Emergency in my 55g fw tank - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 48 Old 02-01-2011, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Emergency in my 55g fw tank

I am having a bit of an emergency in my new 55g fw tank. I have an aqueon 55 filter (flow rate of 325 gph) with a stealth heater set at 78 degrees. I just set the tank up about 1 week ago and let it run for about 4 days without anything in it. Now I am running into some problems. I would also like to say that this is my first tank ever so I am completely new to this. Here is a summary of what has happened so far.

Wednesday: added 3 neon tetras and 3 zebra danios. All were dead by morning
Thursday: Did 15% water change with water conditioner
Friday: Added 6 tiger barbs
Saturday: Water became very cloudy, ammonia spiked to inbetween .5 and 1, Nitrites/Nitrates=zero
Sunday: 3 tiger barbs died, Did 15% water change with water conditioner, Then fed fish for the first time
Monday: Added 5 more tiger barbs
Today: 2 tiger barbs died, replaced the 2 barbs, Did 30% water change with conditioner, Ammonia level is inbetween .5 and 1, Nitrites/Nitrate=zero

I can already tell the at least 3 of the tiger barbs in my tank right now do not look good. I am really trying to do everything right but my fish keep dying and idk why. I am really getting frustrated and I need some help please. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

Last edited by Blabomb; 02-01-2011 at 01:20 PM.
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post #2 of 48 Old 02-01-2011, 02:32 PM
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Your problems are due to your tank not being cycled. Please do not add anymore fish until your cycle is complete. Have a read of this article, it will help in your understanding of the aquarium cycle. Don't feel bad, most of us have made this very same mistake starting out, adding too many fish too soon.

Do you have a liquid test kit? Ammonia and nitrite spikes are what are most likely killing your fish. Partial water changes can help keep these spikes down until your biofilter is plentiful enough.

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
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post #3 of 48 Old 02-01-2011, 02:32 PM
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Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

First off, we will need some more information, as fish deaths can be due to many things. In a new tank I would immediately suspect cycling issues, but such quick deaths from only 3-4 fish in a 55g suggests there may be other factors too. I will ask you for some specifics below. Here is a link to an article on cycling [its a "sticky" at the head of this section of the forum] that should explain the process; we can discuss specifics when we have your answers.
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/

Now for the info; please provide everything you can:

Tap water pH
Tap water hardness
Tap water ammonia [test plain tap water]?
Tap water nitrite [plain tap water]?

Tank water pH

Which water conditioner?
Any other products added to the tank?

What is the substrate (gravel, sand,...)?
Any wood or rocks in the tank, and if yes where did they come from?
Live plants?
Other decor?

When you set up the tank, did you use any products whatever inside the tank (like to clean it) other than water?

If you used pails to fill the tank, were they clean, new, used...?

How exactly did you introduce the fish (please be specific)?

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 48 Old 02-01-2011, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

First off, we will need some more information, as fish deaths can be due to many things. In a new tank I would immediately suspect cycling issues, but such quick deaths from only 3-4 fish in a 55g suggests there may be other factors too. I will ask you for some specifics below. Here is a link to an article on cycling [its a "sticky" at the head of this section of the forum] that should explain the process; we can discuss specifics when we have your answers.
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/

Now for the info; please provide everything you can:

Tap water pH
Tap water hardness
Tap water ammonia [test plain tap water]?
Tap water nitrite [plain tap water]?

Tank water pH

Which water conditioner?
Any other products added to the tank?

What is the substrate (gravel, sand,...)?
Any wood or rocks in the tank, and if yes where did they come from?
Live plants?
Other decor?

When you set up the tank, did you use any products whatever inside the tank (like to clean it) other than water?

If you used pails to fill the tank, were they clean, new, used...?

How exactly did you introduce the fish (please be specific)?

Byron.
Yes I do have a liquid test kit.
Ok I will try and give you everything I know. And I really appreciate the help guys.
But the tap water pH is 7.5
I don't know how to test the water's hardness.
Both ammonia and nitrite level of my tap water is zero.
My tank water pH is 7.3 at the moment.

But as far as water conditioner I use Kordon's NovAqua+
I also put Kordon's AmQuel+ in one time to try and control the ammonia.

The substrate is about 1.5-2 inches of gravel. And the only other things in there are some fake plants. But I rinsed the gravel and decor with tap water (no soap) before I put it in though.

When I cleaned the tank prior to filling it I used plain water and a new washcloth to wipe it down. I didn't use any soap or other cleaners.

