Aquarium Trouble - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
  • 2 Post By Sylverclaws
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post #1 of 2 Old 01-30-2014, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Aquarium Trouble

Hi there,

I set my aquarium up two months ago, leaving it to cycle for just over a month. In the tank whilst it was cycling I had only drift wood, plants and a plant in a terracotta pot. After ammonia and nitrite levels went up and then came back down I was told the tank was cycled so I purchased; 1 Bristlenose Catfish, 4 Neon Tetras, 4 Cherry Barbs and 2 Dwarf Gouramis.

The aquarium I have is an AquaNano30 and it holds roughly 22L. The trouble I am having is that my ammonia has spiked and (what I think is a result from that) all the little fish are gasping at the top (Everything except the Gouramis (including the catfish) are spending a lot of time near the surface gasping). I did a 30% water change when this first happened, then they seemed to be okay for half a day, but then they went back to gasping at the top. My next thought was that the plants in the evening where taking oxygen out of the water and so I removed two of the three and this seemed to help for a little while too. However they are at the top gasping again. The Nitrite has been 0 every time I have checked the ammonia.

The fish do not have red gills, they seem capable of every so often just swimming around the tank normally but then they rush to the top and start gasping. I have used some Stability by Seachem when I did a water change today, and it hasn't made too much of a difference. My ammonia has come down a bit after the water change to 2 (which is still dangerously high, but it was at 4).

I do not have any idea what to do really to help these little guys. Any suggestions?

My filter is on high now (I had it on low before) but it makes it hard for the fish to gasp at the top as they get moved around, so I'm not sure if its a good idea having it on high. Could I have broken the water cycle by chance when I did my first water change? Another interesting point, when the light to my aquarium is off, the fish do not gasp at the top as much as when it is on.

The water conditioner I use is Safe Start by VitaPet. I live in Adelaide and so have been using Adelaide tap water. Should I be using PuraTap water?

How often should I be doing water changes? Two weeks ago I did a 25% change, but it was no better the next day so I did a 50% change. I did a 50% change today and still a few hours later they're gasping at the top.

I can't think of any other additional information, so I hope this is enough for people to help troubleshoot for me.


Last edited by BulbasaurBeard; 01-30-2014 at 09:30 PM.
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post #2 of 2 Old 01-30-2014, 10:04 PM
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22l = 5 gallons.

I'm not sure why you thought you could keep that many fish in such a small tank, it should be visible what your problem is.

Alright here, you have a couple problems, but the biggest one is space.

The red gills are ammonia poisoning because you have too many fish in a tank that cannot support their bioload, or their body size.

Adding too many fish at once can cause issues too. You should only add three or so a week, especially with newer tanks that aren't established(established is different than cycled, established tanks are stable with older water and a system that can handle it), and even in an established tank you still don't want to add much more than that to be safe. If you do it can cause spikes in parameters, and a rise in acidity which can kill.

The other issue is the type of fish you have, aside from the gourami's who should not be kept in multiples, is the tetras and barbs need groups of five or more(preferably 6-8, more if you have space as both species love to have large schools), and need tanks 20 gallons long(that's about 75 liters and tetras and barbs like them long over tall or normal), as a minimum for each group, not together.

If you want the barbs and tetras as well as a pair of dwarfs, you want a 35-40 gallon long tank(about 130-150 liters).

Now dwarf gourami's are usually nice and peaceful, but sometimes they just don't get along with each other once they hit the hormone stage of wanting to breed and have territory, this doesn't always happen right off when they're full grown, sometimes aggression doesn't hit until they're two years old or so, some well before that. Two getting along could turn into two killing each other later.

The tank you have should have nothing more than a single male betta in it and maybe a couple small snails or a single mystery snail. That's all it can hold unless you want to swap fish with shrimp, then it could support a small colony of cherry shrimp(about 5-10 or so).
Hallyx and Flint like this.

Turning on the Aquarium lamp in the morning is MY cup of coffee.

Last edited by Sylverclaws; 01-30-2014 at 10:07 PM.
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ammonia , fish gasping for air , suggestions

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