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This is a discussion on Tank Advise within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> To suggest the probable issue causing the fish losses we need to know more about the tank. I've read through this thread but there ...

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Old 10-11-2010, 01:04 PM   #11
Byron's Avatar
To suggest the probable issue causing the fish losses we need to know more about the tank. I've read through this thread but there is a mix of "intended" and what you may have now, so I want to sort it out.

What size is the current tank? What fish exactly are now in it?

You have live plants, correct me if this is wrong. You do 50% water changes every week, correct?

What conditioner are you using? And is anything else (chemical, "stuff", whatever) going in the tank now (or previously)?

Water: do you know the pH of your tank and the tap water; hardness of tap water? what readings are you getting in the tank for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? Have you tested the tap water for these three (you should, some tap water has one or more of these)? What is the tank water temp?

A comment on feeding fish; once a day is plenty for mature fish (fry need more to develop/grow properly at first), and even missing a day or two a week will cause no harm. Only feed what they can clean up in a few minutes, the only exception being sinking food for bottom fish. But flakes for instance should be gone before they reach the bottom, or you are adding too much.

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Old 10-12-2010, 12:44 AM   #12
Tank size: 55g
Fish: 2 tiger barbs 3" (there was three when i got the tank, one died.)
2 bala sharks 6"
1 pleco 8"
1 catfish 7" (not sure what kind)
1 catfish 2" (not sure what kind)
4 lampeye tetra 1" (i added five, one died)
4 clown loaches 2" (i added)
1 black molly 3"
1 hatchet fish 1"

plants: 7 not sure what, and i have had the tank for about 4 weeks, and have done about 20% change two weeks and this weekend was the first 50% = so two 20% and one 50%

chemical: tetraaqua- aquasafe
API: accu-clear
leaf zone
stress coat
ph test kit
ammonia test kit
aquarium salt (frsh water)
Top Fin: ammonia remover
Bacteria supplement
Food: tetracolor tropical crisps
filter: topfin 60

PH: 7.6 was the same as the tab color
ammonia: 0.0
nitrate/ nitrite: dont have a tester i guess.
temp: dont have a working thermometer

Water: i used hose water and i did not test it, and also after i changed out the water, friend said never to use garden hose, had no idea.
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Old 10-12-2010, 01:08 PM   #13
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Well, I'm not sure where to start. But the most serious issues are with all the "stuff" going in the water.

Salt does not belong in a freshwater aquarium. Some fish are sensitive to salt, some like catfish and characins especially so. I have written in detail on this elsewhere and won't repeat all that here as there are other issues that need addressing as well. But do not use salt.

Water clarifiers work by binding the particles so the filter media can more easily remove them; unfortunately they also bind the fish's gills. While this may not outright kill the fish, it is stressful and weakens them, so other issues are even more problematic than they would otherwise be. Don't ever use this stuff in a tank with fish.

Chemicals to adjust pH should never be added to an aquarium containing fish. The pH of water depends upon several factors, one of which is the hardness. The harder the water, the more it "buffers" the pH to prevent it from fluctuating [usually a good thing]. Adding pH up or pH down temporarily adjusts the pH, then the natural "buffers" bring it back, and the resulting fluctuation is worse than leaving it at a stable even if not "preferred" pH. This severely stresses out any fish, and again weakens them. The scientific reason is similar to the effect of salt on the internal organs, but I won't get into that at this time. Plus, using both up and down adjusters is double the trouble. You didn't say what the tap water pH is, it may be OK as is.

AquaSafe and StressCoat are both water conditioners; use only one at a time, to treat new water during a water change. Both together may have no detrimental effects, I can't say how the chemicals in either may inter-react, but adding anything unnecessarily to a tank with fish is always inadvisable, and it wastes the products, so use only what is needed of one or the other at water changes.

Not everyone endorses bacterial supplements. I do, provided it is pure live bacteria. Seachem's Stability and Tetra's SafeStart are 100% live bacteria and in a new tank they can do no harm but can add live nitrifying bacteria to "seed" the tank.

Any one or combination of the above can lead to fish losses. I won't try to surmise which.

There are problems with the selection of fish in this tank, but I'll leave that. Once the tank is settled, you need to decide which fish you want and build on that. Many of these need groups, some are not compatible with certain others.

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Old 10-12-2010, 06:05 PM   #14
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At the risk of flooding you with information, I'm going to try to tackle some of the fish selection, but Byron is right, your water additives are the first big issue here.

1) Tiger Barbs need to be in groups. Preferably large groups to offset their very active and nippy nature. We're talking 8 fish here minimum. Ideally more. They're great fish, but you need to keep them in groups and away from passive fish with long flowing fins (think Angels, Guppies, Mollies, etc.)

2) Bala Sharks get huge! And they need groups as well. This is another fine example of a fish that people don't get told gets big when it's purchased. We're talking 14-16" here, so the guys you have are NOT done growing. In a 55g tank you're going to need to rehome them. Either to a larger tank at your house, or somewhere else.

3) Common Pleco's get huge as well, as you're finding out since the one you have is already 8". In this case you're looking at 12" minimum. More likely 15-20" long term. Again, this fish gets too large for your 55 gallon tank.

4) The catfish are iffy without knowing what species they are. Some get large and some don't. Many require groups for health. I'd work on trying to identify these two guys.

5) From my minimal research, the Lampeyes (sometimes known as Red Eye Tetras) will be fine in this setup. If you like them and want to keep them, avoid sedate fish the same as you would with the tiger barbs. They're most likely dying on you right now because of your water, which byron covered. Again, groups are advised.

6) Clown loaches again get rather large. 8 to 12" is common, with a bit more not unheard of. Like the Pleco, they look small when you buy them and get big pretty rapidly. They also like groups (5 or 6 min). You might could keep these guys for a while since you bought them small, but they'll also need a larger tank in the long run.

7) The molly is a livebearer and tends to like hard, basic water. This is the opposite of pretty much everything you've mentioned so far that likes neutral to soft, acidic water. Test your tap and if it's hard and basic you can head this way, otherwise this little molly won't be happy in the long run.

8) The hatchetfish are in the characin group and also need friends of the same species to feel safe. Here we're talking 6 total minimum. They're also a more peaceful fish and won't appreciate the antics of the tiger barbs especially (the clown loaches are also active but stay near the bottom).

I didn't go into this kind of detail to be mean. As you've said you were pretty much handed this tank out of nowhere. I'm just trying to arm you with the info you need to decide where you want to take this tank in the long run. Personally, I think a shoal of Tiger Barbs and a shoal of the Lampeye Tetras is a great place to start on an active, riverscape type tank. Good luck.
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