Scissortail Rasbora keep suddenly dying
Iv had 3 of these fish for a couple of months now, no problem. They were in a smaller 10g tank and recently they were transferred over to a 20g tall. Since i had more space i decided to add a couple of more fish to the tank just so they could have a bigger school. I purchased 5 more. The odd thing is that slowly and one by one they scissortails have been passing away.
Iv checked the ammonia and the Ph levels and everything is normal. I also went as far as taking a water sample to 2 pet stores to get it checked out and i was told the same thing, everything was fine.
In my tank i have one bristlenose pleco, betta, 5 shrimp, 5 julii catfish, 2 mystery snails and now only 2 of my scissortails left (I had 8 mind you). At first I thought maybe I didn't acclimate the fish slowly enough because the first fish to die were the 5 i bought. The first few days the fish were fine, then they started dropping like flies and i lost all 5 over a 3 day period. I checked the water parameters and everything seemed well, so i thought maybe the fish were sick from the store until this morning. One of the 3 scissortails i originally had for several months from my 10g passed away this morning, leaving me with only two i originally had. So far, neither of the other fish (cory/shrimp) have died since i purchased them... except for one ghost shrimp who was just DOA.
Any ideas on whats going on?
I also have some plants, a water lily, anacharis, 2 bamboo, a marimo moss ball and a couple of pieces of driftwood and one big piece of wood that may still be leaking tannins (all of these purchased from petco/petsmart.)
I just checked the Ph and its somewhere between 7.0 - 7.2 (It's been very slightly fluxing because of my new driftwood). Also, I've been doing partial water changes bi-daily since establishing my new tank to help keep the new bioload down.
Any help is appreciated.
Also note, I realized afterwards I did not set up my tank correctly. My 10g was established but I only let my 20g cycle for a short period of time (a couple days rather than weeks :/). I used my old gravel from my 10g, my old plants, some decor with algae on it and even an old filter to help speed up the process but I still fear I put my fish in MUCH too soon.(I would like to blame the petco guys for saying it was okay to just plop my fish in right away, but its my fault for listening to them :P). I know the number one fish killer is inexperience, which is why I'm trying to see what I can do now to help save my other fish. Everyone else seems fine in my tank, but I worry nonetheless.
There are a few possibilities.
The new fish might have carried something which claimed them, and has now spread to the older fish. This happens. I assume you did not quarantine the new fish but added them directly to the 20g; how did you acclimate them?
Second, there might have been ammonia or nitrite high at some point. What are the numbers for both? Which test kit do you have? Were you testing daily after the new tank was set up, and when was that? And when did the new fish arrive?
Thbird is aggression from the Betta. Have you seen any evidence? It may occur when you are not looking--were any of the rasbora missing fins? How were they acting?
What is the temperature? How often do you do a partial water change, and how much volume? What conditioner? Are any other substances going into the tank?
Well I acclimated them the same way I acclimate all my fish, and I've never had a problem before. I float the bags in the tank to adjust the temp (about 15 minutes) then I put the fish and the store's water into a small 1/2g plastic container. I add some dechlorinated tap water to give the fish just enough room to swim in without trouble (usually 1 - 1 1/2 cups). Then over the course of about half an hour I take out some of the petstore water and replace it with an equal amount of my tanks water. Usually no more than half a cup at a time, until the water is all from the tank. Then I net the fish after they've calmed down and put them in the tank. Like I said, never had a problem before.
I know they're not that great, but I use test strips to test for nitrite, nitrate, alkalinity and hardness. The strips also test for the chlorine content (which has never been anything but 0 in any test I've ever done) and pH. I tend to ignore/forget about the chlorine because it never has been a problem, and I use my API pH liquid test drops to test my pH (I trust it more than the strips).
As of right now my nitrite and nitrate readings are both at 0. My hardness reading is about 200ppm (the tap in my town is always VERY hard, but my old scissortails, betta and pleco never seemed to mind it before). My alkalinity reading is around 120 -180 according to my strips and my pH is at 7.2.
Any advice on how to get these readings into ideal range would be greatly appreciated. Bear with me, I'm still learning :p
As for everything else I use NovAqua Plus by Kordon as my conditioner and always have. My Betta for the most part ignores all my other fish. I have never seen any aggression from him toward any of the other fish in my tank, only moderate curiosity from time to time (they stay out of each others way). None of the scissortails were missing any fins or had any sort of physical damage whatsoever.
When I do water changes, I always do at least 25%, probably more like 35% though more often than not. I have my heater set to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius).
Also, not sure if it maters, I have two filters in my aquarium. I have a fluval U2 (20g - 30g) set to the lowest setting and a Marina i25 (6.6g) on opposite sides of the tank. the U2 is underwater for circulation and the i25 is a waterfall type (very gentle) that I use to help aerate the tank. I have the settings kept low so my betta doesn't get overwhelmed, but there is also a nice current toward the mid range that the scissortails would occasionally swim in and that help my plants.
Thanks for this info, it allows us to dismiss some possibles. You didn't mention how long this new tank was running when the new fish went in. I am thinking there could have been a sharp rise in ammonia and/or nitrite at some point, and both would test zero now.
