newbie. un explained fish loss tropical tank - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-04-2013, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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newbie. un explained fish loss tropical tank

Hello fellow fish keepers.

We have had a tank established for almost 12 months, details are as follows

160 litre tank
fluval filter pump
air stone

we are having a lot of unexplained fish deaths, well fish dissapearances???

In the tanks we have

2 clown loach approx 1.5 inches
3 clown loach about 3/4 inch
3 silver sharks (1 about 2.5 inches)
2 lamb chop rasboras
1 blue neon and 1 orange neon
a plec
an amano shrimp
2 mollies
and various small guppies that have managed to survive

lately we have been losing fish and finding eaten remnants on the bottom of the tank. over the last couple of weeks we have lost 2 guppies, a platy, 2 rasboras, 2 orange neons and 2 upside down cat fish.

We have taken a sample of the water to be tested and all was fine except the ph was slightly low, they are all swimming about eating well (flake and blood worm plus plec tablets when he is not quick enough!)

We did a 50 litre water change, added some easy balance and vaccumed the gravel, cleaned filter etc....

We just cannot understand why we are losing them, could it be that the other fish are killing them?
thanks in advance
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-04-2013, 01:39 PM
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Can you please post specific parameters?

Other than that I don't have personal experience with most of those fish, but from what I have heard and from what the profiles suggest (click the shaded name), Clown Loaches require a 6 foot tank at minimum. They get quite large. I'd recommend rehoming/returning them.

What exact species is the silver shark? Could you post a picture? :)
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-04-2013, 01:53 PM
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I would presume they meant bala shark Jen. Also in need of a 6-8 foot tank. Should also be in groups of at least 5. Less than, combined with a small space, could be one of the reasons- as both of these will increase the likelihood of aggression.

What is ""fine""? Could you post specifics? Am, nitrites, nitrates, kh, gh, ph, temp. All these help with your problem as specifics are important. What are your tank measurements?

The "eaten remnants" might be from attack, but also likely is that if not removed immediately, the plec would have a munch on the dead.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-04-2013, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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i dont know the perameters are as we take the sample to pets at home for testing and they tell us through the colour chart.
The tank is 3ft by 1ft by 1ft.

We were told by the aquatics centre that the clown loach and bala shark would be good community fish and fine in the tank we have we did know that we would need a bigger tank when they got bigger.

I feel like we have been duped into buying fish unsuitable for our set up.

The temp is 29c. Has lots of live and plastic plants and
Hidey holes the aquatics centre will only take fish back within 48 hours and only if they show signs of illness.
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-04-2013, 03:23 PM
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I'd take them back anyway and demand the manager. Kick up a fuss, ask to speak to head office if they say no etc etc.

Bigger tank is not the word, it'd need to be at least 6 foot, pref 8.

I was told the same thing, luckily I came on here Before and found out. Your certainly not the first nor will be the last tks be told this. Clown loach and balas are my 2 greatest wants probably, and one day, when I get the tank, I'll get them. Even juvenile balas shouldn't be in a tank less than 48 inches as they are super active, and need All that length. And that 48 is good for about 6 months, even then, housing a fish in tank too small, can cause problems with their development; internal growth problems, skeletal problems amongst many others and all this goes to increasing the fishes stress, proneness to illness, and overall long term health.

Sorry to be a bummer, but at least you've taken the time to find out and hopefully do the best for your fish.
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-04-2013, 04:02 PM
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Added to the above, I haven't even looked into the compatibility of all them fish, but I'd be surprised if they all fit together. (At work and posting on phone so it's hard to look and compare them all)

You've also got neons, do you mean tetras? If so these are shoaling fish and your looking at keeping them in groups of like 6 upwards, and with fish so small, numbers like 10/12 would be better. Along with the small note, do these really fit with fish so large as the clowns and balas?!? 1 inch fish with fish that reach 14 inches. I'd have a stab at no! Especially when the larger fish are in a confined space and likely feeling aggressive.