I filled the tank with some big bowls I had in my kitchen. I rinsed them out with water as well prior to using them to fill my tank. When I do water changes I use a used 5 gallon bucket that was my dads old fishing bucket. I rinsed the bucket out with water and my hand before I used it.

The store I buy my fish from is about a 15 minute drive to my house. When I get home immediately go to my tank and start floating my fish. After about 7 minutes I take some of my tank water and put it in the bag. Then after 15 minutes I use my net to put the fish in my tank.

I hope I answered all your questions. If not please feel free to ask as I really need some help.

Also one quick question you said not to put anymore fish in my tank, but if they die should I replace them?

Last edited by Blabomb; 02-01-2011 at 07:46 PM.
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post #5 of 48 Old 02-01-2011, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Just a quick update I just lost another tiger barb. I am now down to 7
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post #6 of 48 Old 02-01-2011, 08:45 PM
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Well, here's another puzzler. Nothing jumps out at me.

NovAqua is a good conditioner, I used it for 20 years. AmQuel shouldn't hurt, though once we get past this and the tank is cycled and established I would not use it unless there is ammonia in the source water and you say not, so that's that.

If you have a light over the tank, whatever it is, I would get some cheap stem or floating plants and toss them in. Live plants are amazing at filtering water, and stem and floating plants are fast growers. Even something as simple as duckweed will work here. Some stores have it and it hitches a ride with any fish you buy, so they may give you a spoonful--it will spread like wildfire.

I would also suggest a bacterial supplement. I would always use one if I startd a new tank without live plants. Tetra's SafeStart is one, Seachem's Stability is another. These are both 100% live bacteria, I have used the latter, and they do work. They "seed" the bacteria for cycling, they do not "cycle", they just speed it up initially by introducing live bacteria. Although this sounds like a cycling issue, the tank size still puzzles me with so few fish; but it won't hurt. Don't use other products if you can't get either of these. Just a small bottle, the smallest; only need it for a few days. Do your water change before adding it.

Do not add any more fish until the ones left stay alive beyond a week. If it is the bacteria cycle, it needs time; the supplement will help that.

Kym, I saw you were in this thread, any other suggestions?

Keep us posted, and good luck.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #7 of 48 Old 02-01-2011, 08:54 PM
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The only thing that jumped out at me was that it was an uncycled tank. The tank is certainly understocked, only seven fish in a 55gl, so I wouldn't think that there would be enough waste from seven fish to cause a huge ammonia or nitrite spike. I'd do as Byron suggests, get some plants and use Stability. I just wouldn't add anymore fish until I got a reading for nitrAtes.

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
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post #8 of 48 Old 02-01-2011, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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Ok well I ordered a whisper air pump and some bendable bubble wands that should arrive this week. I don't know if that will help anything. And Byron I will try that bacterial supplement that you suggested maybe that will help me. I should have time to go and pick some up tomorrow. But as far as the plants go I don't really want to deal with the hassle of live plants unless they will absolutely help and/or fix the problem. If I did get real plants I would need a new bulb correct? And would I have to trim them as well? Again I really appreciate the help guys I am really getting frustrated with my tank.l

Last edited by Blabomb; 02-01-2011 at 09:09 PM.
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post #9 of 48 Old 02-01-2011, 09:06 PM
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I do things a lot slower... I bring my fish home and rest the bag in for minimum 45 minutes not 7 and every 5 minutes I dribble in more tank water as my water is extreemly hard so just in case I take WAY longer. LFS is a half hour away so, different township so easily different ph, hardness etc. You should double the volume of water in your bag of fish and can't do that in one "addition". ph usually kills within a day or two if it is going to. Hope this helps.
By the way, you are doing a lot right... might not feel llike it but you are.

Every kid, regardless of what they are going through, is ONE caring adult away from being a success story. ~ Josh Shipp, Teen Behavior Expert
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post #10 of 48 Old 02-01-2011, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakiebabie View Post
I do things a lot slower... I bring my fish home and rest the bag in for minimum 45 minutes not 7 and every 5 minutes I dribble in more tank water as my water is extreemly hard so just in case I take WAY longer. LFS is a half hour away so, different township so easily different ph, hardness etc. You should double the volume of water in your bag of fish and can't do that in one "addition". ph usually kills within a day or two if it is going to. Hope this helps.
By the way, you are doing a lot right... might not feel llike it but you are.
Maybe the problem might be that my water is much harder/softer than the pet stores. How can I test to see the hardness of my water?

But maybe I am adding the fish too fast. Next time I add em I will follow your procedure.

But thank you for the words of encouragement. I did a lot of research and tried to do everything right which makes this issue even more frustrating :/
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