Fish keep dying - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 02-03-2013, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Fish keep dying

I have a 55 gallon tank which has been set up and running for several months. It has undergravel filtration as well as a "hang on the back " filter system. Both seem to be working well. I am having a problem with fish dying within 24 hrs. of being put in the tank. I have had the water tested at two different pet stores and the water tests out fine, ammonia, nitrates, etc. all at good levels. I am not new to keeping tropical fish and have never encountered a problem of this type. My latest experience was with feeder goldfish purchased last night and brought straight home from the store. I let the bags float in the tank for about 45 minutes before releasing the fish. They were immediately active, showed no signs of stress and ate readily after an hour or they are all dead. I would appreciate any help anyone can offer as I am at my wit's end......I've had goldfish live for years in nothing but a fish bowl!
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post #2 of 4 Old 02-03-2013, 11:16 PM
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Ok, suppose we have to start with as many details as poss please about your tank.......anything to do with it please much infor would be helpful, and possible pictures too. Fish/plants/substrate/invertebrates, 'normal' levels of ph, gh, kh, ammonia, nitrites and trates.

Reading your post, from the sounds of it, you do not acclimate your fish to the water? Floating is used to balance out the temp, but thats all it does. Fish can go into shock if taken from one water source....lets be extreme.....with a Ph of 3 in the bag, and put into the tank at 9. Also the differing levels of am, trites and trates can have the same effect. The best way to deal with this is what is commonly referred to as the 'drip method.' Basically after letting the bag float in the tank for approx 15 mins for temp acclimation, roll down the sides of the bag so it floats open side up - i peg mine to the side of the tank too - and set up a bit of air line tubing with a knot tied into it so that there is a slow drip of water into the bag. Other options, and what i prefer as its easier for me, is just to slowly add little bits of water from the tank to the bag every 5/10 mins. I start off very small, say, 50ml, and slowly increase the amount that goes in by, say, another 50ml each 10mins.

I would also think about what you do after you add the fish. Moving for them can be traumatic and the best thing we can do to help them keep calm during this time is keep them in the dark. Hence why your LFS no doubt puts the fish bag in a brown paper bag, or something similar. This goes for the tank too. Before you start floating them.......turn the lights in your tank off and leave them off. For the Whole day. And there is no need to feed them. Leave them alone and let them 'find their feet' that first day stress free. A nice quiet environment would also help.

As for the reasons for their deaths so far, with current info, we can only speculate and from what we have, id say stress/shock may be a factor in it.

As per keeping goldfish in a bowl that you mentioned, well my opinion on that piece of animal cruelty isnt for the eyes of the children that might read this

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post #3 of 4 Old 02-04-2013, 10:01 AM
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Isblackston, welcome to Tropcal Fish Keeping forum.

As Nilet posted, we need more data. Just as a doctor can't determine sickness without all the facts, neither can we.

And I'll add one thing, when having water tested at a fish store, always ask them for the test numbers. To those with experience, the specific numbers can speak volumes, and finding a problem is much easier.


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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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 4 Old 02-04-2013, 10:45 AM
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Drip acclimation is the way to go. I drip acclimate all fish and inverts for a half hour before they go in the tank. In addition to getting the fish acclimated to the tank water so they're less stressed and less likely to suffer some sort of shock and die, you avoid putting so much of the store's water in your tank.
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