I know nothing of mollies, as a whole because I just don't like them. Lol.

Also, what plec is it? I'd hope not a common plec, those bad boys reach 50cm plus, and once again, need a huge tank just to turn themselves around!

Check your fish profiles out - there's a link on the "toolbar" at the top of the page, most are posted by people like Byron, who a lot of people on here would consider an 'expert' amongst others.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-04-2013, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the replies. We have decided to rehome the sharks n clown loaches as we have only had the tank 12 months we are not ready yet to upgrade.
We thought we had done enough homework but obviously not.
Its a pity the places that sell these fish are more after sales than welfare and incorrect advise is abound....
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-04-2013, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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The plec a rhino plec
And the neon we have left was one of 6 the rest we have lost.
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-04-2013, 06:18 PM
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Ahh, Thats a shame, maybe once the other fish have been re-homed you can add them some new schooling buds

Yes it is a shame, but whilst on this forum, researching fish, and even through my own experiences, it is indeed rife, and will no doubt continue to happen whilst LFS's put profit margins before fish welfare.

I took the time to look up rhino plecs as well, which is damn hard as there is hardly anything definitive, if at all profile wise out there for them (including here byron ) But from the 3 half useful ones i found, and they were half useful, 2 said 70+ gallons and the other said 30+ gallons. So........i haves no idea - maybe someone who has owned one can help, or post up looking for info in the pleco section of the forums.

Also thought i'd link you this, because i have lots of free time tonight, haha...
About as cheap as you can buy it anywhere i've found - pets at home for instance its 32 quid i think. You'd be much MUCH better off testing your own water weekly and even keeping track of this - or at least changes etc - as i kept them all, but now will only note fluctuations as always the same - I've had none yet. lol. What pets at home consider fine - which an example of is keeping balas and clown loaches in a 3ft tank - might not be what you consider fine etc. E.g nitrates, Most people consider 20ppm too high for their tanks, but there are a lot who think 40/80 is acceptable. Mine for instance has never risen above around 3ppm -lots of live plants help - and i'd have to start asking questions if it was suddenly 20ppm. Something you'll never know if you rely on them to tell you ''it's fine.''

You've actually kept fish longer than me, and im just telling you what iv learned through absolutely absorbing as much info as i can on a constant basis, i literally research fish/read here like 16 hours a day...little obsessed. haha. So hope its not coming across as patronizing etc.

Also- I'll happily pimp some of byrons articles on various issues on these forums. He regularly links me them when i ask questions and they are quite comprehensive. There are alsol a LOT of other knowledgeable fish people on here!

Ok, thats enough for this post me thinks

Last edited by Nilet699; 01-04-2013 at 06:21 PM.
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-05-2013, 12:52 PM
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Other members have mentioned the fish species compatibility/size issues and you are moving ahead so no need to dwell on that. Good choice to return the fish.

Before getting any more, you should find out your source water (presumably tap water) parameters. These are important. The GH (general hardness) and KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity) plus the pH. Your water supply people should have this data, probably on a website even. Check into that and give us the numbers. This will help us suggest fish that will be suited to your water, and this makes things much easier.

Second, a test kit for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate is a very good investment, and the API liquid kit is one of the best. Well worth the investment. If you do need to get tests done in a store, always ask for the numbers; write them down, as what is "fine" to a person in the store may not be fine to us. The pH being "low" for example...what is the store person's concept of "low" pH? If they think the pH should be at 7 (which many mistakenly do advocate), and it tests at 6.5, they might consider that low; but for tetra that is not low but in some ways almost "high" in fact, and not a concern at all. But here too, we don't know how "low" relates to your tap water pH. If your tap water is close to the tank water, it is good as far as the water chemistry goes. Everything is relative, and can't be taken out of context.

Almost forgot...welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.


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]

Last edited by Byron; 01-05-2013 at 12:55 PM.
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