysee

Uhhhh, we are talking about beneficial bacteria here. If your point is that if you dump more and more and more TSS in the tank that something can go wrong, then I'd agree with you. However, I think it's reasonable to expect people to not be ridiculous. I think you may be misunderstanding what we are talking about though.

5 gallons is 5 gallons - I don't care what shape it is.
 

fishman11

I agree with the other people thaT tank is for a betta look them up, they are very cool fish your daughter would like them
 

Ked31

Jaysee- The topic of the thread was a whisper filter. If I understand correctly, a whisper filter is totally different than bacteria. This is literally turning into a pointless argument about whether TSS can cause fish illness or not. One mistake can cause any product to become defective is the point I have been trying to get across. I did not say the op did anything wrong by using TSS. But that this wasn't the first time something has happened to fish after the use of TSS. If a set of the bottles were improperly handled at any point, that group could be defective. Read the back of the bottle. It has a note regarding handling and storage to protect the product from problems.

Also, you said they needed the larger tank for swimming room. They had the about the same length to swim as they would have in a 10 gallon tank and nearly as much as they would in my 20 gallon.
 
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Lucy



Back on topic please everyone.

This thread isn't about any one else's tank other the OP.
If you can't help with the following questions, please move on to another thread.

What do you suggest doing with the filter for sick fish then? Turn off the filter? Won't that make them more sick?
It was Tetra's bacteria.
 

Ked31

I would say use something to keep them away from the intake. I don't think they make prefilter sponges for internal filters. Perhaps use a filter media bag with a little bit of filter floss in the bottom placed around the filter. Or you could just replace the filter all together. I've never liked the whisper internal filters because they don't really have anyway of maintaining bacteria when you change the cartridge. You can change the carbon inside so you don't lose bacteria, but it's not too easy to do.
 

ppate1977

If you feel more comfortable internal filters are very easy to put pantihose over the intake, secured with a rubber band.
 

Cognity7

I have a question of my own that may also be a question for the OP..

I've heard plenty of people mention this sponge filter thing. Does anyone have more info on this? aka- what it looks like and where I could get one?

Is it just a typical sponge that I can attach onto the end of my filter? (i'm betting this is what could help the original question of the OP... and myself hehe)
 

Lucy

I have a question of my own that may also be a question for the OP..

I've heard plenty of people mention this sponge filter thing. Does anyone have more info on this? aka- what it looks like and where I could get one?

Is it just a typical sponge that I can attach onto the end of my filter? (i'm betting this is what could help the original question of the OP... and myself hehe)

Although your question may help the OP it leads the thread off on a different topic.
Starting your own thread would have ben a better option.
Here's one link:



If you use the search feature, there are several threads about diy sponge filters.
 
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Cognity7

I guess I didn't mean a sponge filter (much more elaborate than I thought).. I meant a sponge that goes over the intake.... to help her fish from going into the filter... which was mentioned earlier...

but its ok. thanks lucy
 

ppate1977

A regular "kitchen" sponge will break down and start falling apart after a few days. Pantihose are the way to go.
 

Lucy

I guess I didn't mean a sponge filter (much more elaborate than I thought).. I meant a sponge that goes over the intake.... to help her fish from going into the filter... which was mentioned earlier...

but its ok. thanks lucy

lol, no problem.
Yes, they are two different things.

Unlike ppate, I'm not crazy about using pantyhose. It slowed my current more than I prefer.

I use an aquaclear sponge, just cut a slit and slide it over the in take.
Any like shaped filter sponge will do.
 

Cichlidnut

I buy those big bags of filter media for like $6 and cut it to size and tie it on to my intake. Sponge filters are also great.
 

claudicles

I buy replacement Aquaclear filter sponges and cut a cross shaped hole in one end and put it over the intake of my Aquaclear filters in those tanks I have very small fish. Added benefits are that it gives more surface for beneficial bacteria, keeps big bits of gunk out of the filter and the fish seem to graze on it too.
 

Ked31

I use Fluval pre filter sponges on my tanks with small fish. They have a bit of give so you can stretch them a bit to get them over the intake. Cutting an aquaclear sponge would have the same result, but I'm too lazy to try to cut them myself and would either mess up or cut my finger open again. And theyre great for some extra bio filtration. I read something the other day that you can take the intake off the filter and put in an airstone with a battery powered air pump to provide some filtration during power outages and keep at least some of the bacteria alive, so that's another great use they can have. But you have to rinse them off occasionally because they get a lot gunk in them.
 

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