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my babies are dying and "gasping" for air - why?

This is a discussion on my babies are dying and "gasping" for air - why? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> When people say that their tank is "cycled" they are referring to the nitrogen cycle, not the product Cycle . If you don't know ...

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my babies are dying and "gasping" for air - why?
Old 01-09-2009, 02:14 PM   #21
Kim
 
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When people say that their tank is "cycled" they are referring to the nitrogen cycle, not the product Cycle . If you don't know what that is, I strongly suggest that you look it up online. Basically, it is the conversion through "benificial bacteria" of ammonia, to nitrite, and then to nitrate. All tanks need to go through the nitrogen cycle to be successful (unless it's a really small one that gets frequent 100% water changes). The reason that it is safe to be doing daily water changes for you to get ammonia down, is that the benificial bacteria mostly colonize on the filter and gravel and do not live in the water. So, taking the water out really does nothing to them. However, you can still "shock" your fish if the water parameters (such as pH and temperature) vary greatly from the new water to the old water. I would suggest getting a test kit, and until then doing daily 30% water changes (you've got a lot of fish in there!). Just don't vaccuum the gravel every time because that would kill your bacteria that are helping you to bring ammonia down.

Unfortunately, even if you have a really good filter you will still have ammonia problems in an overstocked tank. This is because the ammonia and organic wastes will still be present in the tank even if there are not solids floating around in the water column. The only way to actually remove ammonia in a tank having cycling problems like yours is by doing frequent water changes.

Even small amounts of chlorine are harmful to fish, so getting a good water conditioner should be a top priority.

It's good that you found this site . It really is a great place, and I hope we can help you get your tank through this. Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2009, 07:04 PM   #22
 
#1 Big Al's Aquarium Supplies: Fish Tanks, Stands, Decorations, Filters, Lighting they have a great selection and their shipping prices are a joke! I've just ordered from them
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:52 PM   #23
 
Wow, I was surprised to see so many more messages today....I was away from the computer for only 1 day!!

I managed to purchase an ammonia/nitrate/nitrite testing kit, and WHOA, the test results were off the chart. Literally, the sample was BLACK. I did another 40% or so water change, and tested it again a few hours later and it was STILL off the chart. I have done another 40% change today, so hopefully that will at least get me on the reference chart. I'll test the water in an hour or so.

The dying has stopped, and the fish actually look fantastic, and are full of energy. The filter I am using is an AquaClear 500, and it was part of a package I purchased with the 70 gallon tank. This is my first aquarium since I was 7, (and actually, that was just a fishbowl!!) so I just took their word that what they were supplying me with was adequate. I looked for a dechlorinating product yesterday, but Wal-Mart does not carry the "fancy" stuff. I see here though, that there is a comment that using a dechlorinator will kill the bacteria in the tank? Should I be using it then? I understand the chlorine is harmful, but don't they need the bacteria too?

I'm so green at this.............

Oh, and I will take a look at those other 2 supply websites. Thanks for the contacts!
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Old 01-10-2009, 06:27 PM   #24
 
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No, no! Using a dechlorinator will not kill the bacteria in your tank. But chlorine will harm the bacteria. Always use a dechlorinator when adding new water to your tank.
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:10 AM   #25
 
That filter you have is definitely appropriate for your tank under a normal bio-load for that size tank. But I think your bio-load is quite high with all of those fish. Give it another week or so of daily water changes and see how your test kits read. Things will probably settle down as the bacteria catches up to your bio-load.

But as the little guys grow you will probably get ammonia spikes again and eventually exceed what that filter can handle. You should probably start looking into adding more filtration in the near future (say within the next month). You could add another hang on back filter, or look into an under gravel filter. Look around at the amount of filtration that folks use in african rift lake cichlid tanks, which are often intentionally designed to be overstocked with fish. But for now I would just research the new filtration and not buy anything until you find that you can't keep the water parameters under control.
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Old 01-13-2009, 10:34 PM   #26
 
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Do a 33% water change immediately, most likely ammonia stress...do you have the water parameters? Do make sure you use a de-chlorinator. Your bio-filter was most-likely way over-loaded.

I don't use salt but I was always told to make sure it is completely dissolved before you put it in.

Last edited by Sj45; 01-13-2009 at 10:41 PM..
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:08 AM   #27
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishrookie View Post
Wow, I was surprised to see so many more messages today....I was away from the computer for only 1 day!!

I managed to purchase an ammonia/nitrate/nitrite testing kit, and WHOA, the test results were off the chart. Literally, the sample was BLACK. I did another 40% or so water change, and tested it again a few hours later and it was STILL off the chart. I have done another 40% change today, so hopefully that will at least get me on the reference chart. I'll test the water in an hour or so.

The dying has stopped, and the fish actually look fantastic, and are full of energy. The filter I am using is an AquaClear 500, and it was part of a package I purchased with the 70 gallon tank. This is my first aquarium since I was 7, (and actually, that was just a fishbowl!!) so I just took their word that what they were supplying me with was adequate. I looked for a dechlorinating product yesterday, but Wal-Mart does not carry the "fancy" stuff. I see here though, that there is a comment that using a dechlorinator will kill the bacteria in the tank? Should I be using it then? I understand the chlorine is harmful, but don't they need the bacteria too?

I'm so green at this.............

Oh, and I will take a look at those other 2 supply websites. Thanks for the contacts!
Any further update on how your fish are doing? Hopefully recovering and doing well.
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Old 01-23-2009, 02:23 AM   #28
 
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A 70g tank is pretty reasonable but with over 100 goldfish I would have guessed that your ammonia was off the charts. Water changes, water changes, water changes. That's really all I can tell you. It may be that you're so overstocked that you'll never really get things under control, unfortunately, but it's worth a shot. Keep doing 40% water changes every day and hopefully that ammonia will go down. If the tank was up and running for two years, you likely had a decent colony of bacteria in your filter in the first place, but all of those added fish were simply too much for it to handle. Good luck!
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Old 01-23-2009, 11:10 PM   #29
 
Well, things are going really well over here now. The ammonia is still high, but I have been doing daily water changes, and it is improving. I also added some ammonia neutralizing tablets, and that brought the levels down too. Everyone in there looks great! I have found a home for many of the young ones....the challenge is lining up a time when I can meet with her, where the fish won't be stuck in a bucket for too long.

Therefore, I don't think I'll be needing the extra filter in the long run. Once the fish numbers come down, things will be back to normal. And, come April, all but 5 of those fish will be thrown out in the pond, and then we'll be REALLY good for about 7 months!

Just wanted to say thanks a lot for all the assistance you guys gave me. I have mentioned this site a LOT lately and how great your responses were. I'm sure I'll have more questions as I go along, so I look forward to talking to you all again. Have a great weekend!
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:13 PM   #30
 
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Really glad to hear that things are improving. April is just around the corner
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