The acclimation is fine except for the tap water added at the start. I would leave the fish in the bag if there is insufficient bag water for the container, and add tank water to the bag in stages. Adding water with yet another varying set of parameters will increase stress. Not suggesting this was the cause, just a suggestion for the future.
Well I did a 50% water change from my 10g and used that to partially fill and start my new tank. I added equal amount of new gravel and old gravel (from my 10g) and put my old filter running in the new tank to circulate the good bacteria. I also replanted my old plants in the tank and added one piece of aquarium decor.
I let that run for a couple days (I think 4 days? Maybe 3 and a half more exactly) before I filled it all the way up with dechlorinated tap water so the tank was almost full. I let that run for only a couple hours. That 4th day I bought the 5 corys and the 5 scissortails. I acclimated the fish in a larger plastic container than usual (since there were more fish than usual). I'll be the first to admit I was hasty because I filled up the 20g with about half of the water from my 10g, swapped the rest of the gravel into the new tank, added the last piece of decor and my heater. The temp was a little low (about 75 degrees Fahrenheit) and my test strip came out fine. The pH and water hardness were a little high, but I didn't think it would be that big of a deal. The pH I'm pretty sure was right between 7.2 and 7.8 and the hardness has stayed pretty steady at around 220ppm since I tested it initially.
So here's a basic time line:
6/28 - bought tank, added gravel and 1/4th full of old aquarium water. I did not test the water 6/28, 6/29, 6/30
7/1 - filled tank all the way, added new cory(x5), new scissortails(x5), old scissortails(x3), old betta(x1), old mystery snails(x2), ghost shrimp(x5) and old bn pleco(x1). I did not test the water parameters this first day which may be where my problems started :/
7/2 - all fish seemed to be adjusting fine, I threw out the strip but I believe the only thing odd was if I remember correctly the nitrite pad(its color coded) had just a slight tint of pink meaning the levels were somewhere between 0 and >.5ppm but it was so minor I didn't take it into account for anything. I probably should have. At 10pm I noticed the 1st scissortail died. (he was new and the smallest so at first I wasn't too concerned, just though it was a fluke)
7/3 - woke up to 2 dead scissortail(both new). around 3pm found another one passed away(also new) and within an hour found the last one dead as well, leaving the 3 old fish who appeared fine. did water tests and again, everything seemed fine. It was after I lost all 5 that I took two water samples; one to petco and one to petsmart. Both places told me the only thing was my pH was a little high, but other than everything was fine and had no explanations about my poor fish :[ That night I also added a new piece of driftwood that was still leaking some tanic acid(tannins), but I didn't mind because of my perpetually high pH from my tap
7/4 - woke up to one of my original 3 scissortails dead (I could tell the difference because my scissortails spots on their tails were lighter than the new ones). I immediately tested this morning and the results were the same. 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate, 0 chlorine.
I don't know what to do. I really want to get things established so I can add more fish back in to my school. 2 scissortails is not a school and I worry about them getting stressed. Luckily these two were hardy enough to live through months of my ignorance and survived being in a 3 fish school so they're not super stressed out by being alone, but nonetheless. I worry them losing one of the original 3 man pack will upset their balance. The two rasboras are still feeding fine, active swimmers and show no negative signs. The corys I added are all feeding ALL THE TIME and are super active. Even all my ghost shrimp are fine and I was told they were the most susceptible to bad water parameters.
I was also curious, what can I do about my water hardness without adding aquarium salt? That was suggested to me once and even when I only added a quarter the amount it suggested over time I lost my poor snail and I don't want to try that again (this was a while ago in my 10g). Can I buy large quantities of water from a store that is inexpensive? Or is there something else I can add besides my water conditioner to help?
I'll digress on this a moment. I recently brought home a group of 16 Garnet Tetra, they looked OK to me, and I did not quarantine. Well, within a couple days, half of them were dead and over the next few days I lost over 20 fish (long resident) from the tank. Issue was an internal protozoan that I stopped with metronidazole. My non-quarantining days are over.
It is always safest not to add newly acquired fish to a new tank setup, but let the tank establish with fish you have had for a time. The stress of a new tank only adds to the incredible stress newly-acquired fish are under already.
Also, there is no point in using old water, always use tap water and a good conditioner for new tanks. If fish in existing tanks are to be added to the new tank, you can do a water change in the existing fish tank with water from the new tank to acclimate the fish. "Old water" carries ammonia, pathogens, who knows what, and it will not benefit except if parameters are otherwise far apart.
What is the pH of the tap water compared to the tank? [Wondering if there is any fluctuation.] Test tap water by putting some in a jar with a lid and shaking it briskly for a few minutes, then test. This outgasses the CO2 and gives a more reliable reading.
On the GH, we can look into this but first let's get the tank settled. Adjusting GH or pH can stress fish and while normally this can be done without incident, already-stressed fish are affected much more by any otherwise-minimal changes. But prepatory to that, have a read of this article for a background:
And a last reading assignment,;-) here's one to explain the effects of stress and why it can kill fish quickly:
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