........to be a fish in my tank.
This is a pretty sorry story, so gather round and give it a listen.
Started 55 gal tank project back before Christmas. Built stand, bought tank, bought plants and all the other stuff, and set tank up. With plants only. Tank bowed, bought new tank, took all stuff out of first tank, and put in second tank.
Before Christmas bought some cherry barbs. Already put in the Tetra Safe tank product, and was treating all water with Seachem product. Also fertilizing with the Seachem product.
Have tested water from about 12/28 or so. Consistent pH 7.4-7.6, NH3 has never been yellow, but not as chartreuse as the first gradient, I think .25. Nitrate and Nitrate have never been off 0. Water at 78.
So…my first fish were a “mess” of cories. After those that were messed up in shipping, I have 6 elegans, 6 pandas and 2 “three lined” not julii but look like julii.
Ok, New Year’s Eve I started getting antsy since my two “centerpiece fish” shipments were way overdue, and while I love cories, all I had in the water column were several cherry barbs. In a knee jerk reaction I purchased, just as they were closing for New Year’s Eve, two gold gouramis, one was kind of Godzilla size the other regular.
I acclimated these guys and eventually dumped them in. The big guy was mondo aggressive from the git-go, and I was advised, via this forum, to get them out of tank before my next shipment arrived.
All this time, tank testing is consistent, water is clear, everyone, less the smaller gourami is pretty happy.
Last Tuesday my two German Rams arrived, in a good warm box and they looked good. After acclimation into the mix they went and were immediately harassed by both gouramis.
At this point I was expecting one more shipment, either Thursday or Friday, I knew I needed the Gouramis out by the time it came, after seeing their reaction to the rams.
Wednesday after work, the Gouramis were still chasing. I first (please don’t laff) tried scooping them up with first a small net and then a smaller net. Only managed to de-root most of my plants (that have done great, by the way) knocked over my driftwood, and stirred up sand.
Next I went back to my fly tying bench, and tied a size 22 Gourami fly, with a bit of red sparkling tensil to simulate a frozen bloodworm. I put some bloodworms in the water, then my fly, and got an immediate look from the big Gourami, but not a bite. (Oh I had mashed down the bard, already, I do that to all my flies). I then “threaded” a little piece of bloodworm on the 22 hook (they are very small hooks) but the Gouramis were not taking. And foolishly still messin with the rams, so….I then drained my tank down to about three inches. That is a fify five, so probably an 80-90% water change.
But I caught the Gouramis and bagged them. About that time, as I was conditioning the water prior to refill, the phone rang and it was my neighbor telling me she had a box of fish for me..they had come in today’s (Wednesday mail).
That was bad.
I had fish from Oregon in a box, they were cold, my tank was drained. I knew this was not good. It gets worse.
So.. I filled the tank and redid the driftwood and plants, put in all the rest of my fert tabs, left the gouramis in a bag in the tank, went and got the fish, and though they were in her house, the water was very cold, and floated the bags, with the top open to acclimate the fish to the water temp. I had three bags, 4 bose. Rainbowfish, 8 Celestial Pearl Danios, and a small number of very tiny Pork Chop Rasboras.
I took the gouramis back to Petsmart and without receipt got credit for them. More props to our Petsmart, and returned home.
I am thinking this deal was suppose to relieve stress.
I next did two rounds of introducing tank water into the bags. It was obvious already the the rams were enormously happy with the departure of the gouramis. One bright spot.
I turned the new guys into aquarium and had an awesome scene. Fish at top, middle and a lot activity along bottom.
One rainbow fish was pretty big and I think he may have dined on a danio or two. Very expensive meal, by the way.
Anyway, off to bed.
Home from work on Thursday. Two rainbowfish dead on the bottom, two others at surface gasping, both rams at surface gasping, and all barbs at surface. Water very cloudy, but water tests were consistent with what I have had after the first week.
I did a 10% change, just to do something, but just watched in dismay.
Friday morning only one Rainbowfish active, and upon return from work on Friday, it too was dead. The rams are hanging in there, but they are at surface 90% of time. The others are not at surface quite as much, but they are up there more than I have seen them. The water is even more cloudy. Today I dumped another bottle of Tetra Start Safe, or whatever it is called, in , and that is all I know to do. The rams, do not appear to be breathing too fast, and all fins are moving, which I think is positive. Filter is pushing water fine. Temperature is constant.
I do not know what happened, but I figure it had to do with the massive water change to catch the gouramis. All the fish that came with the rainbowfish, appeared healthy upon receipt, no DOA, but the four “glamour fish” were all dead within 48 hours.
I talked to a fellow at LFS and he also opined, when I finished my tale, that the water change was too much, given the circumstances. Contrary to EVERYONE I have talked to locally, this guy, 45 minutes away, was quite willing to order fish. I think I have found my fish guy!!
I realize the pH is a bit high for german rams, but I have decided not to work on that until I get the tank stable, clear and healthy. I did take the charcoal filter out of my Eheim 2215 today as it has been a bit over 2 weeks since running and the instructions said to remove it. Filter and inlet/outlet looked fine. Running quiet and pushing water.
Any ideas on what happened, how to prevent in the future, or any triage steps to save what I have.
My dear wife is still speaking and has expressed some sympathy, but I can guarantee you she is not ready for any more big hits to the visa card!
As always, thanks in advance!