Twas not a good day........ - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-15-2011, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Twas not a good day........ 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!

new bern
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-15-2011, 09:33 PM
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I wouldn't put any new fish in until your tank has cycled.

When you refilled the tank, did you do it with warm water or cold? Temperature shock might also have had something to do with it?
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post #3 of 13 Old 01-15-2011, 11:03 PM
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You didn't say what the water parameters were when you first noticed the problems or any time since then.

60 gallon FOWLR in progress
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-16-2011, 04:48 AM
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oh dear how awful.
i wonder if it was just all of it put together ?
new fish are often very sensitive,possibly used for cycling then returned.
as above,don't buy anything else until your filter has had time to catch up.

when you set up a new tank,hide an extra
sponge or two behind some decor,that way you have
something seeded for you next filter.
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jcinnb (01-16-2011)
post #5 of 13 Old 01-16-2011, 07:37 AM Thread Starter
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First of all thank you for reading such a tome. I was not sure anyone would, but it was a bit theraputic regardless.

The water parameters have remained maddeningly constant. pH between 7.4 - 7.6 and no indication at all of either nitrate or nitrate..On the API kit, blue and yellow ALWAYS. The NH3 has varied a tad, never quite yellow, normally just below .25, and once maybe a little over .25, but only once, and that was before the rams went in. I track all this stuff on an excel spreadsheet.

Someone might think I don't know how to do the tests, and I might not, but I have followed the directions religiously. Additionally I have an undergrad degree in Oceanography and have done 1,000's of water tests in the distant past. I know about pre-rinsing, swirling not sloshing and about measuring to the meniscus. Having said that, I always hated the color matching bit.

I think I am getting good readings and that I am doing the tests correctly.

As to filling with water temp proper. I am very aware of this, and more than once I have stopped and changed the water temp. I am 99.9% sure I filled at good temp on the big refill, but I am not certain. On reflection, I cannot be sure, I know I was in a hurry (had fish from Oregon in a cold box to deal with, and I know how sensitive Rams are. I think If I had not I would have noticed the red lights on the heater on, and I did not notice that, but cannot say for certain on the temp.

And, finally, unless someone tells me a magic trick, I am doing nothing until the tank is crystal clear, the readings stay the same and the fish get out of the surface film..will probably be weeks.

Thank all who have read.
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-16-2011, 07:41 AM
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I'm sorry to hear about your frustration and dead fishies. Agree to just sit back and wait for your tank to cycle then start over with the fish you want.

Don't give up. In a month or so you'll have a great little showpiece,

Animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
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post #7 of 13 Old 01-16-2011, 07:48 AM
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don't give up hope,it will be fine...honest. :)
no magic tricks that are worthy,only patience my friend.

when you set up a new tank,hide an extra
sponge or two behind some decor,that way you have
something seeded for you next filter.
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-16-2011, 01:37 PM
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So sorry to hear about your fish losses. It can be very frustrating to lose so many in a short time. I know it was probably not funny at the time but I had to smile at the image of you trying to "fish" for your gourami using the fly.

If you never showed a reading for nitrates your tank was not cycled yet. I think it was just too many fish added at once to a tank that was still cycling. Keep testing daily or every other day to watch for your ammonia and nitrite spikes. Do water changes as needed to keep your surviving fish comfortable. When your ammonia and nitrites drop to 0 and you have a reading for nitrates then you can think about gradually adding more fish. Good luck!

150 Gallon - Mostly American Cichlids
135 Gallon - Angelfish Community
75 Gallon - Odd couple (Polleni/Angelfish)
55 Gallon - African tank
20 Gallon Long - QT
10 Gallon - Empty
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post #9 of 13 Old 01-16-2011, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jeaninel View Post
.... but I had to smile at the image of you trying to "fish" for your gourami using the fly.....If you never showed a reading for nitrates your tank was not cycled yet.
I thought it was pretty funny, and I really thought it would have been successful since they went at blood worms with reckless abandon.

I had plants in the aquarium for a week and then cherry barbs for about a week before I got my test kit. The tank is planted heavily,and I have four "blobs" of hornwort floating around/aground just for nitrate absorbtion.

It never dawned on my the tank had not cycled. But I have never seen ANY spikes and have never had even the most remote reading for nitrate.

Oops! We are just waiting now, watching a very cloudy tank with no "showcase fish" left alive. I lost the two rams today who had been hanging on.

Thanks for responses
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-16-2011, 10:56 PM
I am SO sorry to hear about your terrible losses.. I would have been totally distraught.

I am glad you found a more local fish guy to work with. Also, I find if you can find fish more locally then even fish who say need a certain type of water have already acclimated to the water in the LFS,which if local should be very similar to yours. so perhaps its not as critical as watching the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.

Hang in there,